Fancy a recap? (Or Everything you wanted to know about molecular
medicine but were afraid to ask.)
By Dr Igor Tabrizian
Some of my colleagues found it difficult to read my articles because they could not emotionally detach themselves from the anti-medical sentiment in the content. It seems (for them) that the sarcasm overpowered the information. For this reason, I am going to recap (and expand) the basic functions of the
previously covered nutrients as a summary. For those who are used to the element of humour in my articles, I apologise for the boring format of this one. I do this in homage of the bland and contrived nature of the teaching styles with which doctors are familiar.
The rules of nutrition:
1. There is no average person.
2. There is no average or typical cell Ė each cell is a specialist cell.
3. Each cell has an output that defines it.
4. Drug companies control studies and publications.
5. Doctors are threatened not to exceed the boundaries of what they were taught.
Take home message:
The truth is not being told to doctors because they are manipulated too cleverly (by their teachers, professors, health insurance commission, medical board, health department, and
pharmaceutical companies) to have any insight into the extent of the misinformation shovelled to them.
The proof of this is the information below. Most doctors are not aware of the amount of good research already undertaken in the field of molecular medicine. The fact that anyone could compile such a list just from available books and papers makes one wonder why doctors are not being given this information.
Enough politics, next I will look at Zinc, Magnesium, Iron, Vitamin C and Selenium.
Functions of Zinc.
These can be categorised into 6 groups.
1. Secretory. Zinc is needed for secretions such as tears, saliva, sweat, gastric acid, intestinal fluid, vaginal fluid and synovial fluid. It acts as a lubricant and antiseptic to clean off pathogenic
organisms from the surface of the body. Hence the association with dry eyes, dry mouth, dry vagina, conjunctivitis, joint pain, thrush, sore throats, mouth ulcers, gastroenteritis and hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid).
2. Immune system. Zinc is required for the production of immune cells, especially in response to infection. Low zincs are associated with low white cell counts especially after viral infections and chemotherapy.
3. Repair of tissues. Low zinc is associated with delayed wound healing, delayed recovery from infection and arthritic conditions.
4. Liver function. Zinc is required for enzymes such as alcohol dehydrogenase, alkaline phosphatase. Hence alcohol intolerance and low zinc.
5. Neurotransmitters. Zinc is required for serotonin and melatonin synthesis. Hence sleep disturbance
and depression with low zincs.
6. Hormones. Zinc is required for most of the steroidal hormones and for insulin production. Hence the association with infertility and diabetes.
Take home message:
Zinc acts like a defence shield. It protects us from environmental stresses such as infections and heavy metals. It is blocked by copper and cadmium from inside the cells, even if there are normal amounts of it present.
Functions of Magnesium.
There are 15 categories
1. Energy cycles. In glycolysis, magnesium is need for 6 out of 9 steps. In the citric acid cycle, it is needed for 4 out of 9 steps. In the electron transport chain (cytochrome system) it is needed in 2 out of 4 steps. So, to fully convert one glucose molecule to ATP, we need magnesium in 12 of the 22 steps. Hence the association with chronic fatigue syndrome.
2. Liver function. Magnesium is involved in 300 enzymes systems. It is important for glucuronyl transferase, which detoxifies estrogens. Magnesium is a cofactor for Adenyl Cyclase. Magnesium is an essential element of Delta-6-Desaturase. Magnesium is an essential component of all Phosphorylases. Magnesium enhances the function of Tryptophan Hydroxylase. Magnesium facilitates the production and utilization of endogenous Nucleic Acids (DNA).
3. Other enzymes such as most kinases (which make ATP), carboxylases, enolases, glucokinase, iso
citrate dehydrogenase, myokinase, peptidases, phosphokinases, phosphatases, pyruvate oxidase
and thiokinases (about 300 in total).
4. Muscle relaxation. Calcium stimulates muscle contraction, but magnesium is required for muscle
relaxation. This is why low magnesium is associated with coronary artery spasm, hypertension, asthma, cold hands/feet and headaches. Other examples of poor muscle coordination: Iris (pupil) size affects ability to focus (blurred vision). Swallowing needs coordinated muscle function (food sticking in gullet). Peristalsis of colon needs coordinated muscle function (constipation, irritable
bowel, spastic colon). Flow of urine needs coordinated ureteric muscle function (renal colic).
Bladder emptying needs coordinated muscle function (bladder irritability). Heart ventricle needs full relaxation to allow filling during diastole (shortness of breath on exertion).
5. Neurotransmitters. Magnesium is required for serotonin and melatonin production. Hence depression and sleep disturbance are associated with magnesium deficiency.
6. Hormones. Magnesium is required for the steroidal hormones.
7. Control of blood sugar. Magnesium is required for the synchronous release of insulin from the
pancreas and for gluconeogenesis.(liver making glucose in the fasting state).
8. Immune system. Magnesium is needed for antibody synthesis.
9. Voltage stability of nerve cells. This is why anxiety, panic attacks, palpitations, atrial fibrillation, tachycardiaís, nerve paraesthesia and epilepsy are associated with magnesium deficiency.
10. Synchronous muscle control. Low magnesiumís cause dysphagia, gastric distension, constipation,
abdominal cramps and biliary and renal colic.
11. Osteoporosis. Contrary to popular belief (and drug company hype), calcium is not the only mineral required for bone. Magnesium is also needed for bone production as much as calcium.
12. Protein synthesis
13. DNA manufacture. May play cell auditor for cell division to assure correct DNA copy. May explain why low magnesium tissues like skin and lung have higher cancer rates.
14. Haemoglobin synthesis. Plays a role in the binding of the nitrate groups of heme chelate that hold ferrous (iron) in place.
15. Membrane stability and rigidity of cells, hence haemolytic anaemia in low magnesium states.
Take home message: Doctors are being taught mostly about sodium, calcium and potassium, but clearly, magnesium is the most important metallic cofactor in the body. Copper and cadmium block magnesium
in the tissues.
Functions of iron.
There are 5 categories.
1. Immune system. Iron aids in the function for the immune system. It is needed for myeloperoxidase, which kills ingested organisms. Low iron is associated with increased risk of
2. Energy. Iron is needed for the cytochromes in the mitochondria. No iron no ATP production. Iron is essential for the conversion of Lysine to Carnitine within the body Carnitine helps shovel fuel into the mitochondria. Without carnitine you canít metabolise fats properly and tissues like muscle
3. Neurotransmitter. Iron is needed for serotonin and melatonin synthesis. Hence association with disrupted sleep patterns and depression.
4. Hormones. Iron is needed for the production of most of the steroid hormones.
5. Haemoglobin. Iron is needed to transport oxygen in the red blood cells (only one of the 90 enzymes that need iron however). Myoglobin in muscles needs iron. Lead blocks Haem synthesis.
Take home message: Iron is needed for all cells, not just as an oxygen carrier in red cells and muscle.
You cannot make ATP (the basic energy currency) without iron.
Functions of Vitamin C.
There are 6 categories.
1. Immune system. Vitamin C is required for the function of White cells.
2. Energy. Vitamin C is needed for the conversion of lysine to carnitine. No carnitine, no fuel for muscle, hence muscle weakness.
3. Neurotransmitters. Vitamin C is needed for serotonin and melatonin production. It is needed for dopa and noradrenaline production. Hence mental dysfunction, listlessness and depression.
4. Hormones. Adrenal function. Vitamin C is needed by the adrenal gland for production of cortisol and adrenalin. It is needed to make other steroid hormones. Hence the term adrenal myopathy (unpredictable fatigue).
5. As an antioxidant and metal scavenger.
6. For repair of tissues such as blood vessels and joints. Hence, bleeding gums and easy bruising.
Take home message: Vitamin C is not just an immune cell nutrient. It can be rendered useless if there is excess copper in the body.
Functions of selenium.
There are 5 categories.
1. Immune regulation.Selenium is important for preventing autoimmune disorders and cancer. Hence the association with Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, Hashimotoís and autoimmune diabetes.
2. Heart function. Selenium optimises Coenzyme Q10 production and improves heart muscle efficiency.
Hence the association with cardiomyopathy (heart failure).
3. Selenium has an effect on neurotransmitter production and has been used in the treatment of depression and schizophrenia. This may be a chelating effect as it does help remove heavy metals.
4. Hormones. Selenium is required for the production of thyroxine (T4) and its peripheral conversion to tri-iodothyronine (T3). You can pump all the T4 into a patient, but if thereís no selenium, it doesnít work.
It is also needed for Insulin production. Hence hypothyroidism, diabetes and low selenium.
5. As an antioxidant.
Take home message: Donít expect to find selenium in food from WA. or New Zealand.
The relationship of depression and nutrients.
See the diagram below (Page 4:http://www.nutritionreviewservice.com.au/recap.PDF).
Apart from the obvious effect of low zinc, magnesium, iron, vitamin c etc, imagine excess copper?
Copper will block Zinc and Magnesium and oxidise the Vitamin C. This brings line 2 to a complete standstill. Now think about the incidence of excess copper and the prevalence of depressive illness in Perth.
Take home message: Perhaps an investigation of why the patient is serotonin deficient is a better
approach to the treatment of depression than just giving them drugs?
Unfortunately, the 295 references from the previous articles canít be published again, but they are
available from the back issues.
I hope those previously overwhelmed by my acerbic style can now look at these issues more objectively.
If you canít, then Iím afraid the tide is rising up against you. See you next month.
Vitamin C: http://www.nutritionreviewservice.com.au/C!.PDF
More about copper: http://aca.ninemsn.com.au/stories/684.asp