Sunday, February 22, 2015

Training 2/23-3/1 (race week)

Experimentation is done and I got a lot of answers last week.  I think it's clear that the Mag+Thym-Adren is not going to be enough.  I need un-methylated B vitamins.  I really don't care how I do in the race.  I just want to enjoy the trip as much as possible.  Only 3 to go after this and I can do it without another fly away.

I've read a few articles that have stated that exercise REDUCES methylation.  Since I am an over-methylator, it is a good thing that I run.  I've consistently maintained that my training has NOTHING to do with my ills.  If anything, it's beneficial to me.  Even if I have to retire from serious racing, I'll still do some recreation running.

2/23- AM-SUCKED again.  1 Mile in 7:58 and needed a sprint at the end to break 8.

New theory:  The detox (which was necessary) spilled copper into my tissues.  I could take an adrenal glandular for temporary relief but in the long run, it will take me further away from balance.

PM- Did not even try to run.  I did experiment with glutathione, Vitamin C and a trace of adrenal glandular.  Nothing worked.  I should be feeling better since I've been on Mag+Thym-Adren for nearly 2 months and I project my tissue Na level to be in the 70s now but I am worse. I have officially run out of options.  I've also learned from the Methyl group on Facebook that my adverse reactions to methyl donors may not be due to over-methylation but rather genetic mutations.  Speaking of which, I got the kit today and have submitted the sample.  This is my LAST LAST hope.  I'd retire now if I wasn't so close to finishing the Half 2 Run challenge and 10 state 10K.  Results should come in 4-6 weeks so I fully expect that my deadline of 3/21 will not be met.
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=1.0

2/24- No experimentation today but was only slightly better than yesterday.  Finished 3 miles in 24:57 (8:19 pace) with splits of 7:50-8:20-8:47.  I am supposed to run 10.1 miles longer 4 days from now?  Okay.  One final theory has come up.  The Jigsaw Mag contains a small amount of methyl donors.  Could that be the source of the suckage?  If so, why was I able to tolerate it up until recently?  I'm switching to plain Mag malate.  It can't hurt.  In other news, I mailed the 23 and Me kit today and am hitting the road for Atlanta tonight in order to beat the weather.  I'll have to just chill at Nick's most of the day tomorrow.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=3.0

2/25- Abstinence from methyl worked in the morning as I managed a decent 5 miler on Atlanta Raod before the sleet hit.  Finished in 35:57 (7:11 pace) but did have to stop for traffic a couple times and got heckled once.  A guy in a Jeep said the f-word and a gay slur then drove off like a coward.  What do you get out of cussing at a stranger for no reason.  For the record, I was wearing black pants and a purple shirt.  Why would he do that?  Just a loser.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=5.0
Update: Turn for the worse in the evening after too much time off the methyl so I went with 2 Jigsaws tonight instead of my usual 4.

2/26- 2 Jigsaws were not the answer.  Struggled through a 3 miler also on Atlanta Road in 23:37 (7:52 pace).  I did manage a negative split but that was because of a tailwind and a slight downhill grade on the way back.  I'm taking 2 tonight in hopes that it will clear by race morning.  Flight to Phoenix went without a hitch.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=3.0

2/27- Awful this morning as expected.  Regardless of my performance tomorrow, I'm shutting down the training log next week.  Just too depressing when half my days are Ds and Fs and there's not much I can do about it until I get the genetic test results.

PM- Junk run in Mesa's Riverview.  Did not time it but estimate that I totaled 3 miles at a pace near 8:00.  Pointless to push it the day before a race.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=3.0

2/28- Timed the pills well and managed to finish in 1:43:15 officially.  Moving time was 1:42:12 (7:48 pace).  It was the best that I could do under the circumstances but 14 minutes slower than my PR on flat course.  Very poor performance.
Grade:D+/3 credit/distance=14.0

3/1- Planned rest day.  Body is very sore.  Only capable of a junk run at crap pace.

