I am so glad to be back. I took a couple of days, went to a conference and also have been trying to get over this cough. For those who have been watching for a while, I did go to the doctor, and they confirmed there is nothing wrong with me more than spasming bronchioles.
Well let’s get into it. If you don’t know me, my name is Josh Decker and I am so glad that you are joining in. I definitely encourage you to go back and listen to some of my previous videos talking a little bit about what we know about Down Syndrome.
A few days ago I was talking about the fact that there are certain things we know about Down Syndrome consistently because of what we’ve been able to map genetically. When I say “we” it is we as a world and not me, I am not a scientist. I just get to bring some of the information to you.
So tonight what I want to do is discuss one specific gene and one specific thing. I think most of you probably saw the caption for this and began wondering why I am going to be talking about Tylenol.
The Overexpression Of A Gene
One of the genes that is regulated by the 21st chromosome is this little gene called SOD1, that has an extra copy. So that particular gene is overactive in every person with Down Syndrome. Without digging into the deep science, part of what the SOD1 gene does is it helps to rid our body of toxins.
As our body processes toxins, the SOD1 gene helps to get rid of it. It does that by making use of this thing called glutathione. Now what’s really cool about learning some of this stuff is that you will begin to amaze some of the medical professionals that you work with.
The primary care for my son, she’s a family nurse practitioner, we love her she’s great! We were talking with her after one of his hospital visits for aspiration pneumonia. As we were talking, she was like they gave him Tylenol, and we corrected and let her know they gave him ibuprofen. Then she was asking why we won’t give him tylenol. So we started talking about this SOD1 gene and glutathione, and she didn’t know what that was. Most doctors aren’t going to know as much as a nurse practitioner is in terms of something like glutathione because the nurses get just a little more education in terms of nutrition than the doctors do.
So, glutathione is a chemical your body should produce naturally. The SOD1 gene utilized glutathione to help break down hydrogen peroxide in the body, which is supposed to be there but can be damaging when left unchecked. So glutathione helps to break down that hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen molecules, and then be able to flush the toxins out of your body with that water.
Again, this is really high level, not really deep in how in works. So with an overactive SOD1 gene, it is running at 50% greater than people with a normal set of chromosomes. So what that means is that its using up your store of glutathione much more quickly. So our kids’ bodies don’t have the amount of glutathione needed to run their detox system the way it should be run anyway.
What Does This Have To Do With Tylenol?
All of a sudden we have a big issue with the body not being able to flush itself of toxins, and very specifically some of the free radicals that are floating around in their body. So what does this do? It makes their body toxic, it makes it so there’s some really dangerous free radicals just ravaging their cells. If you know anything about free radicals you likely know these are some of the things that lead to cancers and tumors (a free radical is a molecule without the right number of electrons, that cause mutations in the cells).
So you can see that glutathione is exceptionally important. We have to then help our kids restore the supply of glutathione that their losing simply because their genes are overusing it. At a high level, know that tylenol should be an absolute last resort. Why? So you don’t deplete the glutathione stores that are already running at a deficit.
The next level is, how do you help regulate that? To my knowledge there is nothing safe to help regulate the SOD1 gene. So there are things that can be helpful in terms of ridding the body of the free radicals. If you’ve heard anything about health, you’ll probably know that antioxidants help to rid the body of free radicals. Yes, but not all antioxidants do it the same way.
Some antioxidants work by actually upregulating the SOD1 gene and the use of the glutathione, while other antioxidants actually go out and “hunt down” the free radicals themselves. So it’s just a matter of what does that particular antioxidant do, because not all work the same. So it’s a matter of supporting the body to help produce what it should, to give it what it needs so it can function the way that it needs to, with the right amount of glutathione keeping that detoxing system working the way that it should.
So that’s why understanding a little bit of this biochemistry stuff is so important. You go to the ER and the doctors, nurses and residents only know what they know. They are not the experts in Down Syndrome. We are much better experts in Down Syndrome simply because we live it daily with our kids. At best 1 out of 700 of their patients walking through their door may have Down Syndrome. So at best, they may be seeing 1 or 2 people a day as an entire facility. So it really becomes my responsibility to know that this upregulating in the SOD1 gene reduces the stores of glutathione, tylenol reduces the stores of glutathione, so it’s not a good mix.
What do you use instead? There are a lot of natural options for helping to regulate body temperature. Like a wet washcloth on the forehead, it doesn’t have to be anything crazy. There are many other things you can do too. If you want to use something medicinal, ibuprofen is a much better option than tylenol. Now ibuprofen has its own issues, like issues with the stomach lining, so use with caution, but know that it has an immediate less risk to it than Tylenol does.
So I hope that helps. If you want to go out and dig on this, simply do a search tylenol depletes glutathione, and you’ll find a lot of articles from PubMed. If you want to dig deeper into the science of this, send me a note (or leave a comment below), I would be happy to invite you to a group that lays out the details of some of this science, and allows you to really dig in deep and understand more.
In the end, know that your doctors and your team are not the experts in Down Syndrome. So learn as much as you can and you be the expert.