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CITRATE -- good or bad for CFS?

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by dannybex, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. dannybex

    dannybex Senior Member

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    I switched to a calcium citrate supplement last week, and it seems like it's made my muscle twitching a lot worse. I take it along with another cal/mag supplement (which I just realized also has some citrate in it), as I eat no dairy, so if I skip calcium for more than a day I get strong muscle cramps.

    But on the flip side, I can't seem to find that 'balance' -- either that or the citrate is the problem. (Or not enough vitamin d? I'm getting tested for that later this week.)

    I read somewhere that Cheney said citrate levels are high in CFS, and also read a post earlier today where a woman said when her doctor put her on calcium citrate, she went downhill about 50 percent!

    Any info would be greatly appreciated. I've had this twitching off and on for years, but mostly OFF. And now it's on big time, plus also some RLS. ARGH.

    THANKS IN ADVANCE,

    Dan
  2. Frank

    Frank Senior Member

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    i've tried it, didn't make me feel better
  3. Lisa

    Lisa Senior Member

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    Hi Danny! :D

    I've been trying out Natural Calm (mag/citrate) and its been treating myself and Jeremy pretty well.

    If you are still having muscle cramps and such, try upping your magnesium. It could be that the cal/citrate is being absorbed better than you are expecting and throwing off your cal/mag ratio. I find I have to take zero calcium and only magnesium or my muscles ache horribly then begin to cramp all along first one side of my body then the other.

    If I do take calcium (such as when needing a buffered C), I have to up my magnesium to an equal amount or again, muscle cramps etc.

    Might give some potassium a try if the magnesium doesn't do the trick - but take the potassium a bit here and there instead of lots at once, it can stop your heart if you take too much. They only sell it in 99mg amounts because of this. A cap or two each meal for a few days should right things if its a potassium problem and not cause trouble (assuming you are not taking other potassium containing supps).

    Good luck! Lisa :Retro smile:
  4. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Hi dannybex

    High citrate used to be considered a marker for CFS (hypercitricemia). Then a UK study came out and said they couldn't find it and interest died. The problem was, to anybody who knew this science behind it, the UK study could never have found it because the protocol they used would never work. Citrate accumulates during sleep - and they tested awake fasting citrate. Citrate is also burned up during a fast. So their protocol was bogus. However, they did some very good research that showed some of the other putative CFS markers were probably incorrect, and so everyone simply presumed they were right about citrate too. Local research had already identified that early morning citrate was high, but that twenty four hour citrate was normal. This was not a constant problem, and might explain why symptoms are different in the morning compared to the evening. The UK research failed to take this into account.

    (They also did not prove the other markers were not valid markers, only that they might have been artifacts. This was because they could show the origin of the strange molecules, and how they were linked to things like glycine and serine deficiency. Essentially, the glycine and serine were being converted to something weird. They claimed this was from the urinary testing protocol, but this was never proven - they might still be valid markers of CFS. I haven't seen any follow up research, so I cannot comment on what was ultimately proven or not proven.)

    Many of the problem foods in CFS are high citrate foods, including additives. It is probably the third most common additive after sugar and salt.

    I don't know if citrate is really a problem, but it does bind calcium tightly, and also has an affinity for other divalent ions such as magnesium. As a rule I avoid it, just in case. There are plenty of other alternatives after all. It never made sense to me to use calcium citrate as a supplement.

    My early research identified a defect with the enzyme aconitase as the likely cause of high citrate, but I don't know if current research would support it. Aconitase is required to use citrate in the Krebs (citric acid) cycle, but it cannot form properly in the absence of sufficient glutathione (and possibly reduced glutathione). Aconitase is also inactived by nitric oxide and destroyed by peroxynitrate. So many of the current biochemical theories of CFS would predict high citrate (and low mitochondrial function). What this means is we often have too much citrate. An implication of this is that if you want to take a citrate supplement, take it at lunchtime, and never at bedtime or early morning.

    As an alternative model I have also postulated that citrate is deliberately released during sleep to combat oxidative stress - this would bind any free iron, a known source of oxidative stress.

    Bye
    Alex

  5. caledonia

    caledonia

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    My naturopath has had me take magnesium taurate or magnesium/potassium aspartate at various times. Both work well for me.
  6. dannybex

    dannybex Senior Member

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    Thanks to all for your replies. That's really interesting Lisa -- I know that's how it's SUPPOSED to work, but for me, it's kind of the opposite. I read over and over that cal/mag work together, but when I take them together it seems to make twitching worse, and if I skip calcium altogether, within a day or two, it's TETANY time -- strong cramps in my legs/feet. (And of course a big factor here could be low vitamin d...?)

    I'm not sure what it is with me an magnesium, but it seems like even if I take a 1/2 pill...it loosens me up...too loose. I haven't tried mag taurate in awhile, though, so thanks for that Caledonia.

    And thanks Alex for your in-depth analysis of the citrate issue...very interesting. I know that most manufacturers/docs automatically recommend calcium citrate because it's supposedly absorbed the best, but as you say, it binds tightly to the calcium, so after it's absorbed, does it actually release the calcium and then what happens to the citrate -- esp if we have low glutathione.

    Also...I ran out of the BioChem Whey powder for about 2-3 weeks...which supposedly helps to raise glutathione levels, and just started it again this morning...so will be interesting to see if it helps at all. I also stopped the cal citrate, and am going to try dairy again...unless someone has some other suggestions? :)

    thank you,

    Dan
  7. ixchelkali

    ixchelkali Senior Member

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    Could you take calcium carbonate instead? Tums is calcium carbonate. It lists the amount of elemental calcium on the label. It may not absorb quite as easily as calcium citrate, but if citrate is a problem, it's an alternative. It's what I take, but only because it's cheaper and chewable.
  8. anne_likes_red

    anne_likes_red Senior Member

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    Re magnesium

    ...slightly OT, but as far as mg goes I don't do well with supps either. :Retro smile:
    When my son (pretty much dairy free) developed some twitching muscles late last year I found this site which shoes how you can dramatically increase your magnesium intake by tweaking your diet...
    http://www.ctds.info/mgchild.html

    Cashews. Yum. :Retro smile:
  9. Lisa

    Lisa Senior Member

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    Hi Danny!

    i wanted to also add that there are calcium and/or magnesium malate supplements too. Malic acid is something found in fruit but has been show to help reduce pain in fibromyalgia. Also it does not cause the same 'loosening' effect taking a citrate based supplement can have.

    It is certainly possibly you need more vitamin D, we don't get much around here and especially this super cloudy year. >.< If you aren't taking any at all, you might want to start off with 5,000 IU a day, all at once in the morning. That's a pretty safe amount and will at least be a good starting point till you can get your levels tested. Jeremy and I are on twice that the last 9 months and it had noticeable improvement.

    You may also consider your acid/alkaline body ph. In an acidic environment, the calcium and magnesium in your diet and supplements will not be as easily absorbed compared to a more alkaline body ph. Eat extra veggies and drinking Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) can help achieve the alkaline balance. Stay away from fried foods and all other vinegars. *ACV should be mixed with water. Many use 2 tsp per glass of water once or twice a day. You can add honey to it or sugar if really needed, but its only mildly tart when properly diluted and then the apple flavor really pops nicely.

    If you google acid/alkaline foods there should be a number of pretty detailed lists showing most everything people eat and where it falls on the ph scale.

    I've read one or two other people saying calcium helps with their muscle tightness/cramping behavior too. It always baffles me since calcium is a muscle constrictor and magnesium a muscle relaxer, but hey - everyone's different.

    On a totally different note - last week I had ice cream for the first time in five years. The day after eating it my mouth still felt wintery cool, as though chewing mint gum all day. Through a little internet digging, it turns out to be a mechanism of calcium and sodium ions being drawn into the mouth tissue in response to the cold and then taking a very long while to go back to normal levels.

    After that experience I am pretty much open to anything people have happening in regards to calcium! lol :D

    Good luck Danny! Lisa :Retro smile:
  10. sela

    sela Senior Member

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    purebulk.com has cheap mag in 3 forms. one is gluconate that i tolerate well and doesn't effect your bowels as much.
  11. madanthony

    madanthony Guest

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    Danny, there are many forms of calcium that are more absorbable than calcium carbonate (which is only 5% absorbable and requires sufficient stomach acid to be absorbed). Lisa mentions ph balance, but if you do not have enough Vitamin D, you will not be able to balance your ph. I know, happened to me. I could not balance my ph, no matter what for 2 years, and then found I was very low in D. There was a group on the web who use Vitamin D alone to balance PH. So, while I think very highly of macrobiotics (the science of ph balance), if you have a real ph balance problem, check your Vitamin D first. You need to have enough K2 (most absorbable source is natto) and trace minerals such as found in a product like Bone Up (zinc, copper, manganese, boron, strontium) as well, to efficiently uptake calcium. I do not have CFS. I love calcium citrate. It measurably (30 points!) lowers my blood pressure. I use Soloray 1:1 ratio ca:mg. I like Lisa's and Anne's answers as twitches are a sign of low magnesium.
  12. dannybex

    dannybex Senior Member

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    Thanks for all the replies again. Sorry for my late reply.

    I will try a couple of different mag supps -- or routes -- possibly even a mag drip (if I can afford it, which I probably can't, especially since one needs 5-10 to get one's levels up. George Eby has written and studied a lot about magnesium, and re-reading some of his page today reminded me that magnesium if taken alone, can stimulate candida or other fungal growth...which we certainly don't need.

    But I might (re) try magnesium taurate or magnesium glycinate, and just make sure I take it with a little zinc, or shoot, at the end of meals. ???

    But no citrate for me...I already feel a little less 'crystally" (a new word!) in my feet, after switching to carbonate. (And yes, I do take betaine hcl w/the calcium carb for sufficient acid).

    VERY INTERESTING post Madanthony about using Vitamin D alone to balance PH. Do you have a link or links to a the group you're referring to?

    thanks in advance,

    Dan
  13. SaraM

    SaraM Senior Member

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    Ascorbic acid (vitamin c) gives me burning pain. Like Dan I have to be careful with citrate.

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