I called it The Endothelial Health Program, and it changed our lives. If you google "endothelial health" today, the link to it will come up first. direct link to program I am happy to see there are many more new links, information and many more published papers on PubMed eight years later. Finally, the discussion of endothelial health is becoming mainstream, and the Nobel Prize winning science of Nitric Oxide (EDRF) is reaching doctors' offices.
Highly regarded MS and Alzheimer's researchers are now actively looking at the endothelium, nitric oxide and hypoperfusion in neurodegeneration, and encouraging other researchers to do the same. This gives me great hope.
Although multiple sclerosis (MS) has traditionally been viewed and researched as an immune-mediated demyelinating and neurodegenerative disease of the human central nervous system (CNS), its highly complex pathogenesis clearly includes a significant vascular inflammatory component and many therapeutic approaches achieve benefit by direct or indirect effects on cerebrovascular endothelial cells.
link to research
Substantial evidence suggests that the neurodegenerative process is initiated by chronic cerebral hypoperfusion (CCH) caused by ageing and cardiovascular conditions. CCH causes reduced oxygen, glucose and other nutrient supply to the brain, with direct damage not only to the parenchymal cells, but also to the blood-brain barrier (BBB), a key mediator of cerebral homeostasis. BBB dysfunction mediates the indirect neurotoxic effects of CCH by promoting oxidative stress, inflammation, paracellular permeability, and dysregulation of nitric oxide, a key regulator of regional blood flow
link to research
The Endothelial Health Program is not a diet, or a "don't do this" approach. It's not about following specific rules. It's proactive. It's about living in a way which reverses damage and protects the six trillion endothelial cells inside every human body.
Why? Because these cells maintain the health of all your organs and your immune system.
The endothelium is actually your largest organ. It is the lining of 60,000 miles of blood and lymph vessels, and it communicates with all of your other organs. It is also the interface between your immune system and your vascular system, and is what controls the blood brain barrier and keeps harmful plasmic particles out of delicate brain tissue. It controls how much blood, oxygen and nutrition your neurons receive. Maintaining endothelial health is neuroprotective. link to recent pub science from Columbia University
This communicative lining is made up of trillions of endothelial cells, and if these cells become damaged or die, this vital, protective network disintigrates. This is a problem in ALL diseases of neurodegeneration, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and dementia. PubMed now has hundreds of scientific papers on endothelial dysfunction and each these diseases. But endothelial cell death and dysfunction can be reversed.
It was an attempt to connect the heart and brain, to understand the vascular connection to MS. And I did it for Jeff.
The basic tenets of the lifestyle program are:
2. Stress reduction. The acts of deep breathing, the practice of meditation, yoga, prayer, all reduce endothelial cell damaging cortisol and increase healing, vasodilating nitric oxide.
3. Liver health. Decreasing liver damaging toxins--like alcohol, plastics exposure, chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals, drugs--and increasing liver protecting flavonolignans (like silymarin) and antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables, maintains endothelial cell health.
4. Vitamin D/UV ray increase. Skin makes vitamin D when exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun. Because of sunscreen and our indoor lives, many people are not receiving enough of this potent hormone. And our circadian rhythm is affected. Vitamin D creates endothelial cell health by increasing nitric oxide. UV rays release nitrates from the skin, creating vasodilation.
13. Laughter, joy, community, purpose, loving relationships. All of these things increase nitric oxide and improve endothelial health.
This model for health is called "a systems approach." as opposed to a mono-therapeutic approach utilized by pharmaceutical companies. It is much more expensive and difficult to clinical trial a lifestyle when compared to a singular drug or supplement, but it can be done. UCLA recently published on a systems approach in disease reversal in Alzheimer's. Link to UCLA study My dream would be to fund a gold standard clinical trial of this program. Maybe someday.
What's ahead? God willing, more of this. We have no idea of what tomorrow may bring, but we consider the gift of this lifestyle program to be our message of hope.