Tag Archives: Magnesium

BPPV, Blood Pressure, and Salted Peanuts

I’ll start by saying that I’m fine.

However, I did not feel fine during a recent, early morning visit to the emergency department of our local hospital – a huge vote of thanks to the wonderful staff at Maroondah hospital!

I woke at about 5am that morning feeling nauseous and horribly dizzy…in bed.

That’s the BPPV part. BPPV stands for Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo:

‘BPPV causes brief episodes of mild to intense dizziness. It is usually triggered by specific changes in your head’s position. This might occur when you tip your head up or down, when you lie down, or when you turn over or sit up in bed.’

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vertigo/symptoms-causes/syc-20370055#

Almost an hour later, the triage nurse at the hospital took my blood pressure, and it was 180. I’ll get to the peanuts in a moment.

For me, the BPP vertigo happened when I rolled over in bed. The doctor at the hospital made the diagnosis after a slew of other tests came back negative – no heart attack, no stroke, no tumour etc. That diagnosis was confirmed when the phsyiotherapist came down and fixed the problem. Apparently, little crystals get dislodged from their correct position in the inner ear and move around, eventually causing the BPPV. This is the positional exercise she made me do:

I admit I was a little sceptical at first, but the physio did a test that made me feel as if someone had hit me with an anti-gravity machine. I literally had to clutch the sides of the bed I was so dizzy. After the exercise, though, it was all better. Weird but true, and I haven’t had an episode since – knock on wood.

When I asked about the blood pressure, however, the doctor kind of shrugged and said that blood pressure tended to increase with age.

I am getting older, but I’m not sure that diagnosis is 100% accurate. Yes, BP may increase with age, but I’m almost positive that the gradual increase in my blood pressure coincides with…ta dah…salted peanuts. Don’t laugh! Seriously. 😀

When it comes to food, I’ve always preferred savoury/salty over sweet, so when I decided it was time to cut down on all the gum I was chewing [ex-smoker, don’t ask], I opted for salted peanuts instead. It would have been a reasonable decision if I hadn’t started binge eating the damn things. It took my local GP to point out that too much sodium – i.e. salt – could raise your blood pressure.

Long story short, I stopped eating the peanuts and started chewing raw almonds instead. That was over a month ago now, and I do feel better generally. I’m still not sure what sent my blood pressure sky high the day I went to the hospital, but I get the shivers whenever I think about how high it might have been if I’d still been guzzling all that salt.

“But how can you be sure it was the peanuts?” I hear someone ask.

The answer to that is simple: we eat very little processed food, and I always under-salt when I cook. I prefer to add a little salt directly to the plate rather than hide it inside the food. I guess that’s one reason it never occurred to me that I could be ingesting too much salt. I’m still clueless about why I had such an awful episode of BPPV, but I’m almost certain that the higher-than-normal blood pressure was caused by too much salt.

I still miss my salted peanuts, but I don’t trust myself not to binge again so the almonds are here to stay. Not only are they no-salt and little fat, they also contain magnesium, which is also supposed to be good for you. -sigh-

cheers,
Meeks


Covid-19 & help for your Immune System

Covid-19 is a brand new virus, and as such, 99.999999% of us have no immunity to it. Because this virus is so completely new, we don’t have vaccines or medications against it either. That means the only weapon we have is the immune system all of us are born with.

Immune system

The immune system is mostly centred around the thyroid which produces cells that seek out viruses and bacteria, chop them up and teach other cells how to fight them. This is more or less how we become immune to new viruses and bacteria.

That explanation is at about kindergarten level, but it’s enough to explain why having the immune system working at peak efficiency is so important. It is always our first line of defence, and with the Covid-19 virus, it is also our only line of defence.

So what affects the efficiency of our immune system?

For people with no underlying diseases, the immune system gets most of what it needs from good food, adequate rest and a bit of healthy exercise. This is why about 80% of those who catch Covid-19 will experience very little in terms of ‘disease’.

Nevertheless, even young, healthy people can reduce the length and severity of their infection by supporting their immune systems while they are sick. This involves eating healthy food instead of junk food, getting lots of rest, drinking lots of fluids [NOT alcoholic fluids!], and taking some of the natural boosters you’ll find here.

I’m no nutritionist so I’m only going to talk about two things that I know something about – Vitamin D and Iodine.

Iodine

The following quotes are all taken from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iodine-HealthProfessional/

  • ‘Iodine is an essential component of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Thyroid hormones regulate many important biochemical reactions,’
  • ‘They [thyroid hormones] are also required for proper skeletal and central nervous system development in fetuses and infants [1].’
  • ‘Iodine may have other physiological functions in the body as well. For example, it appears to play a role in immune response’.

