Comprehensive Compound Muscle Movement

When my body’s not being held hostage by the worst of CFS, I prefer to use the T-Tapp approach for fitness. Check the introductory video below.

Note: If you are struggling with CFS, muscle exhaustion is not a goal you want to strive for at this time. There’s “struggling with CFS” and then there’s being on top of it, where you can fatigue or work out your muscles regularly. If you’re in the struggle zone, then you determine what’s best for preserving muscle function without exacerbating the situation. I’m currently working my way back up to the 15 minute routine. Maddeningly slowly.

Doctors with expert advice for CFS/ME sufferers recommend establishing some basic, sustained improvements (good sleep, optimal eating, supplements, tests, stress management, pacing) before embarking on any fitness routine.

Rethinking Almond Flour

😦

I’ve had this nagging something about almond flour. So. I did a bit of research. Here’s what I find: “Okay, quick chemistry reminder. Saturated fats have single bonds between all the carbon molecules of the fatty acid chain. Monounsaturated fats have one double bond replacing a single bond in the carbon chain. Polyunsaturated have more than one double bond in the carbon chain.

Double bonds are more unstable than single bonds. The more double bonds in a fatty acid, the more unstable it is (polyunsaturated is the least stable, followed by monounsaturated, followed by saturated being the most stable). When the double bonds break, the fatty acid undergoes a process called oxidation.

Processing, heat, light and pressure all cause these double bonds to break. Raw (or soaked and dehydrated) almonds have their polyunsaturated fats intact, and so the only fat issues are those discussed in the previous section. But putting almond flour in a hot environment–like an oven–is going to break some of those double bonds and create oxidized fatty acids.

Why are oxidized fats bad? In a nutshell, oxidized fats = free radicals. Free radicals = cell damage. Of course, we will inevitably have some free radicals in our body. Fortunately, we can consume sources of antioxidants (like fresh fruits and veggies) to combat free radical damage. But if too much oxidized fats, like from large amounts of almond flour, are consumed, our body is depleted of antioxidants and damage to body cells ensues.” From Empowered Sustenance

I’ll have to add this one to my list of resources. She’s right. Time to reacquaint myself with coconut flour.

CFS and Magnesium

“Low intracellular magnesium is a symptom of CFS and a cause of it. This is because 40% of resting energy simply fires sodium/potassium (Na/K) and calcium/magnesium (Ca/Mg) membrane ion pumps. So when energy supply is diminished, there is insufficient energy to fire these pumps, so magnesium cannot be drawn into cells for oxidative phosphorylation to work, so there is a further diminishing of energy supply. This is just one of the many similar vicious cycles in CFS. Sufferers do not simply replete through taking magnesium supplements – although this must be tried! Some need magnesium by injection to get the desired result.” Dr. Sarah Myhill

Oral supplements initially provided great results for my particular situation but my starting point was so low that it was not difficult to create an improvement. I essentially went from feeling horrible whether lying down or moving around to feeling much better when resting. I’m significantly past that phase. But since my improvement has plateaued, I’ll have to up my game.

Stigma

CFS/ME definitely comes with the stigma attached. I’ve heard the first one here: “It’s a depression.” or “They just want attention.” or “Hypochondriac.” The first doctor to run a series of tests on me to eliminate the possibility of “real” illnesses shook her head and said that I must have the “yuppy crud.” She later implied it was all in my head.

Stigma creates a climate of shame and defensiveness. Eventually my anger won the battle and I diagnosed the medical profession with ignorance and put my health in my own hands.

One of the many gems I’m finding on The Optimum Health Clinic’s website includes this affirming bit:

“Stigma around the illness and lack of understanding in our experience directly reduces a patient’s expectation of recovery and creates stress. We have patients tell us stories like friends being diagnosed with cancer at the same time as they were diagnosed with CFS/ME and noticing the level of understanding, support and sympathy available with a clear, accepted illness. The friend would tell them they were happier to have been diagnosed with bowel cancer than go through what they would face with a diagnosis of CFS/ME.” – Taken from their paper entitled The Application of Integral Medicine in the Treatment of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”

So far, this website has inspired me to order their info pack. Next is the interview. I’m very impressed.

CFS Symptoms In Muscles

“If the blood supply to muscles is impaired, then muscles quickly run out of oxygen when one starts to exercise. With no oxygen in the muscles the cells switch over to anaerobic metabolism, which produces lactic acid and it is this that makes muscles ache so much.

As well as the above problem, muscles in the CFS patient have very poor stamina because the mitochondria which supply them with energy are malfunctioning.”

Dr. Sarah Myhill

My Own Heart Explained…

“If mitochondria (the little engines found inside every cell in the body) do not work properly, then the energy supply to every cell in the body will be impaired. This includes the heart. Many of the symptoms of CFS could be explained by heart failure because the heart muscle cannot work properly. Cardiologists and other doctors are used to dealing with heart failure due to poor blood supply to the heart itself. In CFS the heart failure is caused by poor muscle function and therefore strictly speaking is a cardiomyopathy. This means the function of the heart will be very abnormal, but traditional tests of heart failure, such as ECG, ECHOs, angiograms etc, will be normal.” Dr. Sarah Myhill

Mitochondria – Pivotal Role in CFS

From Dr. Sarah Myhill’s wonderful website:

“The job of mitochondria is to supply energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). This is the universal currency of energy. It can be used for all sorts of biochemical jobs from muscle contraction to hormone production. When mitochondria fail, this results in poor supply of ATP, so cells go slow because they do not have the energy supply to function at a normal speed. This means that all bodily functions go slow.

