Thursday, November 14, 2013

on leg cramps in the night...

this week the game got more interesting. the start of a trial run of hydrazine sulfate correlated with the start of searing nerve pain in the chest generally but the affected breast in particular. it was enough for me to cry mummy and resume small maintenance doses of the plant oil i use for breakthru pain. i have never thought it wise to seek out a complete obliteration of pain, i value the feedback. i won't suffer unnecessarily, but a certain level of pain can be borne as sensation and when this arrangement is mastered, the body can begin a dialogue with its host on many levels, all of which lead through complex progress towards simplicity.

it was the recent waking nightmare of muscle cramps that shook me a little more awake than before they woke up to greet me. these are particularly painful, especially when they don't involve the usual location, the calf muscles, the gastrocnemius and soleus complex, but cramp in the deeper leg muscles just proximate to the shin bone like the tibialis anterior and posterior and the flexor digitorium longus, even reaching as high as the popliteus. they come on so suddenly and dramatically it catches you off guard and breathless as to its remediation. the one last night had me gapping like a fish out of water, squealing all the while, especially when it escalated to a peak intensity i hadn't yet met. when the usual stretches and coping mechanisms were failing for the first time in a week now of charleyhorses, my eyes did widen.

i was motivated today to look more closely at my hydration and mineral levels, even though i'd felt safe here since the few foods i'm allowed are naturally rich plant-based sourced of calcium, potassium and magnesium. but i also had to bow before the compromise undertaken knowingly, that i'd begun recently to lean into my yoga practice and that cramping can be expected if you're not scrupulous about health and nutrition, or "weakened by disease"... i didn't consider myself really at risk for either of those since my health feels good overall and i don't feel particularly weakened by disease... a reflection of the work i've been doing with oxygen, diet, IV therapies, and supplementation... that i've had days when i've not felt at my best is not the issue, overall i feel at home in a healthy body engaged together with me on a fight for survival with a very noble adversary.

i came across some interesting info... i've noticed a decline in my edge over the cancer since i started relying a lot on nuts for nutrition and protein... i realized i knew very little about the empirics or the history of nut use by intuitive peoples... 

this is excerpted from a paleo website...

Another reason you shouldn’t go nuts on nuts
By Chris Kresser on September 23, 2011

In a previous article1, I suggested that nut consumption should be limited or moderated because of the high levels of omega-6 fat many of them contain. But there’s another reason you shouldn’t make nuts a staple of your diet.
One of the main principles of the Paleo diet is to avoid eating grains and legumes because of the food toxins they contain. One of those toxins, phytic acid (a.k.a. phytate), is emphasized as one of the greatest offenders.
But what is often not mentioned in books or websites about the Paleo diet is that nuts are often as high or even higher in phytic acid than grains. In fact, nuts decrease iron absorption even more than wheat bread2. This is ironic because a lot of people on the Paleo diet – who go to great lengths to avoid food toxins – are chowing down nut like they’re going out of style.
What is phytic acid and why should we care?
Phytic acid is the storage form of phosphorus found in many plants, especially in the bran or hull of grains and in nuts and seeds. Although herbivores like cows and sheep can digest phytic acid, humans can’t. This is bad news because phytic acid binds to minerals (especially iron and zinc) in food and prevents us from absorbing them. 3 Studies suggest that we absorb approximately 20 percent more zinc and 60 percent more magnesium from our food when phytic acid is absent4. It’s important to note that phytic acid does not leach minerals that are already stored in the body; it only inhibits the absorption of minerals from food in which phytic acid is present.
Phytic acid interferes with enzymes we need to digest our food, including pepsin, which is needed for the breakdown of proteins in the stomach, and amylase, which is required for the breakdown of starch. Phytic acid also inhibits the enzyme trypsin, which is needed for protein digestion in the small intestine.
As most people following a Paleo diet will probably have heard by now, diets high in phytate cause mineral deficiencies. For example, rickets and osteoporosis are common in societies where cereal grains are a staple part of the diet.5
How much phytic acid should you eat?
Before you go out and try to remove every last scrap of phytic acid from your diet, keep in mind that it’s likely humans can tolerate a small to moderate amount of phytic acid – in the range of 100 mg to 400 mg per day. According to Ramiel Nagel in his article “Living With Phytic Acid”6, the average phytate intake in the U.S. and the U.K. ranges between 631 and 746 mg per day; the average in Finland is 370 mg; in Italy it is 219 mg; and in Sweden a mere 180 mg per day.
If you’re on a Paleo diet you’re already avoiding some of the higher sources of phytic acid: grains and legumes like soy. But if you’re eating a lot of nuts and seeds – which a lot of Paleo folks do – you still might be exceeding the safe amount of phytic acid.
As you can see from the table below, 100 grams of almonds contains between 1,200 – 1,400 mg of phytic acid. 100g is about 3 ounces. That’s equal to a large handful. A handful of hazelnuts, which is further down on the list, would still exceed the recommended daily intake – and that’s assuming you’re not eating any other foods with phytic acid, which is not likely. Even the Paleo-beloved coconut has almost 400 mg of phytic acid per 100 gram serving.
[Disappointing side note for chocolate lovers: Raw unfermented cocoa beans and normal cocoa powder are extremely high in phytic acid. Processed chocolate may also contain significant levels.]
In milligrams per 100 grams of dry weight
Brazil nuts
Cocoa powder
Oat flakes
1138 – 1400
Peanut roasted
Brown rice
Peanut ungerminated
Peanut germinated
648 – 1000
Wild rice flour
634 – 752.5
Yam meal
Refried beans
Corn tortillas
Entire coconut meat
White flour
White flour tortillas
Polished rice
11.5 – 66

Can you prepare nuts to make them safer to eat?
Unfortunately we don’t have much information on how to reduce phytic acid in nuts. However, we know that most traditional cultures often go to great lengths prior to consuming them.

According to Nagel7:
It is instructive to look at Native American preparation techniques for the hickory nut, which they used for oils. To extract the oil they parched the nuts until they cracked to pieces and then pounded them until they were as fine as coffee grounds. They were then put into boiling water and boiled for an hour or longer, until they cooked down to a kind of soup from which the oil was strained out through a cloth. The rest was thrown away. The oil could be used at once or poured into a vessel where it would keep a long time.50
By contrast, the Indians of California consumed acorn meal after a long period of soaking and rinsing, then pounding and cooking. Nuts and seeds in Central America were prepared by salt water soaking and dehydration in the sun, after which they were ground and cooked.
Modern evidence also suggests that at least some of the phytate can be broken down by soaking and roasting. The majority of this data indicates that soaking nuts for eighteen hours, dehydrating at very low temperatures (either in a food dehydrator or a low temperature oven), and then roasting or cooking the nuts would likely eliminate a large portion of the phytic acid.
Elanne and I have been preparing nuts like this for a few years, and I personally notice a huge difference in how I digest them. I used to have a heavy sensation in my stomach after eating nuts, but I don’t get that at all when I eat them after they’ve been prepared this way.
Another important thing to be aware of is that phytic acid levels are much higher in foods grown using modern high-phosphate fertilizers than those grown in natural compost.
So how many nuts should you eat?
The answer to that question depends on several factors:
  • Your overall health and mineral status
  • Your weight and metabolic health
  • Whether you are soaking, dehydrating and roasting them nuts before consuming them
One of the biggest problems I see is with people following the GAPS or Specific Carbohydrate Diets, which are gut-healing protocols for people with serious digestive issues. Most GAPS and SCD recipe books emphasize using nut flour to make pancakes and baked goods. This is presumably because many people who adopt these diets find it hard to live without grains, legumes and any starch. While nut flours don’t tend to contain much phytic acid (because nut flour is made from blanched nuts, and the phytic acid is found mostly in the skin of the nuts), they can be difficult to digest in large amounts — especially for those with digestive issues. I’ve found that limiting nut flour consumption is necessary for most of my patients that are on GAPS or SCD. It’s also best to be moderate with consumption of most commercial nut butters, which are made with unsoaked nuts. However, some health food stores do carry brands of “raw, sprouted” nut butters that would presumably be safer to eat.
All of that said, in the context of a diet that is low in phytic acid overall, and high in micronutrients like iron and calcium, a handful of nuts that have been properly prepared each day should not be a problem for most people.

i'm eating slightly more than a handful of nuts just at breakfast alone, not including the raw crackers i'm eating at lunch and dinner, so i must consider the possibility that i'm having mineral absorption problems as a result. but i think frugal consumption of nuts would be beneficial since it reduces by 20% how much zinc i uptake and zinc has been shown to interfere with managing cancer. i'm also supplementing with a lot of enzymes, creating a conflict with any reliance on nuts since they suppress some enzymatic functions.

it was in looking again at the role of potassium that i began to realize how i will likely be a candidate for potassium-awareness the rest of my days... i certainly check off a few boxes here...

Potassium deficiencies are more common in people who:
  • Use certain medicines, such as diuretics and certain birth control pills
  • Have physically demanding jobs
  • Are athletes
  • Have health conditions that affect their digestive absorption, such as Crohn's disease
  • Have an eating disorder
  • Smoke
  • Abuse alcohol or drugs

this is from LIVESTRONG.COM
is one of the body's most important minerals. It is present in every cell of the human body. In solution--as it is in the body--potassium carries a positive electrical charge and is one of the body's four main electrolytes along with sodium, chloride and bicarbonate. As an electrolyte, potassium plays a crucial role in water balance and the maintenance of blood pressure. Potassium is also important for normal muscle and nerve function as well as conduction of the electrical impulses that control the heart. Potassium deficiency--hypokalemia--can produce an array of symptoms, which vary in severity depending on the degree of deficiency.

Muscle Weakness, Spasms, Cramps and Tetany
In order for muscle cells to contract, a marked difference in intracellular and extracellular potassium concentrations must exist. As potassium levels drop, this concentration difference decreases and the muscles are unable to function normally. This causes generalized fatigue and a variety of muscular symptoms including weakness, spasms, twitching and cramps. In cases of extreme hypokalemia, the muscles can go into a sustained involuntary state of contraction called tetany.

Extreme hypokalemia can cause the muscles to go completely limp, a condition called flaccid paralysis. Importantly, the muscles involved in breathing can be affected by hypokalemic paralysis. Breathing can be slow and shallow, or may stop completely.
Muscle Stiffness, Aching and Tenderness
Severe potassium deficiency not only impairs the function of muscle cells, it also damages them, causing their contents to leak out--a condition called rhabdomyolysis. Symptoms include profound weakness and muscle stiffness, aching and tenderness.
Abdominal Bloating, Pain and Cramping
The involuntary muscles of the stomach and intestines can also malfunction when the potassium level is too low. Symptoms including abdominal bloating, pain, and cramping may be present. Constipation may also occur. In the extreme, intestinal activity may virtually stop, a condition called paralytic ileus.
Heart Palpitations
The rhythmic, coordinated contractions of the heart are controlled by electrical impulses, which are ferried across the heart muscle by a specialized conduction system. Hypokalemia can disrupt this conduction system, causing heart rhythm abnormalities. The most common symptom is heart palpitations--an awareness of missed beats, extra beats, or a feeling that the heart is pounding too fast or too hard. These rhythm abnormalities can be life- threatening, and cardiac arrest may occur.
Dizziness and Fainting
Potassium deficiency can cause the kidneys to lose their ability to concentrate urine. As a result, excessive amounts of water are lost from the body and the blood pressure drops. This can cause symptoms of dizziness or fainting, especially when getting up to a standing position.
Frequent Urination and Extreme Thirst
As already noted, hypokalemia can cause an excessive loss of water through the kidneys. Frequent urination and extreme thirst are common symptoms when hypokalemia has been present for some time.
Numbness and Tingling
Low potassium causes the nerves to fire abnormally, which may cause numbness, tingling or a burning sensation, especially in the hands and feet.

i've taken animal protein out of my diet for a week to monitor the nuts on their own, next week, all things being equal, i will look at just the greens and the fats., then the greens, fats, and infrequent and small, medicinal-portions of animal protein, to see where my zone is....

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