In Australia, our old, mineral depleted soils do not contain much iodine which is why we are encouraged to used iodised table salt – i.e. salt that has had iodine added to it. It is also why our bread now has added iodine.

This lack of naturally occurring iodine means that many of us could be slightly deficient in iodine. If that’s the case, then our immune systems are not going to be performing at peak efficiency during this Covid-19 pandemic.

Where do you find Iodine?

As I mentioned before, in Australia, iodine is added to iodised table salt and bread. It also occurs naturally in fish, seafood and seaweed. So in theory, if you use iodised table salt, eat lots of bread and also eat fish, seafood and seaweed, your iodine levels should be fine.

But…

Unused iodine is peed out:

‘Iodine in food and iodized salt is present in several chemical forms including sodium and potassium salts, inorganic iodine (I2), iodate, and iodide, the reduced form of iodine [4]. Iodine rarely occurs as the element, but rather as a salt; for this reason, it is referred to as iodide and not iodine. Iodide is quickly and almost completely absorbed in the stomach and duodenum. Iodate is reduced in the gastrointestinal tract and absorbed as iodide [2,5]. When iodide enters the circulation, the thyroid gland concentrates it in appropriate amounts for thyroid hormone synthesis and most of the remaining amount is excreted in the urine [2].’

Quote taken from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iodine-HealthProfessional/

Now ask yourself, do you eat fish, seafood and seaweed every day? If the answer is no, then you may be a little or a lot deficient in iodine.

So how do you make sure you’re getting enough iodine every day, especially when you’re sick?

There are iodine supplements that you swallow but I don’t recommend them because too much iodine can actually do you harm.

Instead, I recommend painting iodine onto your skin.

The skin absorbs the iodine and releases it into the blood stream from which it is carried to the thyroid. You do not need to ingest iodine.

In Australia, BETADINE is a well known, family antiseptic. It comes in a small bottle and you paint it onto cuts and abrasions with a cotton bud:

Image sourced from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Povidone-iodine

The following quote is taken from the same Wikipedia article:

Povidone-iodine (PVP-I), also known as iodopovidone, is an antiseptic used for skin disinfection before and after surgery.[1][2] It may be used both to disinfect the hands of healthcare providers and the skin of the person they are caring for.[2] It may also be used for minor wounds.[2] It may be applied to the skin as a liquid or a powder.[2]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Povidone-iodine

You can also buy pure iodine online under the brand name of ‘Lugols’. I have no idea whether one is better than the other, but I’ve used Lugols for almost ten years.

How much iodine do you need?

The amount of iodine is going to be different for each person because we don’t come in a standard size. I’m 5’3″ and 65 kgs. As a rule of thumb, I paint about a fifty cent coin size area of skin when I’m feeling fine. When I’m coming down with a cold, or trying to prevent one, I increase that to about 3 inches by 3 inches. That’s quite a bit of skin.

How much you use will depend upon your body size and how quickly the distinctive iodine stain is absorbed by your body. If the stain takes 24 hours to disappear from your skin, your thyroid is using a ‘normal’ amount of iodine for you. If the stain disappears in 8 hours or less, however, it means your thyroid is working harder than usual and using more iodine than usual. In that case, you may want to apply a bit more to your skin.

If you’ve never used either pure iodine or Betadine before, be careful because it will stain your clothing while it’s wet.

Vitamin D

Both the Offspring and I were found to be vitamin D deficient some years ago when we were tested. I was truly surprised at my result because I spend a lot of time out in the garden. Surely I had absorbed enough vitamin D just from the sunshine on my skin?

Apparently not. So what does vitamin D actually do, and why should you care?

According to Dr John Campbell, vitamin D reduces the ‘probabilty of contracting respiratory tract infections’. Covid-19 causes fever and a dry cough – i.e. a respiratory tract infection.

I strongly recommend that you watch this video in its entirety:

Other important nutrients for your immune system

I stumbled across this post by accident whilst researching iodine and vitamin D:

10 simple nutrients to boost your immune system for maximum protection and immunity.’

The ten nutrients include:

  • Elderberry syrup
  • Echinacea
  • Oil of Oregano
  • Olive Leaf Extract
  • Monolaurin
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Iodine
  • Magnesium
  • Sellenium

You can find a detailed description of each of these nutrients by following the link above. I don’t know enough about magnesium and sellenium etc to comment on their efficacy, but I’m definitely going to explore them further myself, and I recommend that you do too.

Stay healthy
Meeks


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