Video Blog Transcript – The Optimum Health Clinic Award-winning support for ME, CFS and Fibromyalgia Tue, 27 Nov 2018 18:21:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mitochondria in ME, CFS and Fibromylagia – CFS and ME research Fri, 10 Sep 2010 16:02:55 +0000 Alex:  Hi, I’m Alex Howard, and I’m here with Tanya Page, one of the nutrition team at the clinic, and today we’re going to be talking about mitochondrial function and their role in M.E, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia and really that group of illnesses.  And I think this is one of the most fascinating areas of […]

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Alex:  Hi, I’m Alex Howard, and I’m here with Tanya Page, one of the nutrition team at the clinic, and today we’re going to be talking about mitochondrial function and their role in M.E, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia and really that group of illnesses.  And I think this is one of the most fascinating areas of what we as a clinic have really been quite trailblazing in, in the last 3, 4 years or so, because what it explains from our CFS and ME research… one of the things it explains is the delayed fatigue response that a lot of patients experience.  And when I look back on my own experience of being ill, that was so difficult to understand that I could be fine for a few days, maybe overdo it a little bit, but I’d have no reaction, and then a couple of days later it was like someone had pulled the plug of energy and I just felt completely awful, and of course this really explains the process.  So Tanya, maybe a good starting point is what the mitochondria actually are and that will lead us on to the CFS and ME research in more detail.

Tanya:  Ok, well they’re basically the little energy producing parts of every cell, so pretty much every cell has mitochondria and they’re whole… well they do a few other things apart from it, but the main function is to produce energy, and without that, you can’t do any ‘enzymic’ metabolic reactions in the body, nothing works.  Everything in the body is driven by ATP.

Alex:  Ok, ok.  And that being a case of what they are, how is it relevant with M.E and so how people actually get symptoms as a result of this process not working?

Tanya:  Ok, the easiest way to describe that is to use a visual aid.  Normally, I’d draw a diagram for a patient, but in this case we’re going to use balls.  [Picking up a large fist-sized yellow ball and a smaller pink ball]

Alex:   [Laughing]  And I should comment that when Tanya made a request to the office for ping-pong balls and a tennis ball, I got very excited because the ping-pong ball actually came with bats as well, so we now basically have table tennis in our office on one of the desks, but obviously more importantly today is explaining mitochondrial function and its role in the CFS and ME research.

Tanya:  Indeed, indeed, because ATP is when you start talking technical about ATP, people’s eyes glaze over a little bit, so just to use the visual aids to make it easier to understand, so we do actually have to talk about the structure of the molecule of ATP to make sense.  So this is Adenosine, ok, [holding up the yellow tennis ball] this is just a nucleotide.  This is Ribose, it’s a sugar, [holding up the pink smaller ball] and that together, [joining the pink ball on top of the tennis ball] forms Adenosine, ok.  And then we have some Phosphate molecules, [putting another pink ball on top of the pink ball already there slightly to the right] and there’s 3 of those, [placing another pink ball on top of the first pink ball slightly to the left] if I can extract my hair from them, [placing the 3rd pink ball between the other 2 balls at the back of the first pink ball] and that becomes adenosine triphosphate, 3 molecules, so hopefully you can see that ok.  So adenosine here, [pointing to first pink ball] and then triphosphate, [pointing to three surrounding pink balls] ok?  That’s important because in order to create energy, you need to lose a phosphate molecule, [pulling one of the 3 pink balls away from the first pink ball] from ATP and it becomes ADP, Adenosine triphosphate.  So in order to produce energy, this has to be released, [holding the removed pink ball] and Alex is going to show…

Alex:  [Tanya throws the pink ball to Alex who hits it towards the camera with the ping-pong bat]

Charlie:  [Camera person] Ow!

Alex:  Nearly hit the camera person.  [Laughing] I’ll get another go in a second.

