The Real ALS Challenge Isn't That Challenging
Though is seems to have died off now, I still feel the need to discuss the "REAL" ALS challenge. Fortunately, my challenge doesn't entail pouring ice water over your head.
ALS stand for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and is often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease." It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
We have two basic kinds of nerves in our nervous system. First there are sensing nerves; think sight, smell, touch, etc. The other kind are motor nerves. Whether it's moving a muscle or releasing a hormone, motor nerves cause things to happen.
In ALS the motor nerves progressively degnerate and eventually die. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, people in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.
So the "real" ALS challenge is to do the things that prevent or even slow down the degeneration and eventual death of motor neurons.
Believe it or not we already know how to do that. A study published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Neurology in July 2014 found that:
"Consumption of foods high in Omega -3 PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids) may help prevent or delay the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis."
I hope you realize what a strong statement that is.
Quick explanation. Poly means "many." Fats are chains of carbon atoms. These carbon atoms have sockets where other atoms (frequently hydrogen) can "plug into" and attach to the carbon. Saturated fats are fats where all the carbon sockets have been filled. Mono unsaturated fats are fats where there is one empty socket. Polyunsaturated fats are fats where there are many empty sockets.
Hopefully your mind is racing ahead and you're asking the question, "where do I get Omega-3 poly unsaturated fatty acids.
They are commonly found in flax seeds, salmon, chia seeds, sardines, mackerel, herring, walnuts and fresh basil.
So if someone challenges you to dump a bucket of ice over your head, you can pass and challenge them to eat some omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids!