November 19 2007 results (December 13 post). Spettacolare!, as we say in Italian! And here I was, dreading the arrival of my test results since I took them during a period of (a bit of) stress, I had just begun my new job etc. Well, HURRAY definitely replaces DREAD! But let me proceed by degrees.
I will compare these tests, taken on November 19th, to my not-so-good-but-still-semi-okay September tests. My IgG has dropped from 34.3 (September) to 27.8 g/L (now). The normal range is 7-16 g/L. I have always been terrible at math, but that’s almost a 20% drop, no?
My IgA and IgM are as stable as rocks, haven’t moved a bit, but that is ok with me, even though both values are very VERY low. The important thing is that they didn’t go any lower!
My blood viscosity has dropped from 55 to 48 mm/hour, which is good. Keep in mind that this value has gone as high as 95! My white cells have climbed a bit, from 4.63 to 4.98; my red cells dropped just a teeny tiny fraction. My haemoglobin is stable in the region of 13, and my hematocrit has increased a bit, from 38.1 to 39.5 (normal range: 36.0-46.0). Creatinine is stable at 0.7, within the normal range; calcium is slightly up but still way within the normal range; albumin is still within the normal range (yippee). Bence Jones is NEGATIVE (yeah, yeah, yeah!). Beta-2 Microglobulin has gone down slightly, from 1.8 mg/L to 1.6 (normal range: 1.2-2.5 mg/L). Also good.
Not much really stands out in a negative sense. My serum iron, however, has dropped from 109 to 62 micrograms/dL (normal range 60-140 mcg/dL), so I will have to do something about that. Yikes. I see a few steaks in my near future. But my ferritin, which was 7 ng/mL in June, then 8 in September, is now 10 ng/mL (normal range begins at 15). Still low, but going in the right direction, at least. Oh, my total cholesterol went up somewhat (but so did my HDL, the good cholesterol, so that is good), but I expected that to happen, since for more than a month and a half I tested a concoction based on a dab of butter and either double cream or whole milk, so I suppose even curcumin couldn’t battle against THAT! Have I forgotten anything? Oh, my m-spike is also stable, in the 2 region.
In sum, all is well! SUPER DUPER WELL! Little dance of joy today!
September 2007 results (September 26 post): my IgG count has increased from 30,60 to 34,30 g/L. And the monoclonal component has also increased, from 24,1 to 25,7, the highest it has been except for the period last fall when I took four grams of curcumin a day by mistake (having misread the instructions on the bottle regarding serving size, sigh), when it went up to 25,9. HOWEVER, I have some good news. My IgM and IgA have remained exactly the same (low, but stable). Now, going down the list of my tests, in order:
My white and red cell counts both increased a little bit, and so have my haemoglobin and hematocrit. I should note that they have always been within the normal range.
My platelet count went from 283 to 296, which is higher than any of my pre-curcumin values (so much for the widespread belief that curcumin depresses platelets). Excellent.
My blood viscosity went up 10 points, from 45 to 55, but it is still nowhere near my all-time high, which was 95 (!). Not too bad.
Creatinine and LDH have both decreased somewhat. They have always been way within normal range. My triglycerides and my total cholesterol also went down. My cholesterol is still above normal, but it’s under 300 mg/dL, at least!
My ferritin (iron stores) have gone up slightly, from an abysmally low 7 to a less abysmally low 8 (the low end of the normal range is 10). At least it’s going in the right direction
My total protein has decreased slightly, from 8,6 to 8,5, which puts it even more within the normal range. My calcium has gone from 9,4 to 9,2 mg/dL. Uric acid has also gone down a bit. Albumin is still stable and within the normal range.
A new test, which supposedly yields my M-spike (?), gives me a value of 2,18. There are no reference ranges. In Italian, this test is called serum monoclonal component. Am I correct in assuming this is the M-spike?
