Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone - Not Just For Tans Anymore

August 22, 2016

Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone


 References: Wikipedia, Curr. Alzheimer’s Res Aug, 2016,   

Not your common table topic, is it? MSH is such an out-of-the-way hormone, virtually no one talks about it much. Until I read an abstract about it's potential use in Alzheimer's, I hadn't heard much about it either. Just what does it do? And how does it have implications for your brain? Wikipedia will tell you that MSH is basically your hormone that stimulates the production of pigment in your skin, in the so-called melanocytes in your skin. But this is where science is just exploding in increased knowledge, and the internet is making the world flat with access to knowledge for everyone. 

Bredesen, my Alzheimer's mentor, and guru, maintains there are three distinct pathways to the development of Alzheimer's, one being inflammatory. How does MSH play a role with that? This is where folks outside the traditional medical model are racing ahead with new ideas and congealing new ways of looking at brain health. Shoemaker has aggregated lots of information about folks with mold illness and the problems they face with cognitive decline, fatigue and chronic pain. His Biotoxin pathway puts MSH into context. 

Here is the short explanation. When you are exposed to mold, you set off a lot of internal immune reactions. The cytokines that are released in response to mold exposure, block the production of leptin (thought to be one of your appetite hormones) which has a downregulating effect on MSH. Fancy that. That results is less melatonin and lousy sleep. It results in less endorphins and more chronic pain. It affects the gut with leakiness and more intake of endotoxins resulting in chronic immune activation. 

Curiously, many of these folks have less vasopressin, the hormone that mediates the control of thirst and salt balance in your blood. Hence they will have chronic thirst as they try to keep up with frequent urination. And finally, white cells lose their sensitivity to cytokines, allowing normal bugs to overgrow. You end up with MARCoNs, the invasion of antibiotic-resistant staph in your nose, which completes the circle of inflammation setting off more cytokines. We talked about MARCoNs last week and promised a return. See the link now? We have come full circle. Mold illness can be devastating as many mysteriously ill folks will tell you. Our traditional model of health care has been stuck trying to figure it out and ends up shrugging its shoulders and giving chronic pain meds like Lyrica. It is clearly accepted that water-damaged buildings make for chronically ill people. It is also clear that this pathway is part of what gets the brain injured, leading to a decline of cognitive ability if ignored. How do you tackle this tangled mess? Not easy. Probably you first have to fix the MARCONs first. Cholestyramine has been shown to bind mold toxin. That may be an early step too. 

 WWW. What will work for me? I'm learning this stuff. These pathways are fascinating, but also not as rare as we think. I'm determined to get my basement dry and make sure it doesn't ever develop any mold in it. What I would like to find is a reliable method of measuring the presence of mold illness. Next week?   

Pop Quiz

1. Alzheimer's Disease is caused universally by glucose dysregulation. T or F?                    Answer  False. Probably 80% true and we do call it Type III diabetes, but Alzheimer's can also be initiated with chronic inflammation, for which mold illness is a strong player. ‪ (Concussion, toxins, lack of building blocks)

2. MSH is primarily involved in skin pigmentation. T or F?                     Answer: False. That is what it was found for its first action. So it got named for that. But like everything in the body, there are many interlocking actions that lead to a much more complex web. Trick question. True and False 

 3. Inflammation anywhere can downregulate leptin, leading to further downregulation of MSH? T or F?  Answer:  True. Mold seems quite good at it, but just being overweight also sets inflammation off. And then you down regulate leptin and around and around you go. Terrible trap. 

4.. MSH is easy to measure. T or F?                         Answer:  It may be, but it's not commonly available. Takes specialty labs. Usually your insurance won't pay. 

 5. To get rid of mold-associated illness, I have to fix my MSH. T or F?                    Answer:   Yup. You read it right.