Nervous System Know Your Personal Micronutrient Needs:

Nervous System Know Your Personal Micronutrient Needs:

A single deficiency – mineral, vitamin, antioxidant or amino acid – can set off a cascade of events where metabolic processes are disturbed. Conversely, repletion of such deficiencies can and often do resolve clinical neurological symptoms such as migraines and neuropathy.

Migraine Prevention:

Anyone who has experienced migraine headaches knows how debilitating they can be. Fortunately, nutritional intervention can be very successful in migraine prevention. Although the mechanism of action is not totally understood, several nutrients that facilitate energy production at the cellular level may also benefit the treatment of migraine headaches. Supplementation with coenzyme Q10, a powerful antioxidant that aids energy Headachemetabolism, may reduce both the frequency and intensity of migraine headaches. Similar results occur with magnesium and vitamin B2, since they also help mitochondria (energy-producing centers in our cells) function properly. “Mitochondrial dysfunction” is one possible trigger to migraine headaches.

The role of oxidative stress in causing migraines is not totally understood, but studies do show that low levels of specific antioxidants, such as glutathione and lipoic acid are associated with migraine occurrence. Correcting specific deficiencies specifically B3, B6, B12 and folic acid can produce dramatic results for reducing the pain and frequency of migraine headaches.

A Healthy Nervous System:

Antioxidant therapy has the potential to contributeHealthy Nervous System to preventing or mitigating many neurologic disorders. SpectraCell Laboratories can measure a person’s total antioxidant function with their SPECTROX test, in addition to measuring the performance of individual antioxidants. Since nutrients play multiple roles, a comprehensive assessment of nutritional status is key.
Minimizing Neuropathic Pain:
Damage to nerves in the limbs but outside the spinal cord causes the painful condition called peripheral neuropathy. Although potentially debilitating, there is overwhelming evidence that neuropathy responds well when specific nutrient deficiencies are corrected. In some studies, vitamin B1 and vitamin B12 significantly reduce neuropathic pain. High levels of oxidative stress increase neuropathic pain, which explains why the powerful antioxidants cysteine, vitamin E and lipoic acid may be successful in treating neuropathy. The pain reducing effects of carnitine and omega-3 fatty acids has been proven in several trials.

Keeping Our Nerves “Insulated”:

NerveNerves are covered with a protective coating called myelin, much like the insulation that coats electronic wiring. If the myelin sheath deteriorates, neurological problems arise, which is what happens to people with multiple sclerosis (MS). A key enzyme needed to manufacture this protective coating contains serine, an important amino acid needed for neurological health, which is why serine deficiency may cause neurological problems. Research shows that patients with MS have lowered calcium levels and that symptoms of MS are more severe when blood levels of vitamin D are low. Copper deficiency can cause symptoms seen in MS patients as well.

Reducing the Risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s:

Nutritional deficiencies have been linked to sReducing Riskeveral neurodegenerative diseases. For example, research shows that over half of people with Parkinson’s disease are deficient in vitamin D. Research also shows that the administration of coenzyme Q10 slows the neurological deterioration seen in Parkinson’s disease. Similarly, a higher intake of vitamin C and vitamin E can slow the progression of dementia that is seen in Alzheimer’s patients. Evidence confirms that copper deficiency contributes to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

CDC Expert Announces End of Antibiotics Due to Overuse

CDC Expert Announces End of Antibiotics Due to Overuse

 Dr. Suzan Berry                 27 Oct 2013

The associate director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has announced the end of the use of antibiotics. Dr. Arjun Srinivasan says that antibacterial resistance, resulting from the overuse of antibiotics in both humans and livestock, has rendered the former “miracle drugs” useless against “superbugs.”

According to a report in the Daily Mail, Srinivasan has discussed the growing problem of antibacterial resistance throughout a series of interviews since the summer.

“For a long time, there have been newspaper stories and covers of magazines that talked about ‘The end of antibiotics, question mark?’” Srinivasan said in a PBS interview. “Well, now I would say you can change the title to “The end of antibiotics, period.”

In a Frontline report entitled “Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria,” which aired Tuesday, Srinivasan said that both humans and livestock have been so overmedicated that bacteria are now resistant to antibiotics.

“We’re in the post-antibiotic era,” he said. “There are patients for whom we have no therapy, and we are literally in a position of having a patient in a bed who has an infection, something that five years ago even we could have treated, but now we can’t.”

As an example, Srinivasan cited the recent case of three Tampa Bay Buccaneers players who reportedly contracted potentially dangerous MRSA infections which, until recently, were mostly found in hospitals.

