Saturday, December 30, 2017

H2S --> sulfite and advances in understanding H2S metabolism

One of the points in my hypotheses about why molybdenum is helping people with nausea and migraines (and apparently "morning sickness," though I have fewer pregnant friends than friends with migraines) is that the molybdenum is enabling higher activity of the sulfite oxidase enzyme--which uses a molybdenum cofactor--in transforming toxic sulfite to excretable sulfate. But where is the sulfite coming from? I think it's a metabolic product of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which it turns out is important to making new blood vessels from existing ones (angiogenesis), vasodilation, and even keeping uterine muscles from contracting.

The pathways by which H2S is broken down in the body are still being clarified by researchers. Sulfite is often an end result, but sulfite is also used by the catabolism. Therefore, whether there is a net increase in sulfite from H2S catabolism is far from a given. A study published this past year by some Polish* researchers found that there appears to be a non-canonical pathway by which H2S is oxidized in the brain, and that pathway appears to use neuroglobin. ( Guess where neuroglobin shows up besides in the brain? In the stomach and the small intestine! ( The two body regions where I've been observing molybdenum to have an effect on mysterious illnesses--nausea/vomiting and migraines--are also places where an unknown H2S catabolic pathway appears to be occurring. I look forward to more research on neuroglobin's interaction with H2S.

* I love Poland. Lots of easily-utilized glycine betaine in the national diet, and cutting edge research in very interesting fields.

How internal "movies" are shaped depending on who the protagonist is

Many of people's disagreements seem to come from "watching a different movie" in their minds from the one being seen by the people they disagree with. That movie is highly influenced by people's experiences and what they've been told/shown, but it is also shaped by what role the individual person plays in the movie. I think that a fundamental rule of people is that "no one is the villain of his/her own story/movie."

Witness these two music videos done by Alexander Rybak showing the experience of stalking and harassing a love interest. When Alexander is playing the stalker, his actions are cute and kind of funny.

But when he is the one being stalked, he portrays himself as the tortured victim of a person who belongs in a mental institution.

He wrote the second song because he was actually being harassed by a fan, so I know he's not in favor of stalking. That's what makes it even more interesting that he portrayed himself as merely lovably obnoxious when the tables are turned. He undoubtedly had no intention of making stalking look like an OK thing to do, but he apparently can't help avoiding a portrayal of himself as a "bad guy."

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The fight against rhinovirus is real and continuing

Now that we no longer fear gastrointestinal viruses in our household (see all the previous posts about molybdenum), our current nemesis is the "winter cold," which is usually caused by a rhinovirus. There's no vaccine for rhinovirus, and very little appears to exist in the way of effective treatments; Science-Based Medicine says that only honey seems to help-- But honey and my current low-simple-sugars way of eating aren't exactly compatible, so I'm still digging.

One promising lead is the finding that warmer temperatures help the body fight off a rhinovirus infection.

The researchers from Yale infected airway cells with a rhinovirus in their lab, and kept some at a normal body temperature (98 degrees Fahrenheit) and others just below it (91.4 degrees). Whether it’s cold or hot, infected cells tend to make little interferons, Tech Times reported — but in the two temperature groups, the virus persisted. In fact, the cells in below-average temps replicated immediately, while the cells in the normal temps died off much quicker and were not able to replicate as quickly.
That’s not all. Researchers used mathematical modeling and genetic approaches to better understand the underlying ways in which a virus grows. The found that not only does the warm temperature kill the infection off faster, but it maximizes the effect of an enzyme, called RNAseL, in the double-stranded RNA. The enzyme is part of the interferon response, and eventually helps to eliminate it. Taken altogether, these findings show that even in the absence of interferons, warm temperatures have profound effects on the body’s antiviral response and the outcomes of the common cold, the researchers wrote.
This also builds upon prior research out of Yale that found cooler temperatures enabled infected airway cells to spread in mice, according to Tech Times. Researchers found that at “several degrees below the normal body temperature, interferons that fought viruses were less able to perform their job.” And in a separate mice study, they found that the rhinovirus spreads to airway cells more quickly in cooler temperatures. So it’s no wonder that peak cold and flu season tends to be in the winter, when temperatures can drop well below zero.

