Please Help... Interpret Labwork, Etc. (37 Female)

I've attached my test results.

I know these levels don't look normal, but I don't know how to put them to good use.

Could anyone help me understand and apply?

I’ve included some background info.  Your feedback/guidance is most appreciated!


I’m 37 yrs old,  5’8” and 123 lbs.

About 15 yrs ago, I sought psychiatric help for my anxiety/mood swings/lethargy.  Doctors threw around diagnoses like Adjust Disorder, Gen Anxiety Disorder, Major Depress Disorder and Obsess Compulsive Disorder.  Honestly, I don’t know who had it right.  Docs had me try Clomipramine, Zoloft, Clonazepam, Lexapro, and several other drugs in search of some relief.  I struggled off and on with this for a couple years until I found Wellbutrin.  It wasn’t the “cure-all,” but it was the only one that helped some and it was better than nothing.

(Immediate family history includes: ADHD, anxiety, depression, OCD, substance abuse, hypertension, heart disease & “pre”-diabetes)


In 2007, I got married.

My husband started emotionally/psychologically and verbally abusing me. (this continued throughout marriage)


In 2008, I developed "torticollus." (during my "late" honeymoon)

Later that year, I developed a persistent rash/acne on and under my jaw line. (it eventually went away)

Around this same time, I developed a chronic cough, which prevented sleep and caused major fatigue.

I was prescribed prednisone, albuterol, and cough syrup with codeine.

Eventually, Prilosec seemed to do the trick.


Additionally, in 2008, I started struggling again with anxiety/mood again and felt like the Wellbutrin may not be the right fit for me.  Knowing that my mother and 2 of my brothers had been diagnosed with ADHD, I completed a comprehensive evaluation.  I was diagnosed with ADHD.  I quit taking Wellbutrin and started taking Vyvanse.  It had a significantly better impact on my symptoms.  I've been told that my "depression" was simply a secondary symptom of my ADHD.


In 2009, as a high school teacher, I was harassed by a male colleague and then physically assaulted by a teenage (male) student.  At that same time, my husband was continuing abusive cycle.

(MAJOR stress!)


Later that same year, I ended up in the ER for oculomotor nerve palsy (left eye). 

After having MRA/MRI/CT scans, the cause was still unknown (idiopathic).  ???

A 7.5mm cyst on my pineal gland was inadvertantly discovered during the scans.

(A follow-up scan showed no significant changes in the size of the cyst.)


In 2010, I divorced my husband. (GOOD MOVE!)


Post-divorce, I ramped up my fitness, nutrition and overall health.

I started teaching at the local college.

The only meds I took were Vyvanse for ADHD and Velivet (bc pills).

I finally finished my 3rd college degree. 

I worked ALOT and worried constantly about finances.

I don't know why, but 8 mos. ago, I started smoking cigarettes again (I quit about 13 yrs ago).


About 4 months ago, my life changed drastically.

I became a victim of stalking.

The experience has been extremely traumatic.

I've been unable to work (since early Sept.) and I'm afraid to leave my house. 

One evening, about 3 months ago, in the thick of legal proceedings, unemployment/financial stress, and major waves of fear/anxiety, I was having tremors, sobbing and feeling totally helpless.  I phoned my parents.  While talking to them and without realizing I was doing it, I had pulled out 1/2 of the hairs on each eyebrow.  I had noticed a tendency to pull at them or my eyelashes for years before, but never this extreme.  The hair-pulling has increased.  Why do I do this?  My other symptoms have been and continue to be: intrusive thoughts, disassociation, avoidance, hyperarousal, hypervigilance, intense fear and feelings of isolation and helplessness.  My anxiety/fear increases in the evening.  I struggle to fall asleep at night.  I usually cry at least once/day.  Occasionally, I have nightmares related to the trauma and prior abuse.  I'm ultra sensitive to sounds/tv/music.  My libido has decreased.  I usually feel cold and periodically get a very itchy rash on my calves/shins. Never had this rash before the stalking.

Within a couple weeks of reporting the stalking, my blood pressure had increased from approx 125/85  to  162/108.

Lately, it hovers around 135/90.


In the past few weeks, I’ve felt a lot more fatigued and falling asleep has become even more difficult.

I've completed 13 CBT sessions with my therapist (including "exposure therapy") and continue going 2x/month.

My diagnosis was updated to "PTSD" a couple weeks ago. (it had been “acute stress disorder”)


Post-stalking, I was prescribed these medications:  Prazosin (for hypertension), Valium (anti-anxiety), Ambien (sleep) and Buspirone (help mood)

I quit taking the Prazosin soon after I started... made me feel VERY light-headed and I almost collapsed/blacked out one evening after taking it (2 mg).  I took the Valium off/on for the first month to help with tremors, intense fear/anxiety, etc.

Valium’s addiction potential scared me.  I didn’t want to compound my problems, so I quit taking it. I didn't feel comfortable taking Buspirone in addition to the Vyvanse and Ambien (plus my birth control pills).  That seemed excessive.  Maybe I'm wrong?

The Ambien is the only way I can get any half-way decent sleep.


As long as my anxiety doesn’t make me feel too nauseated, I eat often… especially late at night when I struggle to fall asleep and the effects of the Ambien kick in.  I feel like I’m hungry often.  I do make a point to eat protein at almost every meal, albeit my meals can’t require much energy to cook… I simply don’t have it.  So, my “good” nutrition is lacking.  With very little energy and a serious aversion to public places, I find it very difficult to get food from the grocery into my fridge… let alone have any energy to cook meals.  Just yesterday, I managed a very quick stop at the grocery.  Before I even left my house, my tremors came back and my anxiety was through the roof.  It was all I could do to keep myself from sobbing in the parking lot as I left the grocery.  I never know when I might experience another panic/anxiety attack. It depends on the day, my frame of mind and the situation.  I had felt anxiety prior to this trauma, but nothing as intense/overwhelming as what I can experience now.

Writing this forum post has wiped me out!  Frustrating!


If you were to ask my friends what kind of person I am (most of my life)…  they’d say,  “outgoing, social, resilient, independent, happy, go-getter, hard-working, etc” 


Ok, so there's my mini-Bio!


Any idea what might be going on with my body based on test results and my history?

Is this part of aging… pre-menopause?

Result of stalking trauma?




Do I need “bio-identical” supplements?

I don't want to be a "walking pharmacy," I just want to feel more like "me" again.

Could it be some combination of these things or am I missing something else entirely?


  • edited January 2014

    The minute you mentioned Trichotiliomania (hair pulling) I immediately suspected high Glutamate and lo and behold it is high.  You need to get an NAC (n-acetylcistemeine) supplement.  This will help to convert the glutamate into GABA which is one of the inhibitory neurotransmitters.   NAC is able to cross the blood brain barrier whereas glutathione can't so stick with the NAC. Take vitamin C, niacinamide and selenium supplements at the same time as they are cofactors in the conversion.  You need to stay away from any food containing MSG or aspartame as both exacerbate the glutamate excitotoxicity. L-theanine will also help to calm you down.  You may find you can stop all the drugs altogether after a while. Increasing the rate of conversion of glutamate to GABA will shift your brainwaves from beta waves to alpha-waves so you will start to feel a lot more in control.


    If you need to supplement with NAC (you do) you are also likely to have high ammonia levels in your blood.  Take an l-citrulline supplement to help the body clear the ammonia. This will raise the levels of l-arginine and l-orinithine more than supplementing with them alone and both are necessary for the urea cycle to work properly. Yucca will also reduce ammonia levels.


    take phosphatidyl-serine in the late afternoon and evening to lower your cortisol levels. Also take a magnesium / calcium supplement at bedtime. Vitamin B6 also helps with magnesium uptake.  Epsom Salt baths would be hugely beneficial (add some sodium bicarbonate as well). zinc citrate would also be useful.


    You have had some bad things happen to you but they only feel out of control because your biochemistry is out of whack. The supplements should help you bring things back under control. 

  • StevoStevo Upgrade in Progress
    For NAC, did you mean n-acetyl cysteine?
  • yes I did. I see my spelling was appalling  :mad: Stevo's spelling is correct

  • Two other things. You might want to consider coming of the BCP - it can cause depression symptoms and  could be what is making you weepy. The other thing is the smoking, you are in effect self medicating to try to raise your dopamine levels. Start taking the herb mucuna prurient which contains L-dopa instead. Given that your PEA levels are high you could actually be having trouble converting phenylalanine into tyrosine to make dopamine. It could also be that the drugs you're on are raising the PEA levels. The most accurate way to evaluate neurotransmitter levels is Brain Electrical Activity Mapping which is quite expensive - it is notoriously difficult to evaluate neurotransmitter levels inside the brain as opposed to gauging probable imbalances from blood tests - something like a blood spot amino acid test would also help to evaluate where there might be problems in the methylation cycle. I would focus on trying to get your glutamate levels under control.

  • edited January 2014




    Thank you very much for the responses.


    I'm a little confused...

    You say that my glutamate is high, however my results show all neurotransmitters (including glutamate) are low (L), with the exception of PEA and norepinephrine, which are just barely within the "normal" range.

    Am I missing something here?

  • Glutamate is high relative to the other neurotransmitters - it may not be showing on the report as in the red zone but it is out of balance when you look at it in comparison to GABA. More importantly your symptoms (anxiety and hair pulling in particular) are consistent with elevated Glutamate which is neurotoxic when it is too high for too long. If you were to do a blood spot amino acid test I think the ratio between Glutamate and glutamine would be well out of whack, and too far towards glutamate. And remember those tests are suggestive of imbalances but they don't tell you exactly what is happening with neurotransmitter levels in the brain itself - they can't tell what's crossed the bbb. Only BEAM testing can actually tell you how well each neurotransmitter system is functioning. 

  • Some info here you may find helpful about the gut brain axis. Norepinephrine and GABA have an inverse relationship.  It might be worth trying a good probiotic.

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