by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath
….so by all means, it can happen to you also.
So what the heck and I talking about?
Let me set this up for you first. As you may have heard me share in the past, I typically sleep very well, wake up before the alarm ever goes off and am rocked and ready to go. That is until a few months ago. I recognized that I was now waking to my alarm and getting out of bed was, uggg, almost painful.
Now most of you know that I walk my talk, so what do you think was the first thing I did when this new (ugly) pattern was recognized? I did an adrenal saliva kit of course. If you are a client of mine, you probably already guessed this.
So what showed up in my adrenal results?
I actually found more than one challenge. First of all, I was in a stage II adrenal insufficiency and a late stage II at that. I also had very low DHEA levels and low melatonin. I was actually happy to get these results because this explained the reason behind my new and not so improved sleeping pattern.
What did not make sense though, is why the heck was I in a stage II adrenal insufficiency. After all, I am definitely balanced emotionally, I do not eat gluten or cross reactive foods and I have been through 2 substantial cleanses this year already. While this did not make sense to me there was a little red flag in my adrenal results. Understand that cortisol levels and melatonin should be exact opposites of each other. My night time cortisol levels were fine but my night time melatonin was low. This would tell me that my low melatonin level is not a hormonal issue, this would then be a digestive issue.
As a side note, if melatonin is low, what do I never recommend for my clients? If you guessed melatonin, you are correct. Let me tell you why.
Once you have eliminated the hormonal tie into low melatonin, the next major area to address is digestion and here’s why. Follow this list below on the sleep cycle for clarity.
- It first starts with proper digestion
- Next comes the need for regular protein consmumption
- With proper protein and digestion, your body will be able to pull out the necessary levels of L-tryptophan
- Only about 1% of this L-tryptophan will be needed for this sleep cycle while the rest is needed for B vitamin production and other bodily processes
- With the L-typtophan the body can then produce 5-HTP
- From 5-HTP the body will produce setotonin
- Finally from serotonin, the body will produce melatonin
Knowing this you can probable deduce on your own the simply taking melatonin does not truly resolve the issue. It might help with my sleeping pattern a bit but it would still leave so many other deficiencies.
Remember I mentioned that there was a red flag that I had a digestive issue causing the low melatonin? Knowing that I am not stressed out and I do not consumed foods that I am intolerant to, what would the cause be? If you guessed pathogens, that is exactly what I was thinking.
With the suspect of pathogens, my next step was to complete a 4 day comprehensive stool collection. I waited impatiently to get these results, and there it was. I was not only dealing with a pathogen, I was dealing with two pathogens. Somewhere in my last 2 years, I had picked up a detrimental bacteria called klebsiella and an amoeba called endolimax nana cyst. You might be thinking “YIKES” but honestly I was happy to get this. It explained my digestive issues as well as my sleep and adrenal challenges. It is also good news to have this awareness because both of these can be dealt with with relative ease now, rather than waiting for future challenges to develop.
Long term, klebsiella that is not addressed can lead to pneumonia, urinary tract infections, septicemia, and soft tissue infections. Klebsiella species have also been implicated in the pathogenesis of ankylosing spondylitis which is an inflammatory/autoimmune condition that primarily affects the joints of the spine. The endolimax nana cyst often leads to chronic or intermittent diarrhea, which was also becoming an issue for me.
Now does it make sense that I was happy to see these reports?
So why am I sharing all this?
I am sharing this because if this can happen to me with all the positive focus I have on my own health and wellness, this can definitely happen to you. So the next time you recognize that your sleep is a little off or your energy is a bit low, don’t simply reach for some melatonin to help your sleep and caffeine to boost your energy. Look deeper and find the real issues so you do not have to live with chronic ailments later in life.
Remember, it happened to me…it can happen to you.