Niacin may help prevent or treat migraines.

Niacin may help prevent migraines or tension-type headaches when taken daily based on a review of nine articles about niacin use and migraines or tension-type headaches. It may also help end a migraine that is occurring with the cooling effect that follows the skin-reddening niacin flush.

  • The treatment of migraines and tension-type headaches with intravenous and oral niacin (nicotinic acid): systematic review of the literature. (1)

Chronic tension-type headaches are also associated with cerebrospinal pressure or intracranial venous pressure (or both) [26]. In fact, tension-type headaches are more similar to migraine headaches than they are dissimilar, in that they seem to progress into migraine headaches due to an escalating pathophysiological process [27].” (1)

Niacin may also help reduce a migraine that is occurring, with a 500 mg dose taken to cause the niacin flush.

Regarding one of the articles reviewed: “In this [self] report, Hall describes the use of niacin for his migraine headaches remarking that the migraines resolved when intense flushing occurred.” (1)

The vasodilation in the skin that causes the warm feeling and reddening of the skin is followed by a vasoconstriction and cooling effect on the body and brain. Older research confirmed vasoconstriction in the brain occurs as well as in the peripheral blood vessels, however current research is needed. (1)

From the Discussion section (1) : “When taken intravenously or orally, niacin causes cutaneous flushing that might abort the acute symptoms of migraine by vasodilating the intracranial vessels, thus preventing the subsequent vasoconstriction of the extracranial vessels.

There is evidence that niacin is an effective peripheral vasodilator, but its ability to influence central mechanisms (i.e., cerebral blood flow and cranial hemodynamics) involved in migraine headaches have not been well studied. Niacin causes peripheral vasodilation and cutaneous flushing by inducing the production of prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) in the skin, leading to a marked increase of its metabolite, 9α, 11β-PGF2, in the plasma [22].

When niacin is administered orally in amounts of 500 mg or topically via a 6-inch patch of 10-1 M aqueous methylnicotinate on the forearm, PGD2 is markedly released in the skin and its metabolite appears in high amounts in the plasma [2223]. It is not known if PGD2 causes vasodilation of the intracranial arteries, but niacin’s ability to abort acute migraine headaches suggests that this might be what is occurring.

Old reports cited by Bicknell and Prescott [24], demonstrate that niacin does indeed cause vasodilation of the cerebral and spinal vessels, and that intravenous administration increases the rate of intracranial blood flow in human beings for 20–60 minutes without any significant change in blood pressure. Unfortunately, there have not been more recent reports examining the effects that niacin has upon cerebral blood flow in human subjects.” (1)

Niacin (B3) is needed for Mitochondrial function…

…so are riboflavin (B2), other B vitamins; many trace minerals including magnesium; amino acid derived creatine and cysteine; and the internally made antioxidants CoQ10, glutathione and alpha-lipoic acid.

Niacin helps mitochondria function to burn glucose for energy use or to release as heat (such as in brown fat). Riboflavin and coenzyme Q10 and other nutrients are also used by the mitochondria. (1)

A deficit of mitochondrial energy metabolism may play a role in the pathogenesis of migraine. Since niacin improves mitochondrial energy metabolism by increasing substrate availability to complex I, it might also be an effective agent for migraine prevention.” (1)

Citric Acid Cycle – used for aerobic glycolysis of glucose by the many many Mitochondria within all of our cells.

Graphic (via Dmitry Kats, PhD, @NiacinisHealth) shows the many nutrients that are used in the Citric Acid Cycle by mitochondria when they are metabolizing glucose aerobically, with oxygen, as typical of their normal function. Anaerobic glycolysis, fermentation of glucose or glutamate without oxygen, by mitochondria is associated with cancerous cells.
Nutrients include: B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate), Mg++ (magnesium), Mn++ (manganese), K+ (potassium), zinc, iron, copper, sulfate, CoQ10, carnitine, cysteine, glutathione, Lipoic acid.

