Welcome! This blog contains research & information on lifestyle, nutrition and health for those with MS, as well as continuing information on the understanding of the endothelium and heart-brain connection. This blog is informative only--all medical decisions should be discussed with your own physicians.

The posts are searchable---simply type in your topic of interest in the search box at the top left.

Almost all of MS research is initiated and funded by pharmaceutical companies. This maintains the EAE mouse model and the auto-immune paradigm of MS, and continues the 20 billion dollar a year MS treatment industry. But as we learn more about slowed blood flow, gray matter atrophy, and environmental links to MS progression and disability--all things the current drugs do not address--we're discovering more about how to help those with MS.

To learn how this journey began, read my first post from August, 2009. Be well! Joan

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Glutathione and loving your liver

September 25, 2011 at 2:02pm

Dr. David Perlmutter has pioneered glutathione treatment and believes it can be helpful in neurological diseases, including MS and Parkinson's Disease.  And it has helped many.

Glutathione is a super antioxidant, but taken orally, it doesn't really do well.  The digestive tract breaks it down before it can become available in the rest of the body.  It's great as an IV infusion,  but this isn't readily available to many.  So, I thought I would explain a bit about glutathione, and how we can increase the production in our own bodies.  The truth is, the best way to increase glutathione is not to ingest it or use an IV, it's to let your body make it itself.

Glutathione is naturally created by a healthy liver.  
When Jeff was diagnosed with MS, one of his strange blood results was that his liver enzymes, AST and ALT, were 10 times higher than normal. He was slightly jaundiced and his eyes were a bit yellow.   It looked like he had liver disease, and his neurologist assumed he drank too much alcohol, but Jeff didn't drink.  So I did some research, and learned that high liver enzymes happened in those w/MS---even before taking any drugs.

Multiple Sclerosis Linked to Abnormal Liver Test Results- 

To make the link, the researchers used data from the Sylvia Lawry Centre for MS Research in Germany, the largest database of MS clinical trial information in the world. In all, medical information from 813 people with MS enrolled in various clinical trials from North America, Australia and Europe was analyzed. The study was funded by the MS Society of Canada. 

Over a two-year period, there was an over three-fold increased risk of a person with MS having an elevated liver test result compared to expectations. An elevated test result indicates that liver enzymes have leaked out of their cells. This leakage into the blood stream may be an indicator of liver cell damage. 

Here's the abstract---this described my husband to a T

The risk of an abnormal liver test in 813 patients with multiple sclerosis or clinically isolated syndrome enrolled in placebo arms of clinical trials was greater than expected for alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (relative risk [RR] 3.7; 95% CI: 2.3 to 6.0) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (RR 2.2; 95% CI: 1.3 to 3.6), although not alkaline phosphatase (AP) or total bilirubin, at first presentation. Abnormal test results were associated with higher body mass index (ALT only), male gender (ALT only), and a relapsing-remitting (vs secondary-progressive) course (ALT and AST only). 


So, why would liver damage be linked to MS flares?  What the heck was going on?  This is what began my searching for connection, and how I created the Endothelial Health program.  I believed then, and still do, that Jeff's system was overwhelmed--most likely by free radicals, toxins, viruses and low levels of oxygen.  So overwhelmed, that his liver could not keep up.  His blood was hypercoagulated, his inflammation numbers were thru the roof, his body wasn't functioning.  And he didn't have steroids or copaxone in his system yet.  He needed help!  I started with the liver.

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) has been used for 2,000 years as an herbal remedy for a variety of ailments, particularly liver, kidney, and gall bladder problems. Several scientific studies suggest that substances in milk thistle (especially a flavonoid called silymarin) protect the liver from toxins, including certain drugs such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), which can cause liver damage in high doses. Silymarin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and it may help the liver repair itself by growing new cells.

The active ingredient -- the one that protects the liver -- in milk thistle is known as silymarin, a chemical extracted from the seeds. Silymarin is actually a group of flavonoids (silibinin, silidianin, and silicristin), which are thought to help repair liver cells damaged by alcohol and other toxic substances. Silymarin also keeps new liver cells from being destroyed by these same toxins. It reduces inflammation (which is why it is often suggested for people with liver inflammation or hepatitis) and is a strong antioxidant.

(Contraindications: Milk thistle is generally regarded as safe. Side effects are usually mild and may involve stomach upset and diarrhea. Some people may get a rash from touching milk thistle plants.
Milk thistle should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women.
People with a history of hormone related cancers, including breast, uterine, and prostate cancer, should not take milk thistle.
Do not take milk thistle if you are allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, chamomile, yarrow, or daisies.)

Within 3 months of taking milk thistle supplements, Jeff's liver enzymes were back to normal--even though he was now on Copaxone and had taken steroids and tylenol during his first flare.  He remains on milk thistle today.  And he's not yellow anymore.

I highly recommend pwMS keep tabs on their liver enzyme levels.  We need functioning livers to deal with toxins and medications.  We need functioning livers to create antioxidants to fight those free radicals damaging our cells.

The liver is essential for our health.  Especially for those w/MS.   Here is a study I found when I was searching for the connection between liver health and MS progression.  A woman w/MS received a liver transplant (hers was failing) and her EDSS score went from 5.0 to 2.0, and her MS stopped progressing up to three years after the liver transplant.  She now had a healthy liver, creating glutathione and antioxidants, to help her body heal.  

To raise glutathione levels in your body naturally, also consider the supplements NAC and alpha-lipoic acid--both are precursors to glutathione.

Love your liver.  Treat it well.  Not too much alcohol, or fatty foods, and watch the tylenol intake.  Ask your doctor if milk thistle might be a good supplement for you, and always consult with your doctor before beginning any new supplement or health program.


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