Could this help explain why so many people tout hot concoctions as home remedies for winter colds? The steaming hot liquid helps warm their noses and temporarily enables the virus-infected cells to die off more quickly? And why so many of the things they put in their hot concoctions are vasodilators or help enable vasodilation, such as chili peppers, lemon juice, ginger, alcohol (for some), and Vitamin C? I once was coming down with a cold around my birthday, and I wanted to celebrate with Thai food. At the restaurant, I ate much of a steaming tureen of tom ka gai (if you haven't had it before, I highly recommend it), and by the end of our leisurely meal, my cold was gone and didn't come back. I didn't know if it was the chicken, the ginger, the peppers, the lemongrass, or what, but maybe it was that the prolonged consumption of steaming, vasodilating substances enabled my virus-infected cells to die more quickly and replicate more slowly. (Whatever it was, it tasted wonderful.)

Besides lingering over a tureen of spicy soup, what other things can we do to help kill off a cold before it can make us miserable? Perhaps a special nose-warming device like a mini-hair dryer aimed into the nostrils would be a feasible intervention. (Someone beat me to that idea.) Or perhaps using flush-inducing niacin to warm up the facial tissues for a while would help. (Again, I've been beaten to the idea.) Also, when would one first start to use the heating/vasodilating intervention in order to maximize its effect? Right after the first sneeze occurs?

In the meantime, most of the family is "under the weather" because they came down with their colds days ago, and I didn't look all this stuff up until almost everyone was symptomatic. Only the kindergartner hasn't sneezed yet. (But I have a blow dryer handy for when she does. :) ) I did turn up the thermostat, and that seems to help their colds be less severe; I wish I didn't have to turn it down at night, but it's been very cold here and money is a consideration. I won't shrug off people's hot concoctions anymore now that there seems to be a plausible mechanism for their effectiveness at hastening the end of a rhinovirus infection.

[Update on 12/30/2017: The kindergartner sneezed within a day of this post. I quickly sat her in front of the computer with safety goggles over her eyes, instructions to hold her lips inside her mouth to keep them from chapping, and a blow dryer. She aimed the warm air up her nostrils on and off for around half an hour while watching comedy sketches, and that was the end of her possibly incipient rhinovirus cold. Not a sneeze, sniffle, or cough out of her since. An older child who had already been sick a few days let out a wet sneeze later, so she did the blow dryer treatment to herself, too. She also hasn't sneezed since, although she still had to deal with the accumulated mucus from the previous days. She insists the blow dryer treatment helped her, though. These are just anecdotes, I know, but it's nice not to have my children be sick. Next time a rhinovirus comes to call on our family, I'll use a blow dryer or a facial steamer at the first sneezes and report on whether the warm air in the nose seemed to help or was a waste of time.]

Saturday, December 23, 2017

If it took that long to convince him, how long will it take to convince others?

When I first made the connection between molybdenum and less severe morning sickness, I relayed it to a sister who has had very hard pregnancies due to nausea and vomiting. She bought a bottle of molybdenum to have on hand, I suppose in case she became pregnant, though she wasn't planning on it to my knowledge.

Then a "stomach bug" infected her and her husband. She asked me if molybdenum would help with it, and I said I didn't know and she could try it if she wanted to. She hadn't yet begun throwing up, while her husband had. They both took molybdenum (just one tablet each, I think), and she went to bed. The next morning she woke up pleasantly surprised to find that she didn't feel sick after all. She though perhaps she'd been wrong about being infected, but when she ate granola for breakfast, her intestines let her know that all was not normal. Her husband, however, didn't stop vomiting. So naturally he didn't think molybdenum was doing much.

In the intervening 18 months, she and I have learned much more about molybdenum's use for gastrointestinal viruses. It is far more effective at stopping vomiting that hasn't yet occurred, and taking it encapsulated or pressed into a tablet seems to slow down its delivery to where it's needed most in the stomach.

This past week, her husband got another stomach bug. She messaged me last night, saying that I had "made a believer" out of her husband. She pushed him to take molybdenum the day before when he felt like he was getting a stomach bug. "An hour later, he felt pretty good and headed into work. He forgot he started the day thinking it was going to be sulfur and vomits in the next few hours until the afternoon when it crept up on him again, so he took another Mo and he's good to go!"

Approximately eighteen months after his wife was the first one to use molybdenum successfully to prevent nausea from a stomach bug, and he finally believes it. If it took that long for him, I should be patient with everyone else, even if I tire of sounding like a broken record.

[Edited 2/20/2018: She and her husband are now telling me that he didn't actually take molybdenum on that occasion over 1.5 years ago.]

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Could molybdenum end cruise ship norovirus outbreaks?

