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Please note: I do not sell or recommend any particular product listed in alphabetical order below. Several examples and product descriptions are given here but many more are available. Choose the product(s) that you feel, or have been professionally advised, would best fulfil your needs.

(ALS) Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or (MND) Motor Neurone Disease are referred to as ALS/MND.
PALS is short for People (or a person) with ALS.

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Author's Note

I have observed that whatever medications or supplements you may be prescribed or choose to take, the ability of your body to metabolise these medications and supplements is as important as the dose or product  taken.  This metabolisation process can be improved to some extent by using combinations of supplements rather than extra large doses of one or two. 

The organ most heavily involved in the metabolisation of most medications and supplements, plus the elimination of harmful toxins from the body, is the liver.  Liver function can be improved and optimised by following a few simple dietary principles, increasing hydration and (if you choose) taking certain herbal supplements. Please read the Liver Function page on this website for more information.

Many "supplements" are an extracted "active ingredient" from a food source or herb that, in its natural state, may contain numerous other beneficial elements, enzymes, etc. (phytonutrients) that may assist in the metabolisation of the supplement(s) being taken. It is a good idea therefore to "assist" supplemental medications - antioxidants for example - by also eating or juicing the fresh fruit and vegetables many of these are sourced from. An example would be to drink carrot juice as well as taking a beta carotene supplement. [Please note that excessive beta carotene consumption can be toxic. "More of a good thing" is not always better for you].

Here is a brief description of how free radicals and antioxidants work:

  • Taking antioxidants combats excessive free radical damage. 
  • Molecules become free radicals when the oxygen atom loses an electron and starts to "attack" surrounding molecules, seeking a replacement electron.
  • A chain reaction of cell damage results until an antioxidant halts the process by providing a spare electron.

Free radicals play an important role in both health and disease and have been implicated in countless human disease processes. Free radicals are vital to human health. These molecules (Reactive Oxidant  Species) are extremely important to human metabolic processes.

Any molecule can become a free radical by either losing or gaining an electron and molecules containing these uncoupled electrons are very reactive (unstable).  Once free radicals are initiated, they can propagate by becoming involved in chain reactions with other less reactive (stable) types. The resulting chain reaction compounds generally survive longer in the body and therefore increase the potential for cellular damage.

A free radical has three stages: the initiation stage,  propagation and finally, termination. They are terminated or neutralized, by nutrient antioxidants,  enzymatic mechanisms or by recombining with each other. The aim is to balance free radical activity and antioxidant activity to achieve a state of balance (homeostasis).

  • Vitamins A, C and E are all antioxidants and tests imply that 5000mg of vitamin E complex is an effective daily dose for a person with ALS/MND (see Vitamin E below).
  • Vitamin C is a more effective antioxidant than vitamin E but passes through the body quickly and must be taken frequently throughout the day to assist in the treatment of ALS/MND. As it is excreted via the same process that rids the body of excess sugars, vitamin C is best taken at least two hours before or after meals and sugared drinks and/or first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
  • Vitamin A is stored in the liver and an effective therapeutic dose for ALS/MND is difficult to establish.

Instead of taking 5000mg of vitamin E daily (ten large 500mg capsules), one may obtain a similar antioxidant effect by taking just 100mg (two small, tasteless tablets or capsules, easily blended with food if necessary) of high quality grape seed and/or pine bark extract. These contain an ingredient called OPC that is fifty times more efficient than vitamin E.

OPC has not been recommended to specifically treat ALS/MND but, as much of the research I have read refers to motor neurone oxidation, it seems likely that an efficient antioxidant in combination with other supplements may slow the progress of motor neurone destruction. The study I am conducting is designed to assess whether this hypothesis is valid. I have communicated with many people who have used OPC and have been told it was beneficial or, at worst, caused no negative side effects unless excessive doses were taken.

Please note that EVERYBODY IS DIFFERENT. What benefits one person may not suit another, that is why I have included information on a variety of antioxidants. I leave it to your judgement as to which antioxidant treatment, if any, you feel would be appropriate for you.

The use of OPC (grape seed/pine bark) extract has yet to be "proved" to benefit PALS but information I have collected from around the world tends to indicate that OPC, in combination with other supplements,  is sometimes beneficial. The choice of OPC was made after considering cost, global availability, antioxidant efficiency compared to alternatives, availability of product data and apparent lack of side effects. The choice was prompted as much by logistical as clinical factors.

A month's supply of OPC extract is usually cheaper than 5000mg of vitamin E complex per day. There are many reputable brands of OPC to choose from but check that each tablet or capsule contains at least 50mg of OPC. Many contain varying quantities of grape seed and/or pine bark extract and possibly other additives but this does not necessarily indicate the OPC content. Make sure you discover how much actual OPC is contained in each capsule or tablet.

I believe grape seed/pine bark extract (an Oligameric Proanthocyanidin Complex or OPC) to be one of the most effective antioxidants cheaply, widely and readily available. Extensive clinical trials and it's application to other disorders and diseases show it to be "completely harmless". I was diagnosed with ALS/MND many years ago and have sampled several brands of OPC in addition to numerous other supplements and my prescribed medication and have experienced no negative side effects.

The following list of antioxidants - none of which have been "proven" to be effective in the treatment of ALS/MND - is included for your information. Some are not readily available worldwide. Some are relatively expensive and the efficacy of others is not confirmed for treating ALS/MND.

Some PALS claim that certain supplements are beneficial in slowing the progress of the disease or merely improving general wellbeing (see Feedback). I cannot personally recommend any particular product but include information here to enable you to research them further.

I have had ALS for about 4 years.  About 8 months ago I started on allopurinal and grape seed extract because of what I read on your study.  About 2 weeks ago I stopped both of them because I didn't think they were doing any good.  To my amazement my legs became tighter and the spasticity increased.  Therefore I went back on both of them.  The very next morning I could tell the difference.  Thank You Very Much."
Ken in Peoria, IL. May 1999

Some research articles supporting the use of antioxidants to treat ALS/MND have been included below.

in alphabetical order

ALLOPURINOL is a prescription drug, primarily used for the treatment of gout. Although it is not, strictly speaking, an antioxidant it does suppress the body's production of an oxidation catalyst (an enzyme called xanthine oxidase). If an ALS/MND patient wants to try this therapy, a doctor must prescribe allopurinol. It is manufactured by several companies and therefore may have a different name on the packaging when prescribed. The dosage is 200mg/day to start, working up to 600mg/day.

