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Amino Acid Therapy
In Ross's patients, amino acid supplements take effect in 10 minutes in over 80% of clients to stop compulsive eating. Over 6 to 18 months they permanently correct the brain's neurotransmitter deficit symptoms, including sugar craving, when combined with adequate dietary protein, fat, healthful carbs, and calories. In a 2-year study of amino acids and overeating, those given a blend of 4 amino acid precursors were compared with controls. The treatment group had 70% less craving and binge eating than controls.14 The low-potency amino acid blend used contained 5-HTP (5-hydroxytroptophan, the immediate precursor of serotonin) to optimize serotonin levels, DLPA (D,L-phenylalanine) to raise endorphin levels, and L-glutamine to stabilize blood sugar levels. Raising serotonin helps to stop sweet and starch cravings.
Symptoms of Low Serotonin
- afternoon/evening carbohydrate cravings
- negativity, depression
- worry, anxiety
- low self-esteem
- obsessive thoughts/behaviors
- winter blues (SAD syndrome, seasonal affective disorder)
- panic attacks, phobias
- fibromyalgia, TMJ, suicidal feelings, thoughts
- irritability, rage, PMS
- night owl, hard to get to sleep
- insomnia, disturbed sleep
Glutamine 500 mg (1-3) 3 or 4 times per day between meals offers an alternative to glucose in the brain. Sublingually it can stop sugar, starch, and alcohol cravings in 3 minutes. Ross also recommends adding chromium from 800 to 1200 mcg with meals. When food is used to reduce stress, the inhibitory neurotransmitter amino acids GABA, taurine, or L-theanine soothe naturally. Adrenal stress hormone testing (salivary) and nutrition correction often give benefits. When sugar, chocolate, and caffeine are used for energy and focus, as well as reward, the precursor amino acid tyrosine is needed.
Neurotransmitter Testing: Problems and Alternatives
After Ross's extensive experience in neurotransmitter testing, she believes strongly that blood platelet testing is the best evaluation technique. She has found urinary neurotransmitter testing to be at odds with clinical symptoms in patients over the years and that the gold standard of spinal fluid evaluation is more difficult to do routinely. Published in 2005, a formal study of 18 human subjects compared the levels of serotonin and the catecholamines found in CSF, BP, urine, and plasma.15 The study was performed by Tappan Audhya, PhD, professor of nutritional biochemistry at New York University Medical School and director of the Vitamin Diagnostics Laboratory in Cliffwood Beach, New Jersey. His study found that blood platelet testing results corresponded very closely to CSF (cerebral spinal fluid) testing results, but that neither urine nor plasma testing results did. He explains that the levels of serotonin and the catecholamines are known to be stable and abundant in the blood platelets, but not in blood plasma, the levels of which are extremely reactive to stress (even the stress of the blood draw!). He also notes that the levels of neurotransmitters in urine vary rapidly in reaction to both stress chemistry and diet-related (especially pH) changes.
Prof. Dr. Paul Ling Tai, DPM, FACFS, ABPS ABAARM, DACBN
Fat-Burning Weight Loss and Mitochondria Energy
Dr. Tai gave us three memorable lectures. He has had a vast influence in teaching not only in Michigan and the US but around the world, lecturing from Beijing to Brazil and Istanbul to Uzbekistan, among many other places. An accomplished author as well as speaker his latest books are the Golden Book of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine, volumes 1 and 2. He is president and chairman of the Brazil Academy of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine and A4M Brazil conferences. Dr. Tai is a knighted physician and the grand physician general of the Supreme Council of the Sovereign Medical Order of Knights Hospitaller and a member of the Royal College of Papal Knights in the Americas.
His first lecture focusing on obesity began with health-related statistics such as 400,000 people die each year caused by overweight and obesity.16 Women who drink one soda per day increase chances of type 2 diabetes by 85%. Fat used to be viewed as merely a place to store extra calories; however, the new changed view of fat is that of a major leptin hormone-producing organ which effects the satiety center, thyroid gland, adrenal gland, and sex hormones.17 Leptin resistance was discovered in 1994. Since leptin promotes satiety, leptin resistance means that leptin does not enter the brain.18 High triglycerides in the blood from excess eating block leptin entry into the brain and the body thinks that is is starving. Fat cells also expand and get clogged. Two studies in the Bariatrician in 2008 evaluate the Bauhinia plant from the Amazon which normalizes liptin hormone, satiety regulation, and abnormal sugar metabolism. In clinical studies 100% lost weight. One or two Bauhinia caps 30 minutes before meals 3 times per day were used, and Tai postulated that they unblock leptin receptors in the hypothalamus. Leptin also slows thyroid function even though a person is overweight.19 He also promotes mozuko extract, special sea kelp found in the coastal water of Okinawa, Japan, to help with metabolism resistance as well as a novel 7-Keto DHEA cream for topical application to reduce fat in fatty areas.
New Technology and Natural Protocol for Gynecomastia, Male Feminization, and Low Testosterone
In his second lecture Dr. Tai reviewed the impact of testosterone on the body economy. Testosterone (T) affects libido, mood, muscle strength and volume, stimulation or erythropoietin production, accelerated linear bone growth, and syntheses of serum proteins. In the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, the authors demonstrated a substantial decline in testosterone levels in men in three decades beginning in the 40s.20 General symptoms of low testosterone included decreased sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, difficulty achieving orgasm, reduced intensity of orgasm, low energy and increased fatigue, loss of motivation, and depressed mood. Additionally, low T is associated with increased body fat, reduced muscle bulk and strength, loss of body hair, and reduced shaving. The prevalence of risk factors in the Hypergonadism in Males study increased from 52% down to 32% for the following conditions: obesity, diabetes, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, hyperlipidemia, osteoporosis, asthma/COPD, prostatic disease/disorder, chronic pain and headaches.21
Andropause is a Lethal Disease
Increased levels of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, brain and heart disease, frailty syndrome, bone loss/osteoporosis, inflammation, and cancer are associated with low testosterone. Aging males with low T may not live as long.22-24 Eight hundred men, 50 to 91 years of age, were followed for 18 years with 1/3 having low testosterone. Men with low T vs. those with higher T had: increased levels of inflammatory cytokines, increased waist girth, 3 times higher chance of having metabolic syndrome, and 40% greater risk of death.
What is Aromatization?
Aromatase is the enzyme responsible for a key step in the biosynthesis of estrogens, and aromatization is the conversion of androgens into estrogens.25 Estradiol has a 100-fold higher molar potency than testosterone. Cytochrome P450 type 19 (CYP-19) is aromatase and facilitates the production of estradiol in human cells. An increase in aromatase in younger individuals demonstrates gynecomastia, decrease in libido, and erectile dysfunction. It is also associated with poor testosterone treatment response, increased clearance of androgenic hormones, and elevated estrogen production rates.26 Testosterone replacement complications can cause direct negative feedback to the anterior pituitary gland and becomes less responsive to GnRH, which limits its own production of T and can cause testicular atrophy.
Dr. Tai has accumulated many herbal and nutritional treatments for andropause, gynecomastia, and erectile dysfunction. He first reviews Butea superba (Red Kwao Krua), which gives strength and power and increased male sexual performance. Each of the constituents of the tuber and stem contain inhibitory effects toward cAMP phophodiesterase. Butea superba also increases levels of acetylcholine, which is involved with erectile function and memory. In a three month randomized, double-blind trial in men aged 30 to 70 years, the authors found an 82% improvement in erectile function in impotent patients without apparent toxicity.27
Eurycoma longifolia increased testosterone, muscle strength and penile size, prevents age-associated androgen deficiency, and increased psychological parameters of mood, energy, and sense of well-being.28 It also increased fat free mass, muscle strength/mass, and athletic performance.29
Calcium fructoborate interferes with physiology and reproduction of cancer cells in prostate, breast, cervical, and lung cells. One treated patient had a 50% increase of testosterone.30
Chrysin decreases aromatization, body fat and helps to reduce alcohol consumption.31
Indole-3-carbinol partially blocks estrogen receptor sites on cell membranes and converts highly active estrogen forms and their byproducts to much safer compounds. It enhances 2 hydroxy estrone metabolites over 4 hydroxy estrone metabolites. I3C also blocks anticancer-enhancing receptor sites directly killing cancer cells.32
Diindolmethane (DIM) is another cruciferous vegetable extract that decreases effects of estradiol. It is an estrogen receptor beta agonist and exerts its effects through nonligand protein kinases.33,34
Pueraria mirifica (White Kwao Krua) has the phytoestrogen miroestrol, which is similar to estriol. The local Thais who consume it are devoid of hormone-related degenerative diseases such as breast cancer and prostate cancer. Pueraria mirifica isn't just for women. This plant estrogen activates receptors that suppress tumors. The miroestrol is 3000 times more active on beneficial receptors than phytoestrogens in soy.35
L-citrulline, a precursor to arginine, has a well-known ability to increase nitric oxide production with a wide variety of health benefits. It has been well studied for its ability to enhance sexual satisfaction. Both men and women report longer and more intense orgasms with increased intake of arginine.36
Powerful Treatment and Prevention for Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Loss
In his third lively and entertaining lecture, Dr. Tai reviewed the prevalence and alarming statistics of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Five million people in the US have AD. Forty percent of people age 85 and older are at risk for AD. AD is the 7th leading cause of death in the US. The prevalence of AD is expected to double by 2050.37
Pathophysiology of AD includes low levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Low levels of acetylcholine in brain are associated with AD, and restoring levels may slow progression. Beta-amyloid deposition, oxidative stress, and inflammation may also contribute to the etiology of AD. Beta-amyloid clusters into amyloid plaques on the blood vessels and outside surface of neurons of the brain and ultimately cause neural degeneration.38 In susceptible regions of the brain, inflammatory mediators in glial cells from inflammatory cytokines are increased and may contribute to amyloid plaque formation.39 Oxidative stress from AGEs can damage the brain and may contribute to progression of AD.40
Pregnenolone, the mother hormone for the adrenal gland, keeps brain functioning at peak capacity. It has its highest levels in the brain and enhances mental function, repairs brain and nerve tissue, protects cerebral function, and guards against neuronal injury. Pregnenolone exerts effects through different hormones such as DHEA, progesterone, estrogens, testosterone, cortisol, and aldosterone. Optimum levels of pregnenolone occur around age 35 and by the age of 75, 65% of pregnenolone is lost.41 Pregnenolone is neuroprotective.42,43 It improves memory and learning and is a new biomarker of cognitive aging.44,45 Supplementation improves memory and cognition and increases mental performance under stressful conditions.46 Pregnenolone improves release of acetylcholine (Ach) and modulation of Ach neurotransmission and may alleviate AD.47,48 Mechanisms of pregnenolone include stimulation of layout of new brain connections, improved neurogenesis or neuroplasticity, excitatory effect due to affinity for two types of receptors by activation of NMDA receptors, and occupying GABA receptor sites.49
Acetylcholine, Glycerophosphocholine (GPC)
Glycerophosphocholine (GPC) is vital for survival and provides unique protection to all cells. It is abundant in mother's milk and occurs naturally in all living things; it is an orthomolecule and is a direct precursor to Ach. GPS is effective in attention improvement, concentration, and memory formation. GPC taken daily showed impressive neuron growth-promoting effects in the brain.50 GPC proved superior to placebo to the smart drug aniracetam and the synthetic antioxidant idebenone. GPC can give measureable neuronal protection against losses that occur between middle and old age.51 GPC and Alzheimer's were studied in a double-blind study of 261 probable Alzheimer's patients who were given GPC (1200 mg/day) vs. placebo for 6 months. Using measurement scales of MMSA, GDS (Global Deterioration Scale for cognitive decline), ADAS (Alzheimer's Diseases Assessment Scale-Total, Cognitive, and Behavioral), GIS (Global Improvement Scale) and CGI (Clinical Global Impression), GPC proved significantly superior to placebo in all clinical assessment scales. GPC significantly improved behavior and activities of daily living without a single dropout due to side effects.52
Michael Gerber, MD, HMD
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