Just as I was helping my friend's family and my own beat back nausea and vomiting from a severe "stomach bug" ( (my turn to host the virus was Monday, and thanks to molybdenum, the worst I experienced was a moderately sore stomach), the news carried a story about a Royal Caribbean ship having a big outbreak of what appears to be a gastrointestinal virus. ( After all I've seen in the past 18 months of molybdenum's effectiveness and apparent safety, I feel like the kid in class who's practically jumping in her seat with hand raised to get the teacher to call on her, "I have an answer, I have an answer, call on me, please!" But, alas, I don't know anyone who works in cruise ship medicine. I live in Colorado. Not a lot of cruises originating out of Denver....

Monday, December 18, 2017

Another dramatic success for molybdenum in treating a gastrointestinal virus

A friend was sick for about five days last week with a bad "stomach bug." Once we were able to get some molybdenum to him, he got better within a day. We saw him at a gathering on Saturday. In fact, we ate next to his family, and dd13 sat beside him. That evening, I pre-dosed all my children with 500-1000 mcg (depending on size) molybdenum after I realized just how easily they could have become infected, too.

Early the next morning, we heard that his wife had come down with the stomach virus. So, I took some molybdenum to her and then came home and asked my children every couple of hours if their stomachs hurt. Dd13 by midmorning reported that her stomach hurt, so I gave her more molybdenum (about 1000 mcg, if I recall correctly). Twice more during the day, her stomach hurt, so I gave her another dose of molybdenum each time. By the third time, she was reporting that the ache had moved down into her intestines. She slept through the night and never vomited. Whew.

I called the friend's wife afterward, and she reported that once she was able to get some molybdenum down, her vomiting ended. Double whew.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Alexander Rybak

Our family is full of Alexander Rybak fangirls. Our children couldn't tell you the name of a Justin Bieber hit or Lady Gaga song (although they might know parodies of some of hers), but they can sing along with much of Rybak's music, including some of the Russian songs, which shows their great appreciation for him, for they don't speak Russian. Here's one of my favorites:

I'm a violinist but not remotely as good as he is. Here's another great song by him. He recorded it in Belarussian, Russian, and English. Even if you've never been to Europe, he can make a person wish they could see the skies he loves so well.

Friday, December 15, 2017

A bit more on angiogenesis and thymoquinone

Angiogenesis during pregnancy is crucial, for it is the forming of new blood vessels from existing ones. To create a placenta and a baby, this process must be able to go forth properly.

An overlooked dietary angiogenesis inhibitor is thymoquinone (,,,, one of the most active constituents of Nigella sativa (AKA black cumin, czarnuszka, black seed, etc.). ( In 2013, it was shown that thymoquinone has a potentially disruptive effect on embryonic development in the middle of rat pregnancy (; specifically, thymoquinone caused fetal death and resorption:

Results showed that TQ [thymoquinone] induces maternal and embryonic toxicities in a dose- and time-dependent manner. With a dose of 50 mg/kg, treated rats experienced a significant decrease in maternal body weight and complete fetal resorption when the dose was given on day 11 of gestation. On the other hand, 46.2% of implants were resorbed and the viable fetuses showed no TQ-related malformations when the dose was given on day 14 of gestation. At a lower TQ dose of 35 mg/kg, maternal and embryonic toxicities were observed only when it was given on day 11 of gestation.

As in the rodent studies of thalidomide, thymoquinone does not appear to cause to cause any morphological abnormalities in rat fetuses. Just fetal resorption. This is striking to me because it resembles the only early indication that thalidomide is harmful to developing embryos. Thalidomide has a different effect on developing rodents than on humans. Thalidomide was initially approved for human use partly because the rodent tests done with it appeared to be showing that it was safe for developing embryos.

A 1962 study titled "Thalidomide and Congenital Abnormalities," by Victor Knapp, George Christie, and Mary Seller, all working in the UK, looked at the teratogenic effects of Thalidomide on rats, mice, and rabbits, and the study reported no abnormalities in the offspring of these animals after researchers had exposed the pregnant females to the drug. The authors noted that the study provided no grounds to think that drugs containing Thalidomide were safe for human use, and they argued that the only method guaranteed to safely deal with drugs of unknown teratogenicity would be to completely refrain from using them unless absolutely necessary. In 1963, Joseph A. DiPaolo, working in the US, discussed various birth defects found in mice fetuses whose mothers were fed Thalidomide daily, but he found only one kind of anamoly [sic] called fetal resorption, or the partial or complete dissolution of fetal tissues after some embryos had died in utero.

Black cumin is much praised by some Islamic researchers. ( I think this is because they have a "hadith" (post-Quran saying attributed to Muhammed) in which Muhammed was reported to have said that black cumin is good for all diseases except death. 

