Monday, July 1, 2019

Learning about Russia this summer

We ended up traveling for most of the two weeks that was allotted to learning about Russia this summer and so spent less time learning about it than I would have liked. We did watch a couple of movies about Russia and have a Russia-themed party with some friends where we ate Russian food (including the cheapest caviar I could find). While driving on our family trip, we listened to Russian music and watched a favorite movie, Чёрная Молния (Black Lightning) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Lightning_(2009_film)), which was in Russian with English subtitles; it's a fun "superhero" movie starring a flying Volga car (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GAZ-21) from the Soviet era.

Also, we listened to Sergey Lazarev's (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergey_Lazarev) music a lot. He sang "Scream," the song below, in this year's Eurovision Song Contest:



Nutritionally, I found the lecithin content of sunflower seeds and buckwheat, both eaten at a higher level in Russia than in the USA, to be very interesting. Lecithin is often included in weight loss supplements, and Russia is one of the countries where obesity used to be low (but, wow, has that changed quickly--https://www.rbth.com/politics_and_society/2016/10/21/waistline-wars-the-obesity-problem-russia-has-yet-to-acknowledge_640935). However, the usually-claimed mechanisms for how lecithin might help reduce extra weight do not appear to convince generally, and there are no good studies to support the use of lecithin for weight loss. I think I might have deduced a new mechanism by which lecithin could help keep obesity under control and how to increase that effect so that it is easier to observe in a controlled trial, but I want to test it myself before investing more time and research effort into writing up a formal hypothesis. My powdered lecithin delivery arrived yesterday, so the testing has begun.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Learning about the Netherlands

Our family just spent the past few weeks learning about the Netherlands. We looked for tulips as we drove around town, we ate Dutch chocolate sprinkles on our buttered bread, and we learned about dikes (the levees used to keep parts of the Netherlands from being taken over by the ocean).

The Dutch language is close enough to German and English that I kept almost understanding Dutch lyrics and sentences that we heard and saw. But not quite.

One fun thing I came across in my research a couple weeks ago was a study finding that licochalcone A, a compound in licorice, which the Dutch eat a lot of, can ameliorate obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in mice fed a high-fat diet. (https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4409/8/5/447) Despite eating a lot of very fatty foods (mmm, cheese: https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34380895), the Dutch are apparently not experiencing the rise in obesity that is affecting nearly every other country in Europe. (https://www.dw.com/en/obese-not-us-why-the-netherlands-is-becoming-the-skinniest-eu-country/a-18503808) In light of the statistic that around 1/5 of the candy purchased in the Netherlands is licorice, or drop in Dutch (https://www.thespruceeats.com/the-netherlands-love-for-licorice-1128579), I suspect their candy preference helps them fill up their adipocytes more slowly than they otherwise would.




The above video shows the flag of the Netherlands and plays the national anthem of the Netherlands, the "Wilhelmus," which was written in 1572 and so is the national anthem with the oldest music. The song is about William of Orange who led a revolt against Spain due to its harsh punishments of those who favored religious tolerance; that revolt eventually ended in an independent Dutch republic.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Summer Country Studies 2019

We have decided which countries/cultures to study this summer. First, the Netherlands (which won the Eurovision Song Contest last week and so will host the competition in 2020). Second, Russia (which we wish would have won the Eurovision Song Contest last week because we think Sergey Lazarev is great). Third, Denmark (which we also wish would have won the Eurovision Song Contest last week because Leonora was adorable in "Love is Forever"). Fourth, Equatorial Guinea (which has absolutely no tie-in with this year's ESC). Fifth, Korea (one week on the North, one week on the South).

This will, as always, be a summer of good music, tasty food, and fun. We've already started eating Dutch food: bread, cheese (especially Gouda), rice pudding, and fish. We typically eat a lot of bread and cheese anyway. As I read about Dutch cuisine, I realized that it was quite similar to our family's "normal" eating habits, which I wouldn't have expected given our lack of Dutch family heritage.

Here's Sergey's first appearance in Eurovision in 2016. He wowed us then with his energy, creative staging, and voice. His 2019 entry was less active, but we like it even more. I'll post it later in the summer when we're learning about Russia.


Monday, April 29, 2019

A mom's successful efforts to alleviate adolescent acne, part two

Here's the promised second installment of this series (the first post is here) on how we alleviate acne. We've tried several things as "spot treatments" for zits that have already started forming, and the most success we've had so far has been application of the same diluted Dove White Bar solution that my daughter uses as a twice-daily face wash.

This is her current face care regime:
  • Morning and evening: wash face at sink with mixture of water and Dove White Bar soap shavings. No need to wash it all off (unlike with other cleansers we've tried....).
  • Don't touch or rub her face unnecessarily, for it triggers pimple formation. (Luckily for her, she never got to the point where she was tempted to wear cover-up makeup, so she never had to remove said makeup.)
  • If a zit forms, repeatedly apply the mixture of water and Dove White Bar soap shavings to it. Don't wash the solution off afterward.
Simple, cheap, and her skin looks very good. She doesn't have to restrict her diet either.

I hope this information helps some other people out there. Everyone is different, and something that works for one family might not help another family the same way due to genetic differences, but Dove White soap is inexpensive and easy to try, so why not?

Thursday, April 4, 2019

A mom's successful efforts to alleviate adolescent acne, part one

Last blog post, I wrote about a health problem that is characteristic of my mother's stage of life. Today I'll write about a health problem that is characteristic of my oldest child's stage of life.

Approximately one year ago, I realized that I needed to do something to help my teenage daughter with acne. I did a lot of reading and studying and had her try many different things. I was set off in an odd direction for many months by a discovery that application of UHT milk helped lessen her acne. Finding out later that it only really worked with a specific brand of cotton balls made the issue even more interesting and confusing. I looked into alkaline phosphatases, acid phosphatases, gossypol, sodium carbonate, pleurotin, urea, and the nitroxyl radical. During all this, my child learned to limit her consumption of peanut butter, not leave Cetaphil on her face, and avoid rubbing/covering areas of her face with a hat/fingers/etc.

