Has anyone tried BCAAs for EXTREME muscle fatigue?

kait0220

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Hello all,
(28F) I am going through one of those "doctors have no idea what is wrong with me but there's a fibromyalgia component" times, and one of my main symptoms is insane muscle fatigue. I used to exercise regularly, but now (even with physical therapy) any amount of physical effort results in extreme muscle fatigue and soreness.

I'm talking about going for a 30 min walk and the next three days my legs feel like the day after a 4 hour Pilates session. I can't complete basic house hold chores without being wiped out. Even playing fetch with my dog for a few minutes feels like I've done 100 squats instead of bending down 5 times to pick up a ball. I want to try to be a bit more active, doing small bouts of light exercise or walking, but right now it's impossible to balance physical activity with being able to get out of bed the next day. My therapist mentioned BCAA supplements as a way to reduce recovery time and help with the fatigue, but when I read about it online, I see it marketed towards body builders and people trying to enhance muscle.

Just wondering if anyone has tried BCAA powders or capsules and noticed that it helped with muscle fatigue/soreness. I've tried magnesium malate as well but haven't noticed it helping. I also have other issues that affect my appetite/diet so I can't realistically be eating 6 bananas or whatever every day lol
Thanks ❤️
 

sunkacola

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Sorry to hear you are having such a hard time. I applaud your continued attempts to exercise in some form. Don't know what BCAA is so I cannot help you there, but if it is for body builders I doubt that it is suitable for you right now. Of course, as long as it isn't harmful (and I would look into all the ingredients carefully) you could try it anyway just to see.

I would suggest to you that you might be trying to do too much in exercise for right now (even if it is very significantly less than you used to do). Go for a five minute walk instead of 30. Sit down to throw the ball for your dog. Do some kind of exercise for three minutes only. See if that will work. If it doesn't, try 2 minutes. Then very very slowly build up again. By slowly I mean doing those 3 minutes for one week or two weeks daily, then do 4 minutes. I know it sounds ridiculous, but that's the way to do it right now. Best of luck!
 

LoulaLou

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Hi, I have exactly the same issues. Mine all started after a hysterectomy. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia but now doctor thinks it's ME. Do you also get tingling and feel unwell when it happens? I'm cleaning up my diet, going gluten free and am going to try exactly what Sunkacola recommends. Good luck.
 

Jemima

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I was exactly the same - feeling like I'd done a gruelling triathlon for days after a light workout. It sucks! I found this got less severe as I've become better at keeping my stress and rest in check. For me, this kind of muscle soreness is a warning that a big ol' flare is on the way! I really hope that what you're dealing with improves soon, too - there seems to be a lot of members here who have struggled with adjusting to this stuff, having always identified as fit and active people, so you're not alone!

BCAAs are branch chain amino acids - essential amino acids that the body cannot make for itself. We normally get them from the protein sources in our diet, but athletes often add in a supplement for their performance enhancing properties, and because of the vital role they play in muscle repair. BCAAs are also used to treat a range of health issues, and a dig on Google tells me that some people have found them useful for fibro. From Wikipedia:
"Metabolically, BCAAs promote protein synthesis and turnover, signaling pathways, and metabolism of glucose."
"BCAAs can help to reduce the levels of free tryptophan entering the brain, and help to reduce the sensation of fatigue as a result of exertion."
"BCAAs are also found to reduce the increase in serum levels of ammonia that occurs during exercise .... Increased levels of ammonia in the brain result in lower levels of GABA and glutamate, causing an increase in central fatigue."
"BCAA supplementation has been shown to decrease levels of lactic acid in the muscle"
"BCAA supplementation has been shown to decrease levels of creatine kinase in muscle cells post exercise. Creatine kinase is an indicator of muscle damage"

If your diet does not include a consistent range of quality protein sources, it stands to reason that they might be worth a go. You could also try increasing BCAA sources in your diet. On the flip side, it's worth noting that excessive BCAAs have been linked to other problems such as increased appetite and reduced serotonin levels, so that's something to keep in mind.
 

Jemima

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I just read a study from 2006 that said "Patients with fibromyalgia have been found to have significantly lower plasma concentrations of the three branched-chain amino acids (BCAA – valine, leucine, and isoleucine – than normal controls", so that's kind of interesting!
 

Yellowstockings

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I am new to they forum, though not to fibromyalgia. I was diagnosed many years ago by a rheumatologist who told me there was nothing he could do. I went to another one about 9 years ago who put my on amitriptyline, which I think helpsd a bit but my health insurer kept sending me warnings that it was not a good drug for seniors. I'm 76. Anyway, just got back from a grueling car trip from upstate NY to Chicago and back in a week and I've been home a week but haven't yet recovered. The first day home I fell twice and yesterday I took another spill in my insanely crap-filled garage. Today I feel so shaky and my feet are lead-like. I'm getting worried that it's something more than fibromyalgia. However, Ive had extensive blood tests recently and heart, cholestrerol blood pressure is all good. I do not have rheumatoid arthritis, just osteo arthritis. My thyroid levels are always okay. I do perspire intensely with just a little exertion, especially in supermarkets. I'm dripping by the time I get to the checkout. I'm kind of all over the map telling you my symptoms. I just don't know what path to go down next. I've been halfheartedly doing the Wim Hof breathing along with an occasional cold shower. It does feel good. I take Cymbalta, and ibuprofen with Tylenol for the pain. Who am I? What am I? 😟
 

Jemima

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Who am I? What am I?
Hi Yellowstockings,

Wow, I relate to those questions! I'm sorry you're feeling so awful.

If it's any comfort, I often sweat a lot when I'm in a flare, and I'm not on any medications - so after various stages of tests I'm pretty sure it's just the fibro that causes it! If the medications are suiting you, that's fantastic, but its always worth keeping an eye in case anything you're feeling is a side effect. Sometimes the impact of these drugs takes a long time to manifest, or our bodies start to reject them with time. That said, coming off them is also a big deal, and it might just be that your fibro is having a particularly intense flare - so it's something to (frustratingly!) approach gently.

Taking ages to bounce back is scary, so I hope you feel better soon. I've had some really drawn out recoveries too - that took me by surprise, even when I expected to feel worse - so perhaps try to trust that your body is working through the process. I guess try to be extra kind to yourself in the meantime, and if it doesn't improve, a trip to the dreaded doctors might be in order.

As for the existential questions, I think all of us dealing with this thing have to dig a little deeper to find answers that feel meaningful, and not let ourselves be defined by our health. Easier said than done, I know! I'm working on that too. Good luck with everything you're experiencing ⛅
 

JayCS

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Hi Yellowstockings,
WHM breath-holding helps me when I'm in a really big flare, used to do it several times a week or even day for a time.
Cold showers help me a lot, even with sleep. I'm wondering if it'd help your sweating if you did it more.
If that's one of the main symptoms you'd like to get down and it's not from the meds as Jemima says, maybe you can find other ways to influence it by noting when & where it starts/doesn't start, doing these things in shorter stints etc.. That's the way I get many of my symptoms down bit by bit... As TCM/acupressure helped me get my cold tolerance up, praps some kind of TCM etc. cd help with the sweating too...
 
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