Thursday, October 06, 2016

Health update

I donated blood yesterday evening. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is important for me. The last time the 'bloodmobile' came around, sometime in April, I was disqualified as my haemoglobin level was too low - 12.9 (the minimum is 13). It has happened before that I have been disqualified and it's not a pleasant feeling.

In order to improve my levels of iron, I have started eating a spoonful of sesame seeds along with my morning yoghurt, which is already enriched with flax seeds, granola and goji berries; I have reduced the quantity of flax seed from two to one spoonful. Sesame seeds are a very good source of iron, and this seems to be reflected in the fact that my haemoglobin level yesterday was 13.4 - a very welcome increase.

The above reference to goji berries includes the ominous statement "goji berries may also interact with diabetes drugs and blood pressure drugs" - I will have to check this out. There's no point in taking a pill which decreases my blood pressure whilst at the same time eating something which increases it (incidentally, my bp was also measured last night: it was at the top of the scale as far as I am concerned).

On another issue, I have been taking theanine supplements, as noted here, for the past six weeks. I am certain that the theanine causes an effect, but it is subtle. The most obvious effect is that my dreams are more intense, allowing me frequently to recall dreams after waking (increased alpha waves). I've noticed that during my morning walk with the dog, I have lost the feeling of despondency which used to accompany me - this is the anti-anxiety aspect of theanine working. I have noticed a more subtle effect, but only by negation: it used to happen frequently that whenever I had an unpleasant experience during the day, that experience would often "play itself in a loop" during the night, causing my sleep not to be restorative. I had one very unpleasant experience a few weeks ago - receiving the feedback on my DBA intermediate submission - but I did not dream about that at all the same night (nor any following night).

So it would seem that the theanine is useful; it certainly hasn't caused any problems. I thought that there would be some influence of the frequency of apneic events, but I can't see that in the data. The sleep apnea is much more influenced by the CPAP pressure than anything else, and the data went haywire a few days before I started with theanine. As a result, I don't have a baseline with which to compare pre-theanine and post-theanine; I'm assuming that there is no effect.

Connected to the sleep apnea, I had an echocardiography examination on Sunday: central sleep apnea (which I have) can be caused by cardiac problems. Although neither my doctor nor I think that this is what is happening in my case, it's better to be prudent and check that there are no problems. Presumably because of the holidays, I will get the answer only in another week.

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