Diary of Unknown Symptoms

Mystery of the Internal Vibration

Entry for August 06, 2007

“We know best…”

Cancer fears over hikes in folic acid
Vitamin B reduces birth defects but may increase rate of colon cancer

Aug 07, 2007 04:30 AM
Denise Gellene
Los Angeles Times

Adding folic acid to flours, pastas and rice has reduced the rate of spina bifida and anencephaly, sparing 1,000 U.S. babies each year from these devastating birth defects.

But a new study suggests those health gains may have come at a cost: an extra 15,000 cases of colon cancer annually.

The report, from Tufts University, is the latest caution about a public-health policy that has been largely viewed as a success.

“Have we done more harm than benefit?” says Dr. John Potter, a colon cancer expert at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, who was not connected to the latest research.

Writing last month in the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, scientists reported that colon cancer cases in the U.S. spiked after manufacturers began fortifying cereal grains with folic acid in the late 1990s.

They saw a similar trend in Canada, which began fortification with the B vitamin around the same time.

The pattern was surprising, researchers said, because colon cancer rates had been steadily dropping since the mid-1980s. Greater consumption of folic acid looked like the explanation.

Joel Mason, lead author and professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts, said the report does not prove that extra dietary folic acid causes colon cancer but does suggest fortification may have unforeseen trade-offs.

One-third to one-half of adults older than 50 have precancerous cells in their intestines, Mason said, so too much folic acid could put them at even greater risk. About 130,000 Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer each year; 56,000 of die from it.

Nutritionists have long known that younger women need 400 micrograms of folic acid daily to reduce their chances of giving birth to infants with neural tube defects, caused by the failure of the fetal spinal column to fully close.

Spina bifida can cause paralysis, and infants with anencephaly – in which much of the brain does not develop – are stillborn or die soon after birth.

Since 1998, U.S. food manufacturers have been required to add 140 micrograms of folic acid to each 100 grams of cereal grains that are labeled “enriched.” Breads, cereals and other grain-based foods shipped across state lines are all fortified with folic acid, a B vitamin naturally found in green leafy vegetables, fruits, dried beans and nuts.

In only a few years, the rate of neural tube defects in the U.S. fell, from 10.6 per 10,000 births in 1996, before fortification, to 7.6 per 10,000 births in 2000.

Canada also saw a sharp decline: to 8.6 per 10,000 births in 2002 from 15.8 per 10,000 births in 1993, according to a report last month. Those results deepened the desires of some scientists and health advocates for even greater improvements.

The nonprofit March of Dimes will ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to further boost folic acid levels in cereal grains.

The March of Dimes said U.S. government surveys show that many women 18 to 45 do not receive adequate amounts of folic acid in their diets. In fact, the majority of those women consume about 130 micrograms of folic acid daily, well below the recommended dose, according to R.J. Berry, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But some researchers have cautioned against increased fortification because of possible downsides. Folic acid can mask symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency, common in the elderly. Unaddressed, a B-12 lack can lead to neurological problems.

Some researchers now caution against adding more folic acid to the diet until the possible cancer link is better understood.

“This is not the right time to be moving ahead and increasing the level of folic acid in the food supply,” Mason said.

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August 7, 2007 Posted by | Health | , , | Leave a comment

Entry for July 18, 2007

Something to keep in mind if I use high copper level as a starting point. What other vitamins and minerals can be effected? Copper, in excess, tends to lower potassium levels? I’ve tried potassium before and didn’t notice any difference. But I do know that it can cause nervousness and has a link with the adrenals.

Effects Of Copper On Other Minerals

Copper, in excess, tends to lower manganese, zinc and potassium levels. Copper toxicity can also result in deficiency of vitamin C and B6, inositol, folic acid and rutin.
Copper tends to increase tissue levels of calcium and sodium.
Copper can displace iron from the liver.

