Mitigating Crashes

I went shopping for flowers at the garden center on Saturday, so naturally I crashed Sunday. At least I get to look at the happy little plants while feeling like crap. But it occurred to me this morning that my crashes lately haven't been as bad, even though my threshold for crashing is still pretty low. I'm still semi-coherent, for example :D

What am I doing differently that might be impacting my crashes? For starters, I take protein powder three times per day now. My test results from ELN indicated my Krebs (Citric Acid) Cycle is totally buggered, and my body might be breaking down muscles to feed it. So I make sure it has all the protein it wants, and can leave my poor little muscles alone. I'm also taking the vitamins that are needed to support the Krebs Cycle - maybe it won't help, but at least it helps cover all the bases. So extra B vitamins, and as much C as I can handle (not much), plus magnesium and all my usual stuff - tons of B12, multivitamin, carnitine, Q10, alpha lipoic acid, NAC.

So what's happening when we crash in the first place? My favorite theory is that we can't produce enough ATP (energy) to store much or replenish it quickly when our muscles use it. Then we're too active and burn up what little energy we have in most muscles. Instead of letting us collapse in a puddle, our muscles look for an alternate energy source - protein!

Protein isn't an efficient source of energy, which is why we use fats and carbohydrates primarily as fuel. But if we have to, we can break down proteins and feed them into the Krebs Cycle at various points. The main (and best) point is at the start of the cycle, where fats and carbs also get fed in. Okay, that might not be working any better for proteins than for fats and carbs, depending on where the Cycle is malfunctioning.

But certain proteins also feed the Kreb's Cycle at later steps. Less efficiently, however, so less energy is being produced than would be if enough carbs, fats, and other protein forms were able to get in at the beginning of the Cycle. So by breaking down proteins, our Krebs Cycle can limp along a bit faster and life goes on.

A side effect of breaking down any protein for fuel is that nitrogen is left behind, which forms urea and has to be disposed of. Excess water may be needed for those, causing temporary increase in urination, thirst, and/or dehydration. It can also result in sweating it out as ammonia if we can't excrete it quickly enough via urine, complete with distinctive smell. This might explain why I piss like a race horse, lose weight, and smell funny for a few days every time I crash :D - protein is being broken down faster, from whatever source.

To be continued ... (pretty sure there are some extra side effects from breaking down muscle versus dietary protein. Must research!)
Likes: helen1


Very interesting indeed Valentijn - please continue - makes complete sense to me (same problems as you too). Trying to reason through the ongoing processes is just what we need. Garden centres a certain "pick me up" too.
So interesting. I just posted on the forum about my strong protein cravings and muscle loss since getting sick. This could be a possible explanation. But not everyone who has CFS/ME has my same symptoms around muscles and protein, so I don't know. Like you and Enid, I love the garden center too. I'm glad you have some nice plants to look at now during your milder crash.
I think that whether people have this problem (or that it's bad enough to be apparent) depends on how severe their ME is. So milder cases might be able to manage without muscle breakdown, but severe cases might be almost constantly breaking down muscle.

One thing I've noticed is that other people getting their organic acids/Krebs Cycle tested have very similar results to mine, if their severity is similar. And it looked like one or two milder cases still had problems with the Krebs Cycle, but values weren't as low. It could be fun to properly compare results and severity at some point, to see what turns up.
I'd be happy to post my OAT results for you. They were taken during a time when I was losing a lot of muscle mass. The krebs intermediates were disasterous.
That would be great, Hixxy, thanks :) I also suggest asking richvank to interpret them, since he gives some great insight as to what it all means and what deficiencies are probably contributing to it, etc.
Interesting. I did not have much luck with protein powder. It makes me extremely tired and sleepy. I am now playing with citrate and will soon try alpha ketoglucarate . I think Mag citrate gives me more energy and raises my body temperature.
Have you checked your leptin levels? Richie Shoemaker talks about leptin resistance and energy crashes in his book Desperate Medicine.
Is your protein powder something like egg or whey, or is it branched chain amino acids (BCAAs)? I had muscle wasting, not associate with crashes, but with not digesting animal protein that I was eating. Also associated with deep thigh pain and insomnia, (and 24-hr urine volume 4.4L without weight loss). I took BCAA capsules with meals, per the bottle. I had results starting the first day - sleeping and no pain. When the bottle ran out, I had pain and insomnia starting that night and continuing until I bought more. I'm also taking the Kreb's cycle supports, but only the BCAAs had run out when the symptoms returned.
I'm not saying this is the right thing for you, but it was for me. If it's energy you need, then other types of calories would be more efficient. But if it's protein your body needs to do something -who knows what- caused by your extra activity, and the powder you're using isn't doing it, you might consider BCAAs. Just a thought.
For me the key thing with crashing is THE DELAY why can we feel okay immediately after exercise, but awful the day after. That delayed reaction must point to some unique biochemistry going wrong.
The urination thing is an interesting one, in different studies we have been shown to have lower levels of both of the Hormones that stop urination. The system works such that we urinate unless one of these two hormones is produced to stop it.

It could be low energy preventing one or both hormones being produced in sufficient amounts.
It could be that the body is detecting oxidative stress, or chemical imbalance and trying to urinate stuff out of our system.
It could be (as you suggest) Urea being produced as side effect of other biochemistry.

Personally I can pee like a racehorse and have normal Urea levels. but that does not mean the same applies to us all.

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