Inflammation

now browsing by category

 

Why Hard Water Decreases Heart Attacks


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/01/20/magnesium-linked-to-better-heart-health.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola     Fact Checked image

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Magnesium insufficiency has been linked to a higher risk for high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, arrhythmias, stroke and sudden cardiac death
  • Research has shown people drinking soft water on a regular basis are more susceptible to lethal arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat) than those drinking hard water. One hypothesis that can account for this is magnesium deficiency, as hard water contains higher levels of magnesium than soft water
  • Magnesium supports heart health by combating inflammation (which helps prevent high blood pressure and hardening of your arteries) and improving blood flow by relaxing your arteries and preventing your blood from thickening
  • Magnesium also plays a role in the creation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of your body. Being a heavy energy user, your heart needs sufficient amounts of ATP to function properly
  • Magnesium also affects your mitochondrial function and health, as it’s required both for increasing the number of mitochondria in your cells and increasing mitochondrial efficiency

When it comes to heart health, one of the most influential nutrients is magnesium. While required for the healthy function of most cells in your body, magnesium is particularly important for your heart, kidneys and muscles.

As far back as 1937, researchers warned that low magnesium levels pose serious risks to the heart, and that it may actually be the most significant predictor of heart disease.1 More recent research suggests even subclinical magnesium deficiency can compromise your cardiovascular health.2

Importantly, your mitochondria require magnesium to produce ATP. It’s also required for the metabolic function of your cells and the activation of vitamin D.3,4 All of these are important for healthy heart function.

It also supports heart health by relaxing your blood vessels, normalizing blood pressure, lowering inflammation and supporting endothelial function (the cells’ lining the interior of your blood vessels).5

Hard Water Linked to Better Heart Health

To celebrate its 175th anniversary, Scientific American recently took a look back into its archives, publishing a short summary of research presented in its June 1969 issue:6

“Several studies in the past decade have suggested that the death rate from coronary disease is inversely correlated with the hardness of the local water supply: the harder the water, the lower the coronary rate.

A study7 recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine reports evidence that the excess coronary deaths in soft-water areas are almost entirely sudden deaths …”

By reviewing the death certificates of 55,000 individuals who died from heart-related issues in Ontario during 1967, and then correlating the deaths according to the hardness of the local water supply, the Canadian researchers were able to conclude that people drinking soft water on a regular basis were more susceptible to lethal arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat). What might explain this curious correlation?

One theory has focused on the magnesium level found in the water.8 Soft water is lower in magnesium than hard water, thus making you more prone to magnesium deficiency. (The very definition of hard water is that it contains a high concentration of dissolved metals — calcium and magnesium in particular.9,10)

According to a 2002 study,11 magnesium-rich mineral water can contribute between 6% and 17% of your total daily magnesium intake. That said, a 2013 paper12 in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine points out that the exact mechanisms responsible for the relationship often found between harder water and lower cardiovascular risk has yet to be ascertained.

The higher magnesium level in hard water appears to be a promising hypothesis, though, and several studies point to magnesium-rich water being an important factor. As noted in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine, which cites a number of such studies (as well as some in which this relationship was not found):13

In a Swedish study, the skeletal muscle magnesium levels were a significantly higher in persons living in an area with a higher water magnesium.”

Advertisement

Get my FREE 20 health resolutions for 2020 here


Even Subclinical Magnesium Deficiency Can Be Problematic

As mentioned, magnesium supports heart health through a number of different mechanisms.14 For starters, it combats inflammation, which helps prevent high blood pressure and hardening of your arteries. It also improves blood flow by relaxing your arteries and preventing your blood from thickening.

Magnesium also plays a role in the creation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of your body.15,16 Needless to say, without sufficient energy, cellular functions throughout your body will suffer, creating a cascade of dysfunction. Your heart in particular, being a very heavy energy user, needs sufficient amounts of ATP to function properly.

Magnesium also affects your mitochondrial function and health, as it’s required both for increasing the number of mitochondria in your cells and for increasing mitochondrial efficiency.

Basic effects such as these can account for why magnesium insufficiency has been linked to a higher risk for high blood pressure,17 cardiovascular disease, arrhythmias, stroke18 and sudden cardiac death.19

A 2018 paper20 in the Open Heart journal also warns that even subclinical deficiency can result in heart problems, and that most people need at least 300 milligrams more magnesium per day than the current recommended dietary allowance prescribes. According to the authors:

“… While the recommended … dietary allowance for magnesium (between 300 and 420 mg /day for most people) may prevent frank magnesium deficiency, it is unlikely to provide optimal health and longevity, which should be the ultimate goal.”

The theory that we may need more magnesium than is currently recognized is also supported by a 2016 meta-analysis,21 in which all-cause mortality was lowered by 10% simply by increasing magnesium intake by 100 mg per day.

Magnesium Is Important for Brain Health Too

Magnesium is also important for brain health and the prevention of dementia. Memory impairment occurs when the connections (synapses) between brain cells diminish. While many factors can come into play, magnesium is an important one. As noted by Dr. David Perlmutter, a neurologist and fellow of the American College of Nutrition:22

“It has now been discovered that magnesium is a critical player in the activation of nerve channels that are involved in synaptic plasticity. That means that magnesium is critical for the physiological events that are fundamental to the processes of learning and memory.

As it turns out, one form of magnesium, magnesium threonate, has the unique ability to permeate the brain and enhance the receptors that are involved in this process.”

The specific brain benefits of magnesium threonate were demonstrated in a 2010 study23 published in the journal Neuron, which found this form of magnesium enhanced “learning abilities, working memory, and short- and long-term memory in rats.” According to the authors:24

Our findings suggest that an increase in brain magnesium enhances both short-term synaptic facilitation and long-term potentiation and improves learning and memory functions.”

Magnesium is also a well-recognized stress reliever,25 and by catalyzing mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin, it helps prevent anxiety and depression.26

Research27 published in 2015 found a significant association between very low magnesium intake and depression, especially in younger adults. A study28 published in PLOS ONE demonstrated magnesium supplementation improved mild-to-moderate depression in adults, with beneficial effects occurring within two weeks of treatment.

How to Assess Your Magnesium Status

When it comes to measuring your magnesium level, your best bet is an RBC magnesium test, which measures the amount of magnesium in your red blood cells. Tracking any symptoms of magnesium deficiency is also recommended, as your need may be higher or lower depending on your lifestyle and health status.

Common signs and symptoms of magnesium insufficiency include but are not limited to the following.29,30 A more exhaustive symptom’s list can be found in Dr. Carolyn Dean’s blog post, “Gauging Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms.”31

  • Seizures, muscle spasms (especially “charley horses” or spasms in your calf muscle that happen when you stretch your leg), eye twitches and or numbness or tingling in your extremities
  • Insulin resistance
  • High blood pressure, heart arrhythmias and/or coronary spasms
  • Increased number of headaches and/or migraines
  • Low energy, fatigue and/or loss of appetite

The “Trousseau sign”32 can also be used to assess your magnesium status. To check for this sign, a blood pressure cuff is inflated around your arm. The pressure should be greater than your systolic blood pressure and maintained for three minutes.

By occluding the brachial artery in your arm, spasms in your hand and forearm muscles are induced. If you are magnesium deficient, the lack of blood flow will cause your wrist and metacarpophalangeal joint to flex and your fingers to adduct. For a picture of this hand/wrist position, see Figure 1 in the paper “Trousseau Sign in Hypocalcemia.”33

Would You Benefit From Magnesium Supplementation?

A number of studies suggest magnesium insufficiency or deficiency are extremely common, both among adults34 and teens,35 in part due to the fact that most people eat a plant-deficient diet. Magnesium is actually part of the chlorophyll molecule responsible for the plant’s green color.

However, even if you eat plenty of greens, you may still not get enough, thanks to most soils being so depleted of minerals. Your body’s ability to absorb magnesium is also dependent on having sufficient amounts of selenium, parathyroid hormone and vitamins B6 and D.

Absorption is further hindered by excess ethanol, salt, coffee and phosphoric acid in soda, and things like sweating, stress, lack of sleep, excessive menstruation, certain drugs (especially diuretics and proton-pump inhibitors), insulin resistance and intense exercise can deplete your body of magnesium.36,37

Research shows just six to 12 weeks of strenuous physical activity can result in magnesium deficiency,38 likely due to increased magnesium demand in your skeletal muscle.

For all of these reasons, most people probably need to take supplemental magnesium. The RDA for magnesium is around 310 to 420 mg per day depending on your age and sex,39 but many experts believe you may need a minimum of 600 mg per day.40

I suspect many may benefit from amounts as high as 1 to 2 grams (1,000 to 2,000 mg) of elemental magnesium per day, as the extra magnesium may also help mitigate unavoidable exposures to electromagnetic fields (thanks to its calcium channel blocking effect). To learn more about this, see my previous article on how to reduce EMF exposure.

You can easily improve your magnesium status with an oral magnesium supplement. My personal preference is magnesium threonate, as it appears to be the most efficient at penetrating cell membranes, including your mitochondria and blood-brain barrier. You can learn more about this in “Cognitive Benefits of Magnesium L-Threonate.”

Magnesium Testing Is a Valuable Health Screen

Considering the importance of magnesium for good health — including cognition and heart health — it’s a good idea to measure your level. GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute, which has spearheaded research into vitamin D and omega-3, now also offers low-cost testing for magnesium.

Join Magnesium* Plus Focus Project today!

Like its vitamin D and omega-3 projects, the Magnesium*PLUS Focus Project41 aims to identify the ideal dosage and level, the specific health outcomes associated with magnesium deficiency and sufficiency, the dose-response relationships and much more. As noted by GrassrootsHealth:42

“Measuring your nutrient status, adjusting intake as needed, and re-testing is the only way to tell if your nutrient intake is helping you achieve sufficient or desired nutrient status which is tied to particular health outcomes.

We will analyze the collected data and give participants feedback on how the magnesium could be working for them; we will publish scientific papers on key results, the first after meeting an enrollment target of 1,000 participants. There will be preliminary analyses and interim newsletters available for all during the enrollment phase.”

Adding the “Plus Elements” test to this magnesium test will also measure your selenium, zinc and copper levels, important trace elements that interact with magnesium, as well as three toxic heavy metals (lead, cadmium and mercury) that can interfere with and block availability of these essential elements.

Magnesium* Plus Elements Project

Alzheimer’s Prevention

Written by Brenton Wight, researcher and LeanMachine

Copyright © Brenton Wight, LeanMachine

Doctors say there is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, in spite of over 80 billion dollars in research over the last few decades.
This is partly true, as there is no drug, no “magic bullet” to slow or stop this dreadful condition.
Hundreds of studies with new drugs have shown most of the time that those on a placebo did BETTER than those on the drug!
In rare cases, those on the drug did very slightly better, but any improvement was not enough to justify bringing the drug to market.
However, we CAN identify risk factors, and we CAN in most cases prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s, and we CAN in most cases reverse the disease, or at least ease the symptoms to give the patient and the carers a better quality of life.
If the intervention is soon enough, it CAN be CURED in some, but not all cases.
There is no miracle one-shot treatment, but a combination of many factors.
The time to start treatment is not when we are 60 and forget where the keys are, but from birth!
The lifetime changes we need to prevent Alzheimer’s will also prevent heart disease, diabetes, cancer and many other diseases, and give our lives vitality.

How many people are at risk?

In the USA, over 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and around 14% of the population will eventually get Alzheimer’s, or around 45 million people.
Results in Australia are similar. Over 10% of the population over 65 have Alzheimer’s, and 30% of those over 85 have Alzheimer’s. In the decade from 2010 to 2020, deaths from Alzheimer’s has risen 20% and looks set to replace Cardiovascular disease as the Number 1 cause of death.
Many people now suffer from Early Onset Alzheimer’s, showing signs as young as 30 years of age.
In the USA, it is now the third leading cause of death, but these figures are understated. People do not actually die from Alzheimer’s – they die because the parts of the brain that control bodily functions shut down, so they die when their organs shut down.
The patient may die from pneumonia because the lungs now cannot function or some other organ fails to work and the Doctor or Coroner has to determine which organ failed.
This is a problem in every country, but some countries have very much reduced rates of Alzheimer’s, mainly due to better diets and reduced toxins.

Diagnosis

Originally, there was no firm diagnosis without examining the brains of patients after death.
Researchers found that most patients had Amyloid Plaques in the brain, and also high levels of aluminium.
PET scans (Positron Emission Tomography) are used with a radioactive tracer (which binds to amyloid plaques) to determine the amount and location of amyloid plaques in the brain.
However, this diagnosis is still not conclusive, as many people have amyloid plaques, but no sign of any dementia even into old age, although these people have a higher risk. Often symptoms do not appear for decades after the start of amyloid plaque deposits. Other patients have no sign of Amyloid plaques but still have Alzheimer’s, so drugs developed to reduce Amyloid plaques have proven unsuccessful in prevention and treatment.
Standard blood tests for glucose level, triglycerides, kidney and liver function can help determine the risk. However, those with less than optimum blood results may die of Cardiovascular, Cancer or some other disease before Alzheimer’s sets in.
So the PET scan is used with other tests for cognitive performance to arrive at a diagnosis.