Tanya:  Energy being released, ok.  So what’s important in CFS and ME research and in the body, normally you should have a recycling process, but once you’ve lost a phosphate molecule from ATP, you need to get it back to recycle it back to ATP, so back… back mysteriously comes that phosphate molecule.  [Attaching 3rd pink ball onto 1st ball again]  So there you’ve got ATP again.  So apparently you actually get through your own weight in ATP molecules a day; that’s what you’re supposed to do, ok, but obviously some of our patients are not producing that much, so again, you lose a phosphate molecule to produce… [taking off the pink ball again and throwing to Alex who hits it again with the ping-pong bat]

Alex:  Ooh, I just hit the camera person in the face, sorry Charlie.  [Laughing]  I’m not too good shot.  There’s mass resignations this afternoon.  It’s on the floor over there.  [Pointing to the ping-pong ball]

Tanya:  Don’t worry, don’t worry.  [Talking to the camera person]  It’s ok, because we’re left now with ADP, adenosine diphosphate.  So obviously what we’ve just been demonstrating is what should happen.  From the CFS and ME research what can happen is if you haven’t got the raw materials, if you haven’t got some of the background stuff or the metabolic ability to keep producing ATP on a regular basis, from the chemicals engineered from your food, you’ll be left a bit more often with ADP, and if you can’t actually recycle that 3rd phosphate molecule, you’re going to have to start breaking this down, so you’d again lose… [removing another pink ball from the first pink ball and throwing to Alex]

Alex:  I would duck this time.  [Hitting the pink ball] It hit the camera.  [Cheering]

Tanya:  So then we’re left with AMP, adenosine monophosphate.  Now unfortunately this can’t be made back into ATP, so we can’t get any energy from this, so the only option we’ve got is to go back to the first principles and make the whole from raw materials again, which can take several days.  So what Alex was talking about earlier in that you overexert yourself perhaps, do a little bit extra physical or mental work, you can get yourself into a situation where you’re just… your resources are just being lost gradually until you’re finally left with no ability to make ATP.  At that point, you hit the wall, because you can’t produce anymore energy.

Alex:  And from the CFS and ME research, that’s when you feel like you’re crashing because you’ve lost your energy?

Tanya:  Exactly, exactly, and interestingly it’s exactly the same experience that marathon runners get when they hit the wall, it’s exactly the same; they run out of ATP.

Alex:  And  of course they have adrenal reserves and that kind of thing they can then use in that situation.

Tanya:  Yeah, absolutely, but in a Chronic Fatigue patient, they’re going to have to rest for 3 days maybe until the raw materials can come in.

Alex:  And of course they start coming back, [putting another pink ball on the 1st one] and there’s one on the floor, [getting up to get ball on floor and also putting it on the 1st pink ball]…

Tanya:  Very good.  And you’ve got your ATP again.  So as long as that recycling happens, everything’s fine.  From the CFS and ME research, if it starts to go wrong, that explains why you get that ‘urgh’ feeling; it’s you losing your balls basically.

Alex:  [Laughing]  So that being the process of what happens in the body, how do we test for that?

Tanya:  We test using a blood test which looks at how much ATP you’re actually producing which is really important; have you got the raw materials to make ATP in the mitochondria, 2nd are you able to do that recycling process and there’s several things to look at to find out whether you’re recycling effectively.  One of the things that can be… it’s not that common, but sometimes it’s the energy cycle being where energy is passed out of the mitochondria to the rest of the cell, that can actually become blocked and that can be through heavy metals, pesticides, and various imbalances in the cells.

Alex:  And these things of course come up in the blood test that we can see if these are around, yeah?

Tanya:  Absolutely, so we know exactly what’s going on, whether its raw materials which we can give you via supplementation or whether it’s blockages we have to sort out through treating heavy metals or pesticides or other chemicals.

Alex:  So then in terms of finding out what’s going on and from the CFS and ME research, what can we do about it, which I guess is the final piece?

Tanya:  Yeah, well once we know what the situation is, you either have to supplement with the raw materials, or start detoxing if it’s something blocking the energy cycle, but essentially, it’s fairly straight forward to put the bits in that you’re missing and slowly build up the ability to actually create that healthy recycling again.

