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Hey Dan,

I can understand something of your run-around. I’ve been diagnosed with a variety of things by a variety of doctors (traditional allopathic, environmental medicine allopathic, and naturopathic), and I’ve completed various blood and stool tests by each one. It’s no fun!

While often well-intentioned, I also think that 99+% of doctors are absolute imbeciles, and they tend to flail around for ‘the cause’ within the confines of their own myopic world view. It’s hard as a unique case since the medical system cares nothing for the one individual who contracts the oddball pathogen or is exposed to the rare environmental toxin, and society at large couldn’t care less about the one in a million who dies a slow terrible death from the un-diagnosed or improperly diagnosed. The system is set up, at best, to help the masses with the common ailments, and then to do enough random ‘superhero’ work on the side to attract more money and allegiance.

I did want to point out a couple thoughts on what you said, but I’ll say right off, as you already know, nothing is obvious with health problems.

Nutrient Balance:

As you have experienced with copper and zinc, there is a proper balance that must be achieved in order to function optimally. I suspect it’s a lot like vitamins A, D, and K2 as Masterjohn has discussed at length on this various blogs, that the more you have with copper and zinc, the less the exact ratio matters. But overall a number of things can lead to malabsorption and poor retention of copper and zinc, so we ca end up with lowish levels of both, even if we supplement. This makes the supplementation more tricky and potentially dangerous, since a relative surplus (even if only momentary) can cause ad relative deficiency in the other and it can make sue feel like garbage. I think it is wise of you to just monitor with symptoms your situation and supplement wisely (with humble doses) as needed.

I am not sure what to make of the zinc tally test. I really don’t think zinc status is easily measured, and I wouldn’t put much weight in the test either way. I think symptoms are a better guide. I tested low for zinc and high in cooper on the spectracell comprehensive nutrition panel, and I ‘tested’ low in zinc based on the zinc tally. But then when I did a blood test for neutrophils, cerulopasmin, ferritin, blood copper, and some other things, I was clinically deficient in copper. At this time, whenever I would supplement zinc, I would get a sore throat within a day or two, and it would go away upon stopping the zinc supplementation. Supplementing copper had mild benefits in energy. My point is simply that the test are potentially misleading, so follow your symptoms.

Methylation Protocol and Balance:

I know Ben Lynch has commented about this before, but the factors, folate, B12, B2, niacin (B3), B6, magnesium, choline, and glycine must all be in balance. Too much folate in absolute or relative terms can cause a myriad of problems for someone already prone to issues.

I generally think the methylfolate supplementation thing is misguided. Let me expalin. Surely, synthetic folic acid is bad news, and people are starting to come out about how the biologically equivalent folates (including 5mthf) are the only reasonable supplemental folate molecules. The problem is that this perspective is piled on top of the already-well-established assumption that we are all deficient in folate and need to supplement (especially pregnant women). Research showing decreased neural tube defects in children from women supplementing folate is what caused this all, and so our cereals are now all fortified with rather high levels of folic acid. The problem is that, as more recent research points to, other nutrients are as important if not moreso than folate in preventing neural tube defects (for one example, see, and it completely ignores anthropology. If you examine the levels of certain nutrients that our ancestors would have consumed–such as folate which only comes in decent amounts from liver, eggs, leafy greens, beans/peas, and citrus–I find it hard-pressed to think we could have had more than 300-500 mg daily. And within this dietary context, our dietary folate would have been accompanied by lots of b2, b3, b6, b12, choline, and magnesium.

I know I felt wretched when I was supplementing even a balanced b complex with activated everything including folate (swanson’s I stopped supplementing it and felt better. I then experimented and found I, too, felt better with the supplement if I added a separate niacin supplement.

I think the best approach is just to eat lots of real food, follow cravings, try to avoid fortifications but don’t be too religious about it, and go from there. I eat lots of fruit, potatoes, peas, eggs, and liver. I will crave liver for several days, then not crave it for a couple weeks. I’m not a big fan of eating my own liver, so I put the money down to buy the liver sausages from US Wellness Meats. I’ve done well just following my instincts. Of course, I still have issues, but I’ve read the same from others.

Betaine HCl and Enzymes

The last thing I wanted to mention is your betaine hcl supplementation. I have found, off and on, that betaine hcl really helps me. But I think 8 caps per meal is too high. I know there are protocols out there that recommend this, but I don’t think it is based on anything. The stomach tries to separate our incoming food into 100ml units, or so. Not all of our stomach is acidic, only the deep pits, which should have a pH of 1.5-2.0 or so. One betaince hcl capsule, at least according to a prior post on I think Melissa Mcewen’s blog, puts 100ml of water to a pH of about 1.5.

Comments on:

Two Caps would put 1 entire liter (1000mL) of water under 2.0 pH. So even a large meal would only require 2 betaine hcl caps to have enough acid. Ideally, one at the beginning and one in the middle-end. The problem with more than this is that it requires more alkaline from the intestines (after the stomach) to neutralize this acid. Potassium Bicarb is the base used, which could result in lost potassium and/or bicarb and/or CO2 from the blood, which will acidify your blood, slow your metabolism, give muscle spasms (such as restless legs), and potentially any number of other things.

This relates to fat intolerance, since fat digestion requires an alkaline environment (and enzymes). The fat doesn’t digest super well until the alkaline intestines. If, however, you take too much acid, and if your digestion is not robust enough to fully counter the acid, your dietary fat will not digest well. This is why people with poor metabolism often (though not always) do well with fruit/sugar, since simple sugars don’t need acid like protein or alkaline like fat and starch. I am not saying this is causing your leg issues, but it may be (or at least contributing to them). Increasing alkaline minerals from fruit and tubers and decreasing betaine hcl dosage somewhat may help balance this.

If you still have poor motility and/or generally bad digestion (many of us here have this), it, again, may just be overall sluggish metabolism which takes time to come up. In recovering anorexics, I’ve read of many who finally broke the sluggish digestion at about the year mark of refeeding, so it can take a while. Digestion is very parasympathetic, so any stressor (low calories, not enough sleep, sucky work, whatever) will really screw your digestion up. Just do what you can in the meantime, but do consider lowering your betaine hcl dosage.

I’d be curious to know how many calories you’ve been getting down the past while. Depending on your work and exercise schedule (and age and size and so on), you likely need 3,000-4,000+. This is very hard for someone without good digestion, but bumping up your cals may also be the way to get better digestion, so do your best. Resting as much as possible (and not working out) will also likely help.

I wish you the best, Dan. Please do continue to keep us all updated on your progress!

  • This reply was modified 10 years, 3 months ago by celticphoenix.