Finally, after noticing that UHT milk on the correct cotton balls turned a rather bright yellow, I realized that a sulfur compound was most likely involved. That sulfur can help with acne is old knowledge (see https://www.prevention.com/beauty/skin-care/a25889971/sulfur-acne-treatment/), but I wanted a sulfur-based skin product that would be inexpensive, not overly drying, and easy for my daughter to use.

Enter Dove White Beauty Bar: https://www.dove.com/us/en/washing-and-bathing/beauty-bar/white-beauty-bar.html Two of its main ingredients are sulfur compounds (sodium lauroyl isethionate and sodium isethionate), and it doesn't have chemicals in it that we have found to be problematic (glycerin, methylchloroisothiazolinone, and methylisothiazolinone). A friend had recently reported that when her grandson stopped using the popular teenager skin washes (nearly all of which contain methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone) and switched to plain Dove, his acne improved significantly. Many people on the internet report that Dove White soap has helped them with acne, too. So my daughter tried it.

I mixed some small pieces of Dove White Beauty Bar in water to make a skin wash that she could easily wash off (glycerin-containing products such as Cetaphil were hard for her to wash off thoroughly, resulting in blocked pores and then new zits), and she began using the mixture as a facial wash once in the morning and once at night. It worked!

How does sulfur help prevent acne? My daughter says the Dove face wash leaves her face drier and less oily, but apparently without the oft-noted rebound effect many report after use of oil-stripping cleansers. The tiny sulfur-containing signal molecule hydrogen sulfide (H2S) can regulate lipid (i.e. fat) metabolism (see https://www.spandidos-publications.com/10.3892/ijmm.2019.4118/abstract), so I suspect it is involved.

My daughter still gets the occasional zit in places that have been rubbed or covered with something, but we think we figured out a good spot treatment to quickly reverse the inflammation process in those zits. I'll blog about that tomorrow. She is happy to be able to eat peanut butter again, and I'm happy to have a child who doesn't have to deal with acne-caused feelings of insecurity. I hope this post can help many other people working to combat acne.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Update on sage use to slow cognitive decline

My 78-year-old mother wants me to blog about this subject again to report on how it's going, so I dutifully do so. (I first posted about this subject seven months ago at http://petticoatgovernment.blogspot.com/2018/08/sage-caspase-3-and-possible-cognitive.html.)

She has been adding the culinary herb sage--usually on soup, but sometimes in homemade bread--to her diet on and off for months. She has noticed a marked decrease in her short-term memory loss after periods during which she has been consistent in her sage consumption. While I am very pleased to have my intelligent mother back to her usual conversational abilities, I didn't want to blog about it beforehand because correlation is not the same as causation. After all, it could have been that her memory happened to be better sometimes and it was during those times that she remembered to eat the sage.

My mother has been firm in saying for the past few weeks that sage causes her memory to be better. So I told two other post-menopausal women who had been complaining about memory loss.  One woman had very noticeable memory issues a few weeks ago, so I gave her a container of sage; it cost me only $1.00 at the grocery store. Two days ago, I sat in a meeting with her, and her memory issues appeared to have nearly completely receded. At the end of the evening, I asked her if she had been using sage. I was hoping, of course, that the experiment with sage was bearing fruit. She dashed my hopes initially by saying she wasn't using it nearly enough...then she finished her answer saying, "just once a day." Once a day! My mother laughed hard when she heard that, for once a day is very consistent use in her book.

I'll check with the third woman and see if she is also trying sage and demonstrating improvement in her memory issues. If so, I'll go do some more research on how sage might be helping. Is it by inhibition of caspase-3? Is it by inhibition of lipase, alpha-amylase, and/or alpha-glucosidase? Or something else?

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

More on molybdenum and diarrhea

An older gentleman I know recently decided to try molybdenum glycinate to alleviate his recurring diarrhea, and it helped him. That brings the number of people to three--of whom I know--who have found molybdenum relieves their (non-viral-gastroenteritis-associated) diarrhea. How does it do it? The most plausible mechanism I've come across is molybdenum's role--as part of a cofactor needed by enzymes mARC-1, mARC-2, xanthine oxidase, and aldehyde oxidase--in converting nitrite into nitric oxide, which nitric oxide then inhibits an "on-switch" (adenylyl cyclase) of secretory diarrhea. (Links to supporting studies are in this earlier post.)

But some people report that molybdenum supplementation causes diarrhea in them. (See https://forums.phoenixrising.me/threads/who-has-experienced-an-adverse-reaction-to-molybdenum.21686/) I think the best explanation for that happening is individual variations in gut bacteria. For example, a study last year found that depriving a certain category of gut bacteria of molybdenum resulted in reduced colitis-associated inflammation.

 In a provocative study recently published by Zhu et al., the authors demonstrated how precision editing of the gut microbiota may be used as a treatment for gastrointestinal inflammatory disease []. The authors had previously identified Enterobacteriaceae family expansion and overrepresentation of molybdenum-cofactor-dependent metabolic pathways in a model of chemically induced colitis. Molybdenum-cofactor-dependent pathways are essential for the overgrowth of Enterobacteriaceae in the inflamed gut [], and Zhu et al. demonstrated the targeted inhibition of these pathways by oral administration of tungstate, as tungsten can replace molybdenum in the molybdopterin cofactor. The resulting restriction of Enterobacteriaceae growth restored the microbial diversity to a normal state. Furthermore, colitis-associated inflammation was reduced in the tungstate-treated animals by up to 90%.
In the next step toward translating this treatment to humans, the authors took gut microbiota from a subset of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and transferred these communities into germ-free mice. When inducing colitis, animals receiving tungstate showed decreased Enterobacteriaceae expansion and associated markers of inflammation, thereby demonstrating that this treatment, or other means of inhibiting molybdenum-cofactor-dependent pathways in bacteria, may be an effective means of controlling inflammation in patients with IBD []. 

