Are Toxins in Seafood Causing ALS, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's?
Was Lou Gehrig's Disease Caused by Tap Water?
I still believe in the multiple hit theory but we must have something in common. Is this i t?!?
How many of us grew up or spent time near lakes or the ocean? How many of us ended up gulping any of that water when first learning how to swim? As someone who learned how to swim in the Gulf of Mexico, I have taken in my fair share of sea water. Have many of us fished in a nearby lake and cooked up what was caught? How many of us have had a so-called health drink containing algae or spirulina?
I will highlight key points but the article is interesting as it traces this all back to a peculiar syndrome that was like ALS, PD, and AD all in one. However, it only appeared in Guam. So what is that all about?
Cyanobacteria is very common as it commonly blooms in soils and bodies of water that have blue-green algae. It also produces a highly neurotoxic compound called beta-methylamino-L-alanine. Even more scary is this BMAA "biomagnifies" meaning that when we ingest fish or any other mammal exposed to it we are ingesting toxic levels of it.
What is even more interesting is that in a significant number, BMAA has been found in the brains of those who died with AD, PD, or ALS. Kinda odd given that this bacteria had only previously been proven as the likely cause of that mysterious neuro illness that happened only in Guam and peaked in the 1950's. How is this at all connected?
If this turns out to be true for even some people, then it is thanks to a compassionate and curious neurologist in New Hampshire who turned to Google for a little epidemiology search and found that a cluster of his ALS patients lived near the same lake.
An ethnobotanist named Paul Cox has taken this hypothesis and run with it. He has been studying this hypothesis since the 90's and he set out to be taken seriously by the scientific community. By 2003, he had Oliver Sacks and the Karaolinski Institute acknowledge that he was "onto something". Since then research has snowballed.
In addition to ingesting, we can also breathe it in as fine particulate matter. BMAA has been linked to ALS cases unique to Gulf War veterans; it is believed that it was inhaled from desert "crusts". Recall it is also present in soils.
Okay, so how does it cause neurodegeneration? Well, note it is an amino acid but not one we have normally, yet it easily gets taken up into the amino acid chain that form proteins...lo and behold:
BMAA can be incorporated into protein chains within human neurons, causing proteins to misfold and form aggregates within the cells.
This finding is due to be unveiled in December at the International Symposium on ALS.
I find this really plausible as a key to the idiopathic forms of neurodegenerative diseases. BMAA has not been found in people with Huntington's Disease which is entirely genetic, but obviously genes play a huge role because the bacteria needs an impaired metabolism. Normally, our bodies woud flush this out.
Well, what do you all think?