CONTENTS

In order of relevance

Introduction

My Study
My Regimen
My Story
My Theory
My Advice
My Diagnosis
My Opinions

Mental Attitude
Self Healing

Frequently Asked Questions
Useful Links

Antioxidants
Antiox Articles

OPCs
Vitamins
Minerals & Aminos
Medications 

Diet
Liver Function
Healthy Foods 

Stress
Inspiration
Therapies
Treatments
Theories

Articles
Mycoplasma
Lyme Disease
Organophosphates

Talking to Doctors
Diagnosing ALS
Self Assessment

Acknowledgements

Steven Shackel

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VITAMINS

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Motor Neurone Disease (MND)
are referred to as ALS/MND



Anti-oxidants prevent cell damage by mopping up free radicals and thus preventing the oxidative chain reactions that can damage DNA.

Some oxidation is normal and vital for health (e.g. the immune system actually uses oxidative reactions to destroy micro-organisms) but if the level of oxidation outstrips the body's own defensive capabilities, the resulting excess of free radicals can cause cellular damage.


A QUICK GUIDE TO VITAMINS

More ALS/MND specific vitamins are included below this section.
Scroll down.

VITAMIN A
Found in red, yellow, green and orange fruit and vegetables, vitamin A is essential for normal vision, growth, infection protection and a healthy reproductive system. Substances known as carotenoids - including beta carotene and lycopene - are converted to vitamin A in the body and act as powerful disease-fighting antioxidants. Known for their ability to protect against heart disease, carotenoids also cut the risk of developing cataracts in the eyes and may also help in treating skin disorders such as acne.

Substances that help metabolisation: Vit C & E

Substances that hinder: Iron, Copper

VITAMIN B
A family of vitamins which is essential for healthy nerves, skin, eyes, hair, liver and brain function, the B group is also needed for energy. Sufficient dietary intake of the B vitamins is particularly the body's ability to absorb them well declines as we age. They are found together in cereals, lean meats and milk. Rich sources of 131 or thiamin - needed for healthy circulation and digestion - include egg yolks, fish, peas, poultry, wheat germ and whole grains. B2 (riboflavin) is specifically important for older people as needed for growth.

Substances that help metabolisation: B group vitamins help the absorption of each other.

VITAMIN C
Needed for hundreds of the body's metabolic processes, vitamin C is involved in tissue growth and repair, healthy gums and wound healing, and contributes to nervous system efficiency. It is essential for immunity as it is needed for antibody production and white blood cell activity. It is also involved in producing the antiviral and anti-cancer substance interferon.

Crucial for healthy bones, teeth and blood vessels, vitamin C also helps the body absorb iron. Low vitamin C may be a risk factor for many forms of cancer - diets high in vitamin C-rich fruit and vegetables have been linked to lowered risk of cancers which attack the oesophagus, stomach, colon and lung. Smoking, pollution, aspirin, alcohol and antibiotics raise vitamin C requirements.

Excellent sources include blackcurrants, raw red peppers, guavas and citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits. Other good sources include strawberries, kiwifruit, broccoli and brussels sprouts.

Substances that help metabolisation: Citrus and many other fresh fruits.

VITAMIN D
Technically not a "vitamin," vitamin D is in a class by itself. Its metabolic product, calcitriol, is actually a secosteroid hormone that is the key that unlocks binding sites on the human genome. The human genome contains more than 2,700 binding sites for calcitriol; those binding sites are near genes involved in many known major diseases of humans. Current research has implicated vitamin D deficiency as a major factor in the pathology of at least 17 varieties of cancer, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, birth defects, periodontal disease, and more.

Vitamin D is necessary for normal growth and development of bones and teeth in children, and is important in the prevention of osteoporosis as the body needs it to adequately absorb calcium. It is also involved in muscle strength and the regulation of the heartbeat. Vitamin D is also an important immunity booster.

Food sources include oily fish, eggs, butter, margarine and cheese. The most active form of vitamin D is formed when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Exposure for between 15 and 20 minutes three times a week is believed to produce enough vitamin D for a healthy person's normal requirements.

