There is nothing better than to start the summer with a lot of time spent at your favorite water sport or play in the SUN. It is the continuation of lots of memories that begin in childhood. There is always the excitement of dangers in the waters like sharks at the beach. When I was a child, my parents used to give me a very hard time about not splashing in mud puddles. They told me that I could get a very serious disease that might even kill me. I was sure they just did not want me to not get my clothes dirty and splashed anyway. I should have known that the wisdom of generations of farmers fostered realities that were beyond the grasp of my childhood desire for fun. You should also be very, very aware when enjoying your favorite water fun for the same concerns of my parents – toxins in the water.
You may be familiar with algae blooms and the sometime warnings by your local government to not go into the water. A lot of time you ignore this warning and decide to go into the water regardless of the danger. Or you may have your favorite back water kayak site just waiting your return to explore the dark wonderful pools and bright sun splashed lakes. Before you go on your water adventure, be sure to look for algae blooms or the possibility of algae blooms. Of course I am not talking about algae per se, but blue green algae or cyanobacteria. I know the pools that my parents kept me out of would always get blue green algae tint before they dried. It is not a plant at all but bacteria. This is the same thing that goes on in our water ways, in particular with the higher amounts of nutrients from modern activities.
“The first published report that blue-green algae or cyanobacteria could have lethal effects appeared in Nature in 1878.” Cyanotoxin Wikipedia. Did my parents read Nature or was it experience? I am sure that it was experience. An illness after coming in contact with the blue green bacteria and the rest is holistic knowledge. There are two major concerns with contact of cyanobacteria: liver toxicity and nervous system damage. The liver toxicity and the neuron damage can both cause death. There are many cases of animal deaths in the Midwest after drinking from pools with blooms. As far as human deaths, there are not many documented cases. What is the concern?
New evidence for neurological diseases has been identified from contact with the neurotoxins. The problems were first identified in Guam from a cluster of ALS. It was determine that this cluster was caused from consumption of eating a local food source that was contaminated with cyanotoxins. There have since been clusters of neurodegenerative diseases within ten miles of lakes in the US that are known for blue green algae blooms. Other neurological diseases that have not been completely identified may be from the cyanotoxins. This includes ALS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and perhaps MS, Guillain Barre, and other neuromuscular and neurodegenerative diseases. Protein or amino acid mimics from the cyanobacteria get incorporated into human biology that the immune system starts to attack. This is sometimes identified as autoimmune diseases. This destroys the myelin sheath of the neurons axon or may cause issues with neurotransmitters.
There is presently a study ongoing for treating ALS with L-serine. It was found that this protein used by neurons may have become compromised from the cyanotoxin. There is even one amazing story of a boy magically getting better after being in a wheelchair for years when treated with L-serine. From my reading of research, the best things you can do if you have issues with neuromuscular/degenerative diseases are to be sure you are getting enough micro nutrients. This includes copper and zinc (presently an ongoing trial for ALS), boron, manganese, sulfate, vitamins D, C (perhaps liposomal C), and A. The minerals are for various biological functions that are absolutely necessary. I am really surprised there is not a clinical trial for ALS and manganese. Manganese is required for the generation of sulfate esters for detoxifying the body as well as making super oxide dismutase for mitochondrial health. ALS sufferers have been identified as having high sulfate content. It is interesting to note that most MS sufferers have low sulfate content. I do believe that the clue is in the manganese, copper, zinc, and iron. Of course and vitamin D3 as this is necessary for the sulfate transporter throughout the body.
I do not mean to go off on cyanobacteria as all bad. There are many healthful benefits from the use of cyanobacteria. It is used by biotech companies to make drugs and vitamins and other nutrients because of its ability to produce proteins and amino acids. This bacterium has also been credited with allowing the earth to develop its oxygen rich atmosphere because of its photosynthesis effects. It was also thought to be a great food source because of the high protein content ( forty percent) in 1930’s to solve the issue of increasing population.
When headed to your favorite water play source, check it out for any signs of “algae bloom”. Also be sure to observe any warning signs including ones from your parents regardless of your age. Also, kayakers should be very careful as some of the most toxic bacteria live at two to three feet below the surface in calm waters and cannot be realized until they bloom and the blooms are forced to the surface. Have fun in the sun and water this summer, but watch out for the sharks and bacteria. – Pandemic Survivor
Cyanotoxin BMAA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMAA
Microcystin LR http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcystin-LR
Germany Blue Green Algae http://www.bio-pro.de/magazin/index.html?lang=en&artikelid=/artikel/09387/index.html
Austrialian news release http://newsroom.uts.edu.au/news/2013/09/breakthrough-discovery-links-blue-green-algae-with-motor-neuron-disease
The Emerging Science of BMAA: Do Cyanobacteria Contribute to Neurodegenerative Disease, Wendee Holtcamp http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3295368/
Sulfate Transporters http://physrev.physiology.org/content/81/4/1499.long
Motor Neuron Disease Association http://www.mndassociation.org/what-is-mnd/different-types-of-mnd