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

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 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, 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

What the above means is that someone suffering from colitis (inflammation of the colon), a symptom of which can be diarrhea (see, 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!