What could be more unnerving than being a turkey at Thanksgiving? Demyelinating nerve conditions, of course! These conditions are very debilitating and difficult to overcome.
Nerves are similar to the electrical wiring in your home. They have a protective insulating layer called the myelin sheath that is an electrically insulating phospholipid layer surrounding the nerves and enabling impulses to flow. Having healthy myelin is necessary for proper nerve signaling and to prevent 'short circuits'.
Demyelinating disorders are conditions that damage myelin. When this happens, scar tissue forms in its place. Brain signals can’t move across scar tissue as quickly, so your nerves don’t work as well as they should.
The most common symptoms of demyelinating disorders are:
• Vision loss
• Muscle weakness
• Muscle stiffness
• Muscle spasms
• Sensory changes
One of the most well known demyelinating nerve conditions is Multiple Sclerosis (MS). In this disorder, your immune system attacks the myelin sheath or the cells that produce and maintain it. This causes inflammation and injury to the sheath and ultimately to the nerve fibers that it surrounds. The process can result in multiple areas of scarring (sclerosis).
Other demyelinating nerve conditions include Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), Transverse Myelitis, Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis and Trigeminal Myalgia (TN). TN is also known as the 'Suicide Disease' due to the unbearable, excruciating pain caused by shocks to the face from the trigeminal nerve. Talk about unnerving!
Some of the known causes of nerve demyelination include immune challenges such as a virus, inflammation from an immune response that goes awry and causes your body to attack its own tissues (autoimmune condition), a genetic predisposition or even nerve injury.
However, there is another very insidious contributor to these unnerving issues - aluminum. Unfortunately, aluminum is found in everything from personal care products and cookware to our food and water. Aluminum is a toxin that damages the myelin sheath around nerves. It does this by dissolving the phospholipid layer because of its ability to bind with phosphorous (a major component of the phospholipid layer).
This is exactly the premise behind the workings of anti-perspirants and many deodorants. The aluminum in the products purposefully damages the nerves to stop the body's ability to sweat in that area. Since the body is constantly repairing, you will be able to sweat once again when the nerve and myelin sheath are repaired. Rather than continuing to use such a toxic product, it is time to find a better option. Some people like to use salt crystal deodorant which works by inhibiting odorous bacteria growth (but doesn't stop the sweat).
While it is difficult to eliminate all the aluminum exposure from our food and water, we can remove some significant sources in this area, too. Avoid using aluminum utensils and cookware. Opt instead to use stainless steel, glass or porcelain. Avoid the use of aluminum foil with acidic foods, like tomatoes (sauce) and lemons, or to heat food. Also, reconsider buying products in aluminum cans; purchasing items in glass is much better.
One other hidden source of aluminum may be baked goods. Baking powder is often full of aluminum. Sodium aluminum phosphate reacts with heat and the other leavening ingredients to allow baked goods to rise. If you bake, make sure to find aluminum-free baking powder. In general, avoiding commercially baked goods as well as processed foods is a smart choice for reducing your aluminum exposure.
In addition to its nerve damaging effects, aluminum is a known neurotoxin. It contributes to cognitive dysfunction and may contribute to Alzheimer's disease. This is especially problematic because it can cross the blood brain barrier and it is difficult to rid the body of aluminum.
It certainly can seem an overwhelming task to address all the ways you may be exposed to aluminum. We suggest just picking one area to address and then building on your progress over time.
We also recommend supplements to help protect nerves and rebuild the myelin sheath. If you are struggling with a nerve condition, please set up an appointment so we can get you started on a supplement protocol to promote healing as soon as possible. The sooner you address nerve-related issues the better. Your nerves and brain will thank you!