Weekly summary:
This will be the last week that I post daily training updates until further notice.  I will continue posting updates and race/trip reports.
Distance= 29.0   YTD: 258 miles.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Rant: Doctors and Methylation

Here is the age old question:
If all my lab values are normal, why do I feel so bad?
The so-called "reference range" does not reflect healthy lab values and there is a good chance that key tests were not ordered.  Even if they were ordered and came back abnormal, the typical MD (Mineral Denialist) cannot treat it with mainstream medicine and generally doesn't know what to do about it.  IT IS NOT ALL IN YOUR HEAD AND YOU ARE NOT A HYPOCHONDRIAC!

Let's go back to 2005-6 when I was unemployed and nearly bedridden.  If there was a prescription drug out there that restored 90% of my energy with minimal side effects, would I have taken it?  HELL YES (said with a southern accent).  In fact, if that energy level was consistent, my answer would be the same today.  I don't want to sound arrogant but my 90% is still better than the average person who shows up at road races and group runs.  I'd top out around 5:50/21:00/44:00/1:37, which is still quite respectable and good enough to enjoy those events.  That will never happen because no such drug exists.

Quite often, what happens is that hormones are normal in the serum but do not reach the tissues in proper proportions.  Hence, a hair test (tissue mineral analysis) is a better and more comprehensive picture of your health.  I can excuse ignorance on that part because it's not taught in medical school but I cannot excuse other scenarios.  Yesterday, I had an extreme negative reaction to just a trace of zinc and found that I need precisely a 20:1 zinc/copper ratio in my supplements.  17:1 won't work and neither will 23:1.  The same thing happened on both sides of the spectrum.  Muscles stiffened up within a couple minutes and I became very sluggish and depressed.  THAT CLEARLY INDICATES THAT SOMETHING IS WRONG!  To suggest otherwise is not only ignorant but downright insulting and hurtful.  Imagine if Usain Bolt came in dead last against 2nd rate competition.  There's no way that anyone would suggest it's all in his head.  It is NOT difficult to tell that it is the pills when you begin feeling awful minutes after you take one.

Over the past 2 years, I've had a number of theories as to why this extreme sensitivity was happening.  As an aside, I was just as sensitive when I was at my best in 2011-2012.  Any deviation from Thym-Adren+ Paramin spelled trouble but I got lucky and hit a false equilibrium in which taking an exact cocktail of pills caused my system to operate at near peak for several months.  Now the theories:

1. Increase my Magnesium levels.
The Mag RBC test, which measures your value at the cellular level,  is rarely ordered by MDs and when it is, you are considered "normal" if you are at 4.2 with the reference range being 4.2-6.8.  You have to be 4.1 or less to be flagged as deficient even though 4.2 feels just as bad.  The truth is that anything below 5 is a significant deficiency and you need to strive for 6.0-6.5.  As for me, I've been level in the mid-high 5s since the Fall of 2013 so any ill-effects from sub-optimal Mag should be minimal especially with my near perfect Ca/Mg ratio on my last hair test.  Needless to say, while improving my Mag status was certainly a good thing for my health and I have experienced several benefits, it did not solve the sensitivity issues.

2. Liver congestion.
I posted about this detox procedure just a week ago so no need to rehash it.  This was VERY important because it has allowed me to tolerate key pills necessary to get into balance.  Without this procedure, I don't have a chance.  Still, it did not solve the sensitivity.

3. Taurine.
This sulfur containing amino acid was partially successful in that it greatly reduced the sensitivity to Cal/Mag, which was nightmarish last summer.  It got so bad that deviations from the 1:1 ratio as small as a few extra sprays of transdermal Mag caused problems.  Again, although it was and still is a benefit for me, it failed to solve the zinc/copper issues.

4. Increased ceruloplasmin.
Again, this key liver protein is rarely tested and the reference range is even further out of whack than the Mag RBC.  My lab has a range of 15-30.  The truth is that anything below 25 is sub-optimal and even up to 40 is acceptable.  My initial test was very low at 17.9 (not flagged) but I have since boosted it to 23.0.  Although both my Cp and Zn/Cu ratio are a bit on the low side, I've seen much worse.  Based on my current numbers, there is NO indication that just a trace of zinc would cause such a problem.  If anything, it should help.

