Hepatic Flexure causes lifelong insomnia

I cannot believe that I did not figure this out earlier. It’s so logical, looking back.

Each night I wake up at 3AM. Wide awake. I lie awake for about 1 hour – 1,5 hr. Then I sleep a little but do not wake up rested.
Lying down = right upper bend in the colon gets squished. Matter cannot pass and builds up in the ascending colon. After 4,5 hours my body jolts itself awake from the stress.

4,5 hours being the bare minimum of sleep it needs to get by. Or the amount of time the small intestines need to process everything they’ve got and dump it into the colon.

I’ve had this insomnia as long as I can remember. Even as a child. My parents thought I was afraid of the dark or the house burning down. Every night I woke up. Always have.

Now that I’ve been addressing constipation and slow colonic transit the past couple of weeks I’ve had some succes  in sleeping through the night. Glorious feeling! Getting 6 hours instead of 4,5.

It makes sense now that I think about it: as I lie down the hepatic flexure gets squished (by the liver?) and matter cannot pass into the traverse colon. Stuff builds up in the ascending colon, especially in the 4,5 hours of sleep, and then I jolt awake because of the stress reaction. Lying awake for a good hour tossing and turning (making matter pass the hepatic flexure?). Perhaps I miss the train of the BMM (Body Mass Movement) that occurs every so often and one is every 1,5 hours?

I’m now looking into solutions for keeping that flexure open when I lie to rest. Can’t find a similar problem on the internet but I’m looking for clues at people who have a prolapsed traverse colon (colonic ptosis).

It is very common to have your colon twist and fold, both at the traverse colon (red) and the sigmoid colon (blue):

fig3-yee-ian-yik-2012

and these people (children too) all have slow colonic transit.

God knows how mine is twisted at the red part. All I know is when I lie down the traverse colon is no longer accessible. The life long insomnia as a result of this has caused adrenal problems and “ME”. I’ve fixed the latter and when I start sleeping though the night my adrenals will probably need less Hydrocortison as a crutch.

So what can I do? What do people with prolapsed traverse colon or enteroptosis get advised?

  • Surgery is out, not enough succes rate .
  • Defining stomach muscles is advised. (fit20 is an excellent regime for that. As is kettlebelling)
  • As is stomach massage.
  • As is hanging upside down (during sports) to let gravity help.

So what will I do?

  1. I will do more muscle exercising. I already do normal crunches on machines, both at fit20 and the gym. I will incorporate diagonal movements such as standing on a training ball and moving a barbell from left to right. Kayaking movements would be excellent too.
  2. I will do extra sets right before bed. Get as much matter out of the ascending colon as possible. Also massage these parts before going to sleep.
  3. continue mindfulness and supplements to enhance colonic motility (it’s still an issue)
  4. adopt a different sleep posture? It is related to me lying flat. Sleeping on my right or left or stomach does not seem to change much. Perhaps lie with head lower than buttocks? Head higher? Learn to sleep standing up, strapped to the bed?
  5. asking my doctor for advice about what I put into my mouth. Ascending colon specializes in taking out the moisture, perhaps if I can keep matter fluid it passes the hepatic bend easier? Is this where laxatives target? I have not used laxatives ever and I know they are not a lasting solution, if anything they can make matters worse. Usually fiber is advised to make matter moist but fiber works against my colonic inertia and gives too much bulk in the ascending colon at night.
  6. ask my doctor about enemas. Would that be good, cleaning the tubes once a month? My previous GP was against it because my system is so sensitive. He was often right.
  7. ask my doctor about anything else she can think of. Perhaps she thinks it fruitful to talk this over with a GI specialist? I dread going to yet another professional who deals with so many “special snowflakes” and patients who have dr.Google at their fingertips and somehow showing them that I indeed have a weird thing.

We’ll see. I’m meeting my new GP on Thursday. See if that goes better than when I met her replacement. I am preparing a medical dossier for her so she can see my casus in one glance. Everything on just one piece of paper.

PS in addition I still have classic “hepatic flexure” as described by my old GP. A bit of air forms in the colon and cannot pass the flexure. It clogs it up, preventing other mass to pass. I can solve this by lying on my right and letting gravity do its thing: the air squeezes past and rises upwards, into the traverse colon. I then turn on my back. Perhaps do my gymnastics.

I have to do this on top of whatever I have to do to empty the ascending colon.

 

a dream I refuse to participate in

In my dream last night people were suspiciously holding me up on my way out of the supermarket. It was as if my head wasn’t done yet thinking up the street and the storyline and it was stalling me.