- Extract from Petrosino "The microbiome in precision medicine: the way forward" Genome Med (2018) 10:12 (online at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s13073-018-0525-6), which summarized the findings of Zhu, Wenhan et al. "Precision editing of the gut microbiota ameliorates colitis" Nature (2018) 553(7687):208-211 (online at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5804340/).

What the above means is that someone suffering from colitis (inflammation of the colon), a symptom of which can be diarrhea (see https://www.medicinenet.com/colitis/article.htm), could be better off avoiding molybdenum supplements if they have too many inflammation-associated Enterobacteriaceae in their gut.

Molybdenum is not a panacea. It's shown itself awesome for many ills--namely, gastroenteritis (especially viral), migraines, and secretory diarrhea--and it deserves far more attention than it currently gets. But like everything else that can affect our bodies and the bacteria within us, it needs to be used wisely.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Molly Versus the Trolls

My wonderful family helped me make a cartoon video dramatizing molybdenum glycinate's helpfulness in dealing with the symptoms of viral gastroenteritis. Here it is!


While I appreciate all the cute art in it, the slide that makes me laugh is the one of the human with his/her head in the toilet. A blunt reminder of how unpleasant vomiting is makes molybdenum shine even more!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Bacterial gastroenteritis and molybdenum's limitations in dealing with it

In the past couple years, I've seen many instances of molybdenum glycinate causing dramatic relief of viral gastroenteritis. However, I've also seen a handful of cases where it didn't do much, if anything, to stop vomiting. In those cases, there has been reason to suspect infection with listeria, salmonella, or another food-borne bacteria.

Bacteria make their own toxins. Viruses, on the other hand, typically attack our own cells with the main aim being to use our own cells to replicate and spread the viruses as quickly as possible. My hypothesis is that during these viral attacks, excess sulfite--a metabolic product of hydrogen sulfide, which is used in protecting the gastric mucosa from injury--is a primary trigger of the vomiting associated with viral gastroenteritis; the molybdoenzyme sulfite oxidase converts sulfite to sulfate, which I think is how molybdenum glycinate alleviates vomiting from viral gastroenteritis.

But getting back to bacteria. Stupid bacteria. We don't know they're in us till they make us sick with their toxins. Salmonella releases toxins when it dies. Can molybdenum do anything for bacterial gastroenteritis? Based on what I've seen so far, which is not a very large sample*, a relatively short bout of vomiting will occur, despite taking molybdenum, as the body rids the stomach and proximal small intestine of the bacterial toxins within them. I suspect that antiemetic medications--even ginger, which has a compound that is a 5-HT3 receptor antagonist (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2054863)--could help prevent this vomiting, but I'm not sure that we want to prevent it; after all, do we want those toxins to remain in our body? I don't know the answer to that question.

I have noticed that molybdenum glycinate seems to shorten the course of vomiting from probable bacterial gastroenteritis. Once and done, sometimes (http://petticoatgovernment.blogspot.com/2018/02/possible-listeria-infection.html). Perhaps the bacterial toxins damage cells in the stomach and so trigger an increase in sulfite, which the molybdenum then helps with via sulfite oxidase (see the discussion of viral gastroenteritis above).

One clear benefit molybdenum appears to give in bacterial gastroenteritis is relief from diarrhea in nearly all the cases I've heard about.

Only one person said it didn't help her with diarrhea--apparently from bacterial gastroenteritis--despite pre-dosing for a few days before coming down with the same "bug" that hit her young children earlier. Her children threw up but never had diarrhea; I assume she gave them molybdenum since she was pre-dosing herself with it. When she came down with the "bug," she had severe diarrhea. Because molybdenum is stored in the liver and delivered from there to the duodenum, I asked her whether she had known liver issues, and it turns out she does have elevated liver enzymes. I also heard of a man a while back who had been horribly sick with gastroenteritis for days before I happened to run into his wife and told her about molybdenum; when his wife, a nurse, gave him molybdenum, he was able to keep food/drink down, but only when he took molybdenum. This indicates to me that some people have difficulty retrieving molybdenum out of storage in the liver and delivering it to where it needs to go; they will thus need more frequent doses of molybdenum and will not be helped by pre-dosing.

To sum up the above, molybdenum glycinate can ameliorate bacterial gastroenteritis symptoms, especially diarrhea, but its preventative effects on vomiting will be generally be markedly less than is seen with viral gastroenteritis. Moreover, people with liver and biliary tract issues appear to benefit most from "as-needed" doses of molybdenum glcyinate since the molybdenum stored in the liver is less able to quickly get where it needs to during gastroenteritis (be it bacterial or viral); pre-dosing with molybdenum glycinate will likely not help them.

[Updated 10:30 am, January 17, 2019: My teenage daughter came to me less than an hour after I'd posted the above saying that her head had started hurting ten minutes earlier and that her stomach had started hurting two minutes earlier. Early this morning, I was talking with her friend's mother, who very recently had a bout of what might have been salmonella and during which molybdenum was unable to prevent vomiting. Our conversation about it, which took place while my child was in a classroom with her two teenage children (meaning my daughter was possibly getting exposed) was part of the impetus for the post. While writing the post, I pondered on ways to prevent bacterial toxins in the stomach from triggering vomiting; one way to do so should be to get the stomach to empty faster. It has been reported that peppermint oil enhances gastric emptying (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17653649), and I have candy canes leftover from Christmas. So I gave my daughter molybdenum glycinate tablets to dissolve in her mouth, a cup of water to sip on, and some candy canes to suck on between sips. By an hour later, her stomach had stopped hurting, so I took her candy canes away, but her head still hurt. Since her stomach was better, I gave her one acetaminophen to swallow. Then a few minutes later, she called out from the couch, "My stomach hurts again." But she says it's a different kind of pain, so I suspect it's just the acetaminophen irritating her stomach. I gave her back her candy canes. A few minutes later, her stomach was better and her headache was lessened. I've taken to carrying a bottle of molybdenum in my purse during the last year as a first aid supply, and it looks like I'm going to have to add peppermint oil-containing candies to my purse now, too. And I thought I wouldn't need a big purse when my kids got older....]

* Seriously, isn't there someone out there with more resources willing to take over on this? I'm a housewife. I should not be the only person trying to figure out what is going on with molybdenum's effects on the body when given in doses larger than the RDA. Please email me. You can find my email address on my publications, which I link to in earlier blog posts.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Weight Loss, part 1

When I moved to a new state just before starting fifth grade, I didn't adjust well. My social skills were slower to develop than average, and I ended up being bullied and mostly alone at school for the next two years. Simultaneously, I went from being a fairly skinny, active girl to being a rather chubby one. Maybe it was cortisol from the stress of being bullied, or maybe it was spending recess in the library instead of being active. I don't know the exact cause, but I then spent nearly all of the next three decades or so being overweight. I've had five children in the last 15 years, and my BMI last fall was over 27, which is officially "overweight."

Last fall, I read Jason Fung's The Obesity Code and started to apply the principles in it. I think Fung's conclusions about treating obesity are brilliant: 1) slow down and break up the utilization of carbohydrate-provided energy in order to reverse insulin sensitivity, and 2) fast intermittently to use up energy stored in adipose tissue.

Following the principles Fung lays out--and tweaking them with my own additions (would any readers of my blog expect any less of me? :) )--I have lost 30 pounds over the course of a year. My BMI is "normal" now. I can jog for 20+ minutes at a time and actually enjoy it, so I exercise more vigorously than I used to. Exercise is not how I lost the weight, though. Nutrition changes (and I was already a moderately healthy eater by US standards) and intermittent fasting were the primary factors in my weight loss.

In case my variations on Fung's principles are helpful to others, I'll post them later. I'm currently testing a recently-invented variation that shows great promise. In the meantime, if you haven't watched Fung's videos on the etiology of obesity and you want to understand weight gain/loss better, I highly recommend watching them. The first one is at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpllomiDMX0.

Friday, December 7, 2018

New video: Hypothesis about glucosamine helping prevent developing pneumonia secondary to influenza

Back in June of this year, I recorded a short presentation about glucosamine possibly helping prevent developing pneumonia in connection with an influenza infection. I wasn't especially pleased with my diction during the presentation, but I haven't made a better video since.

It is winter now, so I'm posting the recording in case it can help people. I now take glucosamine capsules in moderately large doses when I come down with a respiratory illness, and it does seem to help protect my throat, larynx, and lungs. Here's the video:



I wrote a blog post about this hypothesis in February of 2018 at https://petticoatgovernment.blogspot.com/2018/02/glucosamine-to-protect-cartilage-during.html.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Could S. pombe be a source of TSC2 for treating conditions linked to androgen-induced mTORC1 over-activity?

In the past few months, I've read a lot about the mTOR (mTORC1 and mTORC2) pathways. They are vital to life, but inappropriate activation of them is related to many conditions. Two androgen-related ailments in which mTORC1 over-activation appears to be involved are acne (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5015761/https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/exd.12885) and prostate cancer (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3499189/). There are androgen-blocking medications available to treat acne and prostate cancer, but the side effects are sometimes quite unpleasant (https://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/anti-androgen-therapy/).

There is a complex that is supposed to be formed by the proteins TSC1 and TSC2 which is then supposed to decrease mTORC1 activity (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2735030/). A 2014 study reported that androgen causes a shorter version of TSC2 to be translated which cannot properly form a complex with TSC1 and is ineffective at decreasing mTORC1 activity:

TSC2 (Tuberous sclerosis complex 2) is an important tumour suppressor gene, mutations within which are linked to the development of tuberous sclerosis and implicated in multiple tumour types. TSC2 protein complexes with TSC1 and blocks the ability of the Rheb (Ras homolog enriched in brain) GTPase to activate mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin), a crucial signal transducer which regulates protein synthesis and cell growth. Here, we report the characterisation of a novel isoform of TSC2 which is under direct control of the ligand-activated androgen receptor. TSC2 isoform A (TSC2A) is derived from an internal androgen-regulated alternative promoter and encodes a 508-amino acid cytoplasmic protein corresponding to the C-terminal region of full-length TSC2, lacking the interaction domain for TSC1 and containing an incomplete interaction domain required for Rheb inactivation. Expression of TSC2A is induced in response to androgens and full-length TSC2 is co-ordinately down-regulated, indicating an androgen-driven switch in TSC2 protein isoforms. In contrast to the well-characterised suppressive efect on cell proliferation of full-length TSC2 protein, both LNCaP and HEK293 cells over-expressing TSC2 isoform A proliferate more rapidly (measured by MTT assays) and have increased levels of cells in S-phase (measured by both Edu staining and FACS analysis). Our work indicates, for the first time, a novel role for this well-known tumour suppressor gene, which encodes an activator of cell proliferation in response to androgen stimulation.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3960195/

What to do when the body won't translate the correct form of a protein? I started searching for another source of TSC2. Other mammals make it, but I suspect the necessary cooking and sterilizing processes would damage the TSC2 we obtain from other mammals' secretions and tissues.

I found another TSC2 source: it's the mostly ignored (except by researchers, who use it all the time) wild yeast called Schizosaccharomyces pombe (S. pombe). S. pombe, unlike the Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast used in nearly all brewing and baking (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2735030/), contains versions of TSC1 and TSC2 that are similar to the human versions (http://www.jbc.org/content/279/13/12706.long).

