Mood, Sleep, and Other
In this section I talk about a mood booster and sleep aid that I use, as well as a few other recommendations. SAMe is hands down the most effective natural antidepressant that I've found and melatonin is a powerful sleep aid. The best part is that both of these supplements are naturally found in the body and also protect the brain and central nervous system from damage.
SAMe has literally changed my life for the better. It is an essential part of my daily supplementation routine that lifts my mood and helps me to feel better about life in general. SAMe is naturally found in the body, and has a thirty year history of effectiveness in treating depression which is what I mainly use it for. In addition, SAMe has shown to an effective anti-inflammatory and to benefit liver health. In a study of ALS mice with the SOD gene mutation, SAMe provided multiple neuroprotective effects. In these mice it delayed disease onset, prevented the loss of motor neurons and increased antioxidant activity. These results may or may not be relevant in humans, but I thought I would mention it here as I have found SAMe to be extremely beneficial to my mental health. I have heard that SAMe doesn't work this way for everyone but I love it as a natural alternative to pharmaceutical antidepressants, and I actually prefer it to Wellbutrin which I used to take.
Melatonin is a natural hormone produced and secreted by the pineal gland to help us fall asleep and improve the quality of sleep. In ALS, the most promising effects of melatonin are those of blocking the pathways that cause motor neuron death in a process called apotosis and its antioxidant ability to scavenge for free radicals. Melatonin has also shown to be effective at reducing glutamate excitotoxicity, and I have actually experienced this firsthand. When I eat foods containing high levels of glutamate I notice a sensation at the back of my head and upper neck that feels like my brain is overheating. Over the years I have tied this feeling specifically to glutamate intake and I have found melatonin is a powerful way to to reduce this sensation and to calm my system down before bed. I don’t take it every day, but I have found a dosage of 3 to 5 mg works pretty well for helping me sleep when I need it as well.
Apple Cider Vinegar:
For centuries vinegar has been used as an ancient folk remedy, and the most popular vinegar in the natural health community is apple cider vinegar. Studies have shown that apple cider vinegar lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease, helps to lower blood sugar, and may help with bacterial overgrowth. Other anecdotal claims that it assists with detox, alkalizing the body if it is overly acidic, and assisting with inflammation are less well researched. I’m listing apple cider vinegar here because my body really seems to like it, and for me that’s all that really matters.
It is best to get an organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar like Bragg's brand that also contains "mother." Mother is made up of strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky appearance. Some people believe that the "mother" is responsible for most of the health benefits, but again, research on natural products like this is scarce because there isn’t big pharmaceutical money behind it. I take a tablespoon a day and believe that it is of benefit.
Electrolytes have been hugely important for me as I found myself to be deficient in magnesium, chloride, sodium, and potassium. Proper electrolyte balance can also help with muscle spasms and tremors, as well as cramps. The electrolyte blend that I’m linking here is a liquid that I add to my drinking water every day. It is inexpensive and I have found it to be beneficial.
Apple Cider Vinegar: