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Seth Nelson’s explorations

Discussion in 'My Optimal Journal' started by Seth Nelson, Aug 22, 2019.

  1. Seth Nelson

    Seth Nelson New Member

    I’ll use these posts to track some of my N=1 experiments, and general protocol tracking. Today starting with an overview, and initial sunlight and Vitamin D tracking. I’ll end this post with a few questions. First, I’ll recap just a bit from my initial Hello post.

    My interest in wellness started in late 2016. I was a habitual over-exerciser and junkfood-eater. Some odd symptoms (intermittent light-headedness) started to affect my work (musician), and so I found my way to a neurologist who diagnosed me with MS (at age 36). She put me on a steroid for a few days, and prescribed Copaxone and Kepra. By January 2017, my symptoms had gone away, and I have been symptom-free since. My diet is generally anti-inflammatory (no gluten, added sugar, dairy, nightshades), organic, high-fat, lots of local seasonal veggies, and time-restricted (8-10 hour window of eating). Exercise has moderated. I stopped the distance running, and settled into a routine of superslow heavy weights, HIIT, and Aikido. I’m taking a break from the weights and cardio while I figure out a shoulder pain issue (I’ll probably bring that up in a later post.) After making these and so many other changes (I’ll elaborate more in my journal), my neurologist approved me to stop taking Copaxone, so I tapered off and stopped that back in October 2018.

    Currently I’m exploring sunlight and Vitamin D. For sunlight, since July, I started with sunrise, just shorts, for 10 minutes, and have increased that to about an hour. Then usually a couple hours before or after solar noon, I’ll go out in shorts, starting with 10 minutes, and now built up to about 25 minutes. I don’t always make it for the sunset due to work. I also have some artificial red light boards (similar to Joov), which I occasionally use. I want to build up my UVB time to about 30-40 minutes, but plan to keep building up gradually.

    My mother died of melanoma cancer in 2003. She was very religious about applying sunscreen, being fully clothed, avoiding the evil sunlight. Now I’m convinced that was the wrong approach. But because of that, my indoctrination and my neurologists have made me want to avoid sunlight too. So it is kind of a revolutionary concept to me to be seeking out sunlight, UVB in particular, no sunscreen, no shade, just direct sun-to-skin exposure. But what I’m reading here makes sense to me (to a limited degree), and moreover I know I like the way I feel getting more sunlight. I’m not sure how to describe it. I feel like I am soaking up energy. Clean, warm, enlivening, positive energy. It has put a wonderful new perspective on what is normally a fearful Texas summer. I hope I’ll be able to keep it up as the school year gets busy.

    My Vitamin D levels were below 30ng/mL in 2016. I started supplementing high doses (10,000IU, then 5,000IU). In April of this year, my levels were >110, and my doctor wanted me to back off. I went to 5,000IU every other day or so. My most recent test in June had me way down at 55.3. I started my heliotherapy since then, and using the dminder app. The app is estimating my current D levels at around 60.

    Questions I have.
    1. I think I’m a Fitzpatrick Skin Type III (not sure how much that matters). Is there a maximum amount of UVB sun I should be getting? If I build up gradually, is there a limit?
    2. Is there an ideal range of Vitamin D to aim for?
    3. How often should I test my Vitamin D until I level out at my goal?
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
    MisterT, MITpowered26 and Phosphene like this.
  2. Seth Nelson

    Seth Nelson New Member

    I’m pretty stoked, having received some good medical test results recently. I used Everlywell for these. To the point of my first post here (above), my Vitamin D levels are at 66ng/mL, up from my June test (55) which was before I started intentional “sunning.” I’m particularly impressed with how accurate the DMinder app was, which estimated my levels to be at 67. My current goal is to get up to 80, and then stay at least there even as I taper off my already limited Vitamin D supplement. And see if I can keep that up during the winter.

    As to my questions above, I still don’t know how to tell for sure that I am Fitzpatrick Skin Type III, or how careful I should be in terms of total time in the sun (especially given family history of skin cancer). I still haven’t decided what an optimal D level is for me personally. I think I answered my own question about how often to test: the DMinder app seems fairly accurate, so I’ll check that again when I get to D level of 80 to confirm.

