Tag Archives: Alzheimer’s disease

Vitamin D activating enzyme and Glyphosate, the herbicide Roundup,

The herbicide Roundup has an active ingredient, glyphosate, that has been found to inhibit the action of a group of enzymes, the cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes, which are important within the liver for synthesis of cholesterol products and for activation of vitamin D to the active hormone D form.

Taking megadoses of vitamin D would not help much if the body is unable to activate it to the hormone form.

Presumably glyphosate is only toxic to bacteria but our intestines and our health depend on our intestines having a healthy balance of bacteria. And more bad news, one of the few types of intestinal bacteria that are able to break down glyphosate, unfortunately are able to break it down to formaldehyde which is toxic to humans and has been associated with increased risk for developing autism. It also chelates some trace minerals including zinc and cobalt.

  • This article is long and complicated but it is written for the average reader as well as for those in academic fields. It explains the complicated chemistry of the enzyme involved in vitamin D metabolism and glysophate better than I could try to re-explain it. An excerpt of the closing paragraphs: “I also would argue that Alzheimer’s disease arises from similar pathologies as does autism, and it might be characterized as “autism for the elderly.” Therefore, its recent alarming increases may also be due predominantly to glyphosate. Glyphosate can also easily explain the obesity epidemic and depression through its disruption of the supply of tryptophan, the sole precursor to serotonin. I have shown how glyphosate disrupts both sulfate synthesis and sulfate transport, and my research has led me to believe that impaired sulfate supply to all the tissues is a common underlying pathology in most modern diseases.The best way to minimize glyphosate exposure is to adhere strictly to a completely organic diet. Most important is to avoid all the Roundup-Ready GMO crops: corn, soy, sugar beets, canola oil, and cottonseed oil, as well as wheat and sugar cane, due to desiccation practices. Any use of Roundup to kill weeds in lawn maintenance should be abandoned.” (I added the bold font): — by Seneff S., “Roundup: The “Nontoxic” Chemical that May Be Destroying our Health,” (Oct. 30, 2013)  [http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/roundup-the-nontoxic-chemical-that-may-be-destroying-our-health/]

So the preventing autism diet just got a lot more complicated – avoid all Roundup-Ready crops and crops that use Roundup as a desiccant — corn, soy, sugar beets, canola oil, and cottonseed oil, as well as wheat and sugar cane, and limit use of herbicides that contain Roundup within your home garden or lawn.

Moderation generally helps but this is a large group to have to avoid. Ending the use of the GMO crops that have been associated with negative health effects in the first place would make the question about labeling less critical or  unnecessary – in my opinion.

But if you needed some added incentive for resisting sugary foods now you can use possibly protecting yourself from Alzheimer’s Disease as a motivator to avoid sugar beets and sugar cane. Maybe it’s time for a glass of spirulina water – naturally sweet and a pretty blue-green color. (Note: Chlorella  is a type of green algae so the health benefits of spirulina and chlorella may be slightly different, in a past blog I had suggested they were likely similar but at that time I hadn’t realized that they are not both types of blue-green algae.)

Additional article on the topic of glysophate: [http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/05/14/glyphosate.aspx]

/Disclosure: Opinions are my own and this 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./

Curiosity, innovation and problem solving; a discussion in haiku

Innovation is:

a four syllable word that

doesn’t fit well in a haiku.

(Not a haiku.)


Reading is:

an adventure, that stimulates the mind,

and may lead to innovation.

(Not a haiku.)



Feeds the spirit and also

fits in a haiku.

(A haiku.)


Innovation asks,

Where is curiosity?

You are needed here.

(A haiku.)


To solve hard problems,

Ask first, “What is the answer?”

Not, “Can it be solved?”

(A haiku.)


Problems can be solved,

When there’s also belief that

An answer exists.

(A haiku.)


For more on the topic look up confirmation bias or Read more on psychologytoday.com: [https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201304/top-10-list-psychology-s-big-questions-and-the-answers]

Poetry may help increase brain connectivity in a similar way to listening to or composing music, Read more about poetry and neuroscience: [ http://5bestthings.com/great-ways-poetry-lights-up-the-brain/]

/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./

Substance P, neuropathic pain, migraines, and the cannabinoid system

Our bodies don’t have specific receptors just for sensing “pain.” Pain is a sign that something is wrong in the body and is sensed in a variety of ways. In medical terminology there are two main types of “pain.” Nociceptive pain is associated with physical damage to the body or by sensations of pressure or heat or extreme cold. It might be due to pressure from a cancer tumor. Nociceptive pain might be described as “sharp, aching or throbbing.” Neuropathic pain is caused by physical damage or pressure on nerves. It might also be due to a cancer tumor but one that is pressing on a nerve. Nerve damage can also be due to some nutrient deficiencies such as vitamin B12, [B12}, or other “Nutritional imbalance, alcoholism, toxins, infections or auto-immunity.” Neuropathic pain often is described as “a burning or heavy sensation, or numbness along the path of the affected nerve.” [http://www.medtronicneuro.com.au/chronic_pain_commontypes.html]

Some types of pain such as migraine headaches may involve both nociceptive pain due to the pressure of inflammation or dilation of blood vessels an neuropathic pain from pressure on nerves by dilated or inflamed blood vessels.

  1. G. La Rana, et al., AM404, an anandamide transport inhibitor, reduces plasma extravasation in a model of neuropathic pain in rat: Role for cannabinoid receptors, Neuropharmacology, Vol. 54 Issue 3, March 2008, Pages 521–529 Abstract opening: “Neuropathic pain consequent to peripheral nerve injury has been associated with local inflammation. Following noxious stimulation afferent fibres release substance P (SP) and calcitonin-gene related peptide (CGRP), which are closely related to oedema formation and plasma leakage. ” Read more, Abstract available:[http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028390807003504]
  2. Paul L. Durham, Ph.D., Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide (CGRP) and Migraine, Headache. 2006 Jun; 46(Suppl 1): S3–S8. Excerpt: “Activation of trigeminal sensory nerve fibers causes a pain response to be conveyed to the brainstem (and from there to higher brain centers) and evokes release of vasoactive peptides such as substance P and CGRP from trigeminal fibers. These peptides exacerbate vasodilation and cause neurogenic inflammation characterized by vasodilation, leakage of blood vessels, and degranulation of mast cells.4 ”  Levels of CGRP increase in people who suffer from migraines and a type of prescription medication, called sumatriptan, which has been found helpful to stop migraine pain, has also been found to inhibit the release of CGRP in migraine patients. The medication may be inhibiting the release of CGRP by increasing intracellular levels of calcium (*which might then be causing an increased release of endogenous cannabinoids from membrane storage.) “The cytokine TNF-α was studied in view of previous observations that it is among the most consistently elevated cytokine in migraine and that it, like nerve growth factor in the experiments described above, activates MAPK pathways in various cell types including neurons.19 The results of the investigations reveal that TNF-α-1 receptors were present on most CGRP-containing rat trigeminal ganglia neurons. In addition, CGRP release from cultured trigeminal neurons was increased after treatment with TNF-α or ceramide, an intracellular signaling intermediate from the TNF-α-1 receptor.“Read more, Full text available:[http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3134175/] (*TNF = Tumor Necrosis Factor. Increased levels of ceramide are found in Alzheimer’s and it is involved in the cannabinoid membrane system also. Ref’s: Surprising finding provides more support for Alzheimer’s being an autoimmune disease  ,  *Activating cannabinoid receptors type 1 –> production, which mediates cannabinoid induced apoptosis – p67 )
  3. Calcitonin is a hormone released by the thyroid that promotes lower blood calcium levels by reducing bone resorption (bone resorption: breakdown of the bone and release of minerals). [http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/calcitonin]
  4. Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide 1 and 2 cause dilation of blood vessels in the heart and brain and throughout the body. Its prevalence in the Central Nervous System (CNS) also suggests that it may also have a neurotransmitter or neuromodulator role. [http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P06881] [http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P10092] CGRP is produced by nerve cells in the brain and throughout the body. The protein has a role in sensations of pain. It is a member of the calcitonin family of proteins and exerts its effects at receptors that are formed from two other types of receptors including the “calcitonin receptor-like receptor (CALCRL) and a receptor activity-modifying protein (RAMP1).[7] ” ”  The alpha form of the protein may help reduce pain while the beta form is associated with migraine, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, psoriasis (an eczema-like condition believed to be autoimmune in nature), and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The beta form is largely produced in keratinocytes found in the epidermis layer of skin. The alpha form is the type produced more within sensory nerves.[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcitonin_gene-related_peptide] *Note to self — ouch. I have had severe migraines, TMJ, symptoms like IBS, and severe eczema throughout much of my life. My keratinocytes may be the common element.
  5. Quanzhi Hou, et al., Keratinocyte expression of calcitonin gene-related peptide β: Implications for neuropathic and inflammatory pain mechanisms, Pain, Vol 152, Issue 9, September 2011, Pages 2036–2051, Keratinocytes also express the two types of receptors that form the CGRP receptor. Read more, Abstract available:[http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304395911003137]
  6. Xiaoyou Shi, et al., Neuropeptides Contribute to Peripheral Nociceptive Sensitization by Regulating Interleukin-1 Beta Production in Keratinocytes, Anesth Analg, 2011, July 113(1) 175-183, This article includes a discussion of Substance P and CGRP levels in a type of chronic peripheral pain condition and whether Substance P and CGRP might cause an increased production of IL-1beta. The discussion mentions that an abnormal response to capsaicin is observed in patients with the chronic peripheral pain condition called “complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).” [Capsaicin is the active phytochemical found in hot peppers which can also be a trigger for symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsaicin] Full text available: [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3123433/]
  7. Capsaicin is the active phytochemical found in hot peppers which can also be a trigger for symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Except probably not in birds: “The seeds of Capsicum plants are dispersed predominantly by birds: in birds, the TRPV1 channel does not respond to capsaicin or related chemicals (avian vs mammalian TRPV1 show functional diversity and selective sensitivity).” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsaicin]
  8. I love search engines and the large volume of knowledge available online. Somewhat related posts on this site:  1) And what do osmomechanical stress, changes of temperature, chili powder, curry powder, ginger, Benicar, hormone D, steroids, and cannabinoids have in common? (Answer – TRPV1 channels and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.) 2) Links about magnesium deficiency and Substance P, a neuropeptide associated with inflammation, .

Time for an Epsom bath perhaps.

Epsom salt baths can be a well absorbed source of magnesium because skin absorption will bypass a problem of poor intestinal absorption of magnesium. Calcium tends to be preferentially absorbed by the intestines, especially when there is an imbalance in vitamin and hormone D levels and poor intestinal absorption of magnesium over time can easily lead to symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency are usually labeled something else by the medical profession because the problem is not obvious on lab tests until it is quite severe because the body takes more magnesium from the bones as needed up until the point where osteoporosis is severe  enough to cause a shortage of stored magnesium.

Soaking in a bathtub for twenty minutes that has one cup of Epsom salt to a half full bathtub, and one teaspoon of a cooking vinegar such as apple cider vinegar to balance the alkalinity of the Epsom salt, can be a cure for a bad mood as well as various achy muscle cramps if magnesium deficiency is an underlying problem. Negative symptoms can occur if you stay in the bath too long. Excess magnesium absorption can cause loose watery stools for an entire day, not just once. Falling asleep in the bath can also lead to more life threatening symptoms of a weak, and fluttery heart rate, or even lead to coma and/or death — so twenty minutes to forty minutes is probably safe for a deficient person while someone who isn’t deficient might notice a weak slowing heart rate sooner than the twenty minute average that a person deficient in magnesium might find only as calming and soothing to  their mood and muscles. A person who was deficient but who then started taking the baths regularly might start noticing the weak heart rate sooner — get out of the tub then, even if its not been twenty minutes — shower and rinse time. Research on the therapeutic use of Epsom salt baths recommended one cup Epsom salt to the half full/full bath and use up to three to four times per week, but not daily.

I can’t find the actual research study among the following posts of mine (see below) but Dr. Oz has an article on the baths also and recommends the twenty minutes a few times a week also: [http://blog.doctoroz.com/oz-experts/restoring-magnesium-levels-with-epsom-salt-baths]

Previous posts on magnesium deficiency and Epsom salt baths:

1) Autistic kids wash up happier in an Epsom salt bath, .

2) Hypomagnesemia symptoms and causes list, .

3) Magnesium deficiency can cause irritability, anxiety, and chronic degeneration, .

4) Note to self: Epsom salt bath first, keyboard second; Irritability, Schizophrenia, T. gondii, and hormone D, .

An update on schizophrenia, unrelated to Substance P, migraines, or Epsom Salt baths:

5) The voices that people with schizophrenia are hearing are probably their own inner thoughts, .

/Disclaimer: This 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./

Aluminum toxicity and acute onset Alzheimer’s Disease

An industrial worker developed early onset Alzheimer’s Disease after working for several years exposed to air that was contaminated with aluminum dust. Another woman had developed early onset Alzheimer’s years after her local water source had been contaminated with a significant amount of aluminum. [1]

The link between Alzheimer’s Disease and aluminum has been suspected for many years because brain autopsies of patients who died with the disease were often found to have elevated levels of aluminum compared to average. Not all studies found the same increase in aluminum however: “Some studies have reported that the aluminium concentration in the bulk brain samples, neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) and plaques was higher in AD subjects than controls. Other studies have found no difference.” [2]

As a potential neuro-toxin — a brain toxin — aluminum could also be adding to the risk of neurological problems developing in children. Aluminum is used as a preservative in many vaccinations and children are getting more vaccinations in total now than were given in the 1970’s. “In the 1970s, children got only four aluminum-containing vaccines in their first 18 months of life, but now they typically receive 17.” The following article includes a list of sources of aluminum in food and other products, Read more: [1]

I’m tagging this prenatal care because women who are pregnant or who might conceive would be advised to avoid sources of heavy metal toxins such as aluminum. “Modest evidence of an effect exists for reproductive toxicity following oral exposure, for neurological toxicity following either oral or injection exposure, and for bone toxicity following injection exposure. All other effects were judged to be supported by either limited evidence or no clear evidence at all.” [2]

  1. Mercola.com, Aluminum Toxicity and Alzheimer’s Disease, [http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/03/22/aluminum-toxicity-alzheimers.aspx]
  2. Human Health Risk Assessment for Aluminum, Aluminum oxide, and Aluminum hydroxide, [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2782734/] *Low iron intake might increase risk of absorption of aluminum. bone abnormalities are more prevalent than symptoms of cognitive impairment in cases of people with aluminum exposure. However, “Occupational aluminium exposure was significantly correlated with a variety of neuropyschiatric symptoms including; loss of coordination, loss of memory, and problems with balance.” “The majority, but not all, of epidemiological studies identified, reported a positive association between aluminium levels in drinking water and risk of cognitive impairment dementia, or AD. There is some evidence to suggest silica in drinking water is protective against the development of dementia.
  3. Siegfried Gursche, MH, Silica – The Forgotten Nutrient, [http://www.alive.com/health/silica-the-forgotten-nutrient/] (I forgot about it, but pregnant woman might want to remember silica: “Pregnant women benefit greatly from adding silica to their diets, as it prevents stretch marks.” According to this article the nutrient silaca might also be helpful for people suffering from Crohn’s Disease, diarrhea, and other intestinal problems. And silica may be protective against cancer, and is important for healthy hair and skin. Food sources include: oatmeal, millet, barley, potatoes, whole wheat, Jerusalem artichoke, red beets, corn asparagus, and rye.)

/Disclosure: This 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./

Alzheimer’s disease associated with a viral infection

If an underlying cause can be established for Alzheimer’s disease then treatment for the condition might be possible. The presence of reactivated cold sores from the virus Herpes simplex virus type 1 (n=3,432 participants were followed for 11.3 years on average) or being a carrier for the virus (n=360, an average of 9.6 years elapsed before the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease was made) were found to be associated with a doubled risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life. The research team at Umea University in Sweden hope that finding an early risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease might help lead to a treatment for Alzheimer’s  disease in the future. [ScienceDaily]

It might be more encouraging news that a study using lab animals found that eating walnuts regularly might help reduce risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Keeping active mentally may also help reduce risk for cognitive decline. Having a larger vocabulary was associated with less risk for Alzheimer’s disease in a patient based study. [Daily Express]

So the vocabulary building rice game could be helping to preserve brain cells and end world hunger at the same time – freerice.com – a win in any language.


Sea squirts are similar to white blood cells

From an old post of mine (Jan 10, 2012):

White blood cells need plenty of magnesium to do the work of apoptosis – hunting down, killing and engulfing the waste left over from decaying normal cells (in need of recycling), or infected or precancerous cells (to be reduced and reused).
The immune function of seq squirts was found to be compromised by copper sulfate, creosote (found in wood treated to be water resistant) and TBTO (found in marine boat paint). Sea squirts are a very basic life form that may move and perform similarly to white blood cells – which are our mobile work force for repair and growth of new tissue and for killing and removing old, infected or pre-cancerous tissue.

Addition (Sept. 9, 2014): Tunicates, also known as sea squirts, have made it into the news because they may have anti cancer properties [1] and they are one of the simplest life forms with cannabinoid receptors. [2]

Research into the effectiveness of drugs for Alzheimer’s Disease has also occurred using tunicates. They are said to be our closest invertebrate ancestors with about 80% of their genes being similar to human genes. Inserting a misshapen protein from a patient with a hereditary type of Alzheimer’s Disease was found to start a rapid change in the structure of proteins in the tunicates within one day. So tunicates can be very rapidly made sick with symptoms that are similar to Alzheimer’s Disease. That makes them more useful for testing new drugs for Alzheimer’s Disease than other types of larger vertebrate animals used in medical research. [3]

Tunicates help clean the water supply but they can also be made sick by toxins in the water. Pollution isn’t just bad for humans or just bad for today’s humans, it is bad for everything, and will be for centuries. — The take home point is that if copper sulfate, creosote and TBTO are bad for sea squirts then the pollutants are likely to be bad for us too, — we are distant cousins after all, 80% related at least.

/Disclaimer: Information presented on this site is not intended as a substitute for medical care and should not be considered as a substitute for individualized medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See a health professional for personal health care needs./

Magnesium might help protect against beta amyloid placques

Working on experimental medications for a prenatal population places the infants at risk in addition to the female patients. In my professional experience instructing clients about raw pumpkin seeds and the DASH diet frequently helped prevent preeclampsia or high blood pressure problems from reoccurring for patients with a history of having had the problem during a previous pregnancy. Pumpkin seed kernels are similar to sunflower seeds, both are good sources of magnesium and many other nutrients. The DASH diet promotes eating a serving of nuts, seeds or beans daily as a source of magnesium. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. [1]

Additional note: *Raw pumpkin seeds were my recommendation because the toasted salted ones can be very salty which would dilute the amount of magnesium naturally available in the seed compared to the large amount of sodium available from the added salt. Excess sodium can cause increased urinary losses of magnesium in the average person and may increase risk of high blood pressure in people who are salt sensitive. [5]

In a recent study conducted in 19 hypertensive patients after 2 months of adherence to a low (50 mmol/d) and high (200 mmol/d) sodium intake, the investigators observed an increase in intracellular (erythrocyte) calcium and sodium concentrations and a reduction in magnesium concentration during salt loading, primarily in salt-sensitive subjects.82 [5]

Nutritional strategies recommended to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease include increasing intake of magnesium. Research has found that low levels of magnesium promoted build up of  beta amyloid protein while high levels of magnesium promoted breakdown of the misshapen proteins.

“Lab studies show that magnesium modulates enzymes involved in amyloid beta production; at low levels, magnesium favors amyloid beta buildup, while at higher levels it favors amyloid beta breakdown.101,102″ [2]

That article also contains good news for coffee drinkers; drinking 3 to 5 cups of caffeinated coffee per day is associated with reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease. The article suggests that the caffeine content itself seems to provide the protective effects. [2] Coffee is also a good source of magnesium, perhaps that is a coincidence. However three to five cups of coffee is more than is recommended during pregnancy; one cup per day is likely safe while six cups of coffee per day may be harmful for pregnancy. The article also recommends blueberries and curcumin (found in turmeric which is commonly used in mustard and in curry powder) which would be safe during pregnancy.

The misshapen proteins have a protective effect against bacteria and the yeast Candida albicans so a chronic lowgrade infection may be an underlying cause of the accumulation of beta amyloid placques. [3] [4]

/Disclaimer: This information is for educational or entertainment purposes, see a health professional for individual medical guidance./