When Signaling Goes Wrong

Bad signaling

      Many of us know how it feels to be intoxicated.  Alcohol is one of the few neurotoxins that can make it through the blood brain barrier, it floods the brain and interferes with the signaling junctions between brain cells.  When someone drinks alcohol and becomes intoxicated, the symptoms include a number of very familiar behaviors:  inability to maintain balance or speak, cloudy recollection, lack of rational thought control, etc. and the intoxicated person may not even be able to have the presence of mind to realize that they are impaired.  Thankfully, alcohol is gradually cleared from the brain over time and the majority of the brain cells regain their typical balance and function.

     What would happen, however, if alcohol could not be cleared from the brain.  We then would be locked in a state of permanent intoxication, the signaling system in the brain would be impaired permanently.  Without realizing it, we might find ourselves in a constant state of staggering, drooling, slurred speech, and lack of rational thought control.  Even worse, this long-term intoxication might be diagnosed by medical professionals as permanent brain damage, causing us to eventually be marked as mentally disabled.  When a signaling problem becomes permanent, the scene quickly loses its humor.  This is an example of what can happen when signaling systems go wrong.  By the way, neurotoxins like this do exist.  Heavy metals such as mercury are among them.  Mercury intoxication has been falsely diagnosed as mental illness all over the world for hundreds of years.

     It is possible that long-lasting toxins (those that have the power disrupt the vast signaling networks between cells) are part of the root cause of some modern types of chronic disorders.  In order to regain the normal signaling function of the body, the neurotoxin would need to be removed from the environment and the body and the impaired cells must be given a chance to recover their normal signaling function (just like brain cells recover from too much alcohol).   If the signaling blockages are indeed caused by a toxin, the symptoms then could be expected to quickly improve when the toxin is removed.  The bad news is that intolerance to some neurotoxins can be passed from mother to child.  For example, fish that have been exposed to tolerable amounts of mercury do not show any symptoms of mercury poisoning themselves, however their offspring show clear signs of mercury toxicity and undergo extensive death when they are exposed to the same “tolerable” amount to mercury.  By their mother’s exposure to mercury the children have become hyper-intolerant to mercury.  Lately among us humans, we are seeing a little too much intolerance to toxins and allergies to a variety of foods.  And it is only getting worse with every new generation.  Neurological problems, like Autism, also are growing wildly.  If the trends keep on going, it is projected that in 2050 over ½ of the children in the U.S. will be chronically sick, with ¼ of them diagnosed with mental disorders ranging in the Autistic Spectrum.  The growth rate of these disorders by far outpace any possible genetic disorders.  Autism growth rate is at 12% per annum where world population growth is at a little over 1%.

     There are several reasons why a toxin cannot be removed from the body.  Interestingly enough, toxins can get stuck in the body and brain if they are not able to be eliminated by the intestines.  The intestines have about the same surface area as a tennis court and eliminate most of the toxins from our body.  If the intestines become inflamed or leaky, then the toxins that are pushed out of the body into the intestines can then leak back into the blood through the leaky intestinal walls.  This is called leaky gut.  Clinical studies have shown that the conditions leading to acute leaky gut can be caused by ingestion of environmental toxins such as glyphosate (a widely used herbicide) and excess gluten.  The same things that cause leaky gut can also cause leaky brain, allowing toxins to get past the blood brain barrier and make it into the brain.

    Agricultural practices of spraying wheat with glyphosate cause a double whammy (gluten and herbicides) to the intestinal and brain barriers for toxins.  A recent analysis of common foods, showed significant amounts of the glyphosate herbicide.  Cheerios, for example, was shown to have over 1,100ppb of glyphosate.  These numbers are valid causes for concern, especially because small amounts of these toxins can break down gut filtration integrity and instigate acute leaky gut.  Given time, the intestines and body can usually recover from a toxic insult, yet there is always concern that some of the toxins that leaked in can cause more permanent damage, become stuck in tissues, or trigger chronic inflammation and intolerances in ourselves and even worse in our children.  It is wise to be cautious when it comes to these things.  Recall that a toxin can be classified as anything that is not a natural nutrient, anything that cannot be used by the body must be eliminated by the body.  In a perfectly healthy world, we would grow our own food in local community gardens.

     The main focus of this discussion is to enhance an awareness of how important these signaling processes are to the cells, tissues and systems of our body.  We are built to be connected and happy.  Things that interfere with this ideal state of affairs in our cells may also interfere with the joy of life and interfere with us reaching our true potential.  Let us always be able to be meaningfully connected.  Good nutrition, water, sleep and exercise, lack of toxins and redox signaling compatible environment will help us stay that way.

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