    I’m definitely getting more and more hooked on being outside when I can, morning, noon, and evening. I am tanning well, for the most part. I aim to get full body sun exposure for at least 15 minutes daily (often more like 30), but the skin behind my shorts does not seem to be tanning. I’ll be patient, and report on this again later. Tanning seems to have made me more attractive to my wife, which is always nice. And it improves a positive outlook during the day. Among other benefits.

    Included in this test was my HS-CRP, which was 0.2. It has been around there all year.

    I also tested for my first time my Omega 6, 3, and trans fats. All levels were acceptable. They say my ratio of 5.6 is suboptimal. Trans Fat was 0.6 (on a range of .03-2.4%). I’m pleasantly surprised by these numbers, and am glad to have another thing to track as I seek improvement. The more I read from Dr. Kruse, the more motivated I am to increase the seafood in my diet. I’m also going to at Krill Oil supplements to my routine. Plan to re-test in a few months.
    Phosphene likes this.
  3. Phosphene

    Phosphene Gold (finally)

    Welcome! Always interested to hear stories of MS, as I have a friend afflicted with it. Rooting for you!

    FWIW, I am Fitzpatrick 3, and can now stay out all day at my latitude (40-ish) without burning. The main goal is to gain the solar callus gradually, without burning, so that means taking shelter or otherwise covering up during the most intense UV. But no commercial sunscreen.
    Seth Nelson likes this.
  4. MITpowered26

    MITpowered26 New Member

    Shot In the dark: is that lake morraine In Alberta?
    Seth Nelson likes this.
  5. Seth Nelson

    Seth Nelson New Member

    Thank you! I’m believing the MS is a thing of the past. But whether it is or not, I know I am not turning back from this course of healthy learning I am on.

    And yes, that confirms my own thinking right now. I’ve always hated sunscreen just based on personal comfort, but now I feel better about understanding some good reasons to avoid it. I’m building up my solar callus gradually. My professional work is all inside, so it takes effort and planning to spend time outside. So gradual is about all I can do right now, which is good. And to track this gradual increase, I’m using the DMinder app to track total IU intake, rather than just total time out in the sun.
  6. Seth Nelson

    Seth Nelson New Member

    Yes! Very good eye. We went there on a choir tour in the summer of 2016. Beautiful country there.
  7. Seth Nelson

    Seth Nelson New Member

    I’m excited to be seeing progress in my “biohacking”! According to the Dminder app, my D levels are up to 73ng/ml. I’m watching the 90-day tracker approach the goal. I expect to attain my current goal of 80ng/ml in a few weeks at most. I have not burned yet, and I am getting a nice tan, and believe my solar callus is developing well. Once I attain my goal, I plan to reduce my Vitamin D supplement again, and just supplement with the sun, even through the winter.

    Now I’m eager to investigate the cold thermogenesis. I’ve ordered some reusable ice cubes, and two thermometers to read water temperature and skin temperature. I’ve been taking exclusively cold showers for months now, but that water doesn’t get very cold during the Texas summer. Ha! Can hardly wait to start the first phase of CT once my supplies arrive.
  8. Seth Nelson

    Seth Nelson New Member

    Another beautiful sun-shiny day! I have started parking farther away from work during the daylight hours (when rain is not in the forecast). Also getting outside even a few minutes during short break times. The Vitamin D is adding up. My Dminder app shows me at 74ng/ml, and I’m less than ten days away from my 90-day IU goal. I use the WallUp (four of them) to set up a little privacy fence in the back yard so that I can sunbath “freely” (shall we say). That is great during the day, but I haven’t yet figured out how to get the morning and evening sun where the sun doesn’t shine. If anyone is reading this, do you have any ideas?

    I’ve been working my way through Dr. Kruse’s suggested lab tests we should take. I already have most of them. The Omega 6:3 I didn’t have, so I did that recently (see above). Today was my DEXA (now they call it DXA?) scan and bioimpedance assessment. I don’t think I learned much of value from this, but I suppose it is good to have a baseline. Weight came in at 159.2lbs, and measured at 6 foot two inches. Total body fat is 11.2, which is in the bottom 1% my Age-Matched percentile. This surprises me a little, since I’ve been making a conscious effort to include more healthy fats in my diet (and my cholesterol is high, just over 200mg/dL). I certainly don’t feel the need to lose any more visceral fat. But my lean mass was on the low side, so this doctor recommended I bulk up by eating more calories (he likes Dr. Sears....) and resume my high intensity strength training. I’m on a break from my Superslow strength training, as I work my way through a shoulder pain. I’ll get back to that soon.