I originally included allopurinol in my Clinical Study but would probably not do so again in the light of what I have discovered about antioxidants since then. Dr Stanley Appel, Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Neurology MDA/ALS Clinic may be able to supply information on long term Allopurinol use to treat ALS/MND

In the article "antioxidant drugs block in vitro the neurotoxicity of CSF from patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis" (Terro, F. at al *Neuro Report*, v7, n12, pp1970-72, Aug 12, 1996) the authors measured neuronal death in rat cortical cell cultures exposed to cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) from ALS patients. The CSF was quite neurotoxic but Vitamin E and allopurinol separately protected cells. In combination they "completely prevented the neurotoxicity of ALS CSF." The authors conclude, "A combination of allopurinol and vitamin E may be useful in ALS therapy." Note that Vitamin E has already been shown to delay onset of ALS-like symptoms in ALS mice. It is becoming accepted that a vitamin E complex (including gamma tocopherol) is better than ordinary vitamin E (containing only d--alpha tocopherol) in treating neurodegenerative disorders.

ALPHA LIPOIC ACID (ALA) is both a water and lipid (fat/oil) soluble, sulfur containing antioxidant. Alpha lipoic acid plays an important function as an enzyme in the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex. Discovered several decades ago, it wasn't until recently that it's activity as a potent free radical scavenger was demonstrated. As a "chain-breaking" antioxidant, it has been shown to play a pivotal role in the regeneration of the redox reaction between vitamin C, E, and glutathione. Alpha Lipoic Acid can add an electron to both *used* C and E in the body to put them back to work. Alpha lipoic acid has received funding to investigate if the known degenerative processes of oxidative damage can be slowed.

ALA has benefits beyond those of other antioxidants. It appears to reduce the risk of conditions aggravated by free radicals.  Any one antioxidant is not  "ideal" in itself.  "From a therapeutic viewpoint, few natural antioxidants are ideal," says molecular and cellular biologist Lester Packer, Ph.D.  "An Ideal therapeutic antioxidant would fulfil several criteria.  These include absorption from the diet, conversion in cells and tissues to unusable forms' a variety of antioxidants actions (including interactions with other antioxidants) in both membrane and aqueous phases, and low toxicity.

Passwater says. "Lipoic acid not only protects the nervous system, but also may be involved In regenerating nerves." He adds that lipoic acid's antioxidant function is of major importance and helps protect the body against about 80 diseases.

Lipoic acid has been used for decades to protect the liver and detoxify the body of heavy metal pollutants, such as excessive iron, copper and toxic metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. Studies have shown no serious side effects with the use of alpha-lipoic acid but it is not recommended for pregnant women without proper supervision.

Lipoic acid both interacts with its antioxidant partners vitamin E and vitamin C and also helps to conserve them. When the body is deficient in lipoic acid, other antioxidants do not network together properly.

Our bodies make lipoic acid but it is usually not enough, so we rely on potatoes, tomatoes, peas, spinach, broccoli, red meat, etc. to supply what we need for optimal health. An expert panel has recommended 50mg of ALA daily to prevent diseases caused by free-radicals. In Germany it is prescribed to treat diabetic and alcoholic neuropathies and liver disease. For information on its use in treating ALS/MND

Alpha lipoic acid can be purchased online

Please note: It has been suggested that Alpha Lipoic Acid may leach mercury from amalgam fillings and release it into the body. If you have amalgam fillings you may want to consider this possibility. Other research may indicate precisely the opposite [2] so, as always, it is up to the individual to assess the benefits or otherwise of this supplement. Its benefits appear to outweigh any potential drawbacks in most cases.

REFERENCES [1] Packer, Lester, Ph.D., et al. "Alpha-Llpoic Acid As A Biological Antioxidant," Free Radical Boilogy and Medicine 19:227-25O, 1995. Also - Passwater Richard A., Ph.D. Lipoic Acid: The Metabolic Antioxidant. New Canaan, Conn. Keats Publishing, Inc., 1995 pp. 7-8.
[2] One of several abstracts on PubMed, studied the ability of alpha lipoic acid to prevent harm from mercury or remove it from the body. Pharmacol Res 1999 Jan;39(1):67-80 Protective role of DL-alpha-lipoic acid against mercury-induced neural lipid
peroxidation. Anuradha B, Varalakshmi P Dpt. of Medical Biochemistry, Dr AL Mudaliar Post Graduate Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Madras University, Taramani, Madras, 600 113, India.

ANTIOXIDANT BOOSTER from Nutraceutical Systems™ consists of 5 antioxidants in one capsule. Scientific studies have suggested that coenzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid and acetyl L-carnitine may increase cellular energy production, while protecting the cells from free radical damage. In addition, these three antioxidants have been shown to protect the heart and brain.

Each capsule contains: Acetyl L-Carnitine  300mg, Alpha Lipoic Acid  150mg, CoEnzyme Q10 100mg, Grape Seed Extract 100mg, Lutein 6 mg and Zeaxanthin 300 mcg (from 120 mg standardized 5% lutein extract from marigold flower).

ASTAXANTHIN is a carotenoid compound usually made from a microalg called Haematococcus pluvialis. Some forms are indissoluble (many antioxidants are fat or water soluble). As beta carotene (a preliminary stage of vitamin A) is sometimes recommended as an antioxidant for ALS/MND and Astaxanthin supplies carotenoids, it should be safe to take - although a precise dosage has yet to be established.

Astaxanthin has been claimed to be ten times more effective than beta carotene and 100 times more effective than vitamin E in preventing lipid peroxidation. However, as vitamin E and Astaxanthin possibly work in different ways it may be advisable to take both as they could complement each other.

La Haye Laboratories at made a product called astaZanthinTM containing 1mg astaxanthin in softgel capsules. These may still be available.