5.  Problems with methylation.
This is my current theory.  I'm still learning about the methylation cycle but I do know that you start with methionine, which is converted to SAM-e with the help of methyl donors, which is in turn converted to homocysteine.  From that point, with the help of key B-vitamins, the homocysteine is converted back to methionine.  It is here that genetic defects can come into play, specifically the MTHFR gene.  I've not been tested for it but I have a strong feeling that I have that mutation in addition to several others and have ordered a genetic test through 23and Me.  I do take a small amount of Folate and B-12 as part of my Mag supplement without a problem but I suspect that the methyl donors could be the problem.  I took some di-methly glycine yesterday.  It soved the sensitivity but the resulting over-stimulation was worse.  I had 1 good day with the methylated B-complex then went downhill.  I am sensitive to B-6 and had a negative reaction to methylated forms of B-12 and folate but a positive response to Niacin (B-3) and non-methylated B-12.  This suggests that I have the MTHFR defect and am an over-methylator. Bad genes do not mean that I am doomed.  With proper care, the mutations, can be "inactivated," according to science.  At the end of the day, I do believe that my condition is treatable but I am likely facing another difficult fight and it seems doubtful that it can be fully reversed.

The only blood test that came back abnormal back in '05 was an elevated homocysteine value, which my MD dismissed.  Combine that with my reports of extreme sensitivity to the herb based adrenal supplement that I had been taking at the time.  A half pill flipped me from feeling lethargic to overstimulated.  This should have SCREAMED liver dysfunction and poor methylation.  Instead when challenged, my MD rambled incoherently for a minute or 2 then lectured me on the need for SSRIs.  The sad part is that this guy actually did care about me as a person but just didn't know enough to help me.  It is of utmost importance that I beat this disease.  Anyone can say that they are healed but offer no proof.  I can.  Suppose I break all my personal records in my mid-30s when I am past my prime.  That will convince some skeptics.

Training 2/16-2/22

Weather is going to be cold, and/or rainy and windy all week so I anticipate being indoors most of the time.
I've decided to skip the Mercedes 5K because I don't think I'll be competitive.

2/16- AM. VERY POOR.  3 miles in 25:49 (8:36 pace).  Perhaps the SAM-e has not cleared.  I may be overly sensitive to the methyl donors, which accomplishes nothing.  Just trading one sensitivity for another.

PM- WORSE than this morning.  Hell, I ran better when I had the flu last week.  It is becoming increasingly clear that I have indeed TRADED ONE SENSITIVITY FOR ANOTHER!  Tomorrow morning will confirm it.  Covered only 1 mile and my time was over 9.
Grade:D-/1 credit/distance=4.0

Update:  I have ordered the 23 and Me genetic test.  I may not get the results for another 2 months so that changes the plans to shut down the blog.  The training updates will stop after 3/21 however.  It's just been too depressing lately.  It's almost a certainty that something abnormal will show up and highly unlikely that it will be a quick fix.

2/17-AM.  2 miles in 15:28 (7:44 pace).  Big improvement over yesterday afternoon.  Took just a trace of DMG afterwards and I was MUCH worse.  The methyl donors are OUT.  How much do you want to bet that the zinc/copper sensitivity will kick in with a vengeance next week?  I am off caffeine again but that hasn't helped me in the recent past.

PM- Took the afternoon off as planned.  Picked up a B-complex at the health store with methylated Folate and methylated B-12.  I'll wait a couple days before trying it.  The genetic test should arrive by the end of the week.  It's a painless saliva test.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=2.0

2/18- Felt pretty rotten when I woke up and figured that I would have struggled for a sub-8 pace.  Took the Raw Vitamin Code B complex and began feeling better shortly thereafter.  BINGO!
3 miles in 21:23 then popped some B-12 alone and did the same distance in 21:37.  That's not a significant change in pace so figure that the extra B-12 had no real impact one way or another  Good news I suppose.  Took another B-complex and ran another mile at the same effort in 7:09.  Total distance was 7 miles in 50:09 (7:10 pace).  I may salvage a respectable showing in Arizona.  Don't write me off just yet.

