Calcium and ITP

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Natural Calcium

Calcium is the fifth most abundant element by mass in the earths crust.  It is also the fifth most abundant ion dissolved in seawater.  Calcium is essential for all living organisms; in particular their cell physiology, and humans are no exception.  As a major material used in the mineralization of bones, calcium is the most abundant metal on mass in the human body.  Without enough Calcium in your system you are in trouble.  Did you know that Prednisone leaches calcium from your bones?

Taking Prednisone? Take Calcium too

If you are taking any amount of Prednisone on a daily basis then you absolutely need to be increasing your calcium intake, either through diet or with a supplement.  There seems to be a grey area in the Medical profession at the moment about how much prednisone requires a Calcium and Vitamin D supplementation.  All I can say about this is that any amount of Prednisone is too much and every possible precaution should be taken to avoid developing Steroid-Induced Osteoporosis.

Steroid-Induced Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones, which causes them to lose their density and become brittle and more susceptible to fracture.  Your bones are the organs that produce your blood.  Your bones make your platelets!  Your bones are not something that can be replaced with metal if they are broken or too weak.  Long-Term steroid use weakens your bones, as the Prednisone will leach Calcium from them.

Calcium Absorption

Calcium is absorbed in the small intestine.  This absorption is aided by the presences of Vitamin D in your system at the time of the Calcium uptake.  Most people on Prednisone will need between 1000 to 1500 mg of calcium per day.

The Top 5 ways to increase you Calcium, Naturally

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      Full cream milk

      Milk (Dairy ) So the best source of Dietary Calcium is of course Dairy.  Australians are very lucky with the quality and quantity of Dairy products available here.   We are able to access a variety of milk, yoghurt, cheeses, cream and curds.  If you are looking for more calcium, then this is where you find it. However, if like me, you have switched to an anti inflammatory diet such as the Paleo Diet, then you will need to look for non dairy sources of Calcium.  I still consume a bit of milk cause I love the Vitamin D + Calcium combo, but a small amount of milk is not enough.

    • help with itp
      sun dried little fish

      Tiny fish (with the bones)  These tiny fish would include Anchovies, White Bait or Sardines.  Canned salmon and other fish are also sold with the bones included, but you would need to read the label.  Eating these fish will provide you with a nice dose of fish oil, probably a bit of Vitamin D, and a whole lot of Calcium.  What better food to eat for bone health than another animal’s healthy bones.  If you are looking for the next best source of Calcium after dairy, then this is it.

  • Seaweed Sushi rolls, Japanese – get the fatty fish and the seed weed together.  The only chance I get to eat seaweed is in Japanese and Korean restaurants.  If anyone knows any great Nori recipes please let me know.
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Chia seeds
  • Seeds  If you are a vegetarian or Vegan, then the Calcium in seeds will be a great natural healthy source.  Seeds can sometimes be overlooked because they are so small, but it is because of their size that they can easily be incorporated into any dish.  They are easy to sprinkle over salad or add to sauces and bakes,  mash up with vegies, or include in a stir-fry – actually everything could benefit from a little sprinkling of seeds.  Seeds high in Calcium include Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds or Linseeds, depending on where you are from and Sesame Seeds or Tahini will work just as well.
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    roasted almonds

    Almonds  Almonds are the Paleo Dieters dream.  These tasty little nuts may be used for sweet and savory dishes, blended into a baking meal or eaten by the handful between lunch and dinner.  Aim to always have a supply of Almonds in your house, just stay clear of the salted kind – Salted Almonds are moreish and a huge no no for people taking Prednisone.  To read more about staying away from Salt, click here.


My Tips to Not Looking like a Junkie

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Feature image from Lissy Laricchia

So, you have ITP now – Welcome.  What you might not know, is that every now and again you may find that you look a lot like a junkie.  (Unless you are a junkie and then you’ll probably find yourself pissed at me for writing this article).  The distinction between Junkie and ITP patient is pretty dam small.   I don’t have anything against junkies.  They have always got funny stories for me and have brightened the character cast of Orange is the New Black for three great seasons now… I digress.  Looking like a junkie is just another fact of ITP that doctors fail to mention.

Reasons you might look like a junkie are as follows – Track marks – Tired eyes –  Mood swings – Late nights – Nausea – Thin, Fragile Skin – Hallucinations – Liver Damage – Confusion and finally, Paranoia.  Ok, I can’t help with the paranoia.  I find, most of the time when people think everyone is out to get them, it is normally true.  But for the rest of it, there is hope..

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Vitamin E

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Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a very important and interesting vitamin.  Vitamin E is the collective name for a group of fat-soluble compounds with distinctive antioxidant activities.  In addition to its activities as an antioxidant, vitamin E is involved in immune function, regulation of gene expression and other metabolic processes.

It is important that you inform yourself about vitamin E before self administering as vitamin E is an active vitamin that may interfere with other medications.

Vitamin E deficiencies can be just as harmful to the body as taking an excessive amount.  There is a risk of toxicity if vitamin E is taken without the proper precautions and medical support.  This article is not a comprehensive account of the risks and benefits of vitamin E, but an introduction to your own research.

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Vitamin E and Health

Many claims have been made about vitamin E’s potential to promote health and prevent and treat disease. The mechanisms by which vitamin E might provide this protection include its function as an antioxidant and its roles in anti-inflammatory processes, inhibition of platelet aggregation, and immune enhancement.

A primary barrier to characterizing the roles of vitamin E in health is the lack of validated biomarkers for vitamin E intake and status to help relate intakes to valid predictors of clinical outcomes.

Vitamin E is famous for its regenerative properties on skin, nails and hair.  The antioxidants in vitamin E actually neutralise the free radicals that cause skin damage.  We are not just talking about looking better.  Remember that you skin is your bodies largest organ, it regulates your temperature, senses your environment, detoxifies the body, absorbs nutrients through the skin and holds our whole body together.  Our skin is a very important part of our lives.

Interactions with Medications

Vitamin E supplements have the potential to interact with several types of medications. A few examples are provided below. People taking these and other medications on a regular basis should discuss their vitamin E intakes with their healthcare providers.

Anticoagulant and antiplatelet medications
 – Vitamin E can inhibit platelet aggregation and antagonize vitamin K-dependent clotting factors. As a result, taking large doses with anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications, such as warfarin, can increase the risk of bleeding, especially in conjunction with low vitamin K intake. The amounts of supplemental vitamin E needed to produce clinically significant effects are unknown but probably exceed 400 IU/day.

ITP, vitamin E, avacado, low platelet count, low Platelets, ITP disease, immune system disease, itp blood, immune thrombocytopenia, itp, Prednisone, Like vitamin C, vitamin E plays a significant role as an antioxidant, thereby protecting body tissue from the damage of oxidation. It is important in the formation of red blood cells and the use of Vitamin K. Many women also use it to help minimize the appearance of wrinkles, and mothers use it to help heal minor wounds without scarring, as it is valued for its ability to soothe and heal broken or stressed skin tissue.

Vitamin E Rich Food

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Nuts and nut oils almonds and hazel nuts
  • High value leafy greens like spinach, collard and dandelions.
  • Avocados
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwifruit
  • Mangoes
  • Tomatoes

You can find a more detailed breakdown of Vitamin E here – The Vitamin E Fact Sheet from the National Institute of Health, US – and here – Through the  Nutrient Reference Values from the National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia.

I am now heading dowstairs to make these FUDGY AVOCADO BROWNIES – oh my they look amazing!


Stretching before bed with ITP

ITP and sleep

Why Should You Stretch Before Bed?


Stretching before bed not only calms your body and mind before sleep, it releases tension in your muscles and draws them into relaxing.  Stretching has known to be benificia for thousands of years.  Did you know that the asansa of yoga where practices as a means to stretch out the body before meditation and pary.  Prepares the body and mind for relaxation, clear heads and focuses mind – relaxed and stress free.

One of the side effects for many medications is inability to sleep.

“Stretching in the evening is just as important as in the morning, which is when most people think about doing it,” says Laurel, Maryland acupuncturist Allison Vaccaro.

“Like acupuncture, stretching helps break up stagnation and encourages movement throughout the channels. Stretching in the evening helps loosen the muscles that haven’t been used during the day. Many people spend their evenings sitting on the couch watching TV. Some hit the gym first thing in the morning, then sit at a desk all day. These routines prime the body for stiffness, and can produce pain at night and upon waking.

