Saturday, April 09, 2016

In ALS, is TDP-43 being produced to control herv-k?

I was just commenting on "Evidence for Fungal Infection in Cerebrospinal Fluid and Brain Tissue from Patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis" and by the time I finished I had a question about TDP-43.

I believe that artificial deficiencies in complement control are playing a role in creating massive confusion about what is happening in ALS, and candida is a very good example.
What I have been studying in the research on ALS is from a complement perspective. Factor h is supposed to be pulling C3b off the spines of ALS patients and that isn't happening, so, what's happening to factor h? This is where I started looking. I lead me to the mass range of complement evasion strategies, and candida is huge in this department.
The other thing that I found about candida is that it is cleaved by galectin-3 without going through complement (Kohatsu et al), but it favour salmonella (Li et al) . Galectin-3 has been identified as cadidate biomarker for ALS (Zhou et al).
So, then you have studies on galectin-3 in ALS (Lerman et al), and I guess because galectin-3 appears to be increasing quite out of control, they did a gene knock out for galectin-3 and progression was faster.
I haven't found a specific reference for this, "Borrelia binds GAL-3 to induce Walerian degradation of myelin tissues, (creates artificial GAL-3 deficiency)." Dinglasan et al has many evasion strategies of borrelia but it did not specifically mention galectin-3. Binding factor H is a big problem with borrelia.
Candida has a lot of complement evasion strategies (Lou et al). It captures host complement regulators, such as Factor H, FHL-1, C4BP and plasminogen from human plasma to its surface. Creating artificial deficiencies in these complement components is a big problem in ALS. Factor H is needed to protect self cells and I believe C4 is a very critical player in ALS.
So then, cleaving candida with galectin-3 leads to potentially more salmonella problems and salmonella can also mess up complement. According to Ho et al, salmonella can also bind C4b and factor h, so more messing up these complement components. This same study mentions that E.coli can also evade complement with the same strategies. C4 is the second step to the complement cascade response.
Other pathogens can be messing up complement, Aspergillus also binds both factor H and C4b (Vogl et al), and B Steptococcus (Maruvada etal) and Streptococcus pyogenes (Haapasalo et al) both bind to factor H.
Aspergillus is probably huge in ALS. How do you get cluster data for ALS in an apartment building? (Melmed et al) My best educated guess is mold.
Back to how huge C4 is in ALS. Sekar et al have an excellent explanation and study on the different alleles of C4. Herv-k lives in C4 and is implicated in ALS (Li et al). According to Sekar et al, "First, RNA expression of C4A and C4B increased proportionally with copy number of C4A and C4B respectively (Fig. 3a, band Extended Data Fig. 4). These observations mirror earlier observations in human serum 24. Second, expression levels of C4A were two to three times greater than expression levels of C4B, even after controlling for relative copy number in each genome (Fig. 3c). Third, copy number of the C4–HERV sequence increased the ratio of C4A to C4B expression (P < 10 −7, P < 10 −2, P < 10 −3, respectively, in the three cohorts examined, by Spearman rank correlation)." So, a certain copy of C4 results in more herv-k and that copy is also associated with schizophrenia.
With messed up complement more C4 is needed to get the complement cascade going properly, but because of this mess, there is potentially way more herv-k.
Another interesting point, there is about double the risk of ALS to pedigrees with schizophrenia in their family (Goodman et al).
And then it seems, TDP-43 represses retroviruses, for example HIV (Kuo et al). So then the question I have is about TDP-43, is it being produced to control herv-k?
It also seems that treatment with antivirals for HIV has been a beneficial treatment for HIV ALS patients (Smith et al).
Kohatsu, Luciana, et al. "Galectin-3 induces death of Candida species expressing specific β-1, 2-linked mannans." The Journal of Immunology 177.7 (2006): 4718-4726.
Li, Yubin, et al. "Galectin-3 is a negative regulator of lipopolysaccharide-mediated inflammation." The Journal of Immunology 181.4 (2008): 2781-2789.
Zhou, Jian-Ying, et al. "Galectin-3 is a candidate biomarker for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: discovery by a proteomics approach." Journal of proteome research 9.10 (2010): 5133-5141.
Lerman, Bruce J., et al. "Deletion of galectin‐3 exacerbates microglial activation and accelerates disease progression and demise in a SOD1 G93A mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis." Brain and behavior 2.5 (2012): 563-575.
Dinglasan, Rhoel R., and Marcelo Jacobs-Lorena. "Insight into a conserved lifestyle: protein-carbohydrate adhesion strategies of vector-borne pathogens." Infection and immunity 73.12 (2005): 7797-7807.
Luo, Shanshan, et al. "Complement and innate immune evasion strategies of the human pathogenic fungus Candida albicans." Molecular immunology 56.3 (2013): 161-169.
Ho, Derek K., et al. "Functional recruitment of human complement inhibitor C4B-binding protein to outer membrane protein Rck of Salmonella." PloS one 6.11 (2011): e27546.
Vogl, G., et al. "Immune evasion by acquisition of complement inhibitors: the mould Aspergillus binds both factor H and C4b binding protein." Molecular immunology 45.5 (2008): 1485-1493.
Maruvada, Ravi, Nemani V. Prasadarao, and C. E. Rubens. "Acquisition of factor H by a novel surface protein on group B Streptococcus promotes complement degradation." The FASEB Journal 23.11 (2009): 3967-3977.
Haapasalo, Karita, et al. "Acquisition of complement factor H is important for pathogenesis of Streptococcus pyogenes infections: evidence from bacterial in vitro survival and human genetic association." The Journal of Immunology 188.1 (2012): 426-435.
Melmed, Calvin, and Charles Krieger. "A cluster of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis." Archives of neurology 39.9 (1982): 595.
Sekar, Aswin, et al. "Schizophrenia risk from complex variation of complement component 4." Nature 530.7589 (2016): 177-183.
Li, Wenxue, et al. "Human endogenous retrovirus-K contributes to motor neuron disease." Science translational medicine 7.307 (2015): 307ra153-307ra153.
Goodman, Ann B. "Elevated risks for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and blood disorders in Ashkenazi schizophrenic pedigrees suggest new candidate genes in schizophrenia." American journal of medical genetics 54.3 (1994): 271-278.
Kuo, Pan-Hsien, et al. "Structural insights into TDP-43 in nucleic-acid binding and domain interactions." Nucleic acids research 37.6 (2009): 1799-1808.
Smith, Bryan, et al. "Activation of HERV-K and response to antiretroviral therapy in patients with HIV infection and motor neuron disease (S37. 001)." Neurology 84.14 Supplement (2015): S37-001.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Factor h and ALS

