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TOPIC: Ascorbic acid, probio's and brain fog

Ascorbic acid, probio's and brain fog 3 years 11 months ago #1

  • konnor
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Hi Maff,

Hope you are well, or at least in reasonable spirits!

Just had a read of your blog post with the photo’s. I feel for you dude! I may be in a not too dissimilar position to yourself health wise but I was healthy up to a few years ago. I can’t imagine being hit with CFS at the age of 12. You are a trooper mate!

I just wondered in your experience whether you knew the science behind the following queries. I keep swinging backwards and forwards based on what I read which isn’t a good sign, and it would be nice to get some ‘grounding’ in the facts, to the best of the available knowledge.

- Is it possible vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid can be irritating to the gut? I’ve read many different opinions from Dr Myhill saying it can be used to sterilise the upper gut, to those that say it destroys friendly bacteria. Do you know what conversion takes place once ingested as it moves through the digestive system? Obviously it is acidic, and I assume (hope as I use it) that it doesn’t remain acidic and burn the gut lining. It’s well known to be a stomach irritant when taken on its own but the effect on the gut (if anything) doesn’t seem too clear. The only reason I ask is that ascorbic acid powder and magnesium have been helpful to me in moving my bowels (both on an empty stomach ensures a good BM after breakfast), and whilst this is much better than laxatives, I worry that I’m continuing to inflame a leaky gut.

- Do you have an opinion on the inclusion of probiotics when dealing with leaky gut? The general consensus is that they should be used however some people claim that the same mechanism by which proteins can leak through the gut and cause allergies can also occur with probiotics into the blood stream. This seems slightly far fetched and presumably that logic would put leaky gut sufferers at dangerous risk from pretty much any supplement or food.

- Do you have any thoughts on the potential imbalances involved when one is woken up during the night to urinate? I wouldn’t say I’m urinating particularly frequently during the day, and I supplement with a reasonable amount of salt, both for the adrenals and as it’s unfortunately my only source of flavour for food! To your knowledge when your body is dumping sodium, could this cause frequent urination? Never is easy to pinpoint these things however just wondered if you were aware of possible mechanisms involved that might cause this, in the context of AF and gut dysbiosis.

That should do me. Just to update you I’ve been on a paleo, gaps type diet for about month now and have seen some improvements in symptoms and changes in others. The undigested food in my stool has improved since removing grains and legumes and whilst the diet change hasn’t been a magic bullet for my constipation, the combination of vitamin C and magnesium now does appear to be working. I can perhaps put this down to the stool softening effect of these nutrients now working since removing all sources of potential irritation from lectins, phytates etc and generally going lower fiber. I’ve also seen improvements in my liver not aching as much, which I assume has gone hand in hand with the constipation improvement.

The down side is I have awful chronic brain fog. It started after I tried slowly introducing eggs and coconut oil but since ceasing these hasn’t left! I gave the eggs a good run in case it was just a healing reaction but had to stop after a month. I didn’t feel massively confident on the CO either although I was at quite high a dosage (4tbls).

So I’m trying to return back to a baseline, as I’m barely able to function with the fog. The general anxiety caused by it causes one to re-evaluate the program and I’ve found myself once again looking at each and every part of my diet and supplements to see where the cause might be. I stopped the egg 6 days ago and the CO 2 days ago, the former I assume is enough time for it to clear from my system if it is causing an auto immune response. The later perhaps I’ll need to give it a little more time.

So up and down but progress I feel none the less! I do feel more suited to this type of diet but it’s not ideal when you react to pretty much all of the healing components! i.e. Ferments, eggs, bone broth, kefir, butter, sulphur foods etc.

How are things with you fella?