B vitamins are very important and we need them in balance because they work as a team. Niacin might not help as much if there is significant lack of the other B vitamins or some of the minerals, amino acids or antioxidants needed for the Citric Acid Cycle to function. The nutrients mentioned as cofactors for the chemical reactions in the above graphic include:

  • B vitamins: B1 (thiamin) (3) , B2 (riboflavin) (4), B3 (niacin) (8, 10), B5 (pantothenic acid) (5), B6 (pyridoxine) (6, 7), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate) (9),
  • Minerals (17): Mg++ (magnesium) (11, 12, 13), Mn++ (manganese), K+ (potassium) (13), zinc (14, 15), iron (16), copper, sulfate,
  • Amino acids: carnitine (derived from lysine), cysteine,
  • Antioxidants: CoQ10, glutathione, alpha-Lipoic acid (ALA).

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.

Reference List

  1. Prousky, J., Seely, D. The treatment of migraines and tension-type headaches with intravenous and oral niacin (nicotinic acid): systematic review of the literature. Nutr J4, 3 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-4-3 https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-4-3
  2. Dmitry Kats, PhD, @NiacinisHealth Citric Acid Cycle graphic
  3. Thiamin: people with anorexia or alcoholism are more at risk for vitamin B1 deficiency. Aug 21, 2013 https://transcendingsquare.com/2013/08/21/thiamin/
  4. Riboflavin – Vitamin B2, May 23, 2018, https://transcendingsquare.com/2018/05/23/riboflavin-vitamin-b2/
  5. Pantothenic Acid – vitamin B5, May 24, 2018 https://transcendingsquare.com/2018/05/24/pantothenic-acid-vitamin-b5/
  6. Vitamin B6, https://transcendingsquare.com/2013/08/21/vitamin-b6-2/
  7. Pyroluria, anxiety and deficiency of B6 and zinc, most recent update, 4/9/2017 https://transcendingsquare.com/2014/09/22/pyroluria-anxiety-and-deficiency-of-b6-and-zinc/
  8. Niacin, & early treatment in general for SARS-CoV-2 is sensible, reduces hospitalization and mortality rate. https://transcendingsquare.com/2021/01/22/niacin-early-treatment-in-general-for-sars-cov-2-is-sensible-reduces-hospitalization-and-mortality-rate/
  9. Folate is essential and Folic Acid is commonly available. Aug 21, 2013, https://transcendingsquare.com/2013/08/21/folate-and-folic-acid-2/
  10. Niacin, Aug 21, 2013, https://transcendingsquare.com/2013/08/21/niacin/
  11. To have optimal Magnesium needs Protein and Phospholipids too. July 20, 2018, https://transcendingsquare.com/2018/07/20/to-have-optimal-magnesium-needs-protein-and-phospholipids-too/
  12. Magnesium – essential for eighty percent of our body’s chemistry. July 1, 2019, https://transcendingsquare.com/2019/07/01/magnesium-essential-for-eighty-percent-of-our-bodys-chemistry/
  13. Electrolytes are essential, magnesium helps protect brain cells. Feb 10, 2011, https://transcendingsquare.com/2011/02/10/electrolytes-r-us-magnesium-saves-brain-cells/
  14. Zinc, https://jenniferdepew.com/zinc
  15. Zinc and the immune system, https://www.peace-is-happy.org/post/zinc-and-the-immune-system
  16. Iron and anemia of chronic inflammation. https://www.peace-is-happy.org/post/iron-and-anemia-of-chronic-inflammation
  17. Trace Minerals – It’s Teamwork. https://www.peace-is-happy.org/post/trace-minerals-it-s-teamwork

Glycine – good for our extracellular matrix & for immune protection against viral infection.

The extracellular matrix is very important for our immune defense as white blood cells actively patrol the areas surrounding cells for pathogens to remove, such as virus. Deficiency of glycine may be involved for patients with more severe COVID-19. “Glycine intake as nutritional supplement was very effective against virus infections.” (1)

Glycine is an amino acid and is important in the structure of protein chains because it is small in size and can allow folding of the long chain into a three dimensional shape. (See post: Glyphosate & COVID19) It is important within proteins (such as collagen) that help stabilize the gooey gelatin like fluid that supports the areas within our cells and surrounding our cells. There can be a thicker layer immediately surrounding cells which is called a glycocalyx, a term also used to describe the gel coating that surrounds bacteria.