I refused to enable this dream.

So I turned towards the produce aisle
and crawled among the apples.

pic by sheridanck
There. Make a storyline out of that, dream master!

in other sleep related news:
1. the doctor’s office forgot to send a fax to the sleep clinic two months ago and my request wasn’t processed. I discovered this last week and fixed it but have been waiting for naught for months now.
All the while having bad sleep.
Tomorrow I’ll ring the clinic, check that they did get the paperwork. Then it’s a three month waiting period and then I can go and have a sleep study.

2. while I do lie awake now again every night I am waking up better rested. After my hour and a half insomnia I take a morsel of Hydrocortisone and this makes my body relax and allows for two hours good sleep. Instead of the broken snooze I used to have.

I have two possible explanations for this: one is that the cortisol dampens an allergic reaction or CNS alarm that otherwise keeps me from sleeping. This could be something lung related or throat related or gut related as these three areas give me pain/trouble at night.
Or this cortisol covers some of the usual awake response in cortisol levels, making me not dip too low.
Either way: I wake up feeling not too bad and I do not have to wait 45 minutes to come from a very very bad place.

I have better stamina during the day, presumably because of this. I also cover my cortisol and progesterone needs during the day better. (I now take 100 mcg of Progesterone every night. It doesn’t help me sleep -no allopregnanolone for me- but it does seem to cover my base line need for the hormone better)

Because of better stamina I try to be more physical active during the day. Having just spend 2 weeks in the city I’ve been walking and walking and showering and cooking. Doing multiple things on single days.
Physical activity is the best way to get hormone levels in flux and in balance so I’m really pleased.

I’ve had the opportunity and stamina to meet various knitter friends during these weeks and we had lovely cups of tea and chats and wool and spindle fondling. This makes me wildly happy.
Wild happiness is the best companion for a chronic illness.

PS
taking 50 mcg of vit D3 also helps. It really does. Never ever ever do I want to go too low on vit D again.

a bit of everything

So I lie awake again. 200 mg Progesterone has nothing on me.

I also did two days of extra string methylation, this causes me to lie awake too. Even though I try to get the detoxification started as early in the day as possible, it still causes high noradrenaline in the middle of the night.

There are various sorts of B12 and of Folate stuffs and the last two days I took the most easily absorbed forms: Adenosyl-B12 and Metafolin.
This sends the Methylation cycle spinning.
I’ll be taking a break today
because sleep is everything

and tomorrow I’m taking a course in enemailling! Really looking forward to it.
I’m driving there myself, it’s about an hours drive, in my own squirrel mobile.
I’ll need food and salty water and ear plugs and a place to rest after I arrive.
Later today I will make some ganache and I plan to dip rice waffles into it.

In other news my right shoulder still hurts. I cannot knit, crochet, spin, felt or type in any constructive way.
I also cannot lay on the couch comfortably. Or find a position to sleep in at night.
So today is the day I am addressing this. Need some new attitudes for as long as my shoulder needs to heal.

  1. don’t hang in the couch any more. Go lie flat on your bed when resting.
  2. can no longer fiddle with hands when resting (knitting, writing, drawing) so it’s going to be something else: reading, snoozing, singing -learn overtones?-, solve thinking puzzle, listen to an audio book, …
  3. stop typing. Take a break from Ravelry, PhoenixRising, emailing and blogging. Find another way to take notes (doodle them? record on tape?)
  4. sit up straight when you sit, walk when you don’t. My big muscles are weak, I wanted to fortify them but something prevents this at the moment. Shouldn’t let them deteriorate further. Am enjoying my daily walk.
  5. I pull up the shoulder, emotional cause. I want to hide in it, embrace myself. Gotta find another way to hide and embrace. Sew up a sheep’s fleece? wear a cape?

So that’s my day’s work cut out for me.

On top of my daily job: to allow my body to rebuild itself. I can’t tell you how much effort it takes to keep my brain from chattering and interfering all the time. And methylation and PMS only make this worse. It’s a good thing I’m not on coffee or in the city because I’d be rocking!

Talking about city, it’s such a strange thing and I’ve been wanting to talk about it for weeks now. But when I’m in the city I’m all about art and culture and have this urge to paint. I even brought all my brushes and paints etc. with me to the cabin!
Haven’t touched them since.
When I’m in the cabin I’m all about slowing down, embracing the moment, breathing, enjoying flowers, birds and trees.

