Friday, June 09, 2006


Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy and Acrylamide 
Dated 11/06/2006

See links at the bottom .

Acrylamide is formed by the Maillard reaction , when the Amino Acid Asparigine reacts with reducing sugars like glucose and fructose at a temperature over 120 degrees Celsius . (ie when bread , potatoes , cookies , etc begin to brown ).

Asparigine + glucose/fructose + (temp>120 Celsius) = Acrylamide

Acrylamide is a potent neurotoxin . It interferes with the internal neuronal transport in the axon . The transport of nutrients from axon nucleus to the end point of the nerve and the return of breakdown products of long nerves ( like to fingers and toes ) are first affected . The ends of the axon start to die . ( Numbness in extremities . )

Sensations of restlessness , tingling , burning , etc associated with peripheral neuropathy are probably caused by the spurious signals caused by the accumulation of debris at the interference site in the charge balance of the axon wall .
( Think train derailment in the middle of the Karoo , with the smashed up carriages messing up the signalling system )

Since many non-diabetics have peripheral neuropathy , the two diseases do not seem to be directly linked . But a synergistic link is strongly suspected .

But if you are diabetic and already have had attacks of peripheral neuropathy , ingesting high concentrations of acrylamide will surely lead to an attack of peripheral neuropathy .

Note the short half-life of acrylamide means that the concentration of acrylamide is driven by diet alone .

Asparigine , glucose/fructose , (temp>120 Celsius) are all three necessary to produce Acrylamide . Hence foods low on the first two , or cooked below 120 Celsius are safe .

The EU study found that 90% of diet derived acrylamide comes from :

French Fries (slap chips)  :  16% – 30%
Potato crisps  : 6% - 46%
Coffee (its always roasted ) : 13% -  39%
Pastries and Sweet biscuits : 10% - 20%
Bread , breadrolls , pizza and toast (especially the crust) : 10% - 30%

In general , avoid anything that used a temperature of 120 Celsius or above in it’s preparation . This includes teas .The effective concentrations of acrylamide needed to trigger the reaction is very low , especially for diabetics already sensitized .

Anything low GI microwaved submerged in water , or cooked without burning or browning should be ok .

Durum pastas should be ok , but no grills or ovens . Bye-bye toasted cheese sandwiches .

If you have to eat bread , cut off the crusts . Mothers used to do this for their children .

Any connection to attention Deficit Disorder ?

The irritability felt in the first stages of peripheral neuropathy ( ie wandering feet , can’t keep still ) and later on , irritable aggressiveness , sleeplessness and any activity to focus attention on anything except the painful feet ) sounds like the recipe for aggressive expansion .

Remember , that only the upper and middle classes ate bread . The bottom class (99 % of the population till about 1800 AD) ate porridge morning , noon and night. Milling kernels of wheat was ( and is ) expensive in real energy terms . (cf “Roman women will not grind wheat or cook “ after the Sabine episode , or lack of white bread in WW2) . Since it is a high energy food , it would be one of the great ironies of history that Empires and Inventions were caused by bread crusts  .  There is also a positive feedback element involved , namely that the type of wheat with the highest aspargine content will be the most widespread ( spread by the restless conquerors ) .

One wonders if the political instability inherent in the Middle East and North Africa are due to the high acrylamide content of their traditionally baked (from hot rock flat bread) foods . (In poorer regions like Europe , the plebs could not afford the energy cost .)

Hah! So much for meat . The weevilly baked biscuit of the middle ages was the driving force of the mariners to populate the earth with high-asparigine wheat .

No wonder things have gotten more unstable . For every diabetic , there are at least ten with an itchy , irritable nervosity .

Will humans use aspariginase ? This is an enzyme that destroys asparigine . Dosing food to a country with this will render them relatively docile in long run . Any volunteers ?

An interesting corollary is rice vs wheat . Rice is usually cooked at 100 Celsius . As the Chinese and Indian populations shift to high-arganine western wheat types , not only will their diabetes rates rise , but their aggression will rise at a much higher rate .

Interesting times for all .

Can one bake bread at less than 120 Celsius ?

See web references on Acrylamide:

1. PIM’s (1999) : The clinical picture .

Some highlights:

Chronic exposure to Acrylamide:
            Chronic acrylamide toxicity is characterized by local
            dermatitis, excessive sweating, fatigue, weight loss and
features of progressive CNS disturbance (especially truncal ataxia) and peripheral neuropathy.  The severity of symptoms and the rapidity of onset appears to relate to the duration of exposure to, and the daily dose of, acrylamide.  
Recovery over a period of weeks to months following removal from exposure is the usual course.

     Biological half-life by route of exposure

             In blood, acrylamide has a half-life of approximately 2
             hours. In tissