Silicon solution: AAS testing in multiple sclerosis

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  • Published: Nov 15, 2017
  • Author: David Bradley
  • Channels: Atomic
thumbnail image: Silicon solution: AAS testing in multiple sclerosis

Silicon rich

Transversely -heated graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry has been used to show that drinking silicon-rich mineral water can increase the rate of urinary excretion of toxic aluminium ions in people with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS).

Transversely heated graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry has been used to show that drinking silicon-rich mineral water can increase the rate of urinary excretion of toxic aluminium ions in people with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS).

We do not know what causes the chronic autoimmune condition SPMS although incidence is on the increase. Moreover, there are few therapeutic options for patients. One factor that has been investigated and offers an important clue to aetiology, prevention and perhaps treatment is that people with SPMS seem to excrete abnormally high levels of aluminium in their urine, particularly women. Drinking mineral water rich in silicon also seems to facilitate the removal of aluminium from the body, so researchers in Austria and the UK are investigating the link. The role of aluminium in MS might be anticipated based on the close biochemical association of the metal with the protein myelin, they insulating material around nerves which becomes degrade through an autoimmune system process in MS. Animal models also reveal a link with oligodendrocytes in aluminium intoxication. There are other suspect mechanisms including the pro-oxidant activity of the metal and its capacity to trigger auto-immunity.

Aluminium burden

Krista Jones and Christopher Exley of The Birchall Centre, Lennard-Jones Laboratories, at Keele University, UK, Caroline Linhart of the Department of Medical Statistics, Informatics and Health Economics, at the Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria, and Clive Hawkins of the Institute of Science and Technology in Medicine, also at Keele explain how they measured baseline and silicon treated patients.

The team measured urinary excretion of aluminium and silicon in 15 individuals (8 women and 7 men aged 52 to 73 with a mean age of 63 diagnosed with SPMS over 24 weeks, they used a 12 week baseline period as a control and then treated the patients for 12 weeks with up to 1.5 litres of a silicon-rich mineral water daily. They first began their pioneering work with silicon-rich water in 2006 in Alzheimer's disease, which also has a known link with aluminium burden. The researchers confirmed that SPMS patients excreted high levels of aluminium during the baseline period, some 135.2 nmol/mmol; women significantly more than men. Administering silicon-rich mineral water boosted the rate of urinary excretion of aluminium to 349.0 nmol/mmol.

Treating MS

Most of the patients (14 of the 15) excreted more aluminium after drinking the silicon water. "Silicon-rich mineral waters may be an effective and non-invasive therapy for the removal of aluminium from the body of individuals with SPMS," the team reports.

Related Links

EBioMed 2017, online: "Urinary Excretion of Aluminium and Silicon in Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis"

Article by David Bradley

The views represented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

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