This is NO cause for celebration!  I'm not on solid ground with the zinc/copper and I took 3 B-complex today.  How much will I need/tolerate tomorrow?  Your guess is as good as mine.  As for the Bs, I need a specific form the the vitamins.  If I took the synthetic form of folic acid rather than methyl folate, I'd do more harm than good if I am positive on the MTHFR mutation.  Same with B-12, it's got to be the methyl form or I could have a slight build up of cyanide.  I'm going with the Raw B complex.  It's RAW man!
Grade:A-/2 credit/distance=7.0

2/19- Felt pretty rotten when I woke up but got better after taking the 1st dose of the B-complex.  Got worse after the 2nd dose.  Attempted a tempo and I knew before the end of the 1st lap that I didn't have it.  Quit after 1 Mile in 7:30.  Took a zinc pill and ran the same distance in 7:24.  Took a liver pill and ran it again in 7:28.  That's not a significant change in pace so the zinc/copper sensitivity is still manageable.

It is clear that something in the B-complex is helpful and something else is harmful.  I did some experiments and determined that it is B-6 that is the problem.  I can take only limited doses of it (no more than 10 mg).  It's becoming increasingly clear that I am an OVER METHYLATOR, not an under methylator.  If that's the case, niacin (B-3) could be helpful.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=3.0

2/20- The excess B-6 may not have fully cleared but I still managed a decent workout today.  Ran the opening Mile in 7:24 then gave Niacin a shot.  Tacked on 4 more in 29:09 (7:17 pace) for an overall time of 36:33 for 5 miles at moderate effort.  Overall impression of the Niacin is that although it was not a miracle cure, it was a net positive impact. Without it, I probably would have slowed to the 7:30s so that is a significant difference.  I did get a pretty hot flush so I will cut the dose in half tomorrow.  Since the B-6 must be restricted, I must take other B-vitamins separately.  After tomorrow's long run, I will see how I react to extra Folate and/or B-2 (Riboflavin)

Rant: My last MD flat out refused to believe that I could not tolerate B-6.  Okay, so WHY DID I FEEL AWFUL WITHIN MINUTES OF TAKING IT?  Then, why did I feel better after it cleared?  I know now that this intolerance is likely due to a genetic defect.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=5.0

2/21- Good call on skipping the 5K because I was AWFUL this morning.  I cannot take the methylated forms of folate and B12.  Why did I have 1 good day on the B-complex?  I don't know but I may be so deficient that even the wrong form helped for a while.  I may still need Folic Acid and/or B-12 but it's got to be the un-methylated form, which means that even Jigsaw Mag may have to be restricted.  I've wasted over $100 this week alone on supplements that won't work.

The workout:  Plan was a long run on Lakeshore and I turned around after a half mile in 4:07 then proceeded to run the back half in 4:19 for an 8:26 finish.  Took some extra methyl B-12 after I got home and got even worse, which confirms my theory.

PM- Another better with or without test.  Did 1 Mile in a blazing 9:16 then popped an un-methylated B-12 and improved to 7:48 with no additional effort.  That's an improvement of nearly 90 seconds for 1 mile all because of 1 freaking pill!  Again, there has got to be some defective enzymes involved here and it's becoming increasing clear that genetic defects are in play.
Grade:E/1 credit/distance=3.0

2/22- Another better with or without test this time with the folic acid.  Ran the opening mile in 7:22 without it.  After taking it, I started off pretty well but faded after the 1st half mile.  Managed a 7:20 2nd mile but was done after that.  Faded to 7:55 in Mile 3 then called it quits.  Overall time was 22:37 for 3 miles (7:32 pace).  Poor performance.  This means that I am likely positive for the MTHFR mutation.
Grade:D+/1 credit/distance=3.0

Weekly summary:
Only 4 weeks until my deadline and it is looking bleak.  I suspect that my increased ceruloplasmin has worsened the over-methylation. If not for the Cp, my zinc/copper imbalance would be far worse however.   Based on what I've seen this week, I can just about guarantee genetic defects.  Is it treatable?  Yes.  Completely reversible?  Seems unlikely.
Distance= 27.0/ GPA= 16.2/8= 2.03
YTD: 229 miles.  Record: 1-5 with a 2.30 GPA

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Training 2/9-2/15

2/9- One thing after another.  I can take the necessary pills but now I'm down with the flu.  Running is out of the question for the next few days.

2/10- Feeling slightly better but still not even back to work yet.  A really bad day of adrenal fatigue feels similar to a low-grade flu.  There is no fever and chills but the fatigue, body aches and malaise can be just as bad.
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=0

2/11- Back to work today.  Still very weak and have a dry cough.  Aside from a little bit of hip soreness, my legs don't feel too bad.  Did 2 miles at Gold's in 17:56 (8:58 pace) with a slight negative split.  Got about what I expected today.  I've waited too long for sustained improvement.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=2.0

2/12- Flu symptoms are almost gone.  Zinc/copper sensitivity is still bad.  Whole food C is OUT.  When it comes to C and zinc, it's got to be both or neither.  I'm going with neither.  Zinc/copper ratio must be PERFECT everyday and I sure hope that my magic ratio is 20:1 (Thym-Adren).  Workout was 3 miles at Gold's and finished in 24:46 (8:15 pace).  Decent improvement.
Grade:D+/1 credit/distance=3.0

2/13- The old better with or without test.  Ran 1 Mile with Thym-Adren at moderate effort and clocked a 7:44.  Popped some ADHS such that the Zn/Cu ratio was about 17:1 and I slipped to over 9 on the next mile with an immediate reaction.  Tomorrow, I will see if a 23:1 ratio does the same thing.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=2.0

2/14- 2nd and last better with or without test.  1 Mile on a 20:1 ratio and my time improved to 6:56 as the flu virus continues to exit my system.  Popped half a zinc pill and within minutes, I was awful.  Did not even attempt the 2nd mile.  There you have it.  It's 20:1, neither more nor less.  I've got to do something about this.  What will work next month?

PM- I believe that the zinc/copper sensitivity stems from poor methylation so on little more than a hunch, I picked up some dimethyl glycine at the health food store.  It was no miracle cure but it was certainly a positive reaction.  1 Mile on Wisteria and my time is down to 6:47 on hills with the same 23:1 ratio that failed just a few hours earlier.  20:1 is still the "key" but it may not be disastrous if I deviate a bit.  YES!  Time to get back to real training now.

Run #3- Hit the track for another Mile and my time was down to 6:24 with even splits (94-98-98-94).
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=3.0

2/15- Took Thym-Adren plus DMG and hoped to hit 8 miles today.  Had to settle for 4 in 31:21 (7:50 pace).  Popped some SAM-e (stronger methylator) and got overstimulated so I cut the cool down out.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=4.0

Weekly summary:
This is my worst start on record.
Distance= 14.0/ GPA= 7.0/6= 1.17
YTD: 202 miles.  Record: 1-4 with a 2.37 GPA

Monday, February 9, 2015

Detox and Prognosis

I know exactly what I need to take to get in balance and have known for 2+ years.  It is Thym-Adren + a 1/1 ratio of Calcium/Magnesium.  The problem is that there have been a number of factors that have prevented me from tolerating the key pills.  My two biggest hurdles have been a congested liver and zinc/copper imbalance.  Both of these have been treated.

I often wonder how I was able to do so well in 2011 and 2012.  Yes, I was able to bring down my tissue sodium but if you had tested my ceruloplasmin, I bet it would have been in the 15-range (ideal is 25+) and my Mag RBC was likely under 4 (ideal is 6+).  In any event, the formula that I had been taking at that time was unsustainable because it contained too much Cal relative to Mag and thus there was no chance to get the adrenal ratio in line.  My best Na/Mg ratio on the HTMA was 30/2, which is still very high and I developed severe sugar sensitivity due to the Mag deficiency.Thym-Adren favors zinc over copper so without taking some Liver Beef, my high Zn/Cu ratio will continue to get worse.  Despite only taking the Liver Beef off and on, my ceruloplasmin came up from 17.9 to 23.0 in just 3 months.  If I can simply maintain it there, I can kiss the copper deficiency goodbye.

