Can Brain and Spine Myelin be Healed?
July 29, 2022 | Brain and Spine Specialists
The nervous system is a delicate and intricate system with hundreds of billions of moving parts that control every aspect of your body’s functioning. With all those sensitive nerve endings and signal receptors comes the need for some type of protection. That’s where we begin to see the many valuable jobs of Myelin.
What is Myelin?
Myelin is an insulating layer of fat and protein that forms a protective sheath around the nerves, including those within the brain and spinal cord.
What does Myelin do?
The three major functions of myelin within the nervous system are:
1. Its fatty-protein coating provides protective insulation for your nerve cell.
2. It allows the electrical impulses to travel quickly and efficiently between one nerve cell and the next.
3. It maintains the strength of the impulse message as it travels down the axon.
When it comes to the purpose of nerves being coated in myelin, think of the protective layer as the equivalent to the plastic coating that you find around electrical wires – it protects the important materials inside.
Approximately 100 billion nerve cells are constantly sending and receiving control messages, and when the myelin sheath is damaged, the signals can be slowed or even stopped.
The Causes of Myelin Damage
There are a number of diseases and conditions that can damage and, in some cases, destroy myelin within the body’s nervous system. The destruction of the myelin sheath is called demyelination, and the most commonly known illness with this symptom is Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
The immune cells in your body can purposely damage myelin sheaths when the cells perceive the myelin as a foreign substance. Irritating substances produced by your immune system can damage myelin, causing it to die, as well as the cells (oligodendrocytes and Schwann cells) that produce it. There is a studied correlation between patient symptoms and the location of the myelin damage.
The Myelin Healing Process
The symptoms of MS can be alleviated by treatments and medications, but there is no complete cure for it yet. Despite the fact that thyroid hormones can stimulate myelin regeneration, researchers have not pursued thyroid hormone therapies due to unacceptable side effects.
Although there is not a cure for MS, your physician can develop a treatment plan that targets your unique symptoms while helping to prevent its progression.
Myelin Healing Treatments
Some treatment plans utilize corticosteroids to reduce inflammation, while others include “disease-modifying” medications that reduce the severity of MS attacks and slow progression by limiting the number of new lesions in the central nervous system. Many plans also incorporate medications and physical therapy to manage the symptoms of MS.
Myelin Repair and Re-Manufacturing Strategies
Don’t worry if you suspect you may have symptoms of demyelination or if you have one of the known linked conditions.
Myelin repair and re-manufacturing are possible in some cases with dietary and lifestyle modifications.
It has been shown that oligodendrocyte cells are equally responsible for forming new myelin in damaged and normal adult brains. Additionally, the nervous system can be assisted in recovery by increasing specific supplement intake, eating specific diets, and engaging in physical activities.
If you or someone you know suspects they may be experiencing symptoms of myelin deterioration, schedule a consultation appointment to receive a professional evaluation and diagnosis with The Brain and Spine Specialists. Call today at (850) 785-0029!