Your Glymphatic System Stands Between You And Alzheimer’s
As science pushes the frontiers of knowledge ever forward with new discoveries, we realize that there’s so very much more to learn about the human body and health. I find that new, scientific revelations often support the ancient wisdom of Natural Health, though few commentaries frame new discoveries in that context. Something we’ll do here.
You may be emphatic about your lymphatic system, but may not yet be ecstatic about your glymphatic system. That’s about to change here, now.
Science has discovered more wheels-within-wheels about how uniquely brilliant our bodies’ life-processes are. Here are some basic insights on your glymphatic system.
What’s Glymphatic? It’s a functional waste clearance pathway for your central nervous system (CNS—brain and spine). Okay, what does that mean?
It means that your run-of-the-mill, garden variety lymphatic system—your cellular garbage disposal/immune support/nutrient delivery system—is not good enough for your fancy, high-performance brain and central nervous system. Not by a long shot. Your brain and spine need their own highly specialized clean-room environment which is managed by specialized glial cells, astrocytes.
Multi-Purpose Garbage Truck. Your glymphatic system is basically a garbage truck, plus postal truck, plus UPS/Fed-Ex truck combined—it empties and washes your brain’s dumpster; delivers your brain-mail; brings your brain-groceries to the door, and supports your good mood with happy molecules (neurotransmitters).
Most people have heard of the blood brain barrier that protects the brain from potentially disruptive molecules in the blood. Only certain molecules can cross that barrier into the sanctum-sanctorum of the brain’s domain. Your glymphatic system is basically plumbing that surrounds your blood vessels that enhances the quick removal of neuro-toxins.
Leaky Gut = Leaky Brain. Today, in Natural Health, many pundits are highly concerned that toxins such as mercury, chemicals (fire-retardants), and drugs often have unwanted ingress into the brain—either because they trick the barrier, or because leaky gut impairs the blood-brain barrier’s effectiveness.
Gastrointestinal inflammation and pathogenic bacteria that release the molecule, zonulin, cause open sesame to both the gut and the brain barriers1. This is the basis of the on-going debate that mercury adjuvants in vaccines could enter the brain and throw a monkey-wrench into the delicate processes if the person has a compromised gastrointestinal tract barrier.
β-Amyloid (Beta Amyloid). Your glymphatic system is a busy system that hauls the brain’s wastes products such as the famous β-amyloid that science tried to blame as a cause of Alzheimer’s, until that research and resulting medications failed miserably to help people.
It’s certainly an odd quirk of health-sciences to ‘kill the messenger’ rather than correct the cause.
A natural molecule, β-amyloid plaque occurs in normal brain function, and the glymphatic system is the normal method that the body’s innate intelligence employs to remove β-amyloid2 before it gums up the works like bubble gum on your shoe-soul on a hot Texas sidewalk. As β-amyloid builds up in the brain, it causes silent inflammation and impairs cognitive function.
τ–Tangles (Tangled Tau Proteins). Now science is looking at tangled τ-proteins in brain cells as being the culprit, gumming up the works and causing Alzheimer’s3. Tau proteins are important to brain cell health because they provide structure and function to microtubules which are necessary for cellular health. Over-activity of the enzymes that create tau proteins causes haste makes waste—too many tau proteins and tangled tau structures4.
So, what’s causing the gene which encodes the enzymes that create τ-proteins to overexpress? Epigenetics teaches us that “something” causes the MAPT (microtubule-associated protein tau)
Gene (that encodes the enzyme that makes tau, to over-express or become hyper.
Not being actively engaged in the research, I’m reluctant to admit thinking, “Here we go again, barking up the wrong tree,” but the problem seems to be two-fold:
1) Excessive manufacture of τ-proteins (and β-amyloid) by “something” that agitated the gene to ramp up production , and
2) Removal of used and damaged intracellular materials from the brain, e.g. glymphatic detoxification processes.
Again, it seems that science is not addressing the cause because our same glymphatic system washes away τ-proteins and other used-up molecules such as β-amyloid. Often it seems that symptoms are the body’s perfect expression of adapting to circumstances. If we don’t like the symptoms, maybe we should fix the circumstances.
Natural health pundits ask, “What’s causing over-expression of the brain’s normal processes and what’s impeding the brain’s innate self-scrubbing processes?
- Environmental pollutants causing inflammation?
- Tobacco/nicotine causing inflammation?
- Electro-magnetic frequencies from cell phones causing inflammation?
- Trans-fats (promulgated by the medical Healthy Heart diet) causing inflammation?
- Alcohol causing inflammation?
- Immune reactions to GMO corn and hybridized wheat causing inflammation?
- Lack of exercise and resulting cellular inflammation?
- Leaky gut causing cellular inflammation?
- Lack of certain food nutrients allowing inflammation?
- A combination of those excesses and deaths? WHAT?
You might have noticed the word ‘inflammation’ mentioned. That’s the culprit according to Time Magazine, Feb. 2004.