Alex:  So it’s almost like you’re supporting your system in the short-term, so it can then do that for itself in the long-term?

Tanya:  Absolutely.  Once it’s going, it can stay going, it’s just once you put that spanner in the works and the whole thing falls down, then you’re fine, so pacing is really important, so the psychology team are really important in helping our patients to actually stay within the limits, bounce the boundaries just gently, because once you lose your balls basically, you’ve got to start again, and then it’s a lot of energy to build it back up again, so what we like to do is to give you all the nutrients you need to be able to recycle and keep yourself there.

Alex:  And of course, you know, we’re kind of running out of time for this video, but it’s also very much linked in on the psychology side to those energy depleting psychologies like the achiever type and the helper type, where someone’s always pushing beyond what they’re able to do, and then as a result they keep putting stress on their mitochondria.  So in terms of the psychology side, working through those patterns, and then getting on their biomedical side, getting the nutrients then if it’s appropriate to then support the system in replenishing itself.

Tanya:  Indeed.

Alex:  So with the CFS and ME research, this is a very complex area, and it’s something that you know, it’s not appropriate for someone at home just to kind of… I know… we’ve come across patients that have just started buying mitochondria supplements, but it really does need the depth of testing first to find out what’s going on.

Tanya:  Indeed, and then putting the appropriate nutrients in at the right time.

Alex:  Based on what’s happening, yeah.

Tanya:  Yeah.

Alex:  Yeah, ok, great.  Well thank you for watching, thank you Tania.  Hopefully that’s been helpful for people.  And if you want to investigate more, obviously 15 minute chats are a great way of doing that.  And I’ll have a final shot at the camera, [taking a pink ball again] so Charlie might want to duck behind.  [Hits ball]  Argh. Another one.  [Takes another one and hits it] [Shakes head as takes another one]  I’m going to give up in a second.  [Hits another one]  They’re now coming back this way.  [Hits another one]  Thanks for watching, talk to you again soon.

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CFS and ME treatment: Stomach Acid Transcript Sat, 04 Sep 2010 16:17:37 +0000 You Tube – ME and CFS Treatment – Stomach Acid Alex:  Hi, I’m Alex Howard and I’m with Tanya Page from the nutrition team at the clinic.  And today we’re going to be talking about stomach acid and its role in CFS and ME treatment, Fibromyalgia, Lyme disease and that group of illnesses.  And I […]

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You Tube – ME and CFS Treatment – Stomach Acid

Alex:  Hi, I’m Alex Howard and I’m with Tanya Page from the nutrition team at the clinic.  And today we’re going to be talking about stomach acid and its role in CFS and ME treatment, Fibromyalgia, Lyme disease and that group of illnesses.  And I think this is particularly interesting because stomach acid not working the way that it’s meant to actually has a really big impact on symptoms, and on situations, and it’s actually also quite simple to treat.

Tanya:  Absolutely.

Alex:  So maybe a good starting point would be what stomach acid actually does, what it role is in the body?

Tanya:  Well it’s got a massively fundamental role, and that role is to digest the protein for your food without which you can’t grow, repair or rejuvenate, so that’s pretty key.  It’s 2nd but really, really important role is also for immunity, because essentially the stomach is the first line of defence of the immune system, so anything that gets in through your nose or through your mouth is going to hit the stomach, so if the stomach acid isn’t strong enough, you’re kind of shafted at that point, so….

Alex:  And of course it being the beginning of the whole digestives system, other things we’ve talked about in other blogs that will be available at various points, from Candida and parasites and constipation, all these things can, if it’s not working in the beginning, it’s going to affect everything that’s happening further down.

Tanya:  Absolutely.  Yeah, so the other really important function of stomach acid in CFS and ME treatment is to actually trigger the pancreatic enzymes to be produced from the pancreas.  Those are the things that digest the bits of food that don’t get digested in the stomach, so if you don’t have enough acid leaving the stomach to trigger the hormone that tells the pancreas to produce pancreatic juice with all the digestive enzymes, you have poor pancreatic function, so it’s hugely important on so many levels that if the stomach acid is not right, you get an affect all the way down the gut.

Alex:  So what would be some of the more obvious symptoms someone would get from having low stomach acid?

Tanya:  Ok, this is an area that’s not very well understood by the medical professional either unfortunately, but essentially if you get bloating, or flatulence or burping after food, that’s generally a sign that your stomach acid is too low.  The reason for that is that the protein in your stomach isn’t being broken down quick enough, so the carbohydrates in there start to ferment, and that fermentation produces carbon dioxide, that pushes your stomach acid up your oesophagus and you get that sort of acid-reflux, or you can literally get the burping from the carbon dioxide, or flatulence later in the day, so that’s generally the feeling.  And most people understand that, those sorts of symptoms as being high acid and in fact it’s the converse.

Alex:  And people often would say antacids and that kind of thing to try and fix it, and it just perpetuates the problem.

Tanya:  Indeed, absolutely.

Alex:  Ok.  So how do we test to find out if someone’s got low stomach acid in CFS and ME treatment?

Tanya:  Well that’s the fun bit!  We have 3 ways of testing…

Alex:  Tanya’s aware of my great pleasure in burping, farting and these kinds of things.  [Laughing]  It’s my inner child coming out in my work.

Tanya:  [Laughing]  Yeah, so we have 3 ways of testing in CFS and ME treatment, and the cheapest to the most expensive, and the easiest way really is to use Bicarbonate of Soda, so just your average bicarbonate of soda, and we can do the bicarbonate burp test with that, so essentially you just take a little bit of…

Alex:  It’s great fun at doing at parties actually.  [Laughing]

Tanya:  Indeed.  It has to be on an empty stomach; just a little bit in some water to get it down into the stomach, and on an empty stomach essentially.  The stomach acid should be pretty strong and the alkaline nature of the bicarb should react with the acid in order to produce carbon dioxide so you’ll either burp or you’ll get bloated, or you’ll have flatulence later.

Alex:  Sounds like fun.

Tanya:  So that’s the basic testing.

Alex:  That’s the cheaper option, yes.

Tanya:  So that’s the nice cheap option and we often use that to keep an eye on things.  Now what should happen is you have quite a lot of belching, so not the sort of thing you’d want to be doing in public, so…

Alex:  Or the kind of thing you might want to do in public, [laughing] if you have a childish side like I do, but anyway.

Tanya:  [Laughing]  Yes, so most of our patients in CFS and ME treatment don’t have any reaction to bicarb at all and even non-M.E patients often have no reaction to this at all…

Alex:  Which means they’ve got low stomach acid?

Tanya:  Yes, so it’s a bit of a ‘Heath Robinson’ method, but you know, it’s a good cheap way of finding out you know ‘Ball Park,’ what’s going on.  Then we have something called… to get a little bit more accuracy on it, something called the ‘gastro test,’ which is essentially… I won’t be able to really show you because you can’t see it, but essentially it’s a capsule full of string, and you pin the string onto the side of your mouth, swallow the capsule which takes the string down into your stomach, sits in your stomach for about 7 minutes, and the delightful bit is pulling the string back up again and then you just develop the colour on the string; it’s a Ph sensitive piece of string essentially, and you can see specifically what your acid levels are in your stomach, all the way up to the oesophagus, up to the mouth, and that gives us a much clearer idea.  There’s a colour chart that you can refer to, so you should be well down on the colour chart and a lot of people are up towards the alkaline or neutral levels which is a bit of a disaster.

Alex:  [Laughing raising arms up]  So that being how we test for it, what do we do about it?

Tanya:  Well, actually it’s fairly simple.  What you basically have to do in CFS and ME treatment is artificially put in some hydrochloric acid which you can put in, in tablet, liquid or capsule form, and that’s really just to bolster the basic amount of stomach acid so you can digest your food better.  When you do that you can actually absorb the minerals that you need to produce to produce your own acid, so we have kind of a dosing procedure where we increase the dose of stomach acid in order to do this because everyone needs a different dose, and once you start building up that level to an almost normal point, then you just don’t have to supplement anymore, it’s really self-regulating.

Alex:  Great.

Tanya:  The only problems we get sometimes, if people have very, very low stomach acid in the CFS and ME treatment, the mucous layer around the stomach that protects the stomach from digesting itself can be a little bit weak because it doesn’t need to be strong because there’s no acid in there, then we have to use other methods to actually soothe and heal the stomach wall before we put the acid in, but it’s basically very straight forward.

Alex:  Ok, fantastic.  Well thank you for your time.  [To Tanya]  Hopefully that’s been useful to people watching the video.  Again as I say at the end of these videos, if you’re a patient at the clinic receiving CFS and ME treatment, then your practitioner will already be looking at this.  If you want more information, an information pack and a 15 minute chat is a great starting point.  So thanks for watching, thanks Tanya, and we look forward to speaking with you again soon.

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Video Blog Transcript: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome CFS – How the Clinic views Emotion Tue, 06 Apr 2010 10:46:29 +0000 Transcript from our video blog on emotions and CFS/ME. Click here to view the video. Alex: Hi, I’m Alex Howard and I’m here with Anna Duschinsky, Director of Psychology at The Optimum Health Clinic. Anna: Hi. Alex: Welcome to this short video. We’re going to be talking today about The Optimum Health Clinic’s way of […]

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Transcript from our video blog on emotions and CFS/ME. Click here to view the video.

Alex: Hi, I’m Alex Howard and I’m here with Anna Duschinsky, Director of Psychology at The Optimum Health Clinic.

Anna: Hi.

Alex: Welcome to this short video. We’re going to be talking today about The Optimum Health Clinic’s way of working with emotions in ME, Chronic Fatigue (CFS), Fibromyalgia, really that group of illnesses. So Anna, maybe as a starting point, emotions in ME and Chronic fatigue (CFS), there’s a lot we can be saying about the actual biochemistry and so on, but we not going to go into detail in this video, as we’ve covered that in a lot detail in other places, but just very briefly, why are emotions important?

Anna: Ok, so I would put it two ways: the first is that if you think about the process of getting ill, what you’ve had to do is become quite disconnected from your emotions and your body. So in order to get to the point where we get that ill, normally what’s happened is we’ve ignored all the signs that we weren’t happy in certain situations, that we shouldn’t have taken that job, that we were getting sick more and more, so we’ve ignored all of those signs through time that we’ve been going up to crashing, and then we crash. By that point usually we’ve got quite disconnected emotionally. So one of the ways it’s quite useful to think about emotions within Chronic Fatigue is part of this process of getting better is trying to rebalance that imbalance that’s been created, so that’s one way of looking at it.

The other is the actual biochemistry of the impact that emotions and stuck emotions or unprocessed emotions have on your physical body and your physical health, and even in the development of symptoms. So that’s why emotion has a role and of course then there’s a whole other area of how you’re feeling about your body, about your illness and all the frustration and fear that goes with that as well.

Alex: Yes, and I know there are certain treatment programmes on the psychology side, things like for example Reverse Therapy, Mickel Therapy and that kind of thing where they effectively say that it’s all about the emotions and I know that for a subgroup of patients that can be effective. What’s your perspective on that?

Anna: I think that it is an interesting take on it. I know for myself in my own recovery, understanding my emotions and where I hadn’t listened to them was significant, but it’s like everything we say, it’s never one size fits all. So do I think it’s relevant and useful and part of the picture, absolutely, but I think the thing that limits that as an approach is the implication that all of our symptoms are just down to unmet needs and unlistened to emotions, and I don’t see that being consistently true because of course you’ve got the whole role of stress and anxiety as well.