Guess where S. pombe often shows up? In the making of hard apple cider and its subsequent product, apple cider vinegar. S. pombe is a wild yeast that is frequently found on grape and apple skins; given enough sugar, it multiplies very quickly. Have you ever wondered why apple cider vinegar--and not other kinds of vinegar--is so widely recommended as a home remedy for a vast variety of ailments? I have. I've heard it so often that my immediate reaction is to start rolling my eyes when I see it popping up in my search results yet again. Nevertheless, while the placebo effect is real, I can't easily disregard so many anecdotes claiming that apple cider vinegar has helped them. However, I can accept that some apple cider vinegar fermentations include more S. pombe yeast than others and so contain more proteins from S. pombe that are uniquely able to help with mTORC1-related conditions; I can thus accept that non-equivalent fermentations lead to non-reproducible results from raw apple cider vinegar.

I'd love to know whether a researcher has tested TSC2 from disrupted S. pombe on something fairly simple (yet annoyingly difficult to treat) like acne. Any takers out there on the global web? If it works, you might have harnessed a way to help treat prostate cancer, too. Not a bad use for your extra pombe.... (In the meantime, I've got a jar of water, sugar, and cut apples sitting on my counter in hopes that the pombe fairy will visit me.)

Thursday, November 1, 2018

My daughter on what it means to be "created equal"

Dd14 read the short story "Harrison Bergeron" today for language arts. A pre-reading question asked her the following:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..." (Declaration of Independence) Are people truly created equal? Explain your answer. 

I really liked her answer, despite its freshman feel. I thought it was great how she incorporates things I've told her about the importance of good diet and lifestyle during pregnancy. So today's blog post is her answer to the question above:

Well, I suppose the answer to that question would involve knowing what the definition of "created equal" is. Does it mean that everyone has the same rights and obligations in life? Does it mean that everyone starts with the same personality at birth? Does it mean everyone has the same circumstances that they're born into?
If this means everyone has the same personality at birth, then this would be false, because there are reports of twins having different personalities very early on due to one getting more space in the womb prior to birth. This also proves that "all men are created equal" would be false if "created equal" means "everyone being born under the same circumstances," especially given that even within a family, siblings can be radically different from each other because of what kind of diet and physical activity the mother did when she was pregnant with them.
However, if "created equal" means that we all have the same rights and obligations, then it is true, because no matter how we're born everyone needs to care for themselves as an obligation because if everyone stayed dependent on someone, people would die out. Since people must care for themselves, they can, and have the right to, find joy. That's a right.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

The circle of life

Today we discovered that my secondborn child, a girl only 11 years old, appears to have grown taller than me. Right after that discovery, she happily lifted me off the ground and held me up for a while as I mock-screamed with unfeigned shock. This is the child that I brought into the world just a little over a decade ago; 11 years ago she was drooling on everything, sharing a new, happy smile with the world, and waking me too often in the night to nurse. A bit emotionally, I said to my husband that this was the baby I bore, and he responded easily, "The circle of life." Simple enough for him to say. He's half a foot taller than I. If she outgrows him, too, he'll understand my shock.

My once little baby, who could probably beat me up now.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Finishing up Summer 2018 country studies

August is coming to an end, and with it ends our family's month of focusing on Scotland. In connection with Scotland, we've eaten trifle ("tipsy laird" without the tipsy-making part), mock haggis, rutabagas, and fish and chips topped with malt vinegar (which is tastier than ketchup on fried potatoes). We've learned about Shetland Ponies, Black Agnes, and clan tartans. The children enjoyed the excuse to watch Disney's Brave again; two of them even made a tapestry for me that was inspired by Scotland and featured the wisps from Brave:

A kilt-wearing wisp playing the harp with two wisps dancing to its sides.

This was a fun summer--penguins, jerky, and chocolate bars for Antarctica; pita bread and Amr Diab for Egypt; bagpipe music, fish, and oats for Scotland; Balkan harp music, bell peppers, and swimming for Montenegro; and bison and water conservation for Colorado.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Sage, caspase-3, and possible cognitive protection in aging

My mother turns 78 years old soon. She is quite worried about developing Alzheimer's disease, so I've looked to see if there is any overlooked thing she can add to her diet to try to help protect her from age-related cognitive decline. She doesn't want to eat horseradish (see my hypothesis paper about horseradish and its possible connection to protection from dementia at https://www.medical-hypotheses.com/article/S0306-9877(17)30123-8/fulltext), so I looked for another diet element with potential to help her.

In Greece, there is an island called Ikaria where the people tend to live healthily to an old age, mostly retaining their cognitive abilities for a much longer time than do people who live in America. (See https://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/magazine/the-island-where-people-forget-to-die.html.)

Reporters looking at their dietary habits have noted that sage tea is a daily drink for many on Ikaria. (See https://www.dianekochilas.com/herbs-as-medicine-on-ikaria/.) Sage is high in the oil eucalyptol (also known as 1,8-cineole), which has been observed to reduce caspase-3 activity in neuron-like cells. (See https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27352445.) This is relevant to Alzheimer's disease because caspase-3 cleaves tau and is implicated in early Alzheimer's disease (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21151119, http://file.scirp.org/Html/1-2440097_59262.htm, http://www.pnas.org/content/100/17/10032).

So my mother is now putting lots of sage in her soup and bread. Will it make a difference in her cognitive ability? I don't know. She and I both think it worth the try, though.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Possible B12 connection to uncontrollable chewing behavior in a child

Over the past three years, I've read a fair amount about different forms of vitamin B12 (cobalamin). I discovered early on that one of my toddlers seemed to chew her hair and other things more after taking methylcobalamin. So I didn't give it to her. After all, this was a child who would sometimes chew on the wooden TV stand for no apparent reason.

