Parkinson's Disease Part 1

About two years ago, a new patient arrived at the office for an appointment.  She had just been released from the hospital where she had a psychiatric workup for extreme anxiety and depression.  Ten days later she emerged with the diagnosis of bipolar disorder and was on at least ten medications.  Her personality seemed flat which was attributed to the large number of mood altering medications.  Get off all the drugs was her goal once whe was healthy.

Medical records were sent for and a workup was initiated to evaluate her nutritionally and for environmental toxicity and heavy metal body burden.  Good initial results followed with treatment, especially when she was started on a supplement rich in Rhodiola Rosea root extract in high concentration of rosavins.   While the patient stated she felt much better, it was noted that her gait was guarded, she shuffled and was afraid of falling.  Her flat affect did not improve.  A visit to the neurologist confirmed the suspicion of Parkinson’s Disease and her medications were changed immediately.  Later she confessed it was a relief to have a correct diagnosis and seemed to relieve some of the anxiety.  This patient chose to not pursue environmental medicine and returned to conventional medicine. 

Another patient was incorrectly diagnosed as not having Parkinson’s, was not on the proper medications, and had hours and days of not being functional.  We sent him for another opinion.  While he is not textbook, the neurologist agreed that he did indeed have Parkinson’s and was more advanced than if he had been treated aggressively by early intervention.  A change in medications helped initially.  This patient decided based on his personal environmental history, that he wanted to continue nutritional therapy which helped in some ways more than the medications, especially the anxiety.  He also wanted to address detoxification because of his exposure to chemicals.  His neurologist agreed.  In his neurotransmitter profile, dopamine levels appeared normal in a urine sample but which does not necessarily correlate with what is in the brain.  His cortisol levels were extremely elevated day and night.  He benefited from the supplement that contained the rosavins but needed something more for anxiety.  We used Phosphatidylserine to reduce the cortisol levels.

Early diagnosis is very important in the Parkinson’s patient.  By the time the first symptom appears, the dopamine level in the brain has been reduced by 80%.  Dopamine functions in feelings of pleasure, integration of thoughts and feelings, attachment, love and the unselfish concern for the welfare of others.  Symptoms of dopamine deficiency are associated with lack of enjoyment, brain fatigue, confusion and lethargy.  That which was once fun loses its flavor.  Certain nutritional supplements are required for healthy function even with a healthy individual including tyrosine and certain B vitamins which are necessary cofactors.  The amino acid theanine can help by improving mental performance, calm nervous agitation, and lower blood pressure. 

In the future, stem cell transplants may be an option.  Tiantan Puhua, Beijing does transplants that reduce shaking, muscle tension disappeared, strength improved and movement became more fluid (1).  Until then, early diagnosis, environmental evaluation, proper nutrition and additional specific nutritional supplements reflect the approach we suggest with our patients.  Therapy may include detoxifiation with chelation.

(1) www.stemcellschina.com

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DMPS Detoxification for Heavy Metal Burden

The major focus of detoxification for most people involves the liver and digestive system but astute patients look further to what is known as metabolic detoxification and chelation to reduce toxins in the organs, soft tissue, nerve and muscle tissue.  One such chelator is DMPS.

 What is DMPS?  It is a chelator named Dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid that binds to specific metals such as mercury, lead and arsenic and forms stable complexes allowing them to be eliminated by the body.  It may be administered by prescription only.  It is used world wide for mercury poisoning by doctors and hospitals.  Additionally, a group of doctors who practice alternative medicine administer the substance to reduce heavy metal burden in patients who suffer from chronic illness.  It may be taken by IV or oral forms, however oral forms are usually reserved for children.  More recently the transdermal form was introduced.  DMPS does not strip minerals from the body but weakly bonds to zinc and copper.  It may also reduce vitamin B-6. There are no known interactions between DMPS and any pharmaceutical, vitamin, mineral or herbal formulations.  It is advised not to take minerals within two hours of oral administration.

 DMPS is created through a series of complex chemical reactions which has very low toxicity systemically and is generally well tolerated with long term use.  One should not use the chelator if pregnant or if intention is to get pregnant. 

 Symptoms may include mild itching, nausea, dizziness, fever, weakness, hives, mucous membrane reactions, or shivering.  In the case of inflammation of the mucous membranes, one should immediately discontinue the use of DMPS. 

 Patients who suffer chronic illness often turn to doctors who treat heavy metal burden in an effort to reduce symptoms.  Typically there is an event or history of exposure that makes this a candidate for consideration.  The duration of treatment typically is ten IVs once or twice per week for a total of 10 treatments and then levels are retested to monitor progress.  The ability to detoxify efficiently has a great deal to do with liver function and the ability to package up toxins in the pathway of Phase I detoxification.  Substances known as xenobiotics and metals can impair this pathway, making it extremely difficult to make progress. DMPS is mainly detoxified through the kidney, at approximately 90%.  The remainder is eliminated through the bile and GI tract.   If a patient has a history of poor nutrition, some of the circulating metals may be reabsorbed through the intestinal wall.   The longest reported continuous use of DMPS was four and one half years in some literature.  In some clinics oral chelation is reserved for children.

There has been a great deal of misinformation about DMPS and safety.   One should visit the official FDA website for proper information on its status at http://www.fda.gov

www.healthwatchcentral.com

Antioxidants – The Powerful Trio – Fighting Diabetes ALC

Acetyl-l-Carnatine                               Part 3                    

 This product is derived from lysine and methionine and is synthesized in the liver and kidneys.  It is found in highest concentrations in tissues that use fatty acids such as skeletal and cardiac muscle as it helps fatty acid oxidation-the process of transport across the mitochondra membrane to allow for oxidation of fatty acids. 

Related to the chronic affect of diabetes and other chronic conditions:

*ALC works by preventing buildup of mayloid plaque that damages brain tissues and is emerging as a cause of cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s.

*ALC improves syntheses of neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine and uptake of choline. 

*ALC improves Alzheimer’s by helping to maintain brain energy production, phospholipid metabolism and acetylcoenzyme A levels-the later being used to re-synthesize acetylcholine.

*ALC helps maintain liver function essential for detoxification.

*ALC almost completely restores the age-dependent decline in oxygen consumption in the liver.

*ALC helps prevent hepatoxicity and increases survival during chemotherapy.

*ALC enhances detoxification of ethanol in the liver

*Promotes cellular energy production & simulates the release of acetylcholine and dopamine which promotes the growth of neuritis that facilitate communication among nerve cells in the brain. 

*ALC prevents a variety of structural changes to the aging brain from the hippocampus, prevents decreases in receptor site sensitivitity, and prevents loss of receptors in various areas over the brain.  Within sevens days of treatment with ALC increases in serotonin and dopamine output in rats is seen. 

*ALC in human trials improved nerve pain, nerve regeneration and sensory perceptions in patients with diabetes neuopathy.

*ALC studies show significant improvement in mild Alzheimer’s and cognitive impairment.

*ALC in randomized studtes was successfully used for Chonic Fatigue Syndrome and fatigue in MS

*ALC has proven itself in brain regeneration in animal and human brain cell studies. Together with the proven synergy between ALC in regrowing neuritis and dendrites-a vitally important supplement for the brain.

*Combined with uridine 5-monophosphate from phosphatidylcholine, the effects of nerve growth factor increases 100 times to regrow neuritis and dendrites because of the synergistic effect.  Uridine increases the release of dopamine in brains.  Phosphatidylcholine is the real dietary source of cytidine, a building block of the cell membrane component and signaling agent necessary for memory.  PC declines with age and a major contributor of memory loss.

 ALA, ALC (acetyl-l-carnitine) & carnosine help disorders of cognitive decline and to reduce cardiovascular disease when used together.

Center for Environmental Medicine

Antioxidants – The Powerful Trio – Fighting Diabetes – L-Carnosine

 

L- CARNOSINE            Part 2

Part 1              Alpha Lipoic Acid       
Part 3              Acetyl-l-Carnatine

n 1900 in Moscow, Gulevitsch and Amiradgibi isolated a new compound.  In 1994 Professor Steven Charles Gallant attention was drawn to an experiment and found that when l-carnosine was added to old human cells in a culture, it was able to rejuvenate the cells in such a way that they virtually matched young human cells.  In 1996 they began testing mice with amazing results.   L-Carnosine is a natural body product consisting of the amino acids Beta-alanine and L-histidine chemically bound to each other and is known scientifically as N-beta-alanyl-histidine.  It is found in high levels in nerve cells (neurons) and muscle cells (myocytes).  Levels are high when you are born and decreases with age.  L-Carnosine is the most effective anti-carbonylation agent yet discovered and helps to prevent skin collagen cross-linking which leads to loss of elasticity and wrinkles. (Carbonylation is a pathological step in the age-related degradation of the body’s proteins.) It may extend the functional life of the body’s key building blocks – cells, proteins, DNA and lipids.

Studies on the rejuvenating effects of L-Carnosine support it is free radicals protective, has rejuvenating ability of cells at end of the life cycle of dividing cells, restoring normal appearance and extending their cellular lifespan, ability to rejuvenate connective tissue cells and thus to expedite wound healing, has brain protective quality from plaque formation, helps prevent skin collagen cross-linking which leads to loss of elasticity and wrinkles and other issues.

For the intent of this article which is to address diabetes:

  • Carnosine works to lower glucose in cases of hyperglycemia.
  • Protein glycation or cross linking by excessive glucose damages nervous, vascular, kidney, retinal and other tissues and carnosine is an effect anti-glycating agent due to free radical scavenging abilities.
  • Works to suppress diabetes triggered increases in BP by reacting with small carbonyl compounds (aldehydes and keytones) which accumulate on proteins during aging.
  • Carnosine increases heart contractility by releasing calcium which enables the heart muscle to contract more efficiently through enhancement of calcium response in heart myocytes, in calcium-regulated proteins in cardiac muscles
  • Carnosine works to inhibit advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) which cross-links proteins, renders them insoluble, accumulates in protein plaques and leads to oxidation of neurons.
  • AGE inhibitors such as carnosine may work by chelating copper which is linked to brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s.

     Center for Environmental Medicine

Antioxidants – The Powerful Trio- Fighting Diabetes -ALA

 

Alpha Lipoic Acid                                          Part 1

Part 2          L- Carnosine                  to follow

Part 3          Acetyl-l-Carnatine    to follow 

A landmark study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the 1950′s after Eli Lilly backed the discovery of the important synthetic amino acid alpha lipoic acid (ALA). (1)  The study shows the synergistic affects of ALA and acetyl-l-carnatine (ALC) to significantly combat aging & fight against diabetes (Asta Medica, a German pharmaceutical company has taken the lead more recently in the fight against diabetes neuropathy with ALA).  Today ALC and Carnosine have joined the ranks with ALA in the fight against diabetes.

 

  • Alpha lipioic acid (ALA)- increases glucose uptake from 40% (same as insulin)  to 300%
  • ALA works against insulin resistance by increasing the permeability of cell membranes which is decreased by hyperglycemia and prevents uptake of glucose.
  • Can prevent or slow neuropathy by 70%
  • Add Evening Primrose to improve blood flow and nerve function by lowering blood lipid risk factors.
  • ALA improved circulation to sciatic nerve (nerve function is reduced in neuropathy by impaired acetylcholine-mediated vascular relaxation and accumulation of SOD radicals.
  • ALA provides 85% protection against the 31% reduction in maximum endothelium relaxation to acetycholine that occurs in diabetes by improving nitric oxide levels, vasodilation and cervical ganglion blood flow.
  • ALA helps with cataracts.  About 60% of diabetes related cataracts can be prevented with ALA.
  • ALA works by recharging levels of the potent antioxidant glutathione which is essential for protecting the eye lens.
  • ALA works to prevent hypertension and protects against kidney and vascular injuries in rats by suppressing endothelin-1 (a substance produced in blood vessels that regulates their tone.)
  • ALA prevents hyperglycemia induced hypertension in rats by lowering free radical production and raising glutathione levels.
  • ALA suppressed in rats endothelin-1 (a substance produced in blood vessels that regulates their tone. 
  • ALA improves functions in the heart including oxygen uptake, ATP levels, cardiac output, pyruvate production, lactate accumulation and glucose and glycogen storage and breakdown, protects glutathione, control hydroxyl radicals which may account for anti-aging heart supporting function. 
  • Protects against reperfusion arrhythmias and lipid peroxidation
  • induced by ferrous ions and ascorbate.

      (1) www.bruceames.org/

Center for Environmental Medicine

DDT, DDE, DDD, DDA-Organochlorine Pesticide

DDT, DDE, DDD, DDA-Organochlorine Pesticide                                      Part 1 

DDT is an organochlorine insecticide that was first synthesized in 1874 and was a commonly used pesticide in the United States on crops and in buildings until 1972 when it was banned from use.  It was banned in Mexico in 2000 but is still used in Africa, South America and Asia to control malaria and other pests. DDT is still manufactured in the US but sold only to foreign countries but there is the exception for DDT for public health emergencies involving insect disease and lice. 

DDT is persistent in the environment, accumulates in fatty tissues and some pests can build resistance to it.  While stored in fat, it produces no noticeable symptoms. It affects the nervous system by interfering with normal nerve impulses.  Mammals exposed to DDT develop liver tumors an have increase risk of liver tumors but there is not sufficient study to demonstrate that it is carcinogenic in humans. 

DDT breakdown products in the body include DDE, DDD and DDA.  It is excreted in the urine, feces or breast milk. It tends to accumulate in animals but has declined with discontinued use.  The soil half-life is 2-15 years, and 150 years in the aquatic environment.  

DDT is dichlordiphenyltrichloroethane

Organochlorines are chemical compounds that contain hydrogen, carbon, chlorine, and possibly other atoms.

DDE is dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene-breakdown product of DDT

DDD (DDT) is dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane

DDA is 2,2-bis(4-chlorophernyl)-acetic acid

Center for Environmental Medicine

Pesticides – Effects on Children

Our children seemingly have chronic exposure to pesticides from the womb to the grave.  Over a lifetime, with approximately 4.5 billion pounds of chemicals applied annually to crops, buildings and lawns in the United States, is it any wonder chronic illness in on the rise?  Reports of 50% intake of pesticide exposure occur within the first five years of life.
Additionally, some tests indicate vulnerability to pesticide up to three months before pregnancy and the first month after conception.  As if this isn’t enough, many pesticides detoxify through mother’s milk either as pesticides or their metabolites because the milks fat content causes the solubility of the toxin.  The developing brain and central nervous system have pronounced vulnerability to neurotoxicants such as lead, mercury, alcohol, other than pesticides and causes reason for concern.
While the overall use of pesticides decreased 17.2 % from 1979 to 1997,  that has little affect on children 6 years and younger who are much more susceptible to pesticide toxicity because they eat more, drink more and breathe more per body weight.  Children are physiologically different than adults because they grow rapidly requiring more energy Their activities of ground playing and water activities put them at greater risk for heavier exposure to pesticides in water, soil, and air.
Multiple pesticides may be present at the same time in mother’s milk and consequences may include altered social skills, decreased intelligence, and reproductive difficulties or failures.  Thyroid function in pregnant women is a critical determinate in IQ and some persistent pesticides such as polychlorinated biphenols and dioxins disrupt thyroid function.  In animal models studies have shown a variety of pesticies such as DDT/DDE, mirex, aldrin, dieldrin, atrazine, dieldrin, atrazine, hexachlorocyclobexane, toxaphene, alachlor, chlordane, vincloxolin and chlorphyrifos can interfere with estrogen androgen and thyroid receptors during critical periods of development.  Additionally, pesticides can affect neurotransmitter metabolism and electrophysiological actions. 

It’s important that we learn how to protect our kids and because certain pesticides such as DDT and DDE have a half-life of about 150 years in aquatic environments, seafood may be one of the easiest exposures to avoid.   Getting a child use to a good distilled fish oil high is DHA early in life is probably one of the best things you could do as it mobilizes many pesticide toxins out of the body but is also great for brain development, skin and liver function. 

Today there are sophisticated tests for pesticide residue of all kinds, which require a simple blood draw shipped to the laboratory. 

http://es.epa.gov/ncer/childrenscenters/pesticides.html

Center for Environmental Medicine

 

 

 

 

Plastics-Protecting Your Children Against Allergy

The plastics industries insists that their products used in cooking and storage poses no risk to humans, yet a study by a Swedish and Danish team found a strong correlation between levels of phthalates and allergy symptoms in children.  Phthalates are the chemicals commonly used to soften plastic.

Research funded by the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning, found higher levels of butyl benzyl phthalate in children suffering from a compared group of healthy ones.  They found a link between concentrations of butyl benzyl phthalate and the tendency to suffer from rhinitis (funny nose and eyes) and eczema.  Another phthalate was linked to asthma.

Source:  The Environmental Physician, Summer 2004

In Center for Environmental Medicine we commonly tests these levels in patients who show persistent symptoms of toxicity.  The test is a simple collection of urine after a diet restricted preparation for two days. Typically this test is not covered by insurance but by paying the fee directly to the laboratory, you can get a reduced price that is affordable. 

It takes 10 days for the test results and are then are reviewed with the doctor.  When levels are high, which is often, the following steps are taken.

1]  Restriction of exposure.  Absolutely no cooking in plastic containers, baggies, etc. 

2]  Nutritional supplements specific to the patient’s needs.

3]  Retesting.

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is an age related health issue that concerns everyone over the age of fifty.  If it doesn’t, it should. More than half of nursing home beds are occupied by Alzheimer’s Disease patients AND Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the Number 4 Killer of Americans, causing over 100,000 deaths each year in the USA alone.  

As the science of Anti-Aging evolves, a pro-active approach to this identity thief is on the horizon in contrast to medications available to slow the process of early onset.  These medications, as you will see, are not always effective.

Bill Deagle, MD has a presentation on the web regarding the dementing brain and disease predisposition.  You can locate it easily by typing in his name and Feb 15th 2006 update. Here and elsewhere are stated possible genetic associations of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).  For example, of the three common ApoE genotypes*, ApoE4 may increase the risk of developing sporadic and late-onset familial Alzheimer Disease (AD).  Other associated risk with gene dose is accumulation of senile plaques in the brain and reduction of the enzyme needed to make acetylcholine. ApoE is critical in the modulation of cholesterol and phospholipid transport between cells of different types and requires the enzyme activity of choline acetyltransferase. Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter associated with good memory.  

Some studies strongly support the concept that ApoE4 plays a crucial role in the cholinergic dysfunction associated with AD and therefore may be a prognostic indicator of poor response to therapy with acetylcholinesterase inhibitors sometimes used in early intervention of these patients.

In contrast to allopathic medicine, the field of environmental medicine looks at root causes of disease.  The premise that occupational dangers and chronic exposure to heavy metals and toxin exposure is at the core of beliefs for Alzheimer’s Disease as it is for many others.  One of the chief issues with heavy metals is they inhibit or disrupt enzyme activity.  Aluminum has been the center of study for allopathic and environmental medicine related to AD for many years but rather than treat it with a drug to inhibit symptoms, environmental medicine works at removing the cause.  At Center for Environmental Medicine, we look at the patient’s body burden of heavy metals with chelators designed for the purpose of detoxifying metals. 

Additionally, recent research has suggested organophosphate and chlorinated pesticides play an important role in the inhibition of enzyme activity which can contribute to this disease and others. Testing of these pesticides results in therapies to help reduce levels and symptoms, often using natural agents to bind and emulsify for elimination.

 * apolipoprotein E genotype testing is used in risk factors for heart disease

Center for Environmental Medicine

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