– In this blog I discuss how I discovered I was deficient in Vitamin C and how I figured out what amount my body needed to leverage better health.
As I continued on my quest to cure my positive ANA diagnosis, I did some research on the benefits of Vitamin C, hoping to educate myself on how I could use it to leverage better health. I learned many things I didn’t know about Vitamin C. Vitamin C is water soluble, which means whatever your body doesn’t need or use will come out in the toilet. I also learned that there can be some side-effects for taking too much, such as: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and abdominal bloating and cramps, headache, Insomnia and kidney stones. Although I’ve experienced only one of these, diarrhea.
So I wondered “How would I know if I am Vitamin C deficient?” Severe Vitamin C deficiency symptoms can consist of: bleeding gums, dry skin, fluid retention, depression, joint pain and bruising easily. All, (except bleeding gums) were on my list of side-effects. So I thought I would add a supplement into my daily routine. I started out taking an additional 1000mg supplement. But how would I know if that amount is too much, or not enough? After further research, I found that if I increase my dose by 500mg each day I can figure out what amount I need to take as a supplement because it will cause diarrhea when you are at the maximum amount your body can absorb. I got just over 6000mg before I flushed! My “Flush” occurred about 2-3 hrs after I took my daily dose, which indicated to me I was Vitamin C deficient, as the recommended dose for an adult is 65-90mg per day to a maximum of 2000mg. I needed an additional 4000mg over the recommended dose to reach my body’s absorption. After taking this amount for a few weeks my body told me to back it down from 6000mg to 4000mg and now I am steadily taking 2000-3000mg per day. I noticed a substantial decrease in the amount of fluid I was retaining, my dry skin seem to improve and I am not so quick to bruise and when I do it seems to heal quicker than before I started taking the Vitamin C.
Vitamin C has also been known to stabilize blood sugar levels and lower or reduce cholesterol and triglycerides. Vitamin C is critical for immune system function and plays a role in antibody production and white blood cell function and activity, which I felt played a critical role in my success to better health!
“In order to be as healthy as you can be, educating yourself is the key”
Ok, probably not the best blog title, but now that I have your attention and curiosity less discuss human waste and how it can tell a story about your health! So what’s normal, what’s abnormal? Your stool can provide you information about your health! It can reveal signs of infection, digestive problems or even signs of cancer.
Normal stool consistency is roughly 75% water and the remainder is a combination of dead and live bacteria, mucus and fiber. Sounds disgusting right? If we talked more freely about it we would all recognize our own health problems and remedy these issues much quicker as we would seek treatment more proactively. Beans and nuts come out in your stool as a gel-like substance and since corn, oats and carrots are hard for our body to digest it may come out looking just like it went in.
So let’s talk about color! Color really does matter, some foods you eat will reflect in your stool. Reddish stool (not bloody) might be a sign of the beets you ate last night. Green stool is typically a sign you ARE eating lots of green leafy vegetables, which is a good thing! Certain medications might turn your stool white or clay-colored. But lookout for jet-black stool, this could be a harmless sign, like eating black licorice or it could be a warning sign of intestinal bleeding which can indicate a more serious health problem.
Shape is equally important! The ideal stool is all in one piece and moderately soft. If it is breaking apart in the toilet your fiber content is probably not ideal. Pebbly stool is a sign of constipation and pencil-thin stools, on the other hand can be a sign of rectal cancer. If you are regularly pebbly or pencil thin I would suggest seeking a physician’s consultation. Often times you can remedy this through diet, hydration and exercise.
We have all went in a public restroom at some point in our life and walked right back out because the smell was way too overwhelming! Pay attention to the odor you excrete! Stool is not supposed to smell pleasant but it shouldn’t knock you out either! Extremely strong odors that are persistent is often a sign of an infection, a strong odor could be a side effect of a stomach bug or parasite from swimming in a fresh water lake. It could also suggest a more serious digestive condition like Celiac or Crohn’s Disease or Colitis. Constant strong smelling stool is a sign you should closely monitor.
So what is the normal frequency for passing stool? Everyone’s normal is different. However, if we think about this logically and with common sense I would like to get the food out as quickly as I possibly can. I don’t want anything sitting around more than a day in my gut, longer than that certainly won’t bring about good outcomes. The key is consistency. If you are going every morning and all of a sudden you are now going only once a week and barely at that, you should see a red flag. Daily is a great habit to get your body into, if possible. The more fiber you eat the more regular you will be. We all know someone that takes an hour in the bathroom and others that seem to have a trap door. I will give the blue ribbon to the person with the trap door. The longer you sit on the toilet the more likely you will develop hemorrhoids or swollen blood vessels in and around the anus. For the person spending an hour in the bathroom you either need to put down the kindle or add a daily probiotic and consume more fibrous foods! Fiber comes from Fruit, Vegetables, Legumes, Grains, Nuts and Seeds. Eat them and eat them often!
Below is a list of foods that are VERY HIGH in fiber. Split Peas, Lentils, Black Beans, Lima Beans, Artichokes, Peas, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Raspberries, Blackberries, Avocados, Pears, Bran Flakes, Whole-Wheat Pasta, Pearled barley, & Oatmeal.
So which is better, stool that floats or a stool that sinks? A stool that sinks is the WINNER! Floating stool is a sign you may have too much fat in your diet, or it could also be a sign of malabsorption, which is a condition your body cannot absorb enough fat or other nutrients for the food you are consuming, which may be a sign of celiac disease. So if your son or daughter leaves a floater in the toilet that you have to flush, you should immediately see they need less fat and more fiber in their diets, if it is common after a diet change, this might be a sign of a larger problem.
Your gut is full of bacteria! Which is essential in breaking down the food you eat; this bacteria releases gases as a byproduct from this digestive process. Your body absorbs some of those gases into your bloodstream that eventually you breathe out through your lungs. Which makes me wonder if an overabundance of gas in the blood stream results in bad breath? I believe that might be a topic for a future blog. My entire family takes daily probiotics. Why? Because taking a daily probiotic adds good bacteria to your gut and helps aid the digestive process. When your gut is happy, your body, mind and sole are as well!
“In order to be as healthy as you can be, educating yourself is the key”