Ken's Wellness Weekly

A Herb and a Vitamin Work Together to Preserve the Brain

Mitochondria are the energy factories in our cells required for producing the ATP (adenosine triphosphate) necessary for our physical functioning. Mitochondria are also present in the brain, where the ATP produced is necessary for “maintaining neuronal activity and function, which, in turn, are responsible for learning and memory”.

Healthy mitochondria are essential for the formation of synapses (during growth), and for dendritic remodeling (which occurs during normal development of the nervous system, as well as in response to injury, or diseases, in adults).

Now, one of the traits of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the importation of amyloid plaque into the mitochondria. “Mitochondrial dysfunction is prominent in Alzheimer’s disease model mice, which show a progressive impairment in cognition. In rat hippocampal slices, blockade of mitochondrial ATP production leads to deficits in long-term potentiation (LTP)—a critical mechanism for learning and memory.”

So, a group of scientists decided to look at a couple of natural substances already proven to be valuable to brain health, and see if combining them would have an even more powerful effect.

The herb schisandra (chinensis) is commonly used in Chinese medicine, and “has been reported to exert neuroprotective effects, including amelioration of cognitive deficits in a mouse model of chronic, unpredictable mild stress, and improvement of synaptic morphology and plasticity in ovariectomized mice; it also protects against oxidative stress in hepatocytes (liver cells)”.

Meanwhile, vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) “has been reported to prevent impairment of synaptic plasticity and hippocampal LTP (long-term potentiation: a persistent strengthening of synapses) attributable to oxidative damage induced by lead, a neurotoxic metal. High doses of AA have also been shown to reduce amyloid plaque accumulation in AD model mice.”

These researchers were well aware that “mixtures of bioactive natural plant extract or nutrients are known to produce synergistic effects”. But, what had not been established was whether schisandra chinensis extract (SCE) and ascorbic acid (AA) directly regulate mitochondrial activity.

However, their idea was, “Because SCE and its metabolites can induce ROS (reactive oxygen species) in cells and AA is known as an antioxidant, combining SCE with AA would have the benefit of reducing the oxidative stress of ROS which is increased by enhancement of mitochondrial respiration.”

What they are saying here is, SCE causes some free radical damage in brain cells (by inducing ROS), as a byproduct of improving mitochondrial activity in the brain. However, this small amount of free radical damage could be neutralized by adding the antioxidant, ascorbic acid.

(Remember, the benefits of taking schisandra outweigh the small amount of free radical damage that can accompany it. Simply ingesting oxygen causes free radical damage, and clearly the benefits of breathing outweigh the detriment of some free radical damage.)

Their study concluded: “Here, we demonstrate that a mixture of Schisandra chinensis extract (SCE) and ascorbic acid (AA) improved cognitive function and induced synaptic plasticity-regulating proteins by enhancing mitochondrial respiration.”

These results demonstrated that a mixture of SCE and AA improved mitochondrial function, and enhanced learning, and memory and recognition ability. Thus this mix of natural compounds could be used to alleviate AD, aging-associated memory decline, and, potentially, dementia, and even Parkinson’s disease (which has recently been determined to possibly have origins in mitochondrial brain dysfunction). (Study)

Here is a little more information on schisandra from our AdrenalStart product page (as it is one of the primary ingredients in that formula):

Schisandra, a traditional Chinese herb, is an anti-stress adaptogen. Schisandra is known as a complete and balanced herb – the “five flavours” present in schisandra reflect the five elemental energies of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Schisandra provides many benefits such as improved digestion, increased circulation and enhanced immune function. Schisandra is used by athletes to increase stamina and physical performance. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses schisandra to boost physical and mental endurance, and to encourage detoxification.

Finally, I will point out that liposomal vitamin C is even better than ascorbic acid, for all purposes, including the above mentioned enhancement of mitochondrial activity in the brain. Liposomal C, unlike regular ascorbic acid, can easily enter into cells, directly targeting the place where mitochondria do their work.

Thyroid and Vitamin D

There seems to be no end to the functions vitamin D serves in the body. In a recent study published in the journal, Endocrinology researchers set out to “determine the role of vitamin D in non-autoimmune hypothyroidism”. Participants included patients having Hashimoto and non-Hashimoto hypothyroidism, as well as a control group. All subjects were tested for vitamin D levels, as well as T3 and T4 levels.

Overall, findings revealed that non-autoimmune hypothyroidism, as well as Hashimoto thyroiditis, was related to vitamin D deficiency. “In Hashimoto thyroiditis, the role of vitamin D deficiency was thought to be in the association of higher autoantibody (TGAb) level; while, the role of vitamin D deficiency in non-immune hypothyroidism should be further investigated.”

Thus, whether thyroid malfunction was immune related (Hashimoto), or non-immune related (hypothyroidism), both conditions were exacerbated by vitamin D deficiency. And, of course, the thyroid gland also requires iodine, something commonly absent from the Western diet. The use of iodine by those with Hashimoto’s disease is debated (in Western medicine), but those who are following a doctor’s advice to avoid iodine would certainly benefit from ensuring they at least have adequate amounts of vitamin D. (Study)

Free E-Book on 5G

The health website is offering a free copy of an eBook on the subject of 5G. This book collects the “science that proves the biologically harmful effect of 5G deployments and wireless radiation”.

While the 5G rollout is relentlessly promoted as safe, industry and government officials ignore numerous peer-reviewed, independent studies showing the risks it presents.

This 127-page eBook is a powerful summary of the science that telecoms don't want us to know, because it scientifically demonstrates, beyond any reasonable doubt, the biologically harmful effect of 5G deployments and wireless radiation in general. Includes citations to 139 scientific research papers.” LINK


Ken Peters has been in the health and nutrition field for over 30 years as a researcher, writer, and nutritional consultant.  He works in product research and development for NutriStart Vitamin Company, among others.  
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