Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Inflammation and Sulfate

Historically, people were injured or died from 1. child birth (mom or baby), 2. trauma (farm accidents, war, duels) and 3. various infectious diseases. Perinatal mortality is much improved, and People still come to the ED for trauma and infection but with modern sanitation, antibiotics, medical and surgical practices; people usually are surviving these events.

However, despite these advanced, in the last 100 years we have seen an explosion of chronic inflammatory illnesses from lupus to crohns disease, asthma, and even hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.  Some argue that these inflammatory disorders were always there but we are seeing more of them today because people are living longer today and we are recognizing them better.

It is my belief that man's time is limited by our telomere length which is currently up to 120 years. (google telomere). I believe that man doesn't reach that upper limit not because our defective organs wear out early, but because there are some environmental factors damaging our organs.  According to the Bible, God designed our organs to last up to 1000 years.  As I see it, either God screwed up designing us, or we are depriving and/or poisoning ourselves in some way.

Also, many people lived to old age even during the Middle Ages.  Much of the reason for the supposed shorter life span is because the reported value averages all the babies that died at birth with everyone else.  If you survived birth, you were likely to live a long time just like today.

All these modern chronic inflammatory diseases have something in common. They all are associated with elevated homocysteine levels.  Accordingly, homocysyeine is considered a nonspecific marker of inflammation.  But, thats just it.  Homocysteine is not nonspecific, homocysyeine is a very specific biochemical intermediate in the sulfur and DNA repair pathway.  Could it be that elevated homocysteine is pointing us directly to what the problem is-- Sulfate deficiency?

Turns out that sulfate (SO4^2-) is used all over in the body for many things. It is one of the most important negative ions (anions) in the body after chloride (Cl-) and bicarbonate (CO3^2-).  Sulfate is used to make other more complex molecules more soluble.  The liver conjugates toxins and drugs with sulfate so they can be excreated by the kidney.  Similarly, many important complex molecules in the body are sulfated to increase their solubility.

You might have heard of thr good cholesterol that is in egg yokes and is found in our brain.  Or you might have taken glucosamine and condroitin for your joints.  An important natural blood thinner is heparin.  However, in reality its not just cholesterol, but cholesterol sulfate, glucosamine sulfate, condroitin sulfate, and heparin sulfate.  Without sulfate, the body cannot produce or utilize these important biomolecules.  No sulfate means no heparin sulfate which leads to blood clots like heart attcks, stroke and pulmonary embolism. 

You might also have also heard of gutathione.  Glutathione (GSH) is the master antioxidant for each cell. Glutathione protects the cell from oxidative damage. When dietitians tell us to eat a diet of fresh fruits and veggies rich in antioxidants, those antioxidant keep glutathione in its protective state.  Glutathione is chock full of sulfur amino acids.  You could consume all the antioxidants possible, but without sulfate you wouldn't produce the glutathione for the other antioxidants to keep active.

Humans get sulfate in two ways.  First, we can directly consume inorganic sulfate.  The body easily absorbs sulfate and distributes it throughout the body.  Second, if there is not enough inorganic sulfate in the diet, the body can convert sulfur-containing amino acids in protein like methionine and cysteine into sulfate. In fact, despite the importants of sulfate to our health, the FDA makes absolutely no recommendations for our daily sulfate requirement. Sadly, the government considers sulfate to be a acid rain causing pollutant and has gone to great lengths to scrub it out of our coal and gasoline.

The FDA assumes that we can just get all the sulfate we need by converting sulfur amino acids into sulfate. The problem with this is that converting methionine and cysteine to sulfate is very expensive and requires B12, B6, and folate to do the transformation.

What I'm saying is that that all these modern chronic inflammatory diseases may be helped by getting more inorganic sulfate in the diet.  How do you do this? Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate and easily found at every corner pharmacy and grocery store in the western world.  In addition, in contrast to the hundreds and even thousands of dollars of prescription medicine that many consume on a monthly basis to control but never cure these diseases, epsom salt is less than 1$.

We have romantic stories of the fountain of youth and healing in volcanic warm springs.  FDR even stayed at warm springs, GA recuperating from Polio. However, it just may be that it wasn't soaking in these sulfated waters that was healing but drinking them.

Now if you think that this theory about epsom salt and sulfate is far-fetched or too good to be true, consider 1. magnesium sulfate is already used very effectively to treat several acute exacerbations of chronic inflammatory conditions like asthma, migraine and preeclampsia. 2. epsom salt is already safely taken as a home remedy by numerous very healthy 85-year-olds in the southern US.  This population who regularly consume epsom salt have much less disease than do their children. 3. Methyltrexate is a powerful chemotherapy drug that blocks folate metabolism that is also used to treat many of these inflammatory diseases.  By looking at the biochemical pathway above showing folate and homocysteine, I hope you can see that taking extra sulfate is a much easier way to boost sulfate deficency than by blocking folate-dependent DNA repair pathways.

Why does being folate-deficiency cause inflammation?  The body will do what it needs to do to survive.  When the body is cold it will shunt bood away from the limbs to the core to preserve core body heat resulting in frostbite and loss of limbs before loss of life.  The body is a Master at "stealing from Peter to pay Paul".  

When the body is sulfate deficent, it will become catabolic and start to cannibalize sulfate from various tissues.  My hunch is that while the body is cannibalizing sulfate, there is a risk of the body developing an exaggerated immune response against a particular tissue. There may be genetic factors that predispose someone to which tissue this might be or it might be random chance.  An autoimmune response to the skin is eczema or psoriasis. A reaction in the lungs might be asthma or pulmonary hypertension. 

Sodium Benzoate is a ubiquitous food preservative found in soda pop, imitation maple syrup, BBQ sauce, soy sauce, salad dressings, and even store-bought humus.  Sodium benzoate is a D-aminoacid oxidase inhibitor and blocks the conversion of homocysyeine to sulfate.  This dangerous food preservative should be avoided.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Nephite Archaeology and Anthropology

I have started a pintrest board on Nephite archaeology and anthropology.  I think there are strong parallels between the Hopewell/Woodland culture and the Nephites of the Book of Mormon.  You can view my board on Book of Mormon Archaeology here:


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Nuclear War Preperation

I do believe the fear over radiation is over-hyped.  I just was an old radiation nuclear engineer in the ED a couple months ago and he was being treated for basil cell skin cancers but he worked at Savannah River and worked directly with fuel cell rods with minimal shielding.

However.  There is a point at which gamma radiation will cook you and wipe out your bone marrow at over 2-5 Severts. But it is probably not true that any amount of radiation is harmful.  It depends on how much and what type.  Gamma mostly goes through you.  Alpha and Beta doesnt penetrate but is harmful if inhaled or ingested.

So when it comes to nuclear war.  The best protection is to live 10 miles from a nuclear target to avoid overpressure, gamma and thermal effects and after-affects of the detonation.  Most people in Nagasaki and Hiroshima died of thermal burns. Intetesting that Wearing white underclothes and natural fibers was sonewhat protective to thermal effects of the bomb outside a certain distance from the explosion. (between exposion and thermal radius of bomb). 

When it comes to fallout.  Beta and Alpha-particle radiation exposure is a problem if inhaled and ingested. The LDS Church doctrine of food and water storage will provide prepared members clean uncontaminated basic nutrition during the fallout period.  Fallout emiting Alpha particles is very toxic if ingested.  Alpha particles are a Helium nucleus missing 2 electrons.  These particles will strip electrons off anything and damage any tissue they contact.  Beta particles can sunburn the skin

1. Live 10 miles from nuclear target to avoid blast, thermal and gamma radiation effects of nuclear detonation.
2. Water and Food Storage
3. Wheat is excellent to store because of its balanced nutrition (starch, protein, fat) and because government and lawless elements won't want it.
4. Geiger counter to check contamination of food and water.
5. Painting respirator to filter air if having to leave home to replenish sypply of clean water.
6. Oral Potassium Iodine or topical Providone iodine solution to protect thyroid.
7. Plastic or PVC rain suit with googles to protect from beta exposure if having to leave home to replenish sypply of clean water. 
8. Roll plastic and duct tape to seal home and create a decon area at a back door. (although I would not plan on venturing outdoors for at least 2 weeks)
9. Radioprotectants increase immunity to radiation exposure: powdered milk and protein powder, epsom salt, meletonin and desferoxamine.
10. As soon as it is safe to emerge, gather at the LDS Stake Center with survivors and pool resources and talents. LDS groups provide protection because of 1. agreed upon leadership structure 2. gospel standards keep undesirables away.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Tying Light Into a Knot


Light is made up of individual photons and exibit properties of both a particle and a wave.  Photons are massless but also the fastest stuff in the Universe.  Nothing travels faster than light (3x10^8 m/s^2).  Light exhibits several measurable properties which include direction, electric field, magnetic field, and polarization.  

This paper talks about using interference from 2 coherent light sources (lasers) together with filters to force light into traveling into an infinite loop called a mobius strip.  

One interesting implication of the success of this experiment is the possible relationship between light and the electron.  Science doesn't understand what the electron really is.  Electrons exhibit many properties of light.  They behave a bit more like a particle but also exhibit wave-like characteristics.  But unlike, photons, electrons travel slower than light and exhibit a small bit of mass. 

The possible relationship between photons and electrons some suggest is not QED (Quantum Electrodynamics) where the Universe is made up of a set of fundamental particles, is that electrons amd other particles are made up of light tied into a knot.  In other words, light that propagates in a straight line is massless, but photons that travel in a tight loop in resonance with the Compton wavelength of fundamental particles, exhibit mass.

The photon structure function theory goes a step further suggesting that quark-antiquark pairs which decay into hadrons (ie protons) can be generated by scattering electrons with high energy photons.  This theory suggests that that all matter is made up of light. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

American STEM Education Conspiracy


Americans are being dumb down.The American education system is teaching students what to think and not how to think.  The YouTube video above is exactly correct that if United States did not continue to import PhD students from foreign countries our economy would completely collapse.  The observation that freshman chemistry physics and engineering and mathematics classes are designed to fail a majority of students is also exactly correct. 

We say that we want to encourage more students to seek an education in the hard core math and sciences.  However our education system does exactly the opposite by discouraging most of the students. students who wanted to be engineers or scientists are going to the medical field have such a bad experience in their freshman courses today instead give up and go into the softer social sciences and then are discouraged when they have a hard time finding a job after they graduate. 

I was blessed to understand from a very early age that I would need to know chemistry very well to get into medical school.  I also knew I wasn't particularly good at it. So, while I was in high school I took all the chemistry that I could; even taking University chemistry courses in the summer so I could get as much background in chemistry as I could going into my poorly-taught college freshman chemistry classes. 

The investment paid off.  I not only graduated with a bachelors in biochemistry but I also have a masters in biochemistry and graduated from medical school and I am a board-certified  emergency medicine physician. But just like the US is outsourcing our technical and manufacturing jobs, we are also beinging to outsource our medical care.