Biofilms formed by an alginate-overproducing strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa have a complex structural architecture that allows them to more resist tobramycin than biofilms formed by an isogenic nonmucoid strain. This suggests that an altered structure of biofilms cause increased resistance of pathogens against antibiotics.182 ” (9)

It helps protect our cells from bacteria, virus and other pathogens. A stronger extracellular matrix, made possible with daily supplements of 10 grams of glycine, was found to help protect against viral infection. (1)

Glycine is used often in the assembly of collagen proteins. The small glycine molecules help stabilize the triple helix shape of the long column like folded protein. The long sturdy fiber like proteins help add stability and structure to the three dimensional woven mesh of the fluid gelatin like extracellular matrix or cytoplasm within cells.

Glycine is utilized to synthesize serine, sarcosine, purines, creatine, heme group, glutathione, and collagen. Glycine is a major quantitative component of collagen. In addition, the role of glycine maintaining collagen structure is critical, as glycine residues are required to stabilize the triple helix of the collagen molecule.

The collagen fibers can be chemically stained for viewing on microscope slides. In an image here (7, 8) the collagen fibers are greenish and surround the cells that each have a brownish-black nucleus in the middle.

Extracellular matrix – our glycocalyx – our jelly lining.

We need a healthy extracellular matrix that is not too sticky and dehydrated to prevent easy flow of fluid and cells and not too watery as some solid support is needed. We are almost 70% water but it doesn’t seem like it. Magnesium is also essential for the structure of the gelatin like matrix within and surrounding cells. Each atom of magnesium can hold 18 molecules of water in an electrically stabilized cloud of water surrounding the magnesium atom. Sulfates are also essential for the stability of the matrix structure. Monosaccharides, single molecules of sugars, are also an important part of the glycocalyx on cell surfaces. Different types of monosaccarides are combined into surface glycoproteins that tell the immune system information about the cell – whether friend or foe.

Many of the extracellular proteins, such as sialic acid, also carry a negative electrical charge so there is a slight magnetic like repelling against other cells. This is critically important for holding vessel walls open – the negative charge surrounding the interior repels the other wall from collapsing inward. Some food additive emulsifiers may be too effective and also may emulsify our intestinal lining and cause bowel troubles such as diarrhea and discomfort. Gumbo file is a very healthy emulsifier from nature -powdered sassafras leaves – used by indigenous Americans.

Cells encounter surrounding surfaces first through their glycocalyx and therefore it may substantially contribute to crucial physiological and pathophysiological processes. The glycocalyx is a carbohydrate-enriched sugar coating that covers the surface of many cells, including cancer cells, presumably greatly influencing cellular interactions with their environment at the molecular scale. Its components are glycolipids, glycoproteins and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). Glycocalyx contains large amounts of chondroitin sulfate (CS), dermatan sulfate, heparan sulfate, sialic acid, and hyaluronic acid, all negatively charged at neutral pH21.” (4)

The amino acid Glycine – available in supplements as Dimethylglycine (DMG) and Trimethylglycine (TMG).

Glycine is available as a bulk powder available from protein supplement companies focused on the weight lifting industry. Betaine is the more common name for Trimethylglycine (TMG), it and Dimethylglycine (DMG) are available as supplements in tablets or powders. It may be helpful to have both as they are used for different purposes and are not exactly equivalent. DMG can cross the blood brain barrier so it is helpful when the calming inhibitory effects of glycine are needed within the brain. (2)

Dimethylglycine (DMG) is an amino acid found naturally in plant and animal cells and in many foods such as beans, cereal grains, and liver. It is used to improve energy, boost the immune system, and to manage seizures and autism. There are some positive reports of DMG efficacy on the immune system.” (3)

DMG may be helpful for people with seizure risk – it was found to help some patients but not showing conclusively positive results overall. Some patients may have a genetic difference and need an external supply. (3)

People with a BHMT gene allele (like myself) would need an external source of DMG as the BHMT enzyme is needed to breakdown betaine to DMG. You can see the chemical steps in a graphic here: (6). From a previous post: “DMG has been found helpful in ADHD, autism, allergies, alcoholism, drug addiction, and chronic fatigue syndrome among other chronic issues.” See #3. BHMT in this post: Methylation Cycle Defects – in me – genetic screening “for research purposes only” A more recent post goes into further detail about the BHMT enzyme’s role in the production and breakdown of endocannabinoids. Cannabinoids are made with the BHMT gene (and others).

I have a double BHMT gene allele – I need an external source of DMG and methionine and it helped my mood immensely. It helps me feel more cheerful as well as more energetic. I take about a half teaspoon of each once or twice a day. A teaspoon at a time was too much energetic, seemed to cause a racing heart rate. The total amount a person needs per day may be more than that. Capsules would be giving a smaller amount, I didn’t notice much effect at all from taking a little tablet supplement and the price was significantly larger. A half teaspoon of a powder is about 2.5 grams, a tablet is usually about 500 milligrams, 0.5 grams.

I am not taking enough DMG and I hadn’t realized TMG might be helpful too – what I also hadn’t realized is TMG is betaine – so I should be taking the DMG form, I get betaine from food and I don’t do well with too much of a good source (quinoa). We need about 10 grams of glycine per day from dietary sources, yet the typical diet only provides two grams. “Glycine produced by human metabolism is much lower than the cell’s needs giving a general glycine deficiency of 10 g/day in humans.” (1)

People who took ten grams of glycine per day as a supplement had fewer viral infections than the control group. (1) “Glycine intake at the afore-mentioned dose prevents the spread of viruses by strengthening the extracellular matrix barriers against their advance. ” (1)

Nutritional supplement, 10 g/day, Glycine, promotes young strong collagen, compared to old weak collagen formed from an un-supplemented diet (~2 gr/day) and our own metabolic pathways (~3 gr/day). Graphic from: “Glycine can prevent and fight virus invasiveness by reinforcing the extracellular matrix” (Meléndez-Hevia, et al., 2021) (1)

Gee, I do want “young, strong collagen” (see above image, (1)) , so I will have my glycine drink four times a day. Breaktime, be right back. I will be so cheerful it may be hard to recognize me. 🙂

  • My “Cheerful Juice” drink reminds me of red wine without the alcohol, ~ 10 oz water, 1/2 teaspoon DMG, 1/2 tsp methionine; a little of my coffee sweetener mix: Stevia, powdered cardamom, sage and oregano; 2 ounces pomegranate juice. If I had taurine and creatine on hand I would try adding that too, but amino acids are acidic. The beverage is tart and I sip it slowly.

People with a genetic problem with methylation may have problems making a variety of proteins, as well as people with a diet deficient in the methyl donating nutrients folate, B12, betaine, choline, and the amino acid methionine. “Studies that simulated methyl-deficient diets reported disturbances in energy metabolism and protein synthesis in the liver, fatty liver, or muscle disorders.” […] “Hypomethylation has a wide spectrum of effects that include genetic, epigenetic, and metabolic alterations.” (5) Someone with a genetic problem with methylation would need to take the bioactive, methylated form of B12 and folate. The standard supplement of folic acid and cyanocobalamin are unmethylated forms and would be not helpful for someone unable to remethylate them.

Summary – to fight virus well, we need a healthy extracellular matrix for white blood cells to be able to patrol easily — and to have that we need adequate glycine in our diet and the genetic ability to digest it to Dimethylglycine (DMG).

  • We also need to stay well hydrated, and to have adequate sulfate, magnesium, protein and ATP for magnesium storage, and a wide variety of monosaccharides to make surface glycoproteins that say and do the correct functions as cell surface immune markers.
  • Epsom salt soaks may be helpful as a topical source of magnesium and sulfate for people with poor intestinal absorption of magnesium, or sometimes there can be a genetic difference limiting intestinal absorption for the person’s whole life.
  • Fiber rich plant foods are also needed to support the extracellular matrix – similar to how gelatin is supported by fruit pectin fibers when making jams.
  • We can’t do much without B vitamins – they are the body’s energy providers, essential for our mitochondria. Lack can lead to mitochondria switching to anaerobic glycolysis which may be a risk for later transition to cancer. Methylated forms of folate and B12 are needed by people with certain gene differences. Niacin in a much higher dose than would be available from the diet can help reduce inflammation, (niacin post) and also help preserve tryptophan stores for use to make serotonin and melatonin (see last post).

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.

Reference List

  1. Enrique Meléndez-Hevia, Patricia de Paz-Lugo, Guillermo Sánchez, Glycine can prevent and fight virus invasiveness by reinforcing the extracellular matrix. J Functional Foods, Vol 76, 2021, 104318, ISSN 1756-4646, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jff.2020.104318. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464620305429
  2. Is TMG or DMG more effective?, davincilabs.com, https://blog.davincilabs.com/blog/is-tmg-or-dmg-more-effective
  3. Dimethylglycine: Purported Uses, mskcc.org https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/dimethylglycine
  4. Kanyo, N., Kovacs, K.D., Saftics, A. et al. Glycocalyx regulates the strength and kinetics of cancer cell adhesion revealed by biophysical models based on high resolution label-free optical data. Sci Rep10, 22422 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-80033-6 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-80033-6
  5. Obeid R. The metabolic burden of methyl donor deficiency with focus on the betaine homocysteine methyltransferase pathway. Nutrients. 2013;5(9):3481-3495. Published 2013 Sep 9. doi:10.3390/nu5093481 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3798916/
  6. Glycine formation from betaine-trimethylglycine. image https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Glycine-formation-from-betaine-trimethylglycine-BHMT-betaine-homocysteine_fig5_320773132 from Adeva, María & Souto-Adeva, G. & Ameneiros-Rodríguez, E. & Fernández-Fernández, C. & Donapetry-García, C. & Domínguez-Montero, A.. (2018). Insulin resistance and glycine metabolism in humans. Amino Acids. 50. 10.1007/s00726-017-2508-0. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320773132_Insulin_resistance_and_glycine_metabolism_in_humans
  7. Collagen Fiber, sciencedirect.com, https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/collagen-fiber see,
  8. Michal Miko, Ivan Varga, Chapter 6 – Histologic Examination of Peripheral Nerves, Editor(s): RS Tubbs, E Rizk, MM. Shoja, M Loukas, N Barbaro, RJ Spinner, Nerves and Nerve Injuries, Academic Press, 2015, Pages 79-89, ISBN 9780124103900, https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-410390-0.00006-8. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780124103900000068
  9. Baral B, Mozafari MR. Strategic Moves of “Superbugs” Against Available Chemical Scaffolds: Signaling, Regulation, and Challenges. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci. 2020;3(3):373-400. Published 2020 Apr 13. doi:10.1021/acsptsci.0c00005 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7296549/

Aging biomarker found to be increased in LongCovid, epigenetic changes possible

Evidence of aging, five years on average, was found in survivors of Covid who experienced ongoing illness after an apparent recovery or even only ever having had mild symptoms initially. (1) Other research has found evidence of autoimmune antibodies against certain types of G-protein coupled receptors – need a different post for that.

  • Evidence for Biological Age Acceleration and Telomere 2 Shortening in Covid-19 Survivors. Alessia Mongelli, Carlo Gaetano, Michela Gottardi Zamperla, et al., medRxiv, April 27, 2021, preprint, (1)
  • The results show a consistent biological age increase in the post-covid population (mean 58,44 DS 14,66 ChronoAge Vs. mean 67,18 DS 10,86 BioAge, P<0,0001), determining a DeltaAge acceleration of 10,45 DS 7,29 years (+5.25 years above range of normality) compared to 3,68 DS 8,17 years for the COVID19-free population (P<0,0001). A significant telomere shortening parallels this finding in the post-COVID19 cohort compared to COVID19-free subjects (post-COVID19 TL: 3,03 DS 2,39 Kb vs. COVID19-free: 10,67 DS 11,69 Kb; P<0,0001).” (1)
  • Additionally, ACE2 expression was decreased in post-COVID19 patients compare to COVID19-free, while DPP-4 did not change. ” (1)

ACE2 receptor expression was expected to be decreased in patients with increased viral load due to the virus destroying the cells with the receptors. Eventually less ACE2 function would be left and patients would exhibit symptoms similar to genetic ACE2 knockout mice – bred to not have ACE 2 receptors in order to see the effect on health. It can provide information about what function something has to see what goes wrong when the animal doesn’t have it.