Narrated Khalid bin Sa`d: We went out and Ghalib bin Abjar was accompanying us. He fell ill on the way and when we arrived at Medina he was still sick. Ibn Abi 'Atiq came to visit him and said to us, "Treat him with black cumin. Take five or seven seeds and crush them (mix the powder with oil) and drop the resulting mixture into both nostrils, for `Aisha has narrated to me that she heard the Prophet (ﷺ) saying, 'This black cumin is healing for all diseases except As-Sam.' Aisha said, 'What is As-Sam?' He said, 'Death." (Might Khalid bin Sa'd, Aisha, or Ibn Abi 'Atiq have heard wrong or unintentionally exaggerated?)

It appears to me from the way some researchers in Islamic countries talk about black cumin, they seem frightened to admit that, like all medicinal substances, black cumin might have some negative side effects, too. Which is irrational. Now, I totally get where they're coming from. After all, in the middle of a "Wheat Belly" trend, I refuse to dump wheat because D&C 89 (the Mormon Word of Wisdom) says that wheat is "for man." But lots of LDS people who believe that D&C 89 is a revelation from God have celiac disease and so don't eat wheat. It's important to find out where a particular substance helps and where it harms in order to utilize it wisely and for optimal effects.

It's been repeatedly noted that Muslim cultures/countries tend to top the global charts for birth defects (, including congenital blindness ( and deafness (, which were also results of thalidomide exposure during gestation (, interestingly enough. Researchers appear to almost unanimously conclude that consanguinity (marrying close relatives) is the main factor behind this higher rate of birth defects. (, But what if the least secular Muslims--the ones marrying cousins despite all the data about the higher risk of the practice because clerics tell them that Muhammed's approval of cousin marriages 14 centuries ago makes it evil to question them now--are also using black cumin during pregnancy because of the hadith recommending it? What if the black cumin is contributing to birth defects, too? How would we ever tease out evidence of such an effect while both cousin marriage and black seed use are promoted within the hadith-accepting sects of Islam? Ideas?

Thursday, December 14, 2017

GDF15, "morning sickness," and angiogenesis

Last month, researchers at Cambridge announced that they had found a correlation between the protein GDF15 and nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. ( Here's the abstract from their prepublication paper:

Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (NVP) affects 70-90% of all pregnant women, but its pathogenesis is unknown. Growth and Differentiation Factor 15 (GDF15), secreted from the trophoblast and decidual stromal cells, is present at high levels in the blood of pregnant women. The receptor for GDF15 has recently been identified and is specifically expressed in the hindbrain where it transmits aversive signals including nausea and conditioned taste aversion. We explored the relationship between GDF15 concentrations in maternal serum during pregnancy and self-reported NVP. In a study of 791 women from the Cambridge Baby Growth Study maternal GDF15 concentrations were higher in women who reported vomiting in the 2nd trimester (geometric mean: 11,670 pg/mL; 95% confidence interval 11,056-12,318) and were even higher in the eleven women who reported taking anti-emetics during pregnancy (13,376 (10,821-16,535) compared to those who reported no nausea or vomiting during pregnancy (10,657 (10,121-11,222); P=0.02 and P=0.04, respectively, adjusted for gestational age at sampling and maternal BMI). In conclusion serum GDF concentrations early in the second trimester are significantly and positively associated with second trimester vomiting and with maternal anti-emetic use. In the context of the recently revealed biology of GDF15 this data suggests that antagonism of GDF15 may have some potential for therapeutic benefit in NVP.

I am both delighted and worried by this paper, and the cause for both feelings is the same: GDF15 promotes ( and has an essential role in angiogenesis (, the creation of new blood vessels from existing ones. Around 18 months ago, I published my hypothesis that sulfite, a metabolic product of endogenous H2S used in angiogenesis, is the primary culprit behind NVP and that molybdenum supplementation can help the body more quickly break down that sulfite to sulfate via sulfite oxidase.* ( So naturally I'm very pleased to see this recent finding that connects an angiogenesis promoter to NVP. What worries me is the paper's suggestion that antagonism of GDF15 might be a therapy to treat NVP.

We do not want to interfere with angiogenesis during early pregnancy. That's exactly what went wrong with thalidomide. Thalidomide inhibits angiogenesis, leading to truncated limbs and other awful consequences.

I found the lead author's professional Facebook page and posted my appreciation of his findings and concern about the proposal to antagonize GDF15. I hope he takes it seriously despite my lack of biology credentials. Whether I have a piece of paper from the proper college is irrelevant to the copious evidence of the necessity of proper angiogenesis in pregnancy.

