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.


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.


  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.

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 or 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 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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