Every cell in the body can be affected

The following explains what happens inside each cell:

ATP (3 phosphates) is converted to ADP (2 phosphates) with the release of energy for work. ADP passes into the mitochondria where ATP is remade by oxidative phosphorylation (ie a phosphate group is stuck on). ATP recycles approximately every 10 seconds in a normal person – if this goes slow, then the cell goes slow and so the person goes slow and clinically has poor stamina ie CFS.

Problems arise when the system is stressed. If the CFS sufferer asks for energy faster than he can supply it, (and actually most CFS sufferers are doing this most of the time!) ATP is converted to ADP faster than it can be recycled. This means there is a build up of ADP. Some ADP is inevitably shunted into adenosine monophosphate (AMP -1 phosphate). But this creates a real problem, indeed a metabolic disaster, because AMP, largely speaking, cannot be recycled and is lost in urine.

Indeed this is the biological basis of poor stamina. One can only go at the rate at which mitochondria can produce ATP. If mitochondria go slow, stamina is poor.

If ATP levels drop as a result of leakage of AMP, the body then has to make brand new ATP. ATP can be made very quickly from a sugar D-ribose, but D-ribose is only slowly made from glucose (via the pentose phosphate shunt for those clever biochemists out there!). This takes anything from one to four days. So this is the biological basis for delayed fatigue.

However there is another problem. If the body is very short of ATP, it can make a very small amount of ATP directly from glucose by converting it into lactic acid. This is exactly what many CFS sufferers do and indeed we know that CFS sufferers readily switch into anaerobic metabolism. However this results in two serious problems – lactic acid quickly builds up especially in muscles to cause pain, heaviness, aching and soreness (“lactic acid burn”), secondly no glucose is available in order to make D-ribose! So new ATP cannot be easily made when you are really run down. Recovery takes days!

When mitochondria function well, as the person rests following exertion, lactic acid is quickly converted back to glucose (via-pyruvate) and the lactic burn disappears. But this is an energy requiring process! Glucose to lactic acid produces two molecules of ATP for the body to use, but the reverse process requires six molecules of ATP. If there is no ATP available, and this is of course what happens as mitochondria fail, then the lactic acid may persist for many minutes, or indeed hours causing great pain. (for the biochemists, this reverse process takes place in the liver and is called the Cori cycle).”

The Wellness Quest…

Journeys of wholeness for the mind/body/soul don’t begin instantly for most of us. Most of us become more aware as a result of a life challenge. Then our journey begins, whether we recognize it as a journey or not. For my own story it began with low blood sugar struggles and resulting mood shifts and whole cataclysmic events altering my idea of just how much control I have over my life. And how much I don’t have. As it turns out, we all have far more control than we realize. And the more we learn, the better equipped we are to improve our lives on every level: mind/body/soul.

In my late teens and early 20’s, the struggle with low blood sugar or hypoglycemia evolved into an awareness of alternative eating styles and a keen interest in metabolism. I also had some experience with the effects of Vitamin B deficiency and resulting energy loss as well as devastating depression. Then came the bout with pneumonia in my early 20’s, changing my health forever. I was never the same. The gal who could easily get up at 5:30a.m. to go walking 3 miles, hop on a bike for long stretches of time and catapult herself up flights of stairs faded into a fever-haunted, energy-drained mess of body aches and often excruciating fatigue – to name but a few of the realities of what was unofficially (by my doctor at the time who had zero respect for the illness) diagnosed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It was the early 90’s and I was lost.

But the research eventually commenced and I learned much about taking my health into my own hands. I went through the usual tortures of those seeking spiritual as well as physical transformation, combing over my inner world to see what toxic beliefs I possessed that might result in low blood sugar, CFS and overall malaise. I grew by leaps and bounds as a result. But CFS never left.

I have concluded that while it is likely true that illness begins in the soul, there are many who are ill of soul yet sound of body. Life simply isn’t fair. As a result of this observation, I continue to seek out soulful and spiritual channels of transformation and wholeness while holding firmly to a faith in solid knowledge of the body. I lean more towards the belief that our illnesses are usually a result of environmental stressors and genetic predisposition, some of which can be healed through sound wellness practices. I find it somewhat arrogant when encountering the “experts” who have never been plagued with disease or chronic illness declaring the problem is in the spirit or soul. Again, there are so many who are sick, twisted, believing the most toxic things about themselves as they leap on their bikes or run their annual 5k. It just doesn’t fit the premise, does it? But I remain somewhat open to the possibility.

So, if you’re up for the journey, enjoy The Wellness Quest and be careful not to guru my posts with pontifications of grand spiritual cures or I’ll likely pass you a heavy dose of reality. I subscribe to a rational faith married to a bit of mystical whimsy which produces these beautiful ACTIONS towards wellness. Beyond that, I truly pray for healing for all who suffer any form of illness or disability.

Be well…