One of the things I do as a habit, since my late teens/early twenties is try to find a way to help myself be more healthy. Because of my issues with the medical establishment (i.e. everything about my health is related to me being fat – no willingness to test, to prove, to truly diagnose), added to the fact that I’ve lived under the poverty line since I got married and rarely had medical insurance I branched out into other ways to keep myself healthy.
Thing is, what that has meant has been a lot of research and quite a bit of experimentation. I turned to herbs and supplements because they were what was affordable for me. So, as much as emotionally I tended to live in my head (in an intellectual space), physically I’ve spent the last 20 years paying attention to my body from a physiological point of view. This sadly makes the medical establishment label me as a hypochondriac. However, I was ready for that attitude, because I watched my Mom be treated that way by her doctors in the 1980s, when fibromyalgia was still considered a psychological condition, rather than a physical one. Hell, the first actual study-based proof only happened in 1981. It wasn’t until the 1990s that even the first guidelines for treating it were established. And my issues with estrogen are a diagnosis STILL being fought in the medical community.
I found out quite early that soy made my menorrhagia quite a bit worse. Since it was already vying Niagara Falls for flow, this was not a good thing. But it actually took me most of a decade to realize that it wasn’t just ingesting soy, but using it in topical lotions as well. The application of soy based lotions caused such a minor change (until I hit my 30s) that I didn’t realize it was part of the problem.
But, it wasn’t until the 2000s that I realized I was deficient in certain minerals. Primarily, magnesium, potassium and chromium. And I still had to research the variants that worked versus the variants that didn’t. For example, medical therapy for low potassium in the body uses either potassium citrate or potassium chloride. But I have found that I react better to potassium gluconate. Same goes for the type of magnesium, since I’ve found that magnesium malate is the only one that helps with my chronic pain. And the type of chromium is very important as well. That one, I do take the variant that there are medical studies to prove their worth. Medical studies have shown that chromium picolinate has absolutely no effect other than placeb0 on blood sugar control – but sadly it is the only variant that tends to be sold in places like Target or Walgreens. On the other hand, chromium polynicotinate (also known as “Glucose Tolerance Factor” or GTF Chromium) has had studies that prove that it is not only very useful in supporting healthy blood sugar levels, but it has also been proven that those who are older or who are overweight tend to have a moderate to severe deficiency of chromium in their bodies.
The important thing with supplements is maintained use. Since minerals often get flushed out of the body or used, continued use must be sustained in order to reap the benefits. And that’s something I only learned more recently.
You see, I haven’t had my supplements since December, because we haven’t had the finances available for them. This has been shown not only with rising A1C levels, but I am noticing that minor accidents are causing more muscle strains. I have been waiting for the charlie horses to come back (the reason I started using magnesium and potassium), but it seems this time around the symptoms are different. Searching medical articles, I found that both potassium and magnesium are not only important for the prevention of muscle strains, but also for effective healing when one happens. And lately, I seem to be straining everything. In point of fact, I seem to have strained a groin muscle just walking up and down stairs.
So, I need to figure out ways to get those supplements back on the “necessary to survive” list.