Combating Degenerative Brain Disease: A Possible Breakthrough
Whether ALS, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, almost everyone has been touched by a loved one who has been affected by a degenerative brain disease and felt helpless with the realisation that there is no cure, however a recent article published by iHerb.com (L-Serine: A Radical New Approach to ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s) has shed light into the possibility that there may be a relatively simple treatment to combat these life-altering cognitive disorders.
How common is Degenerative Brain Disease?
With a rapidly ageing population in much of the western world, there is a dramatic growth in the number of people living with condition’s like Alzheimer’s disease, and only around one in four people with the disease are diagnosed. While accurate estimates are difficult to determine, it is estimated that there are well over 44 million people worldwide living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia.
A Possible Breakthrough?
While ALS (or Lou or Gehrig’s disease) was brought to the attention of physicians in 1933, it wasn’t until 2002 that two leading researchers hypothesised that the highly toxic compound, β-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA), was responsible for brain degeneration. Dr. Paul Cox and Dr. Oliver Sacks in-depth analysis of this problem led them to study a small tribe in Guam and ultimately led to the discovery that exposure to BMAA from cyanobacteria, the oldest organism on earth, adversely affected this group of people through their consumption of animals who were highly contaminated with BMAA.
Further study found that consumption of BMAA can lead to the formation of a toxin known as beta-carbonate and also corrupts the formation of vital proteins in our brain which ultimately lead to the prevention and decay of our normal brain function over time.
Looking at another society known for their remarkable longevity, it was discovered that among other things, they have a diet rich in L-serine.
What is L-serine and does it help?
L-serine is an amino acid essential for the synthesis of phosphatidylserine, which is a component of the membrane of brain cells. It is a naturally occurring amino acid, is common in many foods and supplementation is known to be safe for consumption in moderation.
When studied for its’ possible use in combating degenerative brain disease, researchers found that there was a remarkable success rate of 85% of those tested with no adverse effects. Additional benefits such as improved mood and behaviour were also noticed when combined with another naturally occurring chemical known as Phosphatidylserine (PS) which helps to strengthen cell membranes.
How Can We Combat Degenerative Brain Disease?
Based on recent studies, supplementation with 15 g of L-serine twice daily is safe and appears to be the most effective dosage in ALS and possibly Alzheimer’s disease. An alternative recommendation is 300 mg per day of Phosphatidylserine (PS).
L-serine is a standard amino acid and can be found in everyday foods such as soybeans, nuts (especially peanuts, almonds, and walnuts), eggs, chickpeas, lentils, meat, and fish (especially shellfish).
PS is commonly found in meat and fish. Only trace amounts are available in dairy products or vegetables.
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