Vagus nerve stimulation thru breathing, laughs and yoga

 

The benefits of vagus nerve stimulation (other than relaxing the body, mind, and soul – and really, isn’t that enough of a reason?):

  • It reduces the inflammatory response throughout our system.
  • It helps the brain emit new cells.
  • It decreases depression and anxiety and lifts our mood. Forty million Americans are affected by mood disorders. Enough said!
  • It assists in developing razor-sharp memory, and there are so many applications for increased memory capacity in our culture like Alzheimer’s work, traumatic brain injuries, and plain-and-simple everyday life.
  • It raises your immunity. How about staying healthy and taking vacations to beautiful faraway places instead of lying on the couch suffering through yet another bout of bronchitis?
  • It raises the level of endorphins, which bring about positive feelings in the body and reduce the sensation of pain.

Kundalini serpent tail whips the immune system into action

Have you ever seen the list “100 Benefits of Meditation“?  Of course, many of these benefits are psychological. You know, things like: helps control own thoughts (#39) and helps with focus & concentration (#40).  But many of the 100 benefits are rather physical, bodily, physiological, immunological and even biochemical benefits (such as #16- reduction of free radicals, less tissue damage).

These are awesome claims, and I’ve certainly found that mediation helps me feel more emotionally balanced and physically relaxed,  but I’m wondering – from a hard science point of view – how legit some of these claims might be.  For example, “#12 Enhances the immune system – REALLY?  How might yoga and mediation enhance my immune system?

In a previous post on the amazing vagus nerve – the only nerve in your body that, like the ancient Kundalini serpent, rises from the root of your gut to the brain – AND – a nerve that is a key to the cure of treatment resistant depression– it was suggested that much of the alleviation of suffering that comes from yoga comes from the stimulation of this amazing nerve during postures and breathing.

Somehow, the ancient yogis really got it right when they came up with the notion of Kundalini serpent – so strange, but so cool!

I happened to stumble on a paper that explored the possibility that the vagus nerve might also play a role in mediating communication of the immune system and the brain – and thus provide a mechanism for “#12- Enhances the immune system” Here’s a quote from the article entitled, “Neural concomitants of immunity—Focus on the vagus nerve” [doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.05.058] by Drs. Julian F. Thayer and Esther M. Sternberg (Ohio State University and National Institute of Mental Health).

By the nature of its “wandering” route through the body the vagus nerve may be uniquely structured to provide an effective early warning system for the detection of pathogens as well as a source of negative feedback to the immune system after the pathogens have been cleared. … Taken together these parasympathetic pathways form what has been termed “the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway

The scientists then investigate the evidence and possible mechanisms by which the vagus nerve sends immunological signals from the body to the brain and also back out to the immune system.  Its not a topic that is well understood, but the article describes several lines of evidence implicating the vagus nerve in immunological health.

So bend, twist, inhale and exhale deeply.  Stimulate your vagus nerve and, as cold and flu season arrives, awaken the serpent within!

What if you had magic fingers and could touch a place on a person’s body and make all their pain and anguish disappear?  This would be the stuff of legends, myths and miracles! Here’s a research review by Kerry J Ressler  and Helen S Mayberg on the modern ability to electrically “touch” the Vagus Nerve.

The article,  Targeting abnormal neural circuits in mood and anxiety disorders: from the laboratory to the clinic discusses a number of “nerve stimulation therapies” wherein specific nerve fibers are electrically stimulated to relieve mental anguish associated with (drug) treatment-resistant depression.

Vagus nerve stimulation therapy (VNS) is approved by the FDA for treatment of medication-resistant depression and was approved earlier for the treatment of epilepsy20.  …  The initial reasoning behind the use of VNS followed from its apparent effects of elevating mood in patients with epilepsy20, combined with evidence that VNS affects limbic activity in neuroimaging studies21. Furthermore, VNS alters concentrations of serotonin, norepinephrine, GABA and glutamate within the brain2224, suggesting that VNS may help correct dysfunctional neurotransmitter modulatory circuits in patients with depression.

This stuff is miraculous in every sense of the word – to be able to reach in and “touch” the body and bring relief – if not bliss – to individuals who suffer with immense emotional pain.  So who is this Vagus nerve anyway?  Why does stimulating it impart so many emotional benefits?  How can I touch my own Vagus nerve?

The wikipedia page is a great place to explore – suggesting that this nerve fiber is central to the “rest and digest” functions of the parasympathetic nervous system.  As evidenced by the relief its stimulation brings from emotional pain, the Vagus nerve is central to mind-body connections and mental peace.

YOGA is a practice that also brings mental peace.  YOGA,  in so many ways (I hope to elaborate on in future posts),  aims to engage the parasympathetic nervous system (slowing down and resting responses) and disengage the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight responses).  Since we all can’t have our very own (ahem) lululemon (ahem) vagal nerve stimulation device, we must rely on other ways to stimulate the Vagus nerve fiber.  Luckily, many such ways are actually known – so-called “Vagal maneuvers” – such as  holding your breath and bearing down (Valsalva maneuver), immersing your face in ice-cold water (diving reflex), putting pressure on your eyelids, & massage of the carotid sinus area – that have been shown to facilitate parasympathetic (relaxation & slowing down) responses.

But these “Vagal maneuvers” are not incorporated into yoga.  How might yoga engage and stimulate the Vagal nerve bundle? Check out these great resources on breathing and Vagal tone (here, here, here).  I’m not an expert by any means but I think the take home message is that when we breathe deep and exhale, Vagal tone increases.  So, any technique that allows us to increase the duration of our exhalation will increase Vagal tone. Now THAT sounds like yoga!

Even more yogic is the way the Vagus nerve is the only nerve in the parasympathetic system that reaches all the way from the colon to the brain.  The fiber is composed mainly of upward (to the brain) pulsing neurons – which sounds a lot like the mystical Kundalini Serpent that arises upwards from within (starting at the root – colon) and ending in the brain.  The picture above – of the Vagus nerve (bright green fiber) – might be what the ancient yogis had in mind?

 

  • Tips to stimulate the vagus nerve

  • Humming: The vagus nerve passes through by the vocal cords and the inner ear and the vibrations of humming is a free and easy way to influence your nervous system states. Simply pick your favorite tune and you’re ready to go. Or if yoga fits your lifestyle you can “OM” your way to wellbeing. Notice and enjoy the sensations in your chest, throat, and head.
  • Conscious Breathing: The breath is one of the fastest ways to influence our nervous system states. The aim is to move the belly and diaphragm with the breath and to slow down your breathing. Vagus nerve stimulation occurs when the breath is slowed from our typical 10-14 breaths per minute to 5-7 breaths per minute. You can achieve this by counting the inhalation to 5, hold briefly, and exhale to a count of 10. You can further stimulate the vagus nerve by creating a slight constriction at the back of the throat and creating an “hhh”. Breathe like you are trying to fog a mirror to create the feeling in the throat but inhale and exhale out of the nose sound (in yoga this is called Ujjayi pranayam).
  • Valsalva Maneuver: This complicated name refers to a process of attempting to exhale against a closed airway. You can do this by keeping your mouth closed and pinching your nose while trying to breathe out. This increases the pressure inside of your chest cavity increasing vagal tone.
  • Diving Reflex: Considered a first rate vagus nerve stimulation technique, splashing cold water on your face from your lips to your scalp line stimulates the diving reflex. You can also achieve the nervous system cooling effects by placing ice cubes in a ziplock and holding the ice against your face and a brief hold of your breath. The diving reflex slows your heart rate, increases blood flow to your brain, reduces anger and relaxes your body. An additional technique that stimulates the diving reflex is to submerge your tongue in liquid. Drink and hold lukewarm water in your mouth sensing the water with your tongue.
  • Connection: Reach out for relationship. Healthy connections to others, whether this occurs in person, over the phone, or even via texts or social media in our modern world, can initiate regulation of our body and mind. Relationships can evoke the spirit of playfulness and creativity or can relax us into a trusting bond into another. Perhaps you engage in a lighthearted texting exchange with a friend. If you are in proximity with another you can try relationship expert, David Snarch’s simple, yet powerful exercise called “hugging until relaxed.” The instructions are to simply “stand on your own two feet, place your arms around your partner, focus on yourself, and to quiet yourself down, way down.”


Because of the pathway of the vagus nerve, long deep breathing is the number one key to activating the vagus nerve.
Breathing can be involuntary (something the vagus nerve does for us when we aren’t paying attention), but it can also be something we do consciously. By bringing awareness to the breath, lengthening and deepening it, you turn on the vagus nerve, giving your body the opportunity to rejuvenate.

So, let’s stop and breathe with awareness for ten minutes:

As you inhale, lift your collarbone.

As you exhale, soften and relax.

As you inhale, expand your ribs out under your arms.

As you exhale, soften and relax.

As you inhale, expand your ribs across your back

As you exhale, soften and relax.

When you sit, close your eyes, and utilize your system’s own action, you enhance your health and wellness.

Here are a number of pathways to the vagus nerve. Choose your favorite:

  • Immerse your face (especially the forehead, eyes, and two-thirds of your cheeks) in cold water for three minutes.
  • Practice restorative yoga and include gentle backbends, forward bends, and twists.
  • Include inversions in your practice like downward dog or legs up the wall.
  • Chant and sing in low resonant tones.
  • Immerse your tongue in saliva while doing long deep breathing.
  • Practice Qigong.
  • Laugh with deep diaphragmatic laughs.

