Sunday, August 19, 2012

Vitamin D destroyed my deep sleep

I want to tell the whole story of how I figured this out, but I will just cut to the data.  Here is a graph of the amount of deep sleep.  Its almost a year of data (Jul 30, 2011-Jul 8 2012).

You'll notice that the first night I had 54 minutes of deep sleep which is the highest amount of deep sleep in the time period.  There was one other 50+ night  and 9 40+ nights of deep sleep and they were all before Aug 27 2011 (the red line).

For perspective, according to Zeo, the average amount of deep sleep for males aged 30-39 is 59 minutes.

After the red line, my deep sleep cratered. It hovered in the 10-20 minute range. Except for one period from the middle of January to February, it stayed that way for almost a year.

I have done all kinds of tests in the year trying to improve my deep sleep and haven't experienced much success. So what was the red line?  It was when I switched from 4000IU to 5000IU Vitamin D every day.

There has been research suggesting that a Vitamin D deficiency can cause sleep issues. In March of 2011 (before I switched to 5000IU) I was tested at 44ng/ no reason to think I was deficient at any point in the sleep tracking.

In the alternative health blog world, there is a lot of discussion that Vitamin D timing can affect sleep quality.  In most of 2011, I took it at night.  Most of 2012, I took it in the morning.  You can see from the graph it didn't make much of a difference.

I haven't seen anything before that suggests too much Vitamin D (at any time) can cause sleep issues. Also, to be clear, I had my Vitamin D level tested in December (after 4 months of 5000IU).  It was 89.5 ng/mL - well under the level considered excessive (100 ng/mL).

But I still think too much Vitamin D is what caused the decrease in deep sleep.

I made this determination on July 8 (the other red line).  I stopped taking any Vitamin D and put on suntan lotion when I went outside.  The halflife of Vitamin D in the body is a month.  So what happened a month after I stopped?

My deep sleep went way up.  That's what happened.  I have had multiple nights of 50+ minutes of deep sleep and my first ever 60+ minutes of deep sleep. I have gotten more deep sleep  in the past 11 nights than the last 33 nights while I was taking Vitamin D. Pretty awesome.

I went and had my blood tested the first time my sleep broke 50 minutes.  It was 55.5 ng/mL.

I'd love to hear any comments/questions. I think a lot of people in the paleo/alternative health world are taking a lot of Vitamin D so I think it would be great

EDIT:  I updated the post to go into a little more detail about what time of day I took Vitamin D.

Monday, March 5, 2012

February Lab Results

Well.  What can I say?  It is a good month for the cholesterol.  Lets just get to it.

Original                                       January                                 February
HDL - 29                                    HDL - 35                              HDL - 38
Triglycerides - 276                      Triglycerides - 139                 Triglycerides - 103
 LDL - 93                                    LDL - 101                            LDL - 88
VLDL - Not tested before           VLDL - 28                            VLDL - 21

Records for everything.  This is definitely nice after such a lackluster month After almost (a short) month of Niacin I had hoped my HDL would be higher but still the highest level on record (31% increase in HDL).  Particularly impressed with the drop in triglycerides (83% decrease).  5% decrease in LDL.

Plan is to continue Niacin and low carbing it (Only 3 cheat days in February).  I will probably delay exercising until April.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

January Lab results

The month was pretty solid with less than 5 cheat days.  Pretty much a constant stream of eggs, beef, fish, veggies and berries.  I was rewarded with an average of 85 morning blood sugar.  I was looking forward to my lab results coming back with some solid numbers.  I was a bit dissapointed

Original                                       December                             January
HDL - 29                                    HDL - 37                              HDL - 35
Triglycerides - 276                      Triglycerides - 148                 Triglycerides - 139
LDL - 93                                    LDL - 118                              LDL - 101
VLDL - Not tested before           VLDL - 30                            VLDL - 28

Slight dips in everything - INCLUDING HDL.  Very frustrating.  It appears it takes more than a steady stream of saturated fat to increase HDL for me.  If it had even been a slight uptick I probably would have stuck with what I was doing.  Since it didn't I am upping the ante by adding 100mg of Niacin to my daily routine.  I'll let you know what comes of it

I am also adding a bit more carbs to my meals.  That will mainly mean adding some rice to my near daily mongolian grill and berries to my dinner.  My morning blood sugar was rising even thought my diet wasn't really changing.  I think this is because of increased insulin resistance due to eating VLC.  Gonna add some back.  I can already tell you that morning blood sugar has dropped back into 80's after a day.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Blood Pressure improving slowly but surely

Inspired by this Hacker's Diet tactic of taking a running 10 day average of weight, I did the same thing with my blood pressure readings.  I think this one speaks for itself.
Click to Enlarge

I think a couple of interesting notes come from this
  • Other than Vitamin C, there was no magic bullet that had an obvious immediate impact.  There is no dramatic drop at any point, but I think the trend is pretty clear.  I can only conclude that reduction in carbs, increase in potassium, addtion of Vitamin C, and regular emWaving has had a cumulative effect.
  • I think this 10 day average technique is good for things that have a lot of noise.  There are a lot of variables that make tracking blood pressure difficult. The smoothing that a 10 day average gives makes the trend clearer than a simple graph of every data point
  • From a motivational perspective, this is invaluable.  I can now stop freaking out over a single bad morning measurement and have faith that I am on the right track in one fell swoop.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

December Lab Results

I went and got some lab work done.  For the most part...Pretty good.  I have kept a solid paleo/bulletproof diet for about a month.  No real cheating to speak of.  The few times I drank, it was even vodka and soda.

Lets start with the high sensitivity C Reactive Protein test.  A test for inflammation where low is good and anything below 1 is low.  I came in at .2  High Five.  Awesome.  I probably won't be testing this again any time soon.

Similarly, Vitamin D is looking good too.  I switched to gelcaps, made sure that I ate before I took it (It is only absorbed with fat).  When I tested in March I was at 44.  Today....89.3.  Again, awesome.  The blogger types say anything over 50 is good (over 100 is excessive and 150 is toxic).  I may actually even skip a day or two on this one.  Although apparently taking Vitamin D in the morning can improve sleep.

Lets go to cholesterol. HDL not where it needs to be but going in the right direction.  Same with triglycerides - basically a 50% reduction.  LDL has gone up.  Some of that might just be testing variance, but for right now just going to take the good and not worry about the bad unless it still looks like that a month or two from now.

Original                                       New
HDL - 29                                    HDL - 37
Triglycerides - 276                      Triglycerides - 148
LDL - 93                                    LDL - 118
VLDL - Not tested before           VLDL - 30


I don't have my old tests handy, when I get them I will update.  The numbers weren't great but hopefully they are at least trending in the right direction.

In the future, I'll probably start exercising again.  There is also a theory that Triglycerides may go up because your liver starts releasing all of it excess fats. Again, I'll be smarter after I get my old tests, but right now I am assuming they are trending correctly and that they will get better after I have been doing it for more than a month. 

If LDL stays high...may follow the advice in this post as an excuse to go get fancy micronutrient testing done that Tim Ferris talks about.  Or I may just start eating liver. 

Updates when I get old tests back

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I think Blood Pressure responds to Potassium

So I knew when I started that Blood Pressure can be tough to measure.  That is why I decided to measure first thing in the morning to avoid as much of that fickleness as possible.  I think that is still a good idea but there can still be a lot of variability. 

I have noticed that going to the bathroom or yawning can cause noticeable changes in BP.  I suspect waking up from a dream could even be different than waking up from a light sleep.  In an extreme example, my blood pressure was lower after a day at work than it was that morning.

Point is...these numbers are approximate.

When I first got off medicine, BP goes to around 140/90. As a comparison, when I was on medicine I averaged 108/71.  When I started taking potassium the average is 126/83. So top number is OK, but bottom number just barely changes.  This is just at wake up so I would imagine that it probably increase throughout the day.

I will continue to go high potassium and see what happens.  I will also start with the emWave2.  The theory being that stress reduction will cause improvements.