FAQ (5 of 5): Related Conditions

41.  Are there medical conditions that affect the effectiveness of RaphaN+?

Yes. Any illness that damages the blood-brain-barrier (BBB) will allow more serum glutamate to penetrate the central nervous system and make the RaphaN+ regimen less effective. Medical conditions with this effect include diabetes mellitus, hypertension, trauma, hemorrhage, blood clots, primary brain tumors, metastatic tumors, X-radiation, lead poisoning, carbon monoxide poisoning, types of meningitis, types of encephalitis, and certain viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections.

42.  How does hypertension affect the effectiveness of RaphaN+, and what should I do if I have hypertension?

A 1993 study by Tang et al.* showed hypertension can enhance the transport of glutamate across the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Chronic hypertension can increase brain levels of glutamate by 600–1,200%. Higher systolic pressure correlates with more severe and faster accumulation of brain levels of glutamate, and more damage will be done at higher levels of glutamate excitotoxicity. Therefore, it is vital you take your high blood pressure medication regularly to maintain your systolic pressure at around 110 to 130 mm Hg.

*Increased blood-brain barrier permeability of amino acids in chronic hypertension. Pharmacology Letters Life Sciences, Vol. 53, pp. PL 417-420. Jian-ping Tang, Zhi-Qun Xu t, Frank L. Douglas, Ashok Rakhit and Srikumaran Melethil.

43.  How does diabetes affect the effectiveness of RaphaN+, and what should I do if I have diabetes?

A 2003 study by Starr et al.* showed that increased BBB permeability was detected in patients with type II diabetes. Higher glucose levels correlated with increased permeability. The more quickly glutamate can accumulate in the brain due to increased permeability, the higher is the level of glutamate excitotoxicity and the more damage will be done. Therefore, it is vital you take your diabetes medicine regularly to maintain your HbA1C below 5.9% (average glucose is below 123 mg/dL).

*Increased blood–brain barrier permeability in type II diabetes demonstrated by gadolinium magnetic resonance imaging. J M Starr, J Wardlaw, K Ferguson, A MacLullich, I J Deary, I Marshall J. Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2003;74:70–76.

44.  Why should I care about degenerative disc disease?

If you have neurological symptoms together with degenerative disc disease, you are likely only getting help from neurologists, who will not be able to offer you much help with degenerative disc disease. Many symptoms of degenerative disc disease overlap with neurological disorders. If left untreated, degenerative disc disease is the primary reason such individuals fail to respond to the RaphaN+ regimen.

45.  Will degenerative disc disease affect the effectiveness of RaphaN+?

Yes. Left without treatment, degenerative disc disease will affect the RaphaN+ regimen’s effectiveness. In extreme cases, total disc degeneration has been misdiagnosed as ALS.

46.  Why are physically active people susceptible to ALS?

Body builders, wrestlers, baseball players, sprinters, and other extreme sportsmen often consume very high-protein meals to remedy overtraining. Doing so causes serum levels of glutamate to increase many times above the normal value. Furthermore, exercises such as pumping iron easily increase systolic blood pressure to 180 mm Hg. A 1993 study by Tang et al.* showed that increased systolic pressure can enhance BBB transport of glutamate, which in turn increases brain levels of glutamate by 600–1,200%. Higher systolic pressure correlates with more severe and faster accumulation of glutamate in the brain, and more damage will be done at higher levels of glutamate excitotoxicity. In short, a high protein diet together with intensive exercise helps explain why extreme sportsmen have high incidences of ALS.

*Increased blood-brain barrier permeability of amino acids in chronic hypertension. Pharmacology Letters Life Sciences, Vol. 53, pp. PL 417-420. Jian-ping Tang, Zhi-Qun Xut, Frank L. Douglas, Ashok Rakhit and Srikumaran Melethil.

47.  What is degenerative disc disease?

To understand degenerative disc disease, you need to understand the anatomy of the spine. The human spinal column is made up of individual vertebrae that extend from the base of the spine all the way through the lower back, middle back, upper back, and neck to the base of the skull.

The "discs" referred to in degenerative disc disease are soft, round, spongy "cushions" known as intervertebral discs. There is one disc between each two vertebrae in the spinal column which acts as a shock absorber, so the bones in the spine do not rub against one another.

A damaged disc can't provide normal support to the vertebrae. A spine that suffers degenerative disc problems loses normal bending, torsion, and range of motion in a portion of the spine, and usually causes serious pain. Degenerative disc disease can affect the interstices between any vertebrae, but lumbar (lower back) and neck problems are the most common.

In general, degenerative disc disease refers to the degeneration of vertebrate discs in the spine. In advanced stages, it can cause a total collapse and herniation of the affected discs. The primary reason the discs loses their mechanical strength is severe dehydration.

There are 31 pairs of nerves that arise from the spinal cord. These spinal nerves emerge from and pass through different groups of spinal vertebrae. There are 8 cervical (neck) nerves, 12 thoracic (chest) nerves, 5 lumbar (lower back) nerves, 5 sacral (sacrum bone) nerves and one coccygeal (tailbone) nerve.

