Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Clumsy and stiff first thing in the morning? Maybe it isn't age . . .

I was recently chatting with a friend who said that before she got out of bed in the morning, she used to have to take a muscle relaxer and wait 30 minutes for it to kick in, and then she would still be awkward and clumsy.  This was just one of a number of physical symptoms she had been suffering from; her doc’s response was to refer her to psychiatrist .  .  .  You know how they are, they imply there is nothing wrong with you and it is all in your mind.  Meanwhile you are physically suffering . . . 

She has a new doc, a naturopath, which she is paying out of her own pocket.  This new doc tested her for Epstein Bar Virus and she was positive.  The doc has gotten her off all GMOs, on to a vegetarian diet, and on to probiotics--both in foods and a supplement.  She no longer needs the muscle relaxer and she can get right up and start moving around first thing in the morning!

So, off the phone, I started reflecting that I had noticed, in just the last couple of weeks-- I too am moving much easier in the mornings! Thinking back, it was over 20 years ago that my second husband would tease me about how I would clomp and lurch around when I first got up in the morning.  Back then, I thought that was normal  . . . 

After over 20 years of this clomping and lurching, I always automatically wonder how I am going to be functioning before I get out of bed and I am very careful.  The last few weeks I have been surprised at the way I can just stand up and walk--as if functioning normally first thing in the morning is, well, normal!  

Like my friend, I am off GMO's. This has been a long slow process for me, which started a good 3 or 4 years ago; but the better I have felt the more committed to dumping them I have become.  

Another similarity is the probiotics.  I started probiotic fermentation at home, about a year ago.  I ferment bilberry nectar, I make a fabulous and simple fermented dessert with coconut and chia seeds, 
I pre-ferment my beans and rice before cooking (to remove anti-nutrients and inflammatory agents), and I recently started making big batches of probiotic fermented greens--I am probably eating 1/2 to 3/4 cup of those raw, live culture, fermented greens a day.  (Please ask if you want more information on the greens or the desert!  For photos of other easy, healthy organic and transitional dishes see my facebook photo album titled: Yummy!)

I have also been having a bit of an aversion to animal protein lately. I don't plan on going completely vegetarian, and I do still eat the occasional small serving of fish or sea food, but I am eating far less animal protein than I have in years.  That’s another similarity.

The other interesting thing that I have changed is I have pretty much quit taking nearly all of my supplements, for a variety of reasons.  First of all, I started noticing, since I have been eating the fermented greens, that my eyes were less bloodshot when I forgot to take my B complex supplement than when I did take it.  (Blood shot eyes can be a symptom of B vitamin deficiency.)  Next, I started skipping it on purpose for a while and then taking it, and noticing the effect on my eyes.  Sure enough I noticed that they were more bloodshot when I took the supplement than when I didn't, and I actually feel better without it.  This is a big change.  I have been taking B complex off and on most of my life, and I used to feel far better with it than without it.  I suspect two things.  One, I am probably having a bit of an allergic reaction to the B complex; and two, the fermented greens and the growing population of probiotic flora in my gut are probably providing me with better quality B complex than can be found in any supplement.

Next I ditched my calcium-magnesium-zinc supplement for two reasons.  I have been reading some research that puts calcium supplementation in a very bad light.  Some research shows a correlation between calcium supplementation and heart disease and some shows a correlation with cancer.  I am not claiming that this information is actually factual or correct--but it did get me wondering.  

Meanwhile, I have post injury arthritis in my shoulders, neck and upper back, which I am trying to clear. I figured my body would be much more likely to metabolize the calcifications, if my diet was a little deficient in calcium.  So I started experimenting with lowering the dose, and I got off it completely without any side effects.  I have been taking calcium-magnesium supplements since I was a teenager--because I would get "charley-horses" without them. I later added zinc to that mix, because I found that without the zinc, the calcium-magnesium supplement made me drowsy and I couldn't divide the dose throughout the day as recommended.  Along with dumping the calcium-magnesium-zinc, I also dumped the cod liver oil and the omega-3 fish oil, for no reason, other than I took them all together.  However, I am finding that my inflammation is less and not more.  