Matt
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Re:Ascorbic acid, probio's and brain fog 3 years 11 months ago #2

  • Maff
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Hi Matt,

Good to hear from you! I can't say I am feeling great but I am in pretty good spirits now I have completed my degree course and am focused on improving my own health again. I had some test results back from my GP this morning...no indication of coeliac disease but elevated liver enzymes (finally it showed up!). GP has requested an ultrasound for me given the results and symptoms I have described e.g. pale stools, abdominal pain etc. Should be interesting to see if there are any physical signs of problems. If there are I am expecting a lot of baffled faces as to the cause ;)

Also going down to The Diagnostic Clinic in London next Monday to have 11 vials of blood taken for a battery of tests I am having through Dr. Damien Downing in York. Lots of profiles looking at lipids, cellular integrity, toxic metals and other pollutants, and a few genomic profiles. Also having four immonological tests done by Red Labs in Belgium - NK cell numbers and function, Th1/Th2 cytokines, and RNase L - all stuff that is consistently linked to ME/CFS. I may be a bit twisted but I find test very exciting!

Thanks for reading my blog and for your comments. All I can say is I am just grateful I was blessed with a strong stubborn streak and never give up attitude. We're both in the same boat now though so the past doesn't really matter. Very cathartic writing blogs like that though.

Right, questions! I'm sure you can guess that I can't really give you any definitive answers but I'll have a crack at them...

Without spending a lot of time looking it up I can't tell you the chemical interactions that ascrobic acid goes through on its passage through the GI tract but my feeling is that, yes, it could irritate the intestinal mucosa if there is already low-grade inflammation as there is likely to be if gut dysbiosis and IBS-type symptoms are present. Anything sufficiently acidic (or alkaline for that matter) could have this effect. Taking magnesium should buffer the acidity and may therefore reduce this risk. However, it's a bit of a catch-22 since ascorbic acid and magnesium both need to stimulate muscular contractions in the intestine to promote bowel movements. This same stimulating action could be irritating to an already inflammed mucosa. Personally, I would weigh up the pros and cons. If ascorbic acid and magnesium help with the constipation and don't cause any significant discomfort I would be inclined to keep using them.

I am in general agreement with the concensus on probiotics and leaky gut. If you had bacteria flooding into your bloodstream from the gut then you wouldn't last very long! I think the major concern with leaky gut is that components of microbes such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS) could pass across the gut wall and trigger immune reactions after entering the systemic circulation. In this case, you want to get rid of the potentially most harmful microbes and probiotics may help here. If you have SIBO however, reducing the overall numbers of bacteria is also important. So we want to aim for both healthy quantity and quality of gut flora.

I have problems with frequent urination throughout the day and also get woken at night, dying for the loo! I am pretty sure hormonal imbalances, driven by adrenal fatigue, are likely to be the major contributor. In ME/CFS at least, anti-diuretic hormone(ADH)/vasopressin has been shown to be low in a number of studies and some doctors use this hormone as part of treatment protocols. My guess is significant improvement in adrenal function would also bring about improvement with this issue.

Good to hear you're doing well on the Paleo diet. It's low GI as well so should be good for balancing blood sugar and reducing the workload for the adrenals. Although strange you have worsening brain fog. I'd take a stab that besides triggering immune reactions, eggs and CO are obviously major sources of lipids so might cause digestion and absorption problems. This would irritate the gut and I have found myself that the health of my gut has a direct influence on my state of consciousness...more gut irritation equals more brain fog etc. Obvious when you look at the biochemical and nervous interconnections between brain and gut.

Not sure I've helped you out much there but hopefully something will lead you in the right direction! Good to hear you are making some progress anyway. One step at a time ;)

I have just started looking at new designs and software for the site this week which is quite exciting. I am hoping to keep the core of what we already have but add new features and make it easier for people to interact and share information. Hate to be a follower but things will be going a bit Facebook!

Take care and keep in touch.
If you are going through hell, keep going - Winston Churchill
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Re:Ascorbic acid, probio's and brain fog 3 years 11 months ago #3

  • konnor
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Stella advice as always cheers dude.

I’m thinking I might tweak things slightly such that I take the C with meals, so it’s somewhat used/buffered in the process of digesting food. Not sure if my logic is sound on that! Also might try switching to sodium ascorbate to see if it’s any gentler. I think it’s worth continuing considering the long term trouble I’ve had with constipation and I’ve felt the inflammation/rawness when my colon has been empty without taking C or Mag, during a colonic for example.

I also baffled my doctor with elevated enzymes (well, enzyme). I think I ended up taking 3 tests. The first 2 were very similar, so I went for an abdominal ultrasound which presumably didn’t indicate any stones or enlargement as the doctor said it was fine. I then had another test after that and my levels had dropped back to normal! (‘orthadox’ normal). The ache was fairly persistent throughout. What have you tried in the way of remedies? If you’re like me, i.e. sensitive to starch, sugars you probably won’t have been able to tolerate the food based recommendations such as carrot, beet or lemon juice. How about ox bile or bile acids? I take a relatively small dose of the later with fatty meals (or meals where my digestive ‘fire’ is weakest such as in the morning or eve) and it seems to keep the colour of my stools a nice deep brown. I suspect it’s more of a band aid though and not contributing towards any actual healing, which I’m not strong enough to attempt at the moment whilst I have gut and adrenal trouble. I suspect it does help a little with digestion though.

Wowzers those tests look interesting! Looks pretty foreign to me! I have a hard enough time trying to understand basic bodily functions such as gut ecology and the endocrine system. That doctor looks like he knows his stuff. Hope they aren’t burning you too much for cash, or that you have plenty saved you can use. I got stung by a doctor at the diagnostic clinic who didn’t know his arse from his elbow. ‘Prescribed’ all own brand stuff and wasn’t a good sign when the probiotics arrived past their sell by date!

Nothing wrong with facebook! Were you thinking of changing the CMS? Or just updating the style for what you’ve got. Wordpress and Expression Engine when integrated well can make for a pretty slick and easy to manage website.

I’ve decided to start a small blog to journal my progress and experience on the GAPs diet. Is mainly a personal thing but if you fancied checking up from time to time you can find it at www.thehealthvoyage.com. Just a basic template at the moment but may look into customizing it a little, if I can get round to it. I’ll be sure to drop in here as well as this would be one of the first places I would share any progress if I make any significant improvements.

Matt
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Re:Ascorbic acid, probio's and brain fog 3 years 11 months ago #4

  • Maff
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No problem dude, I try my best ;)

Not sure if taking the C with meals would help as if it is metabolised or reacts with the food it won't be available to do what you want it to do. Worth a try though I would think trying different vit C formulations would be a good idea.

Seems we have even more in common! I had an abdominal ultrasound about 10 years ago in my early 20s. They didn't find anything but were only looking at the lower abdomen. The sonographer actually said my symptoms sounded like a liver/gall bladder issue but he hadn't been asked to look at them!

I have tried ox bile on more than one occassion and not really noticed any benefit to be honest. I have a muchy better response to cholegogic and choleretic herbs that stimulate my own bile production and get it flowing. They turn my stools a healthier colour...and reduce abdominal pain, soreness and other GI and liver symptoms. Have you tried this approach? Can't remember if I've asked you before. If the ox bile helps a bit that's great. Anything is better than nothing right!

The tests are going to set me back about £1200-1500 but I have enough in savings and really want to get a clear picture of what is going on so I can persure the correct treatments and have some evidence to backup what I am saying to various doctors. I'm only having blood taken at the diagnostic clinic. They have access to a centrifuge and a few of the samples need to be spun...couldn't do that at Dr. Downing's office in York.

Great to hear you're writing your own blog! I will be sure to head over there and check it out. I find writing about my personal situation is really cathartic and muchy easier than writing scientific pages or essays!

This site currently uses a free content management system called Joomla and I'm planning on upgrading it to a newer and much better version and using a brand new template so it will look all new yet somewhat familiar to you guys. I'll be adding a social networking component called JomSocial that has a lot of great features including user-controlled groups and it also integrates well with Facebook. Hopefully it will be an improvement. I really want to get the community side of things going ;)

Have a good weekend and speak soon.
If you are going through hell, keep going - Winston Churchill
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