None of those questions facilitate the patenting of a drug. If there is veracity in those questions, then Scientists are not engaged in research about them being a cause or contributor of Alzheimer’s. Not if they want to eat. The meal ticket comes from developing a drug that retards the process, but doesn’t fix the cause.
Kill The Messenger. Is science once again killing the messenger? Is this what happens when pharmaceutical funding forces science into creating a drug that palliates a symptom rather than addressing the lifestyle or environmental cause? Those two questions are why some health pundits are indeed screaming.
Swab The Decks. The brain’s glymphatic cerebral spinal fluid is supposed to flow across the terrain, sweep up β-amyloid, τ-proteins and other debris, and flush it into the bloodstream (through the blood brain barrier) for disposal by the liver/gall-bladder’s normal detoxification process. Thus, there is a natural hosing off of your brain cells, keeping them clean and unimpeded.
Doesn’t it make common sense that the issue is not β-amyloid or τ-proteins, but whatever impedes the normal natural flow of the innate detoxification processes, and/or causes gunk and tangles? This is why natural health pundits often talk about how to detoxify the brain with chelating agents and the nutrient, alpha lipoic acid.
Science points to a new, potential culprit that is certainly a major player, not just some picayune small player. It’s poor sleep. Science also reveals that sleeping medications do not facilitate the brain getting into the deep sleep necessary for glymphatic effectiveness5.
Sleep That Knits Up The Raveled Sleeve Of Care. Thinkers have often pondered, “Why do human beings have to sleep so much? Are dreams really all that important? Just think how much more work we could accomplish if we didn’t sleep.”
Here’s a case in point – just one of many reasons why a good nights’ slumber is critically important to mental and physical health. Your glymphatic system is particularly active during sleep when your brain’s circadian rhythms enter into the activity of hosing off the driveway and removing neurotoxic wastes such as β-amyloid, τ-proteins, and environmental chemicals that crossed the barrier.
So, while the city sleeps, the street-cleaning machines roam—cleaning, washing, making the city fresh with the new dawn. Same thing with the glymphatic system.
It’s DEEP SLEEP that serves your brain and body the best. Deep sleep has profound ramifications for anxiety, depression, neurodegenerative conditions, overall health, and helps make your brain cells squeaky clean so you can start your next day of life with faculties intact and fully operational.
QuirkyHealthTips.To create a clean-room for your high-performance brain’s repose, your natural health lifestyle must include,
- A superior diet/nutritient-acquisition plan
- Exercise (Biological Age Reversal)
- Avoidance of environmental pollutants (including EMFs)
- Microbiome Health
- Attitudes that define a healthy person.
This is exactly what these blogs are for.
Master Bill wrote in Macbeth, about NATURAL SLEEP. “The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath, balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, chief nourisher in life’s feast.”
For a sphedoinkle day tomorrow, take measures today for a good night’s sleep. The pundits point to basic actions: get some sunshine on your body, turn off the computer and TV early (blue light exposure); a dark, cool room (77°F); avoid late-night eating (and drinking alcohol/caffeine), exercise, relax (Epsom salt bath), and get comfy. A melatonin or herbal sleep aid may be helpful for short-term use to get your brain into your REM theta-wave, rejuvenative 40 winks.
So, take inventory. Are you engaging in activities that increase cell-membrane inflammation? Are you getting deep sleep? Hang around this community of communications and day-by-day, we’ll walk on the sunny-side of natural health and practices that bring health, longevity, and joy.
Say goodnight, Gracey. Goodnight, John Boy.
- Sturgeon, C. and Fasano, A. Zonulin, a regulator of epithelial and endothelial barrier functions, and its involvement in chronic inflammatory diseases, Tissue Barriers. 2016; 4(4): e1251384. doi: 10.1080/21688370.2016.1251384 PMCID: PMC5214347, PMID: 28123927
- Jeffrey J. Iliff, et. al, A Paravascular Pathway Facilitates CSF Flow Through the Brain Parenchyma and the Clearance of Interstitial Solutes, Including Amyloid β Science Translational Medicine 15 Aug 2012: Vol. 4, Issue 147, pp. 147ra111 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3003748
- Metaxas, A., Kempf, S.J.,Ph.D. Neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer’s disease: elucidation of the molecular mechanism by immunohistochemistry and tau protein phospho-proteomics, Neural Regen Res. 2016 Oct; 11(10): 1579–1581 doi: 10.4103/1673-5374.193234, PMCID: PMC5116834 PMID: 27904486
- Šimić, G, et. al, Tau Protein Hyperphosphorylation and Aggregation in Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Tauopathies, and Possible Neuroprotective Strategies, Biomolecules. 2016 Mar; 6(1): 6. Published online 2016 Jan 6. doi: 10.3390/biom6010006, PMCID: PMC4808800 PMID: 26751493
- University of Rochester Medical Center. “Not all sleep is equal when it comes to cleaning the brain.” ScienceDaily, 27 Feb 2019.
- Feature Image Courtesy of: lightwise – 123rf.com