“Patients of mine who follow my advice to stretch at night report better sleep quality, and less pain and stiffness in the morning.”

Seven Simple Stretches for Sleep

Start at your feet, toes even and work up the body so that you know you have stretched out your entire body.  the whole sequence should only take a couple of minutes.  Should not be about flexability or how far you can go.  Should be a focus on slowing down your body and preparing for sleeping.

1. Feet

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2. Calves

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3. Thighs

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4. Legs

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5. Hips

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6. Back

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7. Neck

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Grapefruit – Is There a Problem?

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Grapefruit? What’s the Problem?

The other day I found myself with a grapefruit in my hand and an old wives tale in my head.  I don’t know why it came to me, but something was telling me not to eat the Grapefruit; something about grapefruit making the pill not work, like St John’s wort?

Then I doubted myself.  How can a grapefruit be an evil kind of citrus when all the rest are fine?

What was I going to do with the Grapefruit tree in my back yard, plumb and ladened with the most burdensome of citrus?  I started to ask a few friends if they had heard of this medication mixing myth.

I Started to Hear Conflicting Stories –

  • A friend of mine told me her mother could not drink Grapefruit juice while she was being treated for Breast Cancer – Apparently the nurses where quite insistent.
  • Another friend told me to eat plenty of Grapefruit as it is listed as a great food to eat on the alkaline diet, with mangos, limes, lemons and papaya.
  • ‘Grapefruits?  Oh yes, you should eat one every day – Very good for the fat burning’ they told me.
  • ‘Grapefruit? Oh no! Stay away from that one.

My current contraceptive pill warns me to stay away from St John’s Wart, but there is not mention of Grapefruit on the instructions –

Is it just an old wives tale?

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Related Search Results for Grapefruit.

I decided to find out weather or not the humble fat busting little sour drum could really cause that much damage.  I had to do some research.

I googled ‘Grapefruit and Medications’ Wow!

There is a lot of information out there to confirm that Grapefruits do in fact effect a lot of prescription medications.


‘Today, more than 30 commonly prescribed drugs carry a warning against mixing their use and grapefruits or grapefruit juice. This is not innocuous, because so many Americans have grapefruit for breakfast at a time when they also take their medications.'(1)

Here is the confusing part – Grapefruits do not interact with every drug.  

But WHY?

Reactions between Grapefruit and prescription drugs was first documented in 1989 by a Canadian Medical Scientist,who discovered that when he took felodipine with grapefruit juice his blood-concentration of the drug was four times as high as it should have been. In other words, a standard dose combined with grapefruit juice was four times as potent as it was without grapefruit juice. (2)

‘Grapefruit juice blocks special enzymes in the wall of the small intestine that actually destroys many medications and prevents their absorption into the body. Thus, smaller amounts of the drugs get into the body than are ingested. When the action of this enzyme is blocked, more of the drugs get into the body and the blood levels of these medications increase. This can lead to toxic side effects from the medications.’ (3)

What I found was that grapefruits seem to have the most disastrous effects on the drugs that people would probably keep quite private.  Drugs and medications used to treat mental health are the most susceptible to the enzyme dissolving grapefruit juice.  You just never know what people are taking…

CitruaJust Grapefruit?

What about other citrus?

Well it looks like it is just Grapefruits.  There is an emzyme in grapefruits that are not found in any other fruit at all.  Weird.  but true.

The truth is that Grapefruits might not have any effect on the medications and drug you are taking – But really? they aren’t that nice.  I am going to just steer clear I think.


 Other Medication-Effecting Foods

While researching I found this list that outlines others foods that may also effect medication and prescription drugs – Please note that this is only a small sample of medication-effecting foods and should not be taken as the only risk.

Grapefruit juice: Some statin drugs to lower cholesterol, such as simvastatin (Zocor), atorvastatin (Lipitor), and pravastatin (Pravachol); some blood pressure-lowering drugs, such as Nifediac and Afeditab ; some organ transplant rejection drugs, such as Sandimmune and Neoral (both cyclosporine); some anti-anxiety drugs, such as BuSpar (buspirone); some anti-arrhythmia drugs, such as Cordarone and Nexterone (both amiodarone); some antihistamines, such as Allegra (fexofenadine); the anti-malaria drugs Quinerva or Quinite (quinine); and Halcion (triazolam), a medication used to treat insomnia.

