To get the basics of how this started and my research focus, please read the Self-Treatment background page.
I started by looking over my lab test results. I requested copies from my doctor every time I had blood work done. What I found initially in early 2013 was a bit surprising to me. There were several entries that were marked "LO". The first one is listed as "25-HYDROXY VITAMIN D" or more commonly known as Vitamin D3. The normal range is shown as 75 - 250 nmol/L. My level was 19 nmol/L. I have been told that the lowest ever recorded was 14. Quite low, then.
My research led to several scholarly papers and medical websites that said virtually everyone that has pancreatitis has low levels of Vitamin D3. I also found other elements that were low. That included Chromium. Both are the body’s anti-inflammatory defenses. Hmmm, we have inflammation of the pancreas, and low in the body’s own anti-inflammatory defenses. The very next day, I started on natural supplements to help the body replenish. I chose 1000 UI Vitamin D3 and take two tablets three times daily (that is a total of 6000 UI daily). I then chose Chromium Picolinate. This is the most easiest form of Chromium for the body to absorb. I take one tablet of 200 mcg daily (after starting with one tablet morning and one tablet evening for a total of 400 mcg daily). There is one side-effect to supplemental Chromium: you can end up with some weird dreams, and I did. At one tablet, I have no side effects. As of April 2 2014, I have stopped taking Chromium Picolinate -- I suspect that I have replenished what my body was lacking because the weird dreams are consistent with taking Chromium Picolinate (if I do not take any, the weird dreams stop).
As part of my research on diabetes (I also have diabetes Type 2), I stumbled into a website discussing homeopathic remedies. You can read about that on the supplements page. One of the benefits of Arnica Montana is that it is primarily an anti-inflammatory. I now include that twice daily, two 30ch pellets, two or three times a day. I also use this to replace NSAIDs ... when I feel twinges of pain that suggest a pancreatic pain flare-up, I take two pellets and it acts within 2 minutes, eliminating the pain.
In summary for anti-inflammation part of Phase 1:
- Vitamin D3, 1000 UI tablets, two tablets at a time, three times daily (total of 6000 UI)
- Chromium Picolinate, 200 mcg tablets, one tablet in morning
- Arnica Montana, 30ch or 30c, two pellets, three times daily, plus two pellets when pain twinges suggest a flare-up is coming
To deal with the steatorrhea, my gastroenterologist and dietitian recommended taking one tablespoon of psyllium (or Metamucil) daily. I tried that, but found marginal improvement. When I gradually worked up to three tablespoons daily (one first thing in morning, one about 5 hours later, and one 5 hours after that), the stools started to have form, the steatorrhea was gone, and it improved the odor as well.
Medical Report, 1915 (preview)
Medical Report, 1915 (full, PDF, 4 pages)
FDA: Approved Digestive Enzymes
Cleveland Clinic, Acute/Chronic Pancreatitis
Cleveland Clinic, primarily discussing Acute Pancreatitis
Pancreas Foundation, primarily discussing Chronic Pancreatitis
UK (medical/university): Chronic Pancreatitis Seminar
Medical: WebMedCentral, Case Study
University of Minnesota: TP/AIT
University of Minnesota: TP/AIT (more details)
Reading Your Blood Test Results (mmol/L as well as US mg/dl