Who is at risk?

Genetics plays an important part, and so does diet, exercise, lifestyle and supplements.
Here are some risk factors, in no particular order:

  • Age is the greatest risk factor. Dementia can affect about 10% of those over the age of 65, but 33% of those over 80
  • Gender – Women represent over 60% of Alzheimer’s patients, but part of this may be due to their longer lifespans
  • Gluten – Celiacs often have “Wheat Brain” causing disturbances, anxiety, depression and Alzheimer’s. Many dementia patients recover fully on a gluten free diet
  • Prescription medications such as many sedatives, hypnotics, blood pressure, hay fever, insomnia, depression and arthritis medications are linked to higher risk of Alzheimer’s
  • Anaesthetics are linked to Alzheimer’s. The more operations people have, the higher the risk
  • High Blood Pressure (systolic over 140 in mid-life) doubles the risk of Alzheimer’s and increases vascular dementia by 600%, but blood pressure medications can be just as bad, so reduce it naturally without medication
  • Sleep Apnea starves the brain of vital oxygen and increases risk of Alzheimer’s
  • B-12 deficiency increases Alzheimer’s risk. Gastric Bypass Surgery, Celiac disease, vegan/vegetarian diets, antacids (like Nexium) and many medications all reduce availability and/or absorption of B-12
  • Diabetes doubles the risk of Alzheimer’s (often called “Diabetes of the Brain” or “Type 3 Diabetes”)
  • Vision problems increase Alzheimer’s risk. Opthalmologists can detect abnormal widths of blood vessels in the retina which can indicate early Alzheimer’s
  • Tobacco – Smokers have double the risk for Alzheimer’s. Family and others breathing second-hand smoke also have higher risk
  • Living alone after a partner’s death means we have six times the risk of Alzheimer’s, and those who divorce and live alone have three times the risk.
  • Isolation is a significant risk factor for depression and dementia. Find a friend!
  • Obesity is a risk. The lower the BMI (Body Mass Index) the lower the risk. Obesity raises risk by around 75%
  • Family history increases the risk. See the Genetics section below, but environmental factors, diet and lifestyle choices can be passed on to children
  • Education improves outcome, and lack of education increases Alzheimer’s risk. Studies suggest higher education increases “cognitive reserve” which may offset dementia symptoms
  • Concussion or head trauma increases Alzheimer’s risk exponentially with the number and severity of head injuries
  • Quality sleep is essential for the ability of the body to repair itself by flushing toxins from the brain
  • Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to alcoholic dementia and higher risk of Alzheimer’s as well as many other health risks
  • Mental activities improves the brain, physically and psychologically. Learn new things strengthens and develops new nerve cells
  • Sedentary lifestyles are a large risk for the brain as well as the body. Exercise is a must for the brain and the body
  • Chronic bladder disease increases risk
  • Chronic Candida infections increase risk

Overcoming risk factors:

  • Change the diet – see below
  • Get regular, uninterrupted sleep
  • Socialising, visiting friends, joining a group
  • Crosswords, puzzles, new experiences, learning a musical instrument or another language
  • Exercise helps control blood glucose levels, keeps excess weight down, increases oxygen and circulation, and joining a gym can also help with socialisation
  • Use the many supplements available

Genetics

There is a strong genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s, but also there is a strong contribution of environment, diet and lifestyle.
Rates of Alzheimer’s disease have increased much faster than any genetic changes could have occurred.
This means that much is under our control, because even with a genetic predisposition, we can reduce risk with epigenetic (non-genetic influences on gene expression) changes.
Example: The most important genetic risk factor is the ApoE epsilon 4 allele (ApoE4), and 14% to 18% of the population has this gene.
Everyone carries two copies of the APOE gene, which makes the protein ApoE (apolipoprotein E).
There are three different types (alleles) of the APOE gene: E2, E3 and E4, and because we all have two copies of the gene, the combination determines our APOE “genotype” which can be any combination of the 2 copies: E2/E2, E2/E3, E2/E4, E3/E3, E3/E4, or E4/E4.
The majority of people have two E3 alleles (E3/E3) so this is defined as the “average risk”.
The E2 allele is the least common form, and if we have two E2 alleles (E2/E2) or one E2 and one E3 (E2/E3) we have about 40% REDUCED risk of Alzheimer’s.
The E4 allele, present in 14% to 20% of the population, increases the risk for Alzheimer’s, especially late-onset Alzheimer’s, but this does NOT mean that we will get Alzheimer’s disease if we have one or two copies of E4, as about one third of Alzheimer’s patients do not have even a single E4.
All it means is that our risk is increased, also increased is the risk of potential Alzheimer’s at a younger age.
To quantify the risk:
If we have no copies of E4, we still have around 9% risk of Alzheimer’s.
If we have a single copy of E4, our risk increases to around 30%.
If we have two copies of E4, risk is between 50% to 90% but in all cases, we CAN REDUCE the risk.
Many people are horrified to learn that they have up to a 90% risk of Alzheimer’s, but they need not be.
With some dietary, lifestyle and supplement changes, those at greatest risk can easily fall into the 10% who do NOT get Alzheimer’s.

SAD (Standard American Diet)

Genetic statistics above apply only to average people, typically Caucasians living in the Western World and consuming a typical Western diet of processed food, sugar, MSG, hydrogenated oils, chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides, insecticides and other toxic substances.
These statistics do NOT apply to those with a healthy diet of natural, organic food living in a low-toxin environment.
In fact, many people already down the cognitive decline have recovered on a healthy diet and sustained the improvement for several years, according to Dr Dale Bredesen who has been running a program for years now.
Dr Bredesen does not know how many more years it will be, but does know that patients on the program have removed the biochemical drivers which can be measured in blood tests, so so is very optimistic about their future health for many years to come.

Should we get genetic testing?

This is up to the individual. Some people would prefer not to know. Others want to know.
My father died from Alzheimer’s at about age 72 after many years in a Nursing Home, existing but without knowing who his family members were. So did my Grandmother on my Mother’s side, so I assume I may well have inherited a high genetic risk. I am now 73 as I revise this article. For me, testing is irrelevant, because I changed to a Paleo-style diet at age 63, which turned my life around.
From obese to lean, from grey hair to brown, from allergies to everything to allergies to nothing, from high blood pressure and triglycerides to normal, from poor physical strength to strong, fit and full of energy, from frequent headaches to none, from always getting sick to never getting sick.
If I had the genetic test and it was the worst result, I would only continue to do what I am doing now, using dietary and lifestyle modifications.
Have I halted Alzheimers? I hope so, but I often cannot remember some of the thousands of medical terms I have come across in my 10 years of research.  Come back here in 27 years as I approach 100 and I will let you know how I have done.

Amyloid Plaques vs Tangles

Amyloid is a protein, normally found throughout the body. In Alzheimer’s, this protein divides improperly, creating beta amyloid which is toxic to brain neurons.
Amyloid is actually antimicrobial and has benefits for the body, but some people, especially those with the E4/E4 alleles cannot naturally break down these plaques, but there are dietary methods which can.
Not all Alzheimer’s patients have beta Amyloid plaques. About 10% of patients have neurofibrillary tangles which cause similar symptoms, but are also inclined to have more aggressive behavior.

Three Kinds of Alzheimer’s

Humans liberate amyloid as a protective response in the body to three different fundamental metabolic and toxic perturbations:

  • Type 1: Characterized by systemic inflammation. Blood tests typically reveal high hs-CRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein), low albumin:globulin ratio,
    and high cytokine levels such as interleukin-1 and interleukin-6. Imaging reveals temporoparietal reductions in glucose utilization.
    Those at risk include people with chronic infections or inflammation from other causes, and the normal antimicrobial protective response liberates amyloids
  • Type 2: Characterized by normal inflammation, but an atrophic (wasting away) profile, with reduced support from estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, insulin, and vitamin D, often with high homocysteine and insulin resistance. Imaging reveals temporoparietal reductions in glucose utilization. As NGF (Nerve Growth Factor) diminishes, amyloid production increases.
    Type 2 in particular can be CAUSED by LOW cholesterol, resulting in atrophy (brain shrinkage), reduced hormone production, poor health and eventually Alzheimer’s.
    All because we are taking statins that lower cholesterol, or we are not eating enough healthy fats.
    We prevent our cells from doing what they are supposed to do, so we end up with a shrunken brain without the lipid (fat) content we need. A fat-free diet means atrophy of the brain.
    See the Cholesterol Fraud and the Big Fat Lie sections below.
  • Type 3: Different from types 1 and 2. Still β-amyloid positive and phospho-tau positive), but a younger onset (late 40s to early 60s).
    Genotype ApoE is usually E3/E3 instead of E4/E4 or E3/E4 with little or no family history.
    Onset usually follows a period of stress, depression, sleep loss, anesthesia, or menopause/andropause.
    Memory loss is not a main symptom, instead there are cortical issues: dyscalculia (trouble with arithmetic), aphasia (trouble speaking or understanding speech – damage to the left side of the brain),
    executive dysfunction (emotional or behavioural problems from frontal lobe issues).
    Imaging studies often reveal extra-hippocampal disease, greater general cerebral atrophy and frontal-temporal-parietal abnormalities.
    Lab results often reveal hypozincemia (low zinc) and/or a high copper:zinc ratio, and can indictate adrenal fatigue
    (low pregnenolone, DHEA-S (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate), and/or AM cortisol. Chronic infections like mycotoxins, Lyme, viral infections, HSV-1 (a herpes simplex virus) are all risk factors


Some patients have “Alzheimer’s type 1.5” where a combination of symptoms of both type 1 and 2 Alzheimer’s occurs.
Glycotoxicity (too much sugar in the brain) causes an insulin resistant brain. Combine this with AGEs (Advanced Glycation End products), and we have both inflammation from AGEs, plus atrophic withdrawal response because we are now resistant to insulin.
So we have a double condition of type 1 and type 2.

Type 3 patients often have MARCoNS (Multiple Antibiotic-Resistant Coagulase-Negative Staph), a colonisation of antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus in the nasal cavity.
Also high blood levels of TGF-beta-1 (Transforming Growth Factor beta-1), high C4A (a protein that in humans is encoded by the C4A gene), and low MSH (Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone) is very common, typically with HLA-DR/DQ haplotypes shown by Dr Ritchie Shoemaker to be associated with CIRS.

Alzheimer’s from nose infections?

We have known for years that our healthy gut bacteria is essential to prevent almost every disease, and now research is looking at the rhinosinal microbiome, the healthy bacteria in our nose.
This is now becoming known as Inhalational Alzheimer’s.
The nose is the most direct route to the brain, and bad bacteria in the mucous lining of the airways can damage the brain.
Pathologists now believe there are unknown pathogens in the rhinencephalon, the “nose-smell” (olfacation) system.
Many Alzheimer’s patients start losing their sense of smell as one of the early signs of the disease, and this is probably why.
I am confident that my nasal bacteria is back to normal after having very bad allergies and taking antihistamines from when I was about 16 to when I was 63.
Allergies stopped when the bad diet stopped.

Dr. Susan Lynch at UCSF has found that the nose problem is not so much an unknown pathogen, but a lack of microbial diversity.
Beneficial microorganisms in the nose protect against many pathogens, and one of the best seems to be Lactobacillus sakei, used to make sake and kimchi.
This could explain why Japanese people have comparatively low rates of Alzheimer’s, although rates are rising in Japan because of the Western influence, with meat and dairy replacing rice as a staple food.
When Japanese people migrate to Western countries and adopt a Western diet, they have the same risk as anyone else.
So for the Japanese, it is not a genetic problem, but a diet problem, and this applies to everyone.

AGEs – Advanced Glycation End products

AGEs are formed when food cooked at high temperatures (over 120 degrees C) combines with sugar. AGEs are very damaging to the body, accelerating the ageing process and chronic disease.
AGEs worsen diabetes, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, inflammation, atherosclerosis (stiffening of the arteries), cardiovascular disease and stroke.
AGEs cause glycation of LDL cholesterol, promoting oxidation, and oxidized LDL is a major factor in atherosclerosis.
AGEs form photosensitizers in the eye lens, leading to cataract development.

To reduce AGEs, never cook at high temperatures (steaming is best, always at 100 degrees C), eat plenty of raw food (salads, and small amounts of fruit), and eliminate all sugar and processed foods.

Conventional Drugs

Drug companies have been trying for years to get rid of Amyloid plaques, thinking they are the cause of Alzheimer’s.
However, the body needs amyloid to protect the brain, so we need to look at what is causing the plaques instead of trying to get rid of them. Latest research shows that Amyloid plaques are antimicrobial, so can be both damaging and protecting!

 

Alzheimer’s – “Diabetes Type 3”

Some researchers are now labeling Alzheimer’s as “Diabetes Type 3” because sugar causes Alzheimer’s.
Sugar also causes diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and many more diseases, mainly due to processed foods.
As with diabetes, where sugar causes insulin resistance, we have insulin resistance in the brain, causing degeneration.
When the brain becomes insulin resistant, it means that glucose cannot enter the brain cells, so those cells die.
However, all is not lost. If we switch to a Ketonegic diet, we can feed our brain with fat instead of sugar. More on this diet below.

