Archive for May, 2011

May 31st, 2011

Micronutrients and Amino Acids, Main Regulators of Physiological Processes – Part 7

Vitamin D production occurs under the influence of ultraviolet radiation, known for its irradiation effects. One of these effects is the degradation of hyaluronate, inhibiting cell repair in the skin. In one study iodine protects for this degradation in the conjunctival fibroblast, but this hasn’t been studied in the skin or related to clinical research in an iodine deficient subgroup. It is also known that some amino acids are influenced by UV light as well. Recently, it has been shown that phenylalanine is converted into tyrosine under influence of UV light. The phenomenon has also been described in human skin.

It is known that the shikimic acid pathway in plants, essential for the production of the aromatic amino acids, is stimulated by UVB radiation. Theoretically this could lead to higher phenylalanine and tyrosine levels in plants, which indeed has been shown in two studies but hasn’t been investigated in relation to our food chain. More toxic UVB levels by ozone depletion could on the other hand lead to lower levels of amino acids. Under normal UV levels these interactions theoretically could lead to higher tyrosine levels in our food during summer, with enhanced dopamine and adrenaline production pos- sibilities. This, in turn, could lead to the lower TSH level known to exist in summer periods. Eventually, the increase of tyrosine will lead to a higher adrenalin production capability, in line with the energy demands during summer. Adrenalin will in turn stimulate energy production by the citric acid cycle.

Come back tomorrow for part 8!

(by R.H. Verheesen, C.M. Schweitzer)

May 30th, 2011

Micronutrients and Amino Acids, Main Regulators of Physiological Processes – Part 6

Tyrosine hydroxylase activity is influenced by several factors including vitamin A and D. Increase of vitamin D level eventually leads to increase of tyrosine hydroxylase. This might explain why vitamin D deficiency may resemble symptoms of hypothyroidism. Vitamin D deficiency means decrease of tyrosine hydroxylase activity with eventual decrease of dopamine and (nor)adrenaline production. In hypothyroidism tyrosine hydroxy- lase activity may still be intact, however, with decreased thyroxin production. We suspect that this decrease will lead to a decrease of tyrosine availability in the tissues and could be related to deficiencies such as for iodine, selenium or tyrosine. Eventually, this will lead to overlapping clinical symptoms. Not only vitamin A and D are capable of regulating enzyme activity. Also iodine is capable of influencing enzyme activity as is the case in lactate dehydrogenase.

Come back tomorrow part 7!

(by R.H. Verheesen, C.M. Schweitzer)


May 27th, 2011

Micronutrients & Amino Acids, Main Regulators of Physiological Processes (Part 5)

As (nor)adrenaline is a rapidly acting hormone, it seems logical to assume that there is a storage pool of tyrosine. Tyrosine is present in proteins, but release from proteins would mean a considerable rate limiting step. Regulation on a post-translational level will ensure instant availability and rapid activation.

From that point of view, it seems logical that T4/T3 provide a directly accessible storage pool. This would mean that tyrosine directly affects thyroid metabolism via dopamine, which has indeed been shown in several studies. Earlier studies have shown the correlation between tyrosine levels and T3/T4 levels.

Other hormonal systems are greatly linked to amino acid metabolism as well, such as serotonin, acetylcholine and prolactin. The greatest challenge lies in studying these effects and interactions, making use of the immense literature that is already available on this topic from before 1960.

Come back Monday for part 6!

(by R.H. Verheesen, C.M. Schweitzer)

 

May 26th, 2011

Micronutrients & Amino Acids, Main Regulators of Physiological Processes (Part 4)

To support the hypothesis of hormonal regulation by micronu- trients we will focus on thyroid metabolism in which thyroid hormones thyroxin and triiodothyronine play a central role. Thyroid hormones consist of three or four iodine atoms and two tyrosine molecules. Regulation of T3 and T4 production is believed to be controlled by thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) via thyrotropin- releasing hormone (TRH). We hypothesize that regulation is influenced by the amino acid tyrosine and products of tyrosine metabolism, especially dopamine.

Tyrosine is produced out of phenylalanine, an essential amino acid. Tyrosine hydroxylase is the enzyme that in a rate limiting way converts tyrosine into dopamine. Tyrosine is considered to be the precursor of dopamine, (nor) adrenaline and melanin. Clinical effects of hyperthyroidism resemble the effects of (nor) adrenaline. Such resemblance cannot be fully explained from the produced effectors thyroxin and triiodothyronine. We suppose that overproduction of thyroxin, leads to a higher tyrosine release in the peripheral tissues which will increase the production of dopamine and noradrenalin. Increase of dopamine level suppresses TSH level, which might mean that in homeostasis dopamine plays a crucial role and not only T3/T4.

Come back tomorrow for part 5!

(by R.H. Verheesen, C.M. Schweitzer)

May 25th, 2011

Micronutrients & Amino Acids, Main Regulators of Physiological Processes (Part 3)

We hypothesize that regulation of physiological processes is mainly influenced by amino acids and micronutrients with hormones, proteins, and apoptosis and gene modifications being derivatives of the latter. Disturbances in their balances will eventually lead to disease and death. We assume, based on the available scientific data, that it will be possible to optimize our physiological processes by altering micronutrients and amino acid content and thereby prevent the development of diseases and reduce the needs for medication and gene therapy dramatically. Furthermore, we assume that also curative possibilities will be present although the extent will depend on the severity of the alterations already present in tissues. The energy production for our physiological processes takes place in mitochondria which we assume to be intracellular living bacteria instead of cell organelles, living in perfect symbiosis. This will change our view on mitochondrial disease and apoptosis.

Come back tomorrow for part 4!

(by R.H. Verheesen, C.M. Schweitzer)

May 24th, 2011

Micronutrients & Amino Acids, Main Regulators of Physiological Processes (Part 2)

It is known that many deficiencies exist, such as 1 billion people with vitamin D deficiency and 2 billion with iodine deficiency. Of other known deficiencies such as iron and vitamin B12 exact numbers fail. But for the majority of our micronutrients and amino acids solid data are not available or even worse, optimal concentration and/or nutrition levels fail. Nevertheless, we suppose that these deficiencies or missing data do not influence our research or development of diseases and death. As is shown in the article there is substantial evidence that micronutrients and amino acids greatly affect our physiological processes, both for the good and the bad.

Instead of putting our efforts in medicine research on medication and gene modification we should aim on optimizing our living conditions to start with the micronutrients and amino acids.

The hypothesis provides a change of perspective, where our most essential building blocks are the cause of diseases or syndromes but also provide the solution in the short and long term.

come back tomorrow for part 3!

(by R.H. Verheesen, C.M. Schweitzer)


May 23rd, 2011

Micronutrients & Amino Acids, Main Regulators of Physiological Processes (Part 1)

In modern medicine the scientific interest in the role for micronutrients and amino acids is very limited, although most of our physiological processes are highly dependent on optimal availability of them. In most clinical studies only one single nutrient is studied although we are well aware of the fact that delicate balances between most nutrients exist. Correction for known deficiencies or changes in the balances between nutrients isn’t performed. Nowadays micronutrients and amino acids are a nutrition topic instead of a medicine topic. It is known for a long time that micronu- trient deficiencies in its extreme form can induces diseases, such as scurvy, cretinism or rickets. Our attempts to unravel the complex interactions between micronutrients and amino acids has been reduced by the introduction of medication and genetic driven research.

come back tomorrow for part 2!

(by R.H. Verheesen, C.M. Schweitzer)

May 20th, 2011

Wellness Blog: Aminos Aid More Than Just Nutrition (Part 5)

(continued from part 4)

In addition to the behavioral results, the team conducted electrophysiological experiments in slices of hippocampus from brain-injured and non-injured mice, and showed that BCAA restored a normal balance of neural activity. “The electrophysiological results were consistent with what we saw in the animals’ functional recovery,” said Cohen.

If the results in mice can be reproduced in people, patients with traumatic brain injuries could receive the BCAAs in a drink. Cohen suggests that BCAAs as a dietary supplement could have a more sustained, measured benefit than that seen when patients receive BCAAs intravenously, in which the large IV dose may flood brain receptors and have more limited benefits.

Although much work remains to be done to translate the finding into a therapy, Cohen expects to collaborate with other researchers in an early-phase clinical trial of dietary BCAAs in patients with mild to moderate TBI.

The study appears in an online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

May 19th, 2011

Wellness Blog: Aminos Aid More Than Just Nutrition (Part 4)

(continued from part 3)

In particular, a TBI frequently damages the hippocampus, a structure deep in the brain involved in higher learning and memory. In the current study, the researchers found that an injury to the hippocampus reduced levels of BCAAs. Although overall levels of glutamate and GABA were unchanged, the loss of BCAAs disturbed the critical balance of neurotransmitters in the hippocampus, making some localized regions more excitable and others less excitable. Cohen’s team tested the hypothesis that providing dietary BCAAs would restore the balance in neural response.

In this study, Cohen’s study team first created standardized brain injuries in mice, and one week later compared the animals’ conditioned fear response to that of uninjured mice. A week after receiving a mild electric shock in a specific cage, normal mice tend to “freeze” when placed in the same cage, anticipating another shock. The brain-injured mice demonstrated fewer freezing responses—a sign that they had partially lost that piece of learning.

On the other hand, brain-injured mice that received a diet of BCAAs showed the same normal response as the uninjured mice. The BCAA cocktail had restored their learning ability.

(come back tomorrow for part 5!)

The study appears in an online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

May 18th, 2011

Wellness Blog: Aminos Aid More Than Just Nutrition (Part 3)

(continued from part 2)

The animals in the current study received a cocktail of three branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), specifically leucine, isoleucine and valine, in their drinking water. Previous researchers had shown that people with severe brain injuries showed mild functional improvements after receiving BCAAs through an intravenous line.

BCAAs are crucial precursors of two neurotransmitters—glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, which function together to maintain an appropriate balance of brain activity. Glutamate excites neurons, stimulating them to fire, while GABA inhibits the firing. Too much excitement or, too little, and the brain doesn’t work properly. A TBI upsets the balance.

(come back tomorrow for part 4!)

The study appears in an online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.