PMS from hell gone.

The past few months I got really bad PMS. PMS from hell.
PMDD. Weeks that I could not live alone because it was not safe. Because I was desperate and suicidal.

I knew it was all brain chemistry and not a chronic depression. As soon as my period started the cloud lifted and I was my happy normal self. But only for three days, the last two months. Three days after my period the cloud would descend again.

But knowing something has a chemical cause and dealing with the feelings/thoughts it generates are two different things. In the end it got too hard to manage the feelings and thoughts.

The weird thing was that my usual PMS can be managed by taking micronized Progesteron and/or Progesteron cream. I’m versed in that. I know how to work it.
I’ve had one bout of suicidal depression that was caused by a vit D shortage.
But neither one of those supplements helped this time. I was stumped.

Of course I did research and found the term PMDD, meaning PMS-from-hell. Including the suicidal tendencies. This rang true.
I looked up other people who have this and what works for them. One thing is that anti-depressants work instantly. Instead of the few weeks it takes to affect a chronic depression. With PMDD anti-depressants work instantly and you only need to take them a few days in the month.

The other suggestions I got were supplementing GABA, Lithium, St John’s worth, black bear spray, bh4 and 5htp.

I went to the doctor to get anti-depressants. This is tricky because I have a homozygous mutation for MAO A which means I already have an inborn MAO A inhibitor. Anything extra that blocks my noradrenaline receptors will have me bouncing off the walls for hours. Because I already have that tendency.

The doctor was very good!
He suggested that what I’ve been lacking these past few months is Dopamine:
neurotransmitter werkings

You all read Dutch right? The title is Function depending on Neurotransmitter.

Dopamine = attention; motivation; enjoyment; rewards.

Noradrenaline = alertness & energy

Serotonine = obessions & compulsion.

The three words in the middle read: interest; mood and fear.

The doctor must be right. There must be some sort of system where prolonged stress interacts with sex hormones (in their neuro transmitter role!) and depletes Dopamine in my head. An interesting thing to go look at.

Normally I have a healthy mix of the three. Although my Noradrenaline sticks around for too long because it’s destroyer MAO A isn’t very good. But otherwise I have a natural high Dopamine level.

He then talked me through the various anti-depressants that exist and on what neurotransmitter they have effect:
antidepressants overview

We chose an anti-depressant that affects Dopamine level, the best there is: Bupropion (this also is the only one that won’t affect libido)
It also inhibits noradrenaline but we agreed I should try it, in a low dose, to see how bouncy it makes me.

Dr. also suggested I use my sensitivity to assert if a pill was going to help me. Or even just carry it on my person instead of ingesting it.
Can you believe such a suggestion coming from a certified GP? That’s tailormade medicine right there. Fabulous!
I’d never thought of it but it is indeed something that works for me. I can sense whether something (a food) is good for me. Why not a pill?

He also mentioned the three things that improve mood:

  1. Zinc
  2. Krill oil
  3. Taurine

So that’s what I started taking. Taurine also soothes the liver which is a strained organ in my body. But it also contains sulphur which my body cannot handle very well (MTHFR/MTRR mutation)
The Zinc did it.

Whenever the dark cloud reared its head I just took Zinc and it went away again. It was amazing.
I hate when this happens, when a singular thing influences my mind so much and when it repeatedly proves it does and when I could have avoided suffering just by taking it earlier. And I hate the tiredness afterwards, when my body sighs in relief and needs time to recuperate. I hate when I wasn’t smart enough, resourceful enough, to stop this earlier.
I know I should be proud that I solved it and that I don’t feel so awful anymore. But the frustration is bigger at the moment.

So: no mental PMS/PMDD symptoms this month. I did not need to take any anti-depressant (but boy, am I glad I have them in my pantry. A good back-up whose presence eases the mind).

I’ve now had my period and we’re in day 4 of my new cycle.
Unhappiness is here again. But it’s very mild. I don’t think it’s related to the things above at all. The Zinc doesn’t attack it unfortunately.
It IS chemical though. I’m lacking something. Or have eaten something that poisons my brain. Could be the shrimp kroepoek? Or is the the stress of prolonged staying the city? The lack of chicken soup?

Either way I’m back on eating a clean diet again. No exceptions. With a brain chemistry as sensitive as mine, that’s the best thing to do.
I’m drinking a lot of (salted) water and taking enough hydrocortisone to keep my body out of stress.

And I’m re-affirming my body all the time that there is no reason to stress. We are safe. We are good. Relax. We are fluid and we are walking in the sunshine. Life is good. No worries.

(this is a solid approach to ease my Autonomic Nervous System which is at the core of my illness. More about that later.)

PS I stopped Valerian and also Progesteron pills the last week of the last cycle. Both might be energizing my system too much.

I took a Prog pill the other evening and laid awake again. Without it I sleep through the night. I do need the Prog cream for the current unhappiness though. This has always worked neurological for me so we’re back again at neurotransmitters and brain chemistry.

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Sleep: slept through! Theory to the test.

Last night I took a Progesterone pill and I slept through the night on an unusual day of my cycle (day 13). I woke up refreshed and extremely happy. This supports the theory I’ve cobbled together in the last few days.

The happiness came from high serotonin and noradrenaline, I felt. And of having a good night sleep and perhaps having found another sensible theory!

On a side note:
I have noticed I’m quite excited the last few days.The amount of blog posts is indicative. This is “excited brain” on display. Not a good thing per sé.
And I feel a little sheepish that you all can see it.

I think it comes from the mB12 and Folinic Acid supplementation causing all kinds of waste to come free (akin to Copper Dumps) and raising noradrenaline. (the last week I’ve laid awake for 3 hours or more instead of the usual 1,5-2 hours). Aided by the Atlas Profilax treatment that activates overall my Sympathetic Nervous System is having a good time at the moment.
Luckily I succeed at shutting it up twice a day, when I take my horizontal rests.

The only other thing I know to do is be physically active during the day (I háve to walk outside every day since the AtlasPROfilax) and lessen the mB12 and Folinic Acid. Take a small break from Methylation.

So I’m going to the motions and I know it. I hope to calm down to my regular self in the future.

COPIED POST
The post under this paragraph I wrote this morning for a Spanish guy on the RisingPhoenix.me forums that shares the same sleeping pattern as me. (should that be “as I”?)
It’s full of white space because brain fogged people need their words in small doses.

Hi,
I’ve got a theory for my sleeping 5 hours and then lying wide awake for 2, being very alert. It fits all the symptoms and medical data I have.

SHORT VERSION:
after 5 hours I get excess noradrenaline on the brain. This prevents GABA rising and REMsleep commencing and makes one very alert.

Oral supplementing of the neurotransmitter Progesterone makes me sleep for 7 or 8 hours straight. Maybe because one of its metabolites, Allopregnanolone, dampens neurons firing and promotes GABA. It is as potent as benzo’s and sleepingpills, which is what most people use for this kind of insomnia.

Progesterone is NOT a female sex hormone.

LONGER VERSION:
In the brain a small amount of noradrenaline is needed after the 4,5 hours of nonREMsleep to stop the REM-off neurons from firing and let REM-on neurons start. When REM-on neurons get active GABA will rise and REMsleep will start.

REM sleep depends on high GABA.

Too much noradrenaline makes this impossible. GABA will not rise and insomnia will cause more noradrenaline. Noradrenaline is the neurotransmitter that makes you very very alert.

Reason might be MAO A not breaking down noradrenaline sufficiently due to a mutation.

Another reason might be too low Progesterone (I have this, tested and proven). Progesterone is not a female sex hormone, it is a human hormone. Testosterone is made from it. Cortisol is made from it. And it is a neurotransmitter in the brain.

In the brain Progesterone increases MAO’s activity slightly.

Progesterone’s most profound neuronal effect, however, results from its direct effect on the neuronal membrane. Progesterone has an inhibitory effect on neuronal excitation, depressing neuronal firing.

One of its metabolites in the brain is Allopregnanolone. This is a neuroactive steroid that does something with GABA. It has a potency similar to that of the most potent benzodiazepines (Valium etc) and approximately a thousand times higher than pentobarbitals (sleeping pills).

(I still need to check my sources but this one put me onto Allopregnanolone and this one researches REMsleep)

CONTEXT:
Noradrenaline is noradrenergic, meaning to do with the Sympathetic Nervous System.
Onset of REMsleep and GABA is from cholinergic brain input, it is about the Parasympathetic Nervous System. (source here)
The nervous system is not limited to the brain, of course.

REMEDIES:
– stop noradrenaline from rising (how? how? How do I get the Sympathetic Nervous System to shut up?)
– stop REM-off neurons from continious firing (how? by taking benzo’s? by taking Allopregnanolone?)
– raise GABA (how? taking precursors?)

SUPPLEMENTING:
Taking GABA is useless, it cannot go through the blood brain barrier (BBB) because it is too big a molecule, say people on the forums here. If a GABA supplement does have a soothing effect it means your BBB is leaky (search forums on this, Hip and Gestalt say smart things about this)

Progesterone: only take progesterone, no progestins. Be vigilant about this. Read the label.

Take the oral pill, not the cream, someone one the forums here said the pill form is the only form that yields Allopregnonalone. As is my own experience too.

In Europe the (only) correct brand for Progesteron is Utrogestan. It is not over the counter. Your doctor will probably resist and needs to be educated. Both on Progesterone/Progestins and on males needing this basic hormone.

A 100 mg pill gets converted to 10mg active Progestrone (the liver filters out the rest, working hard). This 10mg is the dose a regular human body needs for a regular day, it’s a physiological doses. It is what a normal body produces on its own. Supplementing the full 10mg is too much for a man who -presumably- produces at least some of his own in his adrenals. Problem.

Females need more because they also use Progestrone to balance out Estrogens. Their physiological dose varies every day and can range from 10 to 60mg. (60mg on day 21 of cycle)

Larger Utrogestan pills (200/500mg) are for females in pregnancy. They may need much more than the daily 60mg to keep their baby on board which is where the hormone gets its name: PRO-GESTational-hoRmONE and our association with it being a female sex hormone.

HRT = RISKY
There is no knowing in advance how your body choses to convert the Progesterone. It may raise your Testosterone, your Cortisol, your Aldosterone. Taking too much may numb the receptors or lower your own production.
HRT is risky business. Always start low and go slow.

10 mg Progesterone is excess of what a man needs, I feel. I’d want 20 or 50mg pills to start with but these are not produced. You could cut open a capsule and take only the white liquid, I guess. It looks like paint.

One thing about taking physiological doses is that your body is able to get rid of it within the day. You are not overdosing as is often the case with conventional HRT or other drugs.

ME/CFS people probably have decreased capacity for elimination so should even take less, of any drug or supplement. On a positive note: we notice effects sooner so small doses give us information fast.

MY EXPERIENCE
On some nights I take 100mg Utrogestan pills for my menstrual cycle and then I sleep through the night every time, unless it’s the last week before my period. I was told sleepiness was a symptom of too high a dose. Now I am not so sure. It feels awful during the day and I avoid it. But at night I sleep well and wake up with new vigour. And now I found a plausible explanation for it.

As long as my liver can stand it and I wake up feeling refreshed I am now taking Progesterone at night. The correct thing to do is find out with how low a dose I sleep through. But because my need as a female differs each day and I have CFS I’m not up for cutting up pills and taking notes yet.

For you I have no quick solution, sorry. Only this theory that, to me, makes sense and fits both our symptoms.

UPDATE
I just learned the antibodies to GLUTEN also block conversion from glutamate into GABA.
Leaving ones brain with too much glutamate (*boing! boing!*) and not enough GABA (zzzzz…)

source = http://neuroendoimmune.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/is-gluten-making-you-overstimulated/

Neurotransmitters: progesteron on the brain

Just for funsies I was wondering about the relation between noradrenaline (NA) and progesteron in the brain. Any neurotransmitter interference there?

Boy! Did I hit the jackpot!
It’s only from one source and I haven’t had time to check out the source itself or other sources or research but if this is true it connects a whole lot of dots.

the source: sexualhealthmedicine.com

PROGESTERON AND SEROTONINE
Progesteron and oestrogens claim serotonine receptors in the brain. Oestrogens promote the growth of these receptors, progesteron decreases it. This can account for some of the depressive feelings during PMS (post menstrual syndrome, occurring at least one week before the period, when oestrogens drop and leaves behind a field of serotonine receptors who’ve got nothing to feed upon).

PROGESTERONE AND MAO
Progesterone increases MAO activity, Estrogens decrease its functionality (!!)
Meaning Progesterone promotes excitatory neurotransmitters getting catabolized, broken down, whisked away.

People with progesterone deficiency have their brain bombarded longer by excitatory neurotransmitters? (it fits the symptoms of Estrogen excess)
How about people with progesterone deficiency AND a faulty MAO A enzyme? oooh boy….

Estrogens numbs the MAO enzyme, allowing the excitatory neurotransmitters to keep bouncing around in your head. People with natural high levels of these neurotransmitters are active, excited and happy (depending on their individual signature of the mix).
People who are low on these neurotransmitters (ADD people perhaps) get depressed when their Estrogen levels drop and Progesterone keeps egging on the break down of the few neurotransmitters they have. They would have very depressive PMS.

But it might be more complex than this. Balancing hormones teaches us that hormones are not like scales: add a little here and it will decrease over there. No, it is more complex.
Having higher levels of a transmitter makes its receptors more numb for it and makes the receptor for its antagonist more hungry. For example, taking more Progesterone enhances the level of Estrogen receptors. Making for more tender breasts during PMS, even though you are supplementing with higher levels of Progesterone than you ever had naturally.

SHORT QUESTION ABOUT HAPPINESS, ENDORPHINES
Might a happy feeling come from Endorphines and not from the mix of high dopamine and progesterone supplementation?
Progesterone correlates to feeling at ease, calm (hello PNS). Not happiness per sé.

PROGESTERONE IN THE BRAIN: SLEEP
Another article from the same source kept me awake last night:

  • Estrogenen increase the serotonergic, noradrenergic and opioidergic activity in the brain. (grrrrr!)
  • Progesterone increases MAO slightly. Progesterone’s most profound neuronal effect, however, results from its direct effect on the neuronal membrane. Progesterone has an inhibitory effect on neuronal excitation, depressing neuronal firing.
  • one of Progesterone’s metabolites is called Allopregnanolone. This is een neuroactive steroid. Allopregnanolone hyperpolarizes neurons by potentiating GABA-mediated synaptic inhibition. It acts at a neurosteroid-specific site on the GABAA receptor to facilitate chloride channel opening and prolong the inhibitory action of GABA on neurons. Allopregnanolone is one of the strongest ligands of GABAA receptors in the CNS, with a potency similar to that of the most potent benzodiazepines (Valium etc) and approximately a thousand times higher than pentobarbitals. (sleeping pills)
  • brain activity of progesterone and allopregnanolone is not dependent solely on ovarian and adrenal production. It is made in the brain itself.

TRANSLATION:

  1. Progesterone depresses neuronal firing.
  2. Its metabolite Allopregnanolone eggs on GABA activity (GABA is needed for REMsleep!)
  3. Allopregnanolone does the same as benzo’s do, the drug so many insomniacs turn to
  4. Allopregnanolone does what sleeping pills do a thousand times better
  5. Progesterone is made in the brain (what if my deficiency is expressed there too? Is it synthesized in the brain from cholesterol? How does this work?)

I
AM
GOING
TO
SCREAM
NOW

Just for a little bit.
It’s all those excited neurotransmitters you see. And not enough progesterone to depress neuronal firing.

I want more (to know about) Allopregnanolone.

 

PS a strong symptom of Progesterone overdose is sleepiness. Allopregnanolone would account for this, as it’s as potent as the strongest sleeping aids.

taking a Progesterone pill (100mg) is the one thing that gets me through the nigh and only during PMS time. Earlier in the cycle and I feel very very groggy the next morning.

PS2 on RisingPhoenix someone says that it’s oral Progesterone that gets converted to this Alloprgnanolone. Not so much the transdermal cream.