Diagnosing the type of Alzheimer’s

Unlike cancer, where we can biopsy a tumour, we must look at historical, biochemical, genetic, imaging, and function information to determine the type of Alzheimer’s.
Of course this rarely happens except in research applications. The doctor simply says the patient has Alzheimer’s and may give a drug which in the long term will not make much difference.
This is a shame, because about half of all cases can be halted, and in some cases substantially improved, by reverting to the correct diet.
Even better would be to eat a correct diet from birth, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s to near zero, as well as preventing cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other modern diseases.

Exercise

Physical exercise is extremely important to keep the brain and body healthy.
Researchers are not sure why, but LeanMachine says it is obvious:
Exercise burns off the high glucose levels that cause “Diabetes of the Brain” and exercise boosts oxygen levels and circulation in the brain.
Any type of exercise is beneficial, such as:

  • Walking, jogging or running
  • Calisthenics
  • Squats
  • Push-ups, chin-ups
  • Skipping
  • Gardening

Exercises have the added benefit of socialisation in a group, such as:

  • Join a gym
  • Tai-Chi or Yoga classes
  • Athletics clubs
  • Dancing classes

Exercising the Brain

The body has a disturbing property: Anything not used for a while gets broken down to be used somewhere else.
If we do not use a muscle for a week, the body starts breaking it down.
But if we exercise regularly, we stop muscles wasting, and we actually build up our muscles.
If we do not use parts of the brain, the body starts breaking it down.
But if we exercise our brain, we can hang on to the parts we use, and develop new pathways to replace parts we have lost. Exercises such as:

  • Learning a new language
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Crossword or other puzzles
  • Socialising in groups or clubs

Meditation

Meditation is not normally seen as exercise for the brain, but sitting in a quiet, dark room away from all daily distractions not only promotes a calming effect, but increases various brain-saving hormones.
Meditation, like dreaming, helps the brain sort out the junk memories and recent problems by concentrating on things that have made us feel good in the past.
We may have pleasant memories like sitting on a sandy beach listening to the waves rolling in on a beautiful sunny day. By concentrating on peaceful and pleasant memories, we forget problems with out hectic daily life.

Supplements

The modern diet is lacking in vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other nutrients, mainly because of:

  • Over-farming – growing the same food in the same ground year after year, depleting these vital elements
  • Over-processing – hydrogenation, adding sugar, adding chemicals, overheating
  • Toxins from farming chemicals contaminates the environment
  • Water is contaminated by fluoride and chlorine

The supplements everyone over 50 should take are:
Organic Coconut Oil, taken several times a day, a tablespoon at a time.
LeanMachine considers this one of the best prevention and treatment methods available for Alzheimer’s.
This encourages the body to burn healthy fats instead of sugar, called the Ketogenic Diet which burns ketones, which is what our ancestors did in their natural low-carb diets. See the Ketogenic Diet below.
Coconut oil appears to break down the amyloid plaque buildup in the brain. Perhaps the plaques are no longer required when the brain is fed by healthy fats instead of glucose.
Coconut oil is also the absolute best for cooking, replacing any other fat, because coconut oil remains stable at high temperatures, and is full of MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) which go straight to the liver to be burned as fuel, and cannot be stored as fat in the body.
Coconut oil also contains Lauric Acid, which keeps our skin wrinkle-free and healthy.

PS (Phosphatidylserene) is a component of the cerebral cortex’s neuronal membrane, and can improve memory and mood, reduce stress, improve learning and more.
It does this by controlling input and production of choline, acetylcholine, norepinephrine, dopamine and glucose.

NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) which helps the body make Glutathione, the body’s natural “Master Antioxidant” that fights cancer, Alzheimer’s and many other conditions.

Curcumin is the active ingredient in Turmeric which has been used for thousands of years for dementia, cancer and many other conditions.

Vitamin B-12 because as we age, our stomach acid levels drop, preventing the high-acid conditions required for B-12 absorption from food. Even more essential for vegans and vegetarians as B-12 mainly comes from animal products.

B-group vitamins because these are vitally important for nerves and brain health.

ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid) as an antioxidant to help remove heavy metals from the brain, reduce inflammation, and improve the effectiveness of votamins C and E.

Vitamin D3 because over half the ageing population are taking statin medication (which they should NOT) and statins halt production of 7-dehydrocholesterol, the first step in the manufacture of vitamin D3. Worse, many of these seniors are in Aged Care facilities and never see the light of day, so cannot make vitamin D3 from sunlight. If they are ever taken outside, it is only early morning or late afternoon when they cannot get vitamin D3 anyway. More info in my Vitamin D3 article.

Ginkgo Biloba is highly recommended to improve blood flow in the brain. Should not be used in conjunction with prescription blood thinners.

TMG (Trimethylglycine) is an effective methyl donor for the facilitation of methylation processes. Supports a healthy homocysteine level, which in turn supports healthy cardiovascular function and helps prevent Alzheimer’s. Homocysteine, a damaging amino acid, with the aid of TMG, is turned into methionine, a safe and beneficial amino acid. Methylation is essential for DNA repair and production of SAMe, which helps joints, lifts mood, fights depression and protects brain cells from amyloid plaques. Read more in my TMG article.

SAMe (S-Adenosyl Methionine) can help protect the brain and also help treat depression, anger, anxiety which are common symptoms in some Alzheimer’s patients.

Vinpocetine has shown mixed results but mostly beneficial in limited human trials using 10mg 3 times daily.

Vitamin E is recommended to improve the healthy fats in the brain and increase antioxidants.

Benfotiamine with Leucine can help remove glucose and improve insulin resistance.

Many other supplements can help, including:

In addition, many supplements primarily used to treat diabetes will also help prevent Alzheimer’s.

The Cholesterol Fraud

Previous research indicated that high cholesterol was a risk factor for Alzheimer’s.
Again, this was wrong. Doctors started prescribing statin drugs for those people with high cholesterol, or those with signs of dementia with normal cholesterol.
What happened? They got Alzheimer’s WORSE and got it FASTER than patients who did NOT take statins.
Researchers only looked at total cholesterol which is a complete waste of time.

25% of the cholesterol in the body is in the brain, mainly in the myelin sheath.
Around 60% of our brain is fat, mainly in the form of cholesterol.
The myelin sheath (oligodendroglia) that surrounds and protects our neurons are 70% cholesterol, 30% protein.
Starve the brain of healthy fat, and we get Alzheimer’s. Almost guaranteed.
Reduce cholesterol and what happens? The protective myelin sheaths break down as they are starved of cholesterol, allowing the brain cells to be damaged. Damage them enough, and they die. Then we have dementia. Damage enough cells, and the brain can no longer support our basic functions, like breathing. Then we die.
This is why statin drugs are BAD.
Sure, in some cases, they can slightly reduce risk of heart attacks, but they INCREASE death from all other causes, including Alzheimer’s.
The net result is that on average, we will not live a day longer on statin medication.
Statins will give us lousy final years with muscle breakdown, osteoporosis, more sickness and dementia.
We need plenty of healthy fats like coconut oil, walnuts, avocados, fish, eggs, butter from grass-fed cows, unheated olive oil.
We must NOT consume bad fats: Canola oil, margarine, anything hydrogenated, anything heated over 120 degrees C.
Cholesterol is NOT the enemy.
We NEED cholesterol, especially HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol which reduces inflammation, and helps clean up the body (like a garbage collector). Without HDL Cholesterol, we die within 24 hours.
We also need LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein), still incorrectly called “bad” cholesterol, as we die without it.
LDL has antimicrobial effects, so the idea that we should drive it down to zero is ludicrous. LDL is essential to transport nutrients around the body (and into the brain) as well as helping the body manufacture hormones and other important products. LDL was essential for our evolutionary ancestors millions of years ago, and we still need it.
The brain is mostly fat, and 40% of the brain is CHOLESTEROL.
Many things that were protective in our native environment are problems in our modern environment, but if we go back to our ancestral diet, problems are resolved.
Studies show time after time that people with low cholesterol die young, while people with normal to high cholesterol live longest.
These studies are ignored by the big drug companies. Because statin sales make them billions of dollars, of course they continue the Big Cholesterol Lie, one of the biggest frauds in medical history. Their own study showed increased deaths and terrible side effects so they stopped the study short at that time, supposedly to “save patient’s lives” when the opposite was true.

The dangerous cholesterol is VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein) which cannot easily be tested.
Because triglycerides contain some VLDL, labs estimate VLDL value by simply taking a percentage of triglycerides.
High triglycerides are much more of a danger signal than high cholesterol, and are almost always related to obesity, poor diet of processed foods, especially dangerous fats.

The Big Fat Lie

We have been told for decades that fat is bad for us.
Forget about “low fat” or “fat free” diets.
Another big fat lie, coming from a scientist who plucked figures out of a study to suit an argument he was proposing.
When the data was analysed completely, many decades later, it showed the complete opposite.
The largest and longest study in the world was the Framingham study which showed that those who ate the most fat lived longer than those who ate the least.
Fat is not unhealthy in general, in fact it is essential for health.
The UNHEALTHY fats are man-made artificial fats (margarine, Canola oil) and other processed fats that are hydrogenated to improve shelf life and heated to extremes during manufacture, often going rancid in the process, causing oxidised VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein), the REAL dangerous “food”.
What is REALLY bad is carbohydrates, and when manufacturers remove fats from food, they replace them with carbohydrates, causing most “modern” diseases including Alzheimer’s and Diabetes.

The Ketogenic Diet

For the first two million years of human life on Earth, carbohydrate consumption was very low.
Carbohydrates were uncommon, with the majority of food being nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, fruit and vegetables. Meat was eaten very rarely when an animal was killed.
These people did not burn carbohydrates for energy, they burned FAT. In particular, ketones, the basis of the ketogenic diet.
A ketogenic diet means maintaining a fasting state of ketosis. Ketones are produced when the body is in a state of ketosis.
Ketones fuel cells using a different pathway from glucose.
Glucose has to have insulin to allow glucose into cells, but as we all should know, our typical modern diet is loaded with carbohydrates, forcing the pancreas into overdrive making enough insulin.
Eventually our cells become insulin resistant, so the pancreas produces even more insulin to force glucose into the cells, creating even more insulin resistance.
We are now a full-blown diabetic, and when the pancreas starts shutting down, we need insulin injections for the rest of our life.
However, when we feed the cells with ketones, they simply enter the cell naturally, and do NOT require insulin or anything else to do so.
This is critically important for five of our modern diseases: Obesity, Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s, all caused or aggravated by high blood glucose, bad fats and inflammation.
Ketones are also signaling molecules as well.

Benefits of the ketogenic diet include:

  • Helps the body express new restorative and healing genes
  • Reduces inflammation (underlying cause of nearly every disease)
  • Stimulates the immune system
  • Aids weight loss
  • Stops or slows degenerative disease
  • Reduces risk of Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Cardiovascular, Diabetes and Obesity

The Anti-Alzheimer’s diet

Spices

Add these spices to every meal possible.
Of course they will spice up any meal, but also help clear the brain of problems and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and many more modern illnesses.

  • Sage – one of the best brain-saving spices
  • Cloves – one of the most potent antioxidants
  • Curry – a blend of other great spices
  • Ginger – reduces inflammation and improves immunity
  • Turmeric – for colour, flavour and Curcumin
  • Ceylon Cinnamon – Better and safer than regular cinnamon

Ketogenic Diet – Healthy fats, intermittent fasting.
Read How Cyclical Ketosis can help combat Chronic Fatigue

Avoid Trans Fats
Read Trans Fats Linked to Increased Risk for Alzheimers

Avoid Processed Foods
Only shop in the greengrocer department at the Supermarket, preferably the organic section. Buy or grow your own real food. Nothing in a bag, box, tin because toxic ingredients are sure to be added.

Avoid AGEs
Forget fried foods. Steaming is the best way to cook. Never Microwave. Eat raw salads daily.


This section often updated. Please come back soon (if you remember!)

LeanMachine online supplements

Updated 20th January 2020, Copyright © 1999-2020 Brenton Wight and BJ&HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285

76 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Noni

© 3rd January 2020 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
Reproduced from original article:
https://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/76-evidence-based-health-benefits-noni
Posted on: Friday, January 3rd 2020 at 4:15 pm

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Fibromyalgia

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, typically very painful, especially in response to pressure, and sometimes patients have symptoms like stiff muscles, joints and connective tissues.
Other symptoms often include depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, difficulty swallowing, bowel and bladder problems, numbness and tingling, muscle spasms or twitching, weakness, nerve pain, palpitations,
cognitive dysfunction (“foggy thinking”).
Around 2% of the population are affected, usually between the ages of 20 and 50, although not all patients have all symptoms.
Women are nine times more likely than men to suffer from the condition, giving weight to the theory that hormones play a big part in the cause and treatment.
Diagnosis is difficult because there is no formal test. Symptoms are vague and similar to many other conditions.
Often patients with celiac disease are mistakenly diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, and do better on a gluten-free diet.
In fact, nearly everyone will do better on a gluten-free diet, or even better, a diet free from all grains, flour and any other product of grains, regardless of refined, wholemeal or any other form.
Some medical specialists say it is “all in the head” but few patients would agree with this!

