Howdy - Just getting started

Newcomer introductions, personal anecdotes, caregiver issues, lab results, and n=1 experimentation.
Creekside
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Howdy - Just getting started

Postby Creekside » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:17 pm

I'm female, 63, living at the edge of the mountains in the Colorado front range area. I had 23andMe results that indicated a somewhat increased chance of late-onset Alzheimer's, but I didn't pay a lot of attention to that. I also have a quiescent autoimmune disorder that I'd like to keep that way.

Meanwhile, I was on a statin and watching as my fasting glucose kept going up along with my weight, to the point where I had a 6.1 A1C measurement. I found Jason Fung's intermittent fasting info and began to think that perhaps what I fundamentally had was significant insulin resistance/high insulin, and quite likely the atorvastatin made that worse. I dropped it, though my doctor isn't happy. I've been doing IF for a couple of months now (16/8) along with a lower carb diet and finding it weirdly easier than previous diets. I've completed a few 36-hour fasts and plan to start including at least one/week. My weight is coming down, though not as fast as I'd like, of course. :lol:

Along the way, I've been reading websites, journal articles, and watching videos. Came across Ivor Cummins' Fat Emperor material, and one of his videos mentioned that APOE 4 folks might need to approach low carb a bit differently. That sent back into the 23andMe data and Promethease -- I'm a 3/4. With some (but not all) undesirable methylation genetics. Somewhere along the line, that lead me to this website, and I've read a lot of wonderful info here over the past couple of weeks. Special shoutout to the terrific primer, which really helped me organize a lot of otherwise random info. I don't nearly understand it all and probably never will.

A few weeks ago I had a coronary calcium scan and got the not-so-wonderful news of a score in the 160s. My triglycerides have been high since I was a teen other than when I took Niaspan, which didn't greatly agree with me in some other ways. (As a kid, I lived in a community that has bee part of a very long-term health study, so I have blood info going way back...along with the now-known-to-be-terrible advice of substituting margarine for butter, greatly upping carbs and reducing fat, and avoiding shrimp due to lipid issues.)

My family history has heart disease and strokes, though all of those folks were either heavy smokers or living with heavy smokers. Not a vice I've acquired. One grandmother had some dementia in her late 80's, but never to the level of not knowing who we were. The other grandmother became confused in her early 90's, but again, not to a severe level. One grandfather died at 70, still very sharp, and I have no info on the other one. Still, I like my brain and I'd like to keep it working well.

My current thinking is :
1. Inflammation is an issue, and I need to aggressively reduce inflammation in each way I can reasonably do so. I've been taking fish oil consistently for 18+ years because it seemed to significantly help with the autoimmune issues. I've now upped that dose. I also found a version that only has Omega-3's, since the ones I was taking before had a good doses of Omega-6's, and it looks like there is no good reason to add any supplemental Omega-6 into my diet. I also take turmeric capsules with the black pepper extract, and seem to tolerate it well. My sed rate has been hovering around 2 for a long time, and my CRP is also low, but I'm asking that they run the hs-CRP and homocysteine this time. My autoimmune labs (complement measures, many different antibody measures) have looked pretty awesome for the past several years. I take low-dose time-release doxycycline for ocular rosacea; the primary effect at this dosage is anti-inflammatory rather than anti-bacterial according to the research. If I stop it for even two days, my eyes become unbearably scratchy and dry. Eye doc would like me to take flaxseed oil capsules in addition to the fish oil, but I am not sure adding Omega-6 from flaxseed would be a benefit. I will get the Omega-3/6 ratio measured on the bloodwork this time.

2. Insulin/Insulin Resistance is a big deal. I'm getting new labs run next month and I'm curious to see what the picture looks like with that and the A1C measure. This is probably my key issue. Some liver labs were trending up, and ALT spiked last spring. I'd like to get GGT and the other liver measures tested this time to see if the results look better. From what I have read, I think I was heading towards NAFLD along with T2D. I'm expecting that the lipids are going to look fairly awful since I'm off the statin and losing weight.