The company has published extensive research on astaxanthin and positive results generally tend to indicate it could possibly be used to treat neurodegenerative disorders. They have also documented that it has anti inflammatory, anti tumor, immune system  and beneficial liver enzyme boosting properties. These properties are likely to be helpful in treating ALS/MND. astaZanthinTM  also contains omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and rice bran oil, is fat soluble and has been demonstrated to cross the blood brain barrier (beta carotene does not).

AZULENIC RETINOID COMPOUNDS are compounds related to Vitamin A and retinoic acid. A new type of azulene-containing retinoid has been synthesised and is similar in size and shape to Vitamin A, but its electronic properties are different. This is due to the stabilising effect of azulene on the chemical bonds in the molecule. New azulenic retinoids might also be effective anti-oxidants and free radical scavengers.

The University of Hawai`i, Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development, 2800 Woodlawn Drive, Suite 280 Honolulu, HI 96822 may have information on these compounds.

CAROTENOIDS are a group of antioxidant nutrients found in many fruits and vegetables. They are more easily absorbed in supplement form and even more effective if taken with  highly coloured fruits and vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, watermelon, beets, etc. high in carotenoids.  Like all antioxidants, carotenoids work better in combination than if taken alone.  For example, betacarotene boosts the antioxidant activity of lycopene Wahlqvist, et al American  Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1994 Vol 60,936-943.  Carotenoids include Betacarotene, Alphacarotene, Cryptoxanthin, Lycopene, Lutein and Zeaxanthin.  Each performs a slightly different function at a different level and is dependant on other carotenoids for its effectiveness. Synthetic carotenoids have little biological effect and should be avoided.  Ensure you choose naturally derived carotenoids suspended in an oil base.

CHOCOLATE carries high levels of chemicals known as phenolics according to researchers at the University of California, Davis. The study showed that chocolate can contribute a significant portion of dietary antioxidants but it remains to be seen whether phenolics consumed in food products actually provide a protective antioxidant effect in the body. A 1.5 ounce piece of milk chocolate contains nearly the same amount of phenolics as a 5 ounce glass of red wine. The phenolic compounds in chocolate exhibit an antioxidant effect equal to or greater than that of red wine. It is not known if the different chemical structures of chocolate phenolics versus wine phenolics alter their effects on the body. If dietary phenolics do act as antioxidants in the body, then chocolate would likely be a good source of those antioxidants.
Findings are published in the September 21, 1996, issue of The Lancet, UK.

Please note that milk added to tea negatesmost of the antioxidant effect of the tea. It would seem logical to assume that dark - milk free - chocolate would have a greater antioxidant effect than milk chocolate. Unfortunately, the fats and excessive sugar added to chocolate may tend to stress the liver so I would not personally eat chocolate as an antioxidant source.

COENZYME Q-10 Because of its strong antioxidant properties, coenzyme Q-10 is used by patients with degenerative neurological diseases such as ALS/MND at major medical centers, including the University of Rochester Medical School and the University of California at San Diego. The hope is that coenzyme Q-10 can slow down progression of the diseases. Andrew Weil MD personally takes 100 milligrams of coenzyme Q-10 once a day with food as a general health-booster and feels it is harmless. Dr. Weil is a nationally-known physician and director of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona and also a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School. He has published many books on health and healing. See Dr. Weil's website

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) or ubiquinone is an essential cofactor of the electron transport chain as well as a potent free radical scavenger in lipid and mitochondrial membranes. Feeding with CoQ10 increased cerebral cortex concentrations in 12- and 24-month-old rats. In 12-month-old rats administration of coenzyme Q10 resulted in significant increases in cerebral cortex mitochondrial concentrations of coenzyme Q10.

Oral administration of coenzyme Q10 markedly attenuated striatal lesions produced by systemic administration of 3-nitropropionic acid and significantly increased life span in a transgenic mouse model of familial ALS.  It has been previously demonstrated that administration in these same mice with vitamin E resulted in a delay in disease onset but no increase in survival time.

The data suggest that the antioxidant action and preservation of mitochondrial function apparently provided by CoQ10 may contribute to neuron cell protection from free radical effect upon membranes, thus resulting in longer survival seen in these transgenic animals. This suggests that Coenzyme Q10 may be better strategy than vitamin E in treatment of neurodegenerative diseases in increasing survival time. Oral administration of CoQ10 increases both brain and brain mitochondrial concentrations. The results provide further evidence that CoQ10 can exert neuroprotective effects that might be useful in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

This information was copied from the Neuropathology Digest -ALS for August 1998 and is provided for information purposes only: (Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1998 Jul 21;95(15):8892-8897 Coenzyme Q10 administration increases brain mitochondrial concentrations and exerts neuroprotective effects. Matthews RT, Yang L, Browne S, Baik M, Beal MF Neurochemistry Laboratory, Neurology Service, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA).

Coenzyme Q10 Levels and ALS
Increased mitochondrial oxidative damage and oxidative DNA damage contributes to the neurodegenerative process in sporadic ALS.

A study involving 17 patients with sporadic ALS revealed the percentage of oxidized coenzyme Q10 and the concentration of 8-OHdG in the cerebrospinal fluid (csf) of the PALS was significantly greater than that found in 17 age-matched controls. The percentage of oxidized coenzyme Q10 in the csf was inversely associated with the duration of illness and the concentration of 8-OHdG in the csf was positively associated with the duration of illness. More Information

CoQ10 Treats Animal Models of ALS/MND
Coenzyme Q10 as a possible treatment for neurodegenerative diseases.
MF Beal Department of Neurology and Neuroscience, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York Presbyterian Hospital, NY 10021

CoQ10 is an essential cofactor of the electron transport gene as well as an important antioxidant, which is particularly effective within mitochondria. A number of prior studies have shown that it can exert efficacy in treating patients with known mitochondrial disorders. We investigated the potential usefulness of CoQ10 in animal models of Parkinson's disease (PD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS/MND) and Huntington's disease (HD).

It has been demonstrated that CoQ10 can protect against striatal lesions produced by the mitochondrial toxins malonate and 3-nitropropionic acid. These toxins have been utilized to model the striatal pathology, which occurs in HD... CoQ10 significantly extended survival in a transgenic mouse model of ALS. CoQ10 can significantly extend survival, delay motor deficits and delay weight loss and attenuate the development of striatal atrophy in a transgenic mouse model of HD. Review, Tutorial PMID: 12069110

CORDYMAX Cordyceps is a well-known herb from Tibet and has been shown in clinical studies to improve stamina, fatigue, and enhance lung and antioxidant function. It increases mitochondrial ATP levels and also raises superoxide dismutase levels. Available from Pharmanex as "CordyMax."

GINGKO BILOBA Usually prescribed to improve circulation but also believed to assist with memory, Ginkgo biloba ihas proven antioxidant properties. Research has also shown that it may assist in treating ALS/MND.

Age-related increase of oxidative stress-induced apoptosis in mice prevention by Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb761).
J Neural Transm 2001;108(8-9):969-78 Schindowski K, Leutner S, Kressmann S, Eckert A, Muller WE. Department of Pharmacology, Biocenter, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Federal Republic of Germany.

Enhanced apoptosis and elevated levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a major role in aging. In addition, several neurodegenerative diseases are associated with increased oxidative stress and apoptosis [cell death] in neuronal tissue. Antioxidative treatment has neuro-protective effects. The aim of the study was to evaluate changes of susceptibility to apoptotic cell death by oxidative stress in aging and its inhibition by the antioxidant Ginkgo biloba extract ...

Lymphocytes from aged mice accumulate apoptotic cells to a significantly higher extent under basal conditions compared to cells from young mice. Treatment with dRib enhanced this difference, implicating a higher sensitivity to ROS in aging. Apoptosis can be reduced in vitro by treatment with . In addition, mice were treated daily with 100 mg/kg Ginkgo biloba extract per os over a period of two weeks. ROS-induced apoptosis was significantly reduced in the Ginkgo biloba extract group. Interestingly, this effect seemed to be more pronounced in old mice.

GLUTATHIONE Yeast is a good (and cheap) natural source of Glutathione. (see also IMMUNOCAL, PROCYSTEINE & NAC )

GLUTATHIONE PLUS (NAC) is designed for double protection by glutathione both inside and outside of body cells. Each capsule supplies both preformed L-Glutathione, for direct antioxidant action, and N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC see below), a valuable starting material used by the body for glutathione synthesis inside our cells.

This valuable glutathione precursor boosts cellular antioxidant protection. This sulfur-containing compound derived from the amino acid cysteine, can serve as a nutritional substrate for synthesis of intracellular glutathione, an important antioxidant.

NAC is virtually non-toxic and is the preferred nutrient for enhancing glutathione levels inside cells. NAC also has antioxidant properties of its own, and can donate its sulfur content for other body needs. Glutathione Plus provides Glutathione, a biologically active, naturally-occurring tripeptide composed of L-Cysteine, L-Glutamic Acid, Glycine, and N-Acetylcysteine.

Each capsule contains: L-Glutathione 50 mg N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC) 440 mg In its active reduced form. Ascorbic acid added as a reducing agent. Contains no yeast, corn, wheat, soya, sugar or other sweeteners, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

Google: Glutathione Plus (NAC)

IDEBENONE Idebenone is an analogue of Coenzyme Q10 and shares its traits with Coenzyme Q10. It differs from it in ways that may make it more useful. Under certain circumstances, CoQ10 may become a pro-oxidant.

These circumstances are conditions in which hypoxia or lack of oxygen occurs. In cases of shock, heart attack, stroke, or poor circulation, CoQ10 auto-oxidizes and unleashes various free radicals that damage delicate tissues and because CoQ10 is necessary for electron transport and ATP (chemical energy) production, cellular death may ensue.

Idebenone suppresses free radicals and continues ATP production in hypoxic situations. Idebenone supplies all of the same benefits as CoQ10 plus some distinct advantages based on its more complex chemical structure. Though very similar in chemical make-up to CoQ10, its longer chain organic structure gives it extra powerful anti-oxidant properties making it a more effective "free radical quencher" resulting in less cell and tissue damage.

Important traits of Idebenone not shared by CoQ10 include the ability to raise the brain's serotonin levels like the SSRI antidepressants (Prozac) and it also increases the brain levels of nerve growth factor. Another trait is to protect the myelin sheath from damage as well as the mitochondria that has important implications in some neurodegenerative illnesses.This substance is the energy producing unit of our body cells. Every process in our bodies requires CoQ10. Without CoQ10 life stops.

CoQ10 supplies energy necessary for proper immune response and has strong antioxidant power to help prevent free radical damage
It provides energy for the natural detoxification process in the liver and helps fight off Candida and bacterial and viral infections It helps correct immunodeficiencies, enhanced Focus and elevates Mood.

Some doctors believe that Idebenone offers three distinct advantages over CoQ10. Studies show that Idebenone enhances brain structure and function and its superior anti-oxidant properties protect body organs more efficiently It also offers protection against excitatory amino acid neurotoxicity from inappropriate diet and food additives.

Few adverse reactions have been noted with this substance even at doses of 900 mg daily.

IMMUNOCAL®, a natural protein, raises the level of Glutathione or GSH, our cells' own major antioxidant. Drugs such as NAC have been developed to do this but their side effects can make them unsuitable for daily use. Extensive research and clinical trials have demonstrated that glutathione will enhance the immune response system with over 40,000 professional articles from research centers around the world attesting to this.

GSH or Glutathione raises fighter T cell levels in lymphocytes, neutralizes free radicals,  is a powerful anti-oxidant that helps regulate other antioxidants. It detoxifies the liver, removing 12 known carcinogens from the cells and suppresses the growth of tumors.

Low Glutathione levels are implicated in immune compromised individuals, neurodegenerative diseases such as MS, ALS, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, atherosclerosis, cataracts, diabetes, damage from many pharmaceutical drugs, cancer and poor survival rates for victims of AIDS.

As a major detoxifying agent in the body, glutathione benefits the entire immune system by providing more protection from bacterial and viral infections as well as support for the detoxification of chemical pollutants, carcinogens and ultraviolet radiation.

