Seasonal diet - Asparagus benefits for MS?

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

Seasonal diet - Asparagus benefits for MS?

Postby jimmylegs » Sun Jun 18, 2017 6:23 am

Where I live, we're in the thick of asparagus season (and on the tail end of fiddlehead season ... well, in the grocery store at least - according to reports, in the local wilds the fiddleheads are long gone).

Picked up two bunches of asparagus yesterday, probably bunches #9 and #10 of the season. Since i eat it only on a local seasonal basis, asparagus has not tended to make it into any of my intake calculations for daily nutrients or potential anti-inflammatory effects.

While i do kind of enjoy the pea-like taste of raw asparagus, it most often gets the blanch treatment. in the last year, this has been followed by the brief saute.
Today i thought i would dig a little deeper on the whole asparagus thing. As usual, whfoods is an awesome starting point: ... ce&dbid=12

I like that the cited research supports the common sense treatment of asparagus for cooking and storage, eg in terms of cooking tips for less time than the base of the spear, and keeping the cut bases moist. i've always put the bases in first and the tips closer to the end of blanching. fairly consistent w whfoods prep recommendations. they say 5 mins blanch for spears, 3 min for thinner spears. i tend to go for bunches with thicker spears, and do the bases for 5 mins, tips are added for last two. will have to look into what havoc is being wreaked via the final toss w seasonings in a hot cast iron pan.

Also very interesting, asparagus as an outstanding source of quercetin. i had not realized; not that it was high in quercetin or that it came second only to onions among approx 20 foods assessed (amusingly, onion played a major role in breakfast yesterday, while asparagus is the headliner today).

Check out Table 2 on p 1718 here (@ zyklon aka iron man, note asparagus' top spot among veg studied, in terms of antioxidant capacity):

Daily consumption of phenolics and total antioxidant capacity from fruits and vegetables in American diet

Aside: wonder if i can find that silly treatment study from years back in which the 'placebo' arm (or something) included quercetin - what nonsense that was lol. now if only i can find it again... :P

I have lots to learn about phytonutrients. Learned from today's read in whfoods' asparagus article about Asparanin, and from there Asparagin, Asparagine, etc. All outside my bailiwick. tidbits which caught my attention:

"...scientists soon discovered that numerous saponins in asparagus—including asparanin (sic) A—have the ability to alter immune-system signaling processes as well as the development of certain cancer-related processes...
the ability of asparagus extracts to inhibit the production of certain inflammation system signaling molecules (cytokines) including IL-6 (interleukin-6) and TNF (tumor necrosis factor) is helping to explain how asparagus extracts might be able to help reduce excessive inflammatory processes...
the ability of asparagus extracts to stimulate the activity of IL-12 ([which] helps ... CD4+ T cells—differentiate into Th1 or T helper cells) may help explain some of the immunosupportive properties of this vegetable."

That made me go on a bit of a scout to see what the latest related publications might include.
These were interesting (found in opposite order but they make more sense re 'problem-to-solution' in the order included here):

Gut Health of Pigs: Challenge Models and Response Criteria with a Critical Analysis of the Effectiveness of Selected Feed Additives — A Review (2016)

"Lipopolysaccharide challenge
... Lipopolysaccharide challenge is a well-documented model for inducing symptoms of acute bacterial infection and immunological stress in laboratory animals... It is well documented that an immunological challenge can result in a series of physiological changes including increased body temperature, depressed feed intake, changes in plasma acute phase protein concentration, activation of the immune system, activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and inhibition of the somatotropic axis (Johnson, 1997)."

Asparagine improves intestinal integrity, inhibits TLR4 and NOD signaling, and differently regulates p38 and ERK1/2 signaling in weanling piglets after LPS challenge (2016)

"Asparagine (Asn), an activator of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), stimulates cell proliferation in intestinal epithelial cells. ... Our results suggest that Asn improves intestinal integrity during an inflammatory insult..."

on the side, also getting a history lesson, eg: Asparagine was the first amino acid to be isolated.
Vauquelin, L. N., & Robiquet, P. J. (1806). The discovery of a new plant principle in Asparagus sativus. Ann. Chim.(Paris), 57(2), 1.

earlier today i was trying to decide whether i would work asparagus into breakfast, or lunch. think i've come down on 'BOTH' :D hehehe

nutrient rating chart ... nalprofile

and with that, it is edging on for brunchtime. ttfn :D

*edit* just noticed and removed some sort of accidental copy paste duplication above. no more non sequiturs!
take control of your own health
pursue optimal self care at least as actively as a diagnosis
ask for referrals to preventive health care specialists eg dietitians
don't let suboptimal self care muddy any underlying diagnostic picture!
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Re: Seasonal diet - Asparagus benefits

Postby jimmylegs » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:21 am

potential implications in MS. back to murine level however, and i note that the extraction used is derived from asparagus *roots* vs spears or tips.

Inhibitory effect of Asparagus cochinchinensis on tumor necrosis factor-alpha secretion from astrocytes (1998)
excerpt: "These results suggest that A. cochinchinensis aqueous extract (ACAE) may inhibit TNF-a secretion by inhibiting IL!0 secretion and that ACAE has a (sic) anti-inflammatory activity in the central nervous system"

Full text excerpts (dates omitted from citations due to messy paste function on this one):
"Cytokines have been implicated in the pathogenesis of several neuropathologies, most notably AIDS-related dementia "(Vitkovic et al, Perrella et al), multiple sclerosis (Brosnan et al), (Sharief and Thompson), and Alzheimer's disease (Fillit et al; Gi.n et al; Forloni et al). Although the source of these cytokines may be invading macrophages and lymphocytes, the secretion of TNF-a and IL-1 by cell endogenous to the CNS, neuroglial cells, in response to lipopolysaccharide "LPS" (Chung and Benveniste) and viruses (Lieberman et al[) has been reported...

In multiple sclerosis lesions, TNF-a has been localized within astrocytes (Hofman et al; Selmaj et al) TNF-a is also postulated to have a role in demyelination as it is cytotoxic for oligodendrocytes in vitro (Robbins et al) and causes myelin degradation in organotypic CNS cultures (Selmaj and Raine)...

In conclusion, the results obtained in the present study provide evidence that ACAE contributes to the prevention or treatment of inflammatory brain diseases. These properties of ACAE may be mediated, at least in part, by its inhibiting IL-1 secretion in inflamed brain tissues. The studies on the isolation and characterization of the active chemical constituents are in progress.

while the research into the effects of blanched asparagus for breakfast and lunch, on inflammation in human brains is still pending, i will continue my individual investigations.

confounding factors to date usually include balsamic vinegar, olive oil, feta, sauteed mushrooms and perhaps a few dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds. this morning, confounding elements consisted of poached egg, sauteed mushroom and melted old cheddar. these, and not measuring anything to do with inflammatory markers, are ongoing limitations to this research programme.
take control of your own health
pursue optimal self care at least as actively as a diagnosis
ask for referrals to preventive health care specialists eg dietitians
don't let suboptimal self care muddy any underlying diagnostic picture!
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