    Today was my first day of Dr. Kruse’s CT Rx! I bought a cheap bucket that is a good size to use for face dunking. Got some reusable ice-cubes. I’m going to need a lot more. Found a food thermometer to measure the water temp. Got it down to 52F pretty consistently. I dove in just holding my breath, and that was too easy. My snorkel came in the mail today, so I got that out to finish 5 minutes. I’ll gradually increase the time. Used an infrared laser thermometer to measure skin temps, but that only got down to about 62F. Is this normal, or should I expect it to drop further as I increase the duration? I plan to stick with this for a month before moving on to the next phase.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
  9. Seth Nelson

    Seth Nelson New Member

    CT Day 2. I set my timer for 6 minutes. Water comes out of the faucet at 79F (it’s still summer here in San Antonio). But it only takes 5 ice trays to bring the temperature down to 50F, where it stays for quite a while (about an hour). I dove in with the snorkel from the beginning today, but I try to keep relaxed, doing boxed breathing (through the mouth, of course). It seemed harder to adjust at first, but then felt very comfortable. I’m not at the point of opening my eyes yet, but they feel relaxed at least. The hard part is not letting water in through my nose. I feel like there is a reflex I need to overcome, or a muscle I need to learn how to control there. Edit: my skin temps were recorded at 63F. But perhaps this is because I don’t get a good reading until I take my face out and dry it off a little bit. The skin temps rose to 68F after about 20 seconds, and about 75F after about a minute. So I suspect the skin temp will get close to the water temp, especially as my time duration increases.

    I’ve been reading through the old pages of the CT threads in that part of the forum. 47 pages. I’m almost halfway through, and they’re still from 2012. I want to read and learn what I can before I ask my own stupid questions there. Some interesting threads back there.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
  10. Seth Nelson

    Seth Nelson New Member

    CT Day 7. I’m up to 10 minutes in water just under 50F. No problems. I’m getting better about water not going up my nose, and about easy breathing (through the snorkel, when I’m not holding my breath). I’m actually enjoying it leading up to, during, and after. My plan is to build up to 20 minutes and stay there for a while before going to phase two. I’m finding this time is prime for meditation, or listening to a podcast, etc. I’m also making progress reading through old CT threads here. I’m finally into posts from 2013. Ha!

    I’m also excited to see dminder closing in on my goal. Today’s estimate is 76ng/ml. I’ve almost reached my 90-Day goal of 675K IUs; should be there in about 8 days. Seeing measurable and consistent progress has always been very motivational for me.
  11. Seth Nelson

    Seth Nelson New Member

    CT Day 13. I’m up to 15 minutes in water. I’ve been getting the water just under 50F, and figuring out how to fit a little more of my head submerged. My body got tired of supporting me at an odd angle at the sink, so I moved to the kitchen table and sit on an adjustable stool. The snorkel starts to get a little clocked with spittle at about 15 minutes, so I’m going to have to start popping up for a few seconds to empty that now. Still loving this. My pattern is to watch the sunrise, eat a protein/fat-filled breakfast, and then do my CT just before going out for HT.

    Speaking of Heliotherapy, that is also progressing. I feel like my solar callus is stronger than it’s ever been. I’m not longer afraid of the high noon sun, or even the Texas summer heat. In fact I relish it. I’m beginning to think my goal of Vitamin D level of 80 is going to be laughably low before long. In fact, according to Dminder, my levels have been hovering around 79 for a few days, and my 90-day goal will be flush in just a few days. I’ll order new testing soon.

    Also, if anyone is interested, I have started a Heliotherapy photo album on my Facebook page. I’ve made it public, so feel free to swing by.

    MisterT likes this.
  12. Seth Nelson

    Seth Nelson New Member

    Yesterday, I received the disappointing news that my Vitamin D levels were only 72, even though Dminder was predicting 80. I suppose the app was overestimating how much Vitamin D I am making from the sun. I decided to change my skin type to Fitzpatrick IV, which might fix that? I’ll test again once the app shows me back at 80.

    CT Day I’ve Lost Track. I still haven’t found a good routine schedule-wise for CT. I feel ready and eager to start cold baths. We don’t have an indoor tub. So I recently got a nice galvanized steel Stock Tank, 2’ by 2’ by 6’. Water comes out of the hose at 81F. My first attempt didn’t have enough ice. 30lbs only dropped the temps to about 70F. My second attempt, with about 60lbs of ice, got it down to 57F. Not bad, and I loved being in there for about 15 minutes. No problems. Felt great inside, and when I got out. After about ten minutes, I shivered for another 50 minutes. That was fun. Looking forward to my next session, with more ice, when I can find the time. We are shopping for a new house, for a variety of reasons. I will make sure it has a nice-sized tub. And we will get an extra ice maker.
    drezy likes this.
  13. Seth Nelson

    Seth Nelson New Member

    CT update. I used more ice this time, and got the temps down to about 47F. The water felt great when I was inside. But afterward, the shivering kicked in big time. Severe shaking, even found it difficult to talk, and didn’t even have enough control to eat dinner. Severe enough to scare the wife. Subsided gradually after about 45 minutes. Went back to reviewed some forum posts, saying that shivering was not common, or necessary. In fact, the idea is that eventually your body cold adapts so well that shivering is minimal if at all present. So I think I’m doing too much. I’ll make sure the temps stay between 50-55F, and limit myself to 10 minutes, until that becomes easy with little to no shivering.

    I wish the Dminder app support was more responsive. I‘m still not finding any answers about Skin Types, or why the app estimate was so different from my blood testing.
  14. Seth Nelson

    Seth Nelson New Member

    Vitamin D. Rob Williams from the Dminder app got back to me. He thinks dminder estimate of 80, and test results of 72 is pretty good, well within the range of margin reproducibility. That was Lab Corp testing. Everlywell (same sample time) came back at 76. He also confirmed that I shouldn’t switch Skin Types for accuracy. I suppose I could be more conservative in my clothing and cloud cover estimates. I also think I can just be satisfied that the estimates are all close enough.

    CT. I’ve managed to get in several ice baths this week. Today was the first time in the pm sun. Water was about 53F, and I was in for 10 minutes. Air-dried after. No shivering. Either I’m starting to adapt, or the sun made the difference. Or both. I’ll stick with 10 minutes until it is easy consistently. Then increase a minute at a time, gradually. Also starting to look into Wim Hof. Reading his book, and considering a workshop being offered locally in a couple weeks.
  15. Seth Nelson

    Seth Nelson New Member

    Vitamin D. I’ve adjusted my schedule to allow a couple hours around solar noon. So even during the winter, I should be able to get my daily dose of UV light. Unfortunately, we’ve been having a lot of overcast days, which Dminder doesn’t like. Rob Williams mentioned to me that it seems that Vitamin D stays in the system for roughly 90 days. So I think I should not stress out on days when I’m just not able to get my UV light. Currently, the app estimates my levels at 88, but I don’t plan to re-test until March.

    Also, I’ve been wondering, giving the importance of Vitamin D and circadian rhythms, how do people live far away from the equator, where there is so little light or darkness, or where UV light is not significant. But I’ve been reading the study guides. Not understanding everything, but I’m working on it. It seems that the theory is that becoming cold adapted changes the way our systems work altogether. I suppose the answers are there. Speaking of which....

    CT. I’ve been getting about five baths per week since my last post. But I‘m not sure sure I’m seeing improvement. I read the Wim Hof book, and even took a fundamentals seminar here in San Antonio. The “after drop” is still getting me, though. For the ten-minute ice bath in 50F water, I feel great. And for about five minutes after. But then the severe shivering kicks in for about 20 minutes. So I’m going to cut the duration down to 5 minutes and see if that helps.
  16. Seth Nelson

    Seth Nelson New Member

    I have been loving my HT these days. My tan has been full and golden consistently for months, and the wife loves it. I can be out in the full sun for hours and not feel in danger of burning. I rarely am out that long. I still use the Dminder app and aim for at least 7K IUs daily to maintain my minimum goal of Vitamin D levels of 75. On rainy/cloudy/busy days, I resort to the Bulletproof supplement. I’ll retest my levels around March. All I know now is that I am addicted to sunlight, and I love it.

    My next challenge is to figure out how I can still be productive outside. The hot sun makes my electronics overheat. Rain is trouble for electronics and paperwork. Dirt is a problem when I need to get ready for work. So on days that time permits, here is a list of activities to keep me occupied outside:

    Nothing (relaxing, day-dreaming, meditation).
    Breath work.
    Reading a book.
    Listening to a podcast.
    Gardening (clothed).
    I want more options....

    Here are a couple pictures of my current HT setup, allowing for 100% sun exposure.
    7BC64478-943C-47CB-9E1B-80AFC440EB23.jpeg 115044CD-0E2D-42DD-AD26-BE7F027233F3.jpeg
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
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  17. Seth Nelson

    Seth Nelson New Member

    Here on the 29th latitude (San Antonio, TX), we are technically able to get Vitamin D year round. But even at Solar Noon, the sun is only around 38 degrees, with a UV index barely 3. On a clear day, naked for just the right two hours (work permitting), I might make my goal. But it is more often than not that not all the conditions allow for this. But as I’m reading more, I’m beginning to understand this is not a problem, at least for those of us descended from a certain haplotype. My paternal ancestry is Swedish for centuries, and my maternal is mostly Dutch and French. (I haven’t learned yet how to access or understand all my 23andme data.) For us, we have the other ancestral pathway that thrives even with lower Vitamin D by being cold-adapted and mostly keto (emphasis on seafood). So as “winter” approaches, whatever that means in San Antonio, I am planning to focus on becoming cold adapted, and not worry so much about sun-derived Vitamin D levels.

    Currently, my main method is the ice bath. Ice packs, face dunking, cold showers, these were all helpful initial steps. But I really love the ice bath. It feels great during. I’m not a big fan of the after drop shivers, but at least they do make me feel alive. Water comes out of the hose now around 70F (down ten degrees from just a couple months ago), so it still takes adding about 40lbs of ice to get the water down to 50F. I cut my duration down to about 5 minutes, hoping to cut back on the afterdrop, and am gradually increasing the duration. I’m up to 6, about to increase to 7 minutes. My favorite is on warm sunny days, I’ll stay in for at least 20 minutes; I’ll get some pretty severe afterdrop shivers, but they are more tolerable and short-lived when I can air dry in the sun. But once again, it is rare that all the conditions align to allow for this.

    Here are pics of my CT set-up.

    263341D3-4319-4530-A265-DEFA5D81A26E.jpeg AF17917F-3626-4B4B-9E56-59707AC60BBF.jpeg 6B8475FF-EB49-416A-A158-66486118ED0F.jpeg
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
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  18. Seth Nelson

    Seth Nelson New Member

    Wow, I just got some surprising lab results back. Dminder was estimating my Vitamin D levels at 104ng/ml. Everlywell testing came back at 49ng/ml. I don’t understand the discrepancy. Crazy. I’m in contact with Rob Williams (maker of Dminder), and I’ve reached out to Everlywell. I’m also planning to compare with another lab.
  19. Seth Nelson

    Seth Nelson New Member

    For some good news, Omega Quant reported my Omega 6:3 ratio to be 4.5 to 1. It was 5.6 to 1. I’m pretty happy with that.
  20. Hey Seth.
    I believe Dminder is a great tool to ease someone into solar exposure safely, without burning; however our ancestors were in the sun all day, everyday. My d levels were also lower than I thought they should have been after a couple of months of living in the tropics. I have been experimenting with dawn till dusk, high altitude, equatorial with uvi peaking at 16. I pretty much have a tankini or not and a straw Panama hat, which limits over exposure on head, upper chest and back. I try to maximize perpendicular angle of body to sun all day and even at solar noon, it feels great. I havent burned or felt like ive had too much sun. We are meant to get all day sun.
    And remember, it doesn't matter whether you play for the Baptists, the Presbyterians or the Lutherans, you need to keep your organ in the sun!
    Seth Nelson likes this.

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