Lyme has factor H evasion strategies and in innate immunity its role is to amplify the immune response.  I do not believe that lyme is the only pathogen involved in ALS, but that together a group of them with factor H evasion strategies mess up complement and factor H so it no longer does its job properly.

Lyme divides very slowly compared to other bacteria and it forms these "blebs" in response to antibiotics.  Antibiotics do not kill the blebs and there is evidence that the blebs do not come out in the presence of antibiotics.  Lyme is also extremely easy to kill when it is not in the protective bleb form.  Dr Eva Sapi is the foremost expert researcher into lyme, http://www.newhaven.edu/faculty-spotlights/eva-sapi/.

Factor h is a part of complement and lyme can bind to it and hide from the body's innate immunity.  Factor h is responsible for pulling C3b off host cells and it isn't doing its job in the spines of ALS patients.

There is medical evidence that complement, or innate immunity, is involved in ALS.

  • The complement factor C5a contributes to Pathology in a Rat Model of ALS, http://www.jimmunol.org/content/181/12/8727.short, "With end-stage disease, SOD1G93A rats displayed marked deposition of C3/C3b, and a significant up-regulation of the C5aR in the lumbar spinal cord."
  • Complement upregulation and activation on motor neurons and neuromuscular junction in the OSD1 G93A mouse model of familial ALS, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21501881, "We determined complement expression and activation in the SOD1 G93A mouse model of familial ALS (fALS). At 126days, C3 mRNA was upregulated in spinal cord and C3 protein accumulated in astrocytes and motor neurons. C3 activation products C3b/iC3b were localized exclusively on motor neurons. At the neuromuscular junction, deposits of C3b/iC3b and C1q were detected at day 47, before the appearance of clinical symptoms, and remained detectable at symptomatic stage (126days). Our findings implicate complement in the denervation of the muscle endplate by day 47 and destruction of the neuromuscular junction and spinal neuron loss by day 126 in the SOD1 G93A mouse model of fALS."
So, the stuff killing the neurons is from complement.  And, lyme can hide from complement, and therefore innate immunity, and it binds to factor H, which is supposed to be protecting host cells.
This paper, Evidence for Fungal Infection in Cerebrospinal Fluid and Brain Tissue from Patients with ALS, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4400386/, means that you can not ignore candida in ALS.  Page 552 on this paper, where they talk about the results of looking at the brains of 3 deceased ALS patients, "the most striking finding was that C. albicans appeared in all three patients."  They tested 5 ALS against 3 controls for the spine and the C. albicans antibodies were on average 12 times higher in ALS compared to the controls.  C.famata 5 times, penicillium double, enolase 1.5 times and β tubulin peptide about 4 times the antibodies over the controls.  C.glabrata, C.parapsilosis were about the same in the ALS patients and the controls.
Unfortunately, Candida can also hide from factor H, Immune evasion of the human pathogenic yeast Candida albicansPra1 is a Factor H, FHL-1 and plasminogen binding surface protein, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19850343

You also have to ask the question, it the C3b landing on the spine because the candida is there?  I have not seen a study look for lyme on patient's spine, but could that also be a reason for the C3b to be on patient's spine?

The lyme binds factor H via OspE proteins, Outer surface protein E antibody response and its effect on complement factor H bind to OspE in Lyme borreliosis, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18248762.
I don't have a reference for this as it was a question I asked an ALS research, but gene expression for factor H is up in the ALS mouse model after the onset of symptoms, but it is unknown whether it is actually being produced, or what is happening to it.  I don't think the mouse model has lyme, but it could have other pathogens with factor H evasion strategies messing it up.
When I learned the stuff clogging up the spines of ALS patients was coming from complement and the role of factor H, I started trying to find pathogens with factor H evasion strategies as it just seemed to me that since there is something wrong happening in innate immunity with ALS, it would be a good idea to look at these other pathogens and be on guard for them, and it also seemed this could be a reason for differences in ALS.
Pathogens with factor H evasion strategies:
  • SteptococcusAcquisition of factor H by a novel surface protein on group B Streptococcus promotes complement degradation, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2775014/
  • Salmonella with E.ColiHuman Complement Factor H Binds to Outer Membrane Protein Rck of Salmonella, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20622116 (I know of a PALS whose ALS onset was after a food poisoning and he passed away 9 months later.)
  • AspergillusImmune evasion by acquisition of complement inhibitors: the mould Aspergillus binds both factor H and C4b binding protein, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17915330
  • B. duttonii, B. recurrentisRelapsing fever spirochetes Borrelia recurrentis and B. duttonii acquire complement regulators C4b-binding protein and factor H, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16790790
  • Haemophilus influenzae, Identification of a Haemophilus influenzae factor H-Binding lipoprotein involved in serum resistance., http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24835392
  • Neisseria meningitidis, The Factor H Binding Protein of Neisseria meningitidis Interacts with Xenosiderophores in Vitro, http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/bi301161w
  • Streptococcus pyogenes, Acquisition of complement factor H is important for pathogenesis of Streptococcus pyogenes infections: evidence from bacterial in vitro survival and human genetic association, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22140259
This is what I've found.  From what I've seen in the ALS community, Lyme, mold and candida keep coming up.

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Serotonin Predicts Survival in ALS - fix your Serotonin

A study, "Platelet Serotonin Level Predicts Survival in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis" found that people with bulbar ALS tended to have the lowest serotonin level and the shortest survival time.  The study had no information as the causes or what could be done.


Since this study, a new primary research study, "Indigenous Bacteria from the Gut Microbia Regulate Host Serotonin Biosythesis," has shed important light on how serotonin is produced and regulated.

The basic summary of the study is:
  • Gut microbes regulate levels of serotonin in the colon and blood
  • Spore-forming bacteria modulate metabolites that promote colon serotonin biosynthesis
  • Microbiota-dependent changes in serotonin  impact GI motility and hemostasis
  • Altering the microbiota could improve serotonin related disease symptoms
So, what this means is the microbes in the gut produce metabolites that the colonic enterochromaffin cells (cEC) respond to and produce serotonin.  The microbes that cause the most serotonin are spore producing microbes.  As a class, they have some of the nastiest microbes in that family.  Serotonin causes increased muscle contractions of the gut, and increased mobility through the gut so when these metabolites are produced, the response is to eliminate them faster.  

These leaves a couple possibilities as to the actual cause of the faster decline because of low serotonin.
  1. Lower serotonin means lower levels of gut mobility and higher absorption of potentially harmful biotoxins being produced in the gut which can be harming the gut lining, the liver and the brain, to name a few organs.
  2. Serotonin is needed in other places in the body.
You can work on how to improve serotonin naturally and how to improve gut mobility.
  1. Assume the cEC cells are damaged if serotonin is low.  cEC cells have evolved to use butryic acid for energy.  Your gut flora makes it from fiber and there is some in butter, but the casin maybe be a problem if your gut is unhealthy.  Ghee is is butter with the casin removed.  You can also take a supplement like butyren. Refined oils cause inflammation and are hard on the gut.  Use cold pressed oils and coconut oil.  Gluten is also hard on the gut so avoid it.
  2. Ensure that you do not have something like candida overgrowth.  If candida is a problem, probiotics Bifidobacterium Bifidum and Lactobacillus Acidophilus help to fight candida.  Candex has enzymes to digest the fiber that protects candida, but it can be very hard on the stomach.
  3. Take a high quality probiotics.  Natren 1, 2, 3 is a high quality probiotic that includes Bifidobacterium befidum.
  4. Meals that Heal Inflammation, has great dietary advise on how to eat to heal your gut.
  5. Avoid constipation.  The right dose of magnesium can both supplement it and help manage bowels.  Too much magnesium and you will get the runs.  Try 250 mg twice per day.  If constipation still happens, add a 3rd dose in a day or try about 300 mg in each dose.  Trying to take one larger dose of magnesium per day will like result in diarrhea.  Working on ensuring bowel movements are regular will reduce absorption of biotoxins from constipation.
  6. Spore producing microbes stimulate cells to produce the most serotonin, only at this time it is not known which species are best.  Saccharomyces boulardii is spore forming and believed to be good for the gut.  Bacillus Laterosporus is another spore forming microbe.  Which are best to correct serotonin levels is not known at this time.

November 15, 2015 edit:  There is just a new article out on serotonin and they found that in Zebrafish serotonin helped to repair neurological damage, so this is yet another reason to work on improving your serotonin.  http://www.cell.com/cell-reports/abstract/S2211-1247(15)01075-X.

January 7, 2016 edit:  Just saw this article, Dysbiosis in the Gut Microbiota of Patients with Multiple Sclerosis, with a Striking Depletion of Species Belonging to Clostridia XIVa and IV Clusters, at http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0137429, which is possibly helping to identify what species belong in the gut.

January 9, 2016 edit:  Just saw this one,
Serotonin 2B receptor slows disease progression and prevents degeneration of spinal cord mononuclear phagocytes in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
http://www.actaneuropathologicagateway.net/ArticlePage.aspx?DOI=10.1007/s00401-016-1534-4

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Discovering and documenting all of your story

What causes ALS is unknown, heavy metals, viruses, bacteria, fungi, or other toxins?  It was very late in medical knowledge that a bacteria was discovered to be responsible for stomach ulcers.  Only earlier this year it was discovered that the brain has a lymphatic system, as this June 1, 2015 article discusses, this new discovery.

The current medical system truly is not designed for ALS.  A 10 minute doctor appointment does absolutely nothing to help, and discovers nothing about possible causes, or what can be treated within the body to improve outcomes.

Being ill informed reduced the opportunity for intervention even further.  Because ALS shows up as a neurological disease, once long and drawn out diagnostics for the disease are carried out, there tends to be absolutely nothing done for the patient other than how to increase comfort as the disease progresses, and the disease progresses with nothing being done to treat what can be treated.

What is not done early is testing for heavy metals, pathogens, liver function, kidney function, and anything to give good base line data.  Nor is good data gathered on medical history as to what may have caused the disease.  Without this data, how do individuals trying to help themselves monitor their progress, or even know what to treat, and with ALS there is good reason to believe that secondary problems speed up the progression of the disease.  It truly isn't even known if these "secondary problems" are in fact the primary problems as they go completely and utterly untreated.