Effects Of Other Minerals And Vitamins On Copper

Mercury, cadmium and zinc – compete for absorption.
Molybdenum and sulfur – bind copper in the intestine.
Iron and manganese – remove copper from the liver.
Zinc – lowers copper levels in the blood.
Vitamin C – chelates copper in the blood.
Vitamin B6, folic acid and niacin are also copper antagonists.
Cobalt is synergetic with copper.

July 18, 2007 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Entry for March 03, 2007

Copper And Other Mineral Imbalances As A Cause Of Allergies

Minerals play many important roles in regulating body chemistry. Not only are minerals required for glandular activity, but they serve to regulate the nervous system and every other system of the body. Toxic amounts of any nutrient will displace other vital nutrients and by doing so, result in various metabolic dysfunctions, including a wide variety of allergies.

Research reveals that copper toxicity is a major contributing cause of allergies, particularly those allergies associated with low cortisol levels. Low cortisol levels result in a chronic inflammatory process. Allergies occur because copper, in excess, deplete vitamin C, folic acid, zinc and other nutrient reserves that are required by the pituitary and adrenal glands. An excess of tissue copper also impairs liver function, resulting in a wide variety of food allergies.

Copper toxicity also results in an over-stimulation of the nervous system which leads to alterations of the pituitary-adrenal axis. Copper toxicity is often involved as a principal cause of brain, or cerebral allergies.

A copper deficiency frequently results in a lowering of tissue calcium levels, which serves to contribute to the excess histamine-type of allergies.

Many individuals suffer from a copper imbalance which is not detectable on a standard blood serum test. Copper toxicity can be identified from a hair mineral analysis, where it is indicated by either a high copper level, a high calcium level, a very low copper level, or a low sodium to potassium ratio which indicates adrenal burnout.

Many times, a food allergy problem can be traced to the relatively high copper content of certain foods. Common foods that are high in copper are wheat, corn, soybeans, chocolate and shellfish. Perhaps it is more than coincidence that these particular foods are common causes of food allergies.

Allergies And Behavior

Another class of allergies is commonly referred to as central nervous system allergies. These are reactions that detrimentally affect one’s emotions and behavior. The causes of these allergies are, in many instances, the same as those discussed above. The principal difference is that they specifically affect brain function, so that reactions are particularly noticed in one’s behavior and attitude.

Biochemical mechanisms primarily responsible for brain allergies include;

• Excessive histamine release in the brain due to an elevated copper level, or zinc deficiency.

• Alterations of vitamin, or other mineral levels in the brain due to foods, or exposure to toxic metals.

• Changes in blood sugar levels due to diet, stress, or adrenal insufficiency. The brain is extremely sensitive to both low and high blood sugar levels.

• Specific neuro-chemical effects of food additives such as Nutra-Sweet which contains phenylalanine, a neuro-active amino acid.

In the majority of cases of central nervous system allergies, we find that a copper imbalance plays a vital role. Research confirms that a copper toxicity problem causes a zinc deficiency, which in turn may result in a rise in tissue sodium levels. A high sodium level, in turn, is responsible for many of the symptoms associated with brain allergies.

Common symptoms of brain allergies in children are hyperactivity, learning disorders and concentration deficit problems. In adults, a high sodium level frequently manifests itself as manic-depressive disorders, hyperactivity, anxiety and various phobias.

Central nervous system allergies are handled the same way as other allergies. Imbalances in body chemistry need to be identified and corrected. The hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis needs to be restored to normalcy. Offending foods have to be avoided for a time. Digestion also needs to be improved.

Allergies As A Symptom Of Burnout

A common hair analysis pattern noted in allergy patients is a low sodium/potassium ratio (less than 2.5:1). We call this a burnout pattern, because it is associated with adrenal exhaustion.

Allergies are a common sign of adrenal burnout. The exhausted adrenal glands simply cannot provide sufficient cortical hormones required to prevent allergic reactions.

Another common hair analysis pattern in allergy sufferers is what we refer to as an all-four-low mineral pattern. The first four minerals on the chart (calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium) are below normal accepted values. This too, is a burnout pattern, one in which the person is under unrelenting stress, thus preventing recovery of the adrenal glands. Allergies usually accompany this particular mineral pattern.

A final hair analysis mineral pattern that is often seen when allergies are present is that both sodium and potassium levels are rock bottom, below 6 mg% for sodium and below 4 mg% for potassium. Again, this is a mineral pattern commonly associated with severe adrenal exhaustion.

Very often, in order to correct an allergy problem it is necessary to correct the underlying burnout condition. Otherwise we are just relieving symptoms and the associated allergies will never be permanently eliminated.

General Nutritional Recommendations For Allergies

Avoiding refined sugars and carbohydrates reduces allergies in a category of individuals who are classified as sugar and simple carbohydrate intolerant. Eating sugar, or simple carbohydrates in any form, places undue stress upon the adrenal glands, which are forced to respond to the sudden excess of sugar in the blood. The result is increased wear and tear on these glands, as well as on the liver and pancreas. The ingestion of sugar, especially in susceptible individuals, also upsets calcium, copper and other mineral levels, eventually causing a further alteration of body chemistry.

Refined carbohydrates lack fiber, which serves to slow the absorption of sugars into the blood stream. They also lack the essential trace elements desperately required for optimal adrenal gland support.

Eating foods appropriate for one’s oxidation type is particularly important. For the slow oxidizer, this means avoiding high-fat diets and eating adequate amounts of protein. Increasing one’s meat protein intake is often difficult for certain slow oxidizers, particularly those with a copper toxicity problem. Avoiding, or limiting dairy products is often helpful for the slow oxidizer. Dairy products are high in fat content which serves to further slow down an already slow rate of metabolism. Many slow oxidizers are also unable to tolerate milk sugar.

For the fast oxidizer, dietary fats are essential and in some cases increasing one’s intake of fats will rapidly reduce allergy symptoms related to stress-related, excessive adrenal gland activity.

Avoidance of chemical additives is suggested for everyone, but particularly allergy sufferers. Even though there may not be an allergy to any specific chemical, the body still has to detoxify these chemicals, adding to the burden on the liver and the endocrine glands.

The same principle holds true for environmental chemicals, hair sprays, room deodorants, chemical cleaners and other toxic substances that we are exposed to on a daily basis. Minimizing exposure to the above allergens reduce the burden on the liver and glandular system.

Conclusion

Our research indicates that the reason allergies are so common today is largely due to an adrenal burnout-induced imbalanced body chemistry. The body has become hypersensitive to foods and environmental chemicals, which cause many types of allergic reactions.

Body chemistry has become impaired due to inadequate diets, stress and environmental pollution. Today, children are born with toxic metal poisoning and nutrient deficiencies, which indicates that even if an individual eats well, they may still be afflicted with allergies.

March 3, 2007 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Entry for February 20, 2007

Switched back to eating cucumbers and celery today. I had a few sunflower seeds in the morning but I’ve since decided to get rid of those too just in case. I’m mad at myself for straying from the strict diet but by the end of the day, my thrush is actually quite better. More improvement than I expected and I can feel the improvement in my nose.

Found this article talking about the different vitamins and mineral deficiencies that can effect candida.

CANDIDA

Selenium deficiency and anemia appear to be the biggest factors in promoting candida growth. Years ago when I had hypoT I also had a severe candida infection. I found a book titled “Candida: Silver (Mercury) Fillings and the Immune System” which eventually led me to getting my mercury fillings removed. Following this and supplementation with zinc and selenium, my candida and hypoT both ended.

Experiments with animals show that candida growth can be increased by selenium deprivation and reduced by selenium supplementation. Since mercury depletes selenium, it makes sense that candida is higher when there are mercury fillings in the teeth.

Other studies show that anemia and iron deficiency increase candida growth. There are some studies suggesting that B12 and folic acid deficiencies may be involved in candida, since deficiencies of these lead to anemia. In anemia and iron deficiency friendly bacteria cannot grow well in the body. A lack of these bacteria probably is a key factor which promotes candida growth, since candida is a fungal growth rather than a bacteria growth.

Another study showed that women with recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis are deficient in zinc compared to normals and that only a mild zinc deficiency is necessary for this recurring problem.

Basically it seems that the deficiencies associated with candidiasis correlate very well with the deficiencies associated with hypothyroidism. The key nutrient deficiencies are probably selenium, zinc, iron, B12, and folic acid.

Probably the best indicator of the level of candida growth in the body is the coating on the tongue. The more white coating there is, the more candida there probably is throughout the body. We want to get to the point where our tongues are clear, pink, and not sore.

The following study shows that candida albicans has a higher resistance to elevated concentrations of copper than baker’s yeast. This may mean that in hypothyroidism, when zinc is low and copper is high, candida growth will not be suppressed by copper, which is normally toxic to fungal infections.

February 20, 2007 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Entry for November 02, 2006

Study links colon cancer to low-folate diet
Nov. 1, 2006. 08:06 PM
SHERYL UBELACKER
CANADIAN PRESS

A diet low in folic acid appears to increase the risk of colorectal cancer in laboratory mice — and a similar deficiency could play a role in the human form of the disease, a study by Canadian researchers suggests.

In a one-year study of 137 mice, scientists at McGill University found that animals fed a diet deficient in folic acid — a B vitamin also known as folate — were more likely to develop colorectal cancer than rodents given a fully balanced diet that contained adequate folate.

“We found tumours in the mice that were on the low-folate diet and no tumours in mice that were on the regular diet,” said geneticist Rima Rozen, scientific director of the Montreal Children’s Hospital and the study’s lead investigator.

Overall, one in four mice given low-folate diets developed intestinal tumours, with some of the animals developing more than one each, said researchers, whose study was published Wednesday in the journal Cancer Research.

Rozen said several large human-population studies have suggested that low intake of folic acid, which is found in leafy green vegetables and citrus fruits, might be associated with an increased risk of colon cancer. But such studies cannot pinpoint with any accuracy what factor or factors definitely lead to a person developing a certain cancer.

Using mice allowed the researchers to carefully control possible contributing factors — including environment and diet, she said, bringing them closer to a direct cause and effect.

“What folate does, or the mechanism we propose in this study, is that lack of folate damages your DNA,” Rozen said Wednesday from Montreal.

Indeed, folic acid is vital to health: it is needed to help cells retain the integrity of DNA during division. Furthermore, the vitamin has been shown to help prevent certain types of heart disease, and it has been proven that pregnant women who do not get enough risk producing offspring with neural tube defects like spina bifida.

But Rozen stressed that she’s not suggesting people start loading up on folic acid. However, they should make sure to get the recommended daily allowance of 400 micrograms by eating foods such as broccoli, spinach and orange juice, or by taking a multivitamin.

“I want to make sure people understand the value of recommended daily allowances,” she said. “I don’t want people to go out and take pharmacologic doses of anything . . . In moderation, folate is important.”

As part of the study, the researchers also tested mice with a genetic mutation that impairs the body’s ability to metabolize folic acid. Rodents with the mutation that were also fed a low-folate diet had more than double the incidence of intestinal tumours.

“It’s sort of a double whammy in the sense that it’s not only the low dietary folate, but it’s the combination,” Rozen said, noting that 10 per cent of humans are believed to carry a similar genetic mutation.

Dr. Andy Smith, a colorectal cancer surgeon at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, said the study is important because it appears to confirm the long-held suspicion that inadequate folic acid plays a role in tumour formation.

“It really helps tease out the actual mechanisms,” said Smith. And while one shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that the mechanism found in mice is exactly the same in humans, “I think in this case it really resonates because of the observations made so clearly in humans that low folate is associated with the development of tumours.”

Still, Smith said he operates on many people with colorectal cancer who have “beautiful diets.”