Last night we had homemade mock haggis for dinner because we're learning about Scotland. Haggis is basically minced liver and onions combined with meatloaf. We don't make a habit of eating liver because I don't like the taste. But the toddler with the strange reaction to methylcobalamin actually liked the haggis and ate a lot for her size. Later in the evening, I noticed one of our pillows had a large wet spot on its corner. Then I found a wet, chewed hairband--we don't own a dog. This little girl turned out to be the culprit. She was so caught up in chewing that she had also started gnawing on her wallet, which she loves. Liver does contains methylcobalamin, although it seems to be much higher in other forms of vitamin B12. (See https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/D0391C340D6A638D1A5C86F60EB83129/S0007114576000147a.pdf/forms_of_vitamin_b12_in_foods.pdf.) I'm curious whether there's a causative link between high B12 intake and her occasional outbreaks of gnawing. Not curious enough to give her a hydroxocobalamin capsule, though. I don't appreciate her slobbering on the furniture.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Two more anecdotes about molybdenum and migraines

A few days ago at a family get-together, I gave a bottle of molybdenum to a fellow mother so she could have it on hand for any future "stomach bugs." She told me later that in the time since I had given her the bottle of molybdenum, she had an occasion to try it for a headache that over-the-counter pain medications weren't helping her with, and the molybdenum apparently resolved her headache.

Then yesterday I found out that another member of my extended family regularly suffers from migraines. She happily accepted a bottle of molybdenum from me when I told her that it helps many people with migraines. She didn't mention that she had a headache coming on, and she took some molybdenum without telling me at the time; later on before we parted for the night, she told me that she'd already taken it and her headache was lessening.

So there's two more molybdenum anecdotes in which it appears to help with migraines. Of the many women I know who have tried molybdenum for migraines, only one reports that it hasn't helped her significantly. That's a pretty decent performance by an overlooked trace micronutrient! Especially when one considers how much some migraine medications cost.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Sulfate as a temporarily effective laxative

Yesterday, I said at the end of my post on diarrhea and molybdenum that I have had only had one person report that taking molybdenum--which she did for migraines--gave her diarrhea. She says that she changed her diet and no longer gets diarrhea from taking molybdenum glycinate.

What happened initially to cause diarrhea for her? I have a hypothesis to explain it. Remember the molybdenum-using enzyme sulfite oxidase? It catalyzes the transformation of sulfite to sulfate. A sudden increase in molybdenum in her digestive tract would logically bring about a sudden increase of sulfate in her digestive tract. It has been repeatedly noted that a sudden increase in sulfate can bring on faster stool movement and sometimes even diarrhea initially. (See https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26582579, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27924798, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9149062http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/wells/waterquality/sulfate.htmlhttps://www.nap.edu/read/10925/chapter/9https://www.lenntech.com/sulfates.htm, and https://sciencing.com/sulfate-5457669.html) Sulfate ions act as osmotic laxatives in the colon. (https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/sulfate#section=Top) Sulfate salts are used to clean out the colon in preparation for a colonoscopy: "Sulfate salts provide sulfate anions, which are poorly absorbed. The osmotic effect of the unabsorbed sulfate anions and the associated cations causes water to be retained within the gastrointestinal tract....The osmotic effect of the unabsorbed ions, when ingested with a large volume of water, produces a copious watery diarrhea." (Excerpted from information on "ColPrep Kit" at https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=bd9f13a9-0f13-4809-ad70-8f3cc2bd19bd)

Notice that sulfate ions can cause osmotic diarrhea. In the last post, I talked about molybdenum's beneficial role in the small intestine in preventing secretory diarrhea. Hence molybdenum can have contradictory effects on two different mechanisms--secretion and osmosis--involved in diarrhea.

And I haven't even gone into intestinal sulfate-reducing bacteria, which turn sulfate into H2S, which is a precursor of sulfite; the gut microbiome affects gastrointestinal motility (for example, see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27477318). I think the many factors of intestinal environment shifts, liver and biliary tract function, commensal bacteria in the intestines, immune system activity, diet, etc. make the issue of diarrhea quite complex. Molybdenum is an overlooked player in diarrhea-related processes that merits research attention.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Secretory diarrhea, adenylyl cyclase, and molybdoenzymes

There are several types of diarrhea: osmotic diarrhea, secretory diarrhea, inflammatory diarrhea, and diarrhea resulting from intestinal motility problems. (See http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/smallgut/diarrhea.html) Cholera, which kills via dehydration from awful diarrhea, has been extensively researched. Partly from the work done on it, we know the following about secretory diarrhea:
Secretory Diarrhea
Large volumes of water are normally secreted into the small intestinal lumen, but a large majority of this water is efficienty absorbed before reaching the large intestine. Diarrhea occurs when secretion of water into the intestinal lumen exceeds absorption.
Many millions of people have died of the secretory diarrhea associated with cholera. The responsible organism, Vibrio cholerae, produces cholera toxin, which strongly activates adenylyl cyclase, causing a prolonged increase in intracellular concentration of cyclic AMP within crypt enterocytes. This change results in prolonged opening of the chloride channels that are instrumental in secretion of water from the crypts, allowing uncontrolled secretion of water. Additionally, cholera toxin affects the enteric nervous system, resulting in an independent stimulus of secretion.
Exposure to toxins from several other types of bacteria (e.g. E. coli heat-labile toxin) induce the same series of steps and massive secretory diarrhea that is often lethal unless the person or animal is aggressively treated to maintain hydration.
In addition to bacterial toxins, a large number of other agents can induce secretory diarrhea by turning on the intestinal secretory machinery, including:
  • some laxatives
  • hormones secreted by certain types of tumors (e.g. vasoactive intestinal peptide)
  • a broad range of drugs (e.g. some types of asthma medications, antidepressants, cardiac drugs)
  • certain metals, organic toxins, and plant products (e.g. arsenic, insecticides, mushroom toxins, caffeine)
In most cases, secretory diarrheas will not resolve during a 2-3 day fast.