Also of interest – stopping the virus from entering the ACE2 receptor means that it can’t replicate and go on to infect other cells or people – pomegranate peel may block access: Pomegranate peel – anti-COVID19, may block ACE2 receptor access to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. I ate some pomegranate peel today. *Recipe at the end of this post, more information about pomegranate prep & benefits G13. Pomegranate.

Pomegranate extract reduces inflammation and modulates health and gene transcription.

Pomegranate extract, of the whole fruit or peel is a very potent anti-inflammatory and modulator of health, (6), even epigenetics to some extent – epigenetics effects which genes will be transcribed into proteins by the cell. Pomegranate extract was found to modulate/effect microRNAs which control which mRNA will get transcribed. (2)

Pomegranate extract intake reversed the surgery-mediated upregulation of various miRNAs and mildly reduced expression of selected miRNAs in tumour tissue compared with normal tissue.” (2)

What is microRNA? — “Noncoding (nc) RNAs also possess a regulatory effect on gene expression. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small ncRNAs of 20–22 nt that inhibit gene expression at the posttranscriptional level either by imperfect base-pairing to the mRNA 3′-untranslated regions to repress protein synthesis, or by affecting mRNA stability (reviewed in [23]).” (2)

What is mRNA? — “Messenger RNA (mRNA) molecules carry the coding sequences for protein synthesis and are called transcripts;” (3) Messenger RNA is copied from the double helix strands of DNA that make a gene. The messenger RNA is a single helix – one ladder leg instead of both sides of the spiraling ladder with nucleotide steps, or one side of a zipper.

What is epigenetics? — “The term ‘epigenetics’ refers to modifications in gene expression caused by heritable, but potentially reversible, changes in DNA methylation and chromatin structure. Major epigenetic mechanisms include DNA hyper- and hypomethylation [11], remodelling of the chromatin, modification of histones by histone acetylation and methylation (among others), and noncoding RNAs [12].” (2)

What are methyl donors? — Folate in the bioactive methylated form and methylated B12 are both helpful for providing the methyl groups needed for DNA methylation. The small chemical group added onto genes is like turning the light switch off, that gene is no longer in the ready to be transcribed mode. Choline is another methyl donor in the B vitamin group. See: Methyl Donors & BPA.

EGCG found in Green tea & Pomegranate Peel may protect length of Telomeres.

Pomegranate peel is also a source of EGCG (more commonly associated with green tea) which has been found protective of telomere length, by inhibiting a telomerase enzyme.

Epigallocatechin-3-gallate, a major component of green tea polyphenols, downregulated expression of human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT), a major enzyme determining telomere stability, through causing promoter hypomethylation and histone deacetylations, thereby inhibiting proliferation of breast cancer cells [12].” (7)

Polyphenols, alkaloids, triterpenes, and xanthones may be plant nutrients that help inhibit the overactivity of the telomerase enzyme seen in some types of cancer cells. (8) EGCG is a polyphenol. Alkaloids include “morphine, strychnine, atropine, colchicine, ephedrine, quinine, and nicotine.” (11) Triterpenes include sterols (such as vit. D group, 12) and carotenoids (vit A). (9) xanthones are found in the Garcinia, mangosteen fruit. (10) Telomeres are a section of non protein encoding DNA at the end of genes. Telomeres get shorter as we age and longer ones indicate younger metabolic age. Excessive lengthening of telomeres can occur in cancer and that isn’t good either.

The really good news about epigenetic changes – they can be changed back.

In contrast to irreversible genetic alterations (mutations, deletions, etc.), genes silenced by epigenetic modifications are still intact and can be reactivated [13,14].” (2)

Many genes are turned on or off with the change from night to day/day to night. We do more active energy using work during the day, which produces waste chemicals, and more growth and repair, clean up, at night while we sleep. It is very unhealthy to chronically miss sleep.

Sunlight in the day & blackout curtains at night help immune function with melatonin & sunshine vitamins.

