Seems you were making some progress with ketogenic dieting to achieve mental clarity in October. Where do things stand now?
Sorry for my incredibly slow reply (>1 year!), but thanks for asking! Here are some results, including one interesting new development, which you or someone else here on Getting Stronger might be able to offer some insight into.Various results
(Skip this paragraph to get to the surprising new development.) Continued experimentation with ketogenic diet
seemed to cause some overall benefits (as described above) but did not appear to help with brain-scramble. Travel
seemed to help with brain-scramble, though inconsistently. I had two long trips (four weeks, five weeks) to Scotland, and seemed to have a very slow, gradual improvement in attention. Practice with attention-related tasks
, such as quantified-mind.com
, learning piano pieces, etc., seemed to have no effect. Some good days, some bad days, as usual. Dextroamphetamine
seems to work, but I've always developed a tolerance to it within a few days. I'm reluctant to increase the dose, and I'm reluctant to use it at all, for the many reasons you've provided all over this web site. Of course
it induces tolerance. But it's the only thing that works at all, so I've used it occasionally. Omega-3 supplements
also seem to cause gradual improvement, as does eating a lot of leafy greens
. The benefits seem to have disappeared very quickly when I've let up for a few days: slow improvement, fast let-down.An astounding result
Now here's the interesting recent development: A couple weeks ago, a four-hour epsom-salt bath
(combined with baking soda) gave me wonderful mental focus the next day—possibly the best mental focus I've ever experienced. I did not lose my train of thought every few seconds, I wasn't derailed by small distractions, I could easily "push my task onto the stack" to an executive level to asses the worthiness of what I was doing and then "pop" back (rather than my usual mad drive to completion of whatever I'm doing). Other good things happened, too: I stopped itching (during brain-scramble, I'm often hypersensitive to every little sensation on my skin); my eye stopped twitching; I stopped finding noises jarring or overwhelming; my feet stopped cramping up; acne cleared up noticeably; eczema between my eyebrows cleared up; my mood improved enormously; and I felt calm.
Usually during brain-scramble, I feel simultaneously "keyed up", tired, and strangely pessimistic; all that went away after the epsom-salt bath.
Combined with amphetamine the next day, the epsom-salt bath worked better than anything else, by far. I've also tried it without amphetamine, and while the effect was less dramatic, it was certainly strong.
But wait! Two
days after the epsom-salt bath, I crashed
. From roughly 48 to 60 hours after the bath, the brain-scramble symptoms re-emerged, at their highest intensity. Even the eczema came back!
I've tried the epsom-salt bath four times now. The first time had the strongest effect, but each time, it's gone like this: sleepiness, then calmness and clarity and feeling good for about a day, and then descent back into brain-scramble. The good effects took roughly 12 to 18 hours to get going each time; each crash came after another 24 hours or so.What's going on here??
I've done some googling and here's what I've come up with so far. The effect is surely due to magnesium
absorbed through the skin. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, which easily dissolves in water. Magnesium deficiency would explain the twitchiness and foot cramps as well as the "keyed up" feeling and hyperexcitability. It might
explain what some doctors have diagnosed as "ADHD" (at least in me). Magnesium is also a vasodilator; perhaps in addition to everything else, it's improving perfusion of the frontal cortex. ATP usually binds to magnesium when active; so, a lack of magnesium can shut down a whole lot of cellular clean-up processes, possibly explaining the disappearance of acne and ezcema.
So why the crash? Here are a few hypotheses:
1. Maybe the magnesium triggered an "opponent process": throw that stuff out! Indeed, the second time I tried it, I had mild symptoms of hypermagnesemia. The body is going to clear that very fast, because too much magnesium in the blood will stop your heart. So, probably I urinated it all out in two days.
2. Maybe my parathyroid glands stopped sending out the "reload calcium" signal during the high period, causing me a brief bout of hypocalcemia, which also explains hyperexcitability. From what I've read, the parathyroid glands can't distinguish between high magnesium and high calcium in the blood, though they're more sensitive to calcium. If magnesium concentration gets very high, the parathyroid glands will "think" you've got too much calcium. Early on the second day (when, presumably, the parathyroid glands have gotten the message that calcium is now way too low), I felt cravings for dairy products, and guzzling milk seemed to help, so I think there's something to this hypothesis.
3. Maybe the magnesium sulfate actually fed a bad biofilm in my intestines. On this hypothesis, the good effect happens before the biofilm grows enough to counteract it. I think this is unlikely, though, because absorption through the skin does not go through the intestines.
4. Maybe once the magnesium deficiency was fixed, that exposed another mineral deficiency—say, potassium. The potassium (or whatever) gets used up, aided by the now-sufficient magnesium, and then the crash comes. I doubt this, though, because the effect seems repeatable.
Right now, I figure hypothesis #1 is the most likely explanation of the most important factor. This raises a couple new questions. Why doesn't ordinary dietary magnesium absorption provide enough? And why am I urinating it all away? Do I have a magnesium "set point" that's way too low, perhaps correctable by hormesis, or is there something about absorption of magnesium sulfate that leads it to the blood (where it'll soon go out in the urine) rather than the inside of cells (where magnesium binds to ATP)?
What do you think?