About a decade ago, however, Srinivasan said he began seeing outbreaks of different types of MRSA infections in schools and gyms.

“In hospitals, when you see MRSA infections, you oftentimes see that in patients who have a catheter in their blood, and that creates an opportunity for MRSA to get into their bloodstream,” he said. “In the community, it was causing a very different type of infection. It was causing a lot of very, very serious and painful infections of the skin, which was completely different from what we would see in health care.”

Since bacteria have developed resistance to conventional antibiotics, doctors have been returning to some older, but more dangerous, cures such as colistin.

“It’s very toxic,” said Srinivasan. “We don’t like to use it. It damages the kidneys. But we’re forced to use it in a lot of instances.”

The first antibiotic, penicillin, was discovered in 1928 by Scottish Professor Alexander Fleming. The discovery led to the successful treatment of millions of people suffering from illnesses that were once thought to be deadly. In addition, procedures such as organ transplants and chemotherapy, which weaken the immune system, creating greater susceptibility to infection, became possible due to its use. Penicillin-related antibiotics such as ampicillin, amoxicillin, and benzylpenicillin are widely in use today to treat various infections.

The CDC director said that people have allowed bacterial resistance through rampant overuse and misuse of antibiotics.

“These drugs are miracle drugs, these antibiotics that we have, but we haven’t taken good care of them over the 50 years that we’ve had them,” he said.

Concerns about antimicrobial resistance led the World Health Organization (WHO) to warn that a health emergency of global proportions could result without the antibiotics needed to combat multi-drug resistance bacteria that are spreading around the world.

“Antibiotic resistance is one of the foremost issues that will affect healthcare worldwide, including Australia, in the coming decades,” said Thomas Gottlieb, president of the Australasian Society for infectious Diseases, and advisor to pharmaceutical companies Novartis, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Janssen-Cilag.

Srinivasan said pharmaceutical companies are at least partially to blame for this problem because they have neglected the development of new and more sophisticated antibiotics that could keep up with bacterial resistance because “there’s not much money to be made” in this field.

In the Frontline report, journalist David Hoffman discussed the lack of economic incentive for pharmaceutical companies to develop new antibiotics:

[In the ’50s and ’60s] I think there was something like 150 classes of new antibiotics. And although there were warnings then that if we misused them that resistance would grow, you could just see in the marketplace new ones coming on every couple of years. … I think we got very, very complacent. … In the ’80s and particularly in the ’90s we went around the bend a little bit because the science didn’t continue to produce new antibiotics at that rate, and the economics of drug development changed rather remarkably. …

We’re bombarded with advertisements that there are drugs now to treat chronic diseases … that you would take for the rest of your life. And you can imagine, if you’re in drug development, if you create and invent one of these drugs that can tackle a chronic disease that people will take forever, the return on investment for the drug companies to develop those big blockbuster drugs … that became irresistible.

But think about antibiotics. If they’re taken properly, you take them only for a short course, a couple of weeks maybe, and then you stop and you forget it, you get better. … So the economics of making antibiotics wasn’t going to make these big profits for the drug companies. And slowly, but with increasing frequency, they begun [sic] to pull out of research on antibiotics.

Shila Kaur, a health consultant with Third World Network, writes that besides low return on investment, however, big pharmaceutical companies also complain of another obstacle: the “lack of regulatory clarity from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has reportedly made it increasingly difficult for antibiotic development to overcome all the necessary regulatory hurdles.

Critics of Big Pharma, however, observe that fast-tracking regulatory approval procedures might compromise drug safety while it also makes antibiotic development more profitable for big drug companies at the expense of smaller ones, the latter of which actually have the ability to research superbugs and new antibiotics while they earn profits due to lower overhead costs.

“There are only a handful of companies like us out there,” said Steve Gilman, chief scientific officer and executive vice president of Cubist, a bio-pharmaceutical company based in Lexington, Massachusetts. “We’re focusing exclusively on the superbugs of today and other types of anti-resistant bacteria,” he told CNBC.

“Our guidance for R&D [research and development] for 2013 is between $400 and $420 million, with the bulk of that focused on antibiotics,” he added.

“Our overhead is much less than a larger firm,” Gilman said about Cubist, a publicly-traded company which reported net revenue in 2012 of $926.4 million, up 23 percent from 2011. “We’ve been able to find a steady stream of revenues that keeps growing. We’re happy to pursue a $500 million market, where the bigger firms won’t.”

“I don’t think the bigger pharmaceutical firms are going to change their mind about getting back into antibiotic research anytime soon,” Gilman said. “It’s up to us (smaller firms) to get this solved.”

Role of micronutrients in sport and physical activity

Role of micronutrients in sport and physical activity

Ron J Maughan

Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Aberdeen Medical School

Many micronutrients play key roles in energy metabolism and, during strenuous physical activity, the rate of energy turnover in skeletal muscle may be increased up to 20-100 times the resting rate. Although an adequate vitamin and mineral status is essential for normal health, marginal deficiency states may only be apparent when the metabolic rate is high. Prolonged strenuous exercise performed on a regular basis may also result in increased losses from the body or in an increased rate of turnover, resulting in the need for an increased dietary intake. An increased food intake to meet energy requirements will increase dietary micronutrient intake, but athletes in hard training may need to pay particular attention to their intake of iron, calcium and the antioxidant vitamins. Prof. R J Maughan, Department of Biomedical Sciences. University Medical School, Foresterhill,Aberdeen

For normal health to be maintained, a wide range of vitamins, minerals and trace elements must be present in adequate amounts in the body tissues, and the dietary intake must be sufficient to meet the requirement. Many vitamins and minerals play key roles in energy metabolism, and the adverse effect of deficiencies of these components is well recognised and easily demonstrated. Marginal deficiency states may have little effect on the sedentary individual, but small impairments of exercise capacity may have profound consequences for the serious athlete. Regular intense exercise training may also increase micronutrient requirements, either by increasing degradation rates or by increasing losses from the body. Consequently, there is a great interest shown by athletes in some of these dietary components because of their role in maintaining or enhancing physical performance. There is often, however, a failure to appreciate that it is not inevitably, or indeed even generally, the case that increasing micronutrient intake to levels above those that are adequate for maintaining health will improve athletic performance.

Low micronutrient intake may accelerate the degenerative diseases of aging through allocation of scarce micronutrients by triage

Low micronutrient intake may accelerate the degenerative diseases of aging through allocation of scarce micronutrients by triage

  1. Contributed by Bruce N. Ames, October 6, 2006 (received for review September 20, 2006)

Abstract

Inadequate dietary intakes of vitamins and minerals are widespread, most likely due to excessive consumption of energy-rich, micronutrient-poor, refined food. Inadequate intakes may result in chronic metabolic disruption, including mitochondrial decay. Deficiencies in many micronutrients cause DNA damage, such as chromosome breaks, in cultured human cells or in vivo. Some of these deficiencies also cause mitochondrial decay with oxidant leakage and cellular aging and are associated with late onset diseases such as cancer. I propose DNA damage and late onset disease are consequences of a triage allocation response to micronutrient scarcity. Episodic shortages of micronutrients were common during evolution. Natural selection favors short-term survival at the expense of long-term health. I hypothesize that short-term survival was achieved by allocating scarce micronutrients by triage, in part through an adjustment of the binding affinity of proteins for required micronutrients. If this hypothesis is correct, micronutrient deficiencies that trigger the triage response would accelerate cancer, aging, and neural decay but would leave critical metabolic functions, such as ATP production, intact. Evidence that micronutrient malnutrition increases late onset diseases, such as cancer, is discussed. A multivitamin-mineral supplement is one low-cost way to ensure intake of the Recommended Dietary Allowance of micronutrients throughout life.

Poor nutrition has been linked to an increased risk of many diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. The human diet requires both macronutrients, which are the main source of calories, and micronutrients (≈40 essential minerals, vitamins, and other biochemicals), which are required for virtually all metabolic and developmental processes. The leading dietary sources of energy in the United States are abundant in carbohydrates and fats (1) but deficient in micronutrients (i.e., they are energy-dense and nutrient-poor) (2). Such foods are inexpensive and tasty and as a consequence are consumed excessively, particularly by the poor (3). Thus, even in the United States (4), inadequate intake of some vitamins and minerals is common (Table 1). Suboptimal consumption of micronutrients (4) often accompanies caloric excess (688) and may be the norm among the obese and contribute to the pathologies associated with obesity.

Significant chronic metabolic disruption may occur when consumption of a micronutrient is below the current Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) (710) but above the level that causes acute symptoms. When one component of the metabolic network is inadequate, there may be a variety of repercussions in metabolism, including acceleration of degenerative diseases. The optimum intake of each micronutrient necessary to maximize a healthy lifespan remains to be determined and could even be higher than the current RDA, particularly for some populations (710). For example, folic acid intakes above the RDA appear to be necessary to minimize chromosome breaks (1011).

