B12 & OTHER REMEDIES (June-August, 2016)

Who doesn’t want to feel better, be better? Here’s our latest little enhancements for getting closer to achieving those goals.

B12 Buzz   
Vroom! That’s what we felt in the days following a 10 mg injection of B12 from our naturopath and, lucky for us, the “Vroom!" is holding with the help of weekly 1 mg injections Bill administers for us.

“Why now?” is a mystery to all 3 of us. My red cell MCV measurement was normal when I started with the naturopath at the end of 2012, but not as good as she wanted it to be.  And then it got higher, which was worse. At her recommendation, I and later Bill, started taking sublingual supplements of methylcobalamin, which should have improved my MCV number and given us both an energy boost. No buzz, no  improvement in my numbers, as we both took massive amounts of the water soluble vitamin. We were taking 5mg/day and then I doubled mine to 10.

The naturopath then started giving us B12 injections 2-3 times a year when we saw her and still nothing. Out of nowhere, in late May 2016, it hit. I felt the moment when I could say “This is what she’s been talking about” the day after an injection and a few days later, Bill felt a more gradual uptick in energy but made it to the same level of buzz.

We were dazzled. We’d had more bustle in the prior weeks any way, but the boost from the B12 injections cemented and enhanced it. The ever-elusive energy needed to follow-through on difficult chores was suddenly there and our productivity and efficiency shot-up. We feared we wouldn’t sleep at night because we were both so enthusiastic and energized, but it wasn’t a problem.

Bill, who had a lifetime history of hours of drowsiness after awakening, began hitting the ground running in the morning. He’d been successfully shortening his wake-up routine for years by using a Seasonal Affective Disorder lamp and making behavioral changes, but the effect of B12 made being fully alert much more attainable in a much shorter amount of time.

Absorption of B12 by the gut is known to diminish with aging and the use stomach acid reducers, like proton pump inhibitors and H2 blockers, possibly interfere with absorption as well, but we are clueless as to why we both were suddenly benefitting from the B12 injections when our bodies had been indifferent to the supplementation for years.

We are new to this B12 journey and can’t make any recommendations or predictions for any one else but share our story in hopes that it will in some way be of service to others. We are guessing that we will cut-back to monthly injections when we return home in the fall and have a repeat on our blood tests.

Standing: "Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World" by Kelly Starrett
A friend countered my recommendation of Starrett’s “Becoming A Supple Leopard” with his “Deskbound” book because she liked it better. I agree: it’s a much more readable book, in part because it is less technical and more narrow in scope.

Starrett launches from the growing research citing the evils of sitting more than 20-30 minutes at a time, depending upon the criteria you are measuring. Two of the common issues are: disruption of DNA repair and keeping your glucose/insulin levels from spiking after eating. 

Starrett hammers the point home and itemizes obvious and clever ways to modify how you work—paid or unpaid—to diminish the damage done to your body by sitting. We’ve been intentional about swapping out standing time for sitting time for a number of years and still found his rally cry inspiring and his suggestions helpful. 

“Deskbound” also includes a course on myofascial release targeted to sitting ailments that is more accessible than his “Leopard” book. I found his heel cord release work very timely for a new problem area.

Standing: Lumo, The Posture Nag
We’ve both been conscious of the need to improve our postural alignment but as the whining goes “It’s hard!” “Yes, it’s hard but it’s important.”

I nag Bill about his posture but he doesn’t nag me about mine. When he started seriously looking at electronic gadgets to take away my job, we both agreed it was a better path. Days before we flew to Europe, he paid the extra for 2 day delivery, which we never do, so Lumo could spend the summer bugging him. 

The proper name is “Lumo Lift,” which is described as a “Posture Activity Coach”. Nowhere does the manufacturer refer to it as a “posture nag."

The Lumo Lift is a little device with 2 pieces that are held together on the upper part of the front of a shirt by a magnet. It vibrates when it detects a slouch. It of course has an app associated with it to aid in its use. Bill paid about $80 for his. There are other products out there with the same mission.

We both considered it an immediate success. Suddenly, Bill was sitting and standing upright with silent prodding from Lumo. He was pleased and I loved it. I’d always suspected that my posture would improve if his did and indeed it did. Unfortunately the opposite hadn’t been true—Bill was immune to my good demonstrations.

Bill did decide that Lumo was best at home, that it didn’t seem to give useful feedback when he was walking. We also quickly learned that his backpack's  chest strap could fling Lumo into the dirt. Luckily I was walking behind Bill the first dive Lumo made on the trail so it didn’t get away.

An unadvertised virtue of Lumo is that Bill’s particular one survived two cycles of washing in a front loading machine. We won’t be doing any durability testing to see just how much dunking it can tolerate but it was a good lesson in the need to  not just turn Lumo off but to also take it off when not in use.

Sneezing Well
In late June of 2016, I broke 2 floating ribs while sneezing—a “blow the roof off” sneeze. I suspect that some nagging lower back tightness on the same side made me more vulnerable to the breaks than I would normally would have been, but it got my attention about the significant hazards of sneezing.

I found 2 tips online to make sneezes less catastrophic. One was to open, rather than close, your mouth to diminish the pressure from the sneeze. I’ve always been a closed mouth sneezer because, well, mine tend to be messy. The other was to sneeze straight-on rather than politely turning your head. I’m a ‘straight-on’ sneezer, probably because they are so forceful, but politely turning your head puts your neck muscles at risk. Better to turn your entire body from your feet, which is what I normally try to do.

My Portland massage therapist recommended squeezing a pillow and holding a fetal position while sneezing as a way to control damage from the explosive event, particularly after a break. That suggestion immediately made sense because I arch back a little and then bend forward when I sneeze, which probably makes matters worse. I rarely have time to grab a pillow but definitely will assume the fetal position if I have time.

I have often successfully interrupted slow-approaching sneezes by using a simple acupressure technic. I press the side of my forefinger as firmly as I can into the little notch right under my nose and hold it. I apply deep pressure until it feels like the sneeze has passed and then hold it another minute. Unfortunately the sneeze that snapped my ribs came on so quickly that I hardly knew what was happening until I was well into it. But after this painful rib fracture experience, I’ll attempt to interrupt or modify all of my sneezes.

That’s all we have for now for feeling better…except to remember to smile.