This is probably not going to be that coherent because it brings together a few things that have been going on recently in my head and it’s usually a bit chaotic in there 🙄.
And it might be quite long too.
The genesis of the post is the blood clot that I have in my pleural cavity that my body is trying to digest. I had my last MRI scan very recently and we will see how much smaller the clot has become although I can still feel it.
And there will be no surgery to remove it as this would probably cause more damage than not as the surgeon would have to dissect quite a lot of bone and tissue to get to it.
So, my body is on it’s own in this regard.
On the negative side, because there is no blood supply to the pleural cavity, my body finds it difficult to send in the sort of white blood cells – such as lysosome packed macrophages – that would normally dismantle a clot.
On the positive side, regular mountain biking accidents are helping to break it up and some macrophages must be getting through because it is definitely getting smaller.
Why do I think this? Because on the occasions that I fall on my back I have slight clot discomfort rather than just awareness of it for a couple of days and I rationalise this as an escape of corruption from the damaged clot (it’s a veritable feast for bacteria) that results in inflammation/infection that is quickly dealt with.
But it could also just be a sore back. 😂
Also, in a happy vein, it is not interfering with any of my regular activities.
Apparently millionaires and hollywood “a-listers” are quite interested in this subject and indeed it is a fascinating one.
He talked about a biotechnological bridge that humankind is about to reach – except we aren’t quite there yet – that if we cross will have the potential to extend human lives quite significantly.
But, some people have been more focussed, for example, on their yachts than their waistlines and therefore may not reach the bridge in time or will be in such poor health that it makes no difference.
And there’s nothing wrong with yachts (except perhaps their emissions🙄); they are fine and a lovely way to spend the day but I wouldn’t swap my body for one.
So metformin was mentioned; this is mainly used to treat type-2 diabetes but is also claimed to make you live longer so everyone is all over it apparently, in order to make it to the bridge in passable condition.
My interest was piqued (always curious!); although I don’t want to live forever as I think I would get bored eventually.
But I wasn’t about to rush out to the doctor, obtain a prescription and pay big pharma for some metformin.
There is very little research on galegine and depending what you read on the internet you can make herbal tea out of it to enhance breast feeding.
Or it’s poisonous!
So obviously when I received my first bag from amazon.co.uk I was a bit worried about dying with enlarged breasts!
I tried it for a while in 2018, tentatively at first, to see if I would lose weight, but soon lost interest as I’m very active and not fat.
But two things I took away from this little adventure were how it works (based on this paper in respect of metformin and other studies I have read).
Firstly, and mainly, it diverts blood lactic acid/lactate, which is usually reprocessed in the liver to produce either or all of glucose, glycogen or fat depending upon requirements (your body is a hoarder after all), straight to your kidneys where it is simply excreted much to the chagrin of human physiology which is incredibly thrifty!
Secondly, it interferes with the production of ATP (from ADP) in your mitochondria. In simple terms ATP is a fully charged battery and ADP is a battery that needs charging.
So, in my simple lay-mind (which is pure hypothesis by me and not supported by anything that I have either looked for or found on the internet), and purely with regard to exercise, as I do a lot of this, the flushing of lactate straight to your kidneys is a good thing as it should remove the lactate from your muscles, a product of anaerobic respiration and a cause of muscle fatigue and pain after vigorous exercise.
However, the interference in production of ATP by mitochondria is a big negative in respect of exercise in my opinion.
A good analogy being that, when I take one of my e-bikes out for a spin, I always make sure that I have a full charge!
[Edit: except maybe I don’t need a full charge! See Note 1 below – I’m currently reading a more recent paper on this issue]
Tea drinking habits revisited
Goat’s Rue tea (one teaspoon/cup), whilst not unpleasant, is an acquired taste. Also, when I first tried it I experienced stomach rumbles (not quite indigestion) that disappeared pretty quickly presumably as I developed a tolerance to these effects.
I do not advise anyone to take it as a supplement and apparently it is poisonous when consumed as a fresh plant so I would probably steer clear of it.
Just to be clear, if you try the tea any results are on you and are not my fault is what I’m saying!
So why have I revisited it?
Two reasons really.
The first reason is because I think that it may help my body digest my blood clot (it may also have a placebo effect even if it doesn’t work). My rationale is, now that I am almost back to full fitness after I punctured my lung in the summer, I am robust enough for such an experiment.
Why do I think it may work? Well, because physiological energetic scarcity (driven by drinking goat’s rue tea in this instance, rather than say, starvation) causes your body to scavenge and “eat” anything that it can find at a cellular level, starting with the most useless stuff first and then moving on, in extremis, to digest your own muscles when things get very tough such as when I was in hospital with my injury, or when I had SARS-CoV-2.
Examples of useless stuff, in no particular order, are bacteria, viruses, cancer cells and blood clots!
Secondly, I had no idea how wonderful mitochondria are until recently!
I now feel that they will cope with a little Goat’s Rue!
Providence sometimes leads you to little epiphanies. I had one very recently when someone tweeted a link to this paper.
I had no idea (and humanity is still learning) how important and robust these little organelles appear to be. The subject alone is worthy of its own post.
[Note 1: See also abstract of: Mitochondria as an important target of metformin: The mechanism of action, toxic and side effects, and new therapeutic applications (the full article is behind a paywall).]
The TLDR is that I no longer worry about the impairment of my mitochondria too much in respect of goat’s rue tea consumption.
They are everywhere in my body – and yours too!
And by all accounts appear to be robust little chaps working busily in your body to do all sorts of important things, not just energy production.
- They produce your sex hormones
- They effect your mood
- They wander freely around in your blood and body as little extracellular entities
- They are transferred from cell to cell as needed.
They are little warriors!