The FDA’s War on Nicotine

In a press release on 7/28/17, the FDA continued to demonize nicotine as a product requiring their immediate attention and regulatory action. This is despite research into the positive effects the chemical has on both cognitive andB physiological functions of the human body. I personally question anything and everything the FDA does because they’re certainly not here to protect us. If they were, we’d have food labeling and processing laws in place that prevented us from eating chemicals and hidden ingredients which I believe attribute to the rise in autoimmune disorders.B The National Institutes of Health estimates over 23 million Americans suffer from autoimmune disease, and that number is increasing every year [credit]. Factors such as genetics, the environment, infections, and the gut microbiota all play a role in the mediation of autoimmune disorders [credit].

The FDA targets e-cigs and vape juice in their latest war-on-products-they-want-to-tax. These products don’t contain tobacco, which is the beast they originally set out to slay, yet they are somehow now a point of interest to the administration. Odd? Probably not if you consider the FDA to be just like any other government entity. They have basically targeted nicotine as an addictive substance and the users of nicotine products as addicts that need their intervention and governance. Yes, nicotine is addictive. So is alcohol, sugar, and caffeine.

With the FDA’s new rule, which they plan to implement in August of 2018, producers of vaping juice will have to embark on expensive research endeavors in order to win the coveted approval of the FDA. This will likely cause many manufacturers to cease business and leave tons of consumers without the products they have come to enjoy.

Nicotine has yet to be deemed a carcinogen and actually has some medical benefits that we are still discovering. “When examined separately from smoking, is thought to be an excellent and safe brain enhancer. It boosts brain function in healthy adults and in those with mental health problems. It shows promise in treating brain disorders including ADHD, depression, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s [credit].” I’ve also written about using nicotine to treat ulcerative colitis in former smokers as well as some information regarding the safety of vaping.

So, why are you lumping nicotine in with tobacco, FDA? Why are you demonizing a chemical that is very similar to caffeine? Whose purse are you digging your grubby fingers into looking for a few dollars? Oh, probably the unregulated e-cig community of entrepreneurs helping people stay or get off the tobacco that we already know is awful for us. Let’s not forget the consumers who will be the real victims when their favorite products no longer exist.

The consumers are always your victim. Isn’t that why you feed them garbage mixed with chemicals loaded with disease-causing sugar? That’s alright, though, because there’s probably tons of greatB FDA-approved drugs we can take.

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LEAP Diet Phase 3 & Nicotine (NRT 2 mos)

***I moved recently, so I apologize for my absence!***

On 8/20/17 I started my LEAP/MRT program. I am about to wrap up phase 2 and enter phase 3. I feel pretty awesome despite how tough it can be to hold off on beloved foods. I am keeping a few notes about questionable foods (raspberries, mustard, and beets) that I am unsure if the response was from external allergens or the food itself. I will retest those again later. I don’t care too much for any of them that I need them right now, anyway.

So, as I enter phase 3, I wanted to say that I would do this program again without a second thought. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it requires discipline and endurance. But, there is a real improvement and that’s all that matters to me.

Here’s what I can have beginning on 9/16/17:

  • Coconut 1.6 (9/16)
  • Turmeric 1.6 (9/17)
  • Garlic 1.4 (9/18)
  • Lemon 1.5 (9/19)
  • Salmon 1.7 (9/20)
  • Cashew 1.4 (9/21)
  • Walnut 1.6 (9/22)
  • Orange 1.6 (9/23)
  • Eggplant 1.5 (9/24)
  • Basil 1.4 (9/25)
  • Honeydew 1.4 (9/26)
  • Celery 1.4 (9/27)
  • Cabbage 1.6 (9/28)
  • Beef 1.7 (9/29)

I actually ordered these beginning with my favorites because last phase I did it based on level. It was terrible waiting to get to peanuts (I will eat an entire container of PB in a day if no one stops me).

