Thursday, May 22, 2014

Retroviruses and MS

 I came across this research paper which looks at the association of a specific retrovirus to a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) which seems to be prevalent in patients with onset symptoms of MS.    Another article looked at the Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) which has long been linked with MS and researchers are now actively looking at treatments that boost immunity to EBV see article here.

 I found this quite interesting, as the protocol I am following specifically addresses viruses as one of the factors in chronic disease.  That SNiPs are potentially involved in susceptibility to these retroviruses is even more interesting.  When I read that, I immediately looked through the raw data of my 23andme genetic test...but disappointingly, the SNiP associated with the HERVfc1 virus was not part of the genes tested. :(  

Up until now, I hadn't really given much thought to retroviruses.  I knew about the possible link between EBV and MS but since I had never had mono, didn't think it was relevant to me!  Is it possible to have EBV and not have had symptoms?  I think a trip to the doctor to request testing might be in order?!

In any case, I am still working through getting Step One supplements in place, so addressing viruses is way down on the list.  It has been VERY SLOW going, as every supplement I add seems to provoke detox!  And those supplements aren't even the ones that usually provoke detox (apparently).

Dr. Amy wasn't joking when she said 'this is a marathon, not a sprint".

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Biochemical Testing

One of the first things I did when I decided to try the Yasko protocol was to undertake a slew of tests to get a baseline as to where I was as far as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, gut flora, toxins, etc.  I was feeling a bit guilty about spending so much money on testing ($2000...gulp!), so I cashed in my savings bonds that I had intended to keep for vacation purposes.  Apparently my guilt was definitely one-sided, as my husband didn't seem too concerned about me spending that kind of money. (Go figure??)

To prepare for the tests, the plan was to go off all supplements for 2 weeks prior.  (The idea being that I wanted to see where my body was at sans supplements).  It turned out that I went off supplements for 4 weeks due to Christmas holidays and not wanting to send in tests over that time period.

Going off all supplements wasn't too bad for the first 2 weeks, but I really started to notice slight worsening of my symptoms from week 3 onwards.  I remember thinking that I was probably going to feel a lot worse before I started feeling better!  Ain't that the truth!

So what tests did I have done? There were 8 in all:

Urine Toxic Metals (I tested positive for 11/20)
Urine Essential Elements (low to lowish on all but 3)
Hair Toxic Metals (I tested positive for 23/31)
Urine Amino Acids (lots of imbalances)
Fecal Metals (I tested positive for 12/13!)
Comprehensive Stool Analysis w. Parasitology (imbalanced flora, 1 parasite, but no yeast)
Metabolic Analysis Profile (showed issues with short chain fatty acids and B Vitamins)
Neopterin/Biopterin Profile (issues with BH4)

Thankfully, not all the results came in at the same time, so I was able to go through one or two tests at a time, and compare my results to what Dr. Amy is looking for on tests, as described in:
Don't let the title fool you...she may now focus on helping children within the Autism Spectrum, but as I mentioned in a previous post, she started out helping people with neurological conditions.(Parkinson's, Lupus, MS...)

Her discussion group is also a FABULOUS source of information, and I have been actively using it to help guide my initial decisions on supplements.  Check it out!

I meet with my Naturopath in 2 weeks to discuss my test results and to share what I've learned so far.  Although my Naturopath is new to the Yasko Protocol, she is very interested in it's application to various conditions, and I really value her expert opinion and feedback.

Biochemical testing was one of the best things I have done for myself...instead of second guessing that I had a mineral/vitamin/amino acid imbalances, or a yeast problem, or gut flora issues, or a parasite (which I had long suspected), I now know exactly what is going on in my body.  And more importantly...I understand why I might be having the issues I am, I see how I might have developed the issues I have, AND I can see what I need to do to help address those issues.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Here a SNiP, There a SNiP...Everywhere a SNiP, SNiP

After I got the genetic test results back from 23andMe, I had to be able to read the raw data, so I used Sterlings App from the MTHFR Support website ($20) to convert the raw data into something that was readable.  This generated a multi-page report on all my genetic mutations (SNPs).  
The Yasko Protocol, as do many others, focuses only on the SNPs in the Methylation Pathway, as SNPs along this pathway can be bypassed using supplementation.  Dr. Amy believes in paying it forward, so she has made it possible for anyone with their genetic results to generate a Methylation Pathway Analysis for FREE!  This is a streamlined format, designed to help you choose appropriate supplements tailored to your specific SNPs.  Needless to say I took advantage of this free service and promptly printed out the 45+ page report!

Here's my genetic test results.  The green means no SNPs, the yellow means 1 of the 2 chromosomes has a mutation, and the red means both chromosomes have a mutation.

At first glance, it doesn't look too, too bad.  But on closer examination, a few things become evident:  I have SNPs on all areas of methylation regarding BHMT and AHCY and significant mutations with MTRR.  CBS and SHMT SNPs are also present and these are important SNPs to consider when starting to supplement.

It was overwhelming, to say the least, to wrap my head around the terminology surrounding the different SNPs and how they impact the methylation cycle, and I am still finding myself rereading and rereading the information on these SNPs to try and understand how they all work together.

I jokingly tell people that by the time I'm through with this protocol I'll be well on my way to becoming a molecular biologist!  Steep learning curve to say the least!