(Excerpted from http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/smallgut/diarrhea.html)


Secretory diarrhea can be caused by many things. In fact, inflammatory diarrhea often ends up stimulating secretory diarrhea:

The immune response to inflammatory conditions in the bowel contributes substantively to development of diarrhea. Activation of white blood cells leads them to secrete inflammatory mediators and cytokines which can stimulate secretion, in effect imposing a secretory component on top of an inflammatory diarrhea. Reactive oxygen species from leukocytes can damage or kill intestinal epithelial cells, which are replaced with immature cells that typically are deficient in the brush border enyzmes and transporters necessary for absorption of nutrients and water. In this way, components of an osmotic (malabsorption) diarrhea are added to the problem.

(Excerpted from http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/smallgut/diarrhea.html)

Contrary to its public image, cholera often does not cause any noticeable illness. In fact, around 75% of people with cholera are asymptomatic. (https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/laboratory-biosafety-biosecurity/pathogen-safety-data-sheets-risk-assessment/vibrio-cholerae.html) Why the variation in cholera's effects on people? Why does the above chain of events involving adenylyl cyclase not result in diarrhea for so many people?

Based on the number of people who've told me that molybdenum glycinate (a supplement form of the trace micronutrient molybdenum) significantly lessens or ends diarrhea, I think dietary molybdenum helps explain why many people don't get diarrhea despite having cholera. How might it be doing so? Molybdenum is used as a cofactor by five known enzymes in the human body. All five of these enzymes have functions that tend to lessen the total activity of adenylyl cyclase:


Getting enough molybdenum in the small intestine therefore appears to be very important to moderating activity of adenylyl cyclase and in that way alleviating secretory diarrhea.

I've been told of an acquaintance with part of his small intestine removed who was suffering chronic diarrhea, probably because less small intestine surface means less removal of the water secreted into it early on in the digestive process; taking a molybdenum supplement once a week has given him great relief from the chronic diarrhea. I've heard of another man whose medications were giving him diarrhea, so he likely had secretory diarrhea as a drug side effect; molybdenum supplementation ended his diarrhea. And, as posted on this blog several times already, I've observed and been told of many people in whom molybdenum supplements greatly reduced or even eliminated diarrhea from viral gastroenteritis, which is likely secretory diarrhea overlaying inflammatory diarrhea. In over two years of telling people about molybdenum, I have only heard of one person who experienced diarrhea as a result of taking molybdenum; I will write about her experience in my next blog post [Update 7/20/2018: here's a link to that post] and explain the mechanism by which I think molybdenum induced diarrhea for her.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Hyperbole-filled post

"Big Pharma is going to hate this post."

"Here is a secret your doctor doesn't know."

"Heal yourself from nausea and vomiting and diarrhea with this one simple trick."

You know how internet webpages and spam email often say obnoxious things like the three sentences above? These hyperbole-filled claims almost always waste time and can hurt gullible people. I despise them.

How did I find myself in a situation where those statements are actually true? For that is where I find myself with molybdenum. Molybdenum glycinate supplements are "one simple trick" that treats nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Doctors by and large are ignorant of its desirable effects; if one is lucky, one has a doctor who even knows that molybdenum is an essential trace micronutrient for human health. And, lastly, pharmaceutical companies have sunk a lot of money into antiemetic and norovirus vaccine research, and here a couple housewives in Colorado have stumbled upon a highly effective treatment for viral gastroenteritis symptoms, a treatment that costs them $6.25 per bottle of 100 pills--it's absurd, and it's enough to make one want to go short certain pharmaceutical stocks. (Don't worry, I haven't done that. I don't play the stock market.) If I weren't living this story, I'd never believe it.

Please, prove my claims yourself. Go buy an inexpensive bottle of molybdenum glycinate (Amazon has a few brands) and test it the next time you have a norovirus infection. The doses that typically work are usually about 20 times the RDA and yet still less than the upper tolerable intake limit for molybdenum supplementation. People typically need just one or two doses. To my knowledge, I have no financial interest in any company that mines or sells molybdenum. I have nothing to gain from all these blog posts about molybdenum except for the satisfaction of helping many people suffer less.

If you are in the medical field or know someone in the medical field, once you've seen how dramatically molybdenum helps with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, for the love of all that is good, don't keep it to yourself. With great knowledge comes great responsibility.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Questions about molybdenum storage in the liver and its delivery to the digestive tract

For some time, I've been wondering why young children under 5 years of age tend to be more severely afflicted by gastroenteritis. Per the Medscape website:

Acute gastroenteritis is a common cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Conservative estimates put diarrhea in the top 5 causes of deaths worldwide, with most occurring in young children in nonindustrialized countries. 

https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/176515-overview

As I and several others have observed, molybdenum (given in the form molybdenum glycinate) successfully treats the nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea of viral gastroenteritis. (See https://petticoatgovernment.blogspot.com/2018/01/molybdenum-for-gastroenteritis-nausea.html, https://petticoatgovernment.blogspot.com/2018/01/molybdenum-and-diarrhea.html) The relatively high level of molybdenum in legumes--generally considered "poor man's food"--appears to be a plausible explanation for why travelers from wealthier countries often suffer to a much greater degree from viral gastroenteritis when visiting poorer countries than do the local people who eat a lot of legumes.

