ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)
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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis otherwise known as ALS is a group of rare neurological diseases that mainly affect the nerve cells (neurons) which are responsible for the control of voluntary muscle movements. Voluntary movements include chewing, walking, talking and more. ALS is a progressive disease meaning ones symptoms get worse over time. ALS causes the deterioration of motor neurons, which over time eventually die. Motor neurons extend from the brain to the spinal cord and then to muscles throughout the body. When motor neurons are damaged they stop sending signals to the muscles causing the muscles to stop functioning.
Symptoms of ALS can vary widely from person to person due to different neurons being affected. ALS often starts in the hands, feet or limbs and then progressively spreads to other parts of the body. As the disease progresses and nerve cells are damaged, ones muscles gets weaker and eventually affects chewing, swallowing, speaking and breathing. Some of the signs and symptoms that may be present are:
Difficulties walking or completing normal daily tasks
Increased frequency of falls
Weakness in the legs, feet or ankles
Involuntary laughing, yawning or crying
Cognitive and behavioural changes
There's generally no pain in the early stages of ALS, and pain is uncommon in the later stages. ALS generally doesn't affect your bladder control or senses.
ALS is most often diagnosed based on detailed history of symptoms and signs observed by a physician during a physical examination. Often a number of tests will be done to rule out any other diseases which mimic the symptoms of ALS. The presence of upper and lower motor neuron symptoms strongly indicate the presence of the disease. The doctor will review ones full medical history and conduct neurological exams at regular intervals to assess whether the symptoms are progressively getting worse. Symptoms of ALS can be similar to a wide variety of other more treatable disorders. Appropriate tests can be conducted to exclude the possibility of other conditions.
Muscle and Imaging Test:
Electromyography (EMG) is a special recording technique that detects electrical activity of muscle fibres. This test can help to diagnose ALS. Another common test is called a nerve conduction study (NCS). This test measures electrical activity of nerves and muscles by assessing the nerves ability to send signals along the nerve to the muscle. These tests can aid doctors to understand whether one has a form of peripheral neuropathy which is damage to the peripheral nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord or a form of myopathy (muscle disease) rather than ALS.
It is also common for doctor to order a MRI test for detailed images of the brain and spinal cord. This is because patients suffering from ALS will rarely show any abnormalities on the MRI, therefore it can be an effective method for ruling out other disorders that may cause similar symptoms.
Based on the symptoms, previous test results and findings in the physical examination, a physician may order either blood or urine tests to rule out the possibility of other diseases. Infectious diseases such as HIV, human T-cell leukemia virus, polio and West Nile virus can cause ALS like symptoms. It is also possible for neurological disorders such as MS, post-polio syndrome, multifocal motor neuropathy and bulbar muscular atrophy (Kennedy's disease) can also mimic certain features of ALS and should always be considered by a physician when attempting to diagnose a patient.
Due to the fact the prognosis carried by ALS and the variety of diseases or disorders that can resemble ALS in the earlier stages of the disease, many patients may wish to obtain a secondary neurological opinion.
Colloidal Silver – Is a pure metallic ionic silver and is considered the most natural antibiotic that is not produced via a chemical process. Colloidal silver is effective against a number of bacteria, most fungi, parasites and many viruses. A unique trait of silver is that viruses, bacteria and fungi do not seem to build a resistance to silver as they do to chemical antibiotic agents, therefore it is perfectly safe, and ideal for long term use. Eric Edney suffers with ALS and is the author of 'Eric is Winning'. In his book he describes his experience with colloidal silver.
"A friend of mine recently told me about his experience with colloidal silver. He and another friend of his both tried it and both had great improvement in their arthritic condition. I had no idea what it might do for me other than help my arthritis, so I tried it. Much to my surprise, it speeded up the improvement in my ALS condition. I've been taking silver for about four months now. I have stopped taking the silver four times during the last four months and then restarted. Every time I stop and restart, I can recognize the effect of the silver. Therefore, I am convinced that it helps me."
Adrenal Max Support – Is our bio-identical cortisone supplement and has the ability to improve a wide range of health conditions. In a 2013 study considerable evidence indicated that ALS has an enormous impart on the patients emotional and physical well-being. Previous findings indicated that there was a particular rise in cortisol levels immediately after awakening. This is known as the cortisol awakening response (CAR). The study compared 29 admitted ALS patients with that of 12 age-matched care givers. Saliva samples for cortisol measurement were collected immediately after awakening and then every 15 minutes up to 45 minutes after awakening. The severety of ALS progression was ranked using the ALS functional rating scale (ALSFRS) and manual muscle tests (MMT). Depression levels was determined with the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (DHDRS). The study found that a smaller CAR in ALS patiients was significantly correlated to poorer clinical status, as assessed with both the ALSFRS and MMT rating systems. Furthermore, a smaller CAR significantly correlated with a more severe depressive mood status. In conclusion, the findings indicate that ALS patients that showed a lower cortisol awakening response correlated with disease and depression severity.
Celtic Ocean Sea Salt – Although unrefined salt does not directly impact ALS, it is well documented that having a sufficient level of unrefined salt in ones diet is essential to maintain general physiological balance and improve PH, acidic PH and stress caused by insufficient salt. If sufficient levels are not met then it can potentially undermine health for all chronic disease. Follow the link and click the further reading tab for more information on unrefined salt and how it aids to improve overall health.
Sodium Ascorbate & Acerola Cherry Extract – Is one of the strongest forms of vitamin C. Our unique blend is made up of sodium ascorbate which is a gentle form of pure soluble vitamin C whereas acerola cherry extract is one of natures highest concentrations of Vitamin C. The extract is the water soluble components of the cherry and contains 17% vitamin C along with all the essential bio-flavenoids and other important co-factors. A 2017 study analysed the effects of vitamin C on neurodegenerative diseases. A few points that had been made was that vitamin C can neutralize superoxide radicals, which are generated in large amounts during neurodegenerative processes and seems to support its role in neurodegeneration. On top of this, plasma and cellular vitamin C levels decline steadily with age and neurodegenerative diseases. An association of Vit C release with motor activity in central nervous system regions, glutamate-uptake-dependent release of Vit C, its possible role in modulation of N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor activity as well as ability to prevent peroxynitrite anion formation constitute further evidence pointing to the role of Vit C in neurodegenerative processes. The study also revealed that a higher consumption of fruits and vegetables was associated with a significantly reduced risk of ALS.
Vitamin B-12 – Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in the development and function of the central nervous system (CNS) as well as in the spinal cord and the brain. Due to its important role in the CNS it has also been used to aid treatment of peripheral neuropathy as well as some countries studying its ability to aid treatment of ALS. Several pieces of scientific evidence support this. A study showed that methylcobalamin (B12) was able to decrease homocysteine levels. This molecule’s accumulation has been linked with motor neuron degeneration in patients with ALS.
A study conducted by scientists at Tokushima University Hospital and Suzuka University of Medical Science in Japan found interesting results. The results showed that receiving high does of Vitamin B12 did not lead to any significant differences either in survival rates or ALS functional scores, when compared with placebo. However, a posterior analysis done specifically in those methylcobalamin(B12)-treated patients who were diagnosed and started the study earlier showed that methylcobalamin exhibited efficacy, or a trend towards efficacy. These patients survived longer, or took longer to require ventilation support, and experienced a slowdown in functional capacity decline, compared with the placebo group.
Olive Leaf Extract – A 2017 study observed that use of Oleuropein (an extract found in olive leaf) improved pathological outcomes and delayed the onset of ALS in mice models. Mice that received significant levels of Oleuropein through extra virgin olive oil survived longer and showed better motor performance and larger muscle fiber area than models given palm oil. In addition olive oil supplementation also improved the muscle status and reticulum stress. The results proved that olive oil phenolic extract induced a complete inhibition of TLR4 activation, prevented the death of motoneurons induced by LPS (Causes stimulation of immune response) and was very effective in protecting motoneurons from the toxicity of microglia. Olive oil phenols were also able to inhibit the release of nitric oxide induced by LPS treatment, suggesting that olive oil phenols could have neuroprotective effects related to the modulation of inflammatory mediators.
The Importance of Diet for ALS
In a 2016 study, doctors observed that patients with ALS whose diets are rich in fruits, vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids appeared to have an edge over patients with a diet consisting of less vegetables and more red meat. It was specifically noted that patients with antioxidant, miconutrient rich diets had better functionality at the time of diagnosis. It is hoped that better nutrition could translate into slower disease progression and lower levels of disability. Good micronutrient intake was positively associated with ALSFRS-R scores and percent FVC, and 6 micronutrients were key: lycopene, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, isoflavones, and fiber from vegetables and grains. Regression analysis of good food groups showed that eggs, fish, poultry, nuts and seeds, beneficial oils, fruits, and vegetables in general were positively associated with ALSFRS-R scores and percent FVC.
Please see the article Progressive Paralytic Diseases of the Nervous System here for additional information.