“Even if you have a healthy diet, you still ought to be talking to your physician about whether you should be having a test to screen for colorectal cancer,” he said, recommending that Canadians aged 50 or older should have a fecal occult blood test or a colonoscopy.

“Because while your risk may be reduced, it’s not eliminated. And people who live very healthy lives are still vulnerable to colorectal cancer.”

By year’s end, an estimated 20,000 Canadians will have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. About 8,500 will die of the disease in 2006, making it the second most deadly cancer after lung cancer.

Dr. Sharlene Gill, a medical oncologist at the B.C. Cancer Agency, lauded the study for advancing medicine’s understanding of folic acid’s role in tumour prevention. But she noted that unlike the mice in the study, humans are exposed daily to many other factors that could contribute to colorectal cancer.

“So it’s much more than just folate, but it’s one part of the puzzle,” Gill said from Vancouver. “This does support the idea that a balanced, healthy diet that does include an appropriate intake of fruits and vegetables may contribute to a lower incidence of cancer.”

November 2, 2006 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

Entry for October 20, 2006 *D*

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All last night I was planning on what I would say to the doctor and I have a plan.

First thing he ask me about was if I had any tingling. Nope, not since the first riboflavin injection. Secondly he asked me about taking St. John’s Wort. Nope, did nothing for me.

I started telling him about how I did some experiments and I’d like to go in a new direction. He seemed very interested so I told him how I found a magnesium supplement that seems to be working better than any of the others and he was happy to hear about that. Then I told him about how I stopped taking the B vitamins and I’d get a weird feeling in my head. So I continued only with B6 and the weird feeling never came back. His face was more interested and he said if I suspected a B6 deficiency, then we can test for it. GREAT NEWS!

Then he told me how he would like to follow the recommendation from the neurologist. Huh? This caught me off guard because he never mentioned anything about him until now. He said he’d like to give me something called “Paxil CR” in a very small dosage to start. He mentions that it is used for depression and general anxiety disorders and continues about the side effects and that if I didn’t like it, I could stop taking it. He said it may not have any effect and on a scale of 0-10 it may only have an effect of a 2. Hardly seems worth taking but I agreed to continue with his approach if he took mine.

He wrote out a blood test for pyridoxine and added B12 and folic acid. Since it was a blood test, I asked him to check my level of triglycerides and he agreed but he said it would now need to be a fasting blood test.

I go down to the pharmacy and they fill out my prescription. As the pharmacist hands it to me she says how it may cause drowsiness and dizziness and says it could be three weeks until I feel any benefits.

Not so sure I like the sounds of the side effects so I call my wife and explain what happened. She looks it up on the internet and reads me a few more of the side effects including suicidal and mentions that there is a listing for it on crazymeds.com! She is adamant that she doesn’t want me taking this medication and I agree. We’re both confused as to why the doctor felt it was neccesary to take paxil when I clearly don’t have the symptoms to justify taking it.

The only symptoms I still have are an internal vibration and weak muscles. All of my other symptoms have disappeared though my own methods of vitamins and mineral supplements.

October 21, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Entry for June 16, 2006

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He wants to test for B1, B12, RBC folate and CRP. I had never heard of CRP so I look it up when I get home.

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a plasma protein, an acute phase protein produced by the liver.

Function
 
CRP drawn from PDB 1GNH. CRP is a member of the class of acute phase reactants as its levels rise dramatically during inflammatory processes occurring in the body. It is thought to assist in complement binding to foreign and damaged cells and affect the humoral response to disease. It is also believed to play an important role in innate immunity, as an early defense system against infections.

Diagnostic use

CRP is used mainly as a marker of inflammation. Measuring and charting C-reactive protein values can prove useful in determining disease progress or the effectiveness of treatments. Blood, usually collected in a serum-separating tube, is analysed in a medical laboratory or at the point of testing.

Various analytical methods are available for CRP determination, such as ELISA, immunoturbidimetry, rapid immunodiffusion and visual agglutination.

Viral infections tend to give a lower CRP level than bacterial infection.