Testing

Although there is no formal testing for fibromyalgia, the following tests should be arranged by the doctor to eliminate some factors that may indicate or aggravate Fibromyalgia:

  • Ferritin (Iron Study) – A serum ferritin level under 50 ng/ml means a 650% increased risk for Fibromyalgia
  • Thyroid Function – If autoimmune hypothyroidism is present, it should be treated first to see if Fibromyalgia symptoms subside
  • Other autoimmune conditions – Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and others can resemble Fibromyalgia symptoms and should be treated first
  • CRP (C-Reactive Protein) – An inflammation marker. Source of any inflammation should be treated first
  • The FM/a blood test (plasma and PBMC (Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells) – Tests cytokine concentration. Low cytokines may indicate Fibromyalgia

Treatment

Doctors say there is no known cause or cure. However, some approaches can be very effective in reducing symptoms, including:

Therapeutic options

  • Mindfulness Training reduces psychological distress and depression
  • Yoga, Tai-Chi and other stretching exercises are helpful as they stimulate the lymph glands, increasing our HDL (good cholesterol), improving waste product and toxin removal, also reducing pain, fatigue, mood, cortisol levels and improves coping ability

Diet

  • Raw Food has been shown in studies to significantly improve the majority of fibromyalgia patients
  • Vitamin C and Broccoli consumption in a study found that the combination of 100mg of vitamin C from food, plus a 400mg broccoli supplement reduced pain by 20% and decreased 17% in Fibromyalgia impact scores

Things to avoid

Exposures to toxins definitely increase fibromyalgia risk:

  • Breast Implants have been linked to cancer, autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia and chronic pain
  • Aspartame (an artificial sweetener) should be eliminated from the diet, as it turns into formaldehyde in the body, which can aggravate fibromyalgia.
    Natural sweeteners such as Erythritol, Xylitol and pure Stevia are healthy alternatives
  • MSG (MonoSodium Glutamate) should be eliminated from the diet. Known to cause headaches and fibromyalgia
  • Vaccine Adjuvants containing mercury or aluminium have been shown to cause musculoskeletal pain conditions like fibromyalgia
  • Fluoride comes from fluoridated tap water, foods irrigated with fluoridated water, toothpaste, dental treatments and antibiotics, and must be avoided. A fluoridated water supply should be switched to rainwater and/or install a Reverse Osmosis water system for all drinking and cooking. Ordinary water filters do not remove fluoride, and even boiling water makes little difference

Prescription Medications increase risk

Many prescription medications increase risk of fibromyalgia, or actually cause it.

  • Statin Drugs reduce CoQ10 and vitamin D3, causing hundreds of health problems, including fibromyalgia and muscle pain, vastly outweighing any benefit in many cases
  • Prescription antidepressants like Celexa (Citalopram), Paxil (Paroxetine) and Prozac (Fluoxetine) include fluoride which makes fibromyalgia even worse, and causes weight gain.
    Antidepressants increase risk of cancer by over 40%, and most of the time do not work any better than a placebo
  • Many drugs contain bromide, which is even worse than fluoride, and more easily displaces iodine from the thyroid gland
  • Antibiotics destroy many bad bacteria, but also much of the good bacteria as well, compromising our immune system, which can take up to two years to rebuild
  • Paracetamol, Panadol, Tylenol and other names for acetaminophen should be avoided as studies show them to start causing liver issues even at the recommended dose two 500 mg tablets four times a day (4000 mg) for a few days. Unfortunately, patients who experience a lot of pain invariably over-dose, and just a 50% increase starts causing severe liver damage. The advertising slogan “safe and effective” is one of the biggest lies of the drug industry, and the most common cause of liver poisoning in the Western world. The majority of all patients on the liver transplant waiting list are there because of Panadol overdose. Panadol also reacts with an enzyme in the body to destroy our natural glutathione, which is one of the body’s main defenses against pathogens, often called the “master antioxidant”. Less glutathione means more Fibromyalgia

Here is a list of some drugs commonly prescribed that contain Fluoride or Bromide, two halogens that displace iodine from the thyroid and cause hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease, depression, weight gain, hair loss, cancer, and will aggravate Fibromyalgia:

  • Advair (fluticasone) – fluoride
  • Alphagen (brimonidine) – bromide
  • Atrovent (Ipratropium) – bromide
  • Avelox (moxifloxacin) – fluoride
  • Adovart (dulasteride) – fluoride
  • Celebrex (celecoxib) – fluoride
  • Celexa (citalopram) – fluoride and bromide
  • Cipro (ciprofloxacin) – fluoride
  • Clinoril (sulindac) – fluoride
  • Combivent (from the ipratropium) – bromide
  • Crestor (rosuvastatin) – fluoride
  • Diflucan (fluconazole) – fluoride
  • DuoNeb (nebulized Combivent) – fluoride
  • Enablex (darifenacin) – bromide
  • Flonase (fluticasone) – fluoride
  • Flovent (fluticasone) – fluoride
  • Guaifenex DM (dextromethorphan) – bromide
  • Lescol (fluvastatin) – fluoride
  • Levaquin (levofloxacin) – fluoride
  • Lexapro (escitalopram) – fluoride
  • Lipitor (atorvastatin) – fluoride
  • Lotrisone topical cream – fluoride
  • Paxil (paroxetine) – fluoride
  • Prevacid (lansoprazole) – fluoride
  • Protonix (pantoprazole) – fluoride
  • Prozac (fluoxetine) – fluoride
  • Pulmicort (budesonide) – fluoride
  • Razadyne (galantamine) – bromide
  • Risperdal (risperidone) – fluoride
  • Spiriva (tiotropium) – bromide
  • Tobra Dex (from dexamethasone) – fluoride
  • Travatan (travoprost) – fluoride
  • Triamcinolone – fluoride
  • Vigamox (moxifloxacin) – fluoride
  • Vytorin (from eztimibe) – fluoride
  • Zetia (eztimibe) – fluoride

An immune response to intestinal bacteria may cause some symptoms, so an alkaline diet with plenty of enzyme-rich raw vegetables and fresh fruit may help, along with a little cheese, yogurt, whey, fermented vegetables such as Sauerkraut, and/or supplemental probiotics such as Acidophilus
to build up beneficial intestinal bacteria. 75% of our immune system is in the gut, and this is where the immune system often first breaks down.

MSG (monosodium glutamate) has been shown to aggravate symptoms, so most processed food, which contains MSG, often hidden in the ingredients list by being called other names or chemicals, should be eliminated.

Eliminating yeast from the diet may also help. Yeast is a raising agent found in most breads and other flour-based baked foods, also Vegemite. Changing to a fresh food diet of vegetables and fruit can eliminate yeast, lose excess weight, build immunity and improve general health.

Casein from milk and other milk products may also help, although some people are sensitive to dairy products and do better with no milk or other dairy products.

Food allergies can be a problem and I would start by eliminating wheat, flour, bread, cakes, anything made from flour, sugar, soy, milk, corn, eggs and nuts for at least a week or two.
If that helps, introduce them back into the diet one at a time (except sugar, which should be omitted forever, and all flour products), until the culprit is found.

If that is not enough, see my Vaccinations article and read about the relationship between Panadol, Vaccinations, Glutathione and Autism.

Many Fibromyalgia patients also suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and SLE or Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), but the above treatments can improve all of these conditions.
While these natural alternatives may not work for everyone, nearly all patients report improvement in their condition, and of course, these are all good for weight loss, fighting diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, better sleep, improved mood, reduced pain, better pain tolerance, building muscle and reduced cancer risk. Many patients are deficient in GH (growth hormone) so high-intensity exercise and weight loss will help by increasing natural production of Growth Hormone.

LeanMachine online supplements

Updated 24th January 2020, Copyright © 1999-2020 Brenton Wight and BJ&HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285

Ferritin and Iron

What is Ferritin?

Ferritin is an intracellular (inside the cell) protein, in the shape of a hollow sphere. Ferritin stores iron by allowing entry of iron as ferric hydroxide phosphate complexes, and when the body needs iron, releases it as required.
Ferritin is produced by almost every living organism, from bacteria to plants, animals and humans.
In humans, ferritin is a buffer against iron deficiency and iron overload, and is found in most tissues as a cytosolic protein, which means it is inside the cytoplasm, the fluid inside each cell between the outer shell wall and the nucleus (The nucleus contains our DNA).
However, small amounts of ferritin are secreted into the serum (blood) where it works as a carrier of iron.
Plasma ferritin (in the blood) is also an indirect marker of the total amount of iron stored in the body. Serum ferritin levels are used to determine iron deficiency (anaemia) or iron overload.
Ferritin keeps iron in a soluble, non-toxic form. Free ferritin (not combined with iron) is called apoferritin.
Iron is the central atom of haemoglobin, which gives blood it’s red colour. 75% of the body’s iron is stored in haemoglobin, 10 to 20% in the protein ferritin, and the rest in the protein transferrin (the iron transport protein). Small amounts are found in myoglobin, cytochromes, as unbound serum iron and in body tissues.
Excess iron is usually stored in the Liver, Spleen and Bone Marrow, but also in the Pancreas, Joints, Skin, Pituitary, Adrenals, Thyroid, Heart and other organs.
The haemoglobin molecule is a very large molecule, almost identical to the Chlorophyll molecule in plants. Chlorophyll has a central atom of Magnesium, giving grass the green colour. Haemoglobin has Iron as the central atom, giving blood the red colour.
Chlorophyll is commonly best known for “cleansing of the blood”. Best sources are green leafy vegetables and wheatgrass.

Why do we need Iron?

If we have too little iron, we cannot make enough red blood cells, reducing our ability to carry oxygen to all parts of the body.
If we have too much iron, it can damage organs and contribute to cancer, heart disease, the entire cardiovascular system, especially the endothelial cells (the inside lining of all blood vessels), the kidneys and the liver.
Red blood cells are made in the bone marrow, and have a lifespan of around 4 months, when they die (the process called Necrosis).
The body makes around 200 billion new red blood cells every day, along with around 10 billion white cells and about 400 billion platelets every day, and around the same amount die every day.
Dead red blood cells are then broken down by Macrophages (special white blood cells) in the spleen. Some are disposed of in the digestive tract (which makes our poo brown) and parts of other cells are re-used. Haemoglobin is further broken down to salvage the iron, and excess iron is then stored in the liver.
Too much iron in the liver can cause Cirrhosis (Scar tissue replacing healthy cells).
We can have too much iron in some cases because the body does not know how to get rid of excess iron, it only knows how absorb it and to store it (using the transferrin protein).


Healthy red blood cells.

As red blood cells approach death, or are infected with a parasite or bacteria, or have a genetic defect, or are cancerous, the shape, size, smoothness and colour may be different.

How is Iron absorbed?

Iron in food is processed in the high-acid stomach, where it is changed into a form that allows it to be absorbed.
Absorption takes place mainly in the duodenum (part of the small intestine) and also to a lesser extent near the end of the small intestinal tract.
After absorption, iron is transported by the transferrin protein. A healthy body has the ability to absorb more iron when it is required, and absorb less when it is not required.

Haemoglobin, Hemoglobin or Hbg

Haemoglobin is a protein contained in red blood cells.
The job of haemoglobin is to carry oxygen from the lungs to all of the tissue in the body, then return carbon dioxide back to the lungs.
Haemoglobin is composed of four globulin chains (protein molecules) which are connected together, and in adults, haemoglobin contains two alpha-globulin chains and two beta-globulin chains.
In foetuses and infants, haemoglobin contains two alpha chains and two gamma chains, and during growth to an adult, gamma chains are slowly removed, replaced by beta chains to form adult haemoglobin.
Every globulin chain contains the heme molecule as the central structure, and iron is embedded in the heme molecule, essential for the transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Haemoglobin is also essential to help maintain the shape of every red blood cells, which resemble a donut with a dished centre rather than a hole. Any abnormal shape can cause poor flow through blood vessels.

Anaemia, Anemia

Anaemia is a condition where we do not have enough haemoglobin, which is usually, but not always, related to iron deficiency. It can be related to blood loss, from donating blood, from heavy menstrual bleeding, internal bleeding, blood loss from an injury, or insufficient iron in the diet (such as vegans or vegetarians).
IDA (Iron Deficiency Anaemia)
In most cases of anaemia, a blood test will reveal low haemoglobin and low ferritin, a result of iron deficiency, and the doctor will normally recommend iron supplementation or dietary changes or both.
ACD (Anaemia of Chronic Disease)
The body has a safety mechanism against harmful invaders such as cancer or bacteria. When sensing an invader, the body will move all iron it can from red blood cells back to ferritin, because all invaders need iron to thrive, and so does cancer. The body will leave just enough iron in haemoglobin for the cells to survive, but not enough to feed the invader.
We must NEVER take extra iron in cases of Chronic Disease, as we are only feeding the invader and doing more harm to our body.
ACD can be diagnosed by blood tests where we have low haemoglobin, but high ferritin. A C-Reactive Protein test (indicator of inflammation) is advised as well as ferritin if ACD is suspected.
When the disease clears up, the body will automatically return iron levels to normal.
Many doctors do not order ferritin tests when iron is low, resulting in the patient taking iron supplements which can cause damage or even death, so an accurate diagnosis of IDA or ACD is essential.
In some cases, IDA and ACD can occur at the same time, making diagnosis more difficult. One traditional test is Bone Marrow Aspiration with Iron Staining, but the Serum Transferrin Receptor test can help differentiate between IDA and ACD.
The Serum Transferrin Receptor test is significantly less affected by inflammation than the Serum Ferritin test. Results can be high in IDA and usually low in ACD, and the ratio of Serum Transferrin Receptor to the logarithim of Serum Ferritin Concentration is more helpful to distinguish ACD from IDA than is either individual test.
Kidney Damage
If the patient has any kidney damage (sometimes as a result of high iron) then it is possible to have high iron in the body tissues, while regular iron and ferritin tests results are normal or even low. In these cases, a specialist should supervise all testing.

Blood Tests

Normally, the doctor will organise a “Ferritin Study”.
This includes the following tests:

  • Serum Iron – how much iron is circulating in the blood, but this varies considerably and does not always mean a lot without also looking at the TIBC test below.
  • Serum Transferrin – or TIBC (Total Iron Binding Capacity) or Transferrin Saturation. Iron is bound to transferrin (which is produced by the liver), and TIBC is a direct measure of transferrin. Iron overload is indicated with levels over 55% for males and 50% for females. Fasting is preferred for accuracy. Note that inflammation causes reduced transferrin levels
  • Serum Ferritin – Indicates body iron stores. Typical lab results: Normal range 15 to 350 ug/L for men (some labs say up to 500ug/L), 15 – 300 ug/L for women, and varies depending on the lab and the method used, however LeanMachine says that these upper limits are way too high, and that anything over 80 ug/L indicates a possible iron overload condition, and anything below 20 ug/L indicates a possible iron deficiency. A healthy range is 20 to 80 ug/L, and the desirable range is 40 to 60 ug/L, but note that levels over 80 ug/L may be also be caused by liver disease, inflammation or cancer
  • Soluble Transferrin Receptors – Transferrin receptors present on cell surfaces are responsible for internalization of transferrin resulting in intracellular release or iron. With low iron stores, expression of transferrin receptors increases, so the level of soluble transferrin receptors inversely reflects iron stores, and is unaffected by any inflammation, however high soluble transferrin receptors may also mean haemolysis (premature red cell death)
  • A complete blood examination is also required to check Haemoglobin and other factors related to red blood cells, also liver and kidney function. Typical haemoglobin blood results 130g/L to 170g/L for adult males, 120g/L to 150g/L for adult females. For more info on these tests, see my article Blood Tests – How to read the results
  • Further tests may include a Liver Biopsy, SQUID (Superconducting Quantum Interference Device), or MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), but these are generally not required except for extreme cases

Note that these are Australian tests. In the USA, the results are in ng/ml (nanograms per millilitre), which is exactly the same as ug/L (micrograms per litre), with upper and lower numbers both divided by 1000, giving the same numerical result.

Types of dietary Iron

There are two main types of dietary iron, heme iron found in meat and other animal products, and non-heme iron found in plant products.
Generally, heme iron is better absorbed than non-heme iron, leaving vegans more at risk for iron insufficiency, however heme iron is also more dangerous for the body in high levels.
A healthy body self-regulates iron levels, by absorbing more iron when we need it, and absorbing less iron when we do not need it, but sometimes this regulation is upset or overloaded.

Factors affecting ferritin/iron levels

Menopausal women often (but not always) have low iron, especially if periods are heavy, while post-menopausal women usually have normal iron.
Pregnancy increases iron requirements, as the body needs to make around 30% more blood to support the developing foetus, requiring 30% more iron. The body will use the body’s stored iron, but if stored iron is insufficient, anaemia will occur. All pregnant women should get their iron and haemoglobin tests done at each trimester, especially if diet or other factors place them at risk.
Blood donors will often have low iron. Red Cross blood donation centres always test haemoglobin levels, and if too low (or even too high), that person cannot donate blood.
For an adult male, the normal range is 125g/L to 185g/L
For an adult woman, the normal range is 115g/L to 165g/L.
For donations of whole blood for males, the acceptable range is 120 to 165g/L for women, and 130 to 185g/L for men.
For donations of plasma and platelets, the acceptable range is 115 to 165g/L for women, and 125 to 185g/L for men.
If below 130 (male) or 120 (female), that person should build up their iron reserves and seek medical advice.
Bleeding in the GI (Gastro-Intestinal) tract can cause low iron, as in any other form of blood loss.
Bleeding because of haemorrhoids or anal fissures, or bleeding from cancer or inflammation in the small intestine, colon or stomach will cause low iron. If stools are dark, or blood in urine, or any unexplained abdomen pain, see your doctor.
Various foods and vitamins can increase or decrease iron absorption – see below.
Foods high in iron are also generally high in Vitamin B12, and both are required for correct ferritin/iron metabolism and healthy Red Blood Cells.
Vegetarians and vegans in particular are susceptible to low iron and B12, as both come mainly from animal products.
As we age, we tend to have reduced stomach acid, resulting in less B12 absorption, and to a lesser extent, reduced absorption of all other minerals, vitamins and other nutrients.
If we take supplemental iron, the body will absorb less iron from the diet.
If we have a low-iron diet, the body responds by absorbing more iron from anything available in food.

Genetics

Sickle cell disease, thalassemia and haemochromatosis can all be inherited, and genetic testing for these and other genes affecting ferritin/iron is available.

Sickle Cell Anaemia

An inherited condition, mainly descendants of African people. A problem with the haemoglobin beta gene causes some red blood cells to become sickle-shaped, especially in hot, dry and intense exercise conditions.
25% of the population in West Africa have the sicklemia trait, also high in South and Central Americans, especially in Panama. Sometimes appears in Mediterranean countries like Italy, Greece, and Spain. Malaria may be a factor, as Indians, Middle Easterners (e.g. Arabs and Iranians), Native Americans, North Africans, and Turks have small but significant cases.
People with Sickle Cell Anemia actually have an advantage in some countries, as they are able to survive better if infected with Malaria. The “sickleing” of the red blood cells is promoted when the Malaria parasite enters, and the body’s own immune system is then able to identify and destroy the cell, along with the malaria parasite.

Thalassemia

An inherited condition, originating in Mediterranean countries, causing weakening and destruction of red blood cells by mutant genes, affecting haemoglobin production. Similar to Sickle-Cell Anaemia.

Haemochromatosis (inherited iron overload disorder)

There is a genetic test for Haemochromatosis.
The test gives results for mutations C282Y and/or H63D of the HFE gene:

  • Mutation not found (No Haemochromatosis)
  • Heterozygous (which means one faulty gene) – Generally no or mild symptoms, bu bay be a “carrier” for children
  • Homozygous (which means two faulty genes)

Children of a Mother and Father who are both carriers of one faulty gene have:

  • 50% risk of inheriting one mutated HFE gene (and becoming a carrier)
  • 25% risk of inheriting both mutated HFE genes (and at risk of excess iron absorption and symptoms of haemochromatosis)
  • 25% risk of inheriting two normal genes, and will not be a carrier

Around 1 in 188 Australians have the HFE genotype C282Y mutation, the most dangerous kind, although 1 in 8 people are carriers for this gene. There are many primary (inherited) types, including:

  • Type 1 – Classical haemochromatosis – Gene Mutation – HFE Genes C282Y and H63D, often with variations. C282Y is more serious.
  • Type 2A – Juvenile haemochromatosis – HJV (Haemojuvelin), also known as RGMc and HFE2 Genes
  • Type 2B – Hepcidin antimicrobial peptide (HAMP) or HFE2B Gene
  • Type 3 – Gene Mutation – Transferrin receptor-2 (TFR2 or HFE3 Genes)
  • Type 4 – African Iron Overload – Ferroportin (SLC11A3/SLC40A1 Genes)
  • Neonatal haemochromatosis – unknown cause
  • Acaeruloplasminaemia (very rare) – Caeruloplasmin
  • Congenital atransferrinaemia (very rare) – Transferrin
  • GRACILE syndrome (very rare) – BCS1L Gene

Also secondary types, which are not inherited, but acquired, especially if the patient has received many repeated blood transfusions.

  • Severe chronic haemolysis – either intravascular haemolysis or ineffective erythropoiesis (haemolysis within the bone marrow)
  • Excess iron from the diet
  • Excess iron from supplements. Any supplements must be kept away from children. This is a common cause of childhood poisoning

Conditions may involve mutant genes inherited from both parents, so patients may have widely differing symptoms.
1 in 700 people with haemochromatosis have no mutation in the HFE gene. This is called Non-HFE haemochromatosis, due to mutations in other genes.

Symptoms of Low Ferritin/Iron

  • Brittle Nails and/or spoon-shaped fingernails
  • Intolerance to Cold
  • Craving or Eating Non-Foods – dirt, hair, coins, etc (Pica)
  • Irritibility, Loss of Concentration, Dizziness
  • Pale appearance, especially membranes – inside of mouth and eyelids
  • Headache
  • Increased infections
  • RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome)
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Mouth Ulcers
  • Dry Mouth and/or Sore Tongue
  • Tachycardia (faster than normal heartbeat
  • Arrhythmia (irregular heart beat)
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of Consciousness (Syncope)
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Vitamin D3 deficiency

Symptoms – High Ferritin/Iron

  • Chronic fatigue, tiredness, weakness
  • Low levels of L-Glutathione
  • Low levels of antioxidants
  • Joint pain or aches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diabetes mellitus (Type 2)
  • Arrhythmia (irregular heart beat)
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heart attack
  • Changes in skin colour to bronze, ashen-grey or green
  • Period is irregular or stops (women)
  • Low Libido
  • Osteoporosis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hair loss
  • Enlarged liver or spleen
  • Impotence (men)
  • Infertility
  • Hypogonadism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Low adrenal function
  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • High blood glucose
  • High liver enzymes – ALT, AST, GGT
  • High serum iron and serum ferritin
  • Higher risk of cancer
  • Weight Loss

How Much Iron do we Need?

Depends on who we are.
For post-menopausal women and healthy men, 8mg daily.
For menopausal women or blood donors, 18mg daily to replace iron in lost blood.
For pregnant women, 27mg daily for rapid growth and development.
Many breakfast cereals give all of menopausal women’s iron requirement, two-thirds the amount required for pregnancy, but double the amount for men and post-menopausal women, not counting intake from other meals.
Typically, there is a total of 3 to 4 grams of iron in the body. A normal diet should give most people enough iron, but vgans and vegetarians and blood donors will oten be lacking. People consuming large quantities of meat, especially liver meats, can reach iron overload withour knowing.

To INCREASE Ferritin/Iron

  • Some breakfast cereals are fortified with extra iron
  • Red meat – beef, lamb, kangaroo and organ meats, especially liver are rich in iron
  • Low alcohol consumption (one drink daily with food) is fine, but overdoing it will cause liver damage
  • Vitamin C (orange juice, fruit, supplements) will increase absorption of iron from food, up to 6 times greater absorption
  • Avoid donating blood too often, or not at all if haemoglobin is less than 130 (men) or 120 (women)
  • Build testosterone, by diet and exercise and/or supplementation to help build new red blood cells
  • If vitamin B-12 and/or Folate is low, supplement or change diet

Iron Overload

This is a dangerous condition, and if iron overload is suspected, a ferritin study is required. See above under “Blood Tests”.

To DECREASE Ferritin/Iron

Blood donation (therapeutic venesection) is usually the best method, and helps save lives of others.
If ineligible for Red Cross donations, private organisations can do this. Usually a ferritin reading of several hundred can be brought down to the normal range after half a dozen or so blood donations.
The only down side is that donations must be spread out over many months to allow the body to build new blood.
Next best option is using IP6 (Inositol Hexaphosphate) which can chelate excess iron from the body.
IP6 can help when the body cannot excrete excess ferritin/iron on it’s own, which can often happen. The body has limited capacity to remove iron, as it tries to always recycle iron.
Also the best alternative when blood donation is impossible, impracticable or ruled out for religious reasons.
IP6 has the added benefit of improving immunity.

More serious cases of iron overload can be treated with:
Deferoxamine (Desferal®) – administered via a needle from a pump attached to the body for 8 to 10 hours a day.
Deferasirox (Exjade®) – a tablet dissolved in a glass of water or juice, taken once a day.
Both methods can have undesirable side-effects, including hearing and vision loss, nausea, diarrhea, rash, kidney or liver injury, so LeanMachine recommends first using blood donation, IP6 and diet measures first.

  • Donate Blood at the Red Cross. Reduces old blood recycling, leading to reduced iron stores which are used up in making new blood. May take several sessions over several months
  • Take IP6 (Inositol Hexaphosphate)
  • Eat cabbage every day (cooked, not raw). No scientific studies have been carried out with cabbage, but plenty of anecdotal evidence suggest it works, possibly by filling up on cabbage, the patient may not feel like red meat…
  • Avoid red meat, and especially liver and other organ meats
  • Drink green tea, black tea, oolong tea or coffee, and/or take a Green Tea Extract. The tannins in tea reduce iron absorption
  • Take Vitamin EVitamin B-6Curcumin
  • Avoid taking too much Vitamin C, as this can increase iron absorption
  • Do not cook in iron pots or pans, even if you have low iron, as metallic iron is bad for the body, regardless of the Ferritin status
  • Avoid alcohol, especially wine with steak
  • Never take iron supplements. If you take a multivitamin, or a “women’s health” or “men’s health” supplement, ensure it has no iron
  • Never drink well water or bore water unless it has been tested free from iron (and other harmful metals)
  • Take Astaxanthin – an extremely powerful antioxidant, 550 times better than Vitamin E. Will not chelate iron, but will help repair the damage

The Low-Iron Diet

Green Tea, black tea, oolong tea and coffee all contain tannins which inhibit iron absorption, so drinking these with a meal can help lower ferritin and iron levels.
Drinking milk with a meal also helps reduce iron absorption because of the calcium in milk that competes with iron for absorption.
Eat an egg every day, as eggs contain a compound that impairs absorption of iron. Avoid red meats, chicken and fish are better choices, much lower in iron than red meat. Better still, go vegetarian or vegan.
Calcium supplements can reduce iron absorption, but can also cause increased plaque in arteries, especially the Calcium Carbonate (ground limestone) used in cheap supplements, so should be avoided.
Breakfast cereals with whole grains contain some iron, but many are fortified with extra iron and should be avoided. Try an apple for breakfast instead and help keep the doctor away.
LeanMachine online supplements

Disclaimer

LeanMachine is a health researchere, not a doctor, and everyone should consult with their own health professional before taking any product to ensure there is no conflict with existing prescription medication.
LeanMachine has been researching nutrition and health since 2010 and has completed many relevant studies including:
Open2Study, Australia – Food, Nutrition and Your Health
RMIT University, Australia – Foundations of Psychology
Swinburne University of Technology, Australia – Chemistry – Building Blocks of the World
University of Washington, USA – Energy, Diet and Weight
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Health Issues for Aging Populations
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – International Nutrition
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Methods in Biostatistics I
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Methods in Biostatistics II
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Principles of Human Nutrition
TUFTS University, USA – Nutrition and Medicine
TUFTS University, USA – Lipids/Cardiovascular Disease I and Lipids/Cardiovascular Disease II
Technical Learning College, USA – Western Herbology, Identification, Formulas
Bath University, England – Inside Cancer
WebMD Education – The Link Between Stroke and Atrial Fibrillation
WebMD Education – High Potassium: Causes and Reasons to Treat
Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands – Anatomy of the Abdomen and Pelvis
MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) – A Clinical Approach to the Human Brain
LeanMachine has now examined thousands of studies, journals and reports related to health and nutrition and this research is ongoing.

Updated 13th January 2020, Copyright © 1999-2020 Brenton Wight and BJ & HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285

Ginger Improves Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis, Enhances Quality of Life

© 18th December 2019 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
Reproduced from original article:
www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/ginger-improves-symptoms-ulcerative-colitis-enhances-quality-life

Posted on: Wednesday, December 18th 2019 at 1:30 pm

Bowel and digestive problems like ulcerative colitis can be among the most discomforting and disruptive affronts to a person’s lifestyle and overall well-being. What if adding a healthy dose of ginger to your diet could prevent indigestion, inflamed insides and even protect you from colon and rectal cancers? The evidence says, it can

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic inflammatory bowel condition affecting more than 750,000 people in North America.[i] The disorder, a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), causes open sores or ulcers to develop in the lining of the large intestine. Unlike Crohn’s, another form of IBD that can affect the entire digestive tract, colitis affects only the inner surface of the large intestine.[ii]

UC is considered to be incurable, however patients must seek to manage their symptoms. Untreated UC can cause long-term damage to the colon and increases risks of colon and anal cancers.[iii] Fortunately, natural options such as ginger may help.

Ginger: An Antidote to Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress reflects an imbalance between the body’s antioxidant defense mechanisms and the activity of free radicals, errant electrons that are known to cause damage to healthy cells and tissues.[iv] Oxidative stress is believed to play an essential role in the initiation and severity of ulcerative colitis (UC).

Researchers at Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran, explored the use of ginger (scientific name: Zingiber officinale), a well-known antioxidant plant root, on the quality of life, disease activity and oxidative stress of patients with UC.

Published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine,[v] researchers assembled 46 patients with active cases of mild to moderate UC. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either ginger or a placebo, with ginger group subjects consuming 2,000 milligrams (mg) per day of dried ginger powder in four capsules, and the placebo group receiving similar, non-active capsules.

The trial was conducted for a period of 12 weeks, with measurements taken before, at midpoint, and at the end of intervention, using valid and reliable quality of life and disease activity questionnaires and blood sampling.

Ginger Improves Quality of Life for Ulcerative Colitis Patients

Results of this study were highly favorable towards the use of ginger in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. After just six weeks of supplementation, blood tests showed that levels of malondialdehyde, an organic compound that is a marker of oxidative stress, were significantly reduced. After 12 weeks, this marker was barely detectable.

Scores for severity of disease activity were also significantly improved after 12 weeks of ginger supplementation versus placebo. Perhaps the most encouraging marker of success for ginger supplementation is that it significantly increased patients’ quality of life at the 12-week mark.

Researchers concluded that ginger supplementation can improve outcomes for patients with UC. They requested further clinical trials utilizing different dosages and duration of supplementation to obtain firm conclusion of ginger’s efficacy when treating UC.

Ginger: A Disease-Prevention Powerhouse

GreenMedinfo has more than 300 scientific abstracts on the powerful, disease-prohibiting effects of ginger, one of the world’s most powerful natural-healing substances. It’s undoubtedly one of the best plants to include in your herbal apothecary, having proven to be effective against the most prevalent diseases of the modern era, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes.

Ginger’s protective effect against cancer may be among it’s most potent attributes. Zerumbone, one of ginger’s isolated active compounds, has been shown to inhibit colon and lung carcinogenesis in mice. Another active compound that has been isolated in ginger — zingerone — has “massive pharmacological properties” and has been validated in studies as a promising treatment against colorectal cancer.[vi]

Ulcerative Colitis Has Many Causes and Symptoms

While the exact cause of ulcerative colitis (UC) is unclear, factors such as poor dietary habits and periods of extreme stress are often predicators. Characterized as an overactive immune response, the body may be reacting to food sensitivities, imbalanced bacteria in the gut or exposure to viruses that cause inflammation.

Individuals with at least one diagnosed autoimmune condition may be at higher risk for developing UC. Signs that an individual might have ulcerative colitis include:

  • Persistent changes in bowel habits
  • Frequent or severe abdominal pain
  • Blood in the stool
  • Recurring or urgent diarrhea
  • A low-grade fever lasting more than two days

Ulcerative colitis can cause significant discomfort. Patients typically experience frequent diarrhea, which can be accompanied by mucus and blood. If the patient develops chronic bleeding, anemia (low red blood cell count) can develop along with accompanying chronic fatigue.

Some patients experience an inability to eat or move their bowels normally, which can be accompanied by severe weight loss and dehydration, further disrupting normal life activities.

Ulcerative Colitis Is a Life-Changing Diagnosis

Ulcerative colitis is diagnosed via an array of tests, some or all of which may be ordered by your doctor. These tests include stool samples, blood tests to detect anemia, X-rays and CT scans. In addition to these tests, when a patient complains of abdominal pain or “bathroom issues,” the doctor may order imaging to examine the lining of the digestive tract.

The most common imaging procedures used to diagnose IBD are endoscopy and colonoscopy. Endoscopy can be done on the upper and lower digestive tract, with upper endoscopy performed by inserting a thin, flexible camera called an endoscope down the throat. Lower endoscopy, or colonoscopy, is performed by inserting the endoscope into the rectum to explore the lower intestine. Both procedures are done under light sedation.

Patients who undergo colonoscopies will be checked for polyps, small growths inside the colon or rectum. If polyps are detected, a biopsy is typically performed to detect if cancer cells are present.[vii] By ruling out colon cancer, a more definitive diagnosis of UC can be made.

Ulcerative Colitis Can Lead to Severe Bowel Disease

UC can present across the spectrum of severity, from infrequent, acute episodes to a debilitating chronic condition. What is common to all sufferers is the potential for severe complications if left untreated and unmanaged. Possible complications of ulcerative colitis include:

  • Serious bleeding and anemia
  • Holes in the colon
  • Severe dehydration
  • Bone loss
  • Inflammation of skin, joints and eyes
  • Increased risk of bowel cancers
  • Rapid swelling of the colon (toxic megacolon)
  • Increased risk of blood clots[viii]

Don’t ignore the warning signs: consult your doctor if you experience symptoms of colitis. While UC is rarely fatal, it is important to begin treatment as soon as possible upon diagnosis to prevent serious, potentially life-threatening complications from developing.

With Proper Treatment, Ulcerative Colitis Is a Manageable Condition

Much like the disease symptoms that can present across a spectrum of severity, treatments for UC range widely in scope and intensity. At early stages of UC, lifestyle changes such as dietary modification and proper stress management may prove sufficient to remediate the condition.

UC patients are frequently prescribed immunosuppressant drugs in an attempt to cease the abnormal immune system response that is believed to be attacking the colon from within.

In more severe and persistent cases of UC, treatment options can escalate to include full or partial removal of the lower colon (a colectomy), inclusive of the rectum in a proctocolectomy. In such cases, patients may require an ostomy, a surgery in which a new body opening is created and attached to a stoma and collection bag, effectively rerouting bodily waste.[ix]

Explore the natural health benefits of ginger and add this delicious and nutritious plant root to your shopping list today!


References

[i] U.S. National Library of Medicine, Genetics Home Reference, Ulcerative Colitis.

[ii] U.S. National Library of Medicine, Genetics Home Reference, Ulcerative Colitis.

[iii] Mayo Clinic, Patient Care & Health Information, Diseases & Conditions, Ulcerative Colitis.

[iv] Metabolism. 2000 Feb;49(2 Suppl 1):3-8. Betteridge DJ. PMID: 10693912. DOI: 10.1016/s0026-0495(00)80077-3.

[v] Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Volume 43, April 2019, Pages 1-6. PMID: 30935515. DOI: 10.1016/j.ctim.2018.12.021.

[vi] Environ Toxicol. 2019 May;34(5):610-625. Ganaie MA, Al Saeedan A, Madhkali H, Jan BL, Khatlani T, Sheikh IA, Rehman MU, Wani K. PMID: 30720227. doi: 10.1002/tox.22727.

[vii] Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Colonoscopy and endoscopic ultrasound, Colonoscopy and endoscopic procedures.

[viii] Mayo Clinic, Patient Care & Health Information, Diseases & Conditions, Ulcerative Colitis.

[ix] United Ostomy Association of America, What Is an Ostomy?

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Excess Body Fat Can Age Your Brain Faster Than Muscle


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/01/09/obesity-and-brain-health.aspx
Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked image
January 09, 2020

excess body fat and brain health

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Increasing research shows that maintaining healthy levels of body fat and greater muscle mass has an effect on your brain health and may slow your rate of cognitive aging
  • People with higher amounts of abdominal fat had worse fluid intelligence with age, while those with greater muscle mass were more protected against such declines
  • Women who had greater muscle mass tended to have better scores in fluid intelligence during the study period
  • Past research has linked midlife obesity with an increased risk of mild cognitive impairment, changes in short-term memory and executive functioning and dementia
  • In addition to regular exercise to increase muscle mass, eating a ketogenic diet to maintain a healthy body weight and avoid obesity may support your brain health as you age

Staying fit as you age is about far more than aesthetics. Increasing research shows that maintaining healthy levels of body fat and greater muscle mass has an effect on your brain health and even your rate of cognitive aging. It’s known, for instance, that being obese in midlife and early late-life is associated with worse cognitive aging.1

What’s more, the amount of muscle and fat you have may be a more important factor in how your level of fluid intelligence decreases over time than your chronological age. Your chronological age, i.e., your age in years, is just a numerical measurement, but your real age is your biological age as dictated by your choices and habits, as well as your modifiable risk factors like levels of muscle and fat.

While many people tend to gain fat and lose muscle mass as they age, this can be largely combated by staying active and eating right — lifestyle choices that will influence your cognitive function significantly.

More Muscle, Less Fat Protects Your Brain

In a study by Iowa State researchers, data from 4,431 adults were examined to compare levels of lean muscle mass, abdominal fat and subcutaneous fat with changes in fluid intelligence — the ability to solve problems in new situations — over a six-year period.2,3

Those with higher amounts of abdominal fat had worse fluid intelligence with age, while those with greater muscle mass were more protected against such declines. In fact, women who had greater muscle mass tended to have better scores in fluid intelligence during the study period.

Study co-author Auriel Willette, assistant professor of food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University, said in a news release, “Chronological age doesn’t seem to be a factor in fluid intelligence decreasing over time. It appears to be biological age, which here is the amount of fat and muscle.”4

What’s more, the study revealed a link between the immune system and how changes in fat levels affect cognition. Previous research suggests a higher body mass index (BMI) leads to greater immune system activity in the blood, which in turn activates the immune system in the brain, with a negative outcome on cognitive function.5

The featured study also found that changes in white blood cells called lymphocytes and eosinophils explained the link between abdominal fat and worsening fluid intelligence in women. In men, basophils, another type of white blood cell, were linked to about half of the link between fat levels and fluid intelligence, the study found.6

“Lymphocytes, eosinophils, and basophils may link adiposity to cognitive outcomes,” the researchers explained.7 Similar research has revealed that overweight and obese individual have greater brain atrophy in middle-age, corresponding with an increase in brain age of 10 years.8

How Obesity Affects Your Brain

Obesity has multiple effects on the brain, including anatomically speaking. Obese individuals may have reduced gray matter in brain regions such as the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex and other subcortical regions. Atrophy in the hippocampus, in turn, has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.9

Gray matter is the outer layer of the brain associated with high-level brain functions such as problem-solving, language, memory, personality, planning and judgment. Even in elderly people who are otherwise cognitively normal, obesity is associated with measureable deficits in brain volume in the frontal lobes, anterior cingulate gyrus, hippocampus, and thalamus compared to individuals with a normal weight.10

Further research published in Radiology found that obesity may lead to alterations in brain structure, shrinking certain regions.11 Among men, higher total body fat percentage was linked to lower brain gray matter volume. Specifically, 5.5% greater total body fat percentage was associated with 3,162 mm3 lower gray matter volume.

Among men, 5.5% greater total body fat was also associated with 27 mm3 smaller globus pallidus volume, an association also seen in women. In women, 6.6% greater total body fat percentage was associated with 11.2 mm3 smaller globus pallidus volume.

The globus pallidus is a brain region that plays a role in supporting a range of functions, including motivation, cognition and action.12 Obesity was also associated with changes in white matter microstructure, which may be related to cognitive function.13

Cognitively speaking, there’s also a strong link between obesity and deterioration in cognitive function, as well as to other brain disorders such as dementia, anxiety and depression. Further, past research has linked midlife obesity with an increased risk of mild cognitive impairment, changes in short-term memory and executive functioning and dementia.14

Advertisement

Get my FREE 20 health resolutions for 2020 here


Obesity-Associated Health Problems Also Harm Your Brain

Obesity’s effects on brain health are also due to its associated health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and atherosclerosis, each of which can have its own deleterious effects on your brain. For instance, as noted in Frontiers in Neuroscience:15

“Obesity-derived vascular problems, such as atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis, which are systemic diseases, are known to affect the steady blood flow of vessels that feed the brain, thus contributing to cognitive impairment or even stroke, where large areas of the brain die due to the stop in the blood flow of a major brain artery caused by a blood clot.”

In terms of diabetes, of which obesity is a key risk factor, having this condition in midlife is associated with a 19% greater cognitive decline over 20 years compared with not having the condition.16 Even those with prediabetes had significantly greater cognitive decline than those without.

Indeed, “Epidemiological studies have linked type-2 diabetes mellitus with cognitive impairment and dementia, with insulin resistance and hyperglycemia as the probable mechanistic links,” researchers noted.17

Coming full circle, eating a highly processed, junk food diet not only increases obesity risk but also can lead to normal but elevated blood sugar levels that, in turn, can lead to impaired glucose metabolism and Type 2 diabetes. Both diabetes and higher fasting glucose levels are linked with lower total brain volume.18

Impaired glucose metabolism is then associated with neurodegeneration that impairs cognitive function. This connection begins not in old age but much earlier, such that following a healthy lifestyle in young adulthood may be protective against cognitive decline later.19

The Inflammation Connection

Obesity can trigger chronic inflammation in your body, and chronic inflammation in your brain (neuroinflammation) is known to impair neurogenesis, your brain’s ability to adapt and grow new brain cells. It’s also linked to neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and it’s been suggested that “Obesity may serve as an amplifier or initiator of the chronic inflammation observed in AD patients.”20

Further, higher levels of inflammatory markers have also been associated with lower brain volume, including “greater atrophy than expected for age.”21 Excess body fat, particularly visceral fat, is also related to the release of proteins and hormones that can cause inflammation, which in turn can damage arteries and enter your liver, affecting how your body breaks down sugars and fats.

According to a study in the Annals of Neurology, “[A]dipose-tissue derived hormones, such as adiponectin, leptin, resistin or ghrelin, could also play a role in the relation between adipose tissue and brain atrophy.”22 Further, obesity may also be associated with lower volume in brain regions that regulate food-reward circuitry,23 possibly influencing overeating.

Strength Training Is Good for Your Brain

While obesity takes a toll on your brain, increased muscle mass protects it, which is likely one reason why strength training has been found to be beneficial for your brain. In other words, your body’s physical strength may serve as a marker of your brain power.

In fact, strength training is known to trigger beneficial neurobiological processes,24 leading to positive functional brain changes, including in the frontal lobe, with corresponding improvements in executive functions. One systematic review even found that strength training led to less white matter atrophy in the brain, with researchers noting:25

“Taken together, during aging processes, a substantial decline in muscular strength, especially in lower limb muscles, occurs, and accumulating evidence suggests that lower muscular strengths are linked to poorer cognitive performance.

Hence, resistance (strength) exercises (a single bout of resistance exercise, also referred to as acute exercise) and resistance (strength) training (more than one resistance exercise session, also referred to as chronic exercise … ) seem to be promising activities to ensure the preservation of physical functioning and cognitive functions with aging.”

Regular strength training, in addition to other forms of exercise and daily activity, is an important strategy for keeping your brain sharp and may help to offset some of the cognitive decline that occurs with age.

Avoid Obesity and Protect Your Brain With a Ketogenic Diet

While obesity may accelerate neurodegeneration, regular exercise to increase your muscle mass will be protective. Further, eating a ketogenic diet will help protect your brain from free radical damage and will supply the cells with preferred fuel while also helping you to lose weight and avoid obesity.

A ketogenic diet is high in healthy fats and low in net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber), prompting your body to start burning fat as its primary fuel, rather than sugar. This produces ketones, which not only burn efficiently but are also a superior fuel for your brain. Ketones also generate fewer reactive oxygen species (ROS) and less free-radical damage.

One of the simple strategies you can implement is to take ketone precursors like refined MCT oils of caprylic acid (C-8). The eight-chain carbon fats are readily converted to ketones. I personally use up to 5 ounces of our Ketone Energy when I have maxed out my protein and carb intake and need a source of healthy clean fat. This keeps my ketone level around 1 to 2.0 mmol/l. Just recognize that you have to build up to a high dose of MCT oil slowly or you will have problems with loose stools.

Recent studies have also demonstrated the benefits of nutritional ketosis for brain health. In one, researchers found a ketogenic diet improved neurovascular function, in part by improving your gut microbiome.26

In a second study, the researchers concluded a ketogenic diet acted as a veritable “fountain of youth” in their animal study by significantly improving neurovascular and metabolic functions, compared to the animals eating an unrestricted diet.27 Releasing ketones into your bloodstream helps preserve brain function and protects against cognitive impairment and other neurodegenerative diseases.28

KetoFasting, the program I developed and detail in my book, “KetoFast: A Step-By-Step Guide to Timing Your Ketogenic Meals,” combines a cyclical ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting with cyclical partial fasting to optimize health and longevity.

Not only can KetoFasting help you to lose weight, but your cognition typically improves thanks to the biological cleansing and regeneration that occurs throughout your body, including your brain.

Sources and References

Glutathione and NAC Play Crucial Roles in Health and Fitness


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/12/30/glutathione-nac-for-health-and-fitness.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked image
glutathione nac for health and fitness

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Sulfur is the third most abundant mineral in your body. Sulfur-containing amino acids increase your levels of glutathione and N-acetylcysteine (NAC), which play important roles in health and fitness
  • Glutathione metabolism influences the control of epigenetic mechanisms at several levels, including substrate availability, enzymatic activity for DNA methylation and the expression of microRNAs
  • NAC supplementation may be useful for the prevention of cardiovascular problems in older people by lowering oxidative stress and improving mitochondrial function
  • Glutathione deficiency can induce epigenetic changes in genes that regulate vitamin D metabolism in the liver, and research suggests glutathione supplementation could help reduce the risk of vitamin D deficiency in obese individuals
  • Glutathione and NAC also ameliorate exercise-induced stress and reduce muscle fatigue. Glutathione may also play a central role in chronic fatigue syndrome

As explained in “The Health Benefits of MSM,” sulfur is the third most abundant mineral in your body and plays important roles in a variety of bodily processes, including metabolism and detoxification, and for maintaining the proper shape and structure of proteins and enzymes.

Sulfur-containing amino acids increase your levels of glutathione and N-acetylcysteine (NAC), and these two play important roles in health and fitness.

Glutathione Basics

Glutathione comprises three amino acids: cysteine, glutamate and glycine. It’s commonly referred to as “the master antioxidant,” as it is your body’s most powerful antioxidant, and is found inside every cell in your body.

Antioxidants combat free radicals — highly reactive particles that bounce around the cell, damaging everything they touch. Most originate during the process of metabolism but they can also arise during exercise, and from exposure to toxins, irradiation and toxic metals.

Because free radicals are so destructive, cells have a network of defenses designed to neutralize them. This antioxidant network is composed of numerous components that include vitamins, minerals and special chemicals called thiols (glutathione and alpha-lipoic acid).

Glutathione differs from other antioxidants in that it is intracellular, and has the unique ability of maximizing the activity of all the other antioxidants, including (but not limited to) vitamins C and E, CoQ10 and alpha lipoic acid. It also removes toxins from your cells and protects you from the damaging effects of radiation, chemicals and environmental pollutants.

NAC Basics

NAC is a precursor to and rate-limiting nutrient for the formation of glutathione.1 Glutathione is poorly absorbed so, in many cases, it’s easier to raise your glutathione by taking NAC instead.

In emergency medicine, NAC is used as an antidote for acetaminophen toxicity resulting from an overdose.2 Mortality due to acetaminophen toxicity has been shown to be virtually eliminated when NAC is promptly administered.

It is believed the liver damage acetaminophen causes is largely due to the fact that it can deplete glutathione, which is secreted by your liver in response to toxic exposure.

On a side note, NAC supplementation can also help “pre-tox” your body when taken before alcohol, thereby minimizing the damage associated with alcohol consumption — a tidbit that may be useful to know in light of approaching New Year’s celebrations.

Taking NAC (at least 200 milligrams) 30 minutes before you drink can help lessen the alcohol’s toxic effects. Vitamin B6 may also help to lessen hangover symptoms.

While the most common use of NAC is for liver support, it’s also showing promise as a neuroprotectant.3 Scientists are currently investigating it as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease, which has been linked to glutathione deficiency in the substantia nigra, a region that houses dopamine neurons.4

Research looking at autopsied brains suggests Parkinson’s patients have barely detectable levels of glutathione in this brain region. Subsequent studies have found glutathione deficiency in the substantia nigra is common in a number of other neurodegenerative conditions as well, including Alzheimer’s disease.5

Another area where NAC shows particular promise is in the treatment of mental health disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder,6 depression7 and substance use disorders.8 Dozens of additional health benefits are also reviewed in a November 29, 2019, SelfHacked article.9

Advertisement

Get 20 health resolutions for 2020 here


Glutathione Helps Regulate Epigenetic Disease Mechanisms

One factor that can help explain the wide-ranging benefits of NAC and glutathione is glutathione’s role in the regulation of epigenetic disease mechanisms.10 As noted in a November 2017 paper in Free Radical Biology and Medicine:11

“Epigenetics is a rapidly growing field that studies gene expression modifications not involving changes in the DNA sequence.

Histone H3, one of the basic proteins in the nucleosomes that make up chromatin, is S-glutathionylated in mammalian cells and tissues, making Gamma-L-glutamyl-L-cysteinylglycine, glutathione (GSH), a physiological antioxidant and second messenger in cells, a new post-translational modifier of the histone code that alters the structure of the nucleosome.

However, the role of GSH in the epigenetic mechanisms likely goes beyond a mere structural function. Evidence supports the hypothesis that there is a link between GSH metabolism and the control of epigenetic mechanisms at different levels (i.e., substrate availability, enzymatic activity for DNA methylation, changes in the expression of microRNAs, and participation in the histone code).”

The following graphic12 illustrates how glutathione influences pathological changes in gene expression.

glutathione influences pathological changes in gene expression

NAC Improves Cardiovascular and Mitochondrial Function

According to a 2018 study,13 NAC supplementation may be useful for the prevention of cardiovascular problems in older people. As you might expect, oxidative stress can over time induce metabolic and functional changes that speed cardiovascular aging and dysfunction, and your glutathione levels declines with age, putting you at greater risk.

In this study, aging mice received either NAC or a combination of NAC and glycine. After seven weeks, their cardiac function was assessed, showing those receiving NAC plus glycine had improved several parameters of their cardiovascular function, including:

  • Improved diastolic function
  • Increased peak early filling velocity
  • Reduced relaxation time
  • Reduced left atrial volume
  • Reduced left ventricle end diastolic pressure

NAC alone did not impart these cardiovascular benefits, although both groups had decreased levels of inflammatory mediators. The NAC and glycine combination also improved mitochondrial function and upregulated mitochondrial genes in the heart that are normally downregulated with age.

