Anxiety. I know quite a few people with anxiety, and by trying to help them I realised that my own anxiety had almost disappeared over the years.
I used to have massive anxiety as a kid. Social anxiety but also general fears. Fears of being late to school, fear of speaking up in class, fear of riding my bicycle. I remember this fluttery feeling in my stomach.
Later this developed into full blown panic attaks when I was in university. I would pace in circles around my room trying to calm me down. I was scared of everything. Speaking to the cashier, driving a car, just sitting in a bus. I felt watched, judged, all the time. I isolated myself, avoided people and challenging situations.
Now obviously anxiety can have psychological reasons. Trauma or overcautious parents can prime the brain to be in fight or flight mode all the time, always prepared for the worst.
But there are also the physiological reasons for anxiety. In TCM fear is connected with the kidneys. Toxins affect all of our organs, especially the glands which are the main transmitters for fight or flight hormones.
I grew up with a high toxic load as you can read in my story. Plus, I didn't develop a feeling of safety due to a lack of connection with my mother who didn't breastfeed me and was extremely anxious and depressed (toxic) herself.
I thought about anxiety and how I healed myself, because yesterday and today I felt an inkling of this fluffy feeling again. It is still very subtle but I know it could get easily aggravated by a challenging situation... I realised I had caffeine those mornings. I gave up coffee many years ago which had been a big part of healing my anxiety (and heart burn and cramps and flushing).
Yesterday and today I had guarana (which contains even more caffeine than coffee). Like with any stimulant (for example raw cacao) - it enhances what already is. If you feel relaxed, in a good mood etc - a cacao ceremony can make you feel in love with the whole world. If you are facing difficult situations or decisions in your life, it most likely enhances your worries, anxiety and fears.
THis is what happened to me before I moved back to Germany. I had the habit of having a ceremonial cacao almost every morning. I balanced it with adaptogenic herbs thinking that would make it ok. And in the beginning of my cacao habit I felt incredible love and bliss and connection with nature.
Over time though this effect wore off, and then when I had to face a very difficult decision (leaving paradise and moving back to Germany) I collapsed into full blown panic mode and had a mental breakdown. Is only the cacao to blame? No but I am sure it played a major role.
Stimulants like coffee, cacao, guarana, green tea and me, we have a love hate relationship, and I know it's the same for many. I love the high feeling, especially when you didn't have any stimulants for a while.
And some people are doing with them, and don't notice many ill effects, maybe rather positive effects.
For my constitution and background, they are not beneficial. Maybe in very small amounts they can be good to heat up the system and move the liver (from a TCM standpoint of view). But on a daily base or in too high doses they crash my adrenals, leave me tired and wired, and cause anxiety.
Especially now in spring time when it's cleansing and liver time, I should definitely take a break from them. I felt the anxiety creeping up for a while but only now that I added in Guarana to my cacao consumption, I noticed the anxious feeling in the stomach again. It's just not helpful for my mood and neither for my digestion.
So my advise for anyone dealing with anxiety would be: stop the stimulants (coffee, black and green tea, guarana, mate, cacao but this also includes sugar and alcohol), get in plenty of magnesium, lots of greens, go for walks in nature, breathe deeply, yin yoga, eat regularly, rest, support the kidneys and liver, light exercise, meditation. Also good is lemon balm tincture.
Nutrition continued... it's complicated.
Currently diving deep down the Vitamin D rabbit hole.
I wonder if my remaining symptoms stem from vitamin D deficiency. I didn't really think much of it as for the past 7 years I was living in sunny Southern Spain and spent many hours in the sun, including midday, and naked sun bathing, no sunscreen.
Symptoms I am talking about are the red cheeks (sometimes flushed) and ice cold hands. I always noticed the redness in the face gets worse during winter. Maybe because I am more pale and the red shows up more. Or it's vitamin D deficiency. But even in summer the redness often didn't go fully way.
So here are a few collected observations over the past years:
I had the red cheeks since childhood.
In tropical climates they almost disappear fully (more vitamin D?)
In winter they are worse and I flush more often. Temperature dysregulation? It's triggered by cold weather, coming into a warm room, alcohol, (certain?) foods, sometimes exercise, stress (!) and sunshine when it's starting to get sunnier again (seems to get less and less the more sun I get). Sometimes I seem to flush without reason, just sitting in a normal warm room.
