Sunlight, Bitter Melon, Nitric Oxide Connection

A board to discuss various diet-centered approaches to treating or controlling Multiple Sclerosis, e.g., the Swank Diet

Sunlight, Bitter Melon, Nitric Oxide Connection

Postby lyndacarol » Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:12 pm

I began by reading Dan Buettner's book, The Blue Zones, one of which is Okinawa, a couple years ago. Then came my reading of The Okinawa Program by Bradley J. Willcox, M.D., D. Craig Willcox, PhD, and Makoto Suzuki, M.D. I learned that the prevalence of MS in Okinawa is miniscule. This was due to diet, I thought: http://www.truehealth.org/okinawadiet.html

The diet in that country commonly includes go-ya (a.k.a. bitter melon), extremely bitter to most people. It resembles a cucumber with warts. There are different varieties used in India, China, Southeast Asia. [The spice mugwort (nothing to do with Harry Potter although mentioned in those books), which is also bitter, is frequently used in Okinawa (in rice), too.] There is some suspicion that go-ya contains a plant insulin that helps people with type II diabetes control the disease.

Now, I think this article by Dr. Joseph Mercola explains the low prevalence of MS in Okinawa: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/artic ... osure.aspx

As the article states, "The researchers found that sunlight triggers your skin’s production of nitric oxide. Why is this significant? Because nitric oxide is crucial for maintaining healthy blood pressure, helps prevent atherosclerosis, and plays a role in modulating immune system function."

And later, "Not only is nitric oxide important in regulating blood pressure, it also functions as a signaling molecule in your brain and immune system. Besides sitting in the sun, you can increase your nitric oxide levels with a few natural supplements and techniques:
•Calcium and magnesium rich foods and supplements, and vitamins C and E (Attention: Jimmylegs!)
•Olive extract
Bitter melon
•Electrical acupuncture
•Taking a warm bath, or by breathing in and out through one nostril (close off the other nostril and your mouth)"

(I am undecided about that breathing/nostril business – but I have always said I will try anything… Even wearing a chicken leg around my neck, if it might help!)

I now think it is possible that this nitric oxide angle could be responsible for the lower prevalence of MS in people as they live closer to the equator. It may not be vitamin D, ultraviolet radiation, or length of the photo-period. Perhaps it has been nitric oxide all along.

And if MS has a bacterial cause, sunlight has been used (longtime use against tuberculosis, before antibiotic drugs).

… Thinking is always evolving…
My hypothesis: excess insulin (hyperinsulinemia) plays a major role in MS, as developed in my initial post: http://www.thisisms.com/forum/general-discussion-f1/topic1878.html "Insulin – Could This Be the Key?"
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Re: Sunlight, Bitter Melon, Nitric Oxide Connection

Postby jimmylegs » Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:03 am

thx for the heads up lc!

this info reminded me of a couple studies.. will need to get into their works cited when I can:

The possible role of gradual accumulation of copper, cadmium, lead and iron and gradual depletion of zinc, magnesium, selenium, vitamins B2, B6, D, and E and essential fatty acids in multiple sclerosis
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10985916
"Vitamin B6 moderates intracellular nitric oxide (NO) production and extracellular Mg is required for NO release from the cell, so that a deficiency of these nutrients results in increased NO production in the cell and reduced release from the cell. The trapped NO combines with superoxide to form peroxinitrite, an extremely powerful free radical that leads to the myelin damage of MS."

The multifaceted and widespread pathology of magnesium deficiency
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11425281
"Even though Mg is by far the least abundant serum electrolyte, it is extremely important for the metabolism of Ca, K, P, Zn, Cu, Fe, Na, Pb, Cd, HCl, acetylcholine, and nitric oxide (NO), for many enzymes, for the intracellular homeostasis and for activation of thiamine and therefore, for a very wide gamut of crucial body functions. ... The range of pathologies associated with Mg deficiency is staggering: hypertension (cardiovascular disease, kidney and liver damage, etc.), peroxynitrite damage (migraine, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, Alzheimer's disease, etc.), recurrent bacterial infection due to low levels of nitric oxide in the cavities (sinuses, vagina, middle ear, lungs, throat, etc.), fungal infections due to a depressed immune system, thiamine deactivation (low gastric acid, behavioral disorders, etc.), premenstrual syndrome, Ca deficiency (osteoporosis, hypertension, mood swings, etc.), tooth cavities, hearing loss, diabetes type II, cramps, muscle weakness, impotence (lack of NO), aggression (lack of NO), fibromas, K deficiency (arrhythmia, hypertension, some forms of cancer), Fe accumulation, etc..."

Hypomagnesemia Inhibits Nitric Oxide Release From Coronary Endothelium: Protective Role of Magnesium Infusion After Cardiac Operations
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9564911
"Postoperative hypomagnesemia is common in patients who have undergone cardiac operations and is associated with clinically significant morbidity resulting from atrial and ventricular dysrhythmias. Magnesium supplementation may increase the cardiac index in the early postoperative period.
...Hypomagnesemia selectively impaired the release of nitric oxide from the coronary endothelium. Because nitric oxide is a potent endogenous nitrovasodilator and inhibitor of platelet aggregation and adhesion, hypomagnesemia could promote vasoconstriction and coronary thrombosis in the early postoperative period."
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Re: Sunlight, Bitter Melon, Nitric Oxide Connection

Postby THX1138 » Sun Jul 21, 2013 3:21 pm

This Magnesium stuff sounds important, but my doctor tested me and said my Magnesium ls normal.

What should I do? :roll:
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Re: Sunlight, Bitter Melon, Nitric Oxide Connection

Postby jimmylegs » Sun Jul 21, 2013 4:37 pm

get the real numbers and bring them here for an informed assessment. which you know perfectly well, smart @$$ ;D
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Re: Sunlight, Bitter Melon, Nitric Oxide Connection

Postby THX1138 » Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:48 pm

jimmylegs, I have the info: 1.8 mEq/L with a Standard Range of 1.3 - 2.0 mEq/L. This was from a Serum Magnesium test.

I have done some reading on Magnesium and I have several of the Magnesium deficiency symptoms.

BUT

My Magnesium score is NORMAL.

I suppose being High, that is abnormally High (above 2.0mEq/L) is not what I want either.
This is quite confusing.
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Re: Sunlight, Bitter Melon, Nitric Oxide Connection

Postby jimmylegs » Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:50 am

I pm'd you - for any other interested readers, all the info on issues with the normal range and where your levels should be, can be found at the 'nutrient targets' link below.
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