If any of these 31 pairs of spinal nerves is pinched, it can cause numbness, sharp pain, tingling sensations, muscle weakness, frequent feelings that a hand or foot is falling asleep, burning sensations, radiculopathy, peripheral neuropathy, ataxia and even paralysis.

48.  How do I know if I have degenerative disc disease?

Your doctor can order an MRI on your entire spine, which will reveal if you have degenerative disc disease.

49.  What are the causes of degenerative disc disease?

The main causes of degenerative disc disease are the following:

1) Dehydration. The discs in the spine are 80% water. Chronic dehydration causes the discs to lose water and shrink like dried-out sponges. The water loss also means less cushioning or padding between your vertebrae. This can lead to other problems in your spine that could cause pain.

2) Injury. The stress of everyday movements and minor injuries over the years can cause tiny tears in the outer wall of the discs. Any tear near the nerves can become painful. And if the wall breaks down, the disc's soft core may push through the cracks. The disc may bulge or slip out of place, which is called a slipped or herniated disc. It can affect nearby nerves.

50.  What are the consequences of untreated degenerative disc disease?

Left untreated, degenerative disc disease can develop into the following problems:

1) Herniated disc. A spinal disc is a little like a jelly donut, with a softer center encased within a tougher exterior. A herniated disc occurs when some of the softer "jelly" pushes out through a tear in the tougher exterior. A herniated disc can irritate nearby nerves and result in pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg.

2) Spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal or neural foramen that results in pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. Symptoms of cervical stenosis include numbness or tingling in a hand, arm, foot or leg, weakness in a hand, arm, foot or leg, problems with walking and balance, neck pain, and in severe cases, bowel or bladder dysfunction (urinary urgency and incontinence). Symptoms of lumbar stenosis include numbness or tingling in a foot or leg, weakness in a foot or leg, pain or cramping in one or both legs after standing for long periods of time or when walking, which usually eases when you bend forward or sit.

3) Radiculopathy. Spinal radiculopathy is the damage to or disturbance of nerve function that results when one of the nerve roots near the spinal vertebrae is compressed. Damage to nerve roots can cause pain and the loss of sensation along the nerve's pathway into the arms, shoulders, hands, fingers, toes or legs, depending on where the damaged roots are located.

4) Cervical myelopathy. Cervical myelopathy is a form of myelopathy that involves compression of the spinal cord in the cervical spine (neck). Symptoms may include neck pain, stiffness, reduced range of motion, weakness in the arms and hands, numbness or tingling in the arms and hands, clumsiness and poor coordination of the hands, difficulty handling small objects like pens or coins, and balance issues.

5) Intermittent neurogenic claudication. Neurogenic claudication is considered the classic symptom of lumbar spinal stenosis, a condition in which passageways in the spinal column become narrowed by bone spurs or other abnormal structures. Lumbar spinal stenosis symptoms may arise when the nerves that go through the passageways come into contact with a bone, ligament or disc that has been altered by spinal degeneration. This may lead to irritation of nerves, again causing symptoms often brought on by walking and/or arching of the back, which is also called spinal extension. They tend to be relieved by stooping, sitting and/or bending forward at the waist. Other symptoms of intermittent neurogenic claudication include pins and needles going down the leg, and/or leg weakness. Bowel or bladder problems may occur if the neurogenic claudication is severe.

6) Pinched nerve. A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues, such as bones, cartilage, muscles or tendons. This pressure disrupts the nerve's function, causing pain, tingling, numbness or weakness. A pinched nerve can occur at a number of sites in your body. A herniated disk in your lower spine, for example, may put pressure on a nerve root, causing pain that radiates down the back of your leg. Likewise, a pinched nerve in your wrist can lead to pain and numbness in your hand and fingers (carpal tunnel syndrome). With rest and other conservative treatments, most people recover from a pinched nerve within a few days or weeks. Sometimes, surgery is needed to relieve pain from a pinched nerve.

51.  What should I do if I have degenerative disc disease?

RaphaN+ has no effect on degenerative disc disease. If you have neurological symptoms and degenerative disc disease, apart from taking RaphaN+, you also need to do the following:

1) Properly hydrate yourself. To determine the amount of water you need to drink in milliliters, multiply your body weight in pounds by 15. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, then you need to drink 2,700 ml of water daily. You should drink the water at the rate of 500 ml per 90 minutes, one mouthful at a time. The slower you drink the water, the better it enters your main blood circulation to help expand your vertebral discs.

2) Limit coffee, tea, beer and red wine to only one cup a day. Remember each cup of coffee you drink contains up to 85 mg of caffeine, which requires 2 cups of water to remove. In addition, many of these drinks are diuretics and will increase the amount of water lost by urination. This means that if you drink one cup of coffee, your net gain is negative one cup of water. For tea, the net gain is zero, and for beer, the net gain is negative 2 cups. Red wine is okay, but more than one glass a day is not recommended.

3) Take the right supplements. We suggest taking 2–4 tablets of Doctor's Best Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM with OptiMSM after each meal three times daily to help repair and rebuild vertebral discs.

Monitor your condition by doing an MRI on your entire spine once every 6 months. Stop this process when the MRI no longer shows any signs of degenerative disc disease.


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