I do think getting adequate calcium and minerals is important, and I may eventually go back to taking a supplement, in very small doses. Omega-3 is also important.  I eat plenty of chia seeds every day, and I also still eat small servings of salmon and other Omega-3 rich fish and sea food from time to time.  I have read that the less Omega-6 we consume the less Omega-3 we need—so I have been working on lowering the Omega-6 in my diet.  When and if I start taking my calcium supplement again, I will probably also start taking some cod liver oil and fish oil at the same time, at least experimentally. These oils are supposed to improve the absorption and utilization of calcium and other minerals, along with having other health benefits.  I am not committed to not taking them; I am just taking a break.  And who knows, I may experiment with taking either the cod liver oil or the Omega-3 or both, even if I don’t decide to take the minerals.

I attribute being able to go off the calcium-magnesium-zinc supplement--without charley-horses--to two things.  First of all to the fermented greens; greens, especially those grown in mineral rich soil, are a good source of calcium and other minerals.  Fermenting them, from everything I have read, makes the minerals more bio-available.  Plus, having healthy probiotic flora living in our guts is supposed to help us better absorb nutrients of all kinds.  Second, I am growing the greens at Growing Together Community Gardens, where the garden president, Adam Zeigler of Ambrosia Technology LLC, has been very carefully stewarding the soil.  

One of Adam’s focuses has been on minerals.  The soil started out acidic and low in calcium and other minerals.  By carefully watching the pH and adding crushed oyster and other shells to the soil over time, he has corrected the pH and enriched the soil with natural minerals.  He also has a bit of a magic trick up his sleeve, which provides even more minerals to the soil as well as improving bio-availability of those minerals to the plants.  His family owned company, Ambrosia Technology LLC, produces a product called Sea CropR, which has been used at the garden with amazing results.  I believe that one of those results is that, for the first time since I was a young teen, I can forgo my calcium-magnesium supplement without suffering.  Natural unprocessed minerals, I believe, are superior to those found in processed supplements.  Yay!

Meanwhile, in the interest of full disclosure, I still take a few supplements as follows:  

B-12 in the form of Methylcobalamin.  The cheap and ubiquitous B-12, Cyanocobalamin, contains cyanide.  Cyanide is toxic of course, and one of the very scary things plants are doing in response to increased carbon in the atmosphere is to produce more cyanide.  So it seems to me that we ought to be avoiding cyanide when possible, not taking extra in our supplements.  There are other reasons to avoid cyanocobalamin, read more here:  http://www.dadamo.com/B2blogs/blogs/index.php/2004/02/07/cyanocobalamin-versus-methylcobalamin?blog=27

I only use B-12 now, as needed, for the lingering and reoccurring parasthesia I was left with after a bad car accident where I sustained neurological damage from injuries to my brain, spine, and feet.   I still suffer from reoccurring numbness, prickling, and tingling, mostly in my feet.  The B-12 I am taking now is made by VegLife, but my favorite is a liquid made by Pure Encapsulations. 

Truly Natural Vitamin C, from HealthForce Nutritionals—after reading  a few  very unfavorable articles on synthetic Vitamin C     I switched to this product; however, just now I was going over the label with a fine tooth comb I discovered that it contains maltodextrin, which is an artificial sweetener.  I will be looking for a new truly natural Vitamin C source.   I am sensitive to citrus, so that’s not going to work for me.  I think I will give good old fashioned rose hips a whirl.  And then again, maybe I don’t really need a supplement after all; Vitamin C is pretty easy to get from food:  http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/vitamin-C.php

CoQ10 liquid, from NuNaturals.  I only take this when I have a migraine (caused by the mitochondrial disorder) and it does absolutely give me some relief.  It doesn’t cure the migraine, but it does help.  If you get migraines you probably know that nothing much cures them and that every little bit of help is all good—especially if it doesn’t arrive with rebound effects or tons of potential side effects. 