Substances that help metabolisation: Fats

Substances that hinder: Iron, Copper, Magnesium.

VITAMIN E
Its role as an anti-oxidant means it protects cells against free-radical damage - a known factor in the development of various cancers, cardiovascular and other diseases. Vitamin E also hinders free radical damage to the eyes, protecting against cataract formation.

Studies have shown that high doses of vitamin E may also have an anti-ageing effect on the skin and blood vessels, as well as on the immune and central nervous systems. Memory loss may be slowed by vitamin E. It is also used to treat premenstrual syndrome. Found in wheat germ cereal, sunflower seeds, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, brown rice, eggs, milk, organ meats, soya beans and sweet potatoes.

Substances that help metabolisation: Vit C & Selenium

Substances that hinder: Iron, Copper, Manganese.



VITAMINS AND NEURODEGENERATION

VITAMIN A is involved in the bodily repair and growth process. A balanced diet should supply sufficient vitamin A as it is stored in the body, particularly the liver. Excessive vitamin A supplementation can therefore be toxic.

Vitamin A is a term loosely used to describe members of a family of anti-oxidant substances called carotenoids and carrot coloured vegetables are, not surprisingly, good sources of this vitamin.

These carotenoids have antioxidant and other qualities and are converted by the body into vitamin A, which is not strictly speaking an antioxidant. "Vitamin A" supplements are usually sold in the form of Beta Carotene and do not include the other carotenoids. Another carotenoid is called lycopene.

A paper by Christen et. al. suggests "a much greater reactivity of the carotenoid lycopene toward peroxynitrite (research suggest that nitric oxide, and especially peroxynitrite, could be involved in oxidation leading to motor neurone death) than beta carotene."

Vitamin A deficiency, by its action of increasing epithelial irritability and infectibility, can be an important factor in the cause of ulcers. Instances of vitamin A deficiency are often found in conjunction with infections of the intestinal tract, eyes, tonsils, sinuses, lungs, buccal and lingual mucosa and the skin.

A carotenoid supplement called astaZanthin provides several bioavailable carotenoids. It is manufactured by La Haye Laboratories see also Astaxanthin. "CAROTeam" by Vitamin Research Products contains alpha, beta and gamma carotenes, xanthophylls and lycopene.

VITAMIN B group - Use of B vitamins is a complex issue and not entirely clear despite many years of research. Frequently PALS are found to be low in B1 and B6 but  supplemental B1 and B6 only provide temporary improvement. Good but temporary results were observed using injectable B12 and B6 several decades ago but recent evidence suggests that B3/niacin may play an important role in the treatment of ALS/MND. ("Motor Neurone Disease and the life of Motor Neurones..."  Reading C M: Journal of The Australian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine: December 1997).

Simple supplementation with B3 is ineffective in reestablishing levels of B3 in the body and central nervous system.  Zinc, vitamin C, magnesium, maganese, B1, B2 and  B6 must exist in adequate quantities for B3 to be metabolised and made bioavailable.  This example is true of many supplements. Taking huge doses of any medication/supplement is often pointless or even harmful if the medications/supplements are not supported with the other substances required to metabolise them. It is widely agreed that combined supplementation is essential.

"Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by abnormalities in oxidative processes, region-selective neuron loss, and diminished thiamine-dependent enzymes. Thiamine (a B-vitamin) deficiency (TD) diminishes thiamine dependent enzymes, alters mitochondrial function, impairs oxidative metabolism, and causes selective neuronal death..."

