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.

Friday, June 8, 2018

"Molybdenum: A micronutrient that can help alleviate nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, and migraines"

Here's another segment of the library lecture I gave earlier this week. In this one, I talk about molybdenum. For more information on this topic, please refer to the past 2.5 years of this blog. :)



"Some Apparent Connections Between Nutrition and Autism Spectrum Disorders"

Here's the second segment of my library presentation. I focus on nutrition and autism spectrum disorders.


For more information, please read my blog series on this topic:

Introduction
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Conclusion

"About Coming up with Hypotheses"

Earlier this week, I gave a lecture at a local library in which I talked about some of my hypotheses. My daughter helped me record the lecture so that I could post parts of it on YouTube. Here's the first segment of it, in which I introduce my main sources for information when I'm working on a health-related mystery:



Wednesday, June 6, 2018

A great song about Colorado

We're learning about Colorado right now. Not only is it Rocky Mountain high and the land where the columbines grow, but the state of Colorado inspires many songs of longing. Such as this one:


Friday, May 25, 2018

Getting ready for our 2018 country summer studies

Every summer we study different cultures/countries/states for 2 weeks at a time. We learn about their music, their language(s), and their food, and we do activities related to them. It is very enjoyable and gives a nice form to our summer.

We finally decided on our study subjects for the summer: Colorado (the US state), Egypt, Montenegro, Antarctica (not really a country, but continents count now, too!), and Scotland. In looking for music to listen to this summer from each of those areas, I was introduced to Amr Diab. I am currently more than a little obsessed with his song "El Leila":



Luckily, my offspring like it, too. Doesn't it make you want to dance, habibi? (That means "my darling" in Arabic.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Followup to "Eggs, phenylalanine, and hyperactive behavior": Iron deficiency and ADHD

After noticing the egg consumption-related hyperactivity of my children and writing the post below, I looked at whether there has been any research on iron and ADHD. Indeed, there has! Several researchers have found lower serum ferritin levels associated with ADHD. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25364604https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28046016, and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29335588)

One study in France even said that "iron supplementation (80 mg/day) appeared to improve ADHD symptoms in children with low serum ferritin levels....Iron therapy was well tolerated and effectiveness is comparable to stimulants." (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18054688)

Hyperactive children in US classrooms are a common sight. Combine the apparent connection between ADHD and low serum ferritin with the frequent inclusion of dairy, which interferes with iron absorption, in the typical US school lunch, and it looks as though we might have a simple way to reduce hyperactivity via tweaks to school lunch menus. (See https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15831123 for a survey of diet factors affecting iron absorption in meals.) Why couldn't we have dairy-free, iron-rich meals that enhance iron absorption twice a week? We could easily serve orange juice instead of milk on those days. It would certainly make the Florida orange growers happy. Sure, "milk does a body good," but it doesn't have to be consumed at every single meal.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Eggs, phenylalanine, and hyperactive behavior

This last Easter, I boiled dozens of eggs for my children to dye. During the next few days, despite my limiting of Easter candy to a very small amount, my two youngest children (3 & 6 years old) were hyperactive and "crazy." Their behavior differed markedly from their normal temperament. One thing we noted was that they were living off egg whites as much as they could; they love peeling boiled eggs and eating the whites, but they avoided the yolks. So I looked into whether there was something in egg white that could explain their changed behavior.

Phenylalanine. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenylalanine) It is an amino acid that is very high in eggs. It is used by the body in two different pathways, one that leads to the production of dopamine and the other that leads to the production of NMPEA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N-Methylphenethylamine), which has a similar effect on the body as amphetamine. The first pathway depends on an iron-containing enzyme (AAAH). My children weren't getting enough iron from their diet, I believe, for they were doing their best to live off of rice, eggs, cheese, and milk, all of which are either low in iron or hinder absorption of iron. I think that due to low iron, their body was utilizing the second metabolic pathway at a higher-than-usual level and so making much of their ingested phenylalanine into NMPEA, meaning that they were being affected to some degree as though they'd been taking amphetamines. Oops.

We took the boiled eggs away from them and instead gave them more foods high in iron, and our children calmed down within two or three days. I hesitated to blog about this observation, but today I was visiting a friend whose her young children were acting "crazy" during our conversation. I told her about what happened with our children at Easter time, and she said that her children do eat a lot of eggs.

Moral of the story: If unusual food patterns are occurring alongside unusual behavior, look for possible causation.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

TET2 and vampires

I have many new ideas swirling around in my head these days--and making it so I have too many browser tabs open--because I've been trying to keep my blog focused on molybdenum recently in case some gastroenteritis researchers (I emailed hundreds of them in the past couple months) come across my blog during an internet search. Here's one of the new ideas, a result--as is often the case--of something thought-provoking posted by Glenn Reynolds at his Instapundit blog.

For some time, researchers have noted that if they take blood from young mice and put it in old mice, the old mice are rejuvenated. That led to many a joke about vampires on the Instapundit blog. Then a couple days ago, Reynolds posted a link to an article saying the young mouse blood increases the levels of the enzyme Tet2, which promotes rejuvenation. (https://www.sciencealert.com/mice-hippocampus-enzyme-discovery-anti-aging-therapy; http://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(18)30156-6) So I went hunting for something that can increase Tet2 expression, and found that hydrogen sulfide (H2S) can promote its expression. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4731232/) And what can increase levels of H2S in the body? Garlic! (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28609097)

If garlic consumption can help rejuvenate old bodies, then we should be able to see some sort of correlation between countries with high garlic consumption and longevity. One such piece of evidence has been apparent for some time: the life-extending effect of a "Mediterranean diet." (https://www.livescience.com/19868-centenarians-longevity-mediterranean-diet.html) People living around the Mediterranean Sea use a lot of garlic in their cooking. But the all-time highest consumers of garlic appear to be the South Koreans, who eat as much as 8-12 cloves per day. (https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/15/unlocking-the-benefits-of-garlic/) South Korea, interestingly enough, is forecast to lead the world in life expectancy for women:
There is a 90% probability that life expectancy at birth among South Korean women in 2030 will be higher than 86·7 years, the same as the highest worldwide life expectancy in 2012, and a 57% probability that it will be higher than 90 years. Projected female life expectancy in South Korea is followed by those in France, Spain, and Japan.

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)32381-9/fulltext

Not bad for a country that was mostly dependent on foreign aid into the 1970s. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_on_the_Han_River)

I think it's safe to say, at least on a population-wide basis, that eating large amounts of garlic can help rejuvenate our bodies without the necessity of turning to vampirism. That's amusing and ironic in light of the traditions about garlic supposedly being able to repel vampires. (http://www.garlic-central.com/vampires.html)

Friday, February 23, 2018

Garlic and H2S

As I've often discussed here on my blog and outlined in my published hypothesis about sulfite, "morning sickness," and molybdenum, I think that increased hydrogen sulfide (H2S) usage in the body leads to excessive sulfite levels during pregnancy, and the sulfite excess then causes nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP).

Today while researching a different topic, I came across an article talking about how the organosulfur compounds in garlic are H2S donors. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691516302368) I think I finally know why I couldn't stand the smell of garlic during early pregnancy! We often tend to avoid --the scientific term for it is "conditioned taste aversion"-- things that have made us throw up in the past. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1749-6632.1985.tb27082.x/fullhttps://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780080450469001121) If garlic made me more likely to throw up during my early pregnancies, then it is logical that I would have developed an aversion to garlic that manifested during subsequent periods of morning sickness. Even now, years later and not pregnant, I cringe a little internally at the sight of a ranch dressing bottle because of pregnancy memories of hating the smell of the garlic-containing ranch dressing within.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Steven Magee quotes about discovery

I found some good quotes about discovery by an author/writer named Steven Magee. His current areas of focus appear to be what many would consider "fringe" because he warns of dangers from ubiquitous electromagnetic radiation. Some of his ideas aren't out of the mainstream, though. For instance, talking about toxic effects of certain kinds of light is warranted in light of what has been learned about blue light suppressing melatonin at night. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26017927; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29101797) And then there are the recent mysterious injuries to US diplomats in Cuba, which some think might have been a result of radio waves. (https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/12/cuba-attacks-cold-war-technology-244787)

Regardless of whether every one of Magee's warnings about electromagnetic radiation exposure is warranted, he has some good things to say about why medical science exists:

“The human mind and body contains a myriad of secrets awaiting discovery.”

