Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

An Unfortunate and Lengthy Adventure in Misdiagnosis

Archive for November 2006

Not again

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I think the phrase is “how to kick someone in the teeth when they are down.”

Not only is my laptop proving impossible to fix without help, we just found out the planning application we put in to extend our house has been refused. The council notices weren’t updated – we were under the impression the meeting we were supposed to attend was tomorrow, but they moved it to yesterday without informing us (or the rest of the world), held the meeting, and refused the application in our absence. I only found out when I looked on the council website. Too bad they never updated the council website to reflect the change of date for when they were holding the meeting, eh?

I get the impression this is how a lot of political decisions are made: by forgetting to inform important people. I feel rather like Arthur Dent in The Hitchhiker’s Guide when he finds out his house is going to be bulldozed. “What do you mean you didn’t know about it? There’s been a notice at the Town Hall for three months!”

Did I mention I was having a bad year this year? Now we have to move house.


Written by alienrobotgirl

29 November, 2006 at 6:15 pm

Posted in Personal Diary

New yahoo group for failsafe NT

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Steph from the yahoo NT groups and I have set up a new yahoo group for people interested in discussing food chemical intolerance and the failsafe diet in a high(er) fat, animal food oriented, nutrient-dense, Nourishing Traditions / Weston A. Price Foundation context.

We have all of three messages to our name at the moment (yey!).

I know I have about 400(!) regular visitors at the moment. I am telling myself that most of those visitors are the googlebot, or by now I would have stage fright. I hope some of you real people who read this blog and are interested in failsafe and/or NT and/or high(er) fat will join the group. I will be there most days to answer questions and discuss things (computer access permitting).

A couple of messages posted on NT boards in the last couple of days have been along the lines of “failsafe didn’t work for us, we ate a lot of white carbohydrate, i.e. rice, bread, etc, and my kids started looking malnourished.”

I hope we can help to correct this, because it’s no way to do the failsafe diet. No failsafe dietician would advise that kind of diet, and I can only think people need a little imagination! I know I feel worse when I eat high carbohydrate and neglect to eat red meat, regardless of the failsafe context.

I can see how amines can make people nervous of meat, but please don’t let this put you off eating properly and finding a good supply of fresh, non-vacuum packed meat. Vacuum packing does not preserve meat (any more than it preserves salad leaves), it allows the meat to decay silently without turning brown. Meat is something that I suspect a lot of people go wrong with. Some, because they don’t have a fresh enough supply of meat, so failsafe never appears to work properly. Others because they give up eating red meat and lose out on a lot of vital nutrients.

Why am I distractedly talking about red meat?! Well, since my car was vandalised I am stranded in Matlock and can’t get out to the Chatsworth farm shop to get some fresh meat. We ran out about a week ago. I have been craving red meat for about four days now. All I can think about is red meat! Nothing is substituting, not shellfish or fish, not eggs, not milk, not pulses and wheat germ, not iron supplements. How on earth I ever managed to be a vegetarian for so long is beyond me. At least I listen to what my body says now.

Back to the subject at hand. We really want to hear from people. We want to raise awareness! We want to make some noise! Heh. It’s ironic that at the same time the failsafe group was set up, an NT thyroid group was set up, and they already have 180 messages. I haven’t read them all but I clicked on a few, and they included complaints of: mysterious bouts of insomnia, nightmares, racing heart, palpatations, fatigue… These people all think they have thyroid problems because of these mysterious symptoms. No they don’t!

Did I mention what tyramine and salicylates do to the thyroid? Gosh I have a lot of work to do.

Written by alienrobotgirl

29 November, 2006 at 9:49 am

Posted in Personal Diary

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Just great

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My laptop is dead. I was working on some long articles for my food intolerance site when it died, and I don’t have any other copies of them. I hope the hard disk is intact, but the laptop is fried – think it was caused by an electrical surge. I will now not have regular access to a computer for some time (this one is being borrowed and my partner will be wanting to work on it!).

I am very sorry if I owe you something, it may be a while before I can get back to people, I’m doing the best I can and I’m still gutted I may have lost a lot of work.

Really, I’ve had enough luck lately. I had my car smashed up last week. A month ago my sister developed deep vein thrombosis due to medical negligence (just like me), she had been put on the third generation pill by an idiot who misinformed her as to the nature of the pill and ignored her concerns about having factor V leiden thrombophilia.

This is turning out to be a really wonderful year. I’m worried about three of my relatives, all of whom are on/off antidepressants for what I think is an inherited food chemical intolerance problem. My best friend owes me two apologies now, one for the nasty email she sent, the other for blocking me on MSN messenger… My partner has been going through hell with his epilepsy and “Mel Gibson” re-dislocating shoulder. My mother has been in and out of hospital and can no longer walk or even feed herself. My grandmother died.

I think 2006 will go down in family history as the worst year ever. Failsafe is the only good thing that has happened to me this year. I’m not sure I could have coped with fibromyalgia and eczema on top of everything else.

Written by alienrobotgirl

26 November, 2006 at 9:20 pm

Posted in Personal Diary


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Something I have noticed is that lentils seem to give me energy and clear my head. Wheat germ seems to do the same thing, as long as I don’t eat it too often. I don’t think this is because they are low GI carbs because oysters and mussels have the very same effect – but scallops don’t. I could also blame it on the folic acid lentils and wheat germ contain, or the betaine wheat germ contains, but one common factor amongst all of these foods is they are particularly high in trace minerals. Oysters are high in zinc and copper, and mussels are high in manganese. Yet supplements do not have this effect on me, in fact, I have very negative experiences with zinc.

One thing they are all purportedly high in (there are no proper tables), is germanium. According to mainstream medicine, it’s a supposedly useless and potentially dangerous mineral. According to a standard safetly data sheet, absolutely harmless. According to the world of alternative medicine, something of a godsend. The claims are that germanium sesquioxide is somehow involved in processing oxygen in the body and releasing energy, that it’s extremely good for asthma, and that it fights cancer. On the packet it says “do not take at night.” I had to buy it from the US, of course, because the UK government forced a voluntary withdrawal of germanium sesquioxide from the UK market a few years ago (something this government seems to be very good at, forcing ‘voluntary’ withdrawals).

Being a total skeptic, I would rather make my own mind up as to what germanium does than listen to anyone else. So in typical fashion, I blew my lentil trial by taking some germanium yesterday morning. I didn’t go to bed until 1am because I wasn’t tired, and I woke up at 5am and couldn’t get back to sleep. I will probably collapse this afternoon!

[Edit: a number of further trials proved to me that germanium is quite a strong stimulant and should be avoided unless you really need a kick up the butt!]

Written by alienrobotgirl

26 November, 2006 at 10:48 am

Posted in Don't Do This

Red split lentils

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I’m currently doing a red split lentils experiment. Pre-failsafe, lentils are something I associated with hypoglycaemia, bad digestion, and feeling like I was going to die. A few weeks into failsafe, I had some lentils, chickpeas and rice, and I couldn’t get out of bed the next day. I blamed this on the fact that they supposedly contain small amounts of histamine, and puzzled as to why they were allowed on the elimination diet. However, I realised eventually that I had done something stupid, as the (organic) chickpeas were out of a can and smelled slightly sulphurous, so could have formed amines or have contained undeclared sulphites. [Edit: no, I know now it was because I had mistakenly eaten some basmati rice!]

I have experimented with lentils a few times and never experienced the same sensation again. However, they seemed to be very good at completely clogging up my guts. I sometimes seem to have strange reactions to rice [edit: that would be the basmati], and oats always seem to make me irritable and achy. I even had some pretty intense bleeding one time, when I ate lentils with a tablespoon of (illegal) wild rice mixed in, and it wasn’t, umm, a mechanical bleed. Whether it’s a lectin thing, or an indigestible fibre/starch thing, or something else, I don’t know yet. [Edit: it was a salicylate thing].