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The Molecular Roots of Alzheimer’s

Summary: Findings may help to shed light on how Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases develop.

Source: WUSTL.

Cellular ‘housekeeping’ molecule’s structure linked to neurodegeneration

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have detailed the structure of a molecule that has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. Knowing the shape of the molecule — and how that shape may be disrupted by certain genetic mutations — can help in understanding how Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases develop and how to prevent and treat them.

The study is published Dec. 20 in the journal eLife.

The idea that the molecule TREM2 is involved in cognitive decline — the hallmark of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s — has gained considerable support in recent years. Past studies have demonstrated that certain mutations that alter the structure of TREM2 are associated with an increased risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer’s, frontal temporal dementia, Parkinson’s disease and sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Other TREM2 mutations are linked to Nasu-Hakola disease, a rare inherited condition that causes progressive dementia and death in most patients by age 50.

“We don’t know exactly what dysfunctional TREM2 does to contribute to neurodegeneration, but we know inflammation is the common thread in all these conditions,” said senior author Thomas J. Brett, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine. “Our study looked at these mutations in TREM2 and asked what they do to the structure of the protein itself, and how that might impact its function. If we can understand that, we can begin to look for ways to correct it.”

The analysis of TREM2 structure, completed by first author, Daniel L. Kober, a doctoral student in Brett’s lab, revealed that the mutations associated with Alzheimer’s alter the surface of the protein, while those linked to Nasu-Hakola influence the “guts” of the protein. The difference in location could explain the severity of Nasu-Hakula, in which signs of dementia begin in young adulthood. The internal mutations totally disrupt the structure of TREM2, resulting in fewer TREM2 molecules. The surface mutations, in contrast, leave TREM2 intact but likely make it harder for the molecule to connect to proteins or send signals as normal TREM2 molecules would.

Image shows the structure of TREM2.

TREM2 lies on the surface of immune cells called microglia, which are thought to be important “housekeeping” cells. Via a process called phagocytosis, such cells are responsible for engulfing and cleaning up cellular waste, including the amyloid beta that is known to accumulate in Alzheimer’s disease. If the microglia lack TREM2, or the TREM2 that is present doesn’t function properly, the cellular housekeepers can’t perform their cleanup tasks.

“Exactly what TREM2 does is still an open question,” Brett said. “We know mice without TREM2 have defects in microglia, which are important in maintaining healthy brain biology. Now that we have these structures, we can study how TREM2 works, or doesn’t work, in these neurodegenerative diseases.”

TREM2 also has been implicated in other inflammatory conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and stroke, making the structure of TREM2 important for understanding chronic and degenerative diseases throughout the body, he added.

ABOUT THIS ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE RESEARCH ARTICLE

Funding: This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), grant numbers R01-HL119813, R01-AG044546, R01-AG051485, R01-HL120153, R01-HL121791, K01-AG046374, T32-GM007067, K08-HL121168, and P50-AG005681-30.1; the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund; the Alzheimer’s Association, grant number AARG-16-441560; and the American Heart Association, grant number PRE22110004. Results were derived from work performed at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) Structural Biology Center. ANL is operated by U. Chicago Argonne, LLC, for the U.S. DOE, Office of Biological and Environmental Research, supported by grant number DE-AC02-06CH11357.

Source: Diane Duke Williams – WUSTL
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to Daniel L. Kober.
Original Research: Full open access research “Neurodegenerative disease mutations in TREM2 reveal a functional surface and distinct loss-of-function mechanisms” by Daniel L Kober, Jennifer M Alexander-Brett, Celeste M Karch, Carlos Cruchaga, Marco Colonna, Michael J Holtzman, and Thomas J Brett in eLife. Published online December 20 2016 doi:10.7554/eLife.20391


Abstract

Neurodegenerative disease mutations in TREM2 reveal a functional surface and distinct loss-of-function mechanisms

Genetic variations in the myeloid immune receptor TREM2 are linked to several neurodegenerative diseases. To determine how TREM2 variants contribute to these diseases, we performed structural and functional studies of wild-type and variant proteins. Our 3.1 Å TREM2 crystal structure revealed that mutations found in Nasu-Hakola disease are buried whereas Alzheimer’s disease risk variants are found on the surface, suggesting that these mutations have distinct effects on TREM2 function. Biophysical and cellular methods indicate that Nasu-Hakola mutations impact protein stability and decrease folded TREM2 surface expression, whereas Alzheimer’s risk variants impact binding to a TREM2 ligand. Additionally, the Alzheimer’s risk variants appear to epitope map a functional surface on TREM2 that is unique within the larger TREM family. These findings provide a guide to structural and functional differences among genetic variants of TREM2, indicating that therapies targeting the TREM2 pathway should be tailored to these genetic and functional differences with patient-specific medicine approaches for neurodegenerative disorders.

“Neurodegenerative disease mutations in TREM2 reveal a functional surface and distinct loss-of-function mechanisms” by Daniel L Kober, Jennifer M Alexander-Brett, Celeste M Karch, Carlos Cruchaga, Marco Colonna, Michael J Holtzman, and Thomas J Brett in eLife. Published online December 20 2016 doi:10.7554/eLife.20391

Gut Fungus and additives might promote Crohn’s disease

Gut Fungus

The researchers found that the people with Crohn’s disease had significantly higher levels of two types of bacteria, called Escherichia coli and Serratia marcescens, and one fungus, called Candida tropicalis, compared with their healthy relatives and the other people in the study who did not have the disease, according to the study, published Sept. 20 in the journal mBio.

Candida tropicalis is a species of yeast in the genus Candida. It is easily recognized as a common medical yeast pathogen.

Serratia marcescens (/sɛˈreɪʃjə mɑː(r)ˈsɛs.sɛnz/)[2] is a species of rod-shapedGram negative bacterium in the family Enterobacteriaceae. A human pathogen, S. marcescens is involved in hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), particularly catheter-associated bacteremia, urinary tract infections and wound infections,[3][4] and is responsible for 1.4% of HAI cases in the United States.[5] It is commonly found in the respiratory and urinary tracts of hospitalized adults and in the gastrointestinal system of children. Due to its abundant presence in the environment, and its preference for damp conditions, S. marcescens is commonly found growing in bathrooms (especially on tile grout, shower corners, toilet water line, and basin), where it manifests as a pink, pink-orange, or orange discoloration and slimy film feeding off phosphorus-containing materials or fatty substances such as soap and shampoo residue.

Escherichia coli (/ˌɛʃˈrɪkiə ˈkl/;[1] also known as E. coli) is a gram-negative,facultatively anaerobic, rod-shaped bacterium of the genus Escherichia that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms (endotherms).[2] Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some serotypes can cause serious food poisoning in their hosts, and are occasionally responsible for product recalls due to food contamination.[3][4] The harmless strains are part of the normal flora of the gut, and can benefit their hosts by producing vitamin K2,[5] and preventing colonization of the intestine with pathogenic bacteria.[6][7] E. coli is expelled into the environment within fecal matter. The bacterium grows massively in fresh fecal matter under aerobic conditions for 3 days, but its numbers decline slowly afterwards.[8]

E. coli and other facultative anaerobes constitute about 0.1% of gut flora,[9] and fecal–oral transmission is the major route through which pathogenic strains of the bacterium cause disease. Cells are able to survive outside the body for a limited amount of time, which makes them potential indicator organisms to test environmental samples for fecal contamination.[10][11] A growing body of research, though, has examined environmentally persistent E. coli which can survive for extended periods outside of a host

Although previous research in mice has suggested that this fungus may be involved in Crohn’s, this is the first time it has been linked to the condition in people, the researchers said.

Moreover, when the researchers examined these bacteria and fungus, they found that the three microorganisms worked together to form a so-called biofilm — a thin, sticky layer of microorganisms — that attaches itself to a portion of the gut. This biofilm could trigger the inflammation that causes the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, the researchers said.

http://www.livescience.com/56334-gut-fungus-suspected-in-crohns-disease.html

 

List, source, and uses of enzymes derived from fungi for food manufacture
Enzyme Source Use
α -Amylase, amyloglucosidase Aspergillus niger
A. oryzae
Rhizopus spp.
Hydrolysis of starch in production of beer, bread; manufacture of high-fructose syrups
α-Galactosidase Mortierella vinacea Hydrolysis of raffinose to sucrose and galactose during sugar refining
Catalase Aspergillus niger
Penicillium vitale
Remove excess hydrogen peroxide formed during cake baking or that may be added during pasteurization of milk and cheese
Cellulase Aspergillus niger
Trichoderma viride
Improve palatability of low-quality vegetables, accelerate drying of vegetables, alter texture of foods, increase flavor of commercial mushrooms
Hemicellulase Aspergillus niger
Trichoderma viride
Manufacture of instant coffee
Invertase Yeasts
Aspergillus spp.
Increases sweetness in confections; yields soft center in chocolate-covered candies
Lactase Aspergillus niger
A. oryzae
Hydrolysis of lactose in milk products, enabling their use by lactose-intolerant individuals; production of syrups for use as sweetening agents
Lipase Candida spp.
Aspergillus spp.
Mucor spp.
Rhizopus spp.
Used for flavor development in cheese, chocolate crumb, apple wine, and cooking fats; improved whipping properties of egg whites; fish processing
Naringinase Aspergillus niger Reduce bitter flavonone glycoside derivative found in some citrus products
Nuclease Penicillium spp. Flavor enhancers
Pectic Enzymes Aspergillus niger
Penicillium notatum
Botrytis cinerea
Remove turbidity from fresh fruit juices; removal of pectins before concentrating juice; clarifying agent in wine
Protease Aspergillus spp. Mucor pusillus Meat tenderizer; remove bitter flavors, replace rennin in cheese manufacture, chill-proofing of beer; reduce elasticity of glutin proteins in bread
Rennet Mucor spp. Milk coagulation in cheese manufacture
Tannase Aspergillus niger Treat insoluable material that forms during manufacture of instant tea
SOURCE: Adapted from: Beuchat (1987) and Moore-Landecker (1995)

Emulsifiers Might Promote Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

More than 1.5 million Americans suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which is an autoimmune condition that involves inflammation in your digestive tract and includes both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

IBD sufferers have severely disrupted gut biota with different dominant species than healthy people, and those with Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis suffer from a breakdown in the mucosal lining of their gut. As reported in the journal Nature:1

“The intestinal tract is inhabited by a large and diverse community of microbes collectively referred to as the gut microbiota.

While the gut microbiota provides important benefits to its host, especially in metabolism and immune development, disturbance of the microbiota-host relationship is associated with numerous chronic inflammatory diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease and the group of obesity-associated diseases collectively referred to as metabolic syndrome.

A primary means by which the intestine is protected from its microbiota is via multi-layered mucus structures that cover the intestinal surface, thereby allowing the vast majority of gut bacteria to be kept at a safe distance from epithelial cells that line the intestine.

Thus, agents that disrupt mucus-bacterial interactions might have the potential to promote diseases associated with gut inflammation.”

Indeed, a new animal study revealed that emulsifiers, which are “detergent-like molecules,” impact mouse gut microbiota, induce low-grade inflammation and metabolic syndrome and promote “robust” colitis in mice predisposed to the disorder.

The researchers concluded:2 “… the broad use of emulsifying agents might be contributing to an increased societal incidence of obesity/metabolic syndrome and other chronic inflammatory diseases.”

Food Additives Might Be Impacting Your Health…

The emulsifiers used in the study were carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate-80. Similar emulsifiers include lecithin, carrageenan, polyglycerols, and xanthan gum.

These additives keep oils and fats from separating, helping to improve the texture and shelf-life of salad dressing, non-dairy milk, and even foods like veggie burgers and hamburger patties.3

The emulsifiers caused chronic colitis in mice with already abnormal immune systems. In mice with healthy immune function, they resulted in mild intestinal inflammation and subsequent metabolic dysfunction that led to obesity, hyperglycemia, and insulin resistance.

Most notably, the emulsifiers were fed at levels that an average person would be exposed to if eating a lot of processed foods, suggesting these additives may indeed affect the health of many Americans.

Food additives such as these are all approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), again highlighting the severe limitation of our current regulatory system.

A 2013 study published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology found that nearly 80 percent of the food additives approved by the FDA lack testing information that would help the agency estimate the amount people can safely consume before suffering health consequences…4

Swelling in legs

detox juice.JPGImmediate correction: Rest, stop smoking, drink a smoothie of parsley, carrots, apples, ginger and coconut water

Corrective healthy lifestyle for long term: avoid toxins/carcinogens/tobacco use, alcohol,consume whole foods

Edema, often referred to as water retention, bloating or swelling, is the excessive accumulation of fluids between the cells caused by defects or dysfunction in the circulatory or the lymphatic systems.

Symptoms of Edema

  • Swelling
  • Stretched and/or shiny skin
  • Skin which when poked or pressed will remain “dented”
  • Pain in area of swelling, most especially in the fingers and feet

The possible causes of edema are quite various and range from things as simple as not getting enough water to more serious conditions such as hypertension and diabetes.

Causes of edema may include

  • Excess of sodium in diet
  • Use of medications
  • Estrogen imbalance (dominance)
  • Dehydration
  • Magnesium Deficiency
  • Fatty Acid Deficiency
  • Protein Deficiency
  • B-vitamin Deficiency
  • Poor Circulation
  • Weaken veins and capillaries
  • Blocked lymph
  • Liver congestion
  • Bronchial disorders such as chronic bronchitis and/or emphysema
  • PMS

Other more serious conditions which may contribute to or cause edema include:

  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Obesity
  • Hypo- or Hypertension
  • Heart Disease
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Cancer

Sodium and Potassium

Our bodies need a certain amount of sodium and potassium (1:5 ratio) salts in our diet to keep the body running smoothly.  Unfortunately the way most people eat today, potassium is quite lacking and the sodium is consumed in great abundance beyond what is needed.  To be sure a person gets the right balance in their diet, it is a good idea to avoid processed foods which contain sodium [also, sodium nitrate, sodium chloride, sodium benzoate, and monosodium glutamate (MSG)] and replace them with recipes made with natural, unprocessed, all–natural and whole foods.  Get rid of the refined and processed table salt and replace it with a high quality, high flavor, and unrefined sea salt.  My favorite just happens to be Celtic Grey sea salt. If you’d like more information about sodium and sea salt, take a look at this article from Dr. Mercola.http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/03/05/end-war-on-salt.aspx

Medications

So many people are taking medications these days for a myriad of conditions.  Most of these medications will lend themselves to swelling and inflammation by one of two methods.  They will either cause vasodilation of the blood vessels or retention of sodium.  Any type of medication could invariably cause or lead to edema, but the most common contributing medications will include:

  • Statins
  • Anti-coagulants
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) such as Ibuprofen, Naproxyn, or Tylenol
  • Anti-psychotics and anti-depressants
  • Narcotic pain killers
  • Immuno-suppressants
  • Beta blockers
  • Diabetes medications
  • Chemo-therapy

If you take any type of medication for a chronic condition, it would be wise to find ways to help your body cope with or reverse the condition when possible so that medications can be reduced or eliminated. For information on regulating blood sugars and help with diabetes, check out this article. http://www.bulkherbstore.com/blog/2010/02/diabetes-and-natural-blood-sugar-control If you take statins or the anti-coagulants that are often prescribed together, I would recommend you take a look at the following articles with regards to these medications and the conditions they are prescribed for.http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/07/20/the-truth-about-statin-drugs-revealed.aspxhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/the-cholesterol-myth-that_b_676817.html If you are taking antipsychotics, I would encourage you to find out how nutrition might help to reverse the conditions which require such medications.  These articles may help. http://www.bulkherbstore.com/blog/2008/12/anxiety-depression-fatigue-more-about-magnesiumhttp://www.westonaprice.org/mentalemotional-health/pursuit-of-happiness

Estrogen & the Liver

If you read the articles I write, you would see that I talk about Estrogen Dominance a great deal.  I don’t believe it is the cause of everything awry in the body; however, the hormones have such a great effect on all systems of the body, that it’s one of the core things I encourage people to look at if they are suffering from chronic illness.  In most cases the body is capable of producing all of the estrogen it will ever need to function properly, but our current culture adds to this in great abundance by using products and eating foods which bombard the body, especially the liver, with estrogen-like compounds (xeno-estrogens) which create confusion in the hormone receptors and therefore create a hormone imbalance. The liver is the organ responsible for filtering and moving these excesses out of the body, but with too much, over time, the liver will tire and become congested and unable to perform to its designed capacity.  Liver congestion will inevitably lead to all sorts of illness and symptoms including edema.  If you have other symptoms such as depression, fatigue, hair loss or excess, excessive sweating,  PMS, PCOS, prostate enlargement, fertility or libido problems, thyroid or adrenal disorders, or cancer, then it’s highly suspect that your body is suffering from some hormone related issues. For more information on what to look for and what to do about it, take a look at this article.http://www.bulkherbstore.com/blog/2010/01/hormone-imbalace-checklist

Dehydration

Sometimes, water retention is caused by something as simple as the lack of water coming in.  If you tend to drink an abundance of sodas, coffees or other artificial drinks, you may not be getting enough water.  These other drinks, especially soda contain high amounts of sodium which we talked about earlier and for every glass of another beverage that you drink, that is usually one less glass of water you’re NOT drinking that the body needs.   With the lack of water coming in, the body will attempt to retain the small bits that it takes in to keep the cells working properly often causing edema and swelling.

Deficiencies

A deficiency in B-vitamins, especially B6 (pyridoxine) can contribute to anemia, depression, dermatitis, hypertension, and edema.  A good B6 or B-multi supplement might prove helpful, but eating foods high in B-vitamins would serve you better in the long run. http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/foods-high-in-vitamin-B6.php

Magnesium is a mineral that seems to be missing in many people’s diets these days.  The lack of good healthy, whole foods in the diet and a depletion of minerals in the soils due to the shifts in agriculture have caused an onslaught of deficiencies everywhere. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency might include, but are not limited to:  anxiety, depression, sensitivity to noise, insomnia, fatigue, constipation, and hormone imbalance. Many of these symptoms might beg for maintenance medications or lead to edema all by themselves.   Arthritis and bone pain can also be indicators of a magnesium deficiency as it’s important that the body gets plenty of magnesium and calcium together to prevent and reverse such conditions.

Fatty Acids are too commonly imbalanced, or just completely missing from the typical American diet.  An influx of broken and false fatty acids (trans-fats) have taken their place.  Without a good ratio of good fats in the diet, chronic illness will abound in the body.  Because these fats are needed to digest many of the minerals we need such as magnesium, calcium and vitamin, it becomes a root cause of many of the chronic illness we see (arthritis, inflammation, auto-immunity, cancer, hormone imbalance, circulatory, respiratory and nervous disorders, psychiatric disorders, etc.). I would encourage you to explore, research and learn everything you can about fats and how they correspond to good and bad nutrition.  The following articles should get you started on that journey.http://www.bulkherbstore.com/blog/2013/02/simplfying-fats-healthy-vs-unhealthy http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats/skinny-on-fats

Protein Deficiency can also lend itself to swelling and edema, especially for pregnant women.  Eating a variety of meats and protein rich whole foods (legumes, eggs, bran, etc.) will help the body to regulate and manage its systems, reduce inflammation and fluid retention.

Circulation

Circulation can be poor for a variety of reasons–sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, heart conditions and weakened blood vessels.  If you want to increase the circulation it’s important to eat healthy, whole foods, increase the activity level, and keep those veins healthy.  If you suffer with varicose veins or other vein related disorders (cold hands and feet, hemorrhoids, etc.), taking some herbs to help strengthen the circulatory system might also prove beneficial.http://www.bulkherbstore.com/blog/2010/03/veincapillary-strengthening http://www.bulkherbstore.com/blog/2013/02/top-5-heart-healthy-herbs-and-how-to-use-them

Lymphatic System

Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system has no pump in which to keep things moving “up and out.”  It is a vital component of the immune system.  The lymph is comprised of many organs, nodes and tissues; flows throughout the entire body and works to back up the circulatory system to remove toxic wastes from the circulatory system and the body. Blocked lymph may occur as a result of inactivity, obesity, scar tissue from surgery or trauma, chronic infections, hormone imbalance, and/or poor diet.  Ways to help improve lymph health include everything already mentioned above and especially an increase in upper body exercise to help the lymph to pump and clean itself out.  Chlorophyll supplementation and/or green foods which are very rich in chlorophyll may help to clean the lymphatic & the circulatory systems and reduce swelling.

Respiratory Dysfunction

Stop smoking. Bronchial disorders such as respiratory allergies, asthma, chronic bronchitis and/or emphysema can interfere with the normal exchange between the lungs and the heart and may increase edema in organs and the extremities.  Improving immune health can lessen the impact of stress on the body or in some cases even reverse these bronchial conditions (asthma, allergies, etc.) that might create inflammation problems. The following articles may help with these things. http://www.bulkherbstore.com/blog/2009/06/asthma-allergies-wheezinghttp://www.drkaslow.com/html/immune_restoration.html http://www.bulkherbstore.com/blog/2009/06/emphysema ThyroidThyroid dysfunction can contribute to many other secondary conditions including diabetes, hormone imbalance and immune dysfunction.  Addressing any thyroid problems and correcting them will benefit the whole body and reduce inflammation and swelling throughout the body. These two articles address some of the things you can do to help regulate the thyroid naturally whether it be under or overactive. http://www.bulkherbstore.com/blog/2010/04/graves-and-other-autoimmune-diseaseshttp://www.bulkherbstore.com/blog/2010/05/hypothyroidism

Toxins

Anytime the body has an influx of toxins (smoking,drugs,meds,alcohol,infection,inflammatory substance) coursing through its systems, inflammation will increase.

Obviously, avoiding these things in the first place would be the best course of action, but in a case where the horse is already out of the barn, I resort to a good herbal remedy (below) and a dose of activated charcoal to help the body pull those nasty toxins out of the tissues with less exertion to the systems.

Taking steps to remove toxins from the daily diet and routine would be a promising long term solution to preventing edema and any of its related conditions.  In serious situations, cleansing might be something you would consider to give yourself a kick-start back to good health.

Natural Cures

There are many herbs and foods which might lend themselves of fluid release in the body.  Some of these include

https://www.bulkherbstore.com/blog/qa-how-to-reduce-swelling-and-water-retention/


Connie’s comments: This post is for my 60 yr old friend who smokes, has swelling of legs, his doctor said there is nothing wrong with his circulation, he smokes few cigarattes a day, works as mechanic but eats lots of fish.

Join 25,000 people in helping redefine health with health concierge and precision medicine.

https://clubalthea.com/2016/10/14/your-complete-dna-sequence-will-help-shape-the-future-of-medicine/

 

NfKB protein as first responder to harmful toxins – infection – cancer

Nutrigenomics is the idea that studying diet-gene interactions can help identify the positive or detrimental effects of dietary compounds. For example, nutrigenomics can explain why eating rancid or oxidized omega-fats and refined sugar encourages inflammation and cancer growth.

It is important to understand that a diet rich in omega-3 fats can reduce inflammation in cancer. So can healthy omega-6 fats like gamma linoleic acid (GLA), found in evening primrose, black currant seed, and borage oil. GLA inhibits the action of the cancer gene HER-2/neu, which is overexpressed in 30 percent of all breast cancers, making them particularly lethal.

According to Donnie Yance, clinical master herbalist and certified nutritionist, chronic conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular disease have a strong link with chronic inflammation, which promotes the production of free radicals.

The transcription protein Nuclear Factor-kappa Beta (NfKB) is a major inducer of inflammation. In cancer, a mutation in the tumor suppressor gene PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue) is the likely driver that activates NfKB.

Some plant-based phytocompounds can enhance PTEN expression or inhibit PTEN mutation, including quercetin, resveratrol, and various isoflavones often referred to as phytoestrogens. An ever-growing body of evidence suggests that the use of these compounds can and should play an important role in cancer prevention and treatment.

NfKB modulation is an important target for cancer prevention and treatment. NfKB can be modulated by:

  • The curcumin in tumeric

  • Stilbenes such as the resveratrol found in grape skins

  • The proathocyanidins in grape seeds

  • Catechins such as EGCG, which is present in green tea

  • The ursolic acid in holy basil, also called Tulsi, and rosemary

NfKB can also be modulated by a number of other plant-based compounds. For more information, please read Donald Yance’s full paper linked below.

Donald “Donnie” Yance is a clinical master herbalist, certified nutritionist and the author of Herbal Medicine Healing and Cancer. He conducts his practice at the Centre for Natural Healing in Ashland, OR utilizing his unique integrative model known as the Eclectic Triphasic Medical System. Donnie is also the founder and president of the Mederi Foundation for professional education and research and Nautra Health Products where he formulates advanced botanical and nutritional products.


About NfKB

NF-κB is important in regulating cellular responses because it belongs to the category of “rapid-acting” primary transcription factors, i.e., transcription factors that are present in cells in an inactive state and do not require new protein synthesis in order to become activated (other members of this family include transcription factors such as c-Jun, STATs, and nuclear hormone receptors). This allows NF-κB to be a first responder to harmful cellular stimuli. Known inducers of NF-κB activity are highly variable and include reactive oxygen species (ROS), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), interleukin 1-beta (IL-1β), bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS), isoproterenol, cocaine, and ionizing radiation.[21]

Receptor activator of NF-κB (RANK), which is a type of TNFR, is a central activator of NF-κB. Osteoprotegerin (OPG), which is a decoy receptor homolog for RANK ligand (RANKL), inhibits RANK by binding to RANKL, and, thus, osteoprotegerin is tightly involved in regulating NF-κB activation.[22]

Many bacterial products and stimulation of a wide variety of cell-surface receptors lead to NF-κB activation and fairly rapid changes in gene expression.[1] The identification of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) as specific pattern recognition molecules and the finding that stimulation of TLRs leads to activation of NF-κB improved our understanding of how different pathogens activate NF-κB. For example, studies have identified TLR4 as the receptor for the LPS component of Gram-negative bacteria.[23] TLRs are key regulators of both innate and adaptive immune responses.

NF-κB (nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells) is a protein complex that controls transcription of DNA, cytokine production and cell survival. NF-κB is found in almost all animal cell types and is involved in cellular responses to stimuli such as stress, cytokines, free radicals, heavy metals,ultraviolet irradiation, oxidized LDL, and bacterial or viral antigens.[1][2][3][4][5] NF-κB plays a key role in regulating the immune response to infection (κ light chains are critical components of immunoglobulins). Incorrect regulation of NF-κB has been linked to cancer, inflammatory andautoimmune diseases, septic shock, viral infection, and improper immune development. NF-κB has also been implicated in processes ofsynaptic plasticity and memory.

nFkb.JPG

 

Organic foods, boron and cancer

by Walter Last

You may not be able to imagine that borax, this humble insecticide and laundry detergent, has the potential of singlehandedly bringing down our entire economic system. But you do not need to worry, the danger has been recognised and the necessary steps are already being taken to defuse the situation. I will start with the basics and you will understand what I mean as the story unfolds.

Borax is a naturally occurring mineral commonly mined from dried salt lakes, and is the source of other manufactured boron compounds. The main deposits are in California and Turkey. Chemical names are sodium tetraborate decahydrate, disodium tetraborate decahydrate, or simply sodium borate. This means it contains four atoms of boron as its central feature combined with two sodium atoms and ten molecules (or sometimes less) of crystallisation water – decahydrate means 10 water molecules, pentahydrate 5, and anhydrate or anhydrous borax means no crystallisation water; chemically it is all the same.

Borax is commonly sold as technical or agricultural grade with 99 to 99.5% minimum purity. Potential impurities consist of sodium, potassium, calcium, chloride, bicarbonate, carbonate, sulphate and phosphate but not toxic or heavy metals. This grade includes the borax commonly used as household cleaner. Pharmaceutical grade is not noticeably purer or better.