Reversal of thiamine deficiency-induced neurodegeneration.
Source: J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 2003 Feb;62(2):195-207 Author(s): Ke ZJ, DeGiorgio LA, Volpe BT, Gibson GE. Institute: Department of Neurology and Neuroscience, Weill Medical College of Cornell University at Burke Medical Research Institute, White Plains, New York, USA. Published: 02/01/0

VITAMIN C plays an essential role in collagen production, healing wounds, reducing the likilihood of cancer and reduction of stress. In the form of ascorbic acid, it must be obtained from food or vitamin supplements. It may be important in the treatment of ALS because ascorbate and glutathione can "spare" one another and ascorbate slows down glutathione loss and vice versa. The reasons for this relationship is unclear. While cellular concentrations of ascorbate react poorly with peroxynitrite molecules, this antioxidant might slow down loss of glutathione, which can effectively neutralise some destructive cell oxidants.

The superoxide dismutase enzyme can be defective in some cases of ALS/MND and ascorbate may be able to remove superoxide radicals. While neurones (nervous cells) have lots of Cu/Zn-superoxide enzyme, they may be unique among cells (except perhaps white blood and adrenal gland cells) in having extremely high ascorbate levels. Some evidence suggests that ascorbate levels may be close to 10,000 times than for SOD, a level that would allow them to compete with that enzyme for superoxide radical removal in the neuronal cell's cytoplasm (fluid). A Japanese research showed that SOD could only account for a portion of superoxide removal in brain preparations, offering indirect evidence for this relationship.

Body tissue and the brain are both resistant to taking up ascorbate and most of a large vitamin C dose will be quickly eliminated from the body. To keep ascorbate available to the brain (and spinal cord) spread vitamin C supplement intake throughout the day or use a "slow release' form of vitamin C. As vitamin C uses the same transporter that removes glucose (blood sugar) from the blood, take it only between meals (or at night) and especially never in association with sugary foods or drinks.

VITAMIN D Nearly 190,000 women took part in a Harvard University research project that claims women taking a vitamin D supplement were 40% less likely to suffer from Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Whether Vitamin D will have a similar effect in reducing the incidence of ALS/MND or treating the illness is not proven.

It has been suggested that supplementation with a vitamin D complex may help in treating ALS/MND. It appears that Vitamin D is a nerve protector through various functions of the vitamin. It is claimed that the neuroprotective dose should be around 4,000 iu per day and that if a person with ALS/MND has a low Vitamin D level it might prevent other medication from working properly.

*Please note that vitamin D, like Vitamin A can be toxic if taken in excessive doses but this does not mean that these vitamin supplements should be totally avoided. Toxic dose levels are unclear in the case of ALS/MND.

It has been suggested by the Vitamin D Council that the correct blood level of Vitamin D (25-Cholecalciferol) is between 50-80 ng/mL (or 125-200 nM/L) year-round for PALS.

*Please note that vitamin D, like Vitamin A can be toxic if taken in excessive doses but this does not mean that these vitamin supplements should be totally avoided. Toxic dose levels are unclear in the case of ALS/MND.

Vitamin D is not classified as an antioxidant. R.Ackley points out "vitamin D is one of the 2 vitamins our body produces under certain conditions (vitamin D is produced when our skin is in the sunlight - approximately 15 minutes exposure of arms to sunlight supplies daily vitamin D requirements).

Drug research to help ALS sufferers has often been based on the theory of a toxic buildup of glutamic acid in the brain. Glutamic acid needs vitamin B6 in order for it to be metabolized. B6 needs phosphorus to be absorbed by the body. Phosphorus needs Vitamin D or it can't be absorbed. All starts with vitamin D.

The suggested daily dose, in the form of emulsified cod-liver oil, is 400iu or more*. It has been suggested that that 4000iu would be more beneficialfor PALS. Dietry supplementation will not be sufficient to supply high levels of vitamin D. High dose Vitamin D complex capsules (supervised closely by a health practitioner) will be necessary.

Studies are reporting low vitamin D levels and recommending vitamin D supplements, as a result of measuring only the inactive precursor form of vitamin D (25D). This practice of measuring the wrong type of vitamin D can lead to problems in people with certain inflammatory conditions. The 1,25 vitamin D hormone may be elevated in patients with low 25D because infected macrophages are causing an excessive, unregulated conversion of 25D to 1,25D. The high 1,25D can directly cause many symptoms, as well as help bacteria to increase and lead to bone loss.

