Foods and Nutrients that may benefit T cells

T cells are a group of white blood cells with immune functions that may be beneficial or which may promote inflammation. They can change from one type of T-cell to another based on the amount of oxidative stress chemicals present in their surroundings. Our own body can produce antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress when we have adequate Nrf2. We also can get antioxidants from foods and often the foods that are good sources of antioxidants also contain phytonutrients that promote our own production of Nrf2 which then can help us produce our own types of antioxidants. Other nutrients are also helpful for promoting T cells to become the less inflammatory producing types. (1)

Reduced antioxidant production and prevalence of the more inflammatory type of T cells may be involved in aging and many types of chronic illnesses including cardiovascular diseases, neurological disorders, carcinoma’s and leukemia’s, autoimmune disorders, inflammatory bowel disease and vitiligo. For more details see: (1) Figure 13)

See Table 3: Antioxidant Compounds of Natural Dietary Products with Role in T Cell Function. (1)

  • Green tea: Catechin hydrate (CH) and Epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG). Teas (white, green, and oolong), cocoa, grapes, berries, apples; Catechins are monomers of Flavan-3-ols; see more:(Flavonoids)
  • Carrot, celeriac, parsnip, and parsley: Aliphatic C(17)-polyacetylenes. The Apiaceae plant family, see more: (Aliphatic C(17)-polyacetylenes) Commonly used herbs spices in the plant family include caraway seeds, coriander seeds/cilantro leaves, cumin seeds, dill, fennel; see more: (Apiaceae plants)
  • Turmeric (yellow spice in curry powder): Curcumin (diferuloylmethan). See more: (Curcumin)
  • Garlic: Ajoene. Organosulfur compound, others also present in onions, see more: (Ajoene/organosulfur compounds).
  • Plant foods/beverages with yellow pigments: Chalcones (precursors for flavones). Chalcones are found in many plant foods including; “fruits (e.g., citruses, apples), vegetables (e.g., tomatoes, shallots, bean sprouts, potatoes) and various plants and spices (e.g., licorice),” see more: (Chalcones). Flavones, (found in Parsley, thyme, celery, hot peppers), are part of the Flavonoid group; see more: (Flavonoids). 
  • Anthocyanin (purple/blue pigments): Wild blueberry, bilberry, cranberry. Red, blue, or purple berries; red and purple grapes; red wine, Anthocyanidins combined with sugar molecules are anthocyanins; see more: (Flavonoids).
  • Proanthocyanidin: Grape Seed and Jamapa Bean. Apples, berries, cocoa, red grapes, red wine; Proanthocyanidins are dimers and polymers of Flavan-3-ols; see more: (Flavonoids).
  • Resveratrol: Peanuts; Grape skins, red wine; dark colored berries including blueberries, bilberries, and cranberries; dark cocoa; see more: (Resveratrol.
  • Lycopene: Tomatoes; guava, watermelon, papaya, pink grapefruit, mango; red sweet peppers, asparagus, purple cabbage, carrots: (Lycopene).
  • Carrots and other orange/yellow fruits and vegetables: Beta-carotene (orange/yellow pigment, precursor to Vitamin A). Sweet potato, squash, carrots, apricots, cantaloupe, mango; broccoli, greens; red sweet peppers; tomato juice; black-eyed peas, beans; see more: (Vitamin A – provitamin A, beta-carotene, is found in plant sources)
  • Vitamin A: Carrots, cheese, eggs, and meat. Liver; fish oils; fortified milk; see more: (Vitamin A-preformed, retinol, is from animal sources primarily).
  • Vitamin B6: Whole grains, vegetables; liver, meats and fish; nuts; chickpeas/garbanzo beans and other beans, tofu; cottage cheese; banana; see more: (vitamin B6).
  • Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, cantaloupe, kiwifruit, strawberries, cauliflower, the cabbage family, tomatoes, peppers, and greens, green peas, potatoes – see more: (vitamin C).
  • Vitamin D: Cod liver oil, egg yolk. Fortified dairy products or orange juice, or other fortified foods such as breakfast cereals or meal replacement bars; salmon, tuna, sardines, krill oil; liver; some types of mushrooms; – see more: (vitamin D).
  • Vitamin E: Wheat germ oil, sunflower oil. Nuts, greens, asparagus, pumpkin, mango, avocado – see more: (vitamin E).
  • (1)

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

  1. Kesarwani P, Murali AK, Al-Khami AA, Mehrotra S. Redox Regulation of T-Cell Function: From Molecular Mechanisms to Significance in Human Health and Disease. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. 2013;18(12):1497-1534. doi:10.1089/ars.2011.4073. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3603502/ (1)
  2. Flavonoids, Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/flavonoids
  3. Christensen LP, Aliphatic C(17)-polyacetylenes of the falcarinol type as potential health promoting compounds in food plants of the Apiaceae family. Recent Pat Food Nutr Agric. 2011 Jan;3(1):64-77. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21114468
  4. Apiaceae: Parsley or Carrot Family. Identify herbs, plants, and flowershttps://www.wildflowers-and-weeds.com/Plant_Families/Apiaceae.htm
  5. Curcumin, Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University,  https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/curcumin
  6. Garlic and Organosulfur Compounds, Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/food-beverages/garlic
  7. Orlikova B, Tasdemir D, Golais F, Dicato M, Diederich M. Dietary chalcones with chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic potential. Genes & Nutrition. 2011;6(2):125-147. doi:10.1007/s12263-011-0210-5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3092904/
  8. Resveratrol, Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University,  https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/resveratrol
  9. Top 10 Foods Highest in Lycopene, myfooddata.com,  https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/high-lycopene-foods.php
  10. Vitamin A: Health Professional Fact Sheet, National Institutes of Health, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/
  11. Vitamin B6: Health Professional Fact Sheet, National Institutes of Health, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/
  12. Vitamin C: Health Professional Fact Sheet, National Institutes of Health, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
  13. Vitamin D: Health Professional Fact Sheet, National Institutes of Health, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
  14. Vitamin E and Health, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/vitamins/vitamin-e/

Calcium and vitamin D supplements are not recommended to help prevent hip fractures

A recent meta-analysis  published in JAMA (2) of research on the efficacy of calcium and vitamin D supplements to help prevent hip fractures and other types of bone fractures in Senior Citizens or post-menopausal women found no benefit compared to placebo or no treatment.  The meta-analysis included 33 clinical trials involving 51,145 participants.

The brief overview article does not mention if harm was found but concludes with the simple statement that the findings do not support a routine recommendation or use of calcium and vitamin D supplements in community dwelling older people. Read more: Thumbs Down on Calcium and Vitamin D to Prevent Hip Fracture (1)

Adequate magnesium in a form the body is able to absorb well, which may require a topical form such as soaking with magnesium sulfate salt (Epsom salt) or magnesium chloride products, is required for maintaining bone health. The minerals silicon and boron are also important and the mineral strontium in microgram amounts may help. Vitamin K from leafy green vegetables and green herbs and spices (or in the form of vitamin K2 supplementally may be helpful) is also important for maintaining bone density. (3)

  1. Jack Cush, MD, Thumbs Down on Calcium and Vitamin D to Prevent Hip Fracture, Medpage Today, Jan 13, 2018, https://www.medpagetoday.com/primarycare/dietnutrition/70497?xid=nl_mpt_DHE_2018-01-16 (Medpage Today)
  2. Jia-Guo Zhao, MDXian-Tie Zeng, MDJia Wang, MDet al, Association Between Calcium or Vitamin D Supplementation and Fracture Incidence in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, JAMA. 2017;318(24):2466-2482,     https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2667071?redirect=true (2)

  3. Charles T Price, Joshua R Langford, and Frank A Liporace,

    Essential Nutrients for Bone Health and a Review of their Availability in the Average North American Diet, Open Orthop J. 2012; 6: 143–149.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3330619/ (3)

 

Nrf2: helps activate beneficial genes, protective against inflammatory disease

Nrf2 is an acronym for a substance that helps activate genes that protect against oxidative stress and the resulting inflammation from excess oxidative chemicals. Nrf2 is a lot easier to remember then: nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2 (Nrf2). 