D3 liquid from Trace Minerals Research.  My mitochondrial disorder leaves me very sensitive to direct sunlight (it gives me a migraine), so sunbathing for Vitamin D is not on my agenda.  This product does contain some ingredients that are not 100% natural, but for the time being, I still feel better when I take it than when I don’t.  I do use this almost every day; however, I just take a teaspoon instead of the tablespoon recommended on the label.

Magnesium, in two forms.  First, a liquid ionic magnesium from Trace Minerals Research, which I use topically.  The second is magnesium oxide powder from Now brand.  I also just use these as needed.  One of the other issues I have, because of neurological injuries resulting from a car accident, is chronic and recurring contractured muscles, which are very painful and can interfere with movement and function.  The magnesium along with stretching, range of motion, pressure points, and mild repetitive mobilizing exercise really helps.  And by the way, the magnesium isn’t something I have added recently; it has been part of my personal bag of tricks for many years.  In fact, I am using less of it than I have in the past!

So, back to the alleviation of clumsy stiff mornings . . .

Here is a little recap:  We both have ditched the GMOs. We are both eating less animal protein.  We are both on probiotics. Even though I didn’t mention it above, we are both committed to organic food, we are both off gluten, and we both get regular appropriate gentle exercise.  I’ve also ditched some of my supplements. 

If you give any of this a try, your results may vary.  There is no accounting for individual sensitivities and reactions, no one can ever guarantee that you will see any improvement, and bad reactions are always possible.  The experience of two people on very personal healing journeys does not constitute scientific fact.  However, most of us don’t choose how we eat or care for our gardens based on scientific fact anyway.  What matters, as far as I am concerned—if you are on a healing journey—is how you feel.  Not how you feel in the moment.  Things that are bad for us can make us feel better momentarily.  What is important, I think, is making good choices and paying attention to the overall trend in how we feel and how we are functioning over time.  If we are not improving, no matter how slow that improvement might be, maybe some change is in order.   

I always recommend making changes one at a time, after doing some independent searches and reading, and going very slow.  You want to be sure to catch any bad reactions you may have and be able to identify what is causing them.  On the other hand, if something helps, you want to know that too.  If you are under medical care, taking prescription medication, or working with a health consultant of any kind, you may wish to speak with your doc or consultant about possible interactions or possible contraindications related to your personal conditions before making any changes.  (And I would certainly recommend double checking any and all recommendations by searching for relevant articles and research on the Internet.)  I personally don’t see how switching to Non-GMO Verified and/or Certified Organic food is anyone’s business but your own.  I don’t think there are any GMO’s on the market, nor pesticides for that matter, that anyone is claiming have either medicinal or health benefits.  Who knows though, I could be wrong.

I do sincerely wish you ever possible improvement on your healing journey!

And hey, if you are working towards a balanced natural diet one little tool you might want to look into is my book, Food Security & Sustainability for the Times Ahead.  You can purchase it on-line, but better yet, request a copy from your local bookstore or library!

Your tips, comments, and questions are always welcome . . .  if you see typos or broken links, please leave a comment, I will fix them as soon as I can!

1 comment:

Harvest said...

Here's a little up-date. After not taking calcium for a few years, I did in fact clear the grit out of my joints. Yeah! I now take a single capsule of 'Nature's Life' Cal / Mag / Zinc complex from time to time. (A full serving is 4 caps.) I take it when I have been eating some really healthy high fat foods, and I take it with a little vitamin C. (Turns out the rose hips gave me a migraine.) For vitamin C I am using dried powdered Camu Camu, which is higher in vitamin C than either rose hips or Acerola. I am still moving really good most mornings. But eating junk food or just regular American food will do me in for a few days. And stress or skimping on stretching will also do me in.