Use of micronutrients attenuates cannabis and nicotine abuse as evidenced from a reversal design: a case study

Use of micronutrients attenuates cannabis and nicotine abuse as evidenced from a reversal design: a case study

  • Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Abstract

Prior research shows that micronutrients, particularly amino acids, can assist individuals with substance dependence to quit various drugs of abuse, including cannabis, alcohol, and cocaine. As part of a wider investigation of the impact of micronutrients (mostly vitamins and minerals) on psychiatric symptoms, such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), depression, and anxiety, we observed that many participants reduced or eliminated use of alcohol, cigarettes, and cannabis. One case using a single-case reversal (off-on-off-on-off) design is presented and shows not only on-off control of psychiatric symptoms as micronutrients are consumed or withdrawn, but also simultaneous on-off use of cannabis and cigarettes, despite not directly targeting this substance use as part of the treatment protocol. This case adds to a growing body of research supporting the use of micronutrients in the treatment of psychiatric symptoms and suggests it may extend to substance dependence. Micronutrients, by assisting with mood regulation and reductions in anxiety, may assist with successful cessation of drug use. Alternatively, they may directly impact on the brain reward circuitry believed to be involved in the expression of addictions, thereby providing the appropriate precursors and cofactors necessary for adequate neurotransmitter synthesis. This case should continue to stimulate researchers to consider the role of nutrients, in particular vitamins and minerals, in drug treatment programs and encourage more rigorous trials.

Can micronutrients improve neurocognitive functioning in adults with ADHD and severe mood dysregulation?

Can micronutrients improve neurocognitive functioning in adults with ADHD and severe mood dysregulation? A pilot study.

  • Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Little research has investigated how micronutrients (minerals and vitamins) affect cognitive functioning, despite preliminary studies showing they may improve psychiatric functioning.

DESIGN:

The formula was consumed in an open-label trial over an 8-week period.

OUTCOME MEASURES:

The participants completed tests of memory (Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning) and executive functioning (Delis-Kaplan Executive Functioning System and Conners Continuous Performance Test) at baseline and at the end of the trial. A gender- and age-matched control group of 14 non-ADHD adults not taking the formula were assessed on the same tests 8 weeks apart in order to investigate the impact of practice on the results.

RESULTS:

There were no group differences in ethnicity, socio-economic status and estimated IQ. Significant improvement was observed in the ADHD group, but not the control group, across a range of verbal abilities including verbal learning, verbal cognitive flexibility and fluency, and verbal inhibition. These neurocognitive improvements were large and consistent with improved psychiatric functioning. No changes were noted above a practice effect in visual-spatial memory and there were no improvements noted in reaction time, working memory, or rapid naming for either groups.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although the pilot and open-label design of the study limits the generalizability of the results, it supports a growing body of literature recognizing the importance of nutrients for mental health and cognition. The results also provide evidence supporting the need for randomized clinical trials of micronutrients as well as other experimental studies in order to better assess whether improved neurocognitive functioning may contribute to improved psychiatric symptoms.

Successful treatment of bipolar disorder II and ADHD with a micronutrient formula: a case study

Successful treatment of bipolar disorder II and ADHD with a micronutrient formula: a case study.

  • University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Abstract

Bipolar disorder with co-occurring attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a challenge to treat. Ten previous reports have shown potential benefit of a micronutrient treatment (consisting mainly of vitamins and minerals) for various psychiatric symptoms, including mood and ADHD. This case study aimed to investigate the longer term impact of the micronutrients on both psychiatric and neurocognitive functioning in an off-on-off-on (ABAB) design with 1 year follow-up. A 21-year-old female with bipolar II disorder, ADHD, social anxiety, and panic disorder entered an open-label trial using a nutritional treatment following a documented 8 year history of on-going psychiatric symptoms not well managed by medications. After 8 weeks on the formula she showed significant improvements in mood, anxiety, and hyperactivity/impulsivity. Blood test results remained normal after 8 weeks on the formula. She did not report any adverse side effects associated with the treatment. She then chose to come off the formula; after 8 weeks her depression scores returned to baseline, and anxiety and ADHD symptoms worsened. The formula was reintroduced, showing gradual improvement in all psychiatric symptoms. This case represents a naturalistic ABAB design showing on-off control of symptoms. After 1 year, the patient is now in remission from all mental illness. Neurocognitive changes mirrored behavioral changes, showing improved processing speed, consistency in response speed, and verbal memory. A placebo response and expectancy effects cannot be ruled out although previous poor response to treatment and the duration of the current positive response decrease the likelihood that other factors better explain change. These consistently positive outcomes alongside an absence of side effects indicate that further research, particularly larger and more controlled trials, is warranted using this multinutrient approach.