Sunlight in the morning or at some point in the awake hours of the day also helps health.

People have a feeling of wellbeing when exposed to sunlight. This may be due to the fact that keratinocytes produce β-endorphin when exposed to UV radiation.67 ” (12)

A full spectrum lamp with UVB capability for a half hour of artificial “sun” during winter months or for night shift workers may be more beneficial for health, and mood, than a vitamin D2/D3 supplement. Our bodies make other forms of the vitamin D group of sterols, some water soluble, and other forms of vitamin A are also made. (12, 13)

Bright light treatment requires a minimum of 2,500 lux to be effective, & the brightness recommended by researchers & clinicians for most people is 10,000 lux – an amount significantly higher than standard indoor lighting.” (14) This reference is recommending no UV in the light treatment, however for the vitamin D and A chemistry UVB is needed and UVA may also have some role in health in moderation.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) lamps may not provide the UVB, and the UVB intense ones are only meant for 30 minute use or less per day, as sunburn possible, so that type of light wouldn’t treat the SAD problem in the same way as the no UVB lights. (13, 15) The 10,000 lux lamps may be helping patients with Seasonal Affective Disorder (14) by increased beta-endorphins. Serotonin increase is involved in the benefit of Bright Light Therapy (BLT) which was found to be better than placebo in a metareview. (16) Bright Light Therapy was found to reduce cerebral monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) levels which have a seasonal decrease in healthy controls compared to participants with SAD. Serotonin receptors and transport proteins may also be affected by the light treatment. (17)

Black out curtains at night and covering all little alarm clock lights and other device lights helps our body switch into night-time biology of clean-up and repair. Melatonin is also made at night and lights can reduce the amount that is made. It helps immune function and seems helpful against COVID-19. Melatonin produced in the lungs prevents infection by novel coronavirus. (18)

Lack of niacin, which is needed in increased amounts during infection or inflammation, would lead to overuse of tryptophan instead. Lack of tryptophan would lead to a lack of serotonin and melatonin, both of which are made from tryptophan. (19)

We may need a healthy gut microbiome, to have overall health.

The microbes in our intestines may have a larger role in health than we realized because they also impact our epigenetics – we want our good guys to be helping us then.

Recent research has indicated that the gut microbiota and gut microbial metabolites might be important mediators of the diet–epigenome interaction (previously reviewed in [2931]).” (2)

Obesity has been found to be related frequently to less beneficial microbiome species. (4) Anxiety can also be linked to microbiome species. (5) “Animal models strongly suggest a role for the gut microbiome in anxiety- and trauma-related disorders. The microbiota–gut–brain (MGB) axis sits at the epicenter of this new approach to mental health. The microbiome plays an important role in the programming of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis early in life, and stress reactivity over the life span.” (5)

More information about POTS & epigenetic changes:

I go into more detail about epigenetic changes, methyl donors and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) – a problem that has been occurring for some Covid survivors and a problem I’ve had symptoms of twice and got better from twice – See: Epigenetic changes may also be involved in Covid19 or LongCovid. I prefer being healthy to being unhealthy and I’m willing to work to get better when I can.

Seasoned Peas and Pistachios, with Pomegranate peel.

Peas with pistachios, with cumin and coriander and a little pomegranate peel (inner pith)..

*Pound of frozen Peas, boil for a few minutes with a cup of Pistachios in water to cover the food – then pour off the water. It may contain oxalates from the pistachios. Add a 1/4 cup of fresh water to the drained food along with a half teaspoon of Cumin, Coriander and Gumbo file; one tablespoon powdered or minced dehydrated Pomegranate Peel (inner pith); and simmer with the peas & pistachios for a minute or two to set the Gumbo file thickener and mix the flavors. Serve the peas hot or cold with a little Apple Cider Vinegar and Salt to taste. Makes about four 3/4 cup servings.

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.

Reference List

  1. Alessia Mongelli, Carlo Gaetano, Michela Gottardi Zamperla, et al., Evidence for Biological Age Acceleration and Telomere 2 Shortening in Covid-19 Survivors. medRxiv, April 27, 2021, preprint, https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.04.23.21255973v1
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