Charcot Marie Tooth 1A is a gene mutation that causes less myelin production. Myelin coats the ends of nerves and helps with their conduction. Less myelin means less nerve conduction. Furthermore, less nerve conduction means muscle waste and atrophy over time.
The myelin sheath is mostly made of fat lipids, 80% or so actually. Consequently, phospholipids make up most of the myelin sheath. Does this mean a high fat diet, specifically one high in phospholipids, could improve CMT1A?
A new study, “Targeting myelin lipid metabolism as a potential therapeutic strategy in a model of CMT1A neuropathy,” was published in the journal Nature Communications. The study found that increasing the phospholipid intake in rats with CMT1A, a technique the study calls phospholipid therapy, had promising results of overcoming the myelin deficit caused by CMT1A.
Researchers in Germany and Egypt studied the alterations in fat metabolism in rats with CMT1A. In over-simplified terms, the researchers found that the rats were producing phospholipids at a low rate, and therefore the composition of the myelin sheath was lacking in phospholipids. The study describes that there is a deficit in phospholipid production.
Among the phospholipids, the metabolism of phosphatidylcholine, a major myelin compound, was severely impaired at the transcriptional level in sciatic nerves of CMT1A rats.
Would it be possible to offset the deficit of phospholipids? Furthermore, would myelin sheath production utilize phospholipids produced outside of their body? The study aimed to find this out.
The Tested Treatment
In Vitro, Injected, Phospholipids
The next step was to test treating this phospholipid deficit. To do so, the researchers injected the rats with fluorescently labeled phosphatidylcholine. Finally, they observed that myelin production utilized the labeled phospholipids. As a result, they discovered the body can utilize phospholipids produced outside the body.
Dietary Supplementation of Phospholipids
After testing phospholipids through injection, the researchers wanted to test if the rats would utilize phospholipids supplemented through diet. The researchers describe how they enriched the experimental diets with phospholipids.
The experimental diets […] were enriched by either 0.3 or 3% soy bean-derived PL composed of 55% phosphatidylcholine and 20% phosphatidylethalonamine in addition to trace amounts of other lipids.
The researchers conducted thorough tests with varying levels of phospholipids. They were able to conclude that supplementation through food worked as well.
The study continues to detail different tests the researches conducted in order to discover if phospholipid supplementation was feasible. By the end of all their tests, they finally concluded that dietary lipid supplementation can be helpful.
In conclusion, we have identified perturbed lipid metabolism as a disease mechanism downstream of Pmp22 duplication in CMT1A, and found that dietary lipid supplementation acts as a downstream effector of Schwann cell function, which bypasses the inefficient expression of genes for lipid synthesis in Pmp22 transgenic Schwann cells. This improves myelin biosynthesis and the neuropathic phenotype of a CMT1A rat model, demonstrating that lipid supplementation should be considered as a new therapeutic approach to CMT1A disease.
Keto, a High Fat Diet
Ketosis has improved my life greatly. As a result of ketosis, I feel improved energy, little-to-no nerve pain, better muscle response, increased strength, and a myriad of other benefits. I can only assume that the healthy fats I am consuming are helping to mend my mitochondria as well as helping through the rest of my body. The body uses fat in many vital functions, including myelin sheath production. It only makes sense that providing your body with plenty of healthy fats is a good idea.
I’m feeding my body healthy fats already. However, I think I could improve results by increasing my intake of phospholipids. Due to reading this study, I plan on upping my phospholipid intake in hopes of having even better results with Keto.
Foods High in Phospholipids
- Egg Yolks
- Soy lecithin
- Sunflower seeds