May 12, 2017 Is International ME/CFS and FM Awareness Day
International ME/CFS and FM Awareness Day is May 12th, 2017. Jody Smith shares some information about upcoming events and ways you can be heard ...
Discuss the article on the Forums.

Sodium ascorbate vs. ascorbic acid for glutamate-induced neurotoxicity

Discussion in 'Sleep' started by Mary, May 20, 2017.

  1. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,742
    Likes:
    6,127
    Southern California
    @Hip (or anyone! :))

    Do you know if sodium ascorbate would be as effective as ascorbic acid as a glutamate scavenger?

    I’ve been trying to resolve post-benzo insomnia (off a long-term but low-dose of lorazepam for 3 months now) My latest experiment involved lots of ascorbic acid because it is supposed to help with glutamate neurotoxicity (see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25701025
    and http://web.stanford.edu/group/hopes/cgi-bin/hopes_test/vitamin-c/)

    Here’s a brief rundown of what’s been happening:

    1. Some days ago (not sure exactly when) I stopped my calcium supplement because of calcium’s role in delivering glutamate to the brain (glutamate is the gun, calcium is the bullet? Though I think it should be vice versa - calcium would be the gun which delivers the bullet (glutamate) to the brain)

    2. 4 days ago started taking lots of ascorbic acid throughout the day and evening

    3. Slept better for 3 or 4 nights

    4. Got extra achy and tired, but still slept better

    5. After 4 days and doing some research discovered that ascorbic acid can cause the body to become acidic, causing the aches and fatigue

    6. Learned that acidity will leach calcium from bones (also my nails started breaking quite easily and BP also went up - later thought about calcium and BP, although in general my BP has been higher since stopping the lorazepam)

    7. Switched to sodium ascorbate yesterday, but still did not restart the calcium (afraid to)

    8. Felt calmer last night, almost flat, but sleep almost nowhere in sight. Got one hour of sleep and then at midnight began to think lack of calcium may be a factor now in insomnia, drank glass of kefir and took calcium tablet

    9. Managed to get 4 hours of sleep till 4:00 a.m., then felt revved up (from the calcium?)

    So now I’m thinking I need to restart my calcium supplement and take sodium ascorbate (instead of ascorbic acid) at the same time to help ameliorate the glutamate neurotoxicity induced by the calcium, without raising acidity. However, sodium ascorbate did not seem to help my sleep last night, but that may have been due to lack of calcium. Hence, my initial question above. Any input would be appreciated!

    Also, my BP has been elevated, I assumed from excess glutamate, but now am thinking lack of calcium may be a factor as well. I am taking lots of magnesium.

    FWIW, I’m also taking niacin and l-theanine and inositol. A few weeks ago I had some small success with calcium pyruvate and resveratrol (better taken separately I found) but after some days they did not seem as effective, whereas the vitamin C seemed more effective, until the acidity problem etc. happened.
     
    Sancar and Wayne like this.
  2. pamojja

    pamojja Senior Member

    Messages:
    544
    Likes:
    597
    Austria
    Much of the research on ascorbic acid is very faulty, because it almost never actually got tested with really high regular intake. Mostly speculations upon theories.

    Would search for other causes of acidity. Or synergistic causes. Because in my case about 20 g of ascorbic acid never caused any. In fact, the 3 times my arterial blood was tested it came back highly alkaline at 7.5 (7.35 - 7.45) normal range.

    Personally would be very wary of any additional calcium. And would up additional magnesium (took about 1.5 g/d over 8 years, still deficient) and potassium instead.
     
  3. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,742
    Likes:
    6,127
    Southern California
    @pamojja - the achiness and fatigue (which were clues which led me to the issue of acidity) happened the day after I started the high dose ascorbic acid (1000 to 2000 mg every hour or 2). This kept up for 3 or 4 days, I was sleeping better but had very little energy and was achy. And then finally I somehow stumbled upon the issue of acidity with ascorbic acid and looked up the symptoms of acidosis and they matched. I also checked my saliva with the ph paper and it was on the extreme end of acidity. I don't have the link to where I read about acidity and ascorbic acid but my symptoms and experience bear this out.

    But we're all different and you obviously tolerate ascorbic acid better than I do.

    After I stopped the ascorbic acid and replaced it with sodium ascorbate, the achiness and fatigue dissipated. Today I'm going on 5 hours sleep, got 4 hours the night before last, but feel better and have more energy than I did 2 days ago when I got 7 hours of sleep. And my saliva has finally moved into the low alkalinity range.

    I am taking a lot of magnesium (I've been told to take it up to bowel tolerance) though not as much as you, I could probably take a little more. And I take a lot of potassium, I know the symptoms of low potassium very well having experienced them several times after starting methylfolate.
     
  4. caledonia

    caledonia

    Messages:
    4,203
    Likes:
    3,223
    Cincinnati, OH, USA
    In the past year or so, I've had problems tolerating all synthetic forms of vitamin C and several food sources, whereas I used to be able to take gobs of synthetic C with no issues. My symptoms were kind of an icky revved up feeling, and it did affect my sleep.

    I'm doing well with Navitas brand camu camu, which is a dried powdered berry which contains a lot of vitamin C (for a food source, not compared to the synthetic stuff).

    My suggestion would be to stop calcium, and both kinds of vitamin C. Let everything clear out for several days and see where you are with sleep. Then retry calcium and see what happens. That should bring you back to the state that you were before you changed things.

    If calcium is working ok, add one of the vitamin Cs and see if your sleep gets worse or not. It looks like you're having at least a 4 day lag time on these supplements. The same was happening with me, so give it plenty of time to test.

    I don't know if vitamin C is actually a glutamate scavenger. There are other things you can do to help with glutamate. A GABA supplement, and avoiding both artificial and natural glutamates in the diet. Removing mercury.

    My glutamate issues got a lot better about a year and a half after removing my last mercury amalgam. On testing, my GABA to glutamate ratio was more normal looking with GABA higher than glutamate instead of the other way around. I didn't need GABA supplementation any more. I still mostly avoid it in my diet, although I can now get away with some food sources from time to time.
     
    heyitisjustin and Wayne like this.
  5. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,742
    Likes:
    6,127
    Southern California
    Hi @caledonia - thanks for your suggestions. I don't think I have a 4-day lag time actually. I responded the same day, sleeping better, when I started taking megadoses of vitamin C. And then the very next day I was achy and tired, but had slept better than I had for several weeks, so thought I would try to wait it out, hoping it was a herx or something. And so it went for 3 or 4 days, and the achiness and fatigue got no better and then I found the info on acidity and ascorbic acid. And the day after I stopped the ascorbic acid (and had started with a smaller dose of the sodium ascorbate), the achiness and fatigue started to lift. I seem to react pretty quickly to things.

    I do think vitamin C is a glutamate scavenger - see the study and article I linked above. Also, a few months ago (when I was taking "normal" doses of ascorbic acid which I had no problem with), I ran out of it and my sleep got worse. (I've been dealing with bad insomnia for many months related to a lorazepam taper). I didn't make the connection of the increased insomnia with stopping vitamin C until some weeks later when I came across the study I referenced above. I immediately restarted taking vitamin C and my sleep improved immediately (though still not great).

    I had my amalgam fillings removed I think in 1997, so 20 years ago. I did do mercury detoxing and it's a long story, but I no longer have symptoms of mercury toxicity. what's going on is normal insomnia related to getting off of a benzo. I was on it for 10 years, taking 1 mg. in the middle of the night for sleep (!) I do take niacin and l-theanine - they used to help a lot with sleep, but after getting off the lorazepam, almost nothing helps. I avoid MSG like the plague. I've also found I am reacting more to anything that has a hint of MSG (e.g., modified food starch) so my dinners have become very boring (e.g., my favorite green chile sauce has xanatham gum).

    I've read on Benzo Buddies about people getting almost no sleep, some say no sleep, for weeks, months. It can go on for a year or more. The thing about calcium is that it transports glutamate into the brain so the people on BB are very leery about calcium, and this is why I had stopped it. But I'm beginning to think I do need it so my problem is figuring out a way to take it without exacerbating the insomnia. Which is where the sodium ascorbate comes in ... :sluggish:

    I have learned so much about sleep the past many months, I never would have needed a benzo for sleep, if I had only known it way back when --
     
    Wayne likes this.
  6. caledonia

    caledonia

    Messages:
    4,203
    Likes:
    3,223
    Cincinnati, OH, USA
    I've been on and off benzos three times. I commiserate on the increased symptoms caused by tapering off.

    As far as vitamin C, even if one or two varieties of it are causing issues, it may not be the vitamin C in and of itself. It may the form of vitamin C (synthetic derived from corn) or one of the fillers, etc. I tried 6 things before I found the camu.
     
    Wayne and Mary like this.
  7. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,742
    Likes:
    6,127
    Southern California
    Thank you - I didn't think of that! I will check out the camu.
     
  8. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,359
    Likes:
    14,705
    I don't think the form of vitamin C supplement will matter, because ascorbic acid / ascorbate does not cross the blood-brain barrier anyway: it first needs to be converted to dehydroascorbic acid (DHA), which does cross the BBB, and once in the brain, the DHA is then converted back into ascorbate.
     
    Sancar and Mary like this.
  9. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,742
    Likes:
    6,127
    Southern California
    Thanks @Hip! Could you give me a link where I could read more about this process?
     
  10. Rvanson

    Rvanson Senior Member

    Messages:
    102
    Likes:
    128
    USA
    As a side note: I have taken mega-doses of Vitamin C when I feel a flare-up coming or am ill with
    a cold. In my case I am a firm believer in mega-doses of Vitamin C for such things. Needless to
    say but your mileage may very. If it doesn't help you, then you simply dont go in that direction.
     
  11. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,359
    Likes:
    14,705
    I don't have any links to hand, and don't know much about it, but I am sure you'll find the details if you put all the keywords into Google.

    I do know that, interestingly enough, DHA is toxic to neurons and would kill them, if it were not for the astrocyte cells in the brain rapidly converting the DHA back to vitamin C.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2017
    Mary likes this.
  12. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,742
    Likes:
    6,127
    Southern California
    I agree, if something doesn't help, then stop it. My dilemma was that large doses of ascorbic acid were helping me sleep better than anything, only then I discovered it was making me quite tired and achy and then I discovered the acidity issue - so to simply stop the C means my sleep goes back into the toilet. Well, I tried the sodium ascorbate for 2 days and for some reason, I don't know why, it does nothing for my sleep so I had 2 pretty bad nights. Then last night while I was pondering things instead of sleeping, I thought of the lecithin in the homemade liposomal vitamin C I had taken for a couple of days (as well as regular ascorbic acid) and wondered if that was a factor in helping me sleep as well. I've been taking lecithin separately for several years and it helps my memory.

    So I'm going back to what helped me sleep some days ago, and this time will keep an eye on my ph levels and have a couple of things I will try to stave off acidity (potassium bicarbonate, baking soda) - whew! :sluggish:
     
    Rvanson likes this.
  13. Gondwanaland

    Gondwanaland Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,564
    Likes:
    3,556
    Mary, in my personal experience, foods rich in manganese are helpful since Mn is needed for GABA synthesis. I go with foods over supps whenever possible,

    Additionally, I don't know if you still take BCAAs, but just recently I read that Biotin is needed for proper metabolism of Leucine (and Lysine). If you have too much Leucine and too little Biotin, this will disturb Tryptophan metabolism, hindering Melatonin synthesis.

    I have been taking a mix of B vits at bedtime which has been really helpful even though I do not supplement BCAAs:

    B2 0.5mg
    B5 3mg
    B6 1mg
    B7 50mcg
    magnesium oxide 20mg

    B5 and B7/Biotin compete with each other, so their proportions have to be carefully considered. If I take too much Biotin I trigger adrenal issues. Also if I take more B2 than B6 the result is insomnia.

    I also read that B1 and B2 are best taken separately (B1 binds to B2 and damages it or something like that), and B2 is better absorbed in the dark (it is easily destroyed by light).

    You will find my dosages ridiculously low, but that is what works best for me, so no need for higher doses, I guess.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2017
    helen1 and Mary like this.
  14. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,742
    Likes:
    6,127
    Southern California
    Thanks @Gondwanaland - interesting about manganese. That's one mineral I've never paid attention to, but perhaps should ... I just looked up foods rich in manganese, and one was nuts and then I looked at foods that inhibit manganese absorption, and one of them was nuts ... - it's nuts! :confused::p

    I take Jarrow B Right (which has 300 mcg. biotin), as well as extra thiamine (200 mg.), pantothenic acid (500 mg.), P-5-P (100 mg.), folate (1600 mcg.) and B12 (5000 mcg. sublingual). I seem to do pretty well with this combo - yes, a LOT more than you take. Some 7 years ago my B6 was extremely low, and I had to take 150 mg. for awhile (in divided doses), but am ok with 100 mg. now.

    I still do take the BCAAs. A few months ago I tried cutting back on them - cut my dose in half - and gradually realized my crashes were taking longer to recover from - so I went back to my full dose. You raise an interesting point about biotin and BCAAs and tryptophan - I don't know if the biotin in my Jarrow B Right is sufficient or if I should take more. Although I am prone to adrenal problems - it's all such a balancing act!

    I don't take extra B2 - I tried it a couple of times a few years ago and it always made me feel bad, more tired, just did not feel well, so gave up on it.

    My sleep was improving since I added in a pose or position a naturopath told me about, was doing it 2 x a day(http://forums.phoenixrising.me/inde...n-pose-to-calm-balance-ans.52258/#post-865057) and then 4 nights ago got hit with killer insomnia out of the blue - awake from 2:00 on. And pretty much the same thing the next night, though I did sleep a little after 5:00, and then awake at 12:30 the next night (arggg!!!!) and awake for several hours, and then 11:20 last night .... finally fell back asleep I think around 3:30 or so. and up at 5:30. My heart rate was up as well as my blood pressure, and none of my usual stuff (niacin, vitamin C etc.) helped.

    This morning I finally began to wonder if it was my thyroid. I had extra energy yesterday, despite being quite sleep-deprived, and I'm now wondering if this pose I've been doing has been stimulating my thyroid by increasing blood flow to it. I have an on-line appointment with the naturopath today and am going to ask him about it. In any event, I'm skipping my thyroid med and that pose today to see if I sleep better tonight.
     
    Gondwanaland likes this.
  15. Gondwanaland

    Gondwanaland Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,564
    Likes:
    3,556
    Additinally, some tryptophan source at dinner should be useful, after all Trp is the raw material for Melatonin production. I read that there is a sort of ideal balance between Tryptophan and BCAAs.
     
  16. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,742
    Likes:
    6,127
    Southern California
    There is definitely a connection between tryptophan and BCAAs:

    http://www.ncf-net.org/forum/Fword.htm
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11310928
    http://jn.nutrition.org/content/136/2/544S.full
    It was after reading about these studies, and a few others which I can't find right now, plus low levels of leucine shown on Nutreval testing, that I started taking BCAAs. And one week after I started the BCAAs, my PEM recovery time was cut in half, and has remained so for over 2 years now.

    I saw my local chiropractor today and he confirmed I was hyperthyroid - whew! I felt relieved to hear this, which would explain my sudden severe insomnia, which apparently has been caused by the extra blood flow to my thyroid from the pose I was doing to balance my ANS, which I was doing to help with insomania .... Dang! :bang-head: ..... so am working on calming my thyroid right now, I bought some lemon balm, and have cut my med and have stopped the pose, temporarily, until I get my sleep under control.

    Your comment about manganese was very helpful. Several years ago my doctor told me take it but I didn't stick with it, and muscle testing indicates I am low. So am starting that now too! :thumbsup:
     
    Gondwanaland likes this.
  17. Gondwanaland

    Gondwanaland Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,564
    Likes:
    3,556
    I must try that... I keep postponing it for "tomorrow" :rolleyes:
    What is the best timing for it in your opinion?
     
  18. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,742
    Likes:
    6,127
    Southern California
    For me, morning or afternoon. Doing it at night did cause insomnia. Doing the pose at night also caused insomnia for Basilico and her husband, so it wasn't just me.

    I started doing the pose around around May 28, and it started helping with sleep some 10 days or so thereafter. The bad thyroid-related insomnia then hit around June 24. I don't know if you have thyroid issues, but it's just something to be aware of. And I was doing it 2 x a day on several days, which may have speeded up things.

    Yes, I've postponed many things until "tomorrow", which somehow never comes! (except when taxes are due or you have to go to the dentist! :sluggish: [bad childhood experiences with dentists, thank goodness they've changed])
     
    Gondwanaland likes this.
  19. Gondwanaland

    Gondwanaland Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,564
    Likes:
    3,556
    I do :oops:

    Thanks for the tips!:thumbsup:
    I might start it tomorrow :D
     
    Mary likes this.

See more popular forum discussions.

Share This Page