So, in order to fight back and advocate for yourself, and believe me, if you do not advocate for yourself you will get nothing from the current system. Start by developing a detailed medical history.  I love my sister dearly, very dearly, and a year into her disease symptoms I learned several parts to her story that I did not have a clue about even though I have more interest in her well being than any doctor and I used a lot of our common history in knowing things that she has been through to help guide me in how to help her.

In addition to the medical history, you need to have some idea of what can be treated, but being armed with a good medical history early can help.

So, what to consider when putting together your medical history?  Nothing should be left out and here are questions to help guide you, but may not be a complete list in your case.  Get out your word processor and copy the list to help guide you.  Use titles, formatting, etc., to organize your account of your medical history so it is well summarized and easy to read, and add sections that are missing that make sense for your medical history.  Your story is going to get at medical history that is NOT in your medical records, and going over medical records can also help you to remember medical facts that may have seemed insignificant or that you have forgotten.


Long Term History

Spinal or head injuries and diseases
Have you every had injuries to your head or spinal cord?


Brain swelling?


Immune history
What does your antibiotic history look like?


Have you had recurring infections?


List respiratory infections that you know you've been treated for, the symptoms and treatment.  If you know the pathogen, list it.


List kidney or bladder infections, symptoms, treatment and any identified pathogen.


Childhood infections such as mumps, chickpox, etc.


Cold sores?  Other herpes?


Boils?


Fungal infections?


Yeast?


Cold frequency, how often and how bad.



Serious colds or flues?  How often have you had cold or flu that totally wiped you out and for how long?



How often do you get antibiotics for infections?


Other skin rashes?


Brain infections, shingles, etc?


STD?


Other?


Digestive History
Stomach and digestion?


Are you prone to constipation or the runs?


How well has your stomach and bowels worked for you throughout your life?  80-90% of immunity is from the stomach so really consider this history.


Bowel habit and history.


Food poisoning.


What gives you nausea?  How frequent?


Vomiting history.


Ulcers?


Indigestion?


Toxic exposures
What kinds of mold exposures have you had?  Ever found any in walls in your home, or under your carpets?




Do you know of any heavy metal exposures?  What about dental fillings?



Solvent exposures?



Ever felt "poisoned?"



Other toxic exposures.



Kidney function
Bladder infections?


Bladder habits, how frequent is your urine, color?  Any periods with problems?


Swelling?


Liver function
Any liver disease?



Any unusual tests with the liver?



Gallstones?



Hepatic incidents?



Any gallbladder problems?




Metabolism
What is your metabolism generally like?



Ever had issues with parts of your body?



Heart function?
Heart problems?


Cholesterol?  (Satin drugs are known to worsen ALS outcomes.  If you have or suspect ALS, and take satin drugs see your doctor immediately)


Other?


Hormonal systems
Thyroid?



Adrenals?



Estrogen/Testosterone?



Other hormones?



Other health issues
Ear and vertigo or balance?



Joints?



Vision?  Take a vision contrast test.  You can do it for free here, https://www.vcstest.com/.  If it comes back with no problems, great, if it comes back positive, pay for the test and include it in your medical history.  It is a cheap test, but gives you evidence to help you get other treatment.


Insect bites. frequency, and what kind?  ticks, bed bugs, spiders, mosquitoes?  At home or from traveling?



Illness while traveling?


Medications
Medications you've taken.  You may not remember what the medications were, but you should remember the history around them, so, what happened, what do you know about what you took, and how often?


Medications you do not tolerate


Other?


Diet?
Describe your diet.  What does you plate look like at a meal?  Do you eat at home or out?  Do you shop organic?  How much dairy, wheat and nuts are in your diet?  Do you have known food sensitivities?  Seafood, meat, what kind?


Supplements
What kinds of supplements and/or medications do you take?


Vaccination history
What vaccinations did you get as a child?

How often do you get a flu shot?


Animal and insect bite history
Ticks?


Fleas?


Mosquitoes?


Spiders?


Dog or cat?


Other?


ALS history

This part of your history relates to what happened happened in the year or two before you noticed symptoms, and then what symptoms you experienced.  List any and all possibilities of pathogen exposures, (mold, fungi, sewer, food poisoning, insect bites), solvent exposures, exposure to bodies of water, heavy metal exposures, unusual medical tests, illness, feelings of poisoning, digestion problems, liver problems, and the symptoms of your disease, where it started, falls, coordination, etc.



BMAA is a known biotoxin associated with ALS, and the most common known source is cyanobacteria, which is in water bodies, and can bloom in stagnant water, especially with sources of fertilizer run off from the land.  You could have an overall healthy body of water but a pocket that doesn't get enough circulation to control cyanobacteria.  There are a number of pathogens that also keep showing up and it isn't know if they are causal, contribute, or are exploitative once the disease is in motion.  There is pointing at viruses, which can reprogram RNA and there is tons of bad genetic information in ALS brains, believed to come from viruses.  Regardless, treatment to control pathogens can be helpful as infections produce other biotoxins.   I can't stress enough that digestive health, and antibiotic use tell a huge story about immunity and ALS is believed to be an autoimmune disease, so these really need to be well documented.  There is also a lot of information on how cell potentials have changed, and a metal imbalance or heavy metals can play a role in messing with the natural electricity of the body, so it also makes sense looking that these are in proper quantities and treating deficiencies and excesses can also be helpful.  Your history is your power to get treatment for what can be treated.

Medical testing history
Make a list of your medical tests by date.  You want to highlight any abnormal results.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Inflammation and You

In ALS, inflammation comes up over and over in the literature, and it is a significant problem.  It is a problem that you are empowered to take charge of to your benefit to help change the course of this disease in yourself or your loved one.