The list of chronic illnesses and genetic conditions that it may help prevent or treat is also quite long. The protective benefits against electromagnetic field radiation that was discussed in the last post may be due to the genes activation and resulting increased protection against oxidative stress chemicals – and this mechanism may be the same pathway for its beneficial role in preventing or treating the long list chronic illnesses.

It has been studied by a number of different groups in the prevention or treatment of: 

  • Cardiovascular diseases including atherosclerosis, ischemic cardiovascular disease, vascular
    endothelial dysfunction, and heart failure;
  • Neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, Huntington’s diseases;
  • Cancer (prevention);
  • Chronic kidney diseases;
  • Metabolic diseases: Type 2 diabetes; metabolic syndrome; obesity;
  • Several types of toxic liver disease; (not from the pdf article (1) – Nrf2 helps the liver to better utilize free fatty acids and triglycerides as an alternate energy source during times of starvation/malnutrition, which speculatively then, a deficiency of Nrf2 might be a factor in fatty liver disease (8))
  • Chronic lung diseases including emphysema, asthma, and pulmonary fibrosis;
  • Sepsis;  — (sepsis is a serious type of infection that spreads throughout the blood system.)
  • Autoimmune diseases;
  • Inflammatory bowel disease;
  • HIV/AIDS;
  • Multiple sclerosis;
  • Epilepsy;
  • See Table 1 for the list of studies regarding Nrf2 and the above conditions: (1).

Other diseases or conditions that may also be helped by adequate levels of Nrf2 have been less well studied but the same mechanism of reducing oxidative stress might also benefit in the prevention or treatment of:

  • “hemoglobinopathies including sickle cell
    disease and β-thalassemia [35], malaria [36],
  • spinal cord injury [37], traumatic brain injury [38,39],
  • altitude sickness [40,41], the
    three classic psychiatric diseases, major depression,
    schizophrenia and bipolar disorder [42–45],
  • gastric ulcers [46,47],
    glaucoma [48], age-related macular degeneration [49],
    cataract [50,51],
  • pathophysiological responses to herpes
    activation [52] and
  • benign prostatic hyperplasia [53,54].”
  • Nrf2 was reported to lower skin sensitization produced by sensitizing chemicals [57,58].” — (“skin sensitization..” – this likely refers to chronic itch type of conditions that are exacerbated by chemicals that activate TRP channels, which I discuss in more detail in a series of posts. TRP channels are also a big topic that could use more discussion time: (2, 3, 4, 5,))
  • See page 3, for the quotes and see the citation list of the pdf for the [__] references: (1).

Those are some common and severe conditions – so why aren’t we all aware of Nrf2? I don’t know. Possibly because the suggested treatment by the research discoveries are simple dietary changes which are not high profit margin treatments. However the list of foods that may help happens to overlap with those that I’ve been finding helpful for my own autoimmune and undiagnosed digestive problems. (There is a website with guidance about products that may be falsely claiming to have peer-reviewed studies showing that they are effective as Nrf2 activating compounds 2300 articles are mentioned as having been published on the topic of Nrf2, so I have some reading to catch up on. See: (9).)

So skipping the medical jargon, I’ll share some recipes and menu ideas that incorporate some of these foods and phytonutrients (list from the last post, the phytonutrients were quoted from this pdf: (1)

Specific foods or phytochemicals mentioned to help increase Nrf2 include:

  • sulforaphane from cruciferous vegetables, (such as broccoli and cauliflower);
  • foods high in phenolic antioxidants, (This is a large group including bright yellow and red fruits and vegetables, and deep purple produce. The group includes the subgroup flavonoids which include anthocyanins, flavonols, and it also includes the less familiar subgroup chalcones which are found in the commonly used fruits apples, pears and strawberries. The group also includes aldehydes which are found in vanilla and cinnamon, phenolic acids which include salicyclic acid, and tannins which are found in tea, coffee and wine. Baking cocoa and cherries, beans and whole grains are also mentioned, the summary point would be eat more fruits and vegetables; see: (11))
  • the long-chained omega-3 fats DHA and EPA, (salmon, tuna, sardines, krill oil, ground flax meal, walnuts, hemp seed kernels);
  • carotenoids (especially lycopene), (such as carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, apricots, and lycopene is in tomato, watermelon, pink grapefruit, guava); 
  • sulfur compounds from allum vegetables, (such as onions, garlic, shallots, green onions); 
  • isothiocyanates from the cabbage group and
  • terpenoid-rich foods. (Terpenes are found in real lemon and lime oil, rosemary, oregano, basil and other aromatic green herbs).
  • The Mediterranean and the traditional Okinawan Diets are also mentioned as being Nrf2 promoting diets. See: (wakeup-world.1)

Menu ideas, a start –

  • Add more fruits and vegetables to any meal or snack.
  • Add a dash of real lemon or lime juice to salads or soups. A large spoonful can help aid digestion as we reach middle age. The digestive system tends to produce less natural acidity and it is needed for better absorption of B vitamins. Or sprinkle fresh lemon or lime zest grated from the peel or add a teaspoon of Ground Dried Lemons / Citron Seche Moulu / Limon Seco Molido which may be available at an India foods market. A spoonful of apple cider vinegar or other food grade vinegar could also aid digestion but would not provide the terpenoids found in lemon or lime oil. High quality apple cider vinegar or wine vinegar may contain other beneficial phytonutrients from the phenolic group from the above list as apples and wine are sources of some types.
  • Add a teaspoonful or more or less or any, to taste, of dried green leafy herbs to your salad or soup for aromatic terpenoids and likely phenolic phytonutrients as well; such as Basil, Cilantro, Italian Seasoning, Tarragon, Thyme. Basil and Cilantro are mild and are also used fresh in larger amounts as part of the salad greens. Basil is used fresh or dried in larger amounts in Pesto sauces. Parsley is also used fresh in larger amounts in Tabouli salads.
  • The herb Rosemary is also a good source of terpenoids but is slightly like pine needles and needs to be added to a dish that will be cooked about 20 minutes for better texture. I enjoy Rosemary with beta carotene rich orange flesh Sweet Potatoes which I cook as a skillet scalloped potato. I first saute an Onion sliced in thin rings (allium group) and then add thinly sliced triangles of Sweet Potato so they cook fairly quickly and a teaspoon to a tablespoon of Rosemary. Rosemary is strongly flavored and accidentally spilling too much in the pan can leave the dish inedible, scoop out the excess.
  • Rosemary is a medicinal herb which may help with pain and in traditional folk medicine has been used as a strong tea for pain and inflammation conditions but several cups can have a diuretic effect similar to too much coffee.
  • While discussing hot beverages, Herbal Teas, Green Teas and Black Teas, and Coffee provide phenolic phytonutrients and other antioxidants.
  • Chamomile is a medicinal herb that is frequently used as an Herbal Tea. It has been studied in animal based cell research to increase Nrpf2. (10) The amount used in a cell based study is not something that I could calculate a human recommended serving size for but the traditional medicinal information is available here: (12), caution against its use for asthma, and some seasonal allergy sufferers is mentioned and it is not recommended for use in pregnancy due to a possible risk of miscarriage. Chamomile is a tiny daisy like flower with white petals and a yellow center. The bright yellow center may be a source of phenolic nutrients. (11) Medicinal uses mention digestive and skin complaints, inflammation, relief from muscle contractions, particularly in the intestines, and relief from anxiety. (12)
  • Baking Cocoa is also a source of some phenolic and antioxidant nutrients and can quickly be made into a cup of Hot Cocoa by boiling  a cup of water and adding one or two large spoonfuls of the baking cocoa powder, to taste, along with a spoonful of sweetener. If richness is desired a half teaspoon of Coconut Oil can be stirred in for a hint of creaminess. Less processed/cold pressed Coconut Oil is also a source of phenolic nutrients. (6)
  • Sugar itself can be a source of inflammation so limiting sugar in beverages or other foods is generally a good idea for a health promoting menu plan.
  • Wine can be a source of phenolic nutrients, however it can also be a migraine trigger for some migraine sufferers (like me). Some of the benefits of wine are provided by the free (not-bound-within-a-larger-protein) amino acid content and other free amino acids in wine may be part of the migraine cause. Due to a genetic difference I found a bulk supplier of powdered free amino acids and tried Methionine and Glycine in water. A half teaspoon of each provides a cheerful mood boost without causing excess energy boosting effects – I tried a teaspoon of each initially and it could cause sleeplessness if taken late in the evening and almost too much of a energy boost to the point of increased heart rate. The free amino acids are acidic and cause a puckery tart wine effect. Adding an ounce or two, 2-4 Tablespoons of a 100% purple grape juice or cherry juice or black currant juice could add a hint of sweetness and makes the beverage slightly more juice or wine like. A deficiency of Methionine whether due to a genetic difficulty in metabolism such as I have or due to a dietary lack can increase the body’s need for Nrf2. (7) A deficiency of Nrf2 could negatively effect the body’s supply of the amino acids glycine and serine and it is involved in their biosynthesis pathways. (13) The pathway, called the pentose phosphate pathway, is shown in Figure 2: (14). So speculatively glycine wouldn’t be helping make Nrf2 but if there was a problem with supply of Nrf2 then there might be a shortage of glycine or serine, and they do have biological roles throughout the body.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

  1. Martin L Pall, Nrf2, a master regulator of detoxification and also antioxidant, antiinflammatory and other cytoprotective mechanisms, is raised by health
    promoting factors., Stephen Levine, Acta Physiologica Sinica, February 25, 2015, 67(1): 1–18  http://www.actaps.com.cn/qikan/manage/wenzhang/2015-1-01.pdf (1)  // quoted in: Joseph Mercola, The Harmful Effects of Electromagnetic Fields Explained, wakeup-world.com, Dec. 22, 2017, https://wakeup-world.com/2017/12/22/the-harmful-effects-of-electromagnetic-fields-explained/ (1)
  2. https://effectiveselfcare.info/2017/10/15/g3-5-negative-stress-chemicals-may-cause-symptoms-like-itching-migraines-pain-or-ibs/ (2)
  3. https://effectiveselfcare.info/2017/10/15/antihistamines-may-help-if-genetic-tendency-overproduce-histamine/ (3)
  4. https://effectiveselfcare.info/2017/10/15/g3-6-1-calcium-sparklets-and-oxidative-stress/ (4)
  5. https://effectiveselfcare.info/2017/10/15/trpv-channels-comfort-vanilla-heat-capsaicin/ (5)
  6. Marina AM, Man YB, Nazimah SA, Amin I.,  Antioxidant capacity and phenolic acids of virgin coconut oil. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2009;60 Suppl 2:114-23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19115123 (6)
  7. Lin AH, Chen HW, Liu CT, Tsai CW, Lii CK., Activation of Nrf2 is required for up-regulation of the π class of glutathione S-transferase in rat primary hepatocytes with L-methionine starvation., J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Jul 4;60(26):6537-45. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22676582 (7)
  8. Yu-Kun Jennifer Zhang, Kai Connie Wu, Curtis D. Klaassen, Genetic Activation of Nrf2 Protects against Fasting-Induced Oxidative Stress in Livers of Mice., March 18, 2013http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0059122 (8)
  9. Which Nrf2 Products have Peer-Reviewed Studies – Beware of Phony Science, nrf2.comhttp://www.nrf2.com/?page_id=38 (9) Stuff to read later list: */Curcumin restores Nrf2 levels and prevents quinolinic acid-induced neurotoxicity. */Curcumin attenuates Nrf2 signaling defect, oxidative stress in muscle and glucose intolerance in high fat diet-fed mice. */Effects of a Water-Soluble Curcumin Protein Conjugate vs. Pure Curcumin in a Diabetic Model of Erectile Dysfunction. */Curcumin enhances non-opsonic phagocytosis of Plasmodium falciparum through up-regulation of CD36 surface expression on monocytes/macrophages. */Function and regulation of the Cyp2a5/CYP2A6 genes in response to toxic insults in the liver.– Curcumin is a vitamin/hormone D analog and is an extract of the root vegetable Turmeric which provides the bright yellow color to Indian curry spice mixes. CYP enzymes are actively involved in vitamin/hormone D metabolism.  /Yes, Vitamin D is needed to produce Nrf2: (15)/ */Role of Nrf2 in preventing ethanol-induced oxidative stress and lipid accumulation. – so yes, speculatively, a deficiency might increase risk of fatty liver disease. */Effects of aging and methionine restriction applied at old age on ROS generation and oxidative damage in rat liver mitochondria. */Extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields activate the antioxidant pathway Nrf2 in a Huntington’s disease-like rat model. */Quercetin ameliorates cardiovascular, hepatic, and metabolic changes in diet-induced metabolic syndrome in rats. */Chamomile Confers Protection against Hydrogen Peroxide-Induced Toxicity through Activation of Nrf2 -Mediated Defense Response.
  10. Bhaskaran, Natarajan & Shukla, Sanjeev & Gupta, Sanjay. (2012). Abstract 2594: Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.) upregulates heme oxygenase-1 through activation of ERK-Nrf2 signaling: Cytoprotective mechanism against oxidative damage. Cancer Research. 72. 2594-2594. 10.1158/1538-7445.AM2012-2594. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/275442168_Abstract_2594_Chamomile_Matricaria_chamomilla_L_upregulates_heme_oxygenase-1_through_activation_of_ERK-Nrf2_signaling_Cytoprotective_mechanism_against_oxidative_damage (10)
  11. Maria de Lourdes Reis Giada, Chapter 4: Food Phenolic Compounds: Main Classes, Sources and Their Antioxidant Power, Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology » “Oxidative Stress and Chronic Degenerative Diseases – A Role for Antioxidants”, book edited by José A. Morales-González, ISBN 978-953-51-1123-8, Published: May 22, 2013    https://www.intechopen.com/books/oxidative-stress-and-chronic-degenerative-diseases-a-role-for-antioxidants/food-phenolic-compounds-main-classes-sources-and-their-antioxidant-power (11)
  12. Roman Chamomile, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, http://pennstatehershey.adam.com/content.aspx?productId=107&pid=33&gid=000233 (12)
  13. Gina M. DeNicola, Pei-Hsuan Chen, Edouard Mullarky, Jessica A. Sudderth, Zeping Hu, David Wu, Hao Tang, Yang Xie, John M. Asara, Kenneth E. Huffman, Ignacio I. Wistuba, John D. Minna, Ralph J. DeBerardinis, and Lewis C. Cantley., NRF2 regulates serine biosynthesis in non-small cell lung cancer., Nat Genet. 2015 Dec; 47(12): 1475–1481.   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4721512/ (13)
  14. Albena T.Dinkova-KostovaAndrey Y.AbramovThe emerging role of Nrf2 in mitochondrial function., Free Radical Biology and Medicine, Vol 88, Part B, Nov 2015, Pages 179-188, Part of special issueNrf2 Regulated Redox Signaling and Metabolism in Physiology and Medicine Edited by 
    G E Mann, H J Forman, M Yamamoto, T Kensler, J D Hayes,