But children in these poorer, nonindustrialized countries are also being fed legumes....why are they dying from diarrhea in such large numbers even when their usual diet is relatively high in molybdenum? I think the tendency to avoid eating beans when feeling nauseated helps explain to some degree why people, including young children, continue to feel nauseated after they are already vomiting and starting to have diarrhea. But why doesn't molybdenum ingested earlier and stored in the body have more of an ameliorative effect in very young children? We store molybdenum in many parts of the body, especially in the liver. (See references at https://www.imoa.info/HSE/environmental_data/human_health/molybdenum_uptake.php.) Because the liver, via the biliary tract, is well-situated to deliver molybdenum to the part of the digestive tract where the action of vomiting starts (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retroperistalsis), the liver is the most logical source of stored molybdenum that could have an impact on emesis.

I think a clue to why very young children tend to be more severely affected by viral gastroenteritis symptoms might lie in the absence of CD10 in the liver bile capillaries (canaliculi) of infants and children under 2 years of age. (See https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5805126/ and https://www.nature.com/articles/3700677.) CD10 is also absent in the liver bile capillaries of people with Alagille syndrome (https://www.nature.com/articles/3700677), a major feature of which is liver bile ducts which are narrow, malformed, and reduced in number (https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/804/alagille-syndrome). Perhaps the tiny bile capillaries of small children, due to being without CD10 for the first two years of life, are malformed in such a way as to decrease the ability to mobilize molybdenum out of its liver-located storage; then after the bile capillaries start to have CD10 at about age 24 months, the livers continue to grow and liver cells undergo normal turnover, allowing substantial bypassing and repair of the earlier bile capillary defects by around age 5 years.

If insufficient delivery of molybdenum from the liver tissue to the proximal small intestine (duodenum) in very young children helps explain their greater mortality from gastroenteritis symptoms, then we should expect to see that obstructive jaundice--generally caused by an obstruction between the liver and the duodenum--is associated with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It looks like that could indeed be the case, for nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are noted as symptoms that have been observed to occur together with jaundice. (https://www.medicinenet.com/jaundice_in_adults/article.htm#what_are_the_signs_and_symptoms_of_jaundice_in_adultshttps://www.merckmanuals.com/home/liver-and-gallbladder-disorders/manifestations-of-liver-disease/jaundice-in-adults). It would be interesting to investigate whether people with gallstones or other bile duct obstructions are more severely affected by norovirus than people without. It is already accepted that it is a bad thing to obstruct the biliary tract; maybe an impaired ability quickly to utilize molybdenum stores in the liver is an additional negative result of biliary obstruction. Due to the prevalence of parasites in many developing countries, it would also be interesting to investigate the effects of parasites on the transport of molybdenum within the biliary tract.

There is much new space opened up for inquiry into diseases of the gastrointestinal tract by the discovery of molybdenum's ameliorative effect on the viral gastroenteritis symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Despite notifying many researchers and public health officials at the beginning of 2018, I have no knowledge to date of any researchers or medical practitioners following up on my reports of molybdenum glycinate's effectiveness in preventing/treating those symptoms. Molybdenum keeps working as I've been reporting, and the number of successes I hear about keeps ticking upward. I'm disappointed in the medical world. A housewife in Colorado shouldn't be the only one trying to fit all this together.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Chondroitin sulfate for vocal flexibility in singers

I've been hesitant to post about this because only two people, my sister and myself, have tried it. But she is a voice teacher, so she's generally reliable on issues of vocal performance. Around the beginning of 2018, she asked me whether there was anything she could do to help her lungs not hyper-react to the grooming products used by a student. So I looked into it for her and suggested that she try chondroitin sulfate since it seems important to building healthy support structures for the surfaces of the trachea and bronchi.

She took chondroitin sulfate for a couple of weeks, and the bronchial hyperreactivity to her student's products went away. But even better--at least for a singer--her vocal range extended noticeably. So I tried chondroitin sulfate, too, and noticed that it helped me sing more easily and with a clearer tone. I find I get a noticeable result in my singing voice even if I take it only once in a while; the effect seems to kick in within a couple of hours.

The vocal cords (or folds) are supported by cartilage, and chondroitin sulfate is an important component of cartilage. Also, chondroitin sulfate has been found in the cover, ligament, and interstitial cells of the vocal folds (see http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/000348949610500102 and https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1808869416301045). One or both of these things could contribute to the mechanism by which she and I are finding that chondroitin sulfate helps us sing better. I'd love to hear if anyone else has noticed similar vocal performance effects in themselves after taking chondroitin sulfate.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Video posted: "Hypothesis: Zika virus-caused microcephaly connected to chondroitin sulfate in Brazilian feijoada?"

I just posted a short video about the possible connection between high cartilage content in the Brazilian national dish feijoada and the high occurrence of microcephaly subsequent to Zika virus infection in pregnant women in Brazil.


I blogged about this possible cuisine connection over a year ago: https://petticoatgovernment.blogspot.com/2017/05/zika-virus-placental-entry-and-feijoada.html.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Egyptian food

Our family is learning about Egypt during the second half of June. We have eaten baba ganoush, kushari, pita bread, kofta kebab, fava beans, falafel, and lots of hummus. We found out from a friend who lived in Egypt that the word "hummus" just means garbanzo beans. So the next time you see black bean "hummus" at a store, go ahead and giggle at the silliness of calling it that.

While the food has been quite tasty, it has been unfriendly to weight loss efforts. I think our higher intake of pureed beans are mostly to blame. Breaking apart the cell walls of beans approximately doubles the insulin response after ingestion, per a 1986 study posted at http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/9/3/260. So pureeing the garbanzo beans for hummus is not a good idea for those looking to minimize insulin responses. Also, mashing the fava beans in one's ful medames is going to cause an increase in insulin responses.

I wonder if the frequent consumption of mushy ful medames and hummus with tahini helps explain Egypt's unenviable position as one of the most obese countries in the world. (http://www.egyptindependent.com/study-egypt-tops-obesity-rate-among-adults-world/)

I'm never going to look at a bean burrito the same again after seeing that 1986 study. Sigh. I like refried beans.