Do a search on inflammation and lots of information comes up; als.org talks about how "the cascade of inflammation" could be treated with drugs.  "Cascade" sounds pretty serious to me.  The Role of Immune and Inflammatory Mechanisms in ALS explores inflammation and auto-immune responses questioning if they are helpful or harmful.  Inflammation is the body's natural mechanism to deal with problems.  To my way of thinking, if what you put into your body is causing inflammation, it is causing more problems.  ALS is a disease of the body losing the battle to fix the mechanisms that feed the neurons, and inflammation is all over the place where these mechanisms are not working properly.  Help the body to only have inflammation where it is trying to heal, not from what you put into it.

Endotoxins (endo-within) are toxins within the body from bacteria that resides in the body.  They cause inflammation and are being studied for their role in ALS because their levels are elevated ALS patients.  These molecules are involved in something called "leaky gut," which leads down a path to a huge range of problems including the inflammation in the gut, which is related to the poor absorption of nutrients.  So, working on how you fight back to reduce these bad critters helps to reduce the number of problems the body is fight.  Make no mistake, with ALS, the body is in over drive trying to fight back and you can help it.

In ALS there are many heros and Issac Chui is one of them.  As an undergraduate, he saw a link between inflammation and ALS in his early research, and sought out to do research in ALS with an immunologist rather than a neurologist.  He found the body producing white blood cells to try and protect neurons and the role of inflammation in the body's attempt to protect the neurons in the brain and spinal cord.  Part of what was found with his work is that a drug to suppress inflammation actually caused the disease to spread faster, probably interfering with the healing inflammation around the neurons.  His work has taken ALS to be looked at in a new way.

We can help the body help itself by dealing with how we can help with the nutrition absorption issue, which is related to gut inflammation, gut bacteria, and how the liver detoxifies.  We can also help the body by reducing exposure to toxins and excitotoxins, which are brain toxins.  When the brain is injured, as it is with ALS, the blood brain barrier is compromised.  According to Russell Blaylock, excitotoxins are 100 times more damaging then when the blood brain barrier is compromised, so controlling them is critically important.

Oils are a significant source of gut inflammation, as is a grossly out whack omega6/omega3 ratio.  I have written what I've learned about oils and the omega6/omega3 ratio on my blog.  Gut bacteria are probably way out of balance, so help the good critters with probiotics every meal and include prebiotic foods in your diet.  Learn what your body needs to help your liver.  I have also written what I've learned about it on my blog that educates about the Glucothione system.  Learn about excitotoxins, again, I have links to learn about excitotoxicity and I have summarized what to avoid.

Lastly, there are people who are doing much better with this disease than others.  They are slowing it down, halting its progression, and in some cases reversing it.  All of these are preferable to the present course of this disease.  Learn about what they did and follow their lead in what makes sense to you.

This article is advisory for the reasons given.  Everyone should do their own research to verify or refute and make their own decisions about whether they think it is helpful or not.

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Getting started on the anti-pathogen approach to ALS

The cluster data from Guam on ALS shows the disease is linked to toxic cyanobacteria.  Mounting other evidence links the disease to viral response.  Additionally, there are links to fungal infections where they don't belong with ALS.  Even Lyme disease has strong links with ALS.

Both the cyanobacteria and Lyme disease play out with the same kind progressive loss of motor function it leaves the question as to whether the high levels of viral and fungal infections found in ALS patients are also producing toxins that follow the same disease pathway.  Additionally, it is known with ALS that the immune system appears to working overtime.

So, given these common links in ALS patients, it makes sense to fight back against this disease with an anti-pathogen approach, help the immune system that is working overtime to fight back.  This is the approach my sister has taken to fighting ALS and in 4 weeks she noticed feeling at the back of her mouth and in 8 weeks she was able to clear food from the top of her mouth with her tongue for the first time in 8 months.

Alternate energy

By the time ALS symptoms show up mitochondria and ATP production is damaged, so the first life extending move is to secure alternate energy through ketosis, which is oil metabolism.  Coconut oil has medium chain triglycerides that are also anti-bacterial making them an idea source of alternate energy that also help to fight pathogens.  Coconut oil sometimes requires time to adjust to consuming it.  Start with just a teaspoon.  If there is intestinal distress, wait until the next day to consume more, other wise have a teaspoon at each meal.  It may only take 2-3 days to work up to 3-6 tablespoons per day, and it may take up to two weeks for the body to adjust.

Coconut oil is also good to rub into skin to help with muscle cramping and spasms and the MCT are also absorbed through the skin.

Reduce inflammation

Processed and refined oils are inflammatory so they need to be avoided.  Processed foods tend to be inflammatory, so they need to be avoided.  Inflammation in the gut is linked to poor nutrient absorption and this is an extremely serious problem with ALS.

Glutamate toxicity

Glutamate is involved in the process that leads to neuron death.  The body releases glutamate as a protective mechanism to keep neurons firing, however, food additives have increase the concentration of glutamate in the blood to the range to 20-50 times of what we evolved with.  The blood brain barrier offers considerable protection in controlling all of this excess glutamate from reaching the brain, however, once the brain is diseased or injured, the blood brain barrier fails to regulate glutamate and over excitation of neurons is believed to be a mechanism in neuron death.  Glutamate and other compounds that over excite neurons to the point of death are called excitotoxins.  With ALS excitotoxins are about 100 times more damaging than when the blood brain barrier was doing its job.  Excitotoxins are found in almost all store bought dressings and salad dressing, HP sauce, barbecue sauce, etc., low fat foods, and most processed foods.  Excitotoxins need to be removed from the diet.

Anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal foods and herbs

Ginger is has anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties, but it is also anti-inflammatory, which is extremely good for the digestive track.  ALS patients have huge problems with inflammation in the digestive track, which is related to poor absorption of nutrients.  Have a piece of ginger the size of your thumb twice per day.  It can go into a smoothie, or it can be grated and served with half of a fresh squeezed lemon in water.

Turmeric has anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  It can be used as seasoning for vegetables or added to salad dressing or get the actual turmeric root and add some to a smoothie, but first time users be aware that it stains.

Garlic is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and rich in selenium, which is important for liver function.  Garlic can be crushed into homemade salad dressing, with 1 tbs cold pressed olive oil, 1 tbs cold pressed flax seed oil and apple cider vinegar.  Use herbs like parsley and rosemary to further up your food choices with healing properties.  Healing properties are lost with cooking.  It can also be mixed in hummus.

Other foods/herbs with healing properties to choose from:

  • onions
  • cabbage
  • rosemary
  • cilantro (extremely good for liver as well)
  • cloves
  • cinnamon
  • oregano
  • marjoram
  • sage
  • thyme
Usnea is a very powerful herb and is made into a tincture for use.  It has strong anti-microbe and anti-inflammatory properties.  It has precautions for the liver if taken orally.  My sister takes it orally despite the liver concerns.  She was told to take 1 ml 3 times per day but she takes 1/2 ml 2x per day.

Raw honey is anti-bacterial as well, but sugars should be avoided as much as possible.  Never heat the raw honey or the anti-bacterial properties are destroyed.  Use raw honey sparingly if sweetening is needed but try and limit to no more than a tablespoon per day.

Balance Omega 6:3 Ratio

Eliminate all refined oils, soybean, corn, canola, sunflower, safflower and especially cottonseed oil.  Eliminating these oils goes a long way towards balancing your omega 6:3 ratio.  Mixing equal amounts of olive oil with flax seed oil keeps these oils relatively balanced.  Add a supplement of krill oil to up the omega 3 oils and they are balanced.

Supplements


Magnesium is involved in thousands of processes in the body and a deficiency starts to show up with muscle cramping.  The ReMag pico magnesium is absorbed the best.

Probiotics are essential at every meal.  The gut if full of bacteria and you want to constantly encourage and protect the growth of good bacteria in your gut.  The anti-microbe foods and herbs can also reduce the population of good microbes, so they need to be replaced and over crowd the bad microbes.  Fermented foods contain large amounts of probiotics, but you can kill off bad pathogens too fast and they release toxins as they are killed off.  Fermented foods can be added after a couple weeks of taking probiotics.  Fermented foods include things like live culture sourkraut or kefir.

GABA has a calming effect in the brain and foods that are good precursors for GABA include cabbage, raw spinach, kale, parsley, beans, beets, carrots, brussels sprouts, and wild salmon.  Eating precursor foods ensures a continuous supply of GABA.

There are many recommendations for vitamins, D3, C, E, B complex.  There is also a very good write up on an approach to ALS that lists the "pile of pills."  These need to be evaluated on an individual basis.

Eat According to the Wahls Protocol

Dr Terry Wahls was fully in a wheel chair for MS and she reversed her MS to become an active person again through the diet she developed by looking at the what the mitochondria need to work properly.  With ALS the mitochondria are very broken, so the diet has the proper nutrition to fix the mitochondria.

Summary

  1. Consume 3-6 tablespoons of coconut oil per day.  Avoid all processed oils.
  2. Remove MSG and hidden forms of MSG.
  3. Have thumb sized piece of ginger 2x per day.
  4. Have 750 mg of turmeric per day.
  5. Have garlic 1-3 cloves of garlic 2x per day.
  6. Take usnea 2x per day (liver precaution)
  7. Avoid sugars and processed foods.
  8. Take 500 mg Krill oil/day
  9. Take 500 mg of Magnesium 2x per day, or 1 tsp 2x day of ReMag
  10. Take probiotics with every meal
  11. GABA 250 mg 2x/day
  12. Take vitamins, 5000 IU vitamin D3
  13. 1000 mg Vitamin C
  14. 1000 mg Vitamin E
  15. Take B vitamins
  16. Watch "Minding your Mitochondria," for an overview of how to eat.

For the next step, in order to get doctors to assist you, you need to work on a complete medical history.

March 10, 2016: Urgent edit -- Avoid anything and everything fortified with iron.

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Thursday, May 07, 2015

Adaptogens - Stress Reducers

Adaptogens help stress, are immune-stimulating and increase a sense of well-being.  In Russia the study of adaptogens is a field of biomedical research.  Adaptogens for improving immune response are astragalus, echinacea, ashwagandha and milk thistle, which is also good for the liver.

Medicine Hunter describes adaptogens as non-toxic with broad uses for health that reduce stress.  Other adaptogens described are eleuthero, holy basil, maca, panax ginseng, rhodiola rosea and schisandra.

Adaptogens have been used in Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. http://www.drfranklipman.com/adaptogens-natures-miracle-anti-stress-and-fatigue-fighters/

http://www.chiro.org/nutrition/FULL/Adaptogenic_Herbs.shtml

Ashwagandha has claim to a very wide range of health benefits, including:

  • immunity
  • aphrodisiac
  • adaptogen
  • for insomnia
  • heart health
  • stress reliever
  • regeneration of axons and dendrites of nerve cells
  • anxiety
  • antioxidants
  • anti-inflammatory
  • cancer inhibitation
  • antibacterial and antifungal
  • blood sugar regulation
  • food poisoning protection
  • strength and vigor
  • fight aging
  • heals wounds
  • treats dry skin
  • reduces cortisol
  • stimulates collagen
  • can be used as skin toner
  • fights inflammation of the skin
  • promotes hair health
  • prevents premature greying
  • activates hair follicles
It has been found to be useful for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease and things that help those disease are also more likely to be helpful for ALS.

