Friday, September 30, 2016

Iron Panel Test #2

Here are the raw numbers
Serum Iron- 119.  That’s a drop from 175 last time.  56 points (32 percent) down.  Optimal is 110 so astonishingly, I am not far off.  I went from being flagged as high to nearly optimal in just 5 weeks.  OUTSTANDING!

UIBC- 155.  That’s up from 110 last time.  45 points (41 percent) up.  Optimal is 220 so I still have a ways to go on this but if the current trend continues, I’ll be right where I need to be within another 2 months.  Again, this news is VERY GOOD.

Saturation Percentage- Drop from 61% down to 43%.  10 points north of optimal but again, EXCELLENT NEWS.  

TIBC- 274.  That’s a drop from 285 but that’s not enough to be significant.  It’s a bit below optimal (330) but not a cause for alarm.  Just keep the Iron where it is and continue to get the UIBC up.

Ferritin- 248.  This is a rise from 168.  Up 80 points (48 percent).  This is NOT good.  This number needs to be down around 50.  Again, it’s still within my lab’s “normal range” but as I’ve said repeatedly, Normal Does Not Mean Healthy!

Transferrin remained almost the same. 

What have I been doing?
-B6 (as P-5-P)
-B12 (hydroxyl, adenosyl)
-Occasional Apple Cider Vinegar
-Yasko’s SHMT & AHCY- This one contains an ingredient called Lactoferrin, which may be the reason for the rise in Ferritin.  It will be stopped.

2 out of the 3 indicators improved significantly but the rise in Ferritin is alarming.  I can try Rice Bran and if that doesn’t do it, it’s got to be blood donation.  Of course, simply stopping the Lactoferrin could do it.  As I said last time, my prior results were BAD!  However, it is highly unlikely that this is the smoking gun.  I want to see something WAY OVER THE TOP!  The OAT test is my best chance to find it.  The kit should arrive just before I leave or while I am at Lake Tahoe.  From that point, the results will be mailed directly to me within 3 weeks.  I’m on my own for the interpretation but am confident that I can acquire the knowledge to figure it out if I don’t already know.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Training 9/26-10/2

9/26- Gold's 5 in 37:45 (7:33 pace).  Good job.  Even pace with splits of 18:55-18:50 with plenty left in the tank at the end.  I still don't think I was at full strength after yesterday's excess citrate.  Until further notice, I'm sticking with 250 plus the Iron detox.  It could be a winner.

9/27- AM.  Spain Park Mile in 6:40.  I was on pace for 6:00 through 600 meters then fell apart.  Passed 800 in 3:04 and had nothing left after that so I shut it down and settled for a 3:36 on the back half.  Added a cool.

PM- Lakeshore 5 in 37:24 (7:29 pace).  1st half: 18:39, 2nd half: 18:45.  Solid performance.  This is the 3rd day in a row that I felt much better in the afternoon and evening than the morning.  That tells me that my citrate dose is still just a bit too high.  I will either cut it back from 250 to 200 or take it in divided doses but lean toward the former.

9/28- AM- 2 miles at Gold's in 15:24 (7:42 pace).  Struggled again despite taking only 200 mg of citrate.  Another idea is to take the full pill but take it at night.  Splits were 7:36-7:48 and I was working pretty hard at the end.  I'm taking the evening off but if I did run, I'd predict that I'd handle 5 @ 7:30ish again.  Took Curcumin when I got home and it made little difference.

PM- Rested as planned.  Took the Cal citrate at night so this was my 2nd dose.  I may struggle tomorrow but should have it regulated by the weekend.  Ordered the OAT test and I'm on my own for the interpretation.

9/29- Canterbury Loop.  Did 3.5 miles in 27:55 (7:58 pace) plus a half mile cool.  I was weakened by taking the double dose of citrate yesterday but still did okay. This was a hilly route and the effort was dialed back until the last half mile.  That tells me that even if my pills are a bit off, I'll still finish a half marathon.  I should get the Iron results tomorrow and my OAT test has been ordered.  The OAT is my best chance to find the "smoking gun" or a value that is WAY OVER THE TOP.

9/30- AM- Spain Park Mile in 6:35.  Only marginally better than last time.  This is unacceptable.  Changes need to be made.  We shall see if I am better in the afternoon.

PM- Really not much better.  Lakeshore 2.5 in 19:42 (7:53 pace).  Felt about the same, if not slightly worse than yesterday.  Good news is that I could finish a half mary now without a major meltdown.  Bad news is that it would be north of 1:50 and may not be much under 2:00.  I will try reducing the citrates.  If I do that, I may not be able to tolerate the Curcumin but based on my latest Iron test, I may not need it.  I will be quitting Yasko's Iron detox.

10/1- BTC social.  It was basically the Vulcan course plus an add on.  I ended up with 10 miles in 78:55 (7:54 pace).  Felt a good deal better than yesterday thanks to reducing the citrates fro 250 down to 150 and cutting out Yasko's pill.  I had something left in the tank too but decided to save it for race day next Friday.  Even pace with 8 of 10 miles under 8:00 and Mile 10 was my fastest at 7:38.

10/2- Lakeshore 5 in 38:24 (7:41 pace).  1st half: 19:05, 2nd half: 19:19.  Overall not bad at all.  No problem recovering from yesterday.  Good start and a good finish but the midsection was weak.  It still feels like my citrate dose is a bit too high.  If I drop it down to half a pill (125 mg), I will NOT be able to take Curcumin but hey, based on my last blood test, I may not have to.

Weekly summary:
37 miles on the week and I have passed 1,000 miles on the year.  I'm on pace for about 1,350, which is way off my PR of 2,092 but a big improvement over last year.  NO collapses this week but nothing particularly good either.  If I don't change anything, I predict a time just south of 1:50 at Lake Tahoe.  I should hope to be better than that.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Rave: Regional Accents

Imagine meeting somebody randomly on the street.  He or she might dress differently and have different interests or values but if you engage them in conversation and discover that you share a common native land, there’s a good chance of a connection.  In terms of U.S. regional accents, the Northeast, South and upper Midwest are particularly distinctive and I’ve grown to like them all.  I am partial to the South however and a strong southern accent on a woman who is attractive and intelligent will make me smile every time.  The only ones that I dislike (no offense) are the standard reporter voice and the valley girl/surfer that is unfortunately common among Millennials from coast to coast.

There are lots of variations within each region as well as within the same state.  I can tell the difference between north Alabama and south Alabama.  Same with Upstate and Low Country South Carolina.  Tidewater Virginia is VERY much different from its Appalachian region especially west of Roanoke.  However, all of them can be identified as Southern.  Within other regions, the story is the same.  A trained ear can distinguish between Philadelphia, New York and Boston.  Same with Detroit, Cleveland and Chicago but again, the region is easily identifiable. 
I have a pretty strong southern accent myself but it’s difficult to pinpoint it because I’ve spent at least 2 years in 4 different states (AL, SC, WV, PA).  In my travels, people have guessed that I was from anywhere from Kentucky to North Carolina and I’ve heard Texas and Louisiana as well.  It’s basically a non-issue for me here in Alabama and that’s how I like it.  In 10 years, I’ve only had 3-4 people comment on it at all and it was noticed to be “just a little bit different.”  Maybe someday, I’ll post a YouTube clip for anyone who is curious. 

Can you pick up a southern accent later in life if you were not born and raised here?  Some people will pick up different accents easier than others but my answer is yes.  It does depend on when and depends on where you move.  Most linguists say that your native speech sets sometime between about 13-15 years of age.  In my experience, that’s not always true.  One of the CPAs that I have dealt with at work claims that she moved here from Kansas City at 21 but you could have sworn that she was born and raised in Alabama.  Another is from Michigan and you can tell but there is a definite twang mixed in there.  A college friend from Maryland went to grad school near NYC and could have passed for a New Yorker within a few years but lost it when he moved back to the Mid-Atlantic.  I had more of an Appalachian sound in West Virginia but lost some of it back in South Carolina.  Once you are into your mid-late 20s however, it probably won’t change very much.

A lot of it depends on actual contact with native speakers.  If you were to move to a city such as Dallas, Charlotte or Atlanta with a high percentage of transplants, your speech probably will remain the same if not become more neutral.  Children who grow up there probably won’t have much of an accent either especially if their parents are transplants.  On the other hand, if you moved to Mississippi or Alabama where most of the population is native to the region, you probably will pick up some of the speech patterns even if you move there as a young adult.  In the Birmingham area, you are more likely to hear southern accents in outer suburbs such as McCalla or Gardendale than Homewood or downtown.  I do think that if you really like the region, you will be more likely to adopt its speech patterns at least subconsciously. 

Reaction to me when I travel outside the South:
Mostly positive overall.  I’ve gotten a lot of kind and flattering comments.  My favorite was from a guy who said that he would pay money for an extended audio recording.  LOL. I’ve made several friends randomly as a result of it as well.   However, there have been some negatives too.  I’ve been called a “hick” many times by northerners, which I find offensive because it implies that I am uneducated and have been stereotyped as such.  Good natured imitations are fine even if poorly done but if you carry it on for several minutes straight, it gets old and tired.  At the end of the day, I don’t mind people commenting on it but just don’t obsess.  I can have a sense of humor but expect to be taken seriously when the situation calls for it.  For those reasons, I don’t think I would want to live where my speech would be an issue.  Alabama is where I belong.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Training 9/19-9/25

9/19- BAD DAY!  Took only 50 mg. of citrate and it was still too much.  Still not recovered from yesterday's full pill.  Iron detox pills helped but were not nearly enough.
AM- 1 Mile in 7:55.  Got to 200 and realized that I wasn't going to make it and just slow jogged it in then added a half mile cool.

PM- Did the first half mile in 4:33 then popped 2 Yasko pills.  Not much better.  3 miles in 26:56 (8:59 pace).  Most troubling is that I faded.  Normally, when I'm getting better, I run an even-negative split.  Not so today (12:38-14:18).  I had better rebound tomorrow.
I'm talking with another Health Coach on Wednesday and have basically decided to pay the ransom for the OAT test.  I expect to see WAY over the top oxalates.  Probably oxalic and glycolic will be BAD.  An unbalanced glycolic likely explains intolerance to glycine products.

9/20- Unplanned rest day.  MUST focus solely on oxalates for now.  I cannot afford to mess with the Iron.  I made it through the day at work without issue but felt very weak all day.  The talk with the health coach is tomorrow afternoon.

9/21- AM- Reduced the citrates but still struggled.  Limited to 2 miles due to time constraints.  Finished in 15:18 (7:39 pace) and had to work to stay under 8:00 pace at the end.  I may have to nix the citrates for the next few days.  Talked with the new health coach and came away with a good impression but it will cost me a king's ransom to find the smoking gun.

9/22- AM- Took no citrates this morning and flat out SUCKED!  Quit after just 1 Mile in 9:36.  'Nuff said.  I will take a trace this afternoon and predict that I will feel better.

PM- Took just a trace of citrate and as I expected, I was much better.  Did 4 miles in 31:24 (7:51 pace).  Faded a bit but did not collapse (15:32-15:52) and kept the pace under 8 all the way.  Probably would have been better if I had taken a bit more.
I NEED a small amount of citrates but the window is very narrow.  If I'm wrong on the dose, I'd prefer to be low.  No more messing with the Iron until further notice.  Again, in theory, I should not have any further collapses.  I have booked the trip to Tahoe and will be stopping in Reno and Sacramento.

9/23- AM- WEAK.  Spain Park Mile in 6:57 and needed to rally from behind just to break 7.  Took just a trace of citrates and it clearly wasn't enough.

PM- Took a whole pill.  As recently as Monday, it would have been a disaster if I had taken that much.  Today, I was not half bad.  3 miles in 21:27 (7:09 pace).  1st half-10:40, 2nd half: 10:47.  I should be able to handle any sulfur product now, including Curcumin.  The big concern is Magnesium.  Cal citrate will REALLY deplete Mag so I need extra.

9/24- Took a whole citrate pill that was balanced with Mag malate.  It wasn't pretty but I got through 13 on the BTC route.  Route was tough but fair.  Finished in 1:51:56 (8:36 pace).  Pace was steady in the 8:15-8:20 range up through Mile 8 but faded badly over the last 5.  It was NOT a collapse.  I just got a little slower every mile and by Mile 13, I was strugg-a-ling just to stay below 10 minute pace.  Just like last week, I was spent after 10 but stuck it out, which should pay dividends on race day.
The citrates are tolerated and I think I'm through the dumping phase but I'll still have to deal with toxic oxalates, iron and too fast oxidation.  The lack of fitness also played a role in my fade.

9/25- Tried to go with 500 mg. of citrate and it was too much.  Legs felt fine.  No problem recovering from yesterday but I was short of breath very early into it.  Called it a day after 2.5 miles on Lakeshore in a time of 21:38 (8:39 pace) plus a cool.  1st half: 10:17, 2nd half: 11:21.  No panic.  I'll back it down to 250 tomorrow and should be okay.  Good news is that sulfur is tolerated even at higher doses.  I expect improvement in my Iron numbers next time.

PM- Bonus.  2 mile junk run at Railroad Park downtown.  Felt somewhat better than this morning.  Finished the distance in 15:44 (7:52 pace).  Still well off form.

-Despite the down week, I managed 34 miles and am closing in on 1000 for the year.

Monday, September 12, 2016

High Oxalates and the Solution

My biggest roadblock right now is the trans-sulfuration pathway.  I cannot tolerate any sulfur nor can I tolerate any CBS mutation treatment such as Yucca and CBS RNA drops.  B-12+ molybdenum does help but not enough to be a game changer.  For the record, I am heterozygous on every CBS SNP so I can expect mild-moderate issues in processing sulfur but nothing extreme.  According to my latest tests, my taurine was only mildly high and my ammonia was not elevated at all.  In both my hair and urine elements tests, sulfur was well within the normal range if not slightly on the low side. 

There is certainly nothing on the surface that jumps out screaming of a problem with sulfur but it’s obvious to me and should be obvious to my readers that SOMETHING VERY SCREWY is going on with my trans-sulfuration pathway.  I need a different test to diagnose the problem, which is why I was interested in seeing the Functional MD.  Again, I wanted to see something WAY OVER THE TOP such as a lab value more than 10x an already unhealthy upper limit of a reference range.  Based on what’s been going on, I certainly should expect to see something like that on a test.   

I now believe that the source of the intolerance to sulfur is high oxalates, which I’ve heard are toxins chemically similar to anti-freeze.  I don’t have to tell you that’s some pretty nasty stuff that can be quite dangerous if untreated.  I am betting that my negative reactions to food based Greens and Whole Food C were oxalate related.  The best way to test for it is the Organic Acids Test from Great Plains Laboratory.  I’m betting the Comprehensive Organix Profile that I wanted earlier could have revealed it as well but the OAT lists 3 specific oxalates in a separate section.  After listening to a podcast from Dr. Jess Armine, I am nearly certain that this is the source.  Dr. Jess specifically stated that YES, high oxalates can really screw up the trans-sulfuration pathway.  He also said that when a patient does not get better after trying everything that should in theory be effective, high oxalates are often the culprit.  Starting to sound like me?

As for the treatment, Yasko made several suggestions on her site but some of them actually contain sulfur, which is a non-starter for me.  She also suggested upping my B-12, specifically the adenosyl form.  I tried that and found it tolerable but a non-factor at least for now.  In Sunday’s afternoon session, I opened with a 7:31 mile then clocked a 7:28 after popping some B-12 so that’s not nearly enough to be considered significant and I felt no different.

Odds are that I will need a low dose combo of Cal/Mag citrate.  This used to be a regular part of my cocktail up through the Spring of 2013 and my downturn began shortly after stopping it.  Why did I stop?  Cal citrate depletes Mag.  Mag citrate does not raise Mag levels and depletes ceruloplamin so even now, I must be very cautious with it and know that it is not a substitute for Mag malate, which WILL keep my Mag levels in line.  Mega doses of Thym-Adren did nicely lower Na and K but my Cal and especially Mag remained frozen at dangerously low levels.  All was not roses before my decline.  I had extreme reactions and sudden sensitivities to sugar, copper, Vitamin C, chromium plus a few others that I’m sure I forgot about.  Even after lowering the oxalates, I’m sure that I’ll still need methylation support but may not be as dependent.  If I can tolerate methyl B-12, I can take an active B-complex instead of separate Bs, which would sure be nice and give my cabinet some space as well.    

As for the early response to Cal citrate, it was a brief honeymoon for about 3 days followed by a sudden crash.  Even during the honeymoon, I had itches and cloudy urine, which are classic signs of oxalate detox.  Dr. Jess has said that this reaction is common and suggests that I need to lay off for at least a few days before starting back gradually at micro doses.  I may potentially have a pathway to balance now.  Step 1) Get the oxalates down, 2) If I can do that, I can tolerate treatments to clear Iron, 3) If Iron gets regulated, Na and K will go down without mega doses and I will no longer be an extreme fast oxidizer.  Energy will improve dramatically when that happens.  I’ve already pronounced myself cured when it comes to neurotransmitters, Magnesium deficiency and Zinc/Copper dysregulation.  If I hit another roadblock, I will call on Dr. Jess Armine for a consult. 

Training 9/12-9/18

9/12- 3 miles on Lakeshore in an overall time of 24:45 (8:15 pace).  Did the first 2 miles in 15:50 with a very even pace then popped a Curcumin pill and faded to 8:55 for Mile 3 so I was a full minute slower per mile.  Got home and popped a Yasko pill and got worse.
After just ONE day off the citrates, the sulfur sensitivity is back with a VENGEANCE just as I predicted.  It actually happened sooner than expected.  I will probably suck tomorrow as well.  That leaves me with just option 1 left.  Lay off the citrates for a few days then start back at micro doses.  I don't see any path to victory without ridding myself of the oxalates.

9/13- More trial and error this time at Gold's.  Moving time was 21:45 for 3 miles (7:15 pace).  Felt only slightly better than yesterday without any citrate or sulfur.  1st mile was 7:44 then popped just a trace of Cal citrate (around 25 mg) and improved to 6:55.  Took an Iron detox from Yasko and Mile 3 was 7:06.  A PLUS 11 is barely enough to be considered significant but I was noticeably weaker.  Added a mile cool at the end.
The small amount of Cal citrate was tolerated and if I am bold, I will try just a tad more tomorrow.  Without the citrate, I would have been HORRIBLE on the Iron detox.  As it is, I was only slightly weakened.  If I had taken too much citrate, I also would have been HORRIBLE but the Iron detox would have made it slightly better.  To quote an old friend from the BAFA days, "It's horrible.  It's horrible.  It is quite deplorable."

9/14- Turned 36 today.  Realistically, the 19:09 5K from 2 years ago was my last PR but there's no reason why I can't remain competitive.  With similar fitness, I should still be able to do 19:15-19:20.  Today was one of my better days.  4 miles in 28:55 (7:14 pace).  Splits were 14:34-14:21.  It was non-stop with the exception of 2 emergency squats due to detox.  Fortunately, I was at Gold's.
I went with roughly 50 mg of Cal Citrate today and took Yasko's pill with it.  The citrate was tolerated despite the detox reaction and I don't think Yasko's hurt me at all.  Took Curcumin later and it left me slightly weakened but I'm betting I still could have done this workout near 7:30-7:40 pace.  Curcumin is stronger than Yasko's  and in order to tolerate both, 200 mg of citrate is needed.  Citrate will be ticked up just a hair tomorrow.

9/15- Too aggressive with the detox.  Went with about 100 mg of citrate and should have stuck with 50 at least until the end of the week.  Not a disaster overall.  Finished 4 miles at Gold's in 31:50 (7:57 pace).  First 2 miles in 16:24 then popped a Yasko pill and improved to 15:26.  Just like I said yesterday, the more citrate I take, the more sulfur I can handle.  Added another half mile cool.

9/16- AM- Back down to 50 mg of citrate and went with no sulfur.  Spain Park Mile in 6:02.2 (89-93-93-87).  Best time of the year and MINUS 5 compared with last week.  I've got it next week barring a collapse.  Just couldn't hold the pace in the middle but my last 200 was a 41.x.  Too little too late though but I was still pleased.  Half mile cool.

PM- Gold's 5 with Yasko's pill.  Felt about the same.  Did not feel any real difference one way or the other.  If I had taken any Curcumin, I would have been weakened.  Finished in 36:44 (7:21 pace). MINUS 17.   It was over 2 weeks since the last time at this distance but indeed I did skip the 37s.  1st half was 18:18, 2nd half was 18:26 and I could have gone faster.  Good job.  Another half mile cool.  Hope this doesn't hurt tomorrow.

9/17- BTC group run.  It wasn't pretty but I made it 10 miles.  Time was 82:48 (8:17 pace) and I was pretty well spent at the end.  Even pace with every mile below 8:30 but something felt off.  Maybe I was just tired from yesterday's workouts but this feels like the pills were a little off.  Went with low dose citrate plus Yasko together and I'll do some experiments.  This pace projects to a half in about 1:48:15 and I'm better than that.

PM- Another Yasko pill left me weakened a bit and Curcumin made it far worse BUT extra Cal citrate made me feel a LOT better.  Came through 1 mile at Gold's at 7-flat but a 2nd dose of Curcumin proved to be too much.  Slipped to 7:51 for Mile 2 then called it a day.
The more citrate I take, the more sulfur I can handle.  In a race situation, I would lean toward micro doses of citrate alone but I will try a full pill of citrate with Curcumin tomorrow.

9/18- The full citrate pill with Curcumin is NOT the answer.  Managed just 2 miles in 19:09 (9:35 pace) on Lakeshore.  Even with the workouts that I've done this week, there is NO WAY that I should have been this bad.

PM- Extra Curcumin actually helped but I'm still not going to attempt a workout.  I'm betting that I'd be good for 17:xx for 2 miles which is still bad.  It appears that although my sulfur tolerance may be unlimited with sufficient citrate, no amount of sulfur will knock out all the symptoms if I take too much citrate.  I will be focusing on the oxalates as priority over the iron poisoning.

-37 miles on the week.  Overall, not too bad.  Once piece of news about Fall racing:
I had planned on running Detroit the weekend of Oct 15.  They have a USA only half and an International half, which goes into Canada.  The International half is sold out so I looked elsewhere.  Instead, my fall race will be in Lake Tahoe, Nevada the previous week.  It's 800 ft. net downhill but at 7,000 feet elevation, it won't be fast.  Figure about the equivalent of Denver.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Rant or Rave: Youth Sports

I have read a few articles that have suggested the children’s sports participation has been declining in recent years.  I believe the cause is two-fold: Lack of interest due to excessive electronic usage and  parents who push too hard.
Growing up, I played soccer, baseball and basketball on youth teams and took lessons in golf and tennis before I got involved with a local track club.  For the most part, I enjoyed it and basketball was my favorite of the 3.  I could hold my own in soccer and basketball but was no better than average.   In baseball, I was terrible and would have been worse in football if I had played.  My only chance to make a school team was in track and cross-country.

Here are my thoughts on youth sports.  Do your best and strive to win but PLEASE DON’T ACT AS IF IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD IF YOU LOSE OR DON’T PERFORM UP TO PAR.  That goes for both kids and parents.  Yes, I was guilty of that especially in high school but even then, I had a strong suspicion that I was held back by hidden medical problems.  The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the camaraderie with your teammates.  Unless you can compete well with boys 3 years older, you have virtually no chance of becoming a professional athlete so your conduct and sportsmanship should mean more than your performance and won-loss record.

A few basic rules:
-In a recreational league at least through Jr. High, EVERYBODY PLAYS.  You can give your best players more playing time but nobody sits on the bench all game unless they misbehave. 
-ZERO TOLERANCE for bullying.  If I ever catch my future stepson making fun of a less skilled kid, he’s automatically suspended from the team and I would encourage the coach to make other bullies ride the pine for at least a game or two.
-For parents, NEVER punish your child for a poor performance on the field.  I want to see kids rewarded for good character and sportsmanship as well as winning.  I do not go as far as to give participation trophies to all.  Only the league champion and runner-up got a trophy growing up and I think that’s how it should be. 

Baseball was my least favorite of the 3 team sports that I played.  The biggest problem was that when facing a live pitcher, it was almost always the other team’s best athlete.  There was one pitcher in my league who often retired the side by throwing 9 consecutive strikes.  I did get one hit against him which was a dribbler that died between the mound and 3rd base.  Also, any pitch that is anywhere near the plate that is not in the dirt or over your head will be called a strike.  In basketball and soccer, you can have some involvement as a defender but you can’t do much if nobody passes you the ball.

With track and field, you’re all on your own competing against others as well as yourself.  What I found most attractive with running is the ability to quantitatively measure your improvement in a manner that is purely objective.  If you take a kid with average ability and have him run just 2-3 miles maybe 5 times per week, he or she will certainly get a lot better.  In my 2nd year as a runner at the age of 11, I improved my time in the 1500 from 7:04 all the way down to 5:50 (equivalent of a 6:15 Mile) with that little training.  In middle school, I was competitive with some of the best athletes in my school including the pitcher who could throw 9 strikes. 

When it comes to school sports, basketball is the toughest to make because there are only 12 players per team and only 5 on the floor at one time.  Even in other sports, you will sit on the bench unless you are darn good.  In cross-country, at least in my school, there were no tryouts or cuts.  Everybody got to run in both dual meets and invitationals.  There were JV races for those who were not among the top 7 on the team. I did crack the Varsity by my Junior year.

 In track and field, everybody got to compete in dual meets but a big invitational was usually restricted to 2 per event and the conference championship was 3 per event.  Also, evaluation of who gets to run is purely objective.  Coach took whoever had the 2 best times so there was no excuse such as “I didn’t get to play because the coach doesn’t like me.”    Seniority might be considered if it’s a close contest between an upperclassman and a freshman for one of the last spots on Varsity but as a rule, if a 9th grader is clearly good enough for Varsity, he or she will run the big meets.  Coach usually limited you to 1 individual event plus a relay for an invitational so a 3rd or 4th best Miler (me) usually still got to go. 

In conclusion, I would strongly recommend some type of extra-curricular activity in school and you really can’t go wrong with track and field.  Swimming would probably be a good choice as well because of the quantifiable improvement.  Overall, despite frustrations over not performing up to snuff, track and cross-country were great experiences for me and could be for your child as well.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Plan C for Iron and Sulfur Detox

Since getting the results of my Iron panel, I have tried Curcumin+ Apple Cider Vinegar first then tried Yasko's SHMT and ACHY pills.  Both times, the results were identical: A brief period of improvement followed by a sudden relapse.  The problem is that although these products contain key ingredients that have iron binding properties, they also contain sulfur, a mineral in which I have ZERO tolerance.

What is puzzling is that my sulfur on my hair test is in balance.  My taurine is only mildly elevated and my ammonia is not elevated at all.  I tried every CBS mutation treatment out there and ALL OF THEM MADE IT WORSE!  FYI- I am compound hetero on this mutation.  The only things that can be tolerated are B-12+ molybdenum, which is not a game changer.  An extra dose might bring a 19:xx 2 mile down to a 17:xx, which is still BAAAUHD!   On a relatively good day, it really doesn't make a significant difference .

It is obvious that something VERY SCREWY is going on in my trans-sulfuration pathway and most frustrating of all is that NO DOCTOR OR HEALTH COACH CAN GIVE ME A SIMPLE STRAIGHT ANSWER!

I talked to the Functional MD from Sanctuary Medical in Nashville via the free phone consult.  When I explained my situation via e-mail prior to the appointment, here is what I was HOPING to hear in response:
- I have seen cases like yours before and have successfully treated many of them.  What I commonly see in such cases is a severe deficiency in X coupled with an excess in Y or Z.  I'll get you tested to confirm what I suspect then get you started on a treatment that has worked for other clients.  Now, I would not expect him to tell me what the expected deficiency is or how to treat it without a paid visit but I'd pay a king's ransom to find out. The $450 would pay for itself soon if I can stop wasting money on supps that don't work.

Here's what I did hear:
First of all, he was 10 minutes late in calling me and 10 minutes early in cutting me off.  I could barely understand him because he mumbled over the phone but what I did hear repeatedly was that no 2 patients are the same and I'd likely have to walk a tightrope to manage it.  Basically, I heard nothing that I did not already know.  A "tightrope" or exact cocktail every day is an acceptable outcome.  What is unacceptable is the moving targets and frequent relapses.  Needless to say, I am not interested in an appointment.

Possible solution:
It's a damn shame because I feel like I've finally gotten a handle on the methylation.  With the possible exception of B-6, there is no pill in my cocktail that will hurt me if I take an extra though I will be weakened if I don't take enough.  I REALLY BELIEVE IT IS AS SIMPLE AS AN ENZYME DEFECT CAUSED BY A SEVERE DEFICIENCY OR EXCESS IN A MINERAL, VITAMIN OR AMINO ACID.  I took another look at Yasko's MAP test from last Fall and everything looked pretty good except for one thing, which was an undetectable level of succinate, which relates to Vitamin E.  Yasko sells a Vitamin E product as succinate and I will order it tomorrow.  Again, just taking the right minerals and vitamins is not enough.  You need to proper form.  I can't take Magnesium Glycinate or Citrate but CAN take Magnesium Malate.  Vitamin E potentiates selenium, which is antagonistic to BOTH sulfur and iron so it is a viable option.

Indeed an iron excess can cause damage to enzymes but I really don't know what else to do to solve it because everything that clears it contains sulfur.  If the Vitamin E/selenium fails or is a non-factor, the only option is blood donation, which is actually the standard treatment.  Word on the street is that it will quickly remove the iron excess but also remove other critical minerals and cause temporary fatigue and weakness.  Will the decreased iron solve the enzyme defects and improve my trans-sulfuration pathway?  It seems iffy but I'll do anything at this point if there's a chance that it works.

Training 9/5-9/11

9/5- Gold's 3 in 23:39 (7:53 pace).  Very mediocre effort.  Back in Birmingham and it will probably do me good to get back to my normal routine.  I don't think the sulfur has fully cleared yet.  Tried some zinc and selenium and both were non-factors.  Mile 1 was 7:57 then popped a selenium and improved only slightly to 7:49 (not significant) then slipped back to 7:53 after taking zinc (again, not significant).  I will order Vitamin E as succinate.

9/6- Lakeshore 2.5 in 19-flat (7:36 pace) with splits of 7:30-7:42-3:48.  Clearly better than yesterday despite cheating badly on sugar.  It's all about the sulfur intolerance.  If my recent history is any indication, I will improve steadily for 5-10 days then collapse.  Added a 5 minute cool.

9/7- Lakeshore 5 in 42:02 (8:24 pace).  Very poor performance and extra B-6 was the culprit.  Only 1 of those suckers can be tolerated and I may be better off cutting it in half.  Came through the 1st half in a not horrible 19:52 then faded to 22:10 on the back half with a 9:30 in Mile 5.  Detroit is listed as doubtful at this point.  I'm not flying away for another awful race.
Research indicates that high oxalates could be causing the sulfur issues.  The test needed is the Organic Acids Test.

9/8- Took Calcium citrate at lunch and it appears to be a winner.  I had frequent urination and it had a cloudy appearance.  Both are classic signs of oxalate detox.  There is a chance that if the oxalates are out of my system, I can handle sulfur.  If I can do that, I can get the Iron down and FINALLY get in balance.  Felt VERY much different on the run and my mind wasn't sure how to handle it.  I actually took a couple mental breaks but covered 3 miles in a moving time of 20:34 (6:51 pace).  Came through the Mile mark in 6:55 then popped a Vitamin E succinate.  Mile 2 was 6:59 but Mile 3 was 6:40 so even if the E is not a game changer, it is tolerated.  A deficiency in succinate as revealed on Yasko's MAP test can cause exercise intolerance and myopathy.  Correction of that could be huge. Faint glimmer of hope.

9/9- AM- Spain Park Mile in 6:07.5 (MINUS 8).  Split the difference between the 6 minute barrier and last week's time.  Calcium citrate appears to be a winner and the E succinate is tolerated and may be slightly beneficial.  Paced it well again with splits of 90-95-94-88.  Something still feels off today and before my next time trial, I will reduce my B-6 to half a pill.

PM- Gold's 4 in 29:58 (7:29 pace).  Solid but unspectacular.  Pace hovered just over 7:30 most of the way and needed just a modest rally to break 30.  Still feeling too over-stimulated so upon further review, the Vitamin E will only be taken occasionally and the B-6 will be reduced.

9/10- AM.  Split decision overall.  There is good news and bad.  As I suspected, the Calcium citrate appears to have solved the sulfur intolerance. That COULD BE HUGE!  B-6 reduction was probably not much of a factor.  Both the Curcumin and Yasko's Iron detox pills were tolerated (at least they were today) BUT the Calcium citrate was NOT tolerated and the workout was horrible.  Managed just 3 miles in 26:33 (8:51 pace) with a 3rd mile in 9:42.  Fortunately, I saw the collapse coming so it was a short walk of shame.
I got the cheap brand of Cal citrate at CVS and I did not see that it contains fillers including one ingredient in particular that I cannot tolerate.  It's a lucky thing that it did work for 2 days otherwise, I may not have realized the problem.  I tried another brand from a health foods store which DOES appear to be tolerated.  It's also possible that it must be balanced with Mag citrate but if that's the case, I need to go real easy.  Mag citrate won't raise Mag levels much and will deplete copper and ceruloplasmin.  With the Curcumin and Yasko's product, it's a good bet that my Iron panel will improve on my next test.

PM- Tacked on another 3 at Gold's.  Time improved to 24:30 (8:10 pace).  Cal citrate WITHOUT all the fillers and additives should work for me.  There is a chance that I can finish a 10 miler tomorrow.

9/11- FAILED again.  Only marginally better than yesterday's morning session.  Managed 5 miles on Lakeshore in an ugly time of 43:40 (8:44 pace).  1st half was a not horrible 20:09 then faded to 23:31 over the last 2.5 and was struggling to hold 10 minute pace at the end.

The Calcium citrate is a NO.  Once again, the sulfur containing pills including Curcumin and Yasko's Iron detox were not only tolerated but likely beneficial and I may do better this afternoon.  Without the Cal citrate or something else to control the oxalates, the sulfur intolerance will come back with a VENGEANCE! I don't believe better Iron regulation through blood donation will solve it either. The high oxalates are likely the reason for the B-6 sensitivity as well.  Once again, I found a solution to a MAJOR problem but the ill-effects of the solution are worse than the problem itself.  I tried balancing the Calcium citrate with extra Mag malate.  It didn't work and probably made it worse.  Extra All-In One, which contains low dose Mag citrate seemed to help marginally.  This development has left me with 3 options before blood donation:
1) Take the Cal citrate only occasionally.  The sulfur sensitivity could return as early as 1-2 days or 1-2 weeks.  We shall see.
2). Balance the Cal citrate with Mag citrate.  Again, the doses must be low to prevent loss of ceruloplasmin.  I am unsure if that will really work and Mag citrate is NOT a substitute for my preferred source (Mag malate).  Cal citrate may be just simply a NO, period.
3). Find another solution for the high oxalates.  I'll be looking through Yasko's site.

PM- Back to Gold's for experimental intervals.  Just like yesterday, I was better after taking the Curcumin and Iron detox pills.  Did the first 2 miles in 15-flat (7:30 pace) then popped a Cal/Mag citrate combo and was so bad that I didn't even try going out for Mile 3.

Scratch option 2.  Most of Yasko's suggestions for oxalates contained sulfur except for adenosyl B-12.  That's a viable option.  I'm going with that and I shall see if the sulfur sensitivity returns.  I will be laying off both citrates for at least a week.

-32 miles on the week.