Unexpected diagnosis & an exciting new endeavor

Hey guys! So today I’m going to be covering quite a bit of information ranging from what I learned at the doctors last week all the way to some news on a big goal in my life which I’m actively pursuing. I’m also going to get into a little supplement introduction with you all as well which I’m really excited to share! Definitely look for upcoming posts as this will be a multi-part series on supplementation and what I find helps me personally and the hoops I’ve jumped around to figure out what my body specifically requires, because after all from a genetic perspective we are all quite different in our needs which can be challenging because everything is so standardized these days. It’s all about figuring out how to understand the system and relate it to your vessel (your body).

photo 1

Medical update: About two weeks ago I mentioned I’ve been working with a functional practitioner and how we’ve been trying to figure out what exactly is going on inside of my body. First of all, I am no longer working with said practitioner. This individual is a good person and definitely knows a lot of information but I felt like it wasn’t where I am supposed to be, or who I’m supposed to be working with. I found myself leaving appointments feeling unsure of the advice which in a diagnostic/medical setting isn’t a good vibe to have. I’m a firm believe in trusting your gut and if something doesn’t sit well with you no matter how amazing it sounds on the outside, don’t do it. That said, also take all things into consideration and don’t knock something until you try it. I tried it. Tried for over a month, almost two. Wasn’t feeling it even after all that time had gone by. Check please, not for me. That is a-ok because I know my body enough to be able to continue working on achieving optimal wellness for me, whatever that may end up being. Plus I still have a medical “team”, being my primary care doctor and a gastro down at Brigham and Women’s in Boston which is actually the doctor my dad sees for his Crohn’s. Awkward. Awkward. Awkward. Basically these two keep track of what needs to be kept track of: blood work and an overall view of everything.

I also told you in my last medical post how I’ve been “flaring” for about two months now. Some days I feel better where I have energy, I’m focused, feeling strong, and my digestive system is semi-cooperative. Other days I’m a slight mess where I can’t focus (brain fog) which then I joke and say I have my space cadet hat on, my body hurts – joints and tendons are sore and swollen, my psoriasis gets super itchy, and my digestive system is a whole other story. I’ve learned to appreciate the good days and how to deal with the not so good while I’m working to figure out what needs to be done to eliminate them or at least cut them to a minimum. Things have been looking upwards though because with all that I’m doing and experimenting with I’m having less frequent bad days and more frequent good days.

With that said, I was placed in a situation that I wasn’t quite sure how to deal with last week and to be honest I’m still taken aback a bit. Last Thursday I went in for what seems to be an annual bone density scan (DEXA scan). Knowing that I have had low bone density in the past and had been diagnosed with mild osteopenia at age 15 I figured it wasn’t a bad idea to get it checked again and the office likes for patients to be scanned every 2-3 years after the first initial appointment when low bone density is detected. Some history: my first DEXA was in 2009 (age 15) after I managed a stress fracture during cross country. My second DEXA was in 2012 (age 19) which was just a check-up visit which showed me a bit lower into osteopenia. Both of these visits did make sense though, my labs showed deficiency in vitamin D and calcium. Also at age 15 I was on the pill (due to heavy + painful menstrual cycles) and at age 19 I had been dealing with secondary amenorrhea for over a year. Secondary amenorrhea is “when a woman who has been having normal menstrual cycles stops getting her periods for 6 or more months” (source). I was also still very involved with my eating disorder. It made perfect sense why I had low bone density at these two scans. Fast-forward to current, 2014, I’ve had my period back for a year (!!!!)… tmi? don’t care, I’m stable, I take way better care of my body than I have in years, my blood-levels of vitamin D/calcium/phosphorus/magnesium are within a healthy range, I don’t run long distance anymore, and I lift. At this appointment I expected to hear that I was growing stronger and my bones were back into a healthy range. The nurse practitioner even said “your bones should be like cement, you’re doing everything right by the textbook!” What did the scan show? lower bone density. It’s decreasing and it’s decreasing at a faster rate than before. At this point my z-score (the score which compares your bone density to those at the same age as you) is closer to osteoporosis than it is normal for my age. And they don’t know why.