Below are some of the foods/meals I had while on phase 2. You can check them all out on my instagram account.


Well, how about that nicotine experiment? Today marks 63 days (or, 2 months) using nicotine replacement therapy. On 10/5 I will have a procedure (flex sig) to determine how I am doing in terms of clinical healing. I am so nervous. I’ve also not told my GI just yet, so let’s keep this between us – haha!

Regarding how I feel in general? There are times I have forgotten to take my meds and had to circle back, terrified. Forgetting the canasa isn’t so much of a big deal, lately. However, forgetting the lialda and the GERD meds scares me. I’ve actually forgotten those both on 2 occasions now and simply took 2 lialda later in the day (too close to my next dose to take a full dose). Maybe it means I will be ready to be on the maintenance dose of lialda (2) instead of the 4 pills?!

Anyway, all that above just means that I feel great. I have forgotten that I have this terrible disease because on most days I feel wonderful. Of course, I still suffer from some secondary symptoms which I can’t totally fault UC for. I am wondering if some are related to the meds. For instance, I have severe dry eye in my right eye mostly. I have to use drops in the morning just to open them without feeling like I am ripping off my eyelid from my eyeball. They get a little red, also. My hair and skin are dryer than normal and I have an itch (that I attribute to the dryness). I do still suffer from occasional fatigue and body aches, but I am able to be active and actually get a real workout in (I’m a lifter). This is great considering I was in the hospital nearly 2.5 months ago wondering if I was dying (dramatic fall).

I’m still vaping, but I have arrived at a solid love for the 6mg dose. In my research, it’s estimated that my old preferred brand of smokes deliver about 2mg per smoke, with about a 90% absorption rate. If I use the vape like I would a cigarette, then at 6mg, I would estimate my absorption at about 1.8 to 2.5mg per 10 minute session. Unfortunately, you have to vape longer and harder than when smoking a real cigarette, but I am simply trying to mimic what I would have smoked in my previous life before the emergence of UC. I want to mention that I’ve been using 100% VG Organic Juice from ECBlendFlavors.com. Totally reasonable prices and I’ve had no issue with their juice. Check them out if you vape.

On my 5-day nicotine update post, I made a little plan. I want to revisit that now that I am 2 months into my experiment.

  1. Come completely off of prednisone successfully (22nd) b
  2. Get my LEAP/MRT food sensitivity testing (26th) b
  3. Stay on mesalamine (4.8gm oral + rectal) b
  4. Stay on the Specific Carbohydrate diet on a fanatic level b
  5. Combine my LEAP/MRT results with SCD b
  6. Gradually reduce my oral mesalamine dosage in approximately 6 months*
    • Reducing 1 pill every month* UPDATE: Maintenance level is 2 pills
  7. Gradually reduce frequency of rectal mesalamine*
    • Every other day, every two days, etc*
  8. Gradually reduce nicotine dosage* UPDATE: This is after about 5 years
      • 18mg at the highest level, dropping by 3mg each month or so* UPDATE:
        I’m digging the 6mg

     

  9. See if I can maintain remission solely on the Specific Carbohydrate diet and LEAP/MRT results*
  10. Redo the LEAP/MRT blood work as needed
    • Our bodies change every so many years

That’s all for now, folks. Thanks for reading. I’ll be in touch more now that I have gotten myself situated at the new place!


LEAP Diet Phase 1

I recently completedB LEAP food sensitivyB testing bloodwork and today is the first day of phase 1. For the next 10 days, my food options include only the following items:

  • Codfish
  • Sole
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Mango
  • Grape
  • Plum
  • Pineapple
  • Banana
  • Avocado
  • Papaya
  • Coffee
  • Pecan
  • Vanilla
  • Parsley
  • Cumin
  • Ginger
  • Distilled vinegar
  • Baking soda

After 10 days of eating practically nothing, I will begin adding in 1 food item a day from 1 section in phase 2 and so on until I’ve completed phase 5 and know exactly which foods cause a histamine reaction for me.

