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

Monday, February 6, 2017

Gladstone Labs and Nrf2 protein

Gladstone Labs is at it again!   Finding a single protein which limits neuronal death.  How much do we love this innovative lab!  Thanks to Dr. Terry Wahls for tweeting about this paper today, I had missed it.

"I am very enthusiastic about this strategy for treating neurodegenerative diseases," said Finkbeiner, a senior investigator at Gladstone and senior author on the paper. "We've tested Nrf2 in models of Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, and ALS, and it is the most protective thing we've ever found. Based on the magnitude and the breadth of the effect, we really want to understand Nrf2 and its role in protein regulation better."

In this new research, Gladstone Labs have shown how the protein Nrf2 serves as a housekeeper for our brains, by cleaning up damaging proteins.  Nrf2 actually protects neurons from cellular death by regulating other proteins.  

For those new to this super protein, the Nrf2 signaling pathway (nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor) is how your body defends and protects itself against damaging proteins, toxins, oxidative stress and inflammation.   I have blogged about it before--since Nrf2 had been shown to reduce oxidative stress in MS.  This blog post is from 2012  link

There are actually ways to turn on our body's Nrf2 protein defenses, by using Nrf2 activators. 
Nrf2 activators are PRO-oxidant---meaning they introduce an oxidizer, so that your body create its own antioxidant protection.  Kind of like "fighting fire with fire."  This compound activates the enzymes in your own cells to fight oxidative stress in your body.  These enzymes then protect your oligodendrocytes (myelin forming cells), and keep them from dying during an attack of oxidative stress.   And now we know that Nrf2 protects neurons from harmful proteins.   A win/win for those with MS.

Three of the plants I recommend in the Endothelial Health Program as anti-oxidants, which also have published research as Nrf2 activators-

Curcumin--the golden powder that gives Indian curry its color, is extracted from the tumeric plant.
link  link  link
Silymarin--or milk thistle, known to protect liver cells and produce glutathione
link  link  link
and EGCG, or green tea. Known for its antioxidizing and metal chelating effects.
link  link   link  link

More ways to increase Nrf2:

Dr. Bernhard Juurlink has spoken and published on the power of broccoli sprouts as Nrf2 activators.  Here is information on his book on the health benefits of broccoli--

Paul Thornalley, from the University of Warwick (United Kingdom), and colleagues have observed that sulforaphane in broccoli, and quercetin in onions, are capable of increasing Nrf2 movement. Observing a continual movement cycle of Nrf2, which sees the protein oscillate in and out of the cell nucleus once every 129 minutes, the team found that sulforaphane and  quercetin sped the cycle up to 80 minutes.  Writing that: “We discovered cytoplasmic refresh rate of Nrf2 is important in maintaining and regulating the transcriptional response and links stress challenge to increased cytoplasmic surveillance,” the study authors aim to develop new food supplements – superfoods that stimulate Nrf2 activity.

The supplement Protandim is a scientifically recognized Nrf2 activator, as well--although Jeff has not used it, so I don't have any experience with it, but I know many other pwMS do.  link

Always talk to your own doctors before adding any supplements to your program, as there may be contraindications for you.  And, it bears repeating...I am NOT a doctor!

Hope you find this research encouraging!   I know I do.
Go, Gladstone Labs!!  
Thanks to Dr. Finkbeiner  (left) and Dr. Skibinski (right)