Iron in the brain is not new!

A forum to discuss Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency and its relationship to Multiple Sclerosis.

Iron in the brain is not new!

Postby BooBear » Tue May 18, 2010 4:25 am

I found an interesting article in The Neuroscientist (website) written by Domingo Pinero and James R. Conner (the latter publishes his email in the article- if interested, we can email him for more info- jrc3@psu.edu).

The article states that iron is an important contributor in normal AND diseased states. Iron is essential for normal neurological function; interestingly enough, iron is a cofactor in synthesis of neurotransmitters and myelin.

However, iron is also the most important inducer of "reactive oxidative species". The writers state that "relation of iron to neurodegenerative processes is more appreciated today."

What I found most interesting in the article is that "brain iron concentrations are not static; they increase with age and in many diseases and DECREASE when iron is deficient in the diet."

The reason this strikes a cord with me is the potential support of the circulatory hypothesis. Circulation does become poorer with age in the healthiest of individuals; as such, we can theorize that a condition such as CCSVI would create poor circulation of a very unique nature that would deposit excess iron in the brain (as Dr. Zamboni's theory states).

But this is the most important part- brain iron concentrations DECREASE when iron is dificient in the diet. To me, that means that the less iron in the blood, the less is deposited in the brain. The more we open the flow, the LESS blood (and therefore iron) is in the brain- and the iron deposits will decrease.

The authors do state that "MS warrants study in relatin to iron availability. Myelin synthesis and maintenance have a high iron requirement; thus ogliodendrocytes must have a relatively high and constant supply of iron. However, high oxygen utilization, high density of lipids and high iron content of white matter all combine to increase risk of oxidative damage.

This article was not written in support of CCSVI or any other theory- but it seems to support both. Should I assume that neuros don't read The Neuroscientist, either?
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Postby whyRwehere » Tue May 18, 2010 5:16 am

Well, I saw this article , and thought it was interesting that they would treat restless legs as being iron deficient. In the case of MS, that might be a bad idea.
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Postby BooBear » Tue May 18, 2010 10:03 am

That is interesting. As the NeuroScientist article pointed out, iron is critical for neurological functions, which would support the theory that it could be useful in RLS. Though too much makes it toxic- thus our issue, right?

But look at it this way- would a neuro today hesitate to tell a MS patient suffering from RLS to take some iron if he read this study? Probably not. Yet those same neuros (not all, but IMO most) would not mention CCSVI treatment, let alone recommend it. Maddening.

The piece I struggle with is all of these independent studies that seem to support one another, yet people are hesitant to connect the dots. I am sure happy we are at least communicating with each other.
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Postby Bethr » Tue May 18, 2010 1:25 pm

I think what the article is saying is that iron should be in balance. Too much, or too little can be damaging.

With so much iron being forcefully put into flours, cereals, plus supplementation etc, in the modern age I think it would be hard for the body to regulate iron levels. We are also eating more meat on a regular basis. The body is designed to grab iron from the gut when it needs it. This system normally turns off when iron levels are adequate and excess iron is excreted. Approximately 1 in 7 europeans have abnormal iron metabolism and grab more iron than necessary, this is genetic.

The other influence I've been reading up on recently is Lymphocytes.
The immune system also regulates iron levels. So an upset in the immune system can aggravate iron storage. The body hides iron when the immune system is threatened. Virus's and cancer need iron to grow, so the immune system hides it away in organs.

The recent research by Maria De Sousa is very interesting.

I'm sure we will hear a lot more on iron metabolism in the decades to come. Remember, iron is toxic in excess, and you need certain levels to function properly. I think the researchers need to seriously look at what denotes "excess" and also why some seem not to store enough.

I don't think throwing iron pills at people or legislating it into our food is a very safe method or balancing.
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Postby BooBear » Wed May 19, 2010 7:26 am

I agree wholeheartedly. In fact, the longest I have ever gone without new lesions or a relapse was when I was on the Swank diet (over 2 years). At the same time, though, I was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia- you should have seen some of the bruises I would get from the slightest nudge. Quite impressive, really.

So in my case, restricting my iron intake helped my MS symptoms, but not my overall health.

That's one of the reasons I find Dr. Zamboni's theory so interesting and viable. If I have exess iron in the brain due to the issues with blood flow, then it would make sense that I was better when my overall iron intake was low, though the rest of my body was struggling.

Like you, I'd like to see more research in this area. So many neurological diseases are tied to excess iron that it warrants study.
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