My analysis. These tests were taken during a period of more-than-usual stress for me. I was about to begin a new job teaching English, and I hadn’t taught in years. And there were a few family problems, nothing major, but they did create a certain amount of stress. Could stress have played a factor? Possibly. And what about that rich southern Italian diet? Who knows.
However, I can draw only one conclusion from these tests: curcumin capsules without bioperine are not as effective as those with bioperine, not even taken with quercetin and flaxseed oil capsules. At least in my case. Simple as that. These bioperine-less tests aren’t bad, but they aren’t super, either. Perhaps a mix of capsules with bioperine and ones without would work. I will have to think about trying that in the future.
Right now, I am taking the Doctor’s Best curcumin capsules with bioperine (might as well fess up , since I have posted about brands!) and have added resveratrol to my regular intake. Next tests in November. We shall see.
June 2007 results (August 11-13 posts): in a nutshell, my MM is still stable. My IgG has increased from 28.8 to 30.6 g/L but my monoclonal component (i.e., the percentage of evil MM cells) has decreased, meaning that my normal IgGs have increased, which is always good news). Also, most of the other markers have improved, in some cases remarkably so. For instance, my blood viscosity has halved. No kidding. It’s still not within the normal range, but it’s going in the right direction, and that’s what matters. My platelet count has gone up from 262 to 283, which is also good news. My albumin went up a bit, so now it is even more within the normal range. No change in total protein and my other immunoglobulins (which are low, as to be expected); my calcium is down slightly, still way within the normal range.
Okay, not everything is shining and bright and glorious. Since my April tests, my ferritin (i.e., iron stores) has gone from 11 to 7 (the normal range is 15-200 ng/ml), which is abysmally low. So I will have to eat some red meat (sigh!) and other iron-rich foods, otherwise I fear that my hematologist will tell me to take iron pills. I should note, though, that my serum iron is way within the normal range, and there is no big change in my hematocrit and hemoglobin. My Beta-2 went up slightly compared to my April tests, from 1.5 to 1.7, but is still way within the normal range, which is 1.2-2.5 mg/L. Those are really the only two bad values.
I had wanted to test resveratrol between April and June, but I ran out of resveratrol capsules at the end of May or thereabouts, and the new shipment I was expecting from the U.S. in May was stopped by Italian customs (by the way, the shipment arrived safe and sound about three weeks ago! Oh well better late than never). So I ended up not testing any new substance but just taking my usual daily dose of curcumin, quercetin and oil capsules. Therefore, all in all, these results are quite satisfactory.
April 2007 results (April 19 post): after hearing from other curcumin-takers that capsules worked well, I decided to give them a whirl (see my "Bioavailability of Curcumin" page for information on how I previously took curcumin). So I have been taking curcumin with bioperine capsules for more than two months. Well, well. The capsule results are better than I expected. In January 2007, my IgG count had gone up to 32.5 g/L, from a September 2006 low of 26,3 g/L. Quite a scary jump! I was not discouraged, though. These fluctuations can happen, and this particular one was my own fault (I didn’t pay too much attention to my diet over the Xmas holidays, etc.). Anyway, according to my April results, my IgG count has gone back down to 28,8 g/L, and there has been no change in my other immunoglobulin counts. That’s the first good bit of news.
Comparing my main MM markers in my January 2007 and April 2007 tests: Creatinine is down from 0.9 to 0.7 mg/dL, within normal range; Calcium is stable, within normal range; LDH is down from 168 to 139 U/L, within normal range; Total protein is down from 9,1 to 8,6 g/dL (the latter value coincides with the high end of the normal range, yippee!); B2M is down from 1,8 to 1,5 mg/dL, within normal range; CRP is within normal range (my hospital lab doesn’t give an exact CRP number, only reports that CRP is < 9,0 mg/L); Albumin is still within normal range, stable at 49.5 %. My cholesterol and triglyceride levels have taken another tumble, so I am very pleased about that, too.