I don't tan very easily. My sister gets super dark brown in 2 weeks holidays and I am still not at that level of skin colour after a whole summer of tanning in Southern Spain.
On a raw food diet (low fat) I was tanning better I had the impression. I did still flush though in the sun. Interestingly I flushed less in the sun when I didn't drink water additionally to my raw food.
The only time EVER that my cheeks were a normal colour with NO sign of redness was after a 5 day water fast (after about 2 years of raw foods only).
My hands are ice cold but my body temperature is normal.
I was thinking maybe it's connected to the liver. Toxic liver doesn't convert vitamin D well. Is taking more vitamin D then the solution though? And what about the partner of my sister who tans even more than she does? He certainly doesn't have a healthy liver as a chainsmoker and junk food eater.
Maybe connected to pyroluria (I was diagnosed with many years ago)? Bad tanning is one symptom. But I always thought of pyroluria as more a symptom of heavy metal toxicity.
There seems to be a temperature dysregulation in my body. I know heavy metals mess with the glands, especially the hypothalamus, adrenals and thyroid. But I have been detoxing for quite a while now, and did improve in many areas. Some people reported also that their face redness reduced with detox. Am I still so toxic?
Last year I experimented with vitamin D supplementation. I also took zinc regularly. I felt I was tanning a bit easier and my sking looked great. But my eye sight over time got worse. Now it could be that the vitamin D reduced the amount of vitamin A which is important for eye health. But also the eyes are connected to liver health in TCM. I also still have lots of red veins in the white of my eyes which is a sign of a toxic liver.Hormonal issues are a sign of a toxic liver. Maybe a reason why some hormonal problems improved on the raw food diet, the liver was relieved from digesting too much fat.
Now I don't think it's very fair though that I still have to deal with this shit. I have been eating clean and healthy for many years now, detoxing, taking bitters for the liver.
Currently I am on TCM herbs because apparently I have Blood Deficiency, Qi & Blood Stagnation, Deficient Spleen Qi, Liver Qi Stagnation and some deficient heat. Great.
So from the TCM diet point of view this makes it even harder to eat. I crave cooling foods like coconut yogurt to keep the flushes away, but then I get too cold/yin. Foods that are too hot like cacao create heat in the liver aka redness in the face. Feels like I am left with kitchari which needs to be cooked to death, because otherwise my colon is having a hard time digesting whole grains.
So I looked into Vitamin D, and found studies that showed no significant health improvements from higher levels or supplementation. There also was a study about Hawaiian skaters who were outside a lot and still had levels more on the low side. Then there is the genetic factor. Afro-Americans have low levels (due to the pigmentation of the skin) but still higher bone density than fair skinned folks (always been jealous of those strong white teeth of black people). I have a slight tweak in my VDR (vitamin D receptor) gene so maybe there is one reason.
But I wonder. Is taking vitamin D the answer? Is it the root cause? Or would it put even more pressure on the overtaxed liver that has to convert all of it?
People who follow high dose vitamin D protocols (van Helden, Coimbra Protocol etc) seem to have great successes with their therapy. Though there is the risk of hypercalcemia.
I mean there are so many factors of the Vitamin D cycle that we still don't know.
There are many studies showing how important vitamin D is for health, especially against cancer, and autoimmune diseases and immunity in general.
So I took vitamin D and over time tried taking more. At 5000 units per day though I noticed my cycle became longer (obviously could have other reasons as well but a quick research showed many women showed similar reactions to high dose Vitamin D - and my dose wasn't even really high). Maybe the cycle would get back to normal eventually but I am always so worried when my cycle changes as for many years in the past I had really irregular cycles or no period at all.
It could also be that Vitamin D uses up all the magnesium which is important for healthy hormone levels and cycles. One should always take magnesium with Vitamin D and I did but maybe my levels are always so crazy low (due to an overactive nervous system?).
Also Vitamin A and K2 are crucial to take together with Vitamin D. Without adequate doses one loses bone density as the calcium does not get into the bones. Chris Masterjohn even claims that excess Vitamin D (over 80 ng/ml) increases health risks.
Then there is Morley Robbins who says VItamin D lowers immunity (maybe one reason why it works well for autoimmune diseases), and it is bad for ceruloplasmin. His recommended VItamin A:D ratio would be 10:1! Maybe a reason why cod liver oil has a higher Vitamin A:D ratio. Nature knows best?
And maybe a reason why Vitamin D levels from the sun are self-regulated from the body and kept lower than what those Coimbra folks want.
So Robbins claims that VItamin D lowers potassium, raises calcium and slows down thyroid.
On the other hand it seems quite proven that Vitamin D hinders viruses to attach to the ACE2 receptors. People who supplement vitamin D claim they have lesser colds, and it's also recommend to prevent COVID. Then again there are also people saying they got MORE cold when they started supplementing vitamin D (maybe because it is immune suppressing?)
Frustration. Why can't it be easy???
So apparently a low level of Vitamin D doesn't really tell much about your health . IT can also be low when you have a calcium and/or magnesium deficiency. Or a primary hyperparathyroidism.
The Trevor Marshall Protocol prescribes NO vitamin D because apparently it reduces the activity of the receptor (again, immune suppressing).
Apparently cadmium and lead block the activation of Vitamin D into it's active form (we are getting closer again to the solution? Detox). Vitamin D protects against mercury and can also be detoxifying by enhancing glutathione levels. So maybe initial flushes are signs of detox.
Apparently we can also have a VDR blockage caused by viruses like EBV!
Lysine (often lacking in vegetarian diets) can be positive in vitamin D deficiency.
And so on. I will continue researching and working on this blog post. For now I am undecided if supplementation of VItamin is actually good. I know a lot of people report real good results. But I wonder if low levels are the consequence of chronic inflammation, rather than the cause. I feel in the end it once again all comes down to gut health.
Adding a few interesting links
To be continued.
PLease comment whatever you know :)
If I learned one other thing, then it's that anything Nutrition is complicated *sigh*.
So currently I am back on researching the Vitamin A train. There is the big Weston A. Price side, praising Vitamin A, and then there is the lesser known side of Dr. Garrett Smith and Grant Genereux, claiming that vitamin A caused their health issues and is toxic.
I feel the truth is probably somewhere in the middle (and might also be connected to the beautiful part that we are all so very different).
Possible factors might be if natural or synthetic form of Vitamin A is taken. If taken together with co-factors like Vitamin D and K2. Genetic factors.
On my own personal quest, I found out that I have the genetic mutation in the BCMO1 Gene that reduces my ability to convert beta-carotenes to retinol (the active form of Vitamin A). Plus, carotene conversion is low with hypothyroidism, celiac disease, diabetes and so on. I had been a vegan for many years, and in my childhood and teenage years, my diet was less than stellar generally. So you could think I might be quite deficient in Vitamin A. And indeed, when I started eating animal products again, my hair got shinier, and when I was taking Cod Liver Oil, the keratosis pilaris on my upper arms decreased (which also decreased though with lots of sunshine - Vitamin D - and on a raw food vegan diet. Did I mention, nothing in nutrition is simple).
Lately I hadn't been eating many vitamin A rich foods but I had taken a vitamin D supplement (because I also have SNPs in my vitamin D uptake, plus it's winter and I am in Germany at the moment). At first my joints started hurting, which improved when I added in high doses of Vitamin K2. But my hair had become pretty dry again, and most of all, my eyesight had gotten a little worse. I had become extremely short-sighted when I was a kid which I think was due to the amalgam fillings I got around that time. 6 years ago I had my eyes lasered and had great vision since then. Now I noticed a slight worsening again.
So here I am experimenting and researching vitamin A (once more). I had been taken a vitamin A supplement some time ago and got really depressed around that time, which stopped when I stopped taking it. Interestingly, accutane, a popular acne treatment that also contains a synthetic form of Vitamin A (Isotretinoin), can also cause depression.
Back then I had taken retinylpalmitat, not a super high dose. The reason I had stopped cod liver oil, despite it's great effects on my skin and maybe even teeth health, was the fact that it made my blood super thin. When I cut myself, it took forever for the wound to stop bleeding. Not sure that's a good thing.
Of course the first page for my vitamin A research comes from the Weston Price foundation. Glorification of Vitamin A, and it does make sense. Then there are doctors like Dr. Ben Lynch, who is quite an expert on epigenetics, who recommends Vitamin A too, especially for viral effects. Measles-induced blindness is actually a vitamin A deficiency. Giving vitamin A to children in developing countries reduced the mortality rates. Many good studies on vitamin A.
Obviously also studies on the toxicity of vitamin A and the dangers of birth defects when taken in high doses during pregnancy.