I couldn’t tell you which of the two is the true me. The city girl is more active, feels more alive. The nature girl feels more at peace,authentic.
They’re both me, I guess. Wanting to distinguish and assign values…. that’s soooo 2013 ;)

It makes me think though, about humans and our progress through time. Progress as: “look how we stumble along, the path we’ve followed and a reasonable projection of it into the future”.

I see the landscape around the cabin getting more cultivated by the day. Animals are driven back into little patches to live in. The patches get lost.
It’s the way nature documentaries have been tugging at our tear ducts for decades now: all doom and gloom. I do not wish to go that way.
Because there’s nothing to be done about it. This is how the human species stumbles forwards. You might as well curse the sun that’s about to rise tomorrow, again, aaargh.

I do feel a longing within to being in landscapes that involve no other humans. It’s probably a build in thing from the past, like 10.000 years and longer ago.
And a nice glug of sentimentality, of romancing living as one with nature. Oh, how I dream of living with the reindeer people somewhere in the North.
If there’s one thing documentaries about tribes or Survivor Man shows it’s that living in nature is no picknick. And you can’t do it alone. Man is a people lover.

So. I’m trying to get to grips with this pouting over Holland’s nature getting smaller by the minute. As if there was ever real nature left.
Well… some. I remember walking in the heather fields of Drenthe with my grandmother. Even though heather fields were maintained by shepherding people they have done so for a 1000 years and have been an ecosystem.

Anyway. There’s no use cursing at the sun or wringing your hands because human messes up his environment. The thing is to resign to the era you’re assigned to. I still live in a world that has some wild polar bears and tigers. The memory of a farmers country is not far behind me in these parts of the land.
In the city it’s only a short hop to the 16th century and life at that time. History is everywhere and it’s an inspiration. And it’s interesting to think about the things those people thought they were loosing. “Oh no! The oxen will disseapear!”
“No more tinder fungus for us, not now everyone has got that modern way of making fire!”
“in my time, we all carried our drinks in pigs bladder… what’s with this modern nonsense?”
(I’m just pulling these out of sleeve, not trying to be acurate or anything)

It makes sense to predict that urbanization will progress. Nature will be driven back.
I look at Japan for examples.
It will bring many interesting urban culture things that I cannot even begin to imagine. There will be lots of niches. And a few of them will be taken by animals who find a new way of living.

gotta stop typing, gotta take my walk.
sorry, no energy left for pictures. I can show you one of my coffee table:

Sleep: noradrenaline (2)

I wrote: “I expect the activity in the noradrenaline brain network to change once the sleep waves change. I.e. when the sleep cycle changes so does the activity of the neuron network. I need to go look for studies that tell me wether its activity increases or decreases.
Based on my insomnia I expect it to increase. Leaving me with a surplus of noradrenaline bouncing around my head.”

But I found that noradrenaline falls before we get into REMsleep.

Prof. Mallick is very busy unraveling how noradrenaline and REMsleep are connected. He ties it to illness too. When we are REMsleep deprived, we get ill.

“My working hypothesis is that “one of the functions of REM sleep is to maintain the brain excitability (Mallick et al., 1993, 1994, 1999)” and therefore, REM sleep possibly serves house keeping function of the brain (Mallick and Singh 2011). My lab has been working towards understanding its possible cellular mechanism of action.”
This theory is very popular at the moment. Glia’s and sleep detox and stuff.

Prof. Mallick explains briefly on this page.

He links Glia-activity to Noradrenaline (NA):
“Further, the brain contains neurons as well as glia and both possess NaK ATPase. REM sleep deprivation induced increased NA stimulated neuronal NaK ATPase activity, while the glial enzyme activity was decreased. The opposite actions of NA on neuronal and glial NaK ATPase activity probably help maintain neuronal homeostasis (Baskey et al. 2009) (Fig. 4).”
(NaK ATPase is just the good old Natrium Kalium pump in every cell membrane. Sodium Potassium pump to American friends)

In his scientific research I read about the workings of glia. During sleep the cells of the brain shrink a little bit, giving room to glia and to the intercellular fluids. These two shuttle away debri and cell waste.
It is important that this all happens: the shrinking and the waste elimination.

SLEEP STAGES: REM-OFF AND REM-ON
He found that during nonREMsleep (the first five hours of my nights) there’s a continuous firing of neurons called REM-off.
Once they seize firing another set of neurons start firing, REM-on.
REMsleep commences.

The REM-off/on’s activities are governed by GABA (and Noradrenaline). During REMsleep GABA is high, deactivating the Lucus Coeruleus. PubMed source here.
As long as there’s GABA, there’s REMsleep. Onset is governed by cholinergic input from the Locus Coeruleus. PubMed source here (prof. Mallick)
(cholinergic = Parasympathetic nervous system!)