3. Dietary issues are...perplexing. OTOH, meals with beef, lamb, pork, chicken, or eggs are very satisfying and satiating, but on the other, I'm reading (here and elsewhere) that saturated fat may simply not be my friend as a 3/4. Fish is ok, but I can't see how I'm going to get my protein AND stay on a low carb/keto diet AND minimize animal protein. I love fruit, but historically it has spiked my triglycerides really dramatically...so I'm settling for much less fruit in my life, and mostly as berries. I'm likely going to splurge on some fabulous Colorado cherries and peaches when they come in, but not like I used to. Adulting is hard. I'd never heard of a lectin before reading about them here...and I kind of wish I never had read about them. I began using Cronometer a few weeks ago and now I'm starting to see some patterns of possible deficiencies that I'll need to think about addressing. Folate, for example, is pretty low. Because of my auto-immune situation, I have to be very careful about sun exposure. Need to figure out the best way to assess Vit. D levels.

So, I'm exploring. Lots of questions, not many answers. A work in progress.

JudyH
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Re: Howdy - Just getting started

Postby JudyH » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:16 pm

Creekside - can't add much except we have similar profiles. I am 58, just found out about my e3/e4 in December. I am trying to bite this off in micro changes. One step at a time. I am still a statin user. I too also have some Methylation issues in my genetics and haven't quite been about to get my arms around the best approach to those. I was just moving into T2D and have 3 AI diseases. I need to lose about 20lbs and have taken 6 or 7 off since January. Got a nice quick loss with my initial changes and have kind of plateaued.

Similar to you, I am taking on IR as my #1 and Inflammation as my #2. But I need to make my changes in smaller steps to make them work for me. First is reducing my added sugar to just a little dark chocolate and second is trying to increase the length of my fast. I am letting the rest of my diet stay the same right now to optimize my chance of success. I have never been much of a beef eater but eat plenty of chicken and eggs. I also eat a bit of cheese and fruit and trying to increase my greens and veggies. I am naturally more low carb than others because I have celiac disease and eat no gluten.

I think you are smart to limit your Omega 6 and emphasize the Omega 3's. I am trying to deep dive this a little more studying the need to increase the ratio of DHA in your Omega 3's and the role of Phospholipids. I don't have any answers there but there is plenty of info in this boards that discusses this. DHA helps the brain, EPA reduces inflammation so I think this is a balancing act. I was taking primarily EPA to reduce inflammation but have been trying to get more DHA since learning of my AD risk.

Best of luck in your study and improvements. As I said, I am a newbie like you so have nothing constructive to offer other than being on the same path! I like the common sense of the primer and Stavia's recommendations. I also read a little bit about Rhonda Patrick since she is also an e3/e4 although younger than you and I, seems to have quite a mind, and her supplement recommendations also give me some ideas to study.
e3/e4
No family history of AD, they drop dead of heart attacks in their early 40's!
Celiac and Hashimotos

NF52
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Re: Howdy - Just getting started

Postby NF52 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:48 pm

Creekside wrote:I'm female, 63, living at the edge of the mountains in the Colorado front range area...
I'm a 3/4. With some (but not all) undesirable methylation genetics. Somewhere along the line, that lead me to this website, and I've read a lot of wonderful info here over the past couple of weeks. Special shoutout to the terrific primer, which really helped me organize a lot of otherwise random info. I don't nearly understand it all and probably never will.

A few weeks ago I had a coronary calcium scan and got the not-so-wonderful news of a score in the 160s....
My current thinking is :
1. Inflammation is an issue, and I need to aggressively reduce inflammation in each way I can reasonably do so....

2. Insulin/Insulin Resistance is a big deal. I'm getting new labs run next month and I'm curious to see what the picture looks like with that and the A1C measure. This is probably my key issue...

3. Dietary issues are...perplexing... Fish is ok, but I can't see how I'm going to get my protein AND stay on a low carb/keto diet AND minimize animal protein... Need to figure out the best way to assess Vit. D levels.
So, I'm exploring. Lots of questions, not many answers. A work in progress.
Welcome, Creekside!

As you can see from judyH's reply, this is a community of people eager to learn and share with each other. You have amazed me with the depth and breadth of your self-analysis and planning for how to address your specific issues. As someone who is 66 and ApoE 4/4, I can identify with all that now-bizarre diet advice we got in the past. The good news is that being in our 60's allows us to be pragmatic and confident that we have surmounted other challenges and can tackle this also. We have members on the forum in their late 70's and 80's who are doing just fine.

You mentioned checking your Vitamin D levels. I think Dr. Bredesen recommends levels of 50-80; I've seen research articles that recommend 75-100 (but not above that) for women in their 60's, and so now take 1000 i.u. of Vitamin D3 of the Pure Encapsulation brand myself. (I too have to watch sun exposure due to a history of basal cell skin cancer on my nose.) If your insurance won't cover a test, it's fairly easy to get an online order for a Vitamin D test through a lab. Here's a link to how to do that: Direct to Consumer Lab Testing Options[

With your family history, it sounds like you have some strong protective genes along with those pesky cardiac issue genes. The fact that you've had a coronary calcium scan means you'll be able to track changes in that; it sounds like you already know what some triggers for your triglycerides have been. We have lots of forums here on sources of protein; a source to learn tips for searching those out, subscribing to topics of interest and quoting members so they get a notification of your post is in the wiki entry "How-To" Get the most out of the ApoE4.info website

I hope you continue to post; your brain is obviously working just fine to be analyzing, prioritizing, planning and evaluating so much information!
4/4 and still an optimist!

Creekside
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Re: Howdy - Just getting started

Postby Creekside » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:56 pm

JudyH wrote:Similar to you, I am taking on IR as my #1 and Inflammation as my #2. But I need to make my changes in smaller steps to make them work for me. First is reducing my added sugar to just a little dark chocolate and second is trying to increase the length of my fast. I am letting the rest of my diet stay the same right now to optimize my chance of success. I have never been much of a beef eater but eat plenty of chicken and eggs. I also eat a bit of cheese and fruit and trying to increase my greens and veggies. I am naturally more low carb than others because I have celiac disease and eat no gluten.


Hi JudyH, and thanks for the warm welcome.

The fasting part is so interesting to me. Back when I regularly ate whole grain cereal and milk (Wheat Chex or Shredded Wheat) for breakfast, I'd crash about 10:30 am and be desperate to eat anything and everything. Now that I am lowish carb, waiting until noon or 1 for my first meal is a non-issue. I've tried the one-meal-a-day routine a couple of times, but I found that I simply couldn't eat enough, and I was afraid that my metabolism would slow if I routinely underate by 800 calories. (I tend to hit the wall at about 850 calories -- trying to eat more than that in one meal is hard...unless the meal has lots of carbs.) Megan Ramos suggests mixing it up and not getting into a fixed routine in terms of times for eating, so I am making some changes day-to-day. Two constants are that I have simply stopped any eating after supper is done, and I'm (mostly) successful at not eating between meals. Not perfect, but getting a lot better. I think I'd trained myself to graze eat all day long. Now that I've learned more about insulin levels, I'm kind of horrified at the advice I was given a year ago by an RD to have 6 small meals a day. :o

I'm envious of your ability to eat just a bit of dark chocolate. I seem to have no willpower when it comes to chocolate.

Good luck on your journey. I'm sure we'll both learn a lot from all the wonderful folks here.

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Re: Howdy - Just getting started

Postby Creekside » Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:08 pm

NF52 wrote:

You mentioned checking your Vitamin D levels. I think Dr. Bredesen recommends levels of 50-80; I've seen research articles that recommend 75-100 (but not above that) for women in their 60's, and so now take 1000 i.u. of Vitamin D3 of the Pure Encapsulation brand myself. (I too have to watch sun exposure due to a history of basal cell skin cancer on my nose.) If your insurance won't cover a test, it's fairly easy to get an online order for a Vitamin D test through a lab. Here's a link to how to do that: Direct to Consumer Lab Testing Options[


Hi NFS2 -- Thank you for the welcome and the link to the direct to consumer labs. I think my doctor will order the vitamin D test, but I suspect some others will simply be on me. I need to figure out if there is a preferred test for vitamin D.

In the perpetual search to find ones that don't run into my (super-sensitive) dry eyes, don't make me itch or break out, and aren't highly perfumed, I buy an amazing number of sunscreens. I could set up quite a partially-used-sunscreen resale store. Hats and rash guards are good friends of mine.

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Re: Howdy - Just getting started

Postby slacker » Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:06 am

Creekside wrote:I need to figure out if there is a preferred test for vitamin D.