Cod-liver oil, as a source of vitamin D, is inexpensive and can be purchased in peppermint and other flavours and also tasteless capsules. Since the proliferation of advertising about the benefits of fish oils, plain cod liver oil is not so easy to find but fish oil capsules are now an abundant source of "vitamin D" as well as omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.

Keep an eye on the latest, ongoing vitamin D research pertinent to treating ALS/MND.

VITAMIN E is a "helper vitamin" and assists in preventing oxidation of C and B group vitamins and helps in the formation of new cells. It helps to heal wounds and is believed to help dissolve blood clots. Vitamin E occurs in food in several forms - alpha, beta, delta, and gamma-tocopherols and alpha, beta, delta and gamma tocotrienols. Most E supplements contain only the alpha tocopherol form because it is believed to have the greatest biological activity. Research at the University of California, Berkeley reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that gamma-tocopherol is able to quench certain free radicals that alpha-tocopherol does not. Of the E vitamins it has been stated that only gamma-tocopherol gets rid of peroxynitrite, a highly destructive nitric oxide radical. ALS researchers suggest that nitric oxide, and especially peroxynitrite, could be involved in the oxidative-stress chain of events leading to motor neuron death. See the web page for more information about peroxynitrite.

It is not suggested that gamma-tocopherol is a cure for ALS, but ALS patients who want to take vitamin E should take supplements that contain the mixed forms of the vitamin rather than simple alpha-tocopherol. It has been suggested that high levels of alpha-tocopherol in the blood can *reduce* the level of the gamma form. Different tocopherol forms appear to have complementary but not identical functions.

Both alpha and gamma-tocopherol occur in natural Vitamin E, but the vitamin supplements generally sold as vitamin E contain only alpha-tocopherol, which may then displace gamma-tocopherol in the body. Gamma-tocopherol may be a more effective anti-oxidant than alpha-tocopherol. (Christen S., et al., Gamma-tocopherol traps mutagenic electrophiles such as NOx and complements alpha-tocopherol: Physiological implications. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, vol 94, pp. 3217-3222, Apr 1997.)

A major survey of 47 health studies concludes that Vitamin E plays not only an important role in preventing or alleviating neurological disorders, but that natural Vitamin E, as opposed to synthetic products, supplies far more concentration to the brain and other body tissues. Natural Vitamin E puts five times the concentration in the brain than does the synthetic version, the survey said.

"The importance of Vitamin E in maintaining neurological structure and function has been well documented in clinical research," said the Veris Research and Information Service. Veris, based in LaGrange, Ill., is a not-for-profit group providing information to health professionals, researchers and educators on the role of nutrition in health, emphasizing antioxidants.

The company's summary of scientific studies from 1980 to 1997 concluded: "Long-term Vitamin E deficiency is associated with a progressive neurological syndrome that can be alleviated by Vitamin E therapy."

Comparing natural Vitamin E to synthetic, the survey said: "It appears that the nervous system has a marked preference for natural-source Vitamin E, which may be significant in treatment of neurological disordersTM Studies have demonstrated a preference for natural-source Vitamin E by various body tissues, including the brain and spinal cord, compared to synthetic Vitamin E" the survey said. "There was preferential uptake of natural-source Vitamin E by the lung, red blood cells, blood plasma and brainTM.

The brain showed the highest discrimination for natural-source Vitamin E. The concentration of natural source Vitamin E in the brain increased gradually to a five-fold higher concentration than the synthetic isomer after five months, suggesting that natural-source Vitamin E will be significantly more available to the brain than the equivalent intake of synthetic Vitamin E."

The study continued: "Oxidative damage has been implicated in a number of neurological disorders and diseases, and the majority of available research has demonstrated a protective role for Vitamin E ... Research shows that antioxidant therapy has "significantly beneficial effects in reducing associated disability," the survey said.

It has been suggested that vitamin E is best taken in the morning or during the day (never at night) and that it be taken at a different time to other supplements for best results. Avoid taking it with magnesium supplements.

