This isn't the first time this has happened to me in my life. Actually the first time I started getting these strange occurrences was during contest prep. At that point, I went to the Dentist only to be told that my gums seemed fine and that it could be related to my hormones. This, of coarse, made perfect sense given my hormonal disorder, so I just let it go and didn't fret about it. The bleeding would only last for 30 seconds to a minute anyway.
I never realized when it stopped happening....until it came back again, recently. At first I just thought, 'oh those damn hormones again,' until I had an epiphany. The last time this started happened to me, I was also following a Keto Diet. This of coarse begged me to ask the question, "Could my bleeding gums be associated with Ketosis?"
I initially started researching bleeding gums as a symptom, but all I stumbled upon were certain hormone related issues (pregnancy? I think not!) and female cycle symptoms (also not possible for me), and I also came across other issues like Gingivitis. But none of the issues seemed applicable to me...until I came across Vitamin C deficiency.
'Wait a second....like, SCURVY?'
'I'm no sailor.... could it really be?' I thought to myself. 'I eat a good load of vegetables (especially Kale!) and I even supplement 1,000-2,000mg a day, how could this make any sense at all?' So naturally, I dug a little deeper.
What I recently learned is that there is a good chance my body is not recycling Vitamin C very well - if at all. You see, apparently our bodies can only store so much of it before it's used up, however it can turn a substance called Dehydroascorbic acid (DHAA) (which is the oxidized form of ascorbate, or 'Vitamin C') back into Vitamin C, but only after it's been pushed into our cells. BUT to be pushed into our cells it needs glucose transporters which are activated by insulin. Thus, with low levels of insulin resulting from my diet, there is a good chance I'm not transporting DHAA into my cells where it can be changed back into Vitamin C.
If this is all correct, this means that Vitamin C supplementation is crucial when my insulin levels are low... and even more so because I lift weights! This is because lifting weights can increase free-radical production in the body, which ultimately increases the need for antioxidants (Vitamin C) to help neutralize them. Are you still with me?
Suddenly, things started to add up. Early signs of scurvy are bleeding gums, random bruising and sore joints (among other things), which are ALL symptoms I've been experiencing lately. Plus, I learned that when you cook foods that contain Vitamin C, a good chunk of that wonderful vitamin is lost. Well, what do you know? I've been cooking a LOT of my vegetables (all of my KALE!).
After figuring all this out, I took one loaded dose of Vitamin C and have since continued to take about 4,000mg a day. So far, no bleeding gums, but let's see what happens in a few days/weeks.
This is one of the reasons why I stress that people need to take control over their own health, get as educated as they can and become very self aware. When your body is doing something out of its norm, don't ignore it! Ask questions, do some research and see a Doctor or Naturopath for some guidance.
Symptoms aren't something that just occur to annoy you, they happen as a RESULT of something bigger. Treat them like a warning!
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. The conclusions I've drawn above are about my own body are based upon research I've conducted online regarding Ketosis, Bleeding Gums, Vitamin C, Low Carb Diets, Insulin and Scurvy. The purpose of this blog is to fill people in on my thoughts, findings and personal dietary experiments. Should a person choose to do the same as me, they are doing it at their own risk.