That is the question. Vitamin B, that is. And any other nutritional supplement.
Shortly after ALS crashed my party, I was introduced to the book â€śEric Is Winning,â€ť by Eric Edney. Edney was a long-term ALS survivor (over 20 years) who attributed his longevity to a regimen that included, among other factors, nutritional supplements. The book offers Edneyâ€™s assertion that his protocol prevented further decline and may have even reversed some of his ALS symptoms.
That got my attention. Motivated in equal parts by hope, cynicism, desperation, and finite financial means, I launched a research campaign. My conclusion was that, minimally, some baseline gain might be achieved by a supplement â€ścocktail.â€ť And if a fraction of the constituents could somehow circumvent the blood-brain barrier, ALS modulation might even be possible.
Beginning with Edneyâ€™s list, augmented by doctor recommendations, patient experiences, and my own due diligence, the candidates for my elixir emerged. My criteria for selection became:
For example, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a mitochondrial cofactor known for its antioxidant properties. Oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction have been implicated in the pathophysiology of ALS. CoQ10 also promotes energy and overall vitality and helps normalize circulation. Side effects from CoQ10 are rare and mild. It is relatively inexpensive. Thus, CoQ10 has been the one constant component in my changing supplement mix.
Within that framework, I have at various times and at varying dosages included the following in my daily potion: garlic, vitamins B-complex/C/D/E, coconut oil, acetyl-L-carnitine, 5-hydroxytryptophan, DHEA, N-acetylcysteine, Bacopa, methylsulfonylmethane, luteolin, proanthocyanidins, ginseng, astragalus, arginine, glucosamine, chondroitin, biotin, Ginkgo biloba, taurine, omega-3, deer antler velvet, copper, zinc, alpha lipoic acid, selenium, glutathione, Protandim, astaxanthin, resveratrol, creatine, hemp oil, and magnesium.
Once selected, I commit to the supplement for a minimum of three months. I make mental note of any change, however slight, in my abilities and function. I strive to pay about $100 per month, and never over $200. I maintain an ongoing surveillance for new prospects. As I add promising components, others, fall off out of economic necessity. Discontinuance may only be temporary. Glutathione is now available as an intra-oral spray, offering much more effective absorption into the bloodstream. Consequently, I am once again taking it.
Recently, I added three new supplements to my daily intake. Here is the rationale:
The reality, of course, is that all of the effort and expense likely will bear no fruit. The odds are astronomically stacked against me. Even if any of the supplements were to have any hint of efficacy against ALS, the unanswerable questions of dose, frequency, and synergistic effect within the cocktail remain. That, and the aforementioned blood-brain barrier lottery-like challenge, lead many to describe what I am attempting as impossible. That said, a shot in the dark is better than no shot at all. And I still have some bullets left.
A childhood memoryÂ futher buoys me. When I was a boy, perhaps as an influence of having lived during the Great Depression, my father was zealous in following a â€śwaste not, want notâ€ť mentality. So much so, that he would periodically combine all of theÂ soon-to-be-expiring meat, cheese, and produce into a single, visually and aromatically unappealing, potpourri. To encourage its rapid consumption, he dubbed the resulting product a â€śyum yum casserole.â€ť Once, out of dozens of attempts, it actually lived up to its name.
With myÂ ever-evolving supplement concoction du jour, I am seeking to strike ALS-impacting â€śyum yum.â€ť
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