Heating releases more of its healing power so having it as a tea is better than as a smoothie.

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Sunday, May 03, 2015

Magnesium and Muscles

Throughout my life since 1988 when I had my first incident of kidney disease I have recommended magnesium to anyone complaining of muscle cramps.

What happened to me was I needed a kidney biopsy and for some reason I had a huge lock down of neck muscles that were cramping to the point that they caused me huge pain and would not relax.  My doctor recommended taking Robaxisal.  This was just a few days after my biopsy.  I read the ingredients and I had my concerns about the aspirin, which I knew to be a prostiglandin from university human biology.  That meant that it would prevent platelets from clotting.  I had my concerns, as with a kidney biopsy they rely on your body's ability to clot to stop the bleeding from the biopsy.  I also knew, from human biology, that my kidneys received 20% of my blood flow, so when they told me not to move much in my hospital bed for 24 hours after my biopsy, I diligently obeyed.  So, here's my doctor telling me to take something that can cause bleeding for strong muscle cramping, but he's a doctor so he knows what he's doing, right?

Well, long story shortened, Roboxisal caused me an extra week of huge extra pain from my biopsy and when I specifically asked my doctor about bleeding and Roboxisal and questioned why not the Roboxacet which had acetaminophen instead of aspirin, he immediately said to stop the first and said to take the latter.  At the end of two weeks, still taking the Roboxacet, I still had no relief from the muscles cramps and the doctor was going on to giving me more drugs.

I didn't take more drugs.  Somewhere in this process I remembered my human biology course yet again and I remembered our lab where we tested muscle fibers and saw that without minerals, magnesium being an important one, the muscle fibers remained tight and locked.  With the minerals we could manipulate the muscle tissue and relax it.  I purchased magnesium instead of getting a prescription filled and my muscle cramps felt better in a day or two.  Since then, I have always turned to magnesium for muscle cramps and suggested it to others when they mention cramps, and it is probably where the holistic side of me was born, and also my belief that sometimes we know more than our doctors and that we still need to carefully consider what they tell us to do.

So, with ALS there is muscle cramping and locking up and it is obviously painful.

To learn more about magnesium, I purchased "The Magnesium Miracle" by Carolyn Dean and it is recommended reading for everyone, actually.  Magnesium deficiency is a huge problem population wide, but it is especially a problem with ALS.

According to Dr Dean magnesium has these roles and my comments are in red:

  1. Catalyzing most chemical reactions in the body.
  2. Producing and transporting energy (My read of the ALS literature, this is a problem with ALS and part of what is causing the death of the nerve cells)
  3. Synthesizing protein (Has anyone heard of muscle wasting with ALS?)
  4. Transmitting nerve signals (And what about this problem with ALS?  Anyone having problems controlling their muscles?)
  5. Relaxing muscles (Anyone with ALS have locked muscles?)
Ok, so what can we see here?  Magnesium has a role in so many of the issues with ALS.  Is it a cure?  No idea, but for sure people with ALS are having problems in all of the areas that require magnesium.

Dr Dean lists 14 functions of magnesium:
  1. Magnesium is a cofactor for the enzyme ATP (adenosine triphospate).  With ALS your body has impaired ATP production and this is related to neuron death.  The Wahl's protocol is a diet designed to heal mitochondria.
  2. Magnesium is an important membrane stabilizing agent.  The nerves cells in ALS are not stable.
  3. Magnesium is required for the structural integrity of numerous body proteins.
  4. Magnesium is required for the structural integrity of nucleic acids.
  5. Magnesium is a cofactor for the enzyme guanosine triphosphate (GTP).
  6. Magnesium is a cofactor for the enzyme phospholipase C (PLC).
  7. Magnesium is a cofactor for the enzyme adenylate cyclase.
  8. Magnesium is a cofactor for the enzyme guanylate cyclase.
  9. Magnesium is a required cofactor for the activity of hundreds of enzymes ... estimate 700-800.
  10. Magnesium is a direct regulator of ion channels, most notably of the other key electrolytes, calcium, sodium and potassium.  There is something seriously wrong with channels with ALS.  I don't understand it right now, but that there is a problem is enough for me to take it seriously.
  11. Magnesium is an important intracellular signaling molecule itself.
  12. Magnesium is a modulator of oxidative phosphorylation.
  13. Magnesium is intimately involved in nerve conduction.
  14. Magnesium is intimately involved in muscle function.
She has a list of 56 conditions associated with magnesium deficiency, several of which are problems that ALS patients also have.  She encourages people to get a RBC test and says that usually when people say they are taking it and still have problems, they aren't taking enough.

What she specifically says about magnesium testing is that the magnesium RBC test is more accurate than the serum magnesium test and that you can get these tests from www.RequestATest.com or www.DirectLabs.com if your doctor won't order it for you.  She says you want your range to be between 6.0-6.5 mg/dL which is the higher end of the normal range.  The low end of "normal" is a full 1/3rd lower.

She says to not take magnesium the day of your test.  Repeat, do not take magnesium the day of your test.

If your test results come back with the units mmol/L, multiply by 2.433 to convert to mg/dL.

She says you want to get tested to have a baseline and then get tested every 3-4 months and that it can take up to a year to correct a magnesium deficiency.

You need your doctor to be looking at and helping you to monitor magnesium supplementation.  There are 4 areas that can be a problem with magnesium therapy according to Dr Dean:
  1. Kidney failure.
  2. Myasthenia gravis - hugely serious and potentially a massive problem with ALS, especially if there are already respiratory problems.  What she says, "Intravenous administration could accentuate muscle relaxation and collapse the respiratory muscles." So, work with a doctor.
  3. Excessively slow heart rate.
  4. Bowel obstruction.  
What she says about magnesium supplements is that for the average person oral magnesium, even in high doses, has no side effects except loose stools, which is a mechanism to release excess magnesium.  From my understanding, what you are doing by taking excess magnesium is giving the body a chance to build up its stores of magnesium, and that is a slow process.

To find out the best magnesium to take according to Dr Dean, visit Dr Dean's website.  She recommends ReMag.

And then, because we are considering ALS and what things do to the brain, Dr Blaylock, a neurosurgeon, recommends avoidance of magnesium aspartate because aspartic acid causes unwanted brain stimulation.

Half the magnesium in foods is absorbed, but only about 4% from supplements.  Dr Dean has a whole section devoted to figuring out the kind of magnesium and the dosage, and tables about this.  You can also check out what other ALS patients have done and why, but keep your doctor in the loop with what you are doing, but it might be better to seek out a doctor that is willing to treat you from a whole body holistic approach that helps you to sort out what it is you are putting into your body and what you are removing and why.  But, in terms of magnesium supplementation, Kim Cherry of alswinners.com describes his supplements, including magnesium.  

No post on magnesium would be complete without sourcing how to get magnesium from food, and your dark leafy greens like spinach, kale and swiss chard are you best choices.  Those choices are also very good for other nutritional problems with ALS, like helping your Glutothione system, which is your body's system for removing toxins.

It is important to understand that magnesium is not associated with lowering ALS risk, but rather, when we look at magnesium's role in the body, many of the problems associated with ALS are also linked to magnesium deficiencies. There are huge absorption issues with ALS, so it also makes sense that the body is struggling to get what it needs.

And, this post would not be complete without including a link to a site named for another one of my heroes, at The Linus Pauling Institute, and the write up on magnesium.

As this post did get into muscle cramps, holistic tips that others have shared on helping muscle cramps also include regular mustard, which has helpful ingredients, and then there is a holistic amish recipe, which also has ingredients with other healing properties.  And then there is rubbing the coconut oil onto muscles.

All articles are a work in progress and are advisory for the reasons given.  Everyone should do their own research to verify or refute and make their own decisions about whether they think it is helpful or not.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Oils in Diet

Oils are calorie-dense and as such can rapidly increase the calorie content for any food. So which oils have properties that are helpful and properties that aren't helpful?  And then, what is helpful and what isn't?

Oils that cause inflammation are not helpful.  Inflammation is the body's natural response to help it heal, so what is the body healing from when we consume an oil that causes inflammation?  No idea, but if we are consuming oils that cause inflammation daily we can be putting the body into a chronically inflamed state.  If the gut is inflamed absorption of nutrients is affected and ALS patients have huge, huge, huge nutrient absorption issues.  The body's ability to get rid of toxins through the liver is compromised, and toxic overload in the liver compromises mitochondria function and in ALS there's a problem with the mitochondria.

This article, http://authoritynutrition.com/6-reasons-why-vegetable-oils-are-toxic/, gives 6 reasons to not consume processed seed oils like soybean oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, and safflower oil, and inflammation is one of them.  The six reasons are: 1) unnatural in large amounts, 2) mess up fatty acid composition of the body, 3) inflammation, 4) loaded with trans fat, 5) increased risk of cardivascular disease, 6) associated with other diseases.

The omega 6/omega 3 ratio is also affected by oil choices.  The importance of the omega6/omega 3 ratio, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12442909, can not be understated.  ALS is an autoimmune disease and a high ratio helps to promote autoimmune diseases.  Inflammation compromises nutrient absorption, and there is inflammation with a high omega 6/omega 3 ratio.  An omega6/omega3 ratio of 2/1 or 3/1 suppresses inflammation.  Dig deeper, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835780/, and you can find that inflammation is also associated with protein catabolism, which is muscle tissue breakdown, another huge problem with ALS.

Coconut oil has a high concentration of medium-chain triglycerides.  With ALS, the mitochondria are not working properly and are not properly delivering energy to the cells, a part of the process that is leading to cell death.  These medium-length triglycerides provide energy that cells can use through the ketosis process.  Coconut oil also has other benefits (http://www.antiaginganswers.net/healthyfats.html):

Approximately 50% of the fatty acids in coconut fat are lauric acide. Lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid, which has the additional beneficial function of being formed into monolaurin in the human or animal body. Monolaurin is the anti-viral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal monoglyceride used by the muman or animal to destroy lipid coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, various pathogenic bacteria including Listeria monocytogenes and Heliobacter pylori, and protozoa such as Giaradia lambia. Some studies have also shown some antimicrobial effects of the free lauric acid.

Immunity boosting is an added benefit of coconut oil.

Olive oil's omega 6/omega3 ratio is an unfavourable 13:1, but it actually has anti-inflammatory properties because of other components in it. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21443487.  You need both kinds of fatty acids, it is just the more 6s you have the more 3s you need to balance them.

Oils to avoid - omega 6:3
  • soybean oil  - 6:1 
  • sunflower oil - no omega 3
  • corn oil - no omega 3
  • canola oil - 2.5:1
  • cottonseed oil - no omega 3
  • safflower oil - no omega 3
Oils to consider
  • coconut oil - no omega 3
  • flaxseed oil - 0.3:1
  • olive oil - 13:1
Walnuts are the highest omega 3 nut, and krill is the best source of omega 3.

All articles are a work in progress and are advisory for the reasons given.  Everyone should do their own research to verify or refute and make their own decisions about whether they think it is helpful or not.

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