Natural Remedies for Myotonia Dystrophica (Muscular Dystrophy)
This disorder is characterized by progressive muscle wasting and weakness, particularly in the lower legs, hands, neck, and face; it progressively affects the musculature of the entire body. Eventually even the skin and many glands such as the pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid and gonads atrophy as well. People with Muscular Dystrophy / Myotonic Dystrophy often have prolonged muscle contractions (myotonia) and are not able to relax certain muscles after use. For example, a person may be unable to release a grip on a doorknob or handle.
Other signs and symptoms of myotonic dystrophy may include clouding of the lens of the eye (cataracts), heart abnormalities, balding, and infertility. The features of this disorder can occur at any age, but usually develop during a person's 20s or 30s. One variation, called congenital myotonic dystrophy, can be noted at birth. The severity of these signs and symptoms varies widely between people, even between members of the same family. In general, the clinical features of type 2 myotonic dystrophy tend to be milder than those of type 1.
How common is Myotonia Dystrophy?
About 1 in 10,000 people worldwide have this disorder. Doctors and researchers estimate that 98 percent of people with myotonic dystrophy have type 1; the remaining 2 percent have type 2.
What Genes are Related to Myotonia Dystrophy?
The two forms of myotonic dystrophy, type 1 and type 2, have similar clinical features but are caused by mutations in different genes (DMPK and ZNF9). The mutation that causes myotonic dystrophy is a DNA segment that is abnormally repeated within the DMPK or ZNF9 gene. The repeats form an unstable region in the gene. Researchers believe that the large number of repeats disrupts cells' ability to make the DMPK and ZNF9 proteins and the proteins of other genes. This disruption prevents cells from functioning normally, leading to the signs and symptoms of myotonic dystrophy.
How do People Inherit Myotonia Dystrophy?
Myotonic dystrophy is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern, which means one copy of the altered gene is sufficient to cause the disorder. In most cases, an affected person has one affected parent. As type 1 myotonic dystrophy is passed from one generation to the next, the disorder generally begins earlier in life and signs and symptoms become more severe. This phenomenon is called anticipation. In type 1 myotonic dystrophy, anticipation is caused by an increase in the length of the unstable region in the DMPK gene. In type 2 myotonic dystrophy, a longer unstable region in the ZNF9 gene does not appear to influence the age of onset of the disorder.
As with many inherited disorders, the degree of manifestation of the disorder, i.e the severity of the disorder is determined by the quality of diet and lifestyle.
The important interrelationship between food and the genes was first called the "genetotrophic concept" by Roger J. Williams, PhD. Dr. Williams, the discoverer of the B-vitamin pantothenic acid, has explained in his books and scientific papers how existing biochemical birth defects may be effectively overcome with optimum nutrition. (Muscular dystrophy and individual metabolic patterns: The possibilities of a nutritional therapeutic approach. Proc. of the First and Second Medical Conferences [1951-1952] of the Muscular Dystrophy Assoc. of America, 118-22
In genetotrophic diseases, genetic abnormality leads to nutritional disability. To compensate, the body requires the availability of larger than normal quantities of one or more nutrients for the affected gene to successfully express itself. For that particular person, normal dietary vitamin intakes are quite inadequate for normal function. It is a bit like trying to take a hot bath with the drain open: it can be done, but you are going to need a lot more hot water.
"Cardiac disease is commonly associated with virtually every form of muscular dystrophy and myopathy. The rationale of this trial was based on known mitochondrial myopathies, which involve respiratory enzymes, the known presence of CoQ10 in respiration, and prior clinical data on CoQ10 and dystrophy. These results indicate that the impaired myocardial function of such patients with muscular disease may have some association with impaired function of skeletal muscle, both of which may be improved by CoQ10 therapy. CoQ10 is the only known substance that offers a safe and improved quality of life for such patients having muscle disease." (8)
Because CoQ10 is so absolutely vital to muscle cells, involved with growth control, cellular energy production, and other essential life functions, it warrants special consideration for persons with muscular dystrophy.
In two placebo-controlled, double-blind trials, 100 mg CoQ10 daily resulted in "definitely improved physical performance" in patients with muscular dystrophies and atrophies. "In retrospect," the authors wrote, "a dosage of 100 mg was too low although effective and safe." But even at this low dose, their conclusion was emphatic: "Patients suffering from these muscle dystrophies and the like should be treated with vitamin Q10 indefinitely." (9)
A very effective way of resolving Mitochondrial insufficiency, as Muscular Dystrophy seems to be a mitochondrial disorder -at least in part, is with a product called Zell Immunocomplex
This contains several different respiratory enzymes, of which Co enzyme Q10 is only one of several, B vitamins, anti-oxidants and other factors that work as a team to rapidly restore mitochondrial function, including natural Vitamin E from wheat germ oil and selenium. Additional Selenium (food state is better absorbed) we suggest our food state selenium and to start at 2 tablets twice daily and experiment with the dose as suggested below.