I’ve been doing a lentil trial for about five days now. I have a bit of ticcing in my eye muscles, a little bit of tinnitus, and a strange off-kilter kind of energy, and I’m a bit “touchy”. One of my symptoms is I get irritable about personal space and being touched and I can push people away when I actually want a hug from them (sounds like Asperger’s doesn’t it?). Fortunately my long suffering partner doesn’t seem to mind. I also I currently have a very low tolerance level for mardy/negative/arrogant/patronising/teenager-like/sulky people – something I have a problem with anyway but I can normally keep in check without feeling like I’m going to say something really rude, like “f*ing grow up”. Curiously, my guts have been absolutely fine. I’m not sure I could cope with eating them every day as the tinnitus gets quite annoying especially at night, but I think I can include them now and then.

Written by alienrobotgirl

26 November, 2006 at 10:47 am

Posted in Failsafe Foods

Heart disease, leukotrienes

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Everything makes more sense with the leukotriene connection, for example, the fact that a wide spectrum of autoimmune diseases are connected with food chemical intolerance.

One of the conversation points that is grossly overshadowed by the very tiresome “it’s sat fat and cholesterol/it’s not sat fat and cholesterol” heart disease debate, is the fact that there is actually quite a lot of evidence to suggest that heart disease is an autoimmune disease; that like a number of autoimmune diseases it is associated with chronic inflammation, and high leukotriene levels.

There are 224 citations in pubmed for leukotrienes + heart disease. Included are a paper demonstrating that a gene variation in FLAP that increases leukotriene production doubles the risk of heart attacks. FLAP polymorphisms have also been highlighted in asthma. Read a brief discussion here. And a paper with an amusingly puzzled abstract regarding “aspirin insensitive eicosanoid biosynthesis in cardiovascular disease” which points out the now rather obvious fact that “enhanced production of vasoactive cysteinyl leukotrienes (cys-LTs) occurs in unstable angina despite conventional antithrombotic and antianginal treatment.” Which they would, wouldn’t they, because salicylates cause that to happen, not prevent it as the authors were hoping.

The involvement of salicylates in leukotriene production would account for that rash of contradictory studies over recent years that show that aspirin and other NSAIDs thin the blood but somehow increase the likelihood of stroke and heart attack. The fact that particular genes are associated with enhanced leukotriene production and salicylate intolerance in asthma makes me feel as though I’ve uncovered a sneaky mass-extermination experiment that involves killing off genetically salicylate intolerant individuals with a baby aspirin prescription.

Written by alienrobotgirl

26 November, 2006 at 10:02 am

Posted in The Science of FCI

Samter's triad

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I keep meaning to blog this and forgetting:

Samter’s triad is a medical condition consisting of asthma, aspirin sensitivity, and nasal polyposis. It occurs in mid-life (twenties and thirties are the most common onset times) and may not include any allergies. It is also known as aspirin-sensitive asthma, aspirin triad, Widal’s triad, and aspirin induced asthma and rhinitis (AIAR).


The cause of Samter’s triad is unknown, but it is widely believed that the disorder is caused by an anomaly in the arachidonic acid cascade, which causes undue production of leukotrienes, a series of chemicals involved in the body’s inflammatory response. When prostaglandin production is blocked by NSAIDS like aspirin, the cascade shunts entirely to leukotrienes, producing the severe allergy-like effects. Samter’s triad

So, by suppressing one part of the arachidonic acid cascade (prostoglandin production), salicylates increase the production of leukotrienes.

In asthma, “Leukotrienes are involved in asthmatic and allergic reactions and act to sustain inflammatory reactions. […] Leukotrienes also have a powerful effect in vasoconstriction particularly of venules and of bronchoconstriction, they also increase vascular permeability.”

Rosacea is characterised by vascular permeability and a leukotriene-rich response. Facial flushing is a common food chemical intolerance reaction.

Atopic dermatitis is characterised by increased leukotriene production, and has been treated successfully with leukotriene antagonists.

Something interesting is that milk thistle also suppresses the formation of leukotrienes during inflammatory response.

Written by alienrobotgirl

23 November, 2006 at 1:03 pm

Posted in The Science of FCI