Licorice: The sweetening compound glycyrrhizin in black licorice may reduce the effects of some blood pressure drugs or urine-producing drugs including Hydrodiuril (hydrochlorothiazide) and Aldactone (spironolactone). It may increase the toxicity risks from Lanoxin (digoxin), used to treat congestive heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms.

Chocolate: Antidepressant Monoamine Oxidase (MAO) inhibitors (such as phenelzine (Nardil, Nardelzine) and tranylcypromine (Parnate) are just one category of drugs that shouldn’t be consumed with excessive amounts of chocolate and other caffeinated foods. Caffeine can also interact with stimulant drugs such as Ritalin (methylphenidate), increasing their effect, or by decreasing the effect of sedative-hypnotics such as Ambien (zolpidem). Using bronchodilators with caffeinated foods and drinks can increase the chance of side effects, such as excitability, nervousness, and rapid heart beat.

Potassium-rich foods (such as bananas, oranges, and green leafy vegetables): Can add to high potassium levels in the body caused by ACE (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme) inhibitors including captopril (Capoten) and enalapril (Vasotec) prescribed to lower blood pressure or treat heart failure. Too much potassium can cause an irregular heartbeat and heart palpitations.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum): Can reduce concentrations of medications in the blood, including digoxin (Lanoxin), used to treat congestive heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms; the cholesterol-lowering drug lovastatin (Mevacor and Altocor), and the erectile dysfunction drug sildenafil (Viagra).

Vitamin E: Taken with a blood-thinning medication such as warfarin (Coumadin) can increase anti-clotting activity and may cause an increased risk of bleeding.

Ginseng: May increase the risk of bleeding when taken with anticoagulants (blood thinners such as warfarin and heparin). Can also increase the bleeding effects of aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and ketoprofen. Combined with MAO inhibitors such as Nardil or Parnate may cause headache, trouble sleeping, nervousness and hyperactivity.

Ginkgo biloba: High doses can decrease the effectiveness of anticonvulsant therapy in patients taking seizure-control medicines Tegretol, Equetro or Carbatrol (carbamazepine), and Depakote (valproic acid). (4)



Grapefruit and Prescription Drugs: Mix Carefully – By Mark Bloom HealthDay Reporter, (1)(2) 

Grapefruit Juice Can Interact With Medicines! – Original Medical Author: William C. Shiel, Jr, MD, FACP, FACR Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD, (3)

Grapefruit not only food that can Effect Medication – Michelle Healy, USA TODAY (4)

Why getting sick might be good for you?

ITP and Cold, ITP and the Flu, low Platelets, platelets low, platelet count, what is itp, low platelet counts, itp blood, itp platelets, itp blood disease, itp autoimmune disease, itp blogs, blogs about itp,

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This is a controversial topic among ITP sufferers but one that must be mentioned.

I have read a lot of forum talk from both sides of the argument.  Each side of the debate seems back up by their own lived experience of getting sick while having ITP.  Some people find getting a virus, cold or illness will reek havoc on their ITP.  Others are completely the opposite. When they fall ill, they feel amazing!  Their platelets rise and their bodies enjoy the process.

All I can go by is my own experience.  I have found that when I have a VIRUS OR COLD (which is rare in itself) my blood count tends to look pretty good.

I have spoken to my haematologist about this and, though there are no definitive answers as to why, the general understanding is this – When my body is illness free, my immune system starts to attack my blood.  However, when there is actually a virus or bacteria to attack and kill, my immune system’s ATTENTION IS DIVERTED to actual duties.

There are patients with ITP who state that the medications and supplements they take to treat the cold or flu that effects their blood count.  They believe it is not a case of the immune systems attention being diverted, but more to do with taking better care of yourself when you are sick.

I tend to not take anything when I am feeling a little sick.  The best medicine is a few days off work, bed rest, (Netflix) plenty of water and to wait it out.  However crappy.

I know that this is not the case with everyone but it works for me.  If you know for sure that cold and flus are bad for you, stay in with this months’ book club recommendation for winter.  But perhaps, if you are one of the lucky ones, like me – head out and kiss all the snotty nosed, sick children you can find and give you platelets and bone marrow for that matter a break this winter.