How to lower: Exercise, lose weight, stop smoking, flaxseed, aspirin, niacin, statins, alcohol, clean teeth

If niacin will lower the C-reactive protein, then I don’t think I have to worry about that. B1 is the vitamin I want tested so it’s interesting that he also wants to test my level of B12. Doctor Google?

B-12 and the stomach
Stomach problems can contribute to a B-12 deficiency in two ways.

First, irritation and inflammation of the stomach can prevent the stomach cells from functioning properly. When functioning improperly, the cells may stop producing a substance required for B-12 absorption called intrinsic factor (IF). Without IF, B-12 cannot be absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract into the body’s cells.

A second way for stomach problems to create B-12 deficiency is through inadequate secretion of stomach acids. Lack of stomach acids (a condition called called hypochlorhydria) gets in the way of B-12 absorption since most B-12 in food is attached to proteins in the food, and stomach acids are necessary to release the B-12 from these proteins.

The above stomach problems that can contribute to B-12 deficiency have a wide variety of causes. These causes include abuse of over-the-counter antacids, abuse of prescription medicines used to control stomach acidity, and stomach ulcers (also called gastric ulcers), which may themselves be due to infection with the bacteria, helicobacter pylori.

WOW! This guy is right on the money. Looks like I’ve found a great doctor. Ironically, in the same walk in clinic I went to in the first place.

June 16, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Entry for June 16, 2006

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To the walk in clinic and I explain to the receptionist that I would like to speak to a doctor about nutritional deficiencies. It’s a friday night so it’s not too busy and I’m called in within 5 minutes.

The doctor comes in, reads my file and says “I hear you would like to speak to a doctor…well, I am one.”  I thought that was funny and I like him almost immediately. I give him the coles notes version of my history of symptoms starting with the mysterious internal vibration. I tell him about the various tests and procedures done by my regular doctor that all came up with nothing. I explain about how my research indicates that it could be a nutritional B vitamin deficiency and it’s my hunch that I have Beriberi. I’ve read that there is a blood test and I would like it done.

He says he hasn’t heard the term Beriberi since medical school and admitted that he wouldn’t even know how to treat it. I’d say he’s an older man in his mid-fifties.  I told him that from what I’ve read, it’s very easy to treat with high doses of B1 vitamins and in some cases, vitamin injections. He’s heard of B12 injections but not B1. He mentions about folic acid and I told him about my research regarding the chemical reaction of B1 with folic acid so I would really like to have that tested as well.

He questions why I think I have a nutritional B vitamin deficiency and hesitantly, I mention about how I think electromagnetic radiation had an effect on my stomach and disturbed the normal absorption of vitamins and minerals from my food. I continue my story with the purchase of the wireless intercom system and how when I discovered the symptoms to be EMF, I bought a meter to test around the house. I was probably low with B vitamins to begin with and the EMF exposure created a nutritional deficiency. Then he asks about how I learned about electromagnetic radiation. So I explain the story about the global tv show and Dr. Riina Bray.

At the end of my story I told him how I thought it sounded like something from a science fiction novel and he agreed saying this was the first time he had ever heard a story like mine.

So he writes out the lab requistion form for a blood test.

June 16, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Entry for June 16, 2006

What is folate?

Folic acid, also called folate or folacin, is a B-complex vitamin most publicized for its importance in pregnancy and prevention of pregnancy defects.

Folic acid is one of the most chemically complicated vitamins, with a three-part structure that puts special demands on the body’s metabolism. The three primary components of folic acid are called PABA, glutamic acid, and pteridine. (Two of these components, glutamic acid and pteridine, help explain the technical chemical name for folate, namely pteroylmonoglutamate.)

As complex as this vitamin is in its structure, it is equally as complicated in its interaction with the human body. For example, most foods do not contain folic acid in the exact form described above, and enzymes inside the intestine have to chemically alter food forms of folate in order for this vitamin to be absorbed. Even when the body is operating at full efficiency, only about 50% of ingested food folate can be absorbed.

What is the function of folate?