Today has been pretty hard, but I’m hoping it will get easier. Snacking is the biggest issue right now as I don’t have much variety. I’m also not too stoked about the protein options. But, at the end of the day, this is all for the betterment of my health.

I’ve made plum sauce by cooking down about 5 plums in 1/2 cup of water and I made cod tacos using romaine. I have also made little seasoning packets using straws for my purse just in case I need them.

Here’s to hoping for the best possible outcome and the salvaging of my health!

 

Nicotine Self-Study (Day 33)

I’m a real rebel with a cause. – Nina Simone

 

 

It’s now been 33 days of nicotine replacement therapy use and 27 days off prednisone. I posted recently about the results of my 8/4 GI follow up, but to recap: they think I am close to remission and want to confirm via a sig scope in the next few months.

Since choosing to vape has been such a huge decision for me (as a former smoker), I have spent a good bit of time trying to ensure that I have made the best choice for myself. I figured I would share some key information that I found to ease my troubled conscience.

The first is a study found here:B Electronic cigarettes: review of use, content, safety, effects on smokers and potential for harm and benefit that concludes “Allowing EC to compete with cigarettes in the market-place might decrease smoking-related morbidity and mortality. Regulating EC as strictly as cigarettes, or even more strictly as some regulators propose, is not warranted on current evidence. Health professionals may consider advising smokers unable or unwilling to quit through other routes to switch to EC as a safer alternative to smoking and a possible pathway to complete cessation of nicotine use.” While I realize this study is based on assisting current smokers to quit, the findings are still positive for my purposes.

Additionally, I found this lovely article:B 9 research studies to silence the vape haters.B Here are the 9 points of interest which the article lists studies to support:

  1. Secondhand vapor is not dangerous
  2. Vaping can improve lung function for smokers
  3. Nicotine alone is not powerfully addictive
  4. E-cigarettes are not full of formaldehyde
  5. Sweet vape flavors are not aimed at children
  6. Vaping is substantially lower in toxins than smoking
  7. Vaping can help people quit smoking
  8. Vaping is not a gateway to smoking
  9. Vaping is NOT as bad as smoking

22

While I feel some guilt about using nicotine to save my life treat my UC, I remind myself often that: had I been prescribed nicotine, I would not feel so poorly about it. And, when I remind myself about prescription medication that was suggested to me, I remember that I made the best choice out of those currently available. I hope to not have to make any tougher decisions down the road, but at least I know my options.

While I am here, let me shout out ECBlendFlavors.com real quick. I’ve been using their 100% VG organic vape juice. Totally affordable with a great selection and fast shipping. I just ordered 4 more flavors in a nice 5ml trial size. They have a custom flavor wizard as well. Give them some business!

IMG_20170814_185522_363


GI Follow-Up Appointment Results 8/4

This morning I had my second follow-up appointment since being released from my hospital stay at the end of May. I am 3 weeks off of prednisone and feeling pretty good.

I had bloodwork on 07/26/17 and all of my results are in normal ranges. My vitamin d is up around 57-58. My c-reactive protein is 3.1. And, my doctor confirmed that I can actually allow myself to feel good about my status.

I explained that I had been hesitant to be confident about how well I am feeling because I wasn’t sure if it was a lingering effect of the prednisone. Not the case. In fact, she said that should I continue this way, at my appointment next month they will schedule me for a sig scope to confirm healing of the mucousa.

As far as my doctors know right now, I am on mesalamine and a PPI. (We’re actually going to be getting me off the PPI now). I take some supplements and I exercise. I follow the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. They do not know about my nicotine experimentation.

I figure that should all go according to the plan I have laid out for myself in a previous post, I will eventually wean off the nicotine as well. It’s certainly better than biologics at the moment.

I just hit up Trader Joe’s for the first time and scored free bananas from BJs, so I have a lot of baking to get to. I’ll be in touch soon. Thanks for reading!

