Antioxidants and Binders
There is mounting evidence to support that environmental toxicity and heavy metals are contributing to the damage caused by ALS. Since being diagnosed I have taken regular hair tests that have revealed high levels of heavy metals in my system so my own experience seems to confirm this. ALS research is revealing other sources of toxicity besides heavy metals as well, such as mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress caused by free radicals. For a not yet understood reason in ALS, the mitochondria which are responsible for providing energy for all cells in the body (including motor neurons) stop functioning correctly. As a result, the mitochondria begin producing harmful free radicals at a rate faster than the body is able to detoxify them.
In recognizing that my body is struggling with several toxicity issues I have decreased my exposure to as many sources of toxins as I can. I have also benefited from taking antioxidants and binders to help reduce this toxic burden on my system, and I list some of those in this section. These supplements have assisted me in easing the burden that the body is experiencing by giving it more of the tools that it needs to detoxify.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin abundant in vegetables and fruits that is necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. It is a powerful antioxidant and immune system booster, with anti-inflammatory effects as well. I don’t ever go a day without taking vitamin C.
Pycnogenol is an extract of French maritime pine bark that includes procyanidins, bioflavonoids, and other beneficial molecules. It has been shown to be a powerful antioxidant with free radical-scavenging activity against reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. It also has protective effects against glutamate-induced excitotoxicity which has shown to be so damaging in cases of ALS, and is highly bio-available meaning that when ingested the body can easily use it. It has also been shown to support healthy cell membrane and DNA function, and to have anti-inflammatory properties as well. This is good stuff!
I have used this product for some time and highly recommend it. Antioxidant extreme is well-sourced with natural ingredients and doesn't have any unnecessary fillers or synthetic vitamins or minerals. It touts over 4000 ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) per capsule which means that it is extremely effective free radical scavenger and antioxidant. It is also highly rated on Amazon and a great way to get a variety of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory herbs and botanicals in one place.
Toxin and Metal Binders
Binders are simply substances that attract toxins and heavy metals in the body so that they can be safely removed. Below are several binders that I have used and found to be extremely effective at reducing my body’s toxic load. I have confirmed this through regular hair tests which have shown significant decreases in my heavy metal levels over the past several years.
Be aware that the removal of toxins and heavy metals is serious business. It is possible to cause damage to your brain and body system as you are removing metals if you try to take it too fast, too soon. It is best to make it a slow marathon rather than a sprint so that the body and detox organs don’t become overburdened. Your body will thank you for taking it slow, and you can take comfort in knowing that are making a difference over time in a safe way.
There are many more binders out to there than I mention here. I recognize that different kinds will work better for different people at different times on their journey. If you are looking for more options, consider Pectasol (a natural binder from fruit pectin,) chlorella, bentonite clay, EDTA, or activated charcoal.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a mitochondrial fatty acid that is involved in energy metabolism for all of the cells of the body. It is made in the body but can also be consumed through eating meat. In supplement form, it is both fat and water soluble meaning that the body is easily able to use it. It also crosses the blood brain barrier which means that it can enter and benefit the brain.
ALA has shown to be a powerful chelator (remover of heavy metals) and also benefits various forms of oxidation and inflammation. In addition to these benefits research has shown that ALA can help to block against glutamate-induced excitotoxicity and mitochondrial dysfunction, both of which have been shown to be issues affecting ALS patients. I use ALA regularly and find it to be a powerful detoxifier even in small dosages. As a result I recommend to start at 25 mg capsules (available on Amazon) and work your way up as needed.
Zeolites are natural microporous minerals that form in nature as a result of a chemical reaction between volcanic lava and salt water. Zeolites are unique in nature in that they are negatively charged molecules, and as they pass through the body they are attracted the positively charged particles of heavy metals and toxins. These particles are then trapped within the porous structure of the zeolite and can then be safely removed from the body. Zeolite has been given the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) designation by the FDA, but it is still best to get a high quality zeolite product. This is because zeolite in nature picks up metals that it comes into contact with in the ground, and high quality products clean their zeolite so it is free of toxins and more effective at cleaning metals and toxins out of your system as well.
I personally love using zeolite, and it is my favorite way to remove toxins and heavy metals from my system at this time. There are a few considerations I would like to mention however. First of all, the zeolite I use comes in the form of a grainy powder. It doesn’t taste bad, but the texture can take some getting used to when you take it with liquid. As with all binders to be safe I started at very low dosages (1/4 TSP; half of the recommended dose) to get a feel for how it affected me and slowly worked my way up. It is best to take zeolite for one month on/one month off to give your body time to replenish any nutrients that might have been pulled out along the metals. Below I am linking the one that I use, called Zeobind.
Liver and Kidney Support
I have found that my detox organs have been under quite a bit of strain as I remove toxins, especially my liver and kidneys. Keeping these and other detox organs strong and healthy means that the body is more effective at removing everything it doesn't need.
Milk thistle extract has long been valued for its role in ensuring healthy liver, kidney, and gallbladder health. It contains the flavonoid silymarin, which is thought to be responsible for many of its beneficial effects including liver protection, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Milk thistle also promotes healthy digestive function by helping with enzyme formation, increasing bile production, and soothing the mucous membranes throughout the body. My body really likes milk thistle!
Dr. Christopher’s Kidney Formula:
I have found this to be a powerful, safe, and natural way to increase the health and functioning of my kidneys and bladder. Before beginning to take this supplement I was having to get up to go to the bathroom every other night, which is hard given my physical limitations and it meant waking my parents up as well. After a month or so of using this supplement I rarely need to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom anymore which is a big deal! It is highly rated on Amazon and cheap as well, but the only disclaimer with using this supplement is that one of its ingredients, goldenseal should not be used continuously. This supplement should be taken only for a few weeks at a time and then stopped for a few weeks.
TUDCA (Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid):
Tauroursodeoxycholic acid, more commonly referred to as TUDCA, is a naturally occurring bile salt that is produced by the liver. Supplementation of TUDCA confers powerful liver protection and strengthening benefits. Additionally, TUDCA has been implicated in a wide range of beneficial metabolic effects from reducing insulin resistance and diabetes to being a neurological protection agent. In a preliminary ALS study of TUDCA and the drug riluzole taken together, patients retained a higher ALSFRS-R functional score over time than those with ALS who took riluzole alone. I have used this supplement on and off and have found it to be expensive but well-tolerated. It is hard to say if I have noticed the difference from its use.