“Sickness is the motivator for research by those that recognize improved health is just a discovery away.”

“Curiosity is what powers discovery.”

“When walking alone on the path of discovery, have faith that you are illuminating the way for others to follow.”

“Research is an endless loop of failures interspersed with occasional profound discoveries.”


I like that he recognizes that a multitude of failures is an inevitable part of research but is still optimistic about all that awaits us as we continue to reach for more knowledge.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Glucosamine to protect cartilage during influenza infection

I like to research many things that don't have clear answers. I have only been taking so much time to post about molybdenum because it's relatively unknown and quite effective for nausea/vomiting and migraines. But the headlines these days have some scary stories about influenza and its toll. A friend lost her uncle a few days ago to post-influenza pneumonia. So here's what I've dug up on an overlooked nutritional intervention that appears to help protect against dying from influenza-caused pneumonia:

1) The flu infects chondrocytes, the cells in cartilage. They are the only cells in hyaline cartilage, which type of cartilage is coincidentally found in places--joints, rib ends, nose, larynx, trachea, bronchi--that are among the hardest hit by influenza. (https://www.britannica.com/science/cartilage)

2) Influenza-infected chondrocytes don't seem to actually experience obvious damage until the body's immune system goes on the attack. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC422866/; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2567.2003.01621.x/full) [Edited 2/17/2018: Someone pointed out to me that chondrocytes are within an extracellular matrix that has no blood vessels, so other cells, including attacking immune cells, can't reach them. I looked more into that issue and found a 2015 cartilage transplant study which found that cartilage isn't as immune-privileged as it used to be believed it was (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4522233/). I suspect that chondroblasts--the immature chondrocytes next to the blood-vessel-containing perichondrium--are the first chondrocytes which the immune system cells attack, and then due to their destruction the cartilage matrix becomes compromised; if that compromised state becomes severe enough, immune cells can then gain access to the mature chondrocytes within, as well.]

3) Cytokines are part of the immune system's attack arsenal. The cytokine IL-1beta is a critical component of lung inflammation during infection with influenza type A H1N1. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jmv.24138/abstracthttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27714503)

4) Glucosamine--a natural compound found in cartilage--happens to protect chondrocytes by being a potent inhibitor of IL-1beta. (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/ar2082)

5) Damaged cartilage in the trachea/bronchi could allow for more penetrating infection by viruses/bacteria that normally would not be able to do much harm and in that way make flu sufferers much more susceptible to pneumonia. Most of the people who died from the 1918 flu died because "bacteria that normally inhabit the nose and throat invaded the lungs along a pathway created when the virus destroyed the cells that line the bronchial tubes and lungs." (https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/bacterial-pneumonia-caused-most-deaths-1918-influenza-pandemic)

6) People who take glucosamine (it's a common supplement for arthritis) are much less likely to die of respiratory illnesses than their peers. (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10654-012-9714-6)

So if you're worried about influenza, it might be worth it to buy some glucosamine and take it when you're exposed to influenza so you can protect your hyaline cartilage and thus make yourself less likely to develop pneumonia. I tried glucosamine myself last week (I teach part-time, and influenza has been going around my classroom), and I never coughed at all despite having slight nasal secretions and some very short episodes of mild chills. I bought the glucosamine in loose powder form, mixed it into water, and sipped or gargled it, for the point was to protect my respiratory tract, not my intestines.

At the very least, drink some animal broth--which should typically contain a little glucosamine--when sick with influenza. I don't think it's prudent to be a vegetarian when dealing with influenza. A few years ago, a China-Diet-following relative of mine got the flu, then pneumonia, then barely survived ARDS. Also, India's 1918 flu statistics could be read to support the existence of some sort of protective effect correlated with acceptance of beef consumption.