Glutathione is a tripeptide that must be manufactured in the cell. Oral glutathione is ineffective. The limiting substrate for glutathione synthesis is the amino acid cysteine. Oral cysteine is rapidly catabolized in the GI tract carries a toxic potential.

Glutathione levels are depleted by: * Chronic diseases.* Exposure to radiation, pollutants and toxins. * Pharmaceutical drugs that stress the liver.* Free radical activity (Oxidative Stress).* Infection.* Injury, Trauma.* Levels are lowered with age.* Intensive athletic activity.

Immunocal® is the only clinically proven natural food supplement to consistently optimize the levels of glutathione in the cells and thereby improve the body's immune system response to combat immune related diseases.

It contains a critical concentration of three bioactive proteins: i.e. the thermolabiles, serum albumin, alpha lactalbumin and lactoferrin. Immunocal is all-natural and has no documented adverse effects. It provides high amounts of cystine, cysteine, and glutamylcystine bound to larger molecules, which serve as a cysteine delivery system, with high bioavailability and no known toxicity.

Australian Immunocal supply and information.

JUICE PLUS "Current Therapeutic Research" used Juice Plus fruit and vegetable capsules to determine the effects of fruits and vegetables on antioxidant levels. They used 15 subjects, average healthy people yet their antioxidant levels were lower than the minimum needed to reduce their risk of coronary heart disease or cancer. The results were after 28 days (ideally the body needs 120 days to assimilate and respond) : plasma antioxidants levels increased significantly; serum lipid peroxides decreased fourfold after seven days...

reflecting improved oxidative defense mechanisms; overall the increase in plasma carotenoids in response to supplementation with the fruit and vegetable powders of Juice Plus appears to be substantially greater than with similar quantities of carotenoids from food.  Per the American Medical Review: Beta Carotene - up 510%; Alpha Carotene - up 119%; Lutein Zeaxathin - down 44%; Lycopene - up 2046%; Alpha Tocopheral down 58%.

4 capsules of Juice Plus could be the equivalent of hundreds of capsules of other antioxidants.  Juice Plus is claimed to be the equivalent of 6 kilograms of fruit and vegetables, tested for purity and condensed into 4 capsules.

L-CYSTEINE is believed by some researchers to achieve essentially the same results as N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) in increasing available glutathione. For full details see NAC below. L-cysteine should be used with caution by diabetics as it may reduce certain disulphide bonds that determin the structure of insulin. Have a blood test to rule out diabetes if you are uncertain.

MAHARISHI AMRIT KALASH (MAK) is claimed by some to be the strongest, most widely effective antioxidant ever researched. This supplement is said to be up to 1000 times more effective than vitamins A, C and E. The cost per month is around $75US. Contact Franklin Healy Milton, FL. for more details telephone 1-800-255-8332 in the USA and please mention that he provided the contact number.

MANGOSTEEN is a tropical fruit that has been demonstrated to provide numerous health benefits. Dr. John Edwards of the Oakland Health Clinic in California demonstrated that Xanthones found in the Mangosteen fruit may regenerate neuronal tissue.

The Xanthones derived from mangosteen are anti oxidant, anti inflammatory, anti viral, anti fungal and bacteriacidal. Because of its wide ranging beneficial effects mangosteen may be useful in the treatment of neurodegenerative and other illnesses.

MELATONIN Dr Stanley Appel of the Baylor Clinic, Texas has been prescribing 3mg melatonin at bedtime for ALS/MND patients for its antioxidant effects. The following describes how it works:

 "Dopamine (DA) neurons are uniquely vulnerable to damage and disease. Their loss in humans is associated with diseases of the aged, most  notably, Parkinson's Disease (PD). There is now a great deal of evidence to suggest that the destruction of DA neurons in PD involves the accumulation of harmful oxygen free radicals. Since the antioxidant hormone, melatonin, is one of the most potent endogenous scavengers of these toxic radicals, we tested its ability to rescue DA neurons from damage/death in several laboratory models associated with oxidative stress...

(The) results indicate that melatonin possesses the remarkable ability to rescue DA neurons from cell death in several experimental paradigms associated with oxidative stress". (Feb 98, Neuropathy Digest "Melatonin rescues dopamine neurons from cell death in tissue culture  models of oxidative stress". Iacovitti L, Stull ND, Johnston K.  Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Allegheny University of the Health Sciences, Philadelphia, PA 19102, USA.)

"Studies on rat cortical cultures... (The) data favour the view that the damage caused to the cells by glutamate and hypoxia/reperfusion is mediated via NMDA receptors. The damage to the cells could also be prevented by melatonin (100 microM). The melatonin effect is not mediated by specific receptors because it was not blunted by the melatonin antagonist, luzindole... The combined findings suggest that melatonin counteracts the in vitro destructive effects of NMDA or hypoxia/reperfusion by preventing accumulation of excessive free radicals". (Brain Res 1997 Sep 12;768(1-2):120-124 "Melatonin protects primary cultures of rat cortical neurones from NMDA excitotoxicity and hypoxia/reoxygenation". Cazevieille C, Safa R, Osborne NN Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Oxford University, UK.)

MICROHYDRIN is claimed to be the most powerful electron donor (antioxidant) known - possibly a million times more powerful than Vitamin E or OPC. Microhydrin is silica hydride. This silica mineral is 5 nanometers in total area - the smallest nutritional particle ever discovered. When combined, this molecule is a million times smaller than the next smallest antioxidant.

One capsule (250mg) of Microhydrin contains at least a million times more available electrons than its next closest rival. Once Microhydrin gives up its electron to a free radical it has a powerful affinity for oxygen, resulting in greater oxygen uptake to the cells. This results in greater ATP production and enhanced cellular healing. Those with diseases need this to heal faster. Raises pH (alkalinity) of intracellular and extracellular fluids - creates a biological terrain that is unfavorable to bad bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast, toxins and cancer cells. This alkaline pH limits their growth, thereby assisting the immune system. It also increases the conductivity of cellular fluids. As all communication between calls is electrochemical it enhances all bodily functions and has shown promising results with peripheral neuropathy and many other nerve conduction pathologies.

