I'm a cyborg slime-mold brain fungus piloting a complex exosuit made of flesh. An ant consuming interestingness and extruding insight porn. Trying to figure out my place in the world while maintaining homeostasis. Wandering scholar, and informavore.
Are.na is where I persist my external memories.
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I may have found out how to go without vitamin C.
But it requires Glutathione and B12 to be functioning properly. Aside from a paper on a small group of people in India, B12 production doesn't seem to be easy to achieve in humans. And these are chronically impaired in Crohn's / Multiple Sclerosis / Diabetes Type 2, ( I don't know exactly why yet).
It seems that our bodies are able to metabolize Dehydroascorbic Acid back into Vitamin C using a function of red blood cells. There were some studies on reversing Scurvy in Guinea Pigs (who share the same vitamin C production oddities as humans, unlike rats), and they were able to achieve it by giving them Glutathione instead of Vitamin C.
Apparently poor liver function might be involved, as glutathione is made largely in the liver by three amino acid precursors that also play a role in bile acid production: glutamine, glycine, and cysteine.
Glutathione is hugely important for kidney function, in particular with it's ability to convert the vitamin D made in the skin from sunlight into the bioavailable form. With low vitamin D being a huge player in M.S. Symptomology as it one of the major steroids that regulate immune function. As Vitamin D is made from cholesterol made available via bile acids as part of digestion, this is a further layer where liver function seems to matter. Serum Cholesterol levels are intrinsically tied to Vitamin D levels, and as such this may play a more direct role in demyelination.
Schizophrenia has higher rates of chronic kidney disease, and also higher rates of liver dysfunction. Ties between schizophrenia and diabetes also seem to be mirrored with the similar higher risk profile of kidney problems and liver issues. The laundry list of overlap between autism, schizophrenia, and multiple sclerosis are huge.
I am waiting on the results from this study to be published https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03004079 which is about the role of insulin / glucose regulation and relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. But I am thinking that the oddities in glutathione in M.S. is mirroring that found in Type 2 Diabetes, and poor vitamin C recycling may be why wound healing is lower. This would be thru how collagen and vitamin C interact.
Scurvy is found in higher rates among autistics, even accounting for problematic diets and eating weirdness. This might be why GLUT1 gene mutations show up so much. GLUT1 is important for Vitamin C to enter the mitochondria. If vitamin C is already troubled due to glutathione function weirdness, these two things would interact.
Vitamin C and Collagen metabolism weirdness may also explain tendon development problems and skin issues that are mirrored in Ehler-Danlos Syndrome.
It's all connected. I wanted to know how bears can build bones during hibernation (which is heavily involved in collagen) without ingesting vitamin C. It turns out the kidneys are super important for bone development because of the role of Vitamin D in bone synthesis, which put me on the scent. It explains bone density problems in Diabetes type II and also higher rates of bone problems in Ehler Danlos.
I figured out that I was kinda plural by accident. Not a full split, but I have access to different memories and distinct personality shifts depending on who I'm around. Some of it might be due to weird fragmentation stemming from multiple sclerosis + stress, but I think there's more going on there. I've been slowly trying to work in mental pathways and associations that let me shift between them more intentionally.
I learned that there are visualization techniques in certain kinds of psychotherapy that involve creating an imaginary object to deal with problematic emotions. It's a different take on NLP style image projection - getting a person to describe a fictional environment that represents an idea and using memorable imagery to anchor ideas about the fictional object.
It simultaneously distances the concept and makes it less painful, while also giving the feelings a cohesiveness that allow for dealing with it in a less chaotic manner. The tie with NLP is that it's basically a form of hypnosis and can lead to implanting false memories, but if you do it well and treat this as a mental exercise (not 'truth') it can be helpful.
I think these techniques are variations on 'mind palaces' which are used by memory experts to recall and store large amounts of ideas. It turns out that I do this instinctually due to how my brain seems to prefer spatial mapping, and leveraging that as a crutch to deal with short-term memory problems and issues when I'm having brain-fog.
On a neural science angle, its like encoding a mental map in the grid/place cells and using associative triggers to walk around a fictional environment, with certain emotional sensations and ideas acting as signpost and landmarks to navigate. I think that people who end up doing lucid dreaming are leveraging this technique without knowing it because of how serotonin etc. acts on the hippocampus when half-asleep.
One of my IRL friends has a problem with visualizing things due to a surgery accident. It left her mind-blind and unable to recognize faces. I ended up giving her this skill by describing how I picture mine, and she seems to be able to anchor memories to her version of it.
Mine is a sort of underground cave/complex that I imagine being dug out by ants but mixed in with howl's moving castle, but that's just because they're an interest of mine. Hers is a tree because she liked to climb them as a child.
I'm very visual memory driven, to the point where sometimes I think entirely in pictures and have trouble pulling words out. But I suspect that there are people who do something like this but using sound and music, and some who can perhaps use body sensations (think: dance) to do it similarly.
There's something fascinating going on with people with eidedic memory, where some of the best in the world have 5 sense synesthesia. My nose hasn't worked well most of my life due to weird genetics interacting with diet. When that was addressed, I learned I can encode memories via scent. My ant hill now has scent trails in it that I can follow.
When I think hard about it in a sort of meditate state, I actually hallucinate the scents I've encoded, and the reverse effect is I can now pick out certain terpene sources because they 'resonate' a space in my mind palace that I can coordinate with picture of the plant that makes it that I've "hung" in that mental room.
I've been able to predict my diabetic type II girlfriend's blood sugar levels after learning that high blood sugar leads to 'isoprene' production. Its smells like gasoline, so I have a mental image of a room with a bucket of gasoline at one end and the closer I get to the gas, the higher the blood sugar. After doing it a bunch, it's almost instinctual and I don't really need the mental imagery. It feels like I intentionally built up an intuition. At this point it's a 'feeling' that I can only describe as some kind of emotional unease that I've trained myself to pick up on and notice.
Minds are weird.
I have tweets threads that I can read when i'm in certain mental state that are effectively channeling another set of memories. In my mind palace metaphor, those rooms are sealed off unless I dig thru rubble to open them up. I imagine it's a lot like using mantras and worry stones to build up these mental hallucinatory pathways.
I've been playing with the idea of imagining these things as being alive, but it's kind a scary because I imagine its a way to create actual mental alts if I were to give it enough agency.
There's a bunch of metaphors in pop-culture about brainwashing and triggering sleeper agents by encoding memories in hallucinatory states. Funny enough, most of the drugs that are said to be able to do this are all acting on serotonin. So that's kind a fucked up.
I fixed my sense of smell by eating more tryptophan and promoting gut bacteria that are able to produce serotonin. It seems to help with a genetic proclivity for blood vessels to constrict (a smooth muscle tissues mutation) that also coincides with intestinal troubles and mucus production oddities.
Interestingly, they all seem to be tied to the hip with the gut-brain axis's triggering of localized oxytocin and serotonin production in parts of the brain related to long-term memory. There's something weird going on at the intersection of trust and diet. It's almost like the gut microbes induce memories of good sources of food and are leveraging emotional memory to do it.
Similarly, "you're a different person when you drink" might be more true that not, given how alcohol impacts a lot of these processes.