Borax is the sodium salt of the weak boric acid. Because sodium is more strongly alkaline, this makes a solution of borax strongly alkaline with a pH between 9 and 10 (pH 7 is neutral). When ingested, it reacts with hydrochloric acid in the stomach to form boric acid and sodium chloride. The boron content of Borax is 11.3% while for boric acid it is 17.5% or about 50% higher. Ingested boron compounds are rapidly and nearly completely excreted with the urine. Formerly boric acid was widely used as a preservative in foods but is now banned for this purpose in most countries, and is also banned from public sale in Australia.

According to conventional medicine it is not known if boron is essential for humans but research shows that we do need it. The reason why it was difficult to answer this question is the presence of boron in all plants and unprocessed foods. Diets with a fair amount of fruit and vegetables provide about 2 to 5 mg of boron per day, but this also depends on the region where the food was grown and how it was grown.

In reality the average intake in developed countries is 1-2 mg of boron per day. Institutionalized patients may receive only 0.25 mg of daily boron. Chemical fertilizers inhibit the uptake of boron from the soil:  an organic apple grown in good soil may have 20 mg boron, but if grown with fertilizer it may have only 1 mg of boron. Fertilizers combined with poor food choices have greatly reduced our boron intake compared to 50 or 100 years ago.

Further, unhealthy cooking methods greatly reduce the availability of boron from food. The cooking water of vegetables containing most of the minerals may be discarded during home cooking or commercial processing; phytic acid in baked goods, cereals and cooked legumes may greatly reduce availability, while gluten sensitivity and Candida overgrowth inhibit the absorption of minerals. All this makes health problems due to boron deficiency now very common.

Health Effects of Boron

Due to their content of boron, borax and boric acid have basically the same health effects, with good antiseptic, antifungal, and antiviral properties but only mild antibacterial action. In plants as well as animals boron is essential for the integrity and function of cell walls, and the way signals are transmitted across membranes.

Boron is distributed throughout the body with the highest concentration in the parathyroid glands, followed by bones and dental enamel. It is essential for healthy bone and joint function, regulating the absorption and metabolism of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus through its influence on the parathyroid glands. With this boron is for the parathyroids what iodine is for the thyroid.

Boron deficiency causes the parathyroids to become overactive, releasing too much parathyroid hormone which raises the blood level of calcium by releasing calcium from bones and teeth. This then leads to osteoarthritis and other forms of arthritis, osteoporosis and tooth decay. With advancing age high blood levels of calcium lead to calcification of soft tissues causing muscle contractions and stiffness; calcification of endocrine glands, especially the pineal gland and the ovaries; arteriosclerosis, kidney stones, and calcification of the kidneys ultimately leading to kidney failure. Boron deficiency combined with magnesium deficiency is especially damaging to the bones and teeth.

Boron affects the metabolism of steroid hormones, and especially of sex hormones. It increases low testosterone levels in men and oestrogen levels in menopausal women. It also has a role in converting vitamin D to its active form, thus increasing calcium uptake and deposition into bone and teeth rather than causing soft tissue to calcify. Also other beneficial effects have been reported such as improvement of heart problems, vision, psoriasis, balance, memory and cognition.

The German cancer researcher Dr Paul-Gerhard Seeger has shown that cancer commonly starts with the deterioration of cell membranes. As boron is essential for cell membranes and boron deficiency widespread, this may be an important cause for the initiation of tumour growth. Boron compounds have anti-tumour properties and are “potent anti-osteoporotic, anti-inflammatory, hypolipemic, anti-coagulant and anti-neoplastic agents” (1).

This overview shows the wide-ranging influence of boron on our health. In the following I want to describe some of these health effects in greater detail.

The Arthritis Cure of Rex Newnham

In the 1960’s Rex Newnham, Ph.D., D.O., N.D, developed arthritis. At that time he was a soil and plant scientist in Perth, Western Australia. Conventional drugs did not help, so he looked for the cause into the chemistry of plants. He realized that plants in that area were rather mineral deficient. Knowing that boron aids calcium metabolism in plants he decided to try it. He started taking 30 mg of borax a day, and in three weeks all pain, swelling and stiffness had disappeared.

He told public health and medical school authorities about his discovery but they were not interested. However, some people with arthritis were delighted as they improved. Others were scared to take something with a poison label on the container and meant to kill cockroaches and ants. Eventually he had tablets made with a safe and effective quantity of borax.

Within five years and only by word of mouth he sold 10,000 bottles a month. He could no longer cope and asked a drug company to market it. That was a major mistake. They indicated that this would replace more expensive drugs and reduce their profits. It so happened that they had representatives on government health committees and arranged that in 1981 Australia instituted a regulation that declared boron and its compounds to be poisons in any concentration. He was fined $1000 for selling a poison, and this successfully stopped his arthritis cure from spreading in Australia. (2)

Subsequently he published several scientific papers on borax and arthritis. One was a double-blind trial in the mid 1980’s at the Royal Melbourne Hospital which showed that 70% of those who completed the trial were greatly improved. Only 12% improved when on placebo. There were no negative side-effects, but some reported that their heart ailment had also improved, and there was better general health and less tiredness. (3)

Most of his later research was devoted to the relationship between soil boron levels and arthritis. He found, for instance that the traditional sugarcane islands, due to long-term heavy use of fertilizers, have very low soil-boron levels. Jamaica has the lowest level and arthritis rates are about 70%. He noted that even most dogs were limping. Next comes Mauritius with very low boron levels and 50% arthritis. The daily boron intake in these countries is less than 1 mg/day. An interesting comparison is between Indian and native Fijians. The Indians are estimated to have an arthritis rate of about 40% and eat much rice grown with fertilizer while the native Fijians with an estimated arthritis rate of 10% eat mainly starchy root vegetables grown privately without fertilizer.

The US, England, Australia and New Zealand generally have average soil-boron levels with an estimated intake of 1 to 2 mg of boron and arthritis rates of about 20%. But Carnarvon in Western Australia has high boron levels in soil and water, and the arthritis rate is only 1%. It is similar in a place called Ngawha Springs in New Zealand with very high boron levels in the spa water which is curative for arthritis. Actually all spas reputedly curing arthritis have very high boron levels. These are also high in Israel with an estimated daily boron intake of 5 to 8 mg and only 0.5 – 1% arthritis.

Bone analysis showed that arthritic joints and nearby bones had only half the boron content of healthy joints. Equally, synovial fluid that lubricates joints and provides nutrients to the cartilage is boron deficient in arthritic joints. After boron supplementation bones were much harder than normal and surgeons found them more difficult to saw through. With additional boron bone fractures heal in about half the normal time in both man and animal. Horses and dogs with broken legs, or even a broken pelvis, have fully recovered.

Borax is also effective with other forms of arthritis, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Juvenile Arthritis, and Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus). For instance Dr Newnham saw a young girl aged 9 months with juvenile arthritis. He was able to cure her in 2 weeks.

He wrote that commonly people can get rid of their pain, swelling and stiffness in about 1 to 3 months. Then they can reduce treatment from 3 to 1 boron tablet (each 3 mg) per day as a maintenance dose so that they can avoid any future arthritis. He also stated that patients with rheumatoid arthritis commonly experienced a Herxheimer reaction and that this is always a good prognostic sign. They must persevere and in another 2 or 3 weeks the pain, swelling and stiffness will be gone. (4,5)

I found this statement not only interesting but also surprising. The Herxheimer reaction is an early aggravation of symptoms with increased pain. It is commonly due to toxins released by killed Candida and mycoplasma. This is very common with antimicrobial therapy, and borax definitely is an exceptionally good and strong fungicide. What surprises me, however, is that this fungicidal effect is already present at this rather low dose of 75 to 90 mg of borax. Equally surprising is the finding that also up to 30% of those with osteoarthritis experienced a Herxheimer reaction, suggesting that the border between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is rather fluid. I believe that in long-standing and especially resistant cases it will be advisable to use other antimicrobials in addition. For co-factors in arthritis treatment also see my article Arthritis and Rheumatism or the booklet OVERCOMING ARTHRITIS.

Osteoporosis and Sex Hormones

Boron deficiency causes greatly increased amounts of  calcium and magnesium to be lost with the urine. A borax supplement will reduce the daily loss of calcium by nearly 50%. As this calcium comes mainly from resorbed bone and teeth, boron deficiency may be the most important factor in causing osteoporosis and tooth decay.

It has been estimated that 55% of Americans over 50 have osteoporosis and of these about 80% are women. Worldwide 1 in 3 women and 1 in 12 men over the age of 50 may have osteoporosis, and this is responsible for millions of fractures each year. Rats with osteoporosis were given a boron supplement for 30 days with the result that their bone quality was now comparable with that of the healthy control group and of a group supplemented with oestradiol (6).

The beneficial effect of borax on bones seems to be due to two interrelated effects: a higher boron content of the bones which makes them harder, and a normalisation of sex hormones which stimulates the growth of new bone. Low oestrogen levels after menopause are thought to be the main reason why so many older women develop osteoporosis. In men testosterone levels decline more gradually which seems to be reflected in their later onset of osteoporosis as a group.

Research has now shown that boron supplementation in postmenopausal women doubles the blood level of the most active form of oestrogen, 17-beta oestradiol, to the level found in women on oestrogen replacement therapy. Equally, the blood levels of testosterone more than doubled (7). With HRT there is a higher risk of breast or endometrial cancer which is not known to happen with hormones produced by the body as with borax supplementation.

Some women get premenstrual problems because oestrogen levels are too high and progesterone too low, and therefore may be afraid of using boron. However, I found no evidence that boron raises oestrogen above normal healthy levels. Boron may balance levels of sex hormones similar to the action of maca root powder. Maca acts on the pituitary gland not only to increase but also to balance our sex hormones and seems to stimulate our own progesterone production as needed.

A recent study in younger men (29 – 50) showed that the level of free testosterone (the form that matters most) had risen by one third after a daily supplementation of about 100 mg of borax for one week (8). This is of special interest for bodybuilders.

Contrary to the medical preference of chemically castrating men with prostate cancer, research with boron has shown that elevated testosterone levels are beneficial by shrinking prostate tumours and PSA levels, PSA being a marker for tumours and inflammation in the prostate. Also significantly improved memory and cognition in elderly individuals may be partly due to increased levels of sex hormones and partly to improved membrane functions of brain cells (9).

I have been asked about boron supplementation for women with oestrogen-sensitive breast cancer. Breast cancer is related to calcifications in the breast. In my opinion it is more important to normalize the calcium-magnesium metabolism and cellular membrane functions rather than feel restricted by a possibly faulty medical concept, especially as I believe that cancer can usually be controlled with long-term antimicrobial therapy. Therefore I would use boron as well as maca in this case.

Fungi and Fluoride

Being such an excellent fungicide it is not surprising that borax is being successfully used to treat Candida. There is much interesting information on an Earth Clinic forum called Borax Cures (10). With low to medium-weight people use 1/8 teaspoon of borax powder and with heavier weight 1/4 teaspoon per litre of water. One drinks the water spaced out during the day, and does this for 4 or 5 days a week as long as required.

Many contributors wrote that it cured or greatly helped them. So for instance this post: “I also have psoriasis, so maybe the soreness in my joints is the psoriatic arthritis creeping in. I thought, after reading about borax here on this forum, I would give it a try. OMG! In one day, the soreness in my knees has vanished! …. Also, my psoriasis seems a lot better after 2 days drinking 1/4 tsp borax in 1 litre of water per day.”

Another one about toe fungus: “He wet his feet and then took a handful (of borax) and rubbed it all over his feet. He said it stopped itching immediately! He was stunned. A few weeks later I asked him how his athletes foot was and he said: oh wow! it hasn’t come back! that stuff totally cured it !!!”

Other enthusiastic posts were about vaginal thrush. Borax appeared to be more effective than other remedies. Commonly one large gelatine capsule filled with borax or boric acid was inserted at bedtime for several nights or up to 2 weeks. Alternatively the powder can be mixed with cool solidified coconut oil as a bolus or suppository.

A recent scientific study (11) confirms these positive observations with vaginal thrush. Boric acid at the dose of a filled capsule worked even in cases of drug-resistant Candida and against all the tested pathogenic bacteria. Because of the greater dilution, a douche may not be strong enough for bacteria and drug-resistant Candida but it should work for normal Candida. Borax, due to its alkalinity, was more effective than boric acid.

In normal healthy conditions Candida exists as harmless oval yeast cells. When challenged, chains of elongated cells called pseudohyphae develop, and finally strongly invasive long, narrow and tube-like filaments called hyphae. These damage the intestinal wall, and cause inflammation and Leaky Gut Syndrome. Pseudohyphae and hyphae can be seen in the blood of individuals with cancer and autoimmune diseases. Candida can also form tough layers of biofilm. This same study shows that boric acid/borax inhibits the formation of biofilms and also the transformation of harmless yeast cells into invasive hyphal form. In other articles I have shown that this process, commonly initiated by antibiotics, is a basic cause of most of our modern diseases, and this makes borax and boric acid primary health remedies. But this article shows that there are many more reasons to give them a top rating.

A scientific review in 2011 concluded: “… boric acid is a safe, alternative, economic option for women with recurrent and chronic symptoms of vaginitis when conventional treatment fails…” (12). But as it is so much better than drugs why not use it as a first option, or use the even more effective borax?

Another study from Turkey (13) shows the protective effect of boric acid on food contaminated with mycotoxins, especially fungal aflatoxins. Among these, Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) causes extensive DNA damage and is the most potent carcinogen ever tested, especially affecting liver and lungs, also causing birth defects, immunotoxicity and even death in farm animals and humans. Boric acid treatment was protective and led to increased resistance of DNA to oxidative damage induced by AFB1. The strong antifungal action of boric acid is, of course, the reason why it has traditionally been used as a food preservative.

I received numerous appreciative communications ranging from cancelling surgery for hip replacement to removing brain fog, and curing autoimmune diseases. One woman wrote in a recent Nexus Magazine of curing her Lupus and serious kidney disease in 4 month with half a teaspoon of daily borax powder.

Borax, similar to the equally endangered Lugol’s iodine solution, can also be used to remove accumulated fluoride and heavy metals from the body (14). Fluoride not only causes bones to deteriorate, but also the pineal gland to calcify and the thyroid to become underactive. Borax reacts with fluoride ions to form boron fluorides which are then excreted in the urine.

In a Chinese study borax was used to treat 31 patients with skeletal fluorosis. The amount was gradually increased from 300 to 1100 mg/day during a three month period, with one week off each month. The treatment was effective with 50 to 80% improvement.

One forum contributor suffered with Fibromyalgia/Rosacea, chronic fatigue and TMJ for over 10 years which she believed were caused by fluoride. She used 1/8 tsp of borax and 1/8 tsp of sea salt in a litre of de-chlorinated water, and drank this for 5 days each week. Within two weeks her face cleared, the redness faded, body temperature normalized, energy level increased, and she steadily lost excess weight. The only side-effect was an initial aggravation of her Rosacea symptoms.

Another post: “7 years ago thyroid cancer, the next year adrenal fatigue, then early menopause, the following year uterine prolapse followed by hysterectomy – the following year fibromyalgia and neuropathy. Early Childhood was fluorinated water along with fluoride tablets. Fall of 2008 I was looking at total disability. I could barely walk and couldn’t sleep because of the pain and was throwing up daily from the pain in my back. … After reading about fluoride I came to understand where all of my problems originated. … I began the borax detox of 1/8 tsp in a litre of water and within 3 days my symptoms were almost gone.”

Calcium-Magnesium Metabolism

There is antagonism as well as cooperation between calcium and magnesium. About half of the total body magnesium is found in bones and the other half inside the cells of tissues and organs. Only 1% is in the blood, and the kidneys try to keep this levels constant by excreting more or less with the urine.

In contrast, 99% of calcium is in bones, and the rest in the fluid outside of cells. Muscles contract when calcium moves into the cells, and they relax when calcium is again pumped out and magnesium moves in. This cellular pump requires much energy to pump calcium out, and if cells are low in energy, then calcium may accumulate inside cells. Low cellular energy may be due to Candida, faulty sugar or fat metabolism, deficiencies, or accumulating metabolic wastes and toxins.

This then leads to only partial relaxation of the muscles with stiffness, a tendency to cramps, and poor blood and lymph circulation. The problem gets worse the more calcium moves from bones into soft tissue. Nerve cells can also accumulate calcium, leading to faulty nerve transmission, in the lens it causes cataracts, hormonal output keeps reducing as endocrine glands increasingly calcify, and all other cells become handicapped in their normal functions. In addition it causes intracellular magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is needed to activate countless enzymes, and a deficiency leads to inefficient and blocked energy production.

A further problem is that excess calcium damages the cell membrane and makes it difficult for nutrients to move in and wastes to move out. When the intracellular calcium level gets too high the cell will die.

Here we can see the importance of boron as a regulator of cell membrane functions, especially in regard to movements of calcium and magnesium. With boron deficiency too much calcium moves into the cell while magnesium cannot move inside to displace it. This is the condition of old age and of the boron-deficiency diseases leading up to it.

While in good health and especially in younger years a calcium – magnesium ratio of 2 : 1 is normal and beneficial and supplied with a good diet. But with increasing age, boron deficiency and resulting disease conditions we need progressively less calcium and more magnesium.

For boron to be fully effective in reversing tissue calcification ample magnesium is required. For elderly individuals I recommend 400 to 600 mg of magnesium together with the daily borax supplementation spaced out during the day, and with protracted joint problems additional trans-dermal magnesium. However, oral magnesium may need to be adjusted according to its laxative effect. I am doubtful whether calcium supplements are needed and beneficial, even in case of osteoporosis. In my view these individuals have plenty of calcium stored in soft tissues where it does not belong, and supplementing boron and magnesium is expected to redeposit this misplaced calcium into bones. I regard the medical focus on a high calcium intake as a prescription for accelerated aging.

What and How Much to Use

In some countries (e.g. Australia, NZ, USA) borax can still be found in the laundry and cleaning sections of supermarkets. There is no “food-grade” borax available or necessary. All borax is the same and “natural”, and usually mined in California or Turkey, whether it has been packed in China or any other country. The label usually states that it is 99% pure (or 990g/kg borax) which is safe to use, and is the legal standard for agricultural grade borax. Up to 1% mining and refining residues are permitted. Boric acid, if available, may be used at about ⅔ the dose of borax, it is not for public sale in Australia.

Firstly dissolve a lightly rounded teaspoonful (5-6 grams) of borax in 1 litre of good quality water.  This is your concentrated solution keep it out of reach of small children.

Standard dose = 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of concentrate. This has 25 to 30 mg of borax and provides about 3 mg of boron.  Take 1 dose per day mixed with drink or food.  If that feels right then take a second dose with another meal.  If there is no specific health problem or for maintenance you may continue indefinitely with 1 or 2 doses daily.

