Acidosis and Malabsorption

I have not been posting of late because I been on a slow slide downhill physically the last few months. Low levels of CO2 are how western medicine diagnoses clinical acidosis. Mine have been in the single digits for over four years now. Calcium is a major player in balancing Ph levels and my calcium levels have been well below normal. My vitamin D levels have been so low that I was actually diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency disease.

Once I figured out that I was not absorbing vitamin D3  and found a source for Vitamin D2 that I do absorb, I had upped my intake to from 2000 units a day to as much as 40,000 units. It took that much for me to stop seeing my calcium supplements come out as a chalky grit on my stools. Tracking down a source of D2 is an ongoing challenge as apparently only hard-core vegans who refuse to take animal sourced D3 are interested in buying it.

Even when I finally got enough vitamin D in my body, I had to find calcium in forms I could absorb. Calcium bound in microcrystalline hydroxyapatite turns out to be one of the forms my body can metabolize because it comes from the bones and cartilage of animals that have already done the hard part of getting the mineral form of calcium into an organic one. So much for any vegan aspirations I might have had!

I also ate calcium triphosphatase, which goes directly into the blood stream as if it was candy for about four months. This was a bit excessive even for me, but thankfully, my gastroenterologist wanted to take blood tests every three months to see what my body was up too, so I could track how my body was responding. It turned out taking up to 2o times the RDA of calcium plus a thousand times the RDA of Vitamin D a day just barely got my CO2, Vitamin D and calcium levels out of the single digits and somewhere near the border of low normal.

The only other issue that has showed up in the blood tests was that my bilirubin levels were steadily climbing. High bilirubin is usually a sign of liver dysfunction. I found that rise worrisome because a fibro-scan showed that my liver does not have appreciable levels of scarring now.

A decade of alternative healing and of course, getting all the negatively charged scar tissue in my body  cooked by a billion volts of lightning does seem to have cleared up the scar tissue in my liver as well as the adhesions in the rest of my body. For those who want the details, I take advantage of proteolytic enzymes like nattokinase and serrapeptase, the anti-inflammatory influence of low dose naltrexone and the help of  the liver herbs Chai hu (blupureum) and  Chanca Piedra (phyllanthus niger/ssp) .

When I first saw the actual MD over a year ago, they had poo-pooed my concern about digestion and the weirdly pastel rainbow of colors in my stools, telling me that the color depended on what I ate. They have been impervious to my argument that there is a problem in digestion if food does not look different when it comes out than when it goes in. I am also pretty sure I would have noticed if I was eating the variety of plasticine and Play-Do clays it would take get some of the non-food colors my insides have been producing.

But a few weeks ago, my rising bilirubin levels and white stools finally persuaded the PA at the gastroenterologist’s office to test my ability to digest food. I generally claim to eat a high- protein high-fat low carb low-calorie diet because that is what I tolerate best. However, it turns out I do not know what a high-fat diet actually is.

To test pancreatic function, you have to eat 100 mg of fat a day. That is a couple of sticks of butter or 2/3 of a cup of oil a day for a week or so. Eating that much fat made me so miserable that I could not keep it up to without taking my faithful herbs.

Even with the herbs, the test showed that my pancreas has pretty much quit producing digestive enzymes. Since I do not have cystic fibrosis or pancreatic cancer, which are the diseases the prescription enzymes are marketed for; I have to go with the other primary causes of pancreatic insufficiency. Apparently, trauma, acidosis and liver dysfunction including gallstones can trigger inflammation of the pancreas.

In order for pancreatic enzymes to work, the pancreas has to neutralize the hydrochloric acid from the stomach. In order to do that, it produces bicarbonate of soda. Adding CO2 to Na, a salt atom, is not big deal most of the time.

We produce CO2 as a waste product and the venous blood that heads to the liver and pancreas has a plentiful supply. But in acidosis, CO2 levels are low so there is nothing to bind to the salt atom. And one of the peculiar results that showed up in my blood tests was elevated levels of salt. Of course, the western medical approach was to eat less salt, not look at why my levels were high.

If the small intestine is too acidic, the digestive enzymes cannot do their work. So the pancreas works harder to produce more. I am not sure of the feedback mechanism that tells the pancreas how much digestive enzymes and CO2-Na it should produce. But I can tell you that when the digestive enzymes cannot do their work because of the lack of CO2, the pancreas gets irritable and inflamed, and eventually gives up.

If the pancreas is not working, the liver does not have the raw materials it needs to function properly. It turns out that the form of the broad diagnosis of fatty liver disease that is relevant to me is inflammation in the liver and an increase in bilirubin due to a lack of fatty acids.

Electrical shock is one of the prime causes of acidosis. All the clinical signs have been there all along, but no one was able or willing to consider interpreting them in the light of my ‘subjective’ report. So four years and counting later, I am still managing the fallout from getting hit by lightning.

And I cannot help thinking that if I had had a competent MD early on; I could have minimized these complications and avoided a whole lot of misery. But it seems that the suits in the medical industry have been happy to interpret preventative health care as preventing the individual from getting the health care they need by any means possible. My medical records are mysteriously and persistently incomplete which is interesting since I was warned by more than one lawyer that missing medical records are how a bureaucracy avoids malpractice suits.

Strangely enough, one of the serendipitous fallouts of the Trump administration turns out to be that even the suits are realizing that their jobs in the medical industry depend on people getting the treatment they need in an atmosphere that is at least civil. My encounters with medical personal have been astonishingly pleasant and even constructive over the last few months. The clinic I am now trying out actually has a grievance procedure posted next to the receptionist’s desk.

That is a far cry from one who had some secretarial sort call me up to inform me that if I was not willing to have a relationship with her I would not be welcome as a patient. I am still wondering just what sort of relationship she had in mind. And I am relieved to have access to medical care without such peculiarities interfering.

While I have taken over the counter digestive enzymes for years, prescription digestive enzymes come in significantly higher quantities. I am now taking 150,000-200,000 units of fat-digesting lipase a day along with equally huge amounts of amylase and protease to digest proteins and carbs. To get that amount I would have to eat bottles of over the counter enzymes at each meal, not just a couple of pills.

Now that the food I eat is actually getting digested, my body might be able to begin to heal. And, if my CO2 levels stay somewhere in the normal range so my poor pancreas gets a break perhaps it will calm down and be able to function once more. My liver might even be able to regenerate itself and become able to do its jobs as well.

I might be able to function once more. Visceral pain from inflammation in the liver and pancreas is one of the nastiest types of pains I have dealt with in a lifetime of chronic pain. It is relentlessly pervasive, debilitating and thoroughly discouraging because poor nutrition disrupts every function in the entire body.

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