Nicotine Self-Study (Day 15)

 

The best way to predict the future is to create it. – Peter Drucker

I’m going to keep this one short as I am heading out tonight to the shore. I’ve been feeling pretty damn good in terms of symptoms. I am exactly one week off prednisone and was originally terrified as to what would happen to me once I came off.

In terms of the vaping itself, I have one minor complaint. Either from the alcohol or the high nicotine level, I have had some irritation in my mouth that caused canker sores and some swelling under my tongue. And, it’s painful. I’ve been rinsing my mouth and brushing more often and this seems to help. I did hear that this is actually common.

I thought that perhaps I’ve had a reaction to the alcohol in The Lazy Iguana and the In The Raw juices, so I tried the alcohol free e-gel. I suppose we shall see. I think my sweet spot is going to be 12mg. Unfortunately Kind Juice doesn’t currently make the e-gel in 12mg. Insert super sad face.

Know any organic, VG only, alcohol free suppliers? Comment below.

I’m continuing on my SCD journey and having fun with creating dishes that are both pretty and tasty. I feel pretty good overall – my focus at work is back, I feel more confident heading out and about, and I’ve yet to have any significant detours in my symptoms from the UC.

I think I’ll update at the 30 day mark unless something worthy of mentioning occurs. Until then…

day15


Nicotine Self-Study (Day 5)

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible. – Frank Zappa

Here I am on day 5 of my nicotine experiment and I couldn’t wait to update my status. I feel great. And, most importantly, confident.

On days 1 through 3 I used the 7mg patch. As of yesterday, day 4, I moved on to the 14mg patch. I had a tiny bit of nausea today that went away within a half hour. This occurred around noon. The ravenous hunger from prednisone Satan’s tic-tacs? Immediately gone. The mood swings from prednisone Satan’s tic-tacs? Gone. The weird breakout under my left arm? Still here (thanks, pred).

In the meantime, I decided that I will switch to vaping as of Saturday the 22nd. It took a lot for me to make this decision as I had originally intended to use the patch only, but my decision is based on having more control of my dosage and cost effectiveness.

My plan, or hope, for all of this is:

  1. Come completely off of prednisone successfully (22nd)
  2. Get my LEAP/MRT food sensitivity testing (26th)
  3. Stay on mesalamine (4.8gm oral + rectal)
  4. Stay on the Specific Carbohydrate diet on a fanatic level
  5. Combine my LEAP/MRT results with SCD
  6. Gradually reduce my oral mesalamine dosage in approximately 6 months*
    • Reducing 1 pill every month*
  7. Gradually reduce frequency of rectal mesalamine*
    • Every other day, every two days, etc*
  8. Gradually reduce nicotine dosage*
    • 18mg at the highest level, dropping by 3mg each month or so*
  9. See if I can maintain remission solely on the Specific Carbohydrate diet and LEAP/MRT results*
  10. Redo the LEAP/MRT blood work as needed
    • Our bodies change every so many years

*Pending inflammation test results and symptom status.

I will also be weaning myself off of PPI’s (Prilosec) as I have done in the past. This one is pretty tough to do, but I have a plan (of course). I am hoping that the food sensitivity panel will help my GERD as well as my dermographia, asthma (allergic), and generally horrible seasonal allergies. I’m trying to take out all of these MTHFRs!

nicday5.png

Speaking of MTHFRs, I also sent in my 23andMe sample yesterday. This will show me if I have any of 3 specific genetic mutations related to GI issues and allow me to better guide my eating habits. I can’t wait to see!

I did a lot of research to find a vape juice I can use on SCD. Here is what I ended up with and I am excited to try it. They have a flavorless nicotine juice and use only VG: https://www.kindjuice.com/.B My boyfriend gave me an old mod he had, but I also purchased a smaller vape pen called the Rocket 3 from https://www.vaporfi.com/.

Wish me luck. I need it!

nicday5x.png