NAC (N-AcetylCysteine) Is the only anti-oxidant that's been in a well-controlled clinical trial specifically for the treatment of ALS/MND. See the following article: TI: "Randomized, double-blind, controlled trial of acetylcysteine in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis" AU: Louwerse, E.S., et al. JO: *Archives of Neurology* v52, p559-564, June 1995.

[Feedback from PALS taking NAC in the last ten years has not been as promising as initially expected. The information supplied here is for your information only]

N-ACETYLCYSTEINE is produced in living organisms from the amino acid cysteine. Thus, NAC is a natural sulfur-containing amino acid derivative found naturally in foods and is a powerful antioxidant. These dual properties help repair oxidative damage in the body. Both NAC and glutathione are well absorbed. NAC is rapidly metabolized, and only about ten percent of the amount consumed stays in the blood for an appreciable time. Much of the NAC is very rapidly consumed in producing intracellular glutathione. However, even the thiol metabolites of NAC are good antioxidants.

NAC readily crosses cell membranes and does not seem to raise tissue or blood levels of glutathione above the desired ranges. Thus, the nutrient role of NAC is to help maintain healthy levels of intracellular glutathione , especially whenever a condition has limited glutathione production. This nutrient role of maintaining optimal levels of essential body compounds is different from "drug roles" in which body compounds are just elevated without homeostasis or normal body regulation.

NAC, cysteine and glutathione contain sulfur in the form of sulfhydryl groups. Sulfhydryl groups directly react with many poisons, especially heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium. These sulfur-containing nutrients are the body's first line of defense against many poisons as they tie-up the poisons right in the gut. They also offer second-line and third-line defenses in the liver and various individual cells. Sulfhydryl groups also help remove toxins indirectly via an enzyme system called the P-450 System.

NAC also has a secondary role in detoxification since it helps produce optimal amounts of glutathione which also conjugates with most "foreign" compounds and excess oxidizers that enter cells. The harmful compounds that have been conjugated with glutathione then pass harmlessly out of the body through the biliary system.

Although NAC is a food component and a nutrient accessory factor, it is also marketed as a drug with approved medical claims. It has been typically been utilized at dosages from 200 mg to 1200mg per day. Higher doses have been utilized in more severe disease states, but for general use as an antioxidant, most would want to consume from 200 mg to 600 mg daily. People exposed to large sources of oxidants and glutathione depleters, such as smokers or drinkers would probably want to use NAC at the upper level of this range. No NAC-associated toxicity has been reported.

Recent studies indicate that other antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and seleniumin also play a role in the metabolism and regeneration of glutathione and may work synergistically to enhance NAC's properties.

Metabolism of NAC

NAC is easily absorbed through oral administration, with blood levels peaking within an hour. NAC is metabolized in the gut wall and liver and is converted to L-cysteine, and ultimately, from cysteine into glutathione. Oral NAC has been shown to increase glutathione levels in numerous different tissues of the body in both animals and humans.

The discovery that NAC (and the glutathione formation it promotes) is an effective antidote for acetaminophen (TylenolTM) poisoning first indicated NAC's importance as an antioxidant. It has the capacity to scavenge hydrogen peroxide hypochlorous acid, and the hydroxyl radical, but most of its antioxidant value is due to its promotion of glutathione formation. This activity of NAC protects membranes from damage by superoxide radical systems. NAC is receiving growing interest from both scientists and physicians, due to the enormous role that oxidation and free-radical mediated damage play in many diseases.

NAC directly detoxifies reactive oxygen mutagens such as superoxide, hydrogen peroxide, and singlet oxygen, and inhibits environmental carcinogens such as cigarette smoke condensate and aflatoxin. Within cells, NAC is rapidly converted to cysteine and then to glutathione which detoxifies carcinogens inside cells and helps decrease carcinogen-induced DNA damage. In its role as an inhibitor of DNA mutations in various organs and tissues, NAC and glutathione may prove potent protectors of a wide variety of diseases.

(NAC should be used with caution by diabetics as it may reduce certain disulphide bonds that determin the structure of insulin. Have a blood test to rule out diabetes if you are uncertain).

NINGXIA RED 200 times the antioxidant effect at 815 per ounce on the S-ORAC scale than any other brand anti-oxidant drink. It is also 30 times stronger than the same company's already existing Berry Young Juice (24 per ounce on S-ORAC). It contains long-chain polysaccharides, which have immune system stabilizing effect.

OLIVE LEAF has many uses and contains several antioxidants. Its wide applications include boosting the immune system which makes it useful for treating viral and bacterial infections such as colds, influenza and other respiratory problems. It can help relieve stress and anxiety and is claimed to improve general wellbeing. Olive leaf extract may also be useful in maintaining healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels. In liquid form it can be used topically to treat some skin infections and minor wounds.

OLIVE OIL contains several antioxidants.  Cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil is best because no chemicals are used in the extraction process.  When added to salads it helps in the digestion of vitamins in the food.  For cooking it can be reused, unlike many other oils that produce toxins after being heated and should therefore be discarded.  It is high in fat but is classed as a "good" fat.  Although slightly more expensive than other cooking oils its benefits repay the extra expense. Cooking oils generally do not improve with age and should be stored in a refigerator after opening.

PHENOLICS are naturally occurring antioxidant substances found in the skins of many fruits, berries, vegetables and herbs. Fruits and vegetables with brightly coloured skins are generally considered to be relatively high in phenolics as are the skins and seeds of the grapes (vitus vinifera) used to make red wine.

PRO-ALGATENE is a Vitamin A supplement. Each capsule provides the amount of beta carotene in two-thirds cup of spinach or one large carrot. These Beta carotene capsules are made from nature's most concentrated source of beta carotene, the organic Pro-Algatene concentrate. In the human body, it is converted into vitamin A, which aids in the proper development of skin and bones and promotes good night vision. Beta carotene provides a safe way of storing vitamin A since the body converts it into vitamin A as needed. (See general notes on Vitamin A near top of this page)

PROCYSTEINE is a cysteine pro-drug that increases intracellular glutathione levels. Glutathione is a potent endogenous antioxidant. Drs. Robert H. Brown and Merit Cudkowicz have organised a clinical trial to study the effects of the antioxidant, Procysteine. Information can be obtained by contacting Ms. Paula M. Eggleston, Clinical Research Coordinator at The Neuromuscular Unit of Massachusetts General Hospital, USA on 617-724-1872 (phone), 617-726-2353 (fax).

