The myelin sheath, composed of protein and lipids, is a protective covering surrounding the body’s axons—the long, thin projections extending from the main body of a neuron or nerve cell.
The axons in your body carry nerve signals from the primary neuronal body to other nerve cells, glands, and muscles. Axons, when bundled together in the body, form nerves; these nerves create a network of electrical impulses throughout the body.
Myelin’s primary function is to protect and insulate axons. This enhances the transmission of electrical impulses. Damaged myelin slows the electrical impulses from the nerves, resulting in altered body functioning.
How Do Changes in Myelin Affect the Body?
Since our nerves allow us to feel, see, speak, and think, damage to the insulating myelin can cause profound changes in the brain and throughout the body.
Certain medical conditions can damage myelin—known as demyelination. Although inflammation is the most common cause of myelin damage, other causes include:
- Oxygen deprivation
- Some viral infections
- Physical compression
- Metabolic issues
Some medical conditions, like Guillain-Barre’ Syndrome—can cause symptoms of myelin damage after the body has been under attack for only a few hours.
Does Myelin Affect More Than Nerve Health?
Early symptoms of demyelination which affect the entire body include:
- Vision loss
- Bowel or bladder problems
- Profound fatigue
- Poorly controlled blood pressure
Symptoms of demyelination which primarily affect the nerves include:
- Uncoordinated movements
- Loss of reflexes
- Blurry vision
- Memory issues
- Unusual nerve pain
Those who have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis may find their symptoms come and go throughout their life. All of the symptoms above occur in inflammatory demyelination and usually begin when the immune system attacks itself.
Viral demyelination can occur in conjunction with alcoholism, liver damage, or imbalances of electrolytes in the body. Aging causes a loss of myelin, which, in turn, can result in cognitive deficits.
How is Healthy Myelin Supported
Although you cannot boost your myelin production in a single day, routinely following healthy habits can significantly improve the functioning of neural pathways. Some of the best ways to support healthy myelin in the body—and even repair damaged myelin—include:
- Exercise - this is one of the best ways to ensure your neurons will continue firing quickly and efficiently throughout your life. Exercise can even help mitigate the impact of an unhealthy diet, as revealed by a myelin study done by Isobel A. Scarisbrick. This study found that a sedentary lifestyle reduces myelin-forming cells, leading to demyelination and associated cognitive decline.
- Reducing Bad Fats – cutting down on saturated fats in your diet, in conjunction with exercise, can slow the reduction in myelin-forming cells.
- Probiotics – a study on gut bacteria found a link between probiotics and prebiotics and remyelination.
- Take Your Vitamin D – vitamin D is believed to aid in remyelination.
- Omega3 Fatty Acids – an increase in the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids has been associated with a reduction in demyelination.
- Learn a New Skill – constantly learning new habits and skills can aid in the generation of new myelin in the nervous system.
- Sleep – regular sleep and wake cycles, regulated by the hormone melatonin, play a role in the formation of myelin. Melatonin has been shown to decrease the inflammation associated with demyelination.
- Diet – the Wahls Protocol is a diet that includes lots of B vitamins, omega-3 fats, and iodine—a modified Paleo diet which is high in vegetables, grass-fed meat and wild fish, and mostly free of grains, dairy, and starches.
How Myetin Adds Biotin to the Body
High-Dose D-Biotin is a naturally occurring [bioavailable] form of the B vitamin, Biotin, which assists many functions throughout the body especially where the myelin is involved. If administered in high enough doses over time, D-Biotin acts as a nutrient that supports the production of the myelin sheath through the production of fatty acid synthesis.
NAD+ has been hailed for its properties because it enhances energy and fatty acid production that help the cells in the body optimally function.
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