According to the authors, “Our data indicate that NAC+Gly supplementation can improve diastolic function in the old mouse and may have potential to prevent important morbidities for older people.”

Glutathione Deficiency Lowers Vitamin D Levels in the Obese

Other recent research14 published in Scientific Reports shows that glutathione deficiency can induce epigenetic changes in genes that regulate vitamin D metabolism in the liver. Emerging evidence also suggests glutathione metabolism plays a role in the epigenetic regulation of oxidation-reduction (redox) reactions, the authors note.

According to this paper,15 obesity has been correlated with low levels of glutathione and 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 — especially in Type 2 diabetics and the obese16 — and when obese mice were fed a glutathione-deficient diet, it downregulated vitamin D metabolism genes and vitamin D receptors in the liver. As a result, oxidative stress increased.

According to the authors, their findings suggest glutathione supplementation could help reduce the risk of vitamin D deficiency in obese individuals. Supplementation with L-cysteine, a rate-limiting precursor to glutathione, has also been shown to increase vitamin D levels and reduce oxidative stress, the paper notes, which supports the link between glutathione and vitamin D.

Glutathione and NAC Ameliorate Exercise-Induced Stress

As mentioned earlier, exercise is one of the ways through which free radical production increases and, with it, oxidative stress. Provided you get enough rest between bouts, this oxidative stress is actually part of what makes exercise so beneficial.

That said, as noted in a 2005 paper,17 “Effective regulation of the cellular balance between oxidation and antioxidation is important when considering cellular function and DNA integrity as well as the signal transduction of gene expression.” In other words, excessive exercise can cause more harm than good. As explained by the authors:18

Exercise enthusiasts and researchers have become interested in recent years to identify any means to help minimize the detrimental effects of oxidative stress that are commonly associated with intense and unaccustomed exercise. It is possible that a decrease in the amount of oxidative stress a cell is exposed to could increase health and performance …

To protect against the deleterious effects of ROS [reactive oxygen species], our bodies have a complex system of endogenous antioxidant protection in the form of enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase. Under normal, resting conditions reactive oxygen species are removed from the cell preventing any subsequent damage.

However, under more extreme conditions such as: 1) inadequate intake of foodstuffs containing the antioxidants, 2) excessive intake of pro-oxidants, 3) exposure to noxious chemicals or ultraviolet light, 4) injury/wounds, and/or 5) intense exercise, especially eccentric exercise, the body’s endogenous antioxidant system is not able to effectively remove excessive ROS production.

In situations such as the ones listed above in which the production of pro-oxidant molecules increase to a point where the antioxidant system cannot effectively remove them is when oxidative stress is known to occur.

Oxidative stress has been implicated in a number of diseases which include atherosclerosis, pulmonary fibrosis, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and aging. Research on oxidative stress during exercise has begun to indicate that regular training enhances the ability of these mechanisms to effective respond to the increase of oxidative product.”

Exercise Boosts Your Glutathione Level

The 2005 paper above goes on to explain how exercise affects your glutathione level, and thus your health, fitness and risk of disease. In short, when you engage in intense exercise, your blood level of glutathione significantly decreases while circulating levels of oxidized glutathione increases, indicating that it’s been used inside the muscle to quench free radicals produced during the exertion.19

Considering the importance of glutathione to counteract free radicals, effective regulation of glutathione levels when exercising is a significant concern. The good news is that the more you exercise, the higher your base levels of glutathione get.

This adaptation allows your body to effectively deal with the increase in free radicals that the exercise brings about. While exercise itself will boost your glutathione level over time, raising glutathione through supplementation is an oft-used strategy among athletes.

As mentioned, glutathione supplementation is ineffective due to its poor absorption, so NAC is generally considered a much better choice. According to the authors of the 2005 paper cited above:20

“In addition to the role glutathione and other thiols have on maintaining the cellular redox state, many studies have begun to explore if NAC supplementation can actually improve performance due to its ability to promote a more favorable cellular environment to achieve higher levels of performance …

One of the first studies to utilize NAC to determine its role in improving muscle performance was conducted by Reid and colleagues. They pretreated subjects with n-acetyl-cysteine infusion (150 mg/kg) or a 5% dextrose placebo while undergoing an extended fatiguing bout of electrical stimulation of the ankle dorsiflexors.

N-acetyl-cysteine was found to have no impact over the nonfatigued muscle, but a significantly increased force output of approximately 15% was found after 3 minutes of repetitive contractions which persisted throughout the 30-minute protocol. The authors concluded that NAC resulted in improved performance suggestive of oxidative stress having a causal role in the fatigue process.”

Other studies have also confirmed that NAC supplementation helps delay muscle fatigue during exercise, thereby improving endurance. In one study,21 NAC infusion increased the time to exhaustion by 26.3%.

NAC’s ability to reduce fatigue and improve cellular redox (oxidation reduction) also hints at its potential benefit for those struggling with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

The Glutathione Depletion Theory of CFS

As explained by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CFS, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME, is characterized by “overwhelming fatigue that is not improved by rest.”22 The fatigue is frequently such that it challenges your ability to perform even the most common of daily life tasks, such as showering or preparing a meal.

The role of glutathione in this condition is addressed in “A Simple Explanation of the Glutathione/Methylation Depletion Theory of ME/CFS”23 by the late Rich Van Konynenburg, Ph.D., developer of the methylation protocol used by many in the CFS community.24,25

According to Van Konynenburg, oxidative stress “is probably the best-proven biochemical aspect of chronic fatigue syndrome,” and in order for your oxidative stress to overwhelm your system, something must be placing excessive demands on your glutathione supply.

Several examples were already listed above, such as inadequate antioxidant and/or excessive pro-oxidant intake, toxic exposures and physical injuries. Long-term emotional stress can also be a factor. As noted in Van Konynenburg’s article:

“All people experience a variety of stressors all the time, and a healthy person’s body is able to keep up with the demands for glutathione by recycling used glutathione molecules and by making new ones as needed.

However, if a person’s body cannot keep up, either because of extra-high demands or inherited genetic polymorphisms that interfere with recycling or making glutathione, or both, the levels of glutathione in the cells can go too low …

One of the jobs that glutathione normally does is to protect your supply of vitamin B12 from reacting with toxins … When your glutathione level goes too low, your B12 becomes naked and vulnerable, and is hijacked by toxins.

Also, the levels of toxins rise in the body when there isn’t enough glutathione to take them out, so there are two unfortunate things that work together to sabotage your B12 when glutathione goes too low.”

The B12-Glutathione Connection

Vitamin B12 helps your body convert food into glucose for energy, and fatigue is one of the symptoms of low B12 levels.26 Interestingly, many with CFS have elevated B12 levels. Their bodies simply cannot use it properly, and one potential culprit is low glutathione.

“The best test to reveal this is a urine organic acids test that includes methylmalonic acid. It will be high if the B12 is being sidetracked, and this is commonly seen in people with CFS,” Van Konynenburg states, adding:27

“The most important job that B12 has in the body is to form methylcobalamin, which is one of the two active forms of B12. This form is needed by the enzyme methionine synthase, to do its job. An enzyme is a substance that catalyzes, or encourages, a certain biochemical reaction.

When there isn’t enough methylcobalamin, methionine synthase has to slow down its reaction. Its reaction lies at the junction of the methylation cycle and the folate cycle, so when this reaction slows down, it affects both these cycles …

The methylation cycle has some important jobs to do. First, it acts as a little factory to supply methyl (CH3) groups to a large number of reactions in the body. Some of these reactions make things like creatine, carnitine, coenzyme Q10, phosphatidylcholine, melatonin, and lots of other important substances for the body.

It is not a coincidence that these substances are found to be low in CFS … Not enough of them is being made because of the partial block in the methylation cycle.

The methylation cycle also supplies methyl groups to be attached to DNA molecules, and this helps to determine whether the blueprints in the DNA will be used to make certain proteins according to their patterns.

The ‘reading’ of DNA is referred to as ‘gene expression.’ Methyl groups prevent or ‘silence’ gene expression. Overexpression of genes has been observed in CFS patients, and I suspect this is at least partly due to lack of sufficient methylation to silence gene expression.”

The Basic Biochemical Mechanism of CFS

The methylation cycle also regulates your body’s use of sulfur, and the production of sulfur-containing substances, including glutathione. CFS patients often have abnormal levels of sulfur metabolites. Once you understand the interconnectedness of glutathione, B12 and the methylation cycle, it becomes easier to see how chronic CFS arises. As explained by Van Konynenburg:28

“When glutathione goes too low, the effect on vitamin B12 slows down the methylation cycle too much. The sulfur metabolites are then dumped into the transsulfuration pathway (which is connected to the methylation cycle) too much, are oxidized to form cystine, pass through hydrogen sulfide, and are eventually converted to thiosulfate and sulfate and are excreted in the urine.

This lowers the production of glutathione, which requires cysteine rather than cystine, and now there is a vicious circle mechanism that preserves this malfunction and keeps you sick … That’s the basic biochemical mechanism of CFS … everything else flows from this …

Here’s how I believe the fatigue occurs: The cells have little powerplants in them, called mitochondria. Their job is to use food as fuel to produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP acts as a source of energy to drive a very large number of reactions in the cells.

For examples, it drives the contraction of the muscle fibers, and it provides the energy to send nerve impulses. It also supplies the energy to make stomach acid and digestive enzymes to digest our food, and many, many other things.

When glutathione goes too low in the muscle cells, the levels of oxidizing free radicals rise, and these react with parts of the ‘machinery’ in the little powerplants, lowering their output of ATP.

So the muscle cells then experience an energy crisis, and that’s what causes the fatigue. Over time, because of the lack of enough glutathione, more problems accumulate in the mitochondria, including toxins, viral DNA, and mineral imbalances.”

All of these factors will ultimately decimate your immune function as well, allowing pathogenic bacteria, viruses and fungi to take over. CFS patients will frequently have several infections ongoing at the same time. Low glutathione also impedes your body’s natural detoxification pathways, allowing toxicity to build over time, thereby causing ever-increasing dysfunction.

The Answer for CFS

So, how do you turn this chain of events around? As noted in Van Konynenburg’s article:29

“The main key to turning this process around is to help the methionine synthase enzyme to operate more normally, so that the partial block in the methylation cycle and the folate cycle are lifted, and glutathione is brought back up to normal. That is what the simplified treatment approach is designed to do, and so far, the evidence is that it does do these things in most people who have CFS.

I recommend that people with CFS have the Vitamin Diagnostics methylation pathways panel run to find out if they do in fact have a partial methylation cycle block and glutathione depletion before deciding, with their doctors, whether to try this treatment.

This also provides a baseline so that progress can be judged later on by repeating it every few months during the treatment. Symptoms may not be a good guide to judge progress during treatment, because detoxing and die-off can make the symptoms worse, while in fact they are exactly what is needed to move the person toward recovery.”

An outline of Van Konynenburg’s simplified methylation treatment plan for CFS can be found in HealthRising.org.30 At the core of this treatment is the use of specific supplements, including folate, B12, a multivitamin, SAMe and phosphatidyl serine.

In his protocol, he explains the theory behind the use of each of these supplements, how they impact the methylation cycle, and their interactions with other supplements.

My take-home message here is that glutathione and NAC supplementation may not always be the ideal way to go. People with CFS may be better supported by a customized assessment by an experienced clinician that may also include methyl folate and methyl vitamin B12.

General Dosing and Safety Guidelines for NAC

For many others, however, NAC can be safely used to boost glutathione levels. For more information about how NAC can benefit your health, see “The Many Benefits of NAC.” It’s widely available as an oral dietary supplement and is relatively inexpensive. Unfortunately, like glutathione, NAC is poorly absorbed when taken orally, although it’s better than glutathione.

According to some studies,31,32 NAC’s oral bioavailability may range between 4% and 10%, which is why the recommended dosage can go as high as 1,800 milligrams (mg) per day. Its half-life is also in the neighborhood of two hours, which is why most study subjects take it two or three times a day.

No maximum safe dose has yet been determined, but as a general rule, it’s well-tolerated, although some do experience gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea, diarrhea or constipation. Should this occur, reduce your dosage. It’s also best taken in combination with food, to reduce the likelihood of gastrointestinal effects.

Also keep in mind that since NAC boosts glutathione, which is a powerful detox agent, you may experience debilitating detox symptoms if you start with too high a dose. To avoid this, start low, with say 400 to 600 mg once a day, and work your way up.

Also, if you are currently taking an antidepressant or undergoing cancer treatment, be sure to discuss the use of NAC with your physician, as it may interact with some antidepressants and chemotherapy.

 Sources and References

Can Lowering Inflammation Help Major Depression?


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/12/26/lowering-inflammation-may-help-depression.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked image

An Avocado a Day Boosts Your Brain

© 27th November 2019 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
Reproduced from original article:
www.greenmedinfo.health/blog/avocado-day-boosts-your-brain

LeanMachine Note: Lutein with Zeaxanthin is available as a supplement.