You'll want the Vitamin D, 25-hydroxy test. This is pretty standard, and is what my Functional Medicine doc orders for me. Some order the Vit D, 25-hydroxy D2+D3 test; I'm not sure it makes much of a difference.
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Re: Howdy - Just getting started

Postby slacker » Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:14 am

Creekside wrote:
3. Dietary issues are...perplexing. OTOH, meals with beef, lamb, pork, chicken, or eggs are very satisfying and satiating, but on the other, I'm reading (here and elsewhere) that saturated fat may simply not be my friend as a 3/4.


There is definitely disagreement among our members about saturated fat. You'll find many topics on the subject if you look for them. You can use our search function (magnifying glass in toolbar right upper corner). If you select topics only, you will have a more manageable number of hits, but will also miss some conversations. Some of us try to minimize SF, including plant based coconut oil. Others eat grass fed meat regularly. Grass fed meat has less saturated fat due to less marbling from eating grass versus corn etc. It's a complicated subject (like just about everything else here!)
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Re: Howdy - Just getting started

Postby SoCalGuy » Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:24 pm

Creekside wrote:The fasting part is so interesting to me. Back when I regularly ate whole grain cereal and milk (Wheat Chex or Shredded Wheat) for breakfast, I'd crash about 10:30 am and be desperate to eat anything and everything. Now that I am lowish carb, waiting until noon or 1 for my first meal is a non-issue. I've tried the one-meal-a-day routine a couple of times, but I found that I simply couldn't eat enough, and I was afraid that my metabolism would slow if I routinely underate by 800 calories. (I tend to hit the wall at about 850 calories -- trying to eat more than that in one meal is hard...unless the meal has lots of carbs.) Megan Ramos suggests mixing it up and not getting into a fixed routine in terms of times for eating, so I am making some changes day-to-day. Two constants are that I have simply stopped any eating after supper is done, and I'm (mostly) successful at not eating between meals. Not perfect, but getting a lot better. I think I'd trained myself to graze eat all day long. Now that I've learned more about insulin levels, I'm kind of horrified at the advice I was given a year ago by an RD to have 6 small meals a day. :o


It may be worthwhile for you to check out the Longevity Diet book by Valter Longo. He's done a ton of research on fasting and has created a Fasting Mimicking Diet that may suit you. What you basically do is cycle onto short fasting cycles of 5 days and then you repeat as often as necessary. All the details are in the book. I do the FMD once every 6 months.

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Re: Howdy - Just getting started

Postby Creekside » Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:38 pm

SoCalGuy wrote:
Creekside wrote:
It may be worthwhile for you to check out the Longevity Diet book by Valter Longo. He's done a ton of research on fasting and has created a Fasting Mimicking Diet that may suit you. What you basically do is cycle onto short fasting cycles of 5 days and then you repeat as often as necessary. All the details are in the book. I do the FMD once every 6 months.


Thank you! I've just requested that book from my library.

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Re: Howdy - Just getting started

Postby Creekside » Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:45 pm

slacker wrote:
Creekside wrote:
3. Dietary issues are...perplexing. OTOH, meals with beef, lamb, pork, chicken, or eggs are very satisfying and satiating, but on the other, I'm reading (here and elsewhere) that saturated fat may simply not be my friend as a 3/4.


There is definitely disagreement among our members about saturated fat. You'll find many topics on the subject if you look for them. You can use our search function (magnifying glass in toolbar right upper corner). If you select topics only, you will have a more manageable number of hits, but will also miss some conversations. Some of us try to minimize SF, including plant based coconut oil. Others eat grass fed meat regularly. Grass fed meat has less saturated fat due to less marbling from eating grass versus corn etc. It's a complicated subject (like just about everything else here!)


I saw that. For the nonce, my focus is on insulin/glucose, since it seems that the current situation is not good from either the potential diabetes or Alzheimer's fronts.

I will look for some higher quality chicken. FInding grass-fed beef/lamb doesn't seem to be too hard in my area, but chicken is a different issue. Now, I'm not entirely sure if the "grass fed" beef/lamb is grass fed all the way through the process, or if they switch to grain at the end, but I think I can figure that out. The nice thing is that with fasting a few days a week, my overall grocery bill isn't rising by much!


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