REM-off neurons are called norepinephrinergic. Meaning they have to do with the SNS.
When a brain is REMsleep deprived it’s NA rises, keeping the REM-off neurons firing, prolonging the REMsleep deprivation. Gaba inhibits those pesky REM-off neurons, giving REM-on a chance. PubMed source here.
Stay away from stress, children.

During a study of blocking adrenoceptors to determine interaction between neurotransmitters and sleep this was quoted:
“Also, a critical level of norepinephrine in the system was required for the generation of REM sleep, however, a higher level may be inhibitory.”
PubMed sourcs, prod.Mallick
So you need a little bit to get to REMsleep. But too much will prevent it.

ME WANTS TO SLEEP
There must be a system governing NA levels in the brain during nonREMsleep. When it’s time to go to REMsleep the NA level will drop/rise (?) to the right level to let REMsleep commence.
In my brain the target is overshot. The NA level rises so much that I don’t get to REMsleep. I get to wake.

I think I’m onto something. I’ll investigate further. What system, what influences it?
In the mean time I’ll make sure I don’t get up while I lie awake. Getting that second stint of sleep is important. Get all the REMsleep you can.

5 hours solid sleep, 2 hours awake, 2 hours of (crappy) REMsleep. It’s the best I can do at the moment.

Sleep: tracking my hours

I’ve been tracking my hours the last month. Here are the hours I was in my bed asleep, in Elderberry purple:

sleep hours tracking

You see that as a rule I don’t sleep through the night. Most nights I lie awake for a couple of hours. On two nights when I did get a full nights sleep I had had a very short night the previous one.

Now for my next trick…

sleep hours quantity

Hocus Pocus Holy Quantity, Batman!
I forgot about the actual time I went to bed and just lined up the hours I slept.

There’s a clear pattern here. It doesn’t matter at what time I’m going to bed, on most nights I sleep 4,5 hours and then I wake up.

I have had this sleeping pattern all my life. I remember as a child, under the age of 10, calling for my parents. Every night. So this pattern of mine is unrelated to my CFS or ME. It does wreck havoc in my illness as I do not recuperatie sufficiently from the day before.

Lately I’ve been reading up on neurotransmitters that are involved in the various sleep stages. It seems something is happening to me after the last stage of Deep Sleep. Something in the transition makes my body react, seemingly with neuro-exitatory molecules. Could be cortisol (main suspect due to the half time of it that co-incides with my time awake before I can go back to sleep) but it can easily be any other.

I have some info on them, the neuro transmitters, but I’ll come back to that another time.  I also found some other people with this pattern, on the ME forums over at phoenixrising.me. They battle it with sleeping pills and benzo’s and anti-histamines. Which all take effect on neurotransmitters. But I’ll try and sort that out later.

For now I just wanted to park the tracking graphs here.

PS. Elderberry is the plant of Hulda, Frau Holle. Sambucus, full of vit. C.
The juice of the berries will stain your white summer clothes forever! But when you try to dye wool with this rich colours, they will fade in the sun over time.

Sleep: more questions

My sleep research prompts more questions:

– might it not be a cortisol peak but actually slowed down adrenaline clearance?
– I found a handfull of other people with this sleep pattern (sleep for fourandahalf to five hours then lie wide awake for two). We all share the MAO A mutation that hinders adrenaline clearance.
– all medicine I take that help me somewhat to sleep through the night are things that calm down the nervous system (ns) and give the parasympathetic nervous system (psns) a chance to dominate. The medicines I refer to are Valerian, natural progesteron cream (npc), polynosan, ketogenic diet and a low stress life. Does my sleep all come down to psns not getting the time of day?
– I routinely run checks through the day and find my body in a state of alertness. A dominant sympathetic nervous system (sns) certainly is my problem. Has been so all my life. Are there more things to do to combat this state of Fight or Flight? All I employ now are: npc, deep breathing, mental hygiene, relaxation, no sugar or insuline spikes. I have not found other remedies on the internet yet.
– not getting a full nights sleep certainly robs me of the customary growth hormone surge during REM stage. Ofcourse you get a fatgued body from that.
– has mainting body temperature got somethingto do with it? I had an unusual long first stint last night, 5,5 hours, and I brought a steaming hot water bottle with me. It’s still warm when I wake. Usually it’s luke cold by then. I do have temperature problems, waking up in a sweat and not being able to fall asleep for the second stint untill I cool down.

