Brain Chemistry Labs is breaking rules and shattering the mold of how medical research is done.
And they’re doing it solely with small grants and private donations.
What began as work focused on the motor neuron disease ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) has been led by research to include Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
“I think we can change the world,” said Sandra Banack, senior scientist and ethnobotanist.
“What we’re doing takes a fraction of the time and a fraction of the cost,” she said.
Their work examines what is happening to people and what can be done about it.
“We’re close to a prevention, and I think that’s better than a cure.” – Dr. Rachael Dunlop
Research shows that chronic exposure to the neurotoxin BMAA (β-Methylamino-L-alanine) found in cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae and most often pointed out by someone in my family as “that green stuff” on lakes and ponds) is a potential risk for neurodegenerative illnesses.
So they are testing and working with an amino acid called L-Serine that may counter BMAA and appears to be neuroprotective in its own right.
BMAA Surrounds Us
“We know that human health is related to environmental health,” Dr. Banack said.
People come into contact with BMAA through contaminated seafood and freshwater fish — possibly grains if they are watered by contaminated water.
And it can be in the air we breathe.
“Found in habitats ranging from the hot pools of Yellowstone to the deserts of the middle east to the middle of the oceans, cyanobacteria are nearly ubiquitous on the earth’s surface.” – Brain Chemistry Labs’ website
“This is like a slow toxin and a silent killer in a sense because we don’t know that it’s in the water that we’re drinking.
“We don’t know that it’s in the food that we’re eating.
“But we do know that it can cause neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s,” said senior research fellow, Rachael Dunlop, in the film Toxic Puzzle.
But hope is on the horizon.
“I think we can change the world,” – Dr. Banack
Can L-Serine Forestall Alzheimer’s?
What’s already been shown in Phase I clinical trials is that L-Serine is safe for ALS patients to take at doses as high as 30 grams per day.
The data suggest that L-Serine can slow down the progression of ALS by as much as 85%.
“Our research also suggests that L-Serine may be able to push off the onset of Alzheimer’s, but there are still many experiments to do,” Dr. Banack said.
Currently L-Serine is accessible as an inexpensive and safe supplement.
“Mapping amyotrophic lateral sclerosis lake risk factors across northern New England,” Nathan Torbick et al, International Journal of Health Geographics, 2014; 13: 1, (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3922844/?report=classic#).
“Phase I clinical trial of safety of L-serine for ALS patients,” T.D. Levine, et al., Feb 18, 2017, (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27589995#).
“Traditional Food Items in Ogimi, Okinawa: l-Serine Content and the Potential for Neuroprotection,” Paul Cox and James Metcalf, Current Nutrition Reports, 2017; 6(1): 24–31, (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5343079/).
Ellen Synakowski (she/her/hers) lives in Laramie, Wyoming. She is a HeartMath Certified Trainer and Coach, and certified through HeartMath to administer the Stress and Well-being Assessment tool; A Connection Practice Trainer, a Trainer’s Trainer, and Coach; and a Registered Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist (RCST®). Her website is EllenSynakowski.com.
“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” — C. West