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Good InfoHe Solved a Medical Mystery and Finds a Key to Alzheimer’s Disease...

He Solved a Medical Mystery and Finds a Key to Alzheimer’s Disease in Simple Amino Acid

A view over Guam’s coastal towns – Dorothy CC 2.0.

For over decade, big pharma has been pouring billions into drug trials for Alzheimer’s disease treatments without progress.

But what if there were a neuroprotective compound with better early-stage results than any developed pharmaceutical sitting right on our dinner plates?

That’s what Dr. Paul Cox may have discovered after solving the mystery of neurodegenerative disease on Guam, where in the 1990s, the rates of ALS and Alzheimer’s-like symptoms were 120% higher than in the rest of the world.

Dr. Cox would eventually discover that cyanobacteria, the same lifeforms that make green algae, produce a natural toxin called BMAA that was seeping into trees on the island. The trees would then grow seeds rich in the toxin—seeds that were eaten by flying fox bats, which in turn were hunted by locals for protein.

The BMAA was then poisoning the locals and causing, as Dr. Cox put it, deaths from neurodegenerative diseases in “every family” that he spoke to. In 2003, Cox told the world about it.

“When we realized that cyanobacteria might be the culprit, it was like staring into the abyss because we realized you could be exposed anywhere,” Dr. Cox told CNN in a mini-doc, who didn’t in any sense say that cyanobacteria was the cause of Alzheimer’s, but that it was a “risk factor.”

Seeking to understand and quantify the toxicology of BMAA, Dr. Cox ran a trial through his non-profit, the Brain Chemistry Labs at the Institute for Ethnomedicine, Jackson. What he discovered was that when monkeys were given the toxic BMAA plus an amino acid called L-serine, the neurotoxic effect was reduced by 85%.

L-serine is nothing magical—it’s one of many non-essential amino acids we consume in our diets. Amino acids collectively represent what is labeled on food products as ‘protein.’

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L-serine is found in eggs and meat, as well as edamame, tofu, seaweed, and sweet potatoes in lower amounts.

Seeing the dramatic protective effects that L-serine conferred upon the monkeys, Dr. Cox took the data to the FDA and set up clinical trials to investigate this simple amino acid as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s.

OTHER ALZHEIMER’S DEVELOPMENTS: Buck Institute Scientists Discover a Potential Way to Repair Synapses Damaged in Alzheimer’s Disease

The last part of this interesting story is that Dr. Cox wasn’t trained as a neurologist, but rather an ‘ethnobotantist’—he studies how human cultures use plants for medicine. On the island of Okinawa, a ‘Blue Zone’ famous for its longevity, Dr. Cox discovered that the residents of Ogimi Village consumed on average about 400% more L-serine than the average American.

This observational evidence combined with his lab data has given Dr. Cox tremendous confidence that his placebo-controlled trial looking at Alzheimer’s patients supplementing with L-serine will produce the goods, and that this simple dietary component could be the first off-the-shelf treatment for Alzheimer’s.

WATCH a mini-doc on the subject from CNN…

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