Back in 2009 I was diagnosed with calcium oxalate kidney stones and then later in the year had a laparascopy to diagnose endometriosis. Needless to say 2009 was a rough year. I have stayed on top of my disorders, especially through diet, and for the most part have been able to keep my symptoms at bay. The unfortunate issue is the disorders rear their ugly heads randomly and it’s often hard to discern what disorder is causing the pain. I can guarantee I will discuss these disorders in the future, however, in the meantime, check out my previous blog to read on about my process of diagnosis and treatment of both disorders.
Due to my history I have bloodwork and urine collection performed every 6-12 months. This past collection I also had bloodwork performed to see if I was having any issues in regards to my vegan diet. I had my testing performed in late August and received the results within the past several weeks.
Urine results: In the past it was shown I do not produce enough citrates, which are known to inhibit calcium oxalate stone formation. Due to that, I am currently on potassium citrate supplement to raise my citrates. With that being said, my citrates looked great. The bad? My oxalates are now high, which is a first. Given my diet is plant/fruit based, this is no big surprise. If I wanted to reduce my oxalates I would reduce my plant intake and up my animal-based food intake. Another option is to watch the types of foods that have higher/lower oxalates. I will be choosing the latter. Thankfully, my doctor fully understands and supports my views on animal-cruelty/diet. He believes that given my fluid intake/output is high (I target drinking 3 liters of water a day) and my uric acid, citric acid, and calcium are within normal limits, I should be able to keep everything in check. Basically, there’s nothing the oxalates can bind to, to call for further stone formation. In addition, the citrates should inhibit formation. It is known that I have more stones located in my kidneys. These are only visible on CAT scan…not radiographs. This may sound like a good thing, but this was the case with my first stone, which presented a big problem. My fingers are crossed that my proactive approach will prevent further stone formation and if/when the known stones dislodge, they will pass easily.
Bloodwork results: For the most part everything checked out fine. However, my iron and B12 levels were low. I did not have any outward signs of B12 deficiency, but I have already started supplementing for B12 with sublingual tablets. My plan is to take 2,000 mcg once daily for 2 weeks and then back off as directed. I’m still in the process of researching iron supplementation.
I’m sure most everyone will say, “You’re deficient because you’re vegan.” Ah, not so fast. Surprisingly, B12 deficiency isn’t a vegan/vegetarian specific problem. For humans the problem isn’t that people don’t eat B12, it’s that we oftentimes do not absorb it. So, if a random person is tested, there’s a good chance they may be deficient.
Since I was never tested for B12 prior to becoming veg 3+ years ago I don’t know if I was deficient. Something that is known: if I wasn’t deficient prior to my lifestyle change, I only had so many reserves before it came time for me to supplement. So I knew supplementation would be coming. Yes, in hindsight I think it would have been better to supplement from the get go, but as with so many things hindsight is 20/20. Living the vegan lifestyle has been a huge learning experience so it’s no surprise that I’ll have “mistakes” along the way.
I absolutely love when my doctors discuss my lifestyle. The look on their faces is priceless. They are so impressed. “Wait, you don’t eat fast food?” “You only eat fruits and veggies?” “You run everyday?” “You’ve signed up you a Half-Ironman??” And when they say, “Would you like to sit in my lobby and tell every one of my patients that walks in, ‘This is how it’s done’?” I take that as the highest compliment. I may not have been blessed with the best body or health, but I try my best to maintain the healthiest lifestyle I can attain.