by Stephan Cooter, Ph.D., SCo7914830@aol.com author of Beating Chronic Illness, Pro Motion Pub., 1994, 1-800-321-1776 web address: http://www.mall-net.com/cooter
A Bisbee Arizona woman subject to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and candidiasis had noticed that she felt better the closer she got to sea level. She had also noticed that the higher in altitude she went, the worse off she was. Was oxygen playing a role in diminishing her energy and her ability to ward off infections?
The good news about Arizona, southern California, Nevada, New Mexico, or Colorado climate is that it's dry. Candida albicans and other fungal and mold spore allergy problems diminish in dryer climates. Mold count is high only in wet climates. However, inside the body, inside the shoes, are perfect places for fungal-mold problems to start and proliferate: molds and fungus require damp, dark, airless environments to grow. Change your shoes every day, wash your feet thoroughly in something mildly antifungal like Boraxo, disinfect and deodorize shoes with oil of cinnamon, and foot fungi go away. In a dry climate, the dryness itself works for a person in discouraging fungal problems, which are identified major players in many illnesses from arthritis, schitzophenia, ulcerative colitis, to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
--- Some speculations on Oxygen content and pressure of Air edited out for brevity. Let us just say there are controversial, but rational arguments for a higher oxygen availability due to higher air pressure during some of the ice ages. ---
And I believe that low oxygen intake can also account for the Type A personality connection with modern illnesses. In CFS or CFIDS, it is known that the person subject to chronic fatigue is exercise intolerant. Shortly after exercise begins, they reach the anaerobic threshold known as "hitting the wall, " the wall that marathon runners experience after prolonged physical exertion, a condition of total fatigue beyond which exercise cannot continue, according to Drs. Lapp and Sietsema where, in a study with persons subject to CFIDS, people with CFIDS reached the anaerobic threshold much sooner than predicted, "Open Your Mind to the Possibilities," CFIDS Chronicle, Summer 1993. Dr. Cheney hypothesized that CFS persons normally live close to the anaerobic threshold due to "metabolic injury." Somehow, they don't have enough air. I believe it's not a metabolic injury, but a metabolic effect of not producing enough energy by oxygen, or oxidation, and one cause is the shallow breathing pattern of tension filled, hurried lives. Type A personality is known as hurry-sickness.
This same kind of observation was made at the Warmsprings institute about the late effects of polio: people subject to post polio syndrome who stop hurrying, pace themselves, slow down, rest, nap, loose no muscle-nerve integrity. Those who "hurry" through the day, like other Type As, who don't pace, rest, and slow down, lose and extra 4% of their nerve-muscle integrity in a few years. PPS people were compared to marathon runners who overexert themselves just to do ordinary things like getting up out of a chair, climbing one step, getting out of bed, with polio damaged nerves and muscles. With PPS, one must overdo just to make do.
Type A personality, I believe, brings on polio in the first place, as it seems to bring on heart disease, MS, and, I'll wager, CFIDS. Those who have Type A personalities are those who get these diseases. When Friedman and Rosenman, Type A Behavior and Your Heart, studied accountants close to the April tax deadline, accountants became Type A personalities hurrying through their days and nights, developing every blood serum abnormality that existed including high cholesterol. Their diets and exercise had not changed, only the pace of their life had changed, hurrying to meet the deadline.
In "The Psychophysiology of Respiration," Somatics 1993, R. Miller pointed out one of the things that happens to a Type A is the breathing pattern changes to something shallow. Carl Reich, MD, has pointed out the same breathing pattern takes place in asthma and other diseases involving anxiety and fatigue. Shallow breathing reduces the oxygen content of the blood. It retains too much, or too little carbon dioxide. Too much carbon dioxide makes the heart beat faster to deliver what little oxygen there is to the brain.
Too little oxygen to the cells of the body, and we use the lactic acid pathway to produce energy just as normal healthy people do after prolonged exercise, Lehninger, Principles of Organic Chemistry. Molly Herzschlag, in "CoQ10, Malic Acid, & Magnesim," CFIDS Chronical summer 1993, explained it as either gluconeogenesis, or autocannabalism of the muscle tissue brought on by the lack of ATP from "bioavailable sources." She mentioned also that malic acid is useful under low oxygen conditions, where "Malic acid also helps reduce lactic acid build-up in muscles." What is not all that clear is how that works and why.
Personality may just be the key: the Type A personality breathes too shallowly. With oxygen poor conditions brought on by shallow breathing or tension, you put yourself in the same place as an athlete AFTER the race. Lactic acid build-up is the reason why exercisers experience pain after an extended workout and why some people get stiff necks under stress. When lactic acid is injected into normal healthy resting people, it can create tension, anxiety, fear and panic, smothering and choking sensations, difficulty in breathing, Drs. Pitts and McClure, New England Journal of Medicine, Dec. 21, 1967. These symptoms are experienced by many people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and many people with chronic illnesses of all kinds including Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. Doctors who believe that such things are "all in the head" apparently overlooked the biochemistry of lactic acid and shallow breathing. If you're tense, hurried, or overworked, you're going to set yourself up for mysterious pains, fatigue, and emotional disturbances for physical reasons.
Shallow breathing makes the body produce lactic acid to get its energy. Some consequences are muscle pains and anxiety. One solution is extra calcium, which binds with lactic acid, neutralizing its effects by forming calcium lactate, according to Pitts, McClure, and Reich.
I was excited to find an explanation for the fatigue part of lactic acid connection in Lehninger's Principles of Organic Chemistry (1982). Under stress, my PPS fatigue levels go up and with them come anxiety, stiffness, pain and fatigue. Why fatigue? The answer lies in the lactic acid molecule of ATP.
Lactic acid energy generates about 40 kilocalories of energy per ATP molecule. Lactic acid is one way of keeping all the cells, brain and muscle, going. However, under rich oxygen conditions, the body kicks into its most efficient gear of energy production, the oxidation, or oxygen pathway of protein, carbohydrate, or fatty acid metabolism. With oxygen pathways, the oxidized ATP energy molecule is worth 20 TIMES AS MUCH, over 600 kilocalories worth! Producing energy with the lactic acid pathway makes you 6.9% of what you could be (Principles of Organic Chemistry (1982), pp. 399, 400, 442).
Solutions: One recommended by Dr. Reich, "Calcium and Vitamin D Deficiency, The Theory and Clinical Work of Dr. Carl Reich," which I had the privilege of editing for The Arthritis Fund, is calcium-magnesium. Calcium and magnesium combine with lactic acid, neutralizing the negative effect of excess lactic acid, normalizing pH, and normalizing breathing for asthma, emotional disturbances, and restoring the ill health of people in many disease conditions.
Malic acid supplements, an acid found in food, in apples and other fruit, and produced by the citric acid cycle in the human body itself, has been written about by Holzschlag as "reducing" the effects of excess lactic acid. Drs. Hyde, Cheney, and Goldstein have used it in their practice with CFS to improve energy and reduce pain.
The reason for greater energy is made clear by Lehninger. It doesn't neutralize lactic acid build-up directly. Energy production uses another pathway with malic acid. Szent-Gyorgyi found that malic acid kicks red muscle into using oxygen to produce its energy rather than anaerobic ways of doing it. Rather than reducing the effects of lactic acid, malic acid gives a signal to the mitochondria to use oxygen to burn fat as fuel or to use oxygen to burn glucose as energy.
Red muscle is red because of its oxygen content. Oxygen gives muscle and blood its redness.
The red blood cell abnormalities in people subject to Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and chronic fatigue may stem from inability of the RBC to carry adequate oxygen to the cells, so the cells revert to their least efficient mode of energy production, the lactic acid or alcohol pathways. Iron-copper balance synergized with molybdenum help make the RBC do its job of carrying oxygen. Mineral deficiency or mineral imbalance may help explain why RBC abnormalities exist, and, at the same time, explain why MCS people, PPS, and CFS have unusual blood gases. Either mineral deficiencies trigger abnormal breathing patterns, or abnormal breathing patterns trigger mineral deficiency.
In fact, both perpetuate each other. The more hurried you are, the tenser you become, and the worse the breathing. Type A hurried rats were created by injuring the hypothalamus in Friedman and Rosenman's experiments. Hypothalamus damage in humans is explained to my way of thinking under beriberi listings in the 1992 Merck Manual: refined sugar, white flour, or white rice causes hypothalamus damage, poliocencephalitis, weakness in the extremities and the heart, by not having enough real B1, thiamine pyrophosphate co-carboxylase and magnesium. Vitamin B1 and magnesium deficiency from refined carbohydrates may be the mineral-vitamin cause of the Type A personality to begin with if I'm right. You can become Type A just as the accountants did by just hurrying through life; you could also become that way if refined sugars and grains are staples in your diet.
Type A breathing patterns worsen mineral status either through fostering overly acid conditions in the blood less than pH 7, or overly alkaline conditions over 7.4. Long term use of ascorbic acid or "vitamin C" may also lead to or worsen mineral status for one simple reason. Ascorbic acid takes both bad toxic metals out of the system and GOOD minerals at the same time. All of those circumstances suggest solutions. Change your breathing, pace yourself, and slow down. Deep breathing alone should be a part of every health program. Secondly, checking your mineral status, or taking mineral supplements may do the job to help give your cells the oxygen they need for greater energy and strength, especially calcium-magnesium. Moderating ascorbic acid use might also be warranted.
Adding malic acid supplements or upping one's intake of apples and apple products like apple cider vinegar and juice make a lot of sense. You get more oxygen and you're no longer running on empty. You have 20 times the fuel to go on after malic acid kicks your muscles into their most efficient energy mode.
Oddly, low lactic acid levels were found in 25 patients with FM by Eisinger, J of Am. College of Nutrition 1994; 13:(2):144-48. There increased pyruvate accumulation, an intermediate stage in glucose metabolism, and decreased anaerobic lactic acid levels were observed in both FM and hypothyroidism as compared with healthy controls. In this study, natural B1 cocarboxylase and B6 were believed to help.
Albert Lehninger throws another light on this matter: "thiamine-deficient animals are unable to oxidize pyruvate normally, particularly in the brain, which usually obtains all its energy by aerobic oxidation of glucose and for which pyruvate oxidation is therefore vital. Defective function of pyruvate dehydrogenase is responsible for the characteristic polyneuritis or generalized malfunction of the motor nervous system in berberi" (p.440).
I believe that CFIDS, FM, and PPS may all be early signs of full blown berberi characterized by fatigue, irritation, poor memory, sleep disturbances, pain, stomach discomfort, among other things. Excessive sugar consumption and sugar craving are common among those subject to chronic illnesses. Sugar can lead to subclinical beriberi as well as encourage overgrowth of fungal yeasts.
In my view, Eisinger finding low lactic acid levels in FM might explain why those diagnosed only with FM profit from exercise: exercise increases lactic acid production. This is exactly what those with CFIDS only or PPS do not need. But both conditions might profit as I and others profited from adding just molybdenum, or better, all the minerals and vitamins needed to process pyruvate in either the oxygen, alcohol, amino acid, or lactic acid pathways of energy production: molybdenum, magnesium, manganese, zinc, B1, B2, B3, B6 (Cooter, "Molybdenum: Recycling Fatigue into Energy," an open 31 person study, Beating Chronic Illness, 1994, first published in Townsend Letter for Doctors, April 1993 and Digest of Chiropractic Economics May-June 1993.)
I'm not a medical doctor but a health journalist. I don't give medical advice. I'm an independent researcher who does research in the hope of finding health answers for myself that may possibly help other people. That means I think for myself rather than only relie what authorities say. That's also what I believe others should do, think for themselves, giving due respect to others. I belong to a group of health professionals where I'm the only consumer represented. Their mission statement is: "To help people overcome the fear of thinking for themselves by promoting the empowering belief that the individual's intuitions and observations have as much importance as the wellness professional's knowledge and skills." However, one person's red herring is another person's dinner, another's food allergy, another person's solution. My opinions are based on my life experience and my research. Your life experience may differ.
See also: Low Body Temp., Dr. Cathcart / Vit.C