Some brands of Vitamin E that include alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocopherols can be obtained via many online vitamin suppliers. See Useful Links. See also Tocotrienols.

Please note: Extract from the book written by Lavon J Dunne, "Nutritional Almanac":

"Vitamin E has a tendency to raise blood pressure when it is given in high doses to someone who is not accustomed to it. Therefore initial intake should be small and as tolerance rises, the dosage should be gradually increased".

Vitamin E and neurodegenerative disorders
associated with oxidative stress

Several neurodegenerative disorders are associated with oxidative stress that is manifested by lipid peroxidation, protein oxidation and other markers. Included in these disorders in which oxidative stress is thought to play an important role in their pathogenesis are Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), tardive dyskinesia, Huntington's disease (HD), and multiple sclerosis. This review presents some of the chemistry of vitamin E as an antioxidant and summarizes studies in which vitamin E has been employed in these disorders and models thereof.

High Polyunsaturated Fat And Vitamin E Intake May Halve Motor Neurone Disease Risk A high dietary intake of polyunsaturated fat and vitamin E seems to halve the risk of developing motor neurone disease, suggests research (Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry). Polyunsaturated fats include omega 3 found in certain vegetable oils and omega 6, found in fish and green leafy vegetables.


Environmental factors and diet have been previously implicated in its development. 132 patients with potential or definite ALS/MND completed a questionnaire, detailing their regular diet before they became ill. The results were compared with those of 220 healthy people and adjusted to take account of age, sex, energy intake, weight and smoking. Total energy intake and consumption of dietary supplements were the same in both groups, but intake of total fats differed.


The patients with ALS consumed significantly less PUFA and vitamin E than their healthy peers. The highest daily intake of PUFA of more than 32g was associated with a 60% lower risk of developing ALS compared with the lowest daily intake of less than 25g. Similarly, a daily vitamin E intake of between 18 and 22 mg was associated with a 60% lower risk of developing ALS compared with the lowest daily intake of less than 18 mg.


PUFA and vitamin E seemed to work synergistically and the results held true even after taking account of other influential factors. No strong associations were found for any of the other nutrients. N.B. Use only Natural combined tocopherols/tocotrienols vitamin E supplements. Vitamin E supplements help prevent ALS/MND.


This important finding is the result of a 10-year-plus Harvard study of over a million persons from analysis of data from 5 prospective cohort studies, showed that vitamin E intake reduced the risk of ALS/MND: Am. J. Epidemiol,2011.173 (6): 595-602. March 15). Wang H, O'Reilly EJ, Weisskopf MG, et al.


The best E is "mixed natural tocopherols and tocotrienols" Not the synthetic form, DL-alpha tocopherol. In choosing a vitamin E supplement, you should carefully read the entire label. Vitamin E is more effective (at treating ALS/MND)... than a prescription drug in treating chronic liver disease (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis).


Said the authors: "The good news is that this study showed that cheap and readily available vitamin E can help many of those with this condition." Sanyal AJ, Chalasani N, Kowdley KV et al. Pioglitazone, Vitamin rich food sources and extensive vitamin information Vitamin supplements dramatically improved the conduct of violent prisoners at a maximum security jail in England. The findings were part of a study linking the effects of good nutrition to a person's behaviour.



Alphabetical Contents List
| Introduction | Acknowledgements | Antioxidants |
|
Antioxidant Articles | Articles | Diagnosing ALS | Diet | F A Q |
| Healthy Foods | Inspiration | Liver Function | Lyme Disease |
|
Medications | Mental Attitude | Minerals & Aminos | My Advice |
|
Mycoplasma | My Diagnosis | My Opinion | My Regimen | My Story |
| My Study | My Theory | OPCs | Organophosphates | Self Assessment |
|
Self Healing | Stress | Talking to Doctors | Theories | Therapies |
|
Treatments | Steven Shackel | Useful Links | Vitamins |
|
Home Page |