Red blood cell formation and circulation support

One of folate’s key functions as a vitamin is to allow for complete development of red blood cells. These cells help carry oxygen around the body. When folic acid is deficient, the red bloods cannot form properly, and continue to grow without dividing. This condition is called macrocytic anemia, and one of its most common causes is folic acid deficiency.

In addition to its support of red blood cell formation, folate also helps maintain healthy circulation of the blood throughout the body by preventing build-up of a substance called homocysteine. A high serum homocysteine level (called hyperhomocysteinemia) is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and low intake of folate is a key risk factor for hyperhomocysteinemia. Increased intake of folic acid, particularly by men, has repeatedly been suggested as a simply way to lower risk of cardiovascular disease by preventing build-up of homocysteine in the blood. Preliminary research also suggests that high homocysteine levels can lead to the deterioration of dopamine-producing brain cells and may therefore contribute to the development of Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, folate deficiency may have an important relationship to neurological health.

Research is now confirming a link between blood levels of folate and not only cardiovascular disease, but dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease.

One of the most recent studies, which was published in the July 2004 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition evaluated 228 subjects. In those whose blood levels of folate were lowest, the risk for mild cognitive impairment was more than tripled, and risk of dementia increased almost four fold. Homocysteine, a potentially harmful product of cellular metabolism that is converted into other useful compounds by folate, along with vitamin B6 and B 12, was also linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Individuals whose homocysteine levels were elevated had a 4.3 (more than four fold) increased risk of dementia and a 3.7 (almost four fold) increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.(June 30, 2004)

Research teams in the Netherlands and the U.S. have confirmed that low levels of folic acid in the diet significantly increases risk of osteporosis-related bone fractures due to the resulting increase in homocysteine levels. Homocysteine has already been linked to damage to the arteries and atherosclerosis, plus increased risk of dementia in the elderly. Now, in a study that appeared in the May 2004 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers at the Eramus Medical Center, Rotterdam, Holland, and another team in Boston have confirmed that individuals with the highest levels of homocysteine have a much higher risk of osteoporotic fracture.

In the Rotterdam study, which included 2,406 subjects aged 55 years or older, those with the highest homocysteine levels, whether men or women, almost doubled their risk of fracture. The Boston team found that risk of hip fracture nearly quadrupled in men and doubled in women in the top 25% of homocysteine levels. Both groups found that folic acid reduced the risk of osteoporotic fractures by reducing high levels of homocysteine.

What factors might contribute to a deficiency of folate?

In addition to poor dietary intake of folate itself, deficient intake of other B vitamins can contribute to folate deficiency. These vitamins include B1, B2, and B3 which are all involved in folate recycling. Poor protein intake can cause deficiency of folate binding protein which is needed for optimal absorption of folate from the intestine, and can also be related to an insufficient supply of glycine and serine, the amino acids that directly participate in metabolic recycling of folate. Excessive intake of alcohol, smoking, and heavy coffee drinking can also contribute to folate deficiency.

How do other nutrients interact with folate?

Vitamins B1, B2, and B3 must be present in adequate amounts to enable folic acid to undergo metabolic recycling in the body. Excessive amounts of folic acid, however, can hide a vitamin B12 deficiency, by masking blood-related symptoms.

How is folate-deficiency anemia diagnosed?

Folate-deficiency anemia may be suspected from general findings from a complete medical history and physical examination. In addition, several blood tests can be performed to confirm the diagnosis. If the anemia is thought to be caused by a problem in the digestive tract, a barium study of the digestive system may be performed. Folate deficiency does not usually produce neurological problems; B12 deficiency does. Folate and B12 deficiency can be present at the same time. If B12 deficiency is treated with folate by mistake, the symptoms of anemia may lessen, but the neurological problems can become worse.