And then there are Dr. Garrett Smith and Grant Genereux, claiming that their health issues stem from vitamin A toxicity, and who improved their health on a vitamin A devoid diet basically.
Which is maybe also because so many different diets work for many different people. Maybe it is more about what you take out of your diet. For example veganism. I see a few people thriving on vegan diets (at least that is the official picture in social media, plus we don't know everything about their lives, and not super longterm effects, nor their genetic background). I also see many people failing on a longterm vegan diet (anybody seen Matt Monarch lately? He's always been whacky and extreme though).
I love the idea of a vegan, predominantly raw diet, being the ultimate. I love Dr. Sebi, and Gerson's juicing therapy, and I see people transform their health with greens, greens, greens. BUT, every culture on this planet had always also incorporated some animal products in their diet. It makes sense to me to eat fish (especially when the oceans had been clean in the past) and pastured eggs. I can also see how some traditions make and use butter, cream, and eat organ meats. I came to the conclusion that a vegan (raw) mucus free diet is great for detoxing, but you also need to rebuild and nourish the body. Latest case in this are Dr. Robert Cassar and Danny Glass who turned from raw veganism to the other extreme and became carnivores.
Anyway, I digress.
THis article is supposed to be about vitamin A. Is Vitamin A toxicity really common and causing a lot of problems? A lot of processed foods are fortified with vitamin A.
I guess, in the end it once more is about balance and finding the middle ground. If you took accutane for a long time, or high dose vitamin A supplements, or lots of fortified foods, or liver daily - you might get problems from vitamin A toxicity. Liver and organ foods were definitel not eaten on a daily basis. If you are a vegan with a low conversion rate of carotenes to retinol, or eat lots of nutrient devoid foods, you might end up with a defiency.
The problem with every nutrient is excess as well as deficiency.
For now I will experiment a bit more with supplementing A as well as D and K2, as one of my big goals this year is to remineralise my teeth. I believe that back then my depression from the vitamin A might have been caused by a deficiency of vitamin D.
Edit: Of course there is also the interaction of vitamin A and zinc. Oh, zinc. There are some studies suggesting that low zinc levels inhibit the absorption and use of vitamin A. I wonder if the same could lead to vitamin A toxicity then in some individuals.
Edit: Watching Dr. Garrett Smith's videos on Vitamin A and D:
If I learned one thing, then it's that disease is caused by toxicity.
Most people, especially in the Western Medicine System, believe that we don't need to actively detox as our detox organs liver, kidney, skin do this all the time for us. Yes, but we don't live in a pristine world anymore. We are surrounded by toxins. And those organs were designed to remove the "normal" waste products of our bodily functions. They were not designed to deal with heavy metals, plastics, processed foods, chemicals, pesticides, herbicides and so on. They try their best to deal with it but it is just too much. So waste gets accumulated, and the body in it's innate wisdom tries it's best to protect the main systems. But over time there is only so much the body can handle, and bodily functions start to deteriorate. We age and get sick. All these diseases that we got so used to and take as a normal part of aging and of life - are they really necessary? Can they be avoided? Is the human body maybe supposed to live way longer than we actually do, and live with vitality up until high age?
There are legends, especially in China, about the "Immortals", people who lived in the woods and lived hundreds of years (some even levitated). Are those only legends? I don't think so.
But in today's world we don't have the opportunity to live in pristine woods anymore, and to eat those sacred nutrient dense herbs and plants that those Immortals lived on. We are a sad expression of human potential.
Luckily slowly the old wisdom emerges again. Detox and Biohacking are some important tools for vitality and longevity.
Any disease is caused by toxicity. This also includes mental toxicity aka stress and trauma.
No Western Medicine drug actually has the potential to cure a disease. Western Medicine and pharmaceuticals are great for emergencies and have their place in our medicine system. They keep us alive but they don't cure diseases. No doctor can heal you, you have to heal yourself. And this includes changing your lifestyle.
I am still amazed at how many people are unwilling to change their lifestyle when it could mean their quality of life would improve. When it could mean they could stop taking their drugs. But humans are creatures of habits, and it's more convenient to take a pill rather than to cook fresh meals and exercise. Especially because many foods these days are drugs themselves, they are addictive like heroine (take sugar for example).
The problem is, most bad lifestyle choices don't show immediately. It might take decades and oftentimes generations to show up.
