Category Archives: self-experiment

Operation Electrosmog Reduction, Part 2

Adventures in Nutritional Therapy

For the past five years, since reading Zapped by Ann Louise Gittleman, I have tried to control my exposure to electromagnetic fields aka EMF as much as I can without going batty. Such is the glacial progress of EMF awareness in the general public that I can post this record of my EMF experiment from five years ago and not worry about it being outdated.

I have definitely sensed EMF’s effects. I wrote about a few of those experiences in part one of this experiment. In another episode I spent a week suffering from mysterious waves of fatigue, similar to blood-sugar drops, after I moved my TV-binge-watching spot from one side of my couch to the other (because adventure). When I realized I was sitting 18 inches from the 85-year-old fuse box — the 1929 building I was living in still had its original wiring — I moved back to the other side of the couch, five feet away, and voila, problem solved.

One day last year I seemed to notice the moment a wi-fi signal turned on at an empty Starbucks patio. I had been there alone for almost an hour when my mood switched abruptly to agitation and restlessness. I looked up to see that a patron about ten feet away had just opened her laptop.

What follows herewith is a belated followup report to that first 2012 experiment. About a year later I finally got around to buying EMF measuring gadgets from lessemf dot com and spent a few weeks analyzing the radio, microwave, magnetic, and electric fields — which we’ll just collectively call “electrosmog” — in my apartment. For information on safe ranges for these fields, I referred to Zapped, FAQs on the website lessemf dot com, and the label on one of the meters.

Most of Zapped’s EMF-sensitive profilees had been exposed to whopping big amounts of the various radiation types, or were very young. That was not my situation. I seem to be in the same boat as moldies in discussion forums who report that their EMF sensitivity seems linked to mold and/or metals poisoning. Some have reported that it significantly abated once they detoxed thoroughly, which can take a couple of years.

The meters I bought for part 2 of the electrosmog reduction experiment were a flat-frequency TriField meter, model 100XE ($150), and a 3-Axis RF Meter ($200). While researching them, I discovered that lessemf’s staff were knowledgeable but not really customer-service material, so there were a few frustrating moments. The site now features a meter FAQ page, which might save you some of that aggravation, especially if you are suffering from cognitive —-eduppedness. Amazon reviewers of the same gadgets also had valuable info and recommendations on their own electrosmog projects.

Very basically, the TriField meter measures the magnetic and electric fields of power lines, electricity, wiring, etc., and the RF meter is for wi-fi.

Although I did measure most of the parameters and living areas recommended in Zapped, my records were lost in a move, so the following account is by memory only. I don’t even remember the name of the energy units for each type of meter and I’m too lazy to get up and find them. A brief investigation of my two autos since then indicated they were more EMFfy than my domicile, and I wasn’t ready to handle it just then or now so I pray that my minimal commute time will protect me.

In my apartment, the area around the fuse box was very high, as was the front half of the bathroom. Luckily I was able to avoid these areas much of the time. Various appliances registered as high when they were on, but were easily avoided and the EMF dropped off quickly with distance anyway. I was especially worried about the white cylindrical transformer on a utility pole 100 feet from my fifth-floor dining-room window, but the meter did not register anything alarming. I detected the wi-fi from each next-door neighbor and the downstairs neighbor’s ceiling fan registered in the center of my bedroom floor, but the levels were not horrible and I didn’t spend much time in either area.

My sleeping area had sort-of-high RF, presumably due to my neighbor’s wi-fi, so I purchased wire mesh material sold by lessemf dot com to block this. It did indeed significantly reduce the RF levels in my sleeping area to a negligible level but I didn’t use it long enough to determine an effect. In my next apartment, minimal wi-fi RF registered in the bedroom and I did not notice a difference. I now use a similar mesh barrier over my wi-fi router, since routers tend to blast out a lot more power than is required.

In the new apartment, the fuse box was in a less avoidable place but luckily the levels were nowhere near as high. The wi-fi around the AT&T Universe router was astronomical and a high-traffic area, so I switched to an ethernet connection and turned off the wi-fi. I lived alone so I could do that without arguments. For many people, the biggest obstacle to reducing EMF exposure is not technical difficulties but obtaining cooperation from housemates.

In addition to all that, I asked the staff at Mama’s Minerals in New Mexico about minerals or crystals with EMF-blocking or -transforming properties, because I will take any excuse to buy a new rock. I went home with a handful of small polished tourmalines (about $2 each) to carry on my person, and larger chunks of malachite, pyrite, and lapis lazuli. I gaze at them in their pretty little semi-circle behind my keyboard and forget for a few seconds that 5G is coming like a demonic wave to crush our psyches so that our shapeshifting reptilian overlords won’t have to bother hiding anymore.

I tried to detox lead and all I got was this stupid vertigo

Adventures in Nutritional TherapyI developed vertigo after my second dose of DMSA treatment for lead chelation. For the next four weeks I had trouble moving quickly, standing up, going down stairs, etc., with no signs of it abating.

Eventually I happened upon a comment on a heavy metal detox forum (on Yahoo, where untold gazillabytes of valuable information are inaccessible due to craptastic design) indicating that some people can’t process sulfur due to insufficient body stores of molybdenum. Most approaches to lead detox involve sulfur, and DMSA is a walloping dose of sulfur. In fact, one study I found says that eating a whole lotta garlic can chelate lead. So I took 2,000 mcgs (2 mgs) of Mo the next day and the vertigo was gone the following evening.

More notes on molybdenum:

  • It is used to reduce copper in the brain, which is a problem in some mental illnesses.
  • It is used to break down acetaldehyde produced by candida and which causes brain fog, fatigue, malaise, etc. For about 18 months I used it regularly for that. I later ran across a few self-experimenters who’d discovered that once they got to a certain place in their heavy metal detox treatments, their longstanding candida issues disappeared.
  • Resist the urge to call it “molly”, the street name for MDMA aka Ecstasy. Those of us on the supplement-popping path are fighting enough suspicion and misperception as it is.

Happy trails, Seth Roberts

Adventures in Nutritional TherapyA very belated farewell to author/blogger/self-experimenter extraordinaire Seth Roberts, who died last April at 61. Seth’s review of my blog in December 2011 increased my traffic by about 19,000 percent and made me think that maybe this blogging thing was actually worthwhile.

At the time he published his review, he hadn’t realized I’d referred to him as “the fella after my own heart” in this post about self-experimenters. One of his readers pointed it out to him. Another of his readers, and a fellow self-experimenting blogger, ambled over here to comment and has since become a good online friend.

Because I was a blogging newbie, and because Seth’s review appeared on New Year’s Eve, and because the majority of the traffic went to my post on how I ended my depression, I assumed the rise in traffic was due to woeful holiday non-revelers gone a-googling. Finally, eight months later, I started rooting around in WordPress’ stats and discovered the truth.

Several months after I ended regular posting, Seth emailed and asked if I’d like to contribute to his blog. I couldn’t manage it at the time, but his reaching out made my day.

He came across as patient, thorough, fair-minded, and as interested in a suburban single mom’s n=1 investigations as in major scientific studies. I was very sad to hear he was gone.

____________________
Image: Remix by MRhea. Photo stolen from the interwebs.

Tips on self-experimenting with nutritional therapy

  1. Don’t worry about proving anything to anyone. If you’re hoping to demonstrate to someone else the validity of nutritional therapy, or prove that your health complaints were not imagined, don’t bother. Save that time and energy and use it on yourself instead.
  2. Evaluate a trial not just on how you feel, but on what you find yourself doing. More than a few times when I assumed a new supplement regimen was having no effect, I later realized I had run twice the number of errands that week, or checked three-year-old items off my to-do list.
  3. Evaluate a trial based on how you feel when you stop a supplement, too. It’s valuable info. You might consider repeating the stop-and-start a few times.
  4. A bad reaction to a supplement is also good info. If vitamin B6 makes your fingers go numb, your vitamin B12 levels might be too low. If zinc makes your sinuses swell up, your vitamin B6 levels might be too low, etc.
  5. Remember that your deficiency symptoms might change over time. Low zinc levels might give you acne now, but next year it just might make you irritable.
  6. Heed that feeling that if you take one more supplement you’ll explode or go insane. It’s your body/brain/liver’s way of saying “enough.” Take a break. (Remember, you gain info from stopping a supplement, too.)
  7. Do what you can and don’t worry about it too much. This advice from one of my acupuncturists has served me well. If you find you can’t tolerate a lot of supplements, if you’re getting nowhere, or if you’re overwhelmed by all the conflicting info or frustrated by the lack of it, join the club. We’re all flying blind, really.
  8. Don’t feel pressured to self-track. By self-tracking I mean choosing a certain number of parameters — e.g., mood, suicidal to ecstatic, or hair loss, none to fistfuls — and assigning a value to each on every day of your experiment. (As distinguished from just writing down your observations so you don’t forget them.) If you don’t feel like doing it, don’t. Whether or not you can illustrate day-to-day progress with a line chart has no bearing on the validity of your experiment. If anyone gives you crap about this, tell them to go back to their Dungeons & Dragons game.

    Other reasons not to self-track:

    • If you have a longstanding, distressing health issue, it might be a psychological drain to focus on it every day. Writing down “15 minutes” on a sleep chart every morning for weeks will suck you dry.
    • If you’re experimenting to see what effects a supplement has, you won’t have parameters. What you discover might be completely unexpected.
    • In theory, self-tracking (aka quantified self) apps can be hacked and your data used against you by insurance companies and employers.

ANT - Nutritional therapy tips

____________________

Image: still of John Barrymore in “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” 1920. {{PD-1923}}. Found on the Internet Archive’s Silent Films site.

Specious invocations of the placebo effect argument

Usually for the sake of my mental health I try to tune out the many, many misuses of the placebo effect argument I see online, but after running across a few prime examples I’ve decided to collect the best of them here. I’ll add more as I go. Here are two to start. (Emphasis mine).

1. Comment on a Bulletproof Executive post by Dave Asprey on his off-label use of the narcolepsy drug Modafinil to enhance concentration and alertness.

COMMENTER: “I take modafinil on a semi regular basis (prescribed for a sleeping disorder) – i’m not sure how much effect it has, and neither can you be….It could possibly help, but we’re not sure, your experiences using it are not a reliable guide as to whether it ‘works for you’ particularly for such a subjective and unmeasurable outcome such as sleepiness – if you take a drug believing it is going to be a wonder drug you’re almost certainly going to feel like it is, when you could in reality just be wasting your money and exposing yourself to side effects…I’m a medical doctor, UK…

2. Comment on Daily Strength Insomnia Support Group in response to this post titled “I’m CURED! Finally!”:

ORIGINAL POST: “… I’d take a bunch of supplements that would boost all my [nutrient] levels to normal. When I stopped, those levels would slowly drop and a week later, I’d have insomnia again. I’ve been going through that up and down cycle for a long time…I finally found out why I couldn’t maintain adequate levels of anything and why the insomnia keeps kicking in…The problem was, I was very low on an essential amino acid called L-Lysine…Low Lysine levels lead to body stealing nutrients from muscles to feed brain which lead to fatigue which depleted nutrients from body which meant w/o enough nutrients, not enough fuel to produce brain chemicals to perform sleep cycles which lead to insomnia.”

COMMENTER: “Mmmm, there might be another explanation Galvatron. One of which might be your belief that you would crack it. Trying to crack it has provided such a distraction that finally something else has taken place instead of fears around insomnia etc. Also, insomnia from the literature does seam to run its course.”

Adventures in Nutritional Therapy

Menorrhagia, meet methionine

Adventures in Nutritional TherapyAfter a disastrous niacin self experiment confirmed once and for all that my liver is a shadow of its former self, I experimented with a selection of OTC supplements frequently mentioned in discussion forums on liver damage. Glutathione did nothing as far as I could tell, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) and alpha lipoic acid (ALA) do not agree with me, and I was already taking vitamin B6 in the form of P5P. Methionine was the only other supplement I could tolerate.

Within days the scariest of the liver symptoms had gone. After several weeks it became apparent that it also had a significant effect on my heavy periods. With 1500 mg of methionine, I had a manageable period, like a normal person’s — easier even than what vitamin K2 supplements did for me. Since I had recently taken truckloads of niacin, I couldn’t be sure it wasn’t the niacin that did it, so I stopped the methionine and voila, back to the old Maxi Curse.

The 1500 mg dose turned out to completely stop me sleeping, so I tried 1000 mg. Subsequent periods were indeed easier, although not as easy as on 1500 mg.

For more on my attempts to treat heavy menstrual bleeding, see my posts on Niagarrhagia and sea sponges.

____________________
Illustration: Detail of 1940s American Airlines travel poster by E. McKnight Kauffer.