Malaria, climate, and vector control

Climate changes that lead to an increase in warm and wet conditions and flooding can increase risk for malaria. Modern methods of vector control have focused on insecticides but more traditional methods involved drainage of wet areas or containers that might be a breeding area for the mosquitoes that can carry the disease.

Regarding treatment or herbal preventatives there is a plant that has been found effective as a whole herbal product or as an extract. Use of the whole plant may be more effective due to synergistic – additive – benefits of the various phytochemicals found in the plant. The extract artemisinin is used in combination with two other chemicals and is sold as a pharmaceutical treatment for malaria however availability can be a problem in areas where the infectious disease is common such as Sub Saharan Africa and resistance to the treatment is developing in some types of the malaria infection. (WHO Q & A on artemisinin resistance) The plant however feasibly could be grown in nearby northern Africa as it is native to the region. The plant is commonly known as wormwood or Chinese Absinthe. It has traditionally also been used in the production of the alcoholic beverage called Absinthe. Some of the other phytochemicals that might have synergistic medicinal benefits include terpenes, flavonoids, coumarines, and beta-caryopyllene which can act as a non-euphoria inducing CB2 receptor agonist (more on beta-caryophyllene: mybiohack). Coumarines are used in cardiovascular disease treatments.

So use of the whole plant in the form of dried, ground or crumbled leaves makes good sense for the synergistic – additive- benefits of the herbal medicinal plant rather than having a limited supply of one specific extracted phytonutrient – the artemisinin.  Use of the dried leaves has been found beneficial for the treatment of malaria either in the form of a tea or in a prepared capsule of the powder. About ten grams per day in a powdered capsule or made into a tea with a liter of water is mentioned as beneficial treatment for active cases of malaria when used several days in a row: (Absinthe chinoise/Chinese Absinthe – reference is in French – an auto-translation into English for those without the function available: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1U7YWQvePd83RezWVylCdzrhIC3hu_n9bJfqUg0eIzFQ/edit?usp=sharing)

Malaria is a disease that can be treated but which also can cause relapses and which frequently leads to death. It is a leading cause of death in problem areas which include Sub-Saharan Africa. (WHO malaria report 2017) Going into business in nearby regions to produce herbal tea leave or powdered capsules of the dried leaves of wormwood/Chinese Absinthe makes sense from a life saving perspective and possible as a cost saving perspective. The herbal plant phytonutrients may also be beneficial as a preventative if taken regularly instead of waiting until malaria infections are present. If grown in a nearby region and processed as dried whole leaves production facilities could be fairly simple compared to the chemical processing to make an extract of only the artemisinin portion of the whole leaves. If some of the wormwood/Chinese Absinthe crop was also used to produce an alcoholic Absinthe then that might also subsidize the production of the plant for use as an herbal medication in the form of tea leaves or powdered capsules.

Another simple solution to help reduce malaria in areas where it is more of a risk is to reduce the amount of wet areas where mosquitoes grow as larva. Drain ditches and empty any old containers that collect water because they may also be breeding space for infectious mosquito larva. Insecticides on bednets or sprayed on the interior of housing is placing young and pregnant and chronically ill people more at risk from the toxic insecticides and are only helpful against insects that are already present. Draining breeding areas of water prevents mosquitoes from multiplying in the first place.

Health tips for controlling mosquitoe populations in areas where they may carry diseases such as malaria, yellow fever or zika:  http://mosquitopundit.net/mosquitopundit-blog.html

 

Malaria and climate change

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

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Distractions from nutrition – a timeline

Goals for the chronically ill often are different than for those who enjoy typical health – avoiding a cold is less difficult than avoiding increased inflammation that can lead to an inability to digest food, or to heal small wounds, or to grow skin in areas where skin cells are replaced on a weekly basis such as in mucous membranes of the nose or mouth or in the ear canal. Those rapidly growing areas represent all of the lining of the intestinal tract. If your skin isn’t healing well from minor scrapes and you have frequent nose bleeds then likely your entire digestive tract isn’t in good shape either. Cells are replaced throughout the body on a regular basis but some areas have a longer life cycle for the replacement than other areas.

(Non-healing sores may be more common in autoimmune condition Lupus, patient forum, may also occur with vasculitis – migraines may involve vasculitis. Patient forums for people with odd diseases can be comforting if only to let them know they aren’t alone. Sunlight exposure can make Lupus worse or be a trigger for some types of vasculitis sores.  The patient forum tips also included a warning not to use petroleum jelly (Vasoline TM) within the nasal passages as it can increase risk for a type of lung infection. Coconut oil was recommended by another forum comment and is the active ingredient in a product that I’ve found helpful for moistening the dry scabby tissue – pain is the common complaint along with bleeding or seeping plasma from the sore tissue. Applying tiny amount within the nasal passage or ear area is not easy but pain is unpleasant. /(After reading the patient forum tips I’ve switched to plain coconut oil as was suggested and it does seem more healing than the thicker chapstick which likely contains some waxes in addition to coconut oil. While a humid, moist air quality is helpful I’ve also found that clean air is important, smoke or smog like air made the skin condition worse whether there was a humidifier or not.)/