Natural forms of folic acid:

orange juice
oranges
romaine lettuce
spinach
liver
rice
barley
sprouts
wheat germ
soy beans
green, leafy vegetables
beans
peanuts
broccoli
asparagus
peas
lentils
wheat germ
chick peas (garbanzo beans)

How do I know if I’m deficent in folate? Untill I started eating healthy recently, the only thing I had on a semi-regular basis was romaine lettuce. I’m sure wheatgrass is a good substitute for the green, leafy vegetables.

What are deficiency symptoms for folate?

Because of its link with the nervous system, folate deficiency can be associated with irritability, mental fatigue, forgetfulness, confusion, depression, and insomnia. The connections between folate, circulation, and red blood cell status make folate deficiency a possible cause of general or muscular fatigue. The role of folate in protecting the lining of body cavities means that folate deficiency can also result in intestinal tract symptoms (like diarrhea) or mouth-related symptoms like gingivitis or periodontal disease.

So folate helps maintain healthy circulation of the blood throughout the body by preventing build-up of a substance called homocysteine which can lead to a higher risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease.

Another one of my “weird” symptoms is when I hold my hands over my head for more than ten seconds. I start to feel a mild numbing sensation down the length of my arms and I’m sure it’s due to a lack of blood circulation.

I think I’ve proven that I do have circulation issues so maybe I’m deficient in folic acid too. Beriberi sounds very serious and if it’s what I have then I should get a blood test to confirm it. On the way home I’ll drop into the walk in clinic and see if I can convince the doctor for a blood test. At the very least, I will be able to rule out if it comes up negative.

June 16, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Entry for June 15, 2006

Nervous System Support

Vitamin B1 also plays a key role in support of the nervous system, where it permits healthy development of the fat-like coverings which surround most nerves (called myelin sheaths). In the absence of vitamin B1, these coverings can degenerate or become damaged. Pain, prickly sensations, and nerve deadening are nerve-related symptoms that can result from vitamin B1 deficiency.
 
A second type of connection between vitamin B1 and the nervous system involves its role in the production of the messaging molecule acetylcholine. This molecule, called a neurotransmitter, is used by the nervous system to relay messages between the nerves and muscles. Acetylcholine cannot be produced without adequate supplies of vitamin B1. Because acetylcholine is used by the nervous system to ensure proper muscle tone in the heart, deficiency of B1 can also result in compromised heart function.
 
Deficiency Symptoms
What are deficiency symptoms for vitamin B1?
Because of its ability to disrupt the body’s energy production, one of the first symptoms of vitamin B1 deficiency is loss of appetite (called anorexia) that reflects the body’s listlessness and malaise.
 
Inability of the nervous system to ensure proper muscle tone in the GI tract can lead to indigestion or constipation, and muscle tenderness, particularly in the calf muscles.
Other symptoms related to nerve dysfunction are commonly associated with thiamin deficiency, since the myelin sheaths wrapping the nerves cannot be correctly made without adequate thiamin. These nerve-related symptoms include “pins and needles” sensations or numbness, especially in the legs.
 
Toxicity Symptoms

What are toxicity symptoms for vitamin B1? Even at extremely high doses of 500 milligrams per day, vitamin B1 intake does not appear to carry a risk of toxicity. This vitamin is often supplemented in high doses during treatment of maple sugar urine disease (MSUD), and may be given intravenously in treatment of alcoholism; these clinical circumstances have provided a broad basis for determining the low risk of toxicity associated with increased intake of thiamin. In its most recent 1998 recommendations for intake of B-complex vitamins, the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences did not establish a Tolerable Upper Limit (UL) for intake of vitamin B1
 
Nutrient Interactions

How do other nutrients interact with vitamin B1? No B-complex vitamin is more dependent on its fellow B vitamins than thiamin. Absorption of thiamin into the body requires adequate supplies of vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid. A deficiency in vitamin B12 can increase loss of thiamin in the urine, and vitamin B6 also appears to help regulate distribution of thiamin throughout the body.  If folic acid is deficient in the cells, then it causes an indirect thiamine deficiency because thiamine is present but cannot be activated.
 
Maybe it’s time to research folic acid.

June 16, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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