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Alpha-lipoic acid and milk thistle: energising or overstimulating?

Discussion in 'Alternative Therapies' started by Kitsune, Feb 23, 2017.

  1. Kitsune

    Kitsune Senior Member

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    I have added both of these supplements to my routine lately and am not sure whether they are genuinely helping, or zapping my adrenals in a way I'll be sorry for. Does anyone have experience with these supplements? I'd like to add that I had my amalgam fillings removed about 8 years ago and did Andy Cutler's chelation protocol, so I don't believe there's any mercury in me that the ALA is pulling out. In fact I got on well with it as a supplement at the time, though when I have tried taking it since, it does seem to be a bit overstimulating. At the moment I'm only taking 100mg once a day, in the morning. It's making my heartbeat a little erratic and I also find I'm more irritable and bothered by things like loud noises, all of which are not good. But I also have more energy, which after years of CFS sluggishness is a big relief. I think the milk thistle is also helping in this respect.

    What I've been pursuing for the past few months is the possibility that I have copper toxicity, as this matches quite a few of my symptoms, hence the liver support and sulphur-containing supplements (to boost production of copper-binding enzymes), plus zinc. I was led to this by inadvertently discovering that I am histamine intolerant, and upon trying to find out why, discovered that a copper/zinc imbalance can be one cause. I had a hair test recently, but it looks pretty inconclusive to me - I've only been on my new regime for about 6 weeks, so maybe it was too soon to have it done. What I do see, though, is a continuing pattern of high calcium and low magnesium, despite the fact that I have supplemented magnesium for years. (My sodium is also sky-high, so no more saltwater in the mornings for adrenal support.) I had been hoping to see high copper as an indication that it was coming out of my tissues, but no. I had a hair test done in 2008 that showed about the same relationship of zinc to copper - my zinc was fairly high then too, as it is now, though I had never supplemented it because every time I tried I felt bad (which I recently came to think might be an indication that it was releasing copper from storage). Maybe my body just isn't utilising it very well - or maybe hair tests just aren't particularly helpful or reliable.

    Anyway, as has happened to me so many times before, I'm a bit unsure of how to go on. Judging by my symptoms, I'd like to stick with the things I'm taking, because my condition has improved in the past several months. However, I don't want to keep overstimulating my system. 100mg of ALA seems like such a low dose, and at the moment I'm taking 150mg of milk thistle twice daily. I was going to try skipping my second dose today, but felt kind of rough until I finally took it anyway. Should I carry on for a while and see if things calm down, or might I be heading for a crash if I don't look into adjusting things somehow?
     
  2. Dufresne

    Dufresne almost there...

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    Montreal
    I've had something similar occur with ALA. For years it improved my stamina and even my mood, but then it became problematic, as did most antioxidants. I think a paradoxical oxidation actually takes place in many with ME/CFS with most antioxidants. Cheney has lectured about this. In my experience it's accompanied by a hit of norepinephrine which leads to a speedy feeling. This is quite pleasant when it starts but it leads to the system down-regulating energy production. So while persisting with the ALA I'd get more twitching, restlessness, excitotoxicity (sensitivity to light and sound), etc. When I'd come off I'd encounter low energy and depression until my system up-regulated again.

    I'm regaining my tolerance of ALA and other antioxidants as my health improves. That is, I'm getting less paradoxical oxidative stress and less sympathetic activation.

    Hope that makes some sense to you.
     
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  3. Kitsune

    Kitsune Senior Member

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    Certainly glad to get a reply here, so thank you! I must confess I'm not clear on everything you've said though. Is it that when a person gives their body extra support, e.g. from the ALA, it downregulates what it was doing before? And how is it that you're regaining tolerance - what was your experience?

    I'm still trying to work out what I should do about the ALA and milk thistle. I came off them both for a couple of days, and while my heart and sleep settled, I felt like I was really in an adrenal crash - not recovering from exercise, sluggish brain, 'flat' mood (which could be the experience of my system having downregulated, though these were still common symptoms for me to an extent before I took the new supplements). I'm still a bit like that now, though not as bad, after having taken both supplements again this morning (it did take about a week on the ALA before I felt a lot better, so maybe after even that short break I need to get used to it again). Not sure how much benefit I'm getting from the milk thistle. May try the ALA without that tomorrow. I'm also going to try adding some TMG soon, just in case I have methylation issues (though I already have a good supporting supplement regime in place with methylcobalamin, methylfolate, etc).

    Here is the temptation I'm facing though. I knew that something about one or the other (or both) of these supplements was overstimulating me, but at the same time I felt better than I had in years. I could tell my adrenals were doing what they actually should, and I felt so much more alive. Exercise was coming easy for me, and on my walks I simply had to try a bit of jogging here and there because I had the energy and wanted to use it. After 12 years of CFS, it's unbelievable to feel like that. Honestly, I could run up stairs and feel light as a feather, with no more of those burning muscles, no more gasping for breath - is this what it's like to be normal, and how many of us on this forum dream of being able to do that? Even when I was well beforehand, I don't remember ever feeling that way. So obviously part of me wants to hold on to this experience for all it's worth, while the other is worried about what's happening physiologically, and whether it's sustainable.

    I got to thinking maybe I've been depleted in glutathione, hence a bit of research into MTHFR and supplements like TMG. I don't know. I can't see a better way of increasing my glutathione (other than taking ALA and possibly milk thistle, though I think there's more evidence that ALA is the more effective supplement in that regard), as I haven't done well with NAC or whey protein, and I don't think expensive liposomal supplements of the actual thing are probably a good idea either (as it would seem to be better to let the body manufacture what it can on its own, with precursors).

    Can I ask how you worked out what's right for you? Seems you decided to stick with some ALA after all?
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2017

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