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Let's Prevent Autism & Autoimmune Disease

A U.S. Congressman is seeking a DOJ investigation of glyphosate

The U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu has called for a Department of Justice investigation of the chemical glyphosate used in the herbicide Roundup. There may have been collusion by an EPA worker and Monsanto to suppress investigation of the chemical’s health risks. It has been labeled a likely carcinogen.

“New questions about the safety of Monsanto weed killer Roundup are deeply troubling. I worked on the glyphosate issue last term and I believe consumers should immediately stop using Roundup, whose core ingredient glyphosate has been labeled a likely carcinogen and has been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. We need to find out if Monsanto or the Environmental Protection Agency misled the public.”

-U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu,  “US Congressman Calls for DOJ Investigation into EPA-Monsanto Glyphosate Collusion” Mar 17 2017 – by Sustainable Pulse

Read more: http://sustainablepulse.com/2017/03/17/us-congressman-calls-for-doj-investigation-into-epa-monsanto-glyphosate-collusion/#.WMv1yjvytPb

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.

A TEDx talk about SPECT Scans and Psychiatric Diagnosis

Psychiatry is a field that relies on talking and questioning patients about their symptoms and lives for the purposes of diagnosis. A pioneer in the field has been using a method to scan the electrical activity of the brain for the purpose of more accurate diagnosis with the goal of providing more accurate treatments.

Dr. Amen shares his findings from 83,000 SPECT scans taken over many years of his clinical work helping individual patients improve their health and quality of life with individualized diagnosis and treatment recommendations. While his findings have helped many patients with a variety of conditions, autism spectrum disorders are not a primary focus of his work. The scans can help clarify diagnosis of ADHD and many other psychiatric conditions and may be helpful with autism disorders but that will likely require more time and more patients. It is a private clinic that expects payment to be paid in full at the time of the appointment. The fees may be able to be covered in part by your health insurance company but you would have to submit the bill and work with your insurance company yourself – and it may require preauthorization so check with them first if you hope for some reimbursement.

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.

Mental health and nutrients; TEDx talk by Julia Rucklidge

A TEDx talk by Julia Rucklidge, PhD reviews the risks of long term psychiatric medications for the mental health of young people and the benefits found with supplementing with a wide variety of micronutrients.

Supplementation for a community that experienced trauma was found to reduce the frequency/severity of PTSD in the individuals of the community.

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.

Neuropathy can be a cause of extreme tiredness

An underlying problem affecting a main nerve or affecting many nerves can be a cause of tingling and numbness in the hands or arms and legs. An increased feeling of heaviness of the arms or legs or feeling tired from just holding the arms up in the air may be due to problems with the nerves rather than weakness of the muscles. Autoimmune disease or some nutrient deficiencies (vitamin B12 deficiency most common) can be causes of neuropathy, or nerve damage. Other common causes are mentioned later.

Autoimmune disease itself can be very tiring and a cause of muscle cramps and diffuse chronic pain and it could make it very hard to cope with a physically demanding job. Some types of nerve damage can become permanent but may be reversible if caught early enough and the underlying causes are corrected. Vitamin B12 may be poorly absorbed by elderly people or for others with digestive problems; a monthly injection of B12, bypassing the digestive system, is a common treatment.  Dissolve in the mouth supplements of B12, cobalamin, are also used sucessfully by some people. In Parkinson’s Disease neuropathy has been seen and “perhaps we should be measuring MMA levels in these patients and treating with cobalamin supplementation to reduce MMA levels and prevent neuropathy.” [4]

Recognizing when tiredness is tiredness and when it is due to underlying nerve damage may be a step that can help prevent the nerve damage from becoming more permanent paralysis or numbness. Neuropathy can also affect gland or organ function as well as affecting motion and sensation. Poor coordination can become a problem with walking or with picking up and not dropping things because they just slipped from your fingers. Symptoms may also include feeling moments of burning or stabbing pain and bowel and bladder problems may include constipation or feeling unable to urinate. [1]

Neuropathy may affect approximately 24 million people in the United States. [1]

Neuropathy is more of risk for people with diabetes, about 30% of the cases are associated with diabetes. Heavy alcohol use and traumatic injury can be causes in addition to autoimmune celiac disease, hypothyroidism and other immune system diseases and viral infections sometimes can be a cause. Some types of antibiotics, radiation and chemotherapy treatments may cause neuropathy. Some cases of neuropathy are present at birth. [1]

Since celiac disease may be a cause of neuropathy trying a gluten free diet may be worth trying, (and hypothyroidism can also be a cause of neuropathy and for some people may be due to gluten sensitivity problems). Not overeating sugars and simple starches may help by promoting more stable blood sugar which would be especially important for diabetics but elevated blood sugar may be part of the cause of nerve damage: [3]. Hot pepper – and it’s active ingredient capsaicin may be helpful and warm showers or a bath may also help circulation and muscle relaxation. Taking care with toenail health is important as numbness becomes more extreme minor injuries may become infected and go unnoticed until they are major infections. [1]

Of the 16 million Americans with diabetes, approximately, about 25% have foot problems due to peripheral neuropathy.  Peripheral nerves are those extending out from the brain or spinal cord to the muscles and organs and skin. Neuropathy can progress from feeling tingling sensations of ‘pins and needles’ in the fingertips to not being able to feel sensations of hot, cold or pain. [2]

Peripheral neuropathy has been known to occur with Parkinson’s disease, possibly due to treatment with L-dopa [4], or possibly as a side effect with another commonly used treatment, dopamine hydrochloride. [5] Dopamine producing cells become dysfunctional in Parkinson’s Disease. [6] Dopamine is a brain neurostransmitter involved in movement but it is also has roles in immune system function.

Adequate levels of dopamine are involved in preventing both autoimmune disease and cancer. Research that compared the lifestyles of family members with and without Parkinson’s Disease found that siblings without the disease were more likely to have been coffee drinkers (three or more cups per day) and were more likely to have smoked tobacco cigarettes. Smoking tobacco has negative health risks but it may help boost dopamine levels and may have some protective effects on the dopamine producing cells. [7]

Smoking tobacco my have protective effects for some people but not others. Coffee has also been associated with less risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, [8] but again it may be helping those with a certain type of genetics and be a negative risk for people with other types of genes. Obesity and smoking cigarettes once a patient already has non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is associated with the disease progressively getting worse. [9] Fructose, sugar from fruit or refined in the form of high fructose corn syrup, intake has also been associated with worsening of NAFLD. [10]

Protecting liver function may be important for protecting against cancer. The herb milk thistle has been found to have some protective affects for the liver. [12] Cirrhosis of the liver is also associated with peripheral neuropathy so protecting the liver may also help protect the nervous system and brain. [11]

Summary of tips for protecting against neuropathy:

  1. Stable blood sugar and not developing diabetes may help protect the nerves.
  2. Regular exercise and stretching and warm baths or showers and massage and other methods for increasing circulation may help protect the nerves.
  3. Not eating excessively of fructose or simple sugars may help prevent damage caused by glycation of proteins; by helping prevent obesity or diabetes.
  4. Moderate use of coffee may help protect the liver from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and some types of liver disease have been associated with peripheral neuropathy.
  5. Dopamine or L-dopa when used as a medication to treat Parkinson’s Disease may be involved in development of peripheral neuropathy. Parkinson’s Disease involves dysfunctional production of dopamine so some other issue may be involved that causes peripheral neuropathy or it may be important to have adequate but not excessive levels of dopamine for health of the nerves.
  6. A deficiency of vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, can be non-reversible cause of peripheral neuropathy. [13]
  7. Smoking tobacco may have some protective affects against Parkinson’s Disease for some people but it has also been associated with worsening of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in patients who already have the disease. It is unclear at this time what genes may be involved in why some people seem less at risk from tobacco smoking than others – overall it has been found to be associated with lung cancer. Chemicals within smoke cause blood vessels to constrict and reduces circulation. It has been associated with worsening of diabetic peripheral neuropathy so quitting smoking may be more protective of nerves. While it may help boost dopamine levels there are many other healthy ways to boost dopamine naturally. [14]
  8. Following a gluten free diet may be helpful in preventing peripheral neuropathy for some people. If hypothyroidism is also a problem then trying a strict gluten free diet may be beneficial as it may be a cause of autoimmune sensitivities. Eating less gluten in that case would still be exposing the body to the autoimmune ‘allergen’ so a trial of a gluten free diet may have to be very strict and last several months to six months before significant health benefits occur (in research on autoimmune celiac disease it took six months on a very strict gluten free diet in order for the levels of autoimmune antibodies against gluten to be reduced — and (potentially) the thyroid hormone which the gluten molecule resembles.

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.

  1. http://thelightmedia.com/posts/28389-neuropathy-12-ways-to-identify-and-manage-this-painful-disease
  2. http://www.foot.com/site/foot-conditions/neuropathy
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glycation
  4. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/725699
  5. http://www.ehealthme.com/ds/dopamine%20hydrochloride/neuropathy%20peripheral/
  6. http://justneurology.com/
  7. https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11568-do-coffee-and-cigarettes-protect-against-parkinsons/
  8. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264995.php
  9. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hep.23516/full
  10. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100427081044.htm
  11. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/460036
  12. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/milk-thistle
  13. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/supplement-guide-vitamin-b12#1
  14. http://mentalhealthdaily.com/2015/04/17/how-to-increase-dopamine-levels/

Good news: Baths can be less exhausting than showers

Yes, autoimmune disease can be exhausting and it can be confusing for other people to understand because autoimmune disease may not have obvious symptoms. A person with an autoimmune disorder may suffer from severe pain or other symptoms throughout their body but not have lab tests that show obvious problems to a physician. Autoimmune antibodies are known for a few types of disorders and those can be screened for if the lab test is ordered but not all autoimmune antigens have been identified.

Magnesium deficiency may be an underlying issue though for many/most autoimmune disorders, so taking an Epsom salt bath can provide improved magnesium absorption through the skin and allow a person to sit down to wash their hair and shave their legs (if desired). No promises though, that a nap might not still be desired after the exertion of bathing while sitting, or before the exertion of blow-drying long hair.

Fibromyalgia and chronic pain problems may have autoimmune origins [3] and/or may have to do with our cell’s energy workhouses, the mitochondria, running out of their preferred energy source — magnesium. They use calcium but it can overwork them to the point of cell death. In normal physiology membrane transport systems, also called ion channels, carefully control how much calcium is allowed into the interior of mitochondria. Something called ruthenium-red (RuRed)* and magnesium ions are involved in controlling the entry of calcium ions through the transport channels. [1, 2]

A deficiency of magnesium may allow excess calcium to enter the mitochondria and cause overexcitation and even lead to death of the mitochondria.

Mitochondria are actually similar to bacteria and have their own DNA that in nature always matches the mother’s mitochondria’s DNA but that is a different story.

*(RuRed) – not a nutrient I didn’t know about – it’s a dye used in labs that selectively binds with some things but not others so it is used for identification purposes with unknown samples — roughly.

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.

  1. http://ajpcell.physiology.org/content/287/4/C817
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/20680823_Ruthenium_red_and_magnesium_ion_partially_inhibit_silver_ion-induced_release_of_calcium_from_sarcoplasmic_reticulum_of_frog_skeletal_muscles
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24435355

“Spending my spoons with you;” aka: Autoimmune disease is exhausting

The Spoon Theory is a way a person with the autoimmune disease lupus explained to one of her friends just what it can be like to live with an autoimmune disease — exhausting.

Each day a person with autoimmune disease wakes up and has to go about the day like everyone else but just showering takes energy. Holding arms overhead to wash long hair is exhausting. Leaning down to shave legs is exhausting. Drying off, blow drying the long hair with arms overhead, carefully applying makeup . . . it is all exhausting.

Listen and learn about thinking twice before wasting a spoonful of energy, as the author shares her theory at a conference, The Spoon Theory written by and spoken by Christine Miserandino:

Be thankful for your spoonfuls of energy and your loved one’s; health is a blessing that is not doled out equally, but if you are careful, sometimes it can be maintained and improved.

“Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.”
Dalai Lama XIV

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Nutrient content found to be different in GMO soy; a link

Glyphosate tolerant GM soybeans were found to contain high residues of glyphosate and AMPA, a breakdown product of glyphosate. Nutrient content was also found to be different between the glyphosate tolerant GM soybeans and organically grown soybeans. The GM soybeans had less sugars, protein and zinc than the organically grown soybeans and had more omega-6, a less beneficial type of fatty acid.

Compositional differences in soybeans on the market: Glyphosate accumulates in Roundup Ready GM soybeans.

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

    Glycine, Cheerful Juice, and testing for glyphosate

    My experiences with taking a larger dose of the free amino acids glycine and methionine proved to my satisfaction that they are indeed essential for physical and mental health. In definition methionine is considered essential, we can not synthesize it and need an external source while glycine is considered nonessential, we can make it from other chemicals. For someone who can’t properly breakdown either though they might both be considered essential for health. It has been helping my mood and health.

    I’ve continued to take the amino acids in a half teaspoon dose since the evening I took the full teaspoon dose late at night and couldn’t get to sleep. Essential nutrients can often have ranges for how much is helpful; too little or too much of many things can cause different types of symptoms. The taste isn’t better but I’ve (almost) acquired the taste for it — the astringent tang of a Pinot Noir was the closest taste I could think of —  which does turn out to contain free amino acids, including methionine and glycine. [http://skipthepie.org/beverages/alcoholic-beverage-wine-table-red-merlot/compared-to/alcoholic-beverage-wine-table-red-pinot-noir/#proteins]

    Probably a few people can relate to the idea of red wine being a “Cheerful Juice,” it turns out that the free amino acids may have something to do with it.

    What I did find is that having a genetic defect in the metabolic pathway of an essential amino acid such as glycine can have significant negative effects on mood and energy level and that simply adding an external source of the missing nutrient can have significant positive effects.

    The genetic defect that I have may be rare, I don’t know, but if glyphosate is able to substitute for glycine within physiology then an external source of purified glycine may also be beneficial for anyone eating foods based on ingredients that may contain traces of glyphosate.

    Testing for the presence of glyphosate would not be as simple as testing for the free amino acid however; if it had been incorporated into proteins in place of glycine, then the glyphosate would only be discovered by the lab test if the longer protein chains were broken down first into the free amino acids — and glyphosate if it had been incorporated into the protein instead of glycine.

    Another way to test to see if glyphosate is being incorporated into the structure of proteins in place of glycine would be to add radioactively tagged glyphosate into a system capable of assembling proteins and then test the new mixture to see whether the radioactively tagged glyphosate was used in place of glycine within the newly synthesized protein chains.

    Glyphosate was found within vaccinations that were independently tested by a non-profit group, Moms Across America, but the company Monsanto has since stated that the lab screening that was used was invalid and the testing system Monsanto used found no residue of glyphosate in vaccinations. [http://monsantoblog.com/2016/09/13/monsanto-responds-to-flawed-study-by-samsel-claiming-glyphosate-in-vaccines/] — A test for free amino acids wouldn’t find glyphosate that had been incorporated into proteins of agar gelatin or viral proteins.

    Series on glycine and use as a supplement for genetic defect–nutrigenomics:

    1. Glycine is an Amino Acid with Neurotransmitter Roles, 10/15/2016,  http://transcendingsquare.com/2016/10/15/glycine-is-an-amino-acid-with-neurotransmitter-roles/
    2. Cheerful Juice Lives Up to its Name, 10/20/16,  http://transcendingsquare.com/2016/10/20/cheerful-juice-lives-up-to-its-name/
    3. Cheerful Juice; the morning after,  10/20/2016,  http://transcendingsquare.com/2016/10/20/cheerful-juice-the-morning-after/

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

    Cheerful Juice; the morning after

    My late night serving of Cheerful Juice did help my mood after watching the presidential debate but I wasn’t able to go to sleep very easily afterwards. The full teaspoon dose of the free amino acids glycine and methionine left me not only with the cheerful mood and boost of energy but it also left me slightly jittery feeling with a more rapid heartbeat.

    This morning I tried a half teaspoon dose and within just ten minutes I’m feeling more cheerful but without the jittery burst of increased energy.

    So experimental results for my study group, size n=1, suggest that the 2 to 3 gram dose in a single serving may be safer than a dose of approximately 5 grams in one serving. When free amino acids can act as signaling messenger chemicals within the body or brain then they may also be able to act as excitotoxins in larger doses and overexcite cells possibly to the point of cell death.

    Moderation is generally healthiest within biological systems. Many chemicals or nutrients can be safe within a moderate range but then be dangerous when there is either too little or too much. My needs for an external source of the free amino acids dimethylglycine (DMG) and methionine are not normal due to my genetic defect in the gene that is needed to make an enzyme involved in breaking down more complex forms of the free amino acids.

    More on the gene defect involved in dimethyl glycine and methionine and a link to the genetic screening test I used is found in this post from March 30, 2016, http://transcendingsquare.com/2016/03/30/methylation-cycle-defects-in-me-genetic-screening-for-research-purposes-only/ . That post is a long list of notes rather than being an essay with a beginning and end, see #3, BHMT/1 (Call – T), Betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase (BHMT), for my notes regarding the specific defect and enzyme that prevents me from being able to fully digest protein foods — since birth — better late than never, I tend to say, but it would be nice for other infants and children to not have to suffer there entire lives due to underlying genetic defects that are now able to be screened for and managed with the use of dietary supplements.

    Series on glycine:

    1. Glycine is an Amino Acid with Neurotransmitter Roles, 10/15/2016,  http://transcendingsquare.com/2016/10/15/glycine-is-an-amino-acid-with-neurotransmitter-roles/
    2. Cheerful Juice Lives Up to its Name, 10/20/16,  http://transcendingsquare.com/2016/10/20/cheerful-juice-lives-up-to-its-name/

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

    Cheerful Juice lives up to its name

    Cheerful Juice lives up to it’s name as a post debate pick me up. ii had missed having some earlier in the day and was fairly cranky and tired after watching the Presidential debate Wednesday night. Even though it had gotten later, past midnight, I was cranky enough that I remembered forgetting my Cheerful Juice.

    So positive mood within half a glass, within 20 minutes, boost of energy by the full cup, within 50 minutes (now typing this instead of sleeping)– suggesting that for my genetic structure I do need the two gram dose — ~half a teaspoon, half a glass. The five gram dose, full teaspoon, full glass, might be a little more than I need at one time. Having a glass in the morning and evening has been beneficial on the few days that I’ve tried that, so simply spitting the teaspoon serving into two half teaspoon servings might be effective without causing extra symptoms.

    The burst of energy suggests overactivity might be occurring. Aspartic acid and glutamate are called excitotoxins because they can signal so much activity in a cell that it leads to death of the cell due to overwork. Glycine and methionine are more active as inhibitory messenger chemicals so they may not have the same risk as there would be with large doses of aspartic acid or glutamate, especially in combination with magnesium deficiency.

    Magnesium is an electrically active mineral that works from within the cell to provide energy for membrane channels that in normal health would control what is allowed into the cell – too much glutamate or aspartic acid or calcium simply wouldn’t be allowed in if enough magnesium was available to power the electric doorways in the cell membranes, (ie: magnesium selective ion channels).

    I’m keeping notes because this is a new area of study, there isn’t a handbook for dietary advice for all the genetic defects in metabolism. Some more deadly ones are known and screened for at birth so the infant can be put on a protective diet as soon as possible. PKU, phenylketonuria is the most well known example of genetic defects that can be managed with dietary changes.

    [See a previous post, Glycine is an amino acid with neurotransmitter roles, for more details.]

    It’s past 1:00am now, I’ll try to go to sleep and have some cheerful dreams — about an Amendment to the Constitution overturning Citizens United — or some other cheerful topic.

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

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