At this point I’m being referred to an endocrinologist because as the NP said last week (which is agreeable with what my PCP and GI doctor both say), there is something going on because this isn’t normal nor is it explainable by what we know thus far. Her theories are A) auto-immune which is causing malabsorption of nutrients, B) hormonal imbalance, C) thyroid. Out of these I would say that anything goes. I really hope the endo is able to offer some solid insight because I’d rather not have osteoporosis by 30 with no explanation as to why. I wish I was kidding.

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Supplements: Over the years I have found a daily regimen which helps tremendously and I notice changes if I fall off for more than a few days at a time. Today I’m going to discuss only three of them for the sake of post length but will be posting more in the upcoming weeks. * Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, dietician, nor a healthcare professional. All information provided is based on personal experience and is not intended to diagnose, manage, or treat any condition. If you have medical concerns please contact your primary care physician. *

photo 2 Line up: multivitamin, vitamin D3, and magnesium glycinate

Multivitamin: First off, yes that is a pre-natal… not I’m not trying to have a child… yes there are more nutrients in a pre-natal… no I do not take a full dose. There is a ton of controversy out there on the use of multis. Any google search will yield people saying that everybody should be supplementing with a multivitamin and you will also see people saying that it’s a waste of money because you end up peeing all the vitamin out because your body doesn’t absorb them. While it is highly unlike that your body absorbs all the nutrients inside, it definitely takes up some. Which in my case is worth it. My personal view is that a multi for me is a security blanket that helps ensure I’m getting what my body needs. This along with the vitamin D is shown effective to me because my lab work has changed in a favorable way since beginning supplementing with them. I would rather be taking a capsule versus a tablet because they tend to be broken down easier and therefore more bio-available (absorbable) but the caps I usually purchase were out of stock so I ended up with these ones. However with that said I do notice a difference in my energy levels with these! I take this with breakfast along with my vitamin D. Main nutrients I look to have in my multi: A, D, E, K (specifically K2 because it is harder to get whereas K1 is in leafy greens), iron, the B’s, folate, and C. One thing this one has which I really like is ginger because it’s known to benefit digestive health.

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol): I really like Pure Pharma for my D3 because they mix it into a capsule with coconut oil rather than an industrial seed oil. Vitamin D is one of the four fat soluble vitamins (which are A, D, E, and K) so it needs fat in order to be optimally absorbed. Due to it being a fat soluble vitamin toxicity is possible. For me I like to make sure I am getting adequate K2 because it helps with the absorption and balance of D3 and calcium. I make sure to take this with my breakfast which contains enough healthy fats to allow me to absorb what is inside. What is it good for? bone health as it aids in the absorption of calcium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus, along with immune and muscle function.

Read: Vitamin D & K2 relationship

Magnesium: I use Douglas Laboratories Magnesium Glycinate. Douglas Labs is widely known to manufacture a high quality product, this particular supplement was recommended to me by a friend when I told them I had been taking Magnesium Citrate but that I wasn’t noticing any huge differences. The bio-availability in chelated forms of magnesium such as glycinate is higher than other forms. What is it good for? honestly, what is it not good for. Magnesium is critical in over 300 enzymatic reactions within the body, along with aiding in the function of ATP (adenosine triphosphate which is a unit of energy), and it also helps digestive health, sleep, and bone building.

Read: Magnesium Fact Sheet

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What is my exciting new endeavor?! I am finally pursing my dream of becoming a personal trainer. I decided to work towards a certification through NASM and choose the self-study option. The self-study option means that I am sent the NASM textbook and from there I am in charge of my studying and preparation to take the exam. I felt this was the best option for me because having already been through college level anatomy & physiology, exercise physiology, exercise science, functional assessment, and nutrition, I have a decent background in the material. I’m happy with my decision because upon receiving the text I glanced over all the chapters and was happy to see I’ve previously learned most of the information being presented! Yippie! Now it’s time to really nail this stuff down so that I’m able to help others achieve their goals to the best of my ability.

On that note, I’m ending this post because it is getting quite lengthy and if you are actually still with me I thank you for your support and reading 🙂

“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.” – Paulo Coelho

xo, S

3 thoughts on “Unexpected diagnosis & an exciting new endeavor”

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