  My last Na/Mg test was 111/5 and if I can get that down to 30/5, I'm golden.  I figure that because I've been consistent with the Thym-Adren for the last 3 weeks, my tissue sodium is probably about 90 now and should get down to 30 within 2 months.  I have little doubt that I can maintain the Mag at or near normal.

Over the past week, my system has slowly been rejected the necessary pills.  What is supposed to be helpful  caused severe muscle stiffness, malaise and depression.  The truth is that my liver was too congested as far back as November of last year.  There is no reason why I should have had such a nasty reaction to the Liver Beef because my ceruloplasmin was still sub-optimal at 23.0 and yes, I took plenty of zinc to balance the copper.  Last week, I developed an intolerance to taurine and the last straw came when I had some trouble to Mag+ Thym-Adren.

Detox protocol:
Day 1: 2 servings of epsom salt water
- nasty mix of grapefruit juice and a half cup of extra virgin olive oil.
Day 2:
- 2 more servings of epsom salt water
-lots of trips to the toilet.

Commonly, you will find a lot of pea sized green and tiny tan "stones."  Are these actual gallstones or just a reaction with the olive oil?  I don't know and don't really care.  All I care about is being able to take the pills I need to get in balance.  Yesterday, I got better with an increased Thym-Adren dose and better with the Cal/Mag, which will keep my tissue Na trending down.  I took the taurine before bed without a negative reaction.  I woke up the next morning and tried the Liver Beef.  Again, no negative reaction!  I still have hope.  I will repeat that if this does not turn around by the Spring, I will declare myself semi-retired.  The daily updates will stop.  Mileage will be cut and the out of town races will stop after I hit 25 half marathon states.  I will limit myself to local races with game time decisions based on how I feel.  That would be a very sad day for me but one that I know I must face eventually.  

Monday, February 2, 2015

Training 2/2-2/8

2/2- AM 3 miles in 23:54 (7:58 pace).  Progress.  Took practically every ounce of energy to rally for the sub-8 overall.  1st full day off the liver.  Back on whole food C but remain off extra zinc.

PM- Same 3 miler but my time is down to 22:48 (7:36 pace).  Even pace and same effort as this morning but I was 66 seconds faster than I was only 10 hours ago.  So what?  That still sucks.  2 years ago, I had a 7 week winning streak snapped and I haven't won more than 3 straight since.  It will take a lot more than this to get my hopes up.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=6.0

2/3- Another step forward.  Lakeshore 5 in 37:40 (7:32 pace).  Standard issue.  Effort was slightly less than yesterday and I did beat the pace over 2 additional miles.  I still don't feel anything like the old me and my shin splints have flared up again.  I think I'm going back to zinc.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=5.0

2/4- Forced rest day.  Shin splints are worse.  I am in BIG trouble now.

2/5- Still unable to run.  Probably it's the pills again.  I'd rather be injured and have decent energy.  I believe taurine is the culprit.  That's right.  The same stuff was a life saver back in September.  If I am correct, I should begin to feel improvement by afternoon tomorrow.

2/6- I got some improvement but it wasn't as much as I expected.  4 miles in 31:52 (7:58 pace) with a last mile over 9.  Still in big trouble.  No real issues with my shin but whole body was extremely tight and my weight is up to 165.  I'm using this week as my one freebie.

2/7- Bad to worse.  Cannot run at all.  Zero energy. The more pills I take, the worse I feel. Only a detox can save me now.  If that fails, it's over.
If this does work, I'm detoxing every 3 months.  Perhaps if I had done so in November, I may not have had so many problems since.

2/8- AM- The detox appears to have been successful.  Lots of green and tan stones.  Whether or not I will be able to tolerate the needed pills still remains to be seen.

PM- 1 mile junk run.  Got progressively better after taking more pills.  Dropped 12 pounds in 2 days after the detox.

Distance= 16.0/ YTD: 188