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0891584915002129 (14)

  15. K Nakai, H Fujii, K Kono, S goto, R Kitazawa, S Kitazawa, M Hirata, M Shinohara, M Fukagawa, S Nishi, Vitamin D Activates the Nrf2-Keap1 Antioxidant Pathway and Ameliorates Nephropathy in Diabetic Rats., American Journal of Hypertension, Volume 27, Issue 4, 1 April 2014, Pages 586–595, https://academic.oup.com/ajh/article/27/4/586/2743232 (15)

 

G3.11: A patient with DID says the voices are not like schizophrenia.

More severe dissociative disorders like Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, MPD) have occurred in some cases of extreme childhood trauma. A strong alter character may develop in the child’s mind that takes over during scary times as a defense strategy. The protective personality may cope with the harsh situation and leave the core personality not only protected from coping with the negative event, but also may leave the memory of the event suppressed from the core personality’s memories. The child or adult may be left with no memories of what happened while the alter personality was in charge.

A person with the condition describes “multiplicity” as being like a bus that has a variety of passengers who may take over driving occasionally, and go and do things without asking, and the bus may not remember it. The “host” or main personality is not the bus driver but is the whole bus.

The full description is in the book, Living with Your Selves, by Sandra J. Hocking and Company;  (G3.34), some of the author’s alters helped write parts of the book. The author would like people to understand that the condition can be coped with and that it isn’t possession by any external force. The alters were all protectors at some stage of the host’s difficult life.

The main difference between DID and less severe forms of dissociative disorders is that memory is suppressed in DID in order to protect the core child personality from whatever trauma is or was going on in the child/former child’s life.

My own feelings of disconnection as a child or as an over-worked adult have never included missing blocks of time or forgetting whole days, which can be symptoms of DID.

Seeing bad memories from above as if watching oneself from the ceiling can be a symptom of milder forms of dissociation. Conversations that you aren’t part of or other voices taking place inside the head may be symptoms of DID. Sandra Hocking mentions that hearing voices externally from inanimate objects like a bicycle would be a symptom of a different type of mental health problem and she encourages talking to someone (other than the bicycle) if any odd voices are being heard.

Recent research has shown that the “voices” that people with schizophrenia symptoms “hear” are actually their own internal sub-vocalizations – their own inner thoughts – but that some disconnection occurred in the brain that seems to make them unable to recognize the “voice” or “voices” as their own thoughts or memories.

Hearing voices may be a symptom that is due to many possible reasons rather than being due to “schizophrenia” – it may be more of a set of symptoms that all resemble “schizophrenia-like symptoms.” Several different nutrient deficiencies may cause a symptoms of “hearing voices“. If a person was deficient in all of the nutrients, which is not uncommon in malnutrition, then supplementing only one of the nutrients would be unlikely to show much improvement in the schizophrenia-like symptoms even though it might have been helping somewhat. All of the nutrients are important for health.

  • The voices heard by patients with these symptoms have been found to be the patient’s own internal monologue but the patient no longer recognizes the voices as their own thoughts or memories from their past.  See:  “When People With Schizophrenia Hear Voices, They’re Really Hearing Their Own Subvocal Speech, Unlike most people, they just can’t tell it’s themselves.By Eliezer Sternberg  (G3.35)

G3.12: Nutrient deficiencies may be a physical and treatable cause symptoms of “hearing voices.”

  • Folate and vitamin B12 deficiencies can cause schizophrenia like symptoms; possibly due to an increase in levels of c-reactive protein. Folate and vitamins B6 and B12 are needed to breakdown c-reactive protein. (G3.36)
  • Genetic differences in metabolism can affect the risk of deficiency in folate and vitamin B12. Genetic screening for methylation cycle differences can help clarify whether extra supplements of the more bioactive methylated forms would be more helpful than standard supplements.
  • And a zinc deficiency and/or copper excess is more common for patients with schizophrenia; so pyroluria, a condition also thought to be due to genetic differences may be an issue. (G3.37)
  • A zinc deficiency prenatally may be linked to schizophrenia later in life: (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1491625) (G3.38)
  • Vitamin D deficiency is more common in people diagnosed with schizophrenia. (G3.39)

Health isn’t easy on a good day for someone of average age and average metabolism. Seeking help from mental health counselors and other healthcare professionals can help provide care for a variety of topics that may not fit easily in visit with the family physician.

A specialist in research explains the oxidative stress chemical process in the background section of a review paper regarding the possible connection between psychiatric disorders and oxidative stress. (G3.110) The short story on the chemistry is about balance between the waste produced when burning energy for use in metabolism and antioxidants available to neutralize the oxidizing chemicals produced as waste. The oxidizing waste chemicals are smaller parts of what was once the larger molecule of sugar, glucose. We do need to be able to use the stored energy from glucose, so having plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables in the diet gives the balance of antioxidants necessary to neutralize the “free radical” waste products. They are like the ions of calcium or magnesium in the way they are “free” to donate or take energy from other molecules, which may leave them in disrepair.

An excerpt gives a summary of oxidative stress and the potential link to psychiatric disorders, (G3.110)

Hence, oxidative stress can be considered as a state where the level of oxidants [hydrogen peroxide, superoxide, nitric oxide, etc.] produced by biological reactions exceeds the oxidants scavenging capacity of the cells. These oxidants modify cellular macromolecules [proteins, DNA, lipids] and alter cellular functions [19] resulting in apoptosis or necrosis [2022].” (Apoptosis or necrosis = cell death)

“The brain with its extensive capacity to consume large amounts of oxygen and production of free radicals, is considered especially sensitive to oxidative damage [12, 23]. Therefore, it is not surprising that oxidative stress is implicated in several disorders of the brain including neurodegenerative disorders [2326], psychiatric ailments [27], and anxiety [28]. This association is largely due to the high vulnerability of brain to oxidative load [27].

Read more: Oxidative Stress and Psychological Disorders, (G3.110).

  • The topic of psychiatric disorders, TRP channels, oxidative stress, infertility and pre-eclampsia is more complex than I’ve led you to believe in this overview and this page is already long so the discussion will be continued on a separate page focused more on TRP channels – they are an exciting topic, see G. Pre-eclampsia &TRP Channels.

So speak nicely to yourself, you might be listening. And it turns out that words can hurt after all, not just sticks and stones. A book called What to Say When You Talk to Yourself, by Shad Helmstetter, goes into more detail about the emotional impact that can occur due to how and what we think to ourselves. How we phrase our thoughts and goals can affect our success and enjoyment in life, that seems like a no-brainer, but maybe not to the nervous toddler who is still trying to stand up in the adult sized shoes – a little wobbly but trying. (G3.111)

The glossary section G. Fear & the Inner Child has more information and resources about early childhood experiences and emotional development and the possible creative benefits of dissociation. The section G. Autoimmune Disease & Vitamin D continues the medical discussion of oxidative stress, magnesium deficiency, and why an Epsom salt foot soak or bath might help an autoimmune condition in addition to improving a bad mood and soothing a muscle cramp and sore back – one stop shopping, now that is efficiency.

See a healthcare provider for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

  • Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.
  • The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a service for locating a nutrition counselor near you at the website eatright.org: (eatright.org/find-an-expert)

Crisis Hotlines and Resources:

  • U.S. National Suicide Prevention Hotline: Call 1-800-273-8255, Available 24 hours everyday. (I.suicidepreventionlifeline.org)
  • National Helpline: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: “SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.”  (I.samhsa.org)
  • Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, RAINN Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE, (I.RAINN.org)
  • Child Welfare Information Gateway: a variety of toll-free hotline numbers for concerns involving the safety of children. (I.20)
  • Power and Control and Equality Wheels  The following training materials are for helping victims of domestic violence and batterers learn how to recognize problem behaviors but emotional manipulation or abuse of power and control can occur in many types of relationships not just between couples.The Power and Control Wheel (I.21) was developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP). (I.22) Manipulative behaviors are grouped into eight categories in the model. An additional Equality Wheel (I.23) was developed to help guide batterers and victims of emotional or physical abuse towards healthier ways to interact. It is grouped into eight equivalent categories with examples of healthier ways to interact with each other. Problems frequently can involve communication issues by both people in a relationship.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

References: