Taking On My Osteoporosis
genome & microbiome
In 2013, at the age of 38, Justin was diagnosed with osteoporosis. After exhausting the usual route of blood tests and scans from the doctors, Justin started to take things more into his own hands by self-tracking. In this video, he talks about how he did it, where is he with with osteoporosis and what other health issues he uncovered from self-tracking.
Emfit | uBiome
About four years ago I had difficulty going to work and osteoporosis was flagged and a couple of other red flags. So this is an osteo DEXA scan. I did a z score of minus score of -2.5 which is kind of borderline osteoporosis if anybody knows. And it’s always a real concern for me at the time. You can see the differences between say healthy bone and osteoporosis bone, so mine was kind of actually veering towards that side.
At the time the doctors they basically said that there wasn’t a lot that they could do about it, and to come back in about five years time and just keep on eating dairy. I don’t eat dairy, I’m lactose intolerant, so I was trying to figure out is there anything else I could do and not just wait for it to kind of deteriorate even further.
So I was having a look at my lifestyle at the time, and I wasn’t living a very healthy lifestyle. Quite overweight in a high stressed job, working a 60 hour week and not getting a lot of exercise, so these are all things that would go against osteoporosis. We need to exercise and we need kind of healthy diets. We need to get good nutrients to sustain our bones. These are obviously things that wasn’t happening with me.
I also started thinking about is there anything else unique to me, because obviously there’s a lot of people out there who might be living similar lifestyles as me that didn’t have osteoporosis. So I started digging into a few other things.
Most of my life I had pretty bad IBS. It was basically so I started looking into that. With IBS, it’s basically inflamed and not working properly and it’s not an absorbing nutrients properly, so this could be a potential issue with my IBS.
So osteoporosis, our bones basically need a lot of nutrients. Vitamin K for instance, for bone health it’s a really big issue, and with IBS we just don’t absorb that from our foods. So to kind of resolve that I went on a pretty much low carb paleo diet and have been on it ever since. That really kind of resolves the IBS, it’s cleared up a lot of things and I’m getting a lot more nutrients out of my food as well now.
But I was having a look at other things, living in an unhealthy lifestyle which would pretty much impact the micro biome quite a lot. I would have like our lot of kind of very bad bacteria feeding on things like the glucose and things like that in the food. So bad bacteria will thrive in this kind of environment, high starchy foods, antibiotics and stress as well is a big issue there.
I did a test with ubiome about nine months ago, and they flagged a good couple of issues with my gut bacteria. There was a certain species of bacteria that was missing in my gut, so Bifidobacterium, it’s good if we have high levels, it’s good for IBS and this was basically zero in my gut. There was other bacteria as well, things like what’s it called, there is another one from fermented food which was basically zero in mind gut as well. And that can lead to bone health, and there is correlations on sites like PubMed and stuff like that has correlations between poor micro biome health with these bacteria, and poor bone health.
It gives a whole lot of other recommendations. It gives you your kind of how variable your bacteria is, so obviously the higher the variability of the bacteria in your gut the better. Mine is not bad, it’s pretty good and still a way to go.
It also gives lots of recommendations to try to get you more over to that healthy lifestyle including probiotics, and exercise is a very important one for gut bacteria as well, and healthier food obviously as well.
I was also looking at other areas in my body. So pretty much all my life when I’ve had blood tests, I have been flagged for a liver biomarker called bilirubin, which is very high in me and it’s a symptom thing called Gilbert syndrome, is genetic and there’s not a lot that you can do about it there, but they say it’s not a big deal. But articles on PubMed and things like that that there is some correlations between bone health and high bilirubin levels.
So I’ve had tests with this over the last year, and this company in the UK, it’s a simple blood test and over the last 12 months you can see that level coming down when you take the load off the liver. So alcohol is putting an additional load on the liver, and so reducing the alcohol levels. And you can see the levels here coming down basically over the last 12 months, and it’s going under the Green line here. I suspect things from the diet changes, I can never be 100% sure but there’s very big improvement from the rest of my life.
I was also testing stress levels and I don’t think I handle stress very well, so I was using the emphasis on HRV levels overnight, and as I was doing that I started seeing these very high spikes in heart rate overnight. That’s basically above 100 beats per second for about an hour. That’s one of the worst ones, but I was getting these failure regularly. Breathing rate was kind of fairly erratic as well overnight.
I kind of delved into it a little bit further and went to the doctor, and was diagnosed with asthma and that was basically about two months ago and I never knew I had asthma before. So it makes a lot of sense that I was because I had attacks and I never just kind of twigged that that’s what it was. So I’ve been on asthma medication for two months, and one of the side-effects unfortunately is osteoporosis, but it’s something that I’m kind of maybe investigating to get an alternative path over the next 6 to 12 months and are be continuing to look into that.
So where are my now? I got a DEXA scan about two weeks ago, I’m still very low. That doesn’t measure the exact spine health, so it’s impacting me on my spine than the rest of the body, so I don’t have an exact measurement. But just overall doing all of this kind of targeted lifestyle changes, and doing the self tracking, in terms of improving health and tackling these diseases, there is very few like side-effects apart from positive side-effects.
Where I’m going from here, I think weightlifting, everybody is saying weightlifting is very important for osteoporosis. There is a lot of additional tests that I can do as well and just continue the research as well. There is so much new science coming out, you know there is probably solutions coming out, may be micro biome or may be completely something else over the next couple of months or years, so there is so much new happening.
So that’s me, and hopefully I’ll be back next time and have better figures.