Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Aug 2001

Q & A

The importance of blood testing, safe melatonin doses and more.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, on January 2021.

Q: Three years ago a doctor told me that I had rheumatoid arthritis. I just recently had a complete physical from a different doctor and she told me that I tested positive for lupus. Last year, I had a lack of protein, and I had blood showing in my kidneys. I also have high blood pressure. Although I am just 34 years old, my body feels like it is aching all the time; frequently, I feel depressed. What would you suggest?

A: It sounds like you have too many disorders for someone so young. The Foundation has protocols for arthritis, lupus and high blood pressure. You should first get a complete blood test taken to see what is going on. Oftentimes, when a there is something wrong in the body and it is not remedied, it will manifest itself and begin to affect other organs. Before you know it, you are having a cascading effect of health problems. Trying to take a supplement for one or two of your conditions may not necessarily clear up the others. We highly recommend that you get a very thorough blood test to determine your illness so that you may find the best treatment available. Your blood test should include autoimmune inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-6, interleukin 1B, leukotriene B(4) and tumor necrosis factor alpha. If these inflammatory cytokines are elevated, they can be suppressed with drug, hormone and/or nutritional therapies. Also check for serum DHEA, as DHEA deficiency is sometimes linked to chronic inflammatory conditions.

Q: Is it safe for a woman to take HGH releasing products if she is on birth control pills? Have any studies been done on this?

A: Although we do not have any studies on the topic, taking HGH releasing products should not interfere with the effectiveness of birth control pills. No negative side effects are expected to result, either. HGH releasers are usually a combination of amino acids and vitamin/mineral co-factors. They do not contain hormones and should therefore not cause a problem.

Q: Can you take CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and Chitosan simultaneously?

A: No, not at the same time. Chitosan, which is a fat binding fiber, will absorb the CLA, which is a fat. What you can do is take CLA first thing in the morning, with or without food, and then take Chitosan with all of your other meals. Also, you can take the CLA at night. The point is not to take CLA and Chitosan simultaneously.

Q: What dosage of melatonin would be in the safe range for me to use? I am in my 40s and I've used it for four years. Currently I take 12 mg every night.

A: Melatonin has been used safely in doses of over 40 mgs for cancer therapy, so it is very safe. The appropriate dose for your body is the one that works. If you feel groggy, or have a headache upon awakening, then you probably took more than your body needed. Melatonin dosing does not depend on how much you weigh or how old you are. Some people take 3 mg to 12 mg every night and some people only need 300 mcg. The best way to determine the best dosage for you is to try different ones and see which one works best.

Q:  Concerning acetyl-L-carnitine, what does "from acetyl-L-carnitine hydrochloride" mean exactly, and are there other levels of quality to be found?

A: Basically, there are two types of amino acids: those that are free-based and those that are hydrochloride-based. The free base form is unstable and hygroscopic. The hydrochloride form is much more stable. This is why all of the clinical studies with acetyl-L-carnitine have used its hydrochloride form.

Q: I've got a slow thyroid and I have read in numerous journals that it's best to avoid soy, kale, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels spouts. Is I3C the ingredient in these items that might lower thyroid function, or is it some component of these vegetables that lower thyroid? I'm taking it right now for prevention.

A: Cruciferous vegetables contain a natural thyroid suppressor and should not be eaten in large quantities by people with hypothyroidism. I3C will not affect the thyroid, since it does not contain this ingredient. It is extracted from these vegetables-the rest is discarded.