PROZYME is a bioavailable form of SOD (superoxide dismutase) derived from maize pollen. See more at the Prozyme website.

PYRIMIDINES are a novel group of antioxidant compounds, the pyrrolopyrimidines, discovered relatively recently. POLBAX is claimed to provide significantly improved oral bioavailability (56-70% in rats), increased efficacy and potency in protecting cultured neurons against iron-induced lipid peroxidative injury and as much as a 5-fold increase in brain uptake compared with the 21-aminosteroid antioxidant compound, tirilazad mesylate (U-74006F).

They appear to quench lipid peroxidation reactions by electron-donating and/or radical-trapping mechanisms. U-101033E has been found to be protective in the context of focal cerebral ischemia, reducing infarct size in the mouse permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion model, in contrast to tirilazad which is minimally effective.

These results suggest that antioxidant compounds with improved brain parenchymal penetration are better able to limit certain types of ischemic brain damage than those which are localized in the cerebral microvasculature. However, the activity of U-101033E in improving early post-traumatic recovery in mice subjected to severe concussive head injury is similar to that of tirilazad. The oral bioavailability of many pyrrolopyrimidines suggests that they may be useful for certain chronic neurodegenerative disorders in which lipid peroxidation plays a role.

(Excerpt from AU: Hall ED; Andrus PK; Smith SL; Fleck TJ; Scherch HM; Lutzke BS; Sawada GA; Althaus JS; Vonvoigtlander PF; Padbury GE; Larson PG; Palmer JR; Bundy GL TI: Pyrrolopyrimidines: novel brain-penetrating antioxidants with neuroprotective activity in brain injury and ischemia models. SO: JOURNAL OF PHARMACOLOGY AND EXPERIMENTAL THERAPEUTICS, 281 (2) 895-904/1997 May)

RED WINE [Please note that alcohol stresses liver function.  As liver function is important in metabolising supplements and medications that may aid in slowing ALS/MND it is advisable to minimise alcohol consumption or discontinue it entirely].

An antioxidant discovered in the red grape and found in the wine, juice, skin and seeds may offer significant protection against certain types of cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cataracts and many other chronic and degenerative diseases. In a study at Creighton University in Omaha researchers say that a compound extracted from the seeds of red grapes called Activin (TM) is a powerful new super antioxidant. The research tested the ability of Activin to neutralise and inhibit the damage caused by free radicals in the brains and livers of mice, then compared the effects of the new compound to those of vitamins E, C and beta-carotene.

"Our studies show that Activin is a more potent antioxidant than vitamins C, E and beta-carotene - up to seven times more potent," said Dr. Debasis Bagchi, lead researcher of the Creighton team, who announced the findings at the Experimental Biology conference in New Orleans. "Activin is a powerful inhibitor of free radical-induced lipid peroxidation and DNA fragmentation," stated Bagchi.

"This is significant because free radicals can destroy cell membranes and damage DNA, and may be a root cause of certain types of cancer, heart disease and even the aging process itself. "Our findings may also explain why red wine is more beneficial than white in preventing heart disease," Bagchi added, "since red wine is fermented with the seeds while white wine is not."

This most recent discovery of significant antioxidant benefits of Activin adds to the growing reputation of the red grape as a healthful food. It follows recent findings about the role of red grape juice in reducing blood clots and preventing heart disease and the study of the cancer-fighting properties of Resveratrol, a compound extracted from red grape skins.

All these studies, in turn, were inspired by the French Paradox the seemingly contradictory finding that the French have a lower rate of heart disease than other Western nations, despite the fact that the French diet is high in fat and cholesterol.

Scientists believe that the generous consumption of red wine among the French at least partially accounts for the lower rate of heart disease, since the biologically active flavonoids in the wine reduce blood platelet aggregation. "The beneficial effects of Activin appear to be due to its high flavonoid content," explained Bagchi. "The highest concentration of flavonoids in red grapes is in the seeds." According to InterHealth Nutritionals, a company that produces the grape seed extract, Activin is a nutritional ingredient, not a drug, and is currently available in a variety of dietary supplements at drug and health food stores.

SAM (s-adenosyl methionine) occurs naturally in all body cells. SAM serves to detoxify cell membranes and synthesize neurotransmitters. Besides clearing toxins from your body, SAM enhances the body's own defense mechanisms by removing 'used up' steroid hormones, thyroid hormones, and stale neurotransmitters. SAM has proven effective in increasing the brain's production of catecholamines, the neurotransmitters we rely on to effectively transmit nerve impulses.

SELENIUM This element is required in minuscule amounts and is normally obtained from a balanced diet. Selenium supplementation has been shown to have beneficial neuroprotective, antioxidant effects but supplementation should be carefully regulated. Selenium is toxic in large doses and beneficial supplementation would only be in the order of a few micrograms. Selenium is usually combined with other antioxidants such as vitamin E or is included in a "multi supplement" capsule. Click on "Healthy Foods" in the Contents Bar for a list of foods that contain selenium.

Several studies have revealed that selenium may be helpful in slowing down the progression of neurodegeneration.

SOD (Superoxide dismutase) can now be taken orally in a bioavailable form called Prozyme (or Polbax in Sweden).

Defects in the gene influencing SOD have been implicated as a factor provoking the incidence of some cases of familial ALS/MND. A SOD supplement may possibly prove to be useful in the treatment of both familial and sporadic (common) ALS/MND.