I write this from my bed, on my iPad, hoping to get my second portion of sleep soon.
But first I need to shake some annoyances I have. I keep grumbling over some remarks someone made. I think they are stupid, those remarks. Too general, too much wanting the world to be an easy place. These persons just blurt out their wisdom without aknowledging that I am dealing with a problem less than 7 percent of insomiacs have. They do not aknowledge me. But instead of dismissing the remarks I keep rehashing them.

Rehashing is very classical insomnia behaviour. Guess I should be grateful I join the 93%!
It’s so unproductive. One shouldn’t rehash at all at night.
I better direct my thoughts towards an interesting design problem. Or go on a meditative journey.

But just for the record of grumblings, that beautiful book full of dog ears and spit stains: another person came by pointing me to segmented sleep and how that used to be natural to man. Without conversation, they just dumped the link in my lap. Making me spend time looking it up and reading it. Time and energy I don’t have! Because contrary to any sleep pattern that might be natural to man I have a sleep pattern that prevents my body from healing, as illustrated by my eroding health.
You insensitive twat.
Then I got free advice on sleep hygiene (have a dark room, no tv, no coffee etc.)
Yes.
Thank you.
Spitspitgrumble

Thinking myself to sleep. Research notes.

I have a specific sleep pattern that is of no good. I sleep for 5 hours straight and then I wake up. I am wide awake. This lasts for about an hour, maybe two. Then I get back to a light sleep for another hour or two. I have had this all my life. Every night.

This is a specific pattern of insomnia. It is not cured by sleep hygiene. It wrecks havoc on the body. My current fascination is to get to the bottom of it and FIX it.

Here now follow my research notes. I need a place to keep track of my thoughts. I’m not sure this of interest to any of you… I apologize.

SLEEP is IMPORTANT.
dr. Gominak, a neurologists, found that all her patients improve when their sleep is restored. No matter what their neurological symptoms are. She thinks this has to do with specific healing that takes place in Deep Sleep and in REM sleep. For this healing Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is released and the body needs to be in perfect partial paralysis. Too much paralysis and you get sleep apneu (and rise from your deep sleep, preventing healing). Not enough paralysis and you sleep talk or get up to pee. Both patterns are not good because they prevent right paralysis and healing by HGH.

I get those first five hours of sleep. I typically wake up at 3 ‘o clock and lie awake till 5. I do get some Deep Sleep. This means I will not die from this insomnia. I know this because I have not died before. I have slept like this all my life, even as a child. But my adrenals have given out on this pattern.

MY THEORY: IT’S A CORTISOL PEAK
When I wake after five hours I experience a specific status. My mind is clear and wide awake (if not racing). My body is hot, too hot. I feel this is a cortisol peak. Cortisol has a half time of 1 hour or two. The time it takes me to settle down, cool down and get back into a slumber.

The problem is I needed this cortisol to get me out of bed in the morning, for the Awakening Response. For years my adrenals have gone the extra mile and given me a nightly cortisol peak and a secondary in the morning. Until they gave out. First partially in 2008. Now totally in 2013.
This is what makes this sleeping pattern so dangerously. Apart from the not proper healing in your sleep bit.

CLUES ABOUT THIS PARTICULAR SLEEPING PATTERN

  • My mother has this pattern too, albeit more mild. She wakes up with a soar throat. An ionisator has helped her. This machine makes dust particles in the air settle down.
  • My brother has it, as severe as I have. His adrenals seem to cope, he is nearly 40 and healthy. As long as he doesn’t hold a job that requires getting up before 8 ‘o clock.
  • I’ve found a few others on RisingPhoenix.me who have the same pattern. These people have fatigue. They knock themselves out with anti-histamines and they sleep (somewhat).
  • a few years ago I started to sleep through the night once and again. Co-factors are: destressing, clean bed sheets, valerian, anti-dustmite, earplugs, no cat shananigans in the night, no drinking after 7 o clock in the evening, enough progesterone, no insuline or cortisol peak during the day, no gluten, no cheese, woolen bed and blankets, keeping throat warm, feeling safe. But these give no guarantees whatsoever, it’s a tombola every night.
  • things that didn’t work were: eating before bed, camomille tea, dark room, whale sounds, different bed times, segmented sleep, no tv/screen, use room for only sleep, melatonine, age, location

THEORY: SOMETHING UPSETS THE SYSTEM AFTER FIVE HOURS OF SLEEP. ENOUGH TO MAKE IT PRODUCE CORTISOL, THE ANTI-STRESSHORMONE.

What causes the system to freak out? Can I prevent it?

ALLERGY
Since anti-histamines and dustmites came up I’m wrapping my brain around this first. Here now follows the research I already did. It’s my thought process, it may not be very interesting for anyone else… In cursive are quotes from Wikipedia. In bold thoughts I want to park and get back to at a later time.

ANTIHISTAMINE
A histamine antagonist (commonly called an antihistamine) is a pharmaceutical drug that inhibits the action of histamine by either blocking its attachment to histamine receptors, or inhibiting the enzymatic activity of histidine decarboxylase; catalyzing the transformation of histidine into histamine (atypical antihistaminics). It is commonly used for the relief of allergies caused by intolerance of proteins.

Antihistamine mainly blocks the mucus reaction that cells give, which reaction leads to the annoying allergy symptoms of sneezing and loosing water from all sides of the head.
This is a symptom-approach. I’m more interested in the cause of the allergic reaction and dampening that response.

What now if you don’t produce mucus and sneezing but do reach the stage right before that, where you do get the freaking but not the sneezing? That would make a body make cortisol, I’d think. So: how does the arousal of the allergy initiate?

Key: intolerance of certain proteins. (intolerance to other things too? Dustparticles? )

There are four kinds of Histamine-receptors, see Wiki. They have various functions some of which are interesting to someone looking for sleep.
H1 for example also modulates circadian rythm (!)
And H2 is a system-activator, just like cortisol.

Btw H1 couples via its G mechanism to Vassopressin, het gotta-pee-repressing hormone.

HOW DO RECEPTORS WORK ANYWAY?
A receptor sits in the cel membrane. With its head outside and its feet dangling on the inside of the cel. A primary messenger bonks into the head, this usually is a hormone. This makes the lights go on in a parking garage called G protein that’s located at the feet of the receptor molecule, on the inside of the cell. One of the cars gets a tank full GTP, the alfa no less! This car leaves the parking garage and drives along the inside of the membrane until it bonks into the soft belly of a protein, the primary effector.
It’s this protein that starts to produce molecules that will influence the cells functioning: the secondary messengers.

This system is called the Second Messenger System and it shows exactly where the various G proteins are that various anti-histamine medicines target.

Secondary messengers can influence the cell insides directly or first activate a secondary effector in the cell membrane.
The alfa-car, a little enzyme in itself, has used up its petrol. All GTP is decreased into GDP. It drifts back to a parking garage at the feet of a receptor cell.

Sometimes this system doesn’t work. The head, the feet, the Parking garage, the car, all and any can malfunction.

pic by Erik Hutters

MALFUNCTION OF THE RECEPTOR/G-protein CELL
“Malfunction of GPCR [G Protein-Coupled Receptor] signaling pathways are involved in many diseases, such as diabetes, blindness, allergies, depression, cardiovascular defects, and certain forms of cancer. It is estimated that about 30% of the modern drugs’ cellular targets are GPCRs.”

The human genome encodes roughly 800 G protein-coupled receptors, which detect photons (light), hormones, growth factors, drugs, and other endogenous ligands. Approximately 150 of the GPCRs found in the human genome have unknown functions.

There are about 800 kind of receptors. They use all kinds of things to bonk themselves with in the head (neurotransmitters, hormones, food additives, cocaine, GABA, Calcium ions). Things going wrong leads to all kinds of system wide illnesses such as diabetes, allergies, depression, cancer.

HORMONES ARE NEUROTRANSMITTERS
The hormone ACTH is the neurotransmitter that floods the whole body and is picked up specifically by the receptors in the adrenal cells. Through the Second Messenger System mentioned above, it activates these cells to produce cortisol. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAMP-dependent_pathway
Another hormone, Glucagon, is picked up by receptors in the liver and activates glycogen breakdown
Another hormone, ADH vassopressin, makes blood vessels contract, ignoring your pee pressure. (Supposed to be high during the night. If you wake up to pee it isn’t)(perhaps it’s high all day in me?)

So Hormone Replace Therapy (HRT) is basically neurotransmitter therapy. Bonking around the heads of 800 kind of receptors in your body. Better be careful what kind of neurotransmitters you put in there.

This includes vitD3 which is a hormone and not a vitamin. All hormones are made from cholesterol so does supplementing leave you with high cholesterol?

LAYING AWAKE BECAUSE OF CORTISOL
ACTH is produced, adrenal cells make cortisol, I wake up. Because the system downstream gives the right results I can assume the adrenal cels work properly (the receptor receives ACTH, the alfa car drives, the cortisol is made). Looking in that place for a cause of my cortisol peak seems not logical right now.
The production of cortisol by a cell could be inhibited my crippling the G protein with a particular anti histamine however. Effective. But not solving the cause.