I’ve also found relief after a magnesium sulfate/Epsom salt bath and the dryness is reduced with adequate humidity in the air. A damp towel hung near a heating vent can help add humidity to a closed small room if a commercial humidifier isn’t available or seems inadequate. Commercial humidifiers should be cleaned with bleach water or another sanitizing agent occasionally or they may be adding mold or other infectious pathogens to the air – the damp towel dries each night and needs to be remoistened and simply washed occasionally as it doesn’t really get dirty or mold because it doesn’t stay damp. Mold and pathogens can grow on the commercial humidifiers because they tend to always retain some moisture in portions of the machinery. )

Not having a severe headache, migraine pain, and being able to breathe through both nostrils at the same time due to frequent congestion problems are also part of my good days versus bad days. Severe exhaustion and just having the energy to get dressed can be a limiting factor for a day’s goals to get anything else accomplished. Chronic illness is becoming more common rather than less common and how to help prevent or manage it is something that nutrition can help in ways that a bottle of medication can’t because the cell repair throughout the body needs many trace nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and an adequate amount and variety of protein and essential fats and carbohydrates – every day, throughout the day.

Strolling through the distractions used to suggest my concerns about nutrition are unfounded simply reveal the accuracy. (More on the “Weaponization of Social Media” by the U.S. and others) My providing free information is simply in the hope that it might be helpful to someone. I will be fine because I’ve found the research and am using it for my own benefit. Living in a desert is not something that my health can handle however and has never been my goal. The advantage of a virtual world is that if twenty readers find my information valuable then they can benefit from it wherever they are sitting and don’t need me to be present or to be living in a desert area.

Do your own research or find a health care practitioner that is trained in nutrition to help guide you if you are interested in taking better care of yourself now rather than waiting for worse chronic illness or brain degeneration. You could be one of the twenty readers who are interested or not, life is full of choice but consider whether you are choosing for yourself or whether you are accepting society’s Darwin Award of chronic illness via modern lifestyle. The United States is becoming one of the most unhealthy countries on average. Qatar is leading the group too but only since the decades since switching to a modern lifestyle and dietary habits.  (20% diabetes rate in Qatar)(Magnesium deficiency causes insulin resistance)

Supporting big business profit goals is noble but so is survival of the ecosystem over the next thousand years – if we make it through the next one hundred I have hope that we will have figured out more sustainable ways to produce energy and use renewable agricultural methods and that we will survive the next thousand – we are at a turning point where pretending the status quo is working is no longer helpful and is harmful even over the short term.