* And if you've been reading my blog, you know that molybdenum ended up surprising me by being good for more than just NVP!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Didn't see that coming...

A friend has an adult son who needs 24-hour care due to having suffered a traumatic brain injury. His medications caused him to frequently be nauseated, so nine days ago she started giving him a molybdenum supplement. The molybdenum appears to have stopped his diarrhea (I hadn't even known he was suffering from that). They used to have to change his clothes 3-4 times a day (their utilities bill from running the clothes dryer has been really high) due to his diarrhea, and now they never have to do so. Nine days of molybdenum, nine days without diarrhea.

I've asked her what medications her son was on in order to try to figure out why molybdenum is helping with the diarrhea. I also need to ask her what dosage she is using.

When I first started using molybdenum for "stomach bugs," it seemed like there was still a bit of diarrhea even though the molybdenum got rid of the nausea. But I was also using lower doses initially. Now that I think over the past few times our family has used molybdenum for circulating gastrointestinal viruses, there has been often been no diarrhea in connection with the viruses. What could be going on?

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Just another homeschool morning

My children are technically homeschoolers who attend school on a part-time basis. The mornings are when we do our focused schoolwork. It's startling how much children can learn when they apply themselves and aren't distracted by their classmates.

Today's math and history are done (the 1930s were so "depressing" Dd13 was struggling to have enough breath on a new trumpet piece, so today she watched two videos on trumpet playing breathing from the Lincoln Center. Now she's smiling over her reading of "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" from her composition textbook. Dd10 keeps talking my ear off about people like Thomas Edison and Marion Anderson--no, I hadn't known she could sing every voice part from bass to soprano--and is now happily playing the harp upstairs. Dd8 and dd5 finished reading/writing/math/etc. and are working on the Suzuki "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" on their violins together; they want to do a concert tonight along with dd3, who is playing the toy electric pink plastic guitar that I usually keep out of reach because it's obnoxious.

I've been very pleased with the results of using the Story of the World four-volume history set as our homeschool history "spine." Dd13's history teacher at school says she knows so much history that he doesn't have to use Google when she is in the classroom because he can always count on her to know something when the rest of the class is coming up dry as to answers.

I've also been pleased to have avoided the miseducation of my children in several areas of social studies. To judge by the rhetoric coming out of US college students right now, it's apparent that they've been taught that slavery was a uniquely American evil perpetrated only by white men against black people. That's manifestly false to anyone who's got just a basic understanding of world history. Or even religion. Two nights ago at bedtime, I was reading a Bible parable to my children that started like this:

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
21Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
23Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 27Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. 28But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. 29And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. 31So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. 32Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:33Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? 34And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

No races mentioned. That's because slavery is an ancient and world-encircling practice, for it is taking people's labor without respect for their individual freedom. And people have been taking things unjustly from others for pretty much forever.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A limitation of molybdenum for treating nausea and vomiting

I know I talk up molybdenum constantly--well, actually only when "stomach bugs" are going around or someone reports on how it went after trying it out out. I would like to talk about other fun nutrition/biomedical things, too. But I need to tell you about a serious limitation of molybdenum. Here goes:

Molybdenum doesn't help alleviate nausea and vomiting if it is not ingested.

Having it sitting in a cupboard over the kitchen sink doesn't lead to it actually helping! Taking it nine days before the nausea hits doesn't seem to do it, either. My second-grader now knows these things.

This past Friday, she woke up in the wee hours with her stomach hurting. She lay in bed thinking she could control it with her mind. (Yes, because that totally works with nausea. ;) ) She also thought that she didn't want to wake up her mom to ask for molybdenum, bless her little heart. This is the same second grader who successfully used molybdenum in October to avoid vomiting from a stomach bug going around her classroom. She knows it can help her, but I guess she was too groggy to think clearly. Anyway, to end the story, she came to me around 4:00 a.m. with the news that she'd thrown up in her bed. We cleaned her up, and she required multiple doses of molybdenum because she threw up much of her first dose. She was done vomiting by around 6:00 a.m., but she was wiped out from the ordeal and spent most of Friday on the couch watching PBS Kids. This was a very different experience for her than the one back in October, where she took molybdenum soon after feeling her stomach hurt and never threw up at all.

I'm still open to the possibility that molybdenum is helping due to placebo effect and luck (in science, one must always be open to having their hypothesis disproven), but her contrasting experiences are another data point in favor of molybdenum's being genuinely effective at resolving biological causes of nausea and vomiting.