If you do have a problem, such as arthritis, osteoporosis and related conditions, cramps or spasms, stiffness due to advancing years, menopause, and also to improve low sex hormone production, increase intake to 3 or more spaced-out standard doses for several months or longer until you feel that your problem has sufficiently improved. Then drop back to 1 or 2 doses per day.

For treating Candida, other fungi and mycoplasmas, or for removing fluoride from the body – using your bottle of concentrated solution:

Lower dose for low to normal weight – 100 ml (= 1/8 teaspoon of borax powder or 500 mg); drink spaced out during the day.

Higher dose for heavier individuals – 200 ml (= 1/4 teaspoon of borax powder or 1000 mg); drink spaced out during the day.

 

Even higher doses have been used to cure autoimmune diseases. One woman cured her Systemic Lupus (SLE) by taking 2 grams of borax powder (about ½ tsp) for 4 months. When using high amounts for longer periods it is usually more convenient to take the borax as powder mixed with food rather than making up a concentrated solution.

Always start with a lower dose and increase gradually to the intended maximum. Take the maximum amounts for 4 or 5 days a week as long as required, or reduce the maximum dose for one week each month to a minimum dose, or alternatively periodically alternate between a low dose and your maximum dose in a different rhythm.

For vaginal thrush fill a large size gelatine capsule with borax and insert it at bedtime for one to two weeks. With toe fungus or athlete’s foot wet the feet and rub them with borax powder.

You may take borax mixed with food or in drinks. It is rather alkaline and in higher concentrations has a soapy taste. You may disguise this with lemon juice, vinegar or ascorbic acid.

In Europe borax and boric acid have been classified as reproductive poisons, and since December 2010 are no longer available to the public within the EU. Presently borax is still available in Switzerland (15), but shipment to Germany is not permitted. In Germany a small amount (20 – 50 grams) may be ordered through a pharmacy as ant poison, it will be registered. Borax is presently still available from http://www.ebay.co.uk and can be shipped to other EU countries.

Boron tablets can be bought from health shops or the Internet, commonly with 3 mg of boron. In some European countries, such as The Netherlands, these may still contain borax, but not in others, such as Germany, where boron is not allowed in ionic form as with borax or boric acid. While suitable as a general boron supplement, I do not know if or how well they work against Candida and mycoplasmas. Most scientific studies and individual experiences in regard to arthritis, osteoporosis, or sexual hormones and menopause were with borax or boric acid. It is not yet known if non-ionic boron is as effective as borax. To improve effectiveness I recommend 3 or more spaced-out boron tablets daily for an extended period combined with sufficient magnesium and a suitable antimicrobial program (16).

Possible Side-Effects

While side-effects from pharmaceutical drugs tend to be negative and often dangerous, with natural medicine such as borax therapy these are usually healing reactions with beneficial long-term effects. Most common is the Herxheimer reaction from eliminating Candida. This is the main cause of pain or discomfort in the digestive system when starting with borax supplementation.

In some of the above forum posts rapid improvement was experienced within days. This is always a functional response. High cellular calcium levels cause muscle contraction with cramps or spasms as a common cause of pain. Boron, especially together with magnesium, can rapidly relax these muscles and take away the pain.

However, with long-standing severe calcifications a large amount of calcium cannot be redistributed in a short time. This leads to increased calcium levels in the affected area, especially the hips and shoulders, and can cause problems for a considerable time, such as a tendency to severe cramping and pain, or problems with the blood circulation, or nerve transmission. Nerve-related effects in hands and feet may be numbness, or reduced sensitivity or feeling in the skin. Higher amounts of calcium and fluoride passing through the kidneys may cause temporary kidney pain. Further, kidney pain appears to be mainly due to kidney stones being released. After a few days the stones are usually cleared and the pain stops.

Such healing reactions cannot be avoided when aiming for a higher level of health, but they can be minimized by increasing borax levels only gradually. Whenever you experience an unpleasant effect reduce or temporarily stop borax intake until the problem subsides. Then gradually start increasing again. Helpful additional measures are a greatly increased fluid intake, using more organic acids such as lemon juice or vinegar, and improving lymph flow as with rebounding, walking or inverted positions.

Toxicity Issues

Government health agencies are concerned about boron toxicity. You might be concerned as well if you read the following, pertaining to sodium chloride or table salt (17): ‘Acute oral toxicity (LD50 – the dose at which half of the tested animals die): 3,000 mg/kg [Rat]. Chronic Effects on Humans: Mutagenic for mammalian somatic cells. Slightly hazardous in case of skin contact, ingestion or inhalation. Lowest Published Lethal Oral Dose in Man: 1000 mg/kg. Causes adverse reproductive effects in humans (fetotoxicity, abortion) by intraplacental route, may increase risk of Toxemia of Pregnancy in susceptible women. May cause adverse reproductive effects and birth defects in animals, particularly rats and mice – fetotoxicity, abortion, musculoskeletal abnormalities, and maternal effects (on ovaries, fallopian tubes). May affect genetic material (mutagenic). Ingestion of large quantities can irritate the stomach with nausea and vomiting. May affect behavior (muscle spasicity/contraction, somnolence), sense organs, metabolism, and cardiovascular system. Continued exposure may produce dehydration, internal organ congestion, and coma.’

Now compare the sodium chloride toxicity with the Material Safety Data Sheet or MSDS for borax (18): ‘Low acute oral toxicity; LD50 in rats 4,500 to 6,000 mg/kg of body weight. Reproductive/developmental toxicity: Animal feeding studies in rat, mouse and dog, at high doses, have demonstrated effects on fertility and testes. Studies with boric acid in the rat, mouse and rabbit, at high doses, demonstrate developmental effects on the fetus, including fetal weight loss and minor skeletal variations. The doses administered were many times in excess of those to which humans would normally be exposed. No evidence of carcinogenicity in mice. No mutagenic activity was observed in a battery of short-term mutagenicity assays. Human epidemiological studies show no increase in pulmonary disease in occupational populations with chronic exposures to borate dust and no effect on fertility.’

Here you see that table salt is 50 to 100% more toxic than borax, it changes the genetic material and is mutagenic, while borax is harmless in this regard. Infants are most at risk from high borax ingestion. It has been estimated that 5 to 10 grams can cause severe vomiting, diarrhoea, shock and even death, but it also says that lethal doses are not well documented in the literature.

The following toxicity data are from documents of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control(19, 20).

A review of 784 accidental human poisonings from 10 – 88 grams of boric acid reported no fatalities, with 88% of cases being asymptomatic, meaning they did not notice anything. However, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, hepatic, renal, and central nervous system effects, dermatitis, erythema, and death have occasionally been observed in some infants, children and adults exposed to more than 84 mg boron/kg, corresponding to more than 40 grams of borax for 60 kg of body weight.

Animal studies have identified reproductive toxicity as the most sensitive effects of boron ingestion. Exposure of rats, mice, and dogs for several weeks showed some damage to the testes and sperm at doses of more than 26 mg boron/kg which corresponds to 15 grams of borax/day for 60 kg body weight.

Most at risk is the developing foetus, and in the studied animals rats were most affected. In one study slight reductions in the foetal body weight were already found at 13.7 mg boron/kg/day used during pregnancy. The no effect dose during pregnancy was set at less than 13.7 mg/kg/day corresponding to about 7 grams of borax per day for 60 kg body weight. With an added safety factor a no effect value of 9.6 mg boron/kg/day was calculated corresponding to 5 grams of borax for 60 kg.

However, a rat study lasting for 3 generations found no reproductive toxicity or effect on the parents or offspring at 30 mg boron/kg/day. This dose corresponds to 17 grams of borax for 60 kg ingested for 3 generations! In another 3-generation study no problem was found at 17.5 mg boron/kg/day, corresponding to 9 grams of borax/60 kg while the next higher tested borax dose of 58.5 mg/kg/day, corresponding to 30 grams of borax/60 kg, resulted in infertility. Therefore we can assume that the safe reproductive dose is about 20 grams/60 kg/day.

Human studies of the possible association between impaired fertility and high boron levels in water, soil and dust in a Turkish populations, and boron mining and processing workers, found no effect. One study even reported elevated fertility rates in borax production workers as compared to the U.S. national average.

All this is important because possible reproductive toxicity is the official reason for the present assault on borax. The sodium chloride MSDS mentioned above also states: “While sodium chloride has been used as a negative control in some reproductive studies, it has also been used as an example that almost any chemical can cause birth defects in experimental animals if studied under the right conditions.” Keep this in mind when you read the following.

The Assault on Borax

Arthritis in its various forms and its close relative osteoporosis affect about 30% of the population in developed countries. Osteoporosis is responsible for more long term hospital care than any other individual disease. This is due to the very high incidence of fractures, and especially the protracted nature of hip fractures. This is a main source of income for the medical-pharmaceutical system. If the boron-magnesium cure for these diseases should become widely known, this vital income stream would dry up and the system collapse. As this is the biggest and most profitable industry in the world, this cannot be allowed to happen.

When Dr Newnham discovered the boron-arthritis cure it was not a big problem for the pharmaceuticals because news travelled slowly and was easily suppressed. This is very different now with Internet communication. Most research funding comes from the pharmaceutical industry, and nothing has come forward to duplicate Dr Newnham’s findings and other positive osteoporosis studies. Instead, funding goes into the development of patentable boron drugs for limited application as in chemotherapy, or even to discredit boron. A test-tube experiment found that a relatively low dose of about 4 grams of borax can damage lymphocytes, just like an earlier test-tube study showed that vitamin C supplements are toxic. Most positive borax studies now come from China, Japan and Turkey.

Furthermore, PubMed is a publicly funded search facility for bio-medical research publications. While other articles for Newnham R.E. and Zhou L.Y. are still listed, the two important borax publications mentioned earlier – about the arthritis trial at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the treatment of skeletal fluorosis in China – are no longer listed, but they belong there and obviously had been there originally. I suspect that they have been deliberately removed to prevent them from being quoted in other research.

In addition, increasing effort goes into publicly demonizing borax for its alleged reproductive and infant toxicity. As an example I recently read an article by a ‘senior scientist’ of the supposedly ‘green’ Environmental Working Group. In it the perceived dangers of borax were so exaggerated that most comments in effect said: “Thank you for opening my eyes. I did not know how poisonous and dangerous borax is, I certainly will not use it anymore in my laundry, or for cleaning my toilet and kitchen” .

This is obviously a deliberate campaign to make people grateful for banning borax from public sale. For laundry and cleaning purposes Borax Substitute now replaces the product previously sold as Borax. The EU has spearheaded this campaign. In June 2010 borax and boric acid were reclassified as “Reprotoxic Category 2“, suggesting that they may be harmful to the reproductive functions of humans in high doses, and the product package must display the skull and crossbones symbol. From December 2010 these products were no longer available for public sale within the EU. While this classification now applies for all of Europe, non-EU countries still have some leeway in regard to public sales. This initiative is part of a Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) which is to be implemented as soon as possible. Australia is well-advanced on preparing regulations to implement the GHS for industrial chemicals, with new regulations expected in 2012 (21).

The European Chemicals Agency gave as reason for their reclassification of boron products (paraphrased):

‘The available data do not indicate major differences between laboratory animals and humans, therefore it must be assumed that the effects seen in animals could occur in humans as epidemiological studies in humans are insufficient to demonstrate the absence of an adverse effect of inorganic borates on fertility. 17.5 mg boron/kg/day was derived as a NOAEL (no event level) for male and female fertility. For the rat decreased foetal weight occurred at 13.7 mg boron/kg/day, and a safe limit of 9.6 mg/kg/day has been derived.’ (22)

What they are really saying is this: ‘While we have no human data, animal studies suggest that for adult reproductive functions a daily ingestion of about 2 teaspoons of borax is safe. But to be absolutely sure that no-one is harmed, we will ban it totally.’ Importantly, this ruling is not related to borax in foods or supplements where it is already banned, but only for general use as in laundry or cleaning products or as insecticides. Because borax is not readily inhaled or absorbed through intact skin, it is difficult to see how even a few milligrams daily could get into the body with the conventional use. If the same standard would apply to other chemicals there would be none left.

The key study in this assessment was published in 1972. Why is this being dug up now to justify banning borax when it was of no concern for the past 40 years? It does not make any scientific sense, especially if you consider that the main chemical in the new borax substitute, sodium percarbonate, is about three times more toxic than borax. Acute oral LD50 values for animals are from 1034 to 2200 mg/kg/day (23). Even the commonly used sodium bicarbonate, with an animal LD50 of 3360 mg/kg, is nearly twice as toxic as borax (24). Both of these chemicals have not been tested for long-term reproductive toxicity at the high doses that caused fertility problems in rats and mice.

The same applies to washing powders, it has been stated that no toxicity is expected if used in the approved way, or that reproductive tests have not been done. Ingredients in these products are more toxic than borax, why can they be used in the approved way but not borax? And how about really toxic items such as caustic soda and hydrochloric acid? Why do they remain available to the public when one of the safest household chemicals is banned despite the fact that it is absolutely impossible to cause any reproductive harm with the approved use?

Regardless of the lack of any scientific credibility, the stage has been set for borax and boric acid to be globally removed from public sale at short or no notice. Even low-level and less effective boron tablets are now tightly controlled by the pharmaceutical industry, and may be restricted at any time through Codex Alimentarius regulations. With this the medical-pharmaceutical system has safely defused any potential danger that borax may have posed to its profitability and survival.

Note:

This article is not about curing arthritis. Boron is essential for healthy bones and joints, and supplements may be able to help with arthritis, but chronic conditions often are associated with additional other deficiencies, allergies, microbial infestations and inflammation. All of these factors may need to be addressed. For further information see Arthritis and Rheumatism or the more detailed Overcoming Arthritis.

REFERENCES

(1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9638606

(2) http://www.whale.to/w/boron.htmlYou +1’d this publicly. Undo

(3) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1566627/pdf/envhper00403-0084.pdf (4) http://nah.sagepub.com/content/7/2/89.full.pdf

(5) http://www.arthritistrust.org/Articles/Boron and Arthritis.pdf

(6) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/172591209

(7) http://www.ithyroid.com/boron.htm

(8) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21129941

(9) http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2006/aug2006_aas_01.htm

(10) http://www.earthclinic.com/Remedies/borax.html

(11) http://jac.oxfordjournals.org/content/63/2/325.long

(12) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21774671

(13) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2873987/

(14) http://www.earthclinic.com/CURES/fluoride.html

(15) http://www.supergenial.ch/pi1/pd2.html

(16) http://www.health-science-spirit.com/ultimatecleanse.html

(17) http:/www.sciencelab.com/msds.php?msdsId=9927593

(18) http://www.hillbrothers.com/msds/pdf/n/borax-decahydrate.pdf

(19) http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp26-c2.pdf

(20) http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2005-0062-0004

(21) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globally_Harmonized_System_of_Classification_and_Labelling_of_Chemicals

(22) http://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/17230/supdoc_boric_acid_20100609_en.pdf

(23) http://www.inchem.org/documents/sids/sids/15630894.pdf

(24) http://www.sciencelab.com/msds.php?msdsId=9927258

 

Weak control of inflammation by genes, linked to Alzheimer’s development

A team of researchers from the University of Cambridge has studied data from healthy human brain tissue, revealing a signature of proteins in specific areas of the brain that could dictate vulnerability to damage in Alzheimer’s. The findings help to explain the characteristic spread of damage across the brain that is observed in the disease and the findings could help to inform future drug discovery efforts. The results are published on 10 August in the journal Science Advances.

Alzheimer’s disease is characterised by the abnormal build-up of two proteins in the brain called amyloid and tau. Initially, the damage inflicted by both proteins is confined to specific areas of the brain – particularly those involved in controlling memory and navigation. Over time, the damage caused by these proteins spreads across the brain, affecting new areas and causing symptoms to worsen and diversify. This spread of damage is not random and for many years researchers have observed a predictable pattern of spread between particularly vulnerable areas of the brain. But researchers have long questioned why these areas are most susceptible to Alzheimer’s.

The Cambridge team suggested that one explanation for this vulnerability could lie in the pattern of proteins expressed in a particular brain area. If a region of the brain expresses a signature of proteins, which are inherently more prone to clumping together, then it could be more susceptible to the damage triggered when the amyloid and tau proteins start to build up.

To explore their hypothesis they used data from existing databases to compare the levels of almost 20,000 genes and corresponding proteins from 500 different brain areas taken from six healthy people aged 24 to 57 years. They gave a vulnerability score to each brain region that was higher if that area expressed more proteins that were prone to clumping together. They then looked to see whether these protein signatures corresponded to the areas of the brain known to be most susceptible to damage in Alzheimer’s.

The scientists found a link between areas of the brain known to be vulnerable to damage in Alzheimer’s and specific signatures of genes and proteins in those areas. The gene signature corresponded to proteins that either clump together with amyloid and tau, or influence the brain’s ability to clear the two culprit proteins. He and his colleagues conducted a transcriptome-wide microarray analysis of more than 500 healthy brain tissues from the Allen Brain Atlas and characterized the progression of disease using Braak staging. After developing their vulnerability score, the researchers noted that brain regions where Alzheimer’s disease is typically first noticed had elevated expression levels of proteins that co-aggregate in plaques and tangles.

But as these co-aggregating proteins were still present at fairly high levels across the brain, the researchers also examined the role of the protein homeostasis components that regulate them. These components, they found, are typically expressed at lower levels in vulnerable tissues, suggesting a role for them in amyloid and tau deposition.

“Vulnerability to Alzheimer’s disease isn’t dictated by abnormal levels of the aggregation-prone proteins that form the characteristic deposits in disease, but rather by the weaker control of these proteins in the specific brain tissues that first succumb to the disease,” Vendruscolo added.

The vulnerable tissues also exhibited lower expression of genes associated with autoimmune response, which lends further credence to theories that inflammation plays a role in Alzheimer’s disease development.

The researchers repeated their tissue vulnerability analysis for aggregation sets linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS, finding a significant difference between the scores for each disease.

Vendruscolo and his colleagues then used single-cell human mRNA data to zoom in on cells most vulnerable to aggregation by evaluating the levels of amyloid beta and tau in various brain cell types. Their relative expression was highest in neurons, the researchers reported.

“The results of this particular study provide a clear link between the key factors that we have identified as underlying the aggregation phenomenon and the order in which the effects of Alzheimer’s disease are known to spread through the different regions of the brain,” co-author Christopher Dobson, also at Cambridge, said in the statement. ”


Connie’s notes: Reading, using the brain more, exercise, sleep, whole foods and being out in the sun (Vit D helps in absorption of calcium and magnesium) help in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s (as we age, we move less, our body function slowly, so we need to energize our body more).