Two days ago, I wrote a frustrated blog post at like 4 a.m. about how absolutely terrible and awful I felt.
It was nothing out of the ordinary, just a vent because that’s what happens every time I lift a delicate little weight.
Sarah cast “CURE”!
Today, I feel like the health fairy sprinkled magic health dust all over me.
I am awake; I have almost no pain (and none when I am still); the idea of doing yoga excites me; I actually want to talk to people.
Make no mistake: this is not because I exercised. Exercise made me worse, not better, though that may be changing (finally) for me.
In desperation (and determined to make a real, lasting lifestyle change), I reached out to my wonderful community of bodyweight fitness enthusiasts; we’re a merry bunch of over-thirty somethings, and every time we have a little chat, it’s affectionately an organ recital (getting older sucks, but it’s better than the only other alternative).
A friend of mine who has another highly painful autoimmune condition (not naming it for privacy reasons) replied, suggesting I take Betaine TMG (not HCL, which is also recommended for people with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis but for different reasons). He swore up and down it made a world of difference with his unreal, exercise-induced pain.
I spent hours Googling the supplement, discovering what its primary purpose is beyond “hacking” fitness endeavors, weighing the pros and cons, Googling potential interactions between it and my levothyroxine, and decided to give it a try. It was cheap, the side-effects are generally mild (I do need to keep an eye on cholesterol and talk to my doctor about it ASAP, though), and I could stop taking it at any point.
SURPRISE! You’re a person again!
I cannot believe how good I feel. I am alert, like I am seated at the very front of a cockpit of a flying airplane rather than asleep at the back; I am aware of the relief I feel in merely sitting still, reveling in the absence of pain.
Fact: I was a child the last time I remember feeling this boundless energy and wellness.
Could it be placebo? Sure, but it’s a hell of a placebo effect if so, one I haven’t experienced with other supplements I’ve tried here and there. Not to mention, “Betaine supplementation lowers plasma homocysteine levels almost immediately, with maximum results obtained within 4 to 6 weeks.“
I felt relief–almost instantly.
Correlation? Causation? Placebo? Who cares–as long as it does no harm.
What does Betaine TMG do?
According to Dr. Google, Betaine TMG’s primary purpose is to reduce homocysteine levels. “Betaine donates methyl groups to homocysteine, which in turn is metabolized back to methionine.” In other words, it takes a harmful substance (that, if you’re getting enough B-Vitamins and don’t have a health condition, your body should do for you) and turns it back into an amino acid.
So, as part of my “research”, I dug through all of my test results from every elaborate blood test I’ve had since being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s.
Not once have I been tested for high homocysteine levels. Fun fact, thyroid problems are strongly correlated with this.
What else causes or is correlated with high homocysteine levels?
Aside from a rare gene variant (MTHFR gene mutation) other things that raise these levels are drinking and smoking (yes, even exclusively smoking cigars).
After two years of pandemic and STRESS STRESS STRESS, yeah, I’m guilty as charged on both of those counts. The best news is that I’ve largely stopped drinking or smoking more than once a week (and I will probably stop entirely if it means I can actually feel like this)–so a combination of that, some additional light exercise, and potentially clearing up some ridiculous levels of homocysteine in my blood might explain this incredible bubble of wellness I find myself in.
What are my next steps?
I’m going to do a few things. I’m going to the doctor, first and foremost.
When I get my physical, I’m going to talk to my doctor about getting my homocysteine levels tested; I’m going to look into getting tested for the MTHFR genetic test just in case (unlikely); I’m going to list all the supplements I’m currently taking to quadruple check I’m not actually permanently hurting myself; and I’m going to get routine blood tests to see how I’m doing, especially paying attention to blood lipids.
For today, however, I am going to celebrate feeling comfortable, energized, and pain free in my own body.
And then I’m going to do some yoga.