Just a few decades ago, there were hardly any obese people. People still had good vitality (their Jing - their essence in Chinese terms was still strong). Then the load of toxins increased. Processed foods flooded the supermarkets, it was convenient and faster than cooking meals from scratch, especially because more and more women started working full-time jobs, too. I am not against gender equality but there is something very wrong about how it evolved. The natural role definition of the masculine protector and provider and the female nourisher has it's good purpose, and is healthy. Today we see women who are very masculine, and men that become more feminine. This is not healthy as we can see in fertility and virility problems, PCOS and other hormonal imbalances.
The added stress from more and more work hours (now on both sexes) depleted the Jing further. The children lacked not only the nurtured time with their mother at home, but they also got less Jing Vitality from their parent's bad lifestyle choices.
Nutrient deficiencies from bad food choices and depleted soils thanks to monocultures added to that.
Then the introduction of crazy amounts of other toxins into our bodies basically finished us off: pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, plastics, chemicals. Now the body has a lower capacity to detox because it is lacking vital nutrients from a deficient diet and it has already an overload of toxins from this deficient diet, but it is also bombared with more toxins.
And still the human body more or less functions which just shows the amazing massive resilience this system has. Just think now of the potential it would have, given the right nutrients and freeing it of toxicity!
But today the numbers of autoimmune diseases, cancer, autism, allergies and other health issues have never been higher. And the Western Medicine System is keeping us from dying but at the same time it is keeping us from living because we are not addressing the root causes.
Welcome to Priority Health Blog!
I am a researcher, a sponge for information and knowledge. I want to KNOW things.
I am an Enneagram Type 5 - the Investigator.
I am a Gemini - keen on learning, curious. Mercury in Gemini: I love writing, thinking, and try to better the world! Chiron in Gemini: Wounded Healer. Marsn in Libra: diplomatic, seeking justice, fairness and equality. South Node 6th House in Capricorn: PLace of Service, helping others, health care.
Not that I know much about astrology but it seems my path in this lifetime is pretty strongly pointed into the learning, thinking, researching area; and as a wounded healer I want to help make the world a better place (while at the same time needing a lot of solitude to focus on my spirituality).
How did my interest in natural health start? The wounded healer path, I had health challenges myself. Today I see them as a blessing, as part of my soul purpose. Actually they are/were neither good nor bad - they were just necessary to push me in the right direction for my life.
Disease really stems from the friction between what your soul wishes for your life and where your personality holds you back from this purpose out of fear.
After about 15 years of private research and studying how the body works, about supplements, nutrition, herbs, healing modalities, genetics and so on, I now finally formally enrolled in studying Holistic Health and Herbalism. And I am inhaling knowledge. I know I am now finally closer to my life purpose and I feel in flow. At the same time fighting my impatience with wanting to know everything now. I regret that I hadn't studied medicine back then like I had wanted when I was a kid. But I was too afraid and too sick. But the wish to learn about medicine had never left me, and it did send me down the alternative, natural path of healing.
Do I want to be a healer one day? I don't know. It would be lovely to have the purpose of helping others feel better and heal themselves like I did. But in the end I would rather want to encourage everybody to become their own healer. I feel it is important to not give away your responsability for your own mental and physical health. I know we are all busy but what else is more important than our health? Yes, money can buy you the best treatments but even the best doctors or healer can only do so much for you if you don't know yourself.
At least that's what I think at the moment. If there is anything I have learned over the years, then it's that nothing is set in stone. I make a discovery, reach a new stepstone, have a new epiphany - only to find out something else later along the road.
The biggest trouble for my kind of character is that I will never know everything. At least on this physical plane where we only use 10 % of our brains.
Health and Spirituality belong closely together. The more I healed my physical body, the more spiritual I became. The more you meditate and get aligned in your soul, the healthier you become. That's why I study Holistic Health, taking into account the whole person, mind and body.
Western Medicine has some good aspects. Yes, we can transplant organs, reanimate hearts, intubate non-breathing individuals, and generally keep people alive. But it is missing out on so many aspects of true health. How healthy is our current society? Looking at heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disease rates? Yes, we are alive but how is the quality of our lives? Western medicine is missing out on treating the whole person, the soul, and most of all: it is missing out on treating the root cause of diseases. It is treating symptoms, but suppressing symptoms is not healing.
So this blog will be all about true healing. Finding your root cause (spoiler alert: it's mostly toxicity and lifestyle) to find true health and happiness.
Taking care of your physical and mental health is the most important thing you can do.
Become your own healer!