You can purchase the natural form of vitamin E from another company as we do not supply it. Researchers have suggested that Vitamin E be balanced with vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is produced by sunlight with some UV directly on the skin, and without adequate supply of vitamin D via sunlight or a supplement many biochemical processes including nutrient assimilation will not work properly. We therefore suggest for any health improvement program the use of the correct potency of vitamin D.
Linus Pauling wrote about muscular dystrophy, both experimental and hereditary, in How to Live Longer and Feel Better.
It was recognized more than fifty years ago that a low intake of Vitamin E leads to muscular dystrophy"
A study, employing 600 mg of vitamin E and a high amount of selenium i.e. 4,000 micrograms as Sodium Seleniate (daily I presume ed.) which got very good results in all five patients studied. "All improved their grip strength, two normalized their gait, another two can now sit down on their heels and stand up, one patient can now walk on his toes, one can now get up from lying on the floor without using a chair and two patients have improved their physical capacity. No side-effects were observed." *1
"The peculiar muscular degeneration of muscular dystrophy may be produced in animals is caused and is only caused by lack of vitamin E. Human muscular dystrophy shows identically the same peculiar degeneration. The key to the cure of muscular dystrophy is vitamin E." *5
Synthetic vitamin E will not work It has to be the natural "D-alpha" form, that includs the complete mix of natural tocopherols and tocotrienols, preferably from or with fresh stone ground whole wheat bread, wheat germ, or wheat germ oil. (p 645).
Muscular dystrophy is described as easier to cure in children, and easier still with added B vitamins and vitamin C (p 644).
(G. lundim), has been found to be surprisingly effective in treating Muscular Dystrophy.
Although Reishi Mushroom
is not a cure, it can help alleviate symptoms. In one study, patients were given 400 mg/day of water-soluble spores administered intra-muscularly. Many showed marked improvement in muscle strength, improved sleeping and eating patterns and weight gain within 1-2 weeks. Patients unable to lift their heads before treatment were able to do so after treatment, and their speech and walking ability improved as well. Indeed, in three cases the disease even ceased to progress (Fu & Wang).(Ed Oral administration is the preferred route for therapy!)
The essential trace mineral selenium works in conjunction with vitamin E to enable the body to process vitamin E more effectively. Sufferers of muscular dystrophy have been found to be more selenium deficient than the general population.
"Myotonic dystrophy and all its major symptoms (including muscle dystrophy) can be cured or prevented in animals by selenium supplementation." (Werbach M. (1988) Nutritional Influences on Illness, New Canaan, CT: Keats, p 310-311.
For normally healthy individuals, overdose of selenium is possible with chronic excessive dietary intake. But we need to bear in mind that in the Orndahl study cited above, muscular dystrophy patients showed improvement with a daily dose of up to 1,400 mcg elemental selenium over period of nearly two years. Toxicity is clearly not a major issue.
This has been shown to improve therapeutic response when included along with vitamin E. This is probably due to the fact that lecithin contains inositol and phosphatidvl choline, which appears to reduce creatinuria in cases of muscular dystrophy. Daily dose guide is about 20 g, i.e. three tablespoons per day *2,3,4
Summary of suggested Nutritional remedies for Muscular Dystrophy
1. Zell Immunocomplex
(contains Q10 + wheat germ oil + other nutrients to help restore mitochondrial function)
2. Natural vitamin E including wheat germ oil.
Not currently available from Regenerative Nutrition as a single supplement but some is contained in Zell Immunocomplex
4. Lecithin Widely available in health shops as granules
*1 Orndahl G, Sellden U, Hallin S, Wetterqvist H, Rindby A, Selin E. Myotonic dystrophy treated with selenium and vitamin E. Acta Med Scand. 1986;219(4):407-14.)
*2. Jackson MJ, Jones DA, Edwards RH. Vitamin E and muscle diseases. J Inherit Metab Dis. 1985;8 Suppl 1:84-7. (This review explains how vitamin E, and the phospholipids in lecithin, benefit the muscles.)
*3. Milhorat AT and Bartels WE. (1945) The defect in utilization of tocopherol in progressive muscular dystrophy. Science 101:93-4.
*4. Milhorat AT et al. (1945). Effect of wheat germ on creatinuria in dermatomyositis and progressive muscular dystrophy. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 58:40-1.
*5 Rabinovitch R et al 1951 Neuromuscular disorders amenable to wheat germ oil therapy.