Researchers initially reported that even though SOD and other antioxidant enzymes are far more powerful than vitamins and other nutrients at scavenging free radicals, they couldn't be taken orally because they would be destroyed in the digestive tract and thus couldn't be assimilated by the body. Studies published in leading medical journals report that the world's first SOD antioxidant enzyme can be assimilated by the human body. It is now available only through a whole food, flower pollen extract product called Prozyme. Superoxide dismutase enzymes have been extracted from pollen and pistills of Zea mays (maize) and in two commercial products, Baxtin® and Polbax®, derived from the same material.

Pharmacia Allergon AB, a 50 year old Swedish pharmaceutical company, produces a tablet form of SOD derived from flower pollen extracts. This pollen also contains a perfectly balanced combination of other major antioxidant enzymes (glutathione, catalase) and all other nutrients (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, flavonoids, etc.) necessary to sustain life. This makes Prozyme 10 the most powerful aid for preventing conditions associated with free radical damage and over 10 years of clinical trials in Europe demonstrate the safety and efficacy of this completely natural product.

Per Christer Odén, Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, S-901 83 Ume"å, Sweden and Roland Einarsson, Pharmacia Diagnostics, S-751 82 Uppsala, Sweden.

SOD is a key component in the free radical detoxification process. SOD-enzymes have been extensively studied during the last ten years and they are now considered present in all aerobic organisms (for reviews see Rabinowitch and Fridovich 1983, Fridovich 1986, Asada 1988, Monk et al. 1989, Hassan and Scandalios 1990).

The results of SOD-activity determinations were convincing.One gram of Polbax (Prozyme) will correspond to approximately 4000 mg of CuZn-SOD.

Projoba includes Polbax

There is also a product called Microwater that claims to have SOD like activity. For more information on this product.

SYNTRA SHIELD offers an antioxidant complex with a complete description of the function of ingredients contained.

TOCOTRIENOL is a much neglected component of vitamin E. In addition to the four tocopherols, another related series of compounds, tocotrienols, have been discovered which are less widely distributed in nature. While tocopherols are predominantly found in corn, soybean and olive oils, tocotrienols are particularly rich in palm, rice bran and barley oils. Therefore, vitamin E is the term used for eight naturally occurring essential fat-soluble nutrients: alpha,beta, delta & gamma tocopherols plus a class of compounds related to vitamin E called alpha, beta, delta and gamma tocotrienols. Comparatively, the tocotrienol structure differs by possessing three double bonds in their side chain rather than being saturated.

Tocotrienols have been shown to elicit powerful antioxidant, anti-cancer and cholesterol lowering properties. Some studies have confirmed that tocotrienol activity as an antioxidant, anti-cancer and cholesterol reducing substance to be much stronger than tocopherols. Tocotrienols were once thought to be of lesser nutritional value than the tocopherols, it is apparent that their activity and importance rank them as one of the most important class of nutritional compounds for the prevention and treatment of disease.

TEA (camelia sinensis) has antioxidant properties. Green tea has been used for many years in Japan and China for its medicinal properties. Ordinary black tea has almost the same antioxidant properties as green tea, althought there are claims that green tea contains additional compounds that may assist in other ways.

Black tea is essentially a fermented version of green tea but, as with red wine, the fermentation process does not appear to adversely effect the anti oxidising ability of common black tea. It has been claimed that adding milk or cream to tea destroys the antioxidant effect but some researchers feel this is not the case. Please note that regular (especially excessive) tea drinking places an added burden on liver function due to its caffeine content and should not be used as a primary source of antioxidant supplementation.

The Neuroprotective effect of EGCG from green tea - "A potential therapeutic strategy for neurodegenerative diseases associated with oxidative injury" can be accessed through Entrez PubMed under Koh SH or Kim SH as authors.

TURMERIC (Curcuma longa) is a member of the ginger family and has long been used for healing. Western medical researchers discovered inflammation-fighting compounds called curcuminoids. The curcuminoids in turmeric are claimed to have antioxidant properties as high as four times greater than OPC/Grapeseed/Pinebark extract.

Studies in mice indicate that the curcumin in turmeric may block the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS). Elderly Indian populations that consume considerable amounts of dietary turmeric are less likely than their Western counterparts to develop MS and Alzheimer's.

Scientists conjecture that turmeric benefits such neurologic illnesses by minimizing inflammation, a theory supported by findings that people regularly taking prescription anti-inflammatories for arthritis are less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease.

German health authorities have declared turmeric a valuable remedy for stomach upset. Laboratory findings show that curcumin fights bacteria commonly responsible for infectious diarrhoea.

For inflammatory and GI-related ailments: Take 400 to 600 mg (containing 95% curcumin) in capsule form three times a day. Continue until symptoms are relieved. If there is no improvement after a week of continuous use, then it is unlikely turmeric is going to help.

Turmeric is better absorbed when combined with bromelain, protein-digesting enzymes found in the pineapple plant. Simply drinking a small amount of pineapple juice may provide the bromelain required.

Common use: Indigestion; promoting bile flow (improves digestion of fats); reduces gas, nausea, bloating, loss of appetite, gallbladder complaints, gastritis, high cholesterol, liver complaints and jaundice. Turmeric has long been used to treat arthritis and inflammation. The ground or grated root can be used as poultice for cuts, bruises and psoriasis (be aware it may leave a yellow stain on both skin and clothing).

VITAMINS A number of readily available vitamins in dietary or supplementary form have antioxidant properties. Click on Vitamins here or in the contents list for more information.

XANGO A palatable fruit juice erived from Mangosteen, a tropical fruit that has been demonstrated to provide numerous health benefits. Dr. John Edwards of the Oakland Health Clinic in California demonstrated that Xanthones found in the Mangosteen fruit may regenerate neuronal tissue.

The Xanthones derived from mangosteen are anti oxidant, anti inflammatory, anti viral, anti fungal and bacteriacidal. Because of its wide ranging beneficial effects, mangosteen may be useful in the treatment of neurodegenerative and other illnesses.

There is extensive information and supporting scientific references on mangosteen and Xanthones on the internet.

Nature's Sunshine Products' website has details of their extensive range of products. Email them via their website In Australia they can be telephoned on (02) 9894-0111 or faxed on (02) 9894-2422. Their Australian (NSW) address is P.O. Box 6884, Baulkham Hills Business Park, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153.