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New approaches for potentially slowing the progression of Parkinson’s are being announced on a regular basis. Some of them can not be independently replicated (such is the nature of science), while others open up whole new areas of research.
Recently scientists have reported that inhibiting certain aspects of the kynurenine pathway – which plays a critical role in generating energy in cells – can have neuroprotective results in models of Parkinson’s.
Many of the results have been independently replicated and the findings are now resulting in a new class of drug heading for clinical testing.
In today’s post, we will delve into what the kynurenine pathway is, explore how it relates to Parkinson’s, and discuss some of the approaches soon heading for the clinic.
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Structure of tryptophan. Source: Wikipedia
Tryptophan is one of eight essential amino acids.
Amino acids are the fundamental building blocks of proteins in biology, but the “essential” label in this case does not refer to its necessity (although it is necessary), but rather the fact that it cannot be made by our bodies. As a result, all essential amino acids must come from the food we consume.
Tryptophan has many functions within the body:
- it is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin (which influences your mood, cognition, and behaviour)
- it is a precursor of the hormone melatonin (which governs your sleep-wake cycle)
- it is a precursor of vitamin B3 (naicin)
More importantly, however, tryptophan is also involved in kynurenine synthesis.
What is kynurenine synthesis?
Continue reading “What TDO about KMO?”
The results of a recent clinical study for Parkinson’s conducted in Georgia (USA) has grabbed the attention of some readers.
The study involved Niacin (also known as nicotinic acid), which is a naturally occurring organic dietary compound and a form of vitamin B3.
The study was very small, but the researchers noticed something interesting in the blood of the participants: Niacin was apparently switching some of the immune cells from an inflammatory state to an anti-inflammatory state.
In today’s post, we will discuss what Niacin is, how it relates to Parkinson’s, and we will consider some of the issues with having too much niacin in your diet.
It is one of the most common requests I get:
“Can you give an opinion on this supplement ____ or that vitamin ____ as a treatment for Parkinson’s?”
And I don’t like giving opinions, because (my standard disclosure) “I am not a clinician, just a research scientist. And even if i was a clinician, it would be unethical for me to comment as I am not familiar with each individual’s medical history. The best person to speak to is your personal doctor“.
But I also don’t like giving opinions because of a terrible fear that if I write anything remotely positive about anything remotely supplemental or vitamintal (is that a word?), a small portion of readers will rush off and gorge themselves on anything that sounds remotely similar to that supplement or vitamin.
So you will hopefully understand why I am hesitant to write this post.
But having said that, the recently published results of a small clinical study conducted in Augusta (Georgia, USA) are rather interesting.
Continue reading “To B3 or not to B3, that is the question”