LOOKING AT ACTH PRODUCTION.
It’s the anterior pituitary gland in my head that produces the hormone ACTH. I can therefor conclude I have not primaire Addison’s. The gland functions.
The pituitary gland does so in response to the hormone corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) released by the hypothalamus, another piece of brain.
Gaat pituitary gland op eigen houtje aan de acth produktie of is het i o v de hypothalamus?

There’s a lot involved in regulating the levels of ACTH. There are feedback loops coming from the adrenals themselves, for instance. These feedback come in fast loops and in slow loops.

In order to regulate the secretion of ACTH, many substances secreted within this axis exhibit slow/intermediate and fast feedback-loop activity. Glucocorticoids secreted from the adrenal cortex work to inhibit CRH secretion by the hypothalamus, which in turn decreases anterior pituitary secretion of ACTH. Glucocorticoids may also inhibit the rates of POMC gene transcription and peptide synthesis. The latter is an example of a slow feedback loop, which works on the order of hours to days, whereas the former works on the order of minutes.
(The half-life of ACTH in human blood is about ten minutes.)

“Hours to days”!?
Might these slow loop feedbacks be connected in any way to the circadian rythme or sleep cycles? Can there be something awry in the slow loop feed back making me release cortisol in the middle of the night?

There are ACTH receptors outside of the adrenal glands. They are in the bone producing cells.
Also: ACTH is a cleavage product of the pro-hormone, proopiomelanocortin, which also produces other hormones including melatonin.

Can inappropiately timed ACTH rob the body of the pro-hormone needed to make the sleep hormone melatonin?

Of course, a real elevated production of ACTH is the illness Cushing. I don’t have that. But the knowledge about Cushing disease might shed a light on these nightly cortisol peaks.
Also, the ACTH producing enzyme in the pituitary may be of the same sort as my busted MRT: a brake that slips. The gene to check for mutations might be POMC.

pic by andre leme

HYPOTHALAMUS AND ITS CRH
Pituitary gland takes its cue from the Hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the grand concert director in your head. It oversees all kinds of information coming in, both from the inside and the outside of the body. It sends out all kinds of signals to make various body parts do things.

Because of the hypothalamus people can influence and calm their adrenals by practizing mental zen and active destressing and behavourial therapy and (re)training the Central Nervous System.
But the hypothalamus also reacts to:
– Neurally transmitted information arising in particular from the heart, the stomach, and the reproductive tract
– Autonomic inputs
– Blood-borne stimuli, including leptin, ghrelin, angiotensin, insulin, pituitary hormones, cytokines, plasma concentrations of glucose and osmolarity etc.

Is it one of these that triggers my system after 5 hours of sleep?

Well, this concludes the thinking I’ve done when lying awake last night and two hours of reading this morning. I will look into the bold sections.

The main question still is: WHAT CAUSES THE SYSTEM TO FREAK OUT AFTER FIVE HOURS OF SLEEP?
Other questions to ask about this are:
What happens to the body in those 5 hours? Do the glucose reserves in the liver get depleted? Have all the toxins build up during sleep healing and not find a way out (due to genetic mutations)? Has our food digested by that time and is energy not properly stored away, causing blood sugar to spike? Has all the progesterone gone, crippling basis processes?

 pic by John Evans

Ain’t this grand, I have a cold!

The sniffles. A snotneus. Inflamed throat. Just the common cold.

Haven’t gotten one for years, what with my immune system all in harms through lack of soothing cortisol levels. Used to get them all the time before I got Adrenal Fatigue.

Now I’m even more confused than usual about how to get through a day healthily.

My body clearly is under extra stress now so I should take more hydrocortisone, right? But more cortisol will dampen the imune system more, crippling its ability to fight this cold. The third side of the coin is that I am under extra stress to be in optimum health PRONTO because we’ve planned a family trip and I’m not well enough, even without the cold.

I feel stupid. Because there’s no clear strategy to be decided upon. And the more I stress the more vulnerable I get.

In the mean time I’ve been waken up from bodily stress after only 3 hours of sleep for five nights in a row now. (normally I get five with perhaps another two hours later in the night). Going that long on that few hours of sleep isn’t good. And it impairs my thinking even more.

One thing it does make clear is that I need that cortisol. I now take it at night, when I wake up in that fit of sweat, coughs and sniffles. It takes two hours for my body to calm down, I aid it with progesteron and hydrocortison because the first few nights taught me that without it my body will not calm down. Or have intestine motility.

It’s a strange experience to get to a calm place by taking hydrocortisone… An activating hormone. Calm enough to perhaps doze off for another hour when morning comes. Calm enough to tend to other bodily functions such as digestion. Relaxed muscles.

But is it a calm from rescuing the body from a shortage of cortisol or a calm from oppressing the imune system andthusly disabling the fight it needs to fight?

I really am without a clue.

Having a day off from putting out the garbage.

I took the day off yesterday: I didn’t take my pills.

Did take the hydrocortison ofcourse. And vit. D. And lots of bio-identical progesteron. (I’ll be having my period any day now and my breasts were killing me. Also quite a bit of PMS symptoms so progesteron I took a lot of.  NPC creme on the breasts and Utrogestan pills orally. It helps.)

But I did not take Methyl B12 and no Folinic Acid nor Zinc.

Amazingly I felt better and better during the day and by the end of the day I caught myself singing while doing some house work. Yes, insert googly eyes here too!

At night I was so well that I made the conscious decision not to be bothered by some heavy trucks that were parked nearby, rumbling stationary throughout the night. I just turned 180 degrees in my bed so my feet were facing the noise, let out a sigh and thought of nice things:

I slept through the night!  As customary I did wake up after five hours of deep sleep but contrary to other nights I just turned on my other side and went back to sleep. No two hours of waking.

My conclusions from this day:

  1. I took one day off from detoxifying.
  2. I am detoxing on a physiological pace: one day at a time. Just like the hormones I take: no more than what the body can process in one day.
  3. underneath the detoxing I am quite healthy! I’m so glad to note how well I felt during the day. That is my baseline, my point of reference. The detox-symptoms have clouded it for months now but I feel really assured to have it resurface so soon.
  4. this MTR/MTRR detoxification uses a lot of progesteron. In the whole Methylation cycle progesteron is needed. Other people with these mutations should know this, especially women.

 

in other news: I have elaborated my theories on human cell biology.

I think each cell has the habit of storing garbage in the outer tips of its cell. In this fantastic little video of a white bloodcell chasing a bacterium amongst red blood cells you see how it drags along a black kind of tail behind itself. I believe this to be the cellular rubbish bin, stored in a place where it interferes the least.

white-cell-garbage-bag

link to video of white blood cell chasing and engulfing a bacteria. Yay body defense system!

When the cell divides the two daughter cells each get one tip of rubbish. This garbage gets handed down to the next generation with each cell division. It progresses down the line and builds up a little with each cell life. Eventually it’s the outer cells that inherit the most rubbish from previous generations. The cells between them inherit less rubbish from their parents.

cell-divide-garbage

tidbits: it takes cells 20 minutes to divide. Unless it’s a special cell, then it can take hours. Red blood cells live up to 140 days. (I am quoting from memory…)

In ‘normal humans’ each cell clears out a lot of its garbage via the Methylation Cycle.

In ‘freaky interesting humans’ with mutations in the Methylation Cycle this day-to-day rubbish isn’t getting cleared away and remains in the cells. Stored in the tips. Eventually it gets passed down to next generations as shown by my ‘interesting’ sketch above.

In the end the cell cannot divide anymore, it dies and spills all its contents in the extracellular space where other cells try and clean it up. Store it in rubbish bags of their own.

In my 30+ years me and my cells have gathered a lot of garbage. All the broccoli I ate that I couldn’t process. Any alcohol (including the ones in beauty products), any exhaust fumes, anestetic. Garlic. Cell debris from x-rays.

My cells stored so much garbage, I believe, that their overall functionality eventually got hindered. Putting my body under stress, causing system wide symptoms of illness. In my case: hormonal imbalance, stress illnesses, adrenal misfunction, malnutrition, sugar addiction etc. And lets not forget behaviour and sensitivities that remind my doctor of people with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

It could as easy have been a late onset auto-immune disease or diabetes, I feel. Or a ‘vague’ illness we mainly associate with women. (such as ME, CFS, Irritated Bowel Syndrome, etc).

Well. Today leisure is over, it’s back to cleaning up garbage for me.

I wonder how long it takes, how long it will be before the rubbish is cleared and I can get my mind back… Yesterday I even thought about art and design and working! But as long as there’s rubbish I cannot. I do have to amend that legal/technical document this week however, to prevent the shit-fermenting-plant they are planning to build in the field next over. That will be quite enough to keep my rubbish mind busy.
And there’s my period, today or tomorrow. I am prepared: there is food in the house, warm blankets and lots of earplugs. No visitors. I will have a blissfull two days to myself. Just drinking tea, holding my tummy and writing that paper.