Lou Gehrig's Disease
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Lou Gehrig's disease is so called because it was the disease that afflicted and killed the famous American baseball player Lou Gehrig in 1939, scientifically the condition is known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); it is a rare and dangerous neurological disorder, with no potential cure in sight. In this serious and unfortunate condition, the person who is affected loses control over his or her voluntary muscles due to the development of a progressive degeneration of the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord in areas that coordinated and controlled these muscles. The afflicted person thus loses his ability to maintain himself or herself over a period of time, losing all voluntary muscular control in the body, therefore the region of the nervous system that is attacked by the disease is very important as there is a variation on the symptoms according to region where destruction of nervous tissue is occurring. As a demography males tend to be more susceptible to suffer from this particular disease and it usually strikes men above forty years of age.
The hands are the first regions of the body where the process of muscular degeneration or atrophy begins, the disease than progresses from the hands into the forearms and the legs and finally into other parts of the body. The person may have difficulty eating and ingesting food as it is hard to swallow food voluntarily, and loss of the ability to speak may also come about as the muscle in the throat muscles deteriorate slowly. Paralysis is the usual result from that moment on, as the disease now spreads throughout the body and degenerates muscle groups at random and all of them in the course of time. While in some cases of the disease the progressive deterioration of the musculature is slow and can take many years and even decades coming into completion, the same cannot be said of over half of all patients with ALS patients, as in these unfortunate cases the chances of surviving is not guaranteed after a few years with the disease. The progressive degeneration and wasting of the musculature is not stoppable and it can only be slowed to some extent through such physical means as physiotherapy, and it is very unfortunate that no drugs or medication has yet been found that could possibly combat the illness or slow down the progressive death of the tissue. Experimental drugs and medications in the labs are available, however they do come with side effects and may not generally help the patients at this time as the time to develop a workable drug often involves years on end, therefore at present there are no miracle cures and all experimental drugs must be seen in the light of possible benefit plus potential effects.
The viral origin of ALS has been suggested in some research circles, however the true origin or the real cause behind the condition is as yet an uncharted sea, a multitude of theories exist and they point in many directions. The fact that patients with ALS display some of a biochemical imbalance in their body's might give us a clued to its manifestation and effects on the body. In these patients both an imbalance in the essential minerals and in the essential amino acids needed for a fully functional body is evident. A defect in the metabolism and assimilation of glutamic acid might be a possible source of the disease, or so a research on this fact seems to suggest. Cellular damage is often function of the amount of free radicals in the body, and there is a pointer here in that a defective gene might be responsible for obstructing the body's ability to minimize the free radicals in the body and their consequent destruction of the cellular framework. The onset of inevitable paralysis and death is often signaled by an excess of glutamate content which causes the cells in the brain to misfire again and again, causing the depletion of neurotransmitters and the subsequent ability to signal properly. A dietary supplement of branch-chain amino acids including those essential for gene manufacturing proteins like valine, leucine and isoleucine can appreciably slow the rate of the deterioration of the muscles and conserve muscular strength in the muscles of the extremity, thus lengthening the persons ability to walk unassisted. This particular observation was made in a research and test environment and the supplementation was for a period of one year.
Another probable avenue through which ALS may be originated is the poisoning of the body through toxic and heavy-metal exposure, especially from mercury contained in dental fillings utilizing silver-colored amalgams of the metal. Hundreds of deleterious problems of the nervous system and the immune system have been linked to the use of this metal, and it may be so that the metal is responsible for such serious conditions as ALS in certain cases. Sweden for example banned the utilization dental fillings containing mercury in the year 1991. Other metals, which can also bring about toxic reactions such as the metal aluminum toxicity, must also not be omitted. The preparation of food utilizing the aluminum ware leads to the ingestion of aluminum compounds. Many medicinal drugs such as antacids also have a high content of aluminum in them. As is also very possibly brought on by insufficient quantities of calcium and magnesium in the body along with the presence of toxic metals at the same time. This disease also makes all its who are afflicted with it into diabetics, which is to say that an abundance of ammonia in the body brings on ALS in a person. The processing of ammonia is not carried out correctly many people deficient in manganese or arginine and certain class of substances. The brain and the spinal cord are affected when high levels of ammonia accumulated over time in the body destroy the nerves contained in them. Since the nervous stimulation to the voluntary muscles disappear along with the dead nerves, the muscles themselves start to atrophy and deteriorate receiving no signals from the brain.
Supplements and herbs
For the optimal and healthy performance of a normal human body, the vitamin C is an essential nutrient as it takes part in many important processes in the living body. It can strengthen and bolster deteriorating collagen and connective tissue, and detoxify the body of toxins accumulated therein if the vitamin is ingested in huge doses. The minerals calcium and magnesium taken in sufficient quantities help detoxify the body of aluminum and mercury accumulating there; this supplement becomes essential because most patients with ALS show above normal levels of manganese, mercury and aluminum in their systems and correspondingly low levels of calcium and magnesium, this supplement therefore becomes essential. A toxic level of aluminum also causes the depletion of all traces of magnesium in the body of a person with ALS. The treatment of ALS is also accelerated through supplementation using the vitamins E and B1 as both these vitamins have important roles to play in normal nerve and muscle function.
Additional things you may do
The rate of muscular degeneration and destruction can be brought down through physiotherapy and related physical treatments, slowing muscle loss to a more manageable level. An analysis of the samples of the patient's blood, urine and hair mineral levels can give a good indication of the mineral balance in the body. Other options that are very strongly recommended are undertaking an analysis of the levels of plasma amino-acid levels while fasting and testing for possible allergy and reaction to allergens.
- Vitamin B complex, 100 mg
- Vitamin C, with bioflavonoids, 1,000 mg, (up to bowel tolerance)
- Vitamin E, with mixed tocopherols, 400 IU
- Magnesium, 600 mg
- Calcium, 1,200 mg