  1. Obsessive about vitamin D, must be crazy – no my recommendation to not take excessive vitamin D and calcium supplements as it is not a sure way to protect against bone fracture risk and may be harmful, has been since supported by research and is now the standard recommendation. My initial recommendation was in February 2011, this update is December 2017:  https://www.acsh.org/news/2017/12/27/calcium-and-vitamin-d-supplements-still-do-not-prevent-fractures-12329
  2. Some people may truly have low vitamin and hormone D levels while others may have a condition that causes the inactive vitamin D level to be low while the active hormone D level is elevated and likely causing an elevation or tendency to elevation of the body’s calcium levels through increased absorption and decreased excretion and which also leads decreased magnesium absorption and increased magnesium excretion as the minerals are kind of a team. In ancient times magnesium was very plentiful in the water and food supply while calcium is rare so our evolutionary physiology tipped towards conserving calcium and wasting magnesium. Ideally simply ask to have both your inactive vitamin D level (25-D) and your active (1-25-D) hormone D levels to be tested but the current treatment and research recommendations generally just test the less expensive measurement of 25-D. Sarcoidosis, HIV, tuberculosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis are some examples of diseases that may have altered balances of 25-D and 1-25-D. The metabolism of vitamin D is complicated and the commonly used herbicide Roundup which contains glyphosate may be inhibiting the CYP enzymes that are needed to make the active form of hormone D from the inactive form or to make the inactive form with sunshine. This is not a widely accepted theory yet (more on the topic in a previous post) but my own health is better for having reduced my intake of foods that may contain glyphosate and by adding a powdered form of the amino acid glycine to my daily routine. I added the supplemental powder when I had a genetic screening performed that revealed a double gene difference in my ability to digest larger proteins down to the individual glycine. It has active roles within the brain which can help reduce anxiety as well as performing other functions and my health has been much improved. Glyphosate is only one methyl group (-OH, one atom of oxygen and one of hydrogen) different from glycine. (more on glycine & glyphosate in this previous post) Inhibition of CYP enzymes might also increase risk of pancreas problems and diabetes and may play a role in risk of developing autism but it isn’t the only chemical that is likely involved and deficiency of vitamin D is likely not the only nutrient deficiency involved – (more on that in this post.)  By the way, I’m looking for a particular link and just haven’t found it yet – please be patient. Still looking but here is a post with some dietary guidance for prenatal or other people interested in reducing intake of foods that may contain glyphosate: (Self care for prenatal care, part one) Okay I found it, see link [page 19, 1] “Other pathogens that have been shown to reduce the activity of the Vitamin D Receptor, in addition to the pathogen that causes Tuberculosis, include the mold Aspergillus, the viruses that cause Epstein-Barr chronic fatigue syndrome and HIV/AIDS, and the autoimmune diseases sarcoidosis, Crohn’s Disease, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Elevated levels of 1, 25(OH)2D are seen with the bacterial infections: “Elevated 1,25(OH)2D appears to be evidence of a disabled immune system’s attempt to activate the VDR to combat infection.” [page 19, 1]”  an excerpt from post: [http://transcendingsquare.com/2015/08/11/whether-to-be-compliant-or-to-be-healthy-seems-like-an-easy-question-to-answer/]” which I included in (Preventing autism perinatally – before conception) Newborn umbilical cord samples which are already collected could be tested for more chemicals in order to help identify which infants are likely to be more at risk for developing autism – I would be because of my genetic difference in my ability to digest protein down to the individual amino acid glycine. A researcher found 15 lab test biomarkers/chemicals in common and to save money organized them into three groups – if an infant has the first five, then pay for the screening of the second set of five and if the infant also has those differences then screen for the last set of three chemicals. If all fifteen or most of the fifteen are different than average than the infant may need dietary modifications to help with special methyl forms of B vitamins or supplements of glycine or methionine or help with detoxifying heavy metals for example. See (Newborn Sceening for Autism – 3 sets of 5 potential biomarkers) As an overview and update I will add a link to an article about a recent review of research on the finding that low vitamin D levels are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer – but – excess levels of vitamin D don’t help protect even more than adequate or good levels. Some nutrients and chemicals are safe at elevated levels because they are excreted easily while others are safe and helpful in a -U- shape, too little or too much can be unsafe to health. Vitamin D when activated to the hormone can help control our own immune system’s ability to make antibiotic type chemicals of our own – all day, everyday as long as the nutrient building blocks are available. Too much or too little vitamin/hormone D can increase risk of cancer or of autoimmune disease.
  3. This isn’t about “I told you so” it is about our government or some other agent actively preventing helpful information from being shared. I will keep sharing information that can be helpful because I know how much pain hurts and some chronic degeneration of body and brain function can not be reversed it can only be prevented – seeing your loved ones and having them not remember basic facts about themselves or their family members hurts emotionally – having them forget how to be able to swallow food hurts them physically unless caregivers to spoon feed them can be afforded or are available within the family. You may have to physically massage their throat to help stimulate a swallow reflex, simply putting the spoon in the mouth may not be enough to stimulate a swallow reflex in end stage Alzheimer’s Disease.
  4. Magnesium matters – and Epsom salt baths or foot-soaks (about one cup magnseium sulfate salt to a half bath for 20 minutes every 3 to 4 days or half cup in a tub of water for a 20-40 minute footsoak) can be a better absorbed method – this is now supported by research. It may also help protect against and reverse early stages of Alzheimer’s  Disease. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4182554/
  5. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency can include mood changes such as depression, anxiety, or anger and irritability and physical symptoms such as muscle cramps, eye twitches, or dry eye. https://www.healingtheeye.com/dry_eye.html
  6. Magnesium is nature’s method for blocking calcium channels – and it doesn’t cause the potential side effects that pharmaceuticals may cause (PPIs such as Pprilosec, Nexium and Prevacid.) http://transcendingsquare.com/2015/10/18/magnesium-deficiency-can-cause-irritability-anxiety-and-chronic-degeneration/
  7. Iodine is an essential nutrient for a healthy weight and appetite for adults and infants and moderate deficiency during pregnancy may be an under lying cause of later development of autism. For some reason I can’t imagine the U.S. nutrient database for iodine content was deleted some point in time between when I first started writing about it in 2010/2011 and now. I keep checking in the hope that the information has been restored – but that day isn’t today: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/nutrients/index
  8. Zinc, B12 and vitamin D deficiency can mimic symptoms of schizophrenia which is a mental disorder where the brain isn’t recognizing the person’s own subvocal thoughts and mutterings. Treating with psychiatric drugs or only one of the missing nutrients wouldn’t cure the person of the symptoms if multiple nutrient deficiencies were the cause.  Low thyroid levels may also be a risk factor and elevated C-reactive protein or an elevated copper to zinc ratio may also be a factor. http://transcendingsquare.com/2016/03/19/the-voices-that-people-with-schizophrenia-are-hearing-are-probably-their-own-inner-thoughts/
  9. Calcium or vitamin D deficiency can cause hyperparathyroidism which can cause disoriented thinking and may cause self injury or suicidal urges. http://transcendingsquare.com/2016/04/23/self-injurious-behavior-in-autism-patients-with-low-calcium-levels/

That’s the short list.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Mountains, rolling, craggy, sunlit, cloud covered – all beautiful

6000 miles later I resisted the required snow chains in the Sierra Mountains only to regret not having them later in the less hilly plain-lands – ice is ice.

Slow down for ice or rain, and construction zones & vehicles on the roadside.

 

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.