An informal news letter with scientific information and snippets for Arkworld distributors.
Amino Acids – Earth, Fire, Water & Air
In the quest for the miraculous, the fundamentals of human physiology are often overlooked. Not a day goes past without some herb, nut, berry oil or mysterious mushroom being declared a 'super nutrient', yet all of these super nutrients are dependent on essential basics of physiology and biochemistry.
People often ask me how can a single formula do so much? This question is also often a criticism, how can the claims made for L-arginine be substantiated? What is it about this supposedly miracle nutrient that makes it so special and makes it do so much? It's a truth that in Western society, people have become used to advertising hype where even the mundane has become something miraculous and fantastic. The answer of course to the L-arginine conundrum is that this miracle molecule actually enables the body to perform functions which should be happening naturally, it replaces nothing and stimulates nothing rather, it enables the human physiology to operate at an optimum level.
Classical man identified the actions of Fire, Water, Earth, Air and Ether. This is a philosophical concept of man rather than a biochemical one, but a key point is made: the cell and cellular actions need water and air (O2) to create fire (energetic actions). Earth (structure) is acted upon by fire, water and air thus ether is born.
A question I often ask students is ‘I have in front of me an apple and a glass of water. How long can you go resisting eating or drinking before you must eat or drink?’ The answers are varied and often amusing. ‘Now take that minimum time, divide it by ten and hold your breath, do not breath for that period. What happens?’ The answer is always the same, they cannot and if they did I would be in jail. The obvious point of this is that ‘air’, or at the cellular level, oxygen, you cannot survive without. There is a law of survival taught in wilderness survival schools: 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food, 3 months without hope..
The quest for the ultimate nutrient can often ignore the action of human physiology. Key to any cellular actions and critical functions (which must be present before any substance is delivered) are oxygen and water. They are basis upon which cells function, the blood delivers them, or at least should.
The human body has some remarkable innate methods of ensuring delivery of vital O2 and H2O accompanied by a sophisticated system of hydraulics to ensure constancy, but alas modern diets, sugars, starches, preservatives have all played a role in diminishing this elegant process.
There are few simple ways of ensuring delivery of blood, that also overcome the problems of endemic vascular constriction, arterial plaque and BP abnormalities.
Arginine molecules come in two forms that mirror each other. The most interesting one is the left-handed one, which is L-Arginine (as opposed to D-Arginine). It is an amino acid and one of the 22 ‘building blocks’, which make the proteins required for every living cell. When humans fed on wild game and other natural foods, we consumed enough arginine. However farmed meat is much lower in arginine than wild. Arginine-derived nitric oxide (or ADNO) naturally occurs in the body, but unless you live the life of a hunter-gatherer eating wild game and avoiding modern fatty and processed foods, you will not obtain enough in your diet optimally to preserve health. Both arginine and ADNO are natural elements and not drugs, or artificial additives. As a result of our modern diet we may need supplementation to optimise levels.
The critical thing for naturopaths about arginine is that, when it reaches the villi in the intestines, it is absorbed into the bloodstream. This triggers the production of ADNO in the endothelial cells in the walls of the blood vessels. ADNO has rightly been referred to as the “miracle molecule”. In fact in 1992 ADNO was considered “Science Molecule of the Year” by the journal, “Science”, which also reported that “It helps maintain blood pressure by dilating blood vessels, helps kill foreign invaders during the immune response, is a major mediator of penile erections, and is probably a major biochemical component of long-term memory.” In 1998 three American researchers shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discoveries in this area. ADNO can cure, but perhaps more importantly, it can prevent illness. According to one of the Nobel Laureates, “Our findings could help millions and millions of people – even those already afflicted – to safeguard the health of their hearts and vascular system1”
The act of vasodilation via ADNO has far reaching effects across the entire human mechanism. The supply of blood and delivered O2 increases in areas where blood supply was previously restricted. These are 'opened up' to blood and blood bone nutrients, but this action is relatively short-lived lasting for no more than an hour.
To enhance the affect of L-Arginine, L-Citrulline is often added. Used in combination, this amino acid which is also a producer of derived nitric oxide in this case CDNO. The combination of both products produces a longer production of ADNO, which brings us on to some interesting amino acid ‘sleight-of-hand’.
When L-Arginine is present in enough quantity in the human muscle it will produce L-Alanine. In the presence of alanine the up regulation of adrenaline and noradrenaline occurs. The use of synergistic blends of amino acids ensures that both the nitrogen production, vasodilation, and increased production of these two vital hormones is maintained. In essence what we see is the effect of a long-term Hunter-Gatherer diet in action. Blood and hormone delivery achieved at need with normal BP status and none of the accepted 'it happens to all old people' arterial complications.
Nicotinic acid is a form of Vitamin B3. Many will be aware of the 'niacin flush' once considered a standard protocol for the treatment of high cholesterol. Vitamin B3 in this form is another essential nutrient in our vasodilator group.
Beetroot is a non aminio acid derived nitrogen pathway. Beetroot, while often used for its bio-available iron, is a high source of dietary nitrate. Ideally ingested in a powder or liquid form when making contact with saliva is converted by nitrate reductase in the mouth which then converts nitrites into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is generated by two known pathways: the oxidation of L-arginine by endothelial nitric oxide synthase (NOS), requiring the presence of oxygen and several essential co-factors, and by the reduction of nitrate-derived nitrite to nitric oxide.
Nitrite derived from dietary nitrate provides an alternative source of vasoprotective nitric oxide via the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway when conventional nitric oxide synthesis is impaired, thus representing a back up to the more common pathway. This alternate route is highly evolved mechanism as beets, dark leafy greens are a common nutrient rich food in the Hunter-Gatherer diet.
To help us understand this further, it’s useful to consider a couple of case studies.
Case study 1
Camilla had been to her GP for three years displaying all of the symptoms of a Hypothyroid condition. Yet as is often food in many cases her T3/T4 levels were described as 'borderline' with a TSH in the 'normal range'. A daily supplement of a combined ARK 1 formula combined with potassium iodide and iodine produced a steady change over two weeks. Camilla is now so happy with the feeling of being normal she uses twitter to inform others of her progress. Twitter @Camilladresses
Case study 2
Louise suffered for continual migraines for 15 years. Typically she would move between cluster headaches, migraine and migraine with aura in alternating cycles. This was both crippling and exhausting, as there was never a time that was clear, particularly exhausting if you run your own business and are a single mother. This necessitated almost continual use of analgesics. In an average week she would always be in a state of migraine or recovering and heading into another bout. A daily supplement of a combined ARK 1 formula and Beetroot extract produced almost instant results. Louise now has had periods of up to three weeks at a time free of any pain or migraine related symptoms. When she does have the odd 'headache' she will medicate with the amino acids until the dilation effect removes the pain and discomfort. Her relief at not having to consume handfuls of medication has been immense.
What’s important here is that we need to consider the ability of the body to deliver nutrients and hormones appropriately. This is an essential aspect of the naturopathic ethos and treatment. We should remember the key role of these vital amino acids in mediating nitric oxide and vasodilation to deliver oxygen and improve blood flow, thus fanning the fire the cell and cellular actions thus ether is born. Ensuring what you put into a person is delivered, processed and utilised is the most fundamental of concepts. Employing these simple naturopathic strategies can truly be miraculous!