If you have massive anxiety and massive stress and fear running as part of your CFS or ME, it’s very difficult to connect to your emotions and know what you’re feeling, so that’s a whole side of things that needs to be dealt with in order to help yourself reconnect and rebalance. The other thing that isn’t really being dealt with from this single approach is any of the nutritional or physical side of treatment. So working emotions in that was is a part of it. But personally I think it will massively depend on the person as to how significant and relevant a piece of recovery it is.

Alex: And I know that also people can get very caught up in doing lots of psychotherapy and deep exploration of their feelings, their emotions and their history on their path to recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome, how do you see that impacting on it?

Anna: Ok, again I think some people think that in order to get better from CFS they have to therefore have dealt with everything that’s ever happened to them emotionally; again I really do not believe that, I quite strongly don’t believe that. Having seen so many people with ME and CFS through the years, what I think is probably relevant for a lot of people is having some awareness, being able to connect in, being able to understand they have emotions and needs is very important, but you don’t have to have dealt with all of your history to get better, for the most part.

However, there will be people where… and this is particularly where we talk about trauma within chronic fatigue and ME; if there’s been a lot of trauma in the body, it’s almost stuck in that state, then sometimes there is work that needs to be done to undo that, to get you to the point where you can fully heal, so it really is again based upon the individual as to what is going to be most relevant and where and how.

Alex: I think it’s a very useful and helpful thing to be on a kind of internal path of discovery and on my recovery path I was constantly reading books around psychology and various forms of therapy, and I was using stuff with myself, but there was something really missing in having a really skilled insightful practitioner, so I’m wondering… I know there are certain treatment programmes that are kind of self-treatment programmes, and what your thoughts are about the importance of a practitioner that’s skilled in this area for recovery from ME and CFS?

Anna: Well I think if you look at what we’re saying today about emotions, we’re saying that for some people there’s a particular route that needs to happen, there are particular things that need to be dealt with, for other people it will be far more about calming down the nervous system, dealing with stress, dealing with the kind of nutritional aspects of it. We’ve always said that CFS and ME are not one illness, there are so many facets to this, so many pictures within this and subgroups within this, so I think the problem is that it’s quite hard to know for yourself where you fit within that, and for a lot of people that can be very frustrating.

I suppose what we always feel like is the most important thing, and we’ve only learnt through the really hard experience of doing it and doing it and doing it is helping people to identify where they fit and what they need. So for some people, perhaps they do need to go into psychotherapy and really start to look at that stuff, for some people they need to just learn to calm everything down and not delve too much at the moment until they’ve got some stability, so it really varies and I can’t over estimate the role of having that roadmap of saying ‘this is where you are, this is what you need to do at this point in time that’s going to make the biggest difference,’ because also… you kind of touched on this, understanding your emotions or understanding what’s gone on isn’t the same as recovery from ME and CFS. So for a lot of people they really intellectually or even emotionally understand what’s happened, but it hasn’t shifted the physicality of what’s going on in their illness, and from our point of view that’s the most important thing. You can be emotionally very literate, but still not actually be well. We want you to be well.

Alex: Well I guess there are almost two potential paths here for people: there’s the path of their own ongoing psychotherapeutic development, and there’s also the path of recovery from ME and CFS. They are linked, but they’re not the same path?

Anna: Not necessarily.

Alex: And, of course, the stronger you are, the more recovered you are, the more resource you have to work with your historical stuff if you want to do that in your life anyway.

Anna: Exactly that. My thinking around it is always you need to get better and resourceful and healthy in order to then potentially deal with…

Alex: So for someone that’s watching this, I guess the next step would really be that if they’re not a patient, a free 15 minute chat’s a great way to speak to a practitioner, give them a bit of your history and they can help identify the roadmap that’s going to work to moving forwards.
(You can book a free 15 minute chat at )

Anna: Exactly that, exactly.

Alex: And obviously if anyone’s already a patient, this is something that the practitioner will already be very much taking into account.

Anna: Yes, definitely.

Alex: Ok, well thank you Anna.

Anna: No problem.

Alex: And thank you everyone for watching.

Anna: Thanks.

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