Discs degenerate because they glycate. The disc can no longer deal with mechanical forces. Again, Glycation is an abnormal bond between a sugar and a protein. The crappy Carbs that we all enjoy hook up with proteins of all tissues. When they hook up with skin proteins it gives us wrinkles. This happens within our arteries, our brains, anything that makes us human and/or is important to our health. What is scary is that once the sugar attaches to the protein you can never get it off. It is there for the duration of the life of that protein. The good news is, we regenerate when our DNA decides to make new proteins, but not all tissues regenerate.
While the experts in the diabetic industry that are dedicated to helping you get diabetes will state that sugar is sugar, people that are not profiting off of your bad health know that High Fructose Corn Syrup glycates our tissues at a rate of 10 times more than any other sugar. Regular fructose is not good either. You can eat an orange and be O.K. because it has bioflavonoids, which is real vitamin C, not the junk they sell in most stores as Ascorbic Acid. Orange juice does not have much vitamin C, it is mostly sugar and you will accelerate your rate of glycation. When you glycate it increases the production of AGE’s, Advanced Glycation End Products. That means you are increasing free radicals in your poor body at a rate of 50 times more than if you weren’t creating Advanced Glycation End Products. Ancient cultures knew not to drink fruits, they ate them. They didn’t know about Advanced Glycation End Products, but somehow they knew it was not a good idea to drink juice. Eating fruit counteracts the affects of the sugar.
Advanced Glycation End Products in turn damages your ability to make and maintain Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and that is needed for synaptogenesis/ Neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is what has to occur for us to be able to learn and just general humaness. As we get older it becomes more difficult to learn. You might be having difficulty absorbing this, but do not fret, this is not easy material and you probably don’t have dementia, yet.
Again, the catalyst for glycation is inflammation. Why do some intervertebral discs degenerate when others in the same spine do not? It is due to glycation. However, damaged cartilage is a magnet for sugar molecules in our bloodstream so that is one reason why injuries become arthritic years later. But it is not just injuries that cause arthritis, we see discs breaking down in areas of the spine where injuries were less probable to occur.
I used the standard picture of a subluxation from the 1950’s to explain to patients what we were doing when I came out of school. A subluxation is the only thing a chiropractor really treats . That photograph was a picture of compressive neuropathology. It is very rare in kids and even rare in adults. Maybe 1% of people seeking care would have such a thing. 99% of patients have a different kind of nerve interference. Compressive neuropathology is a consequence of severe disc disease called spondylosis. Thankfully modern science came along and proved that we can have nerve interference before there is spondylosis. What does that mean? You don’t have to have a big bad spine that looks like it was eaten away with Tuberculosis to benefit from Chiropractic. The original idea of a hard bone on a soft nerve was not quite correct, but that never stopped tens of millions of people receiving health benefits from chiropractic treatment. These patients didn’t have a bad back, and many didn’t come in for back pain. They were at the end of their rope. They had tried everything else for whatever it was that was ailing them. They got better from the chiropractor because we are brain doctors, not back doctors. As my neurology professor would say, if your brain is working right, you could eat the lug nuts off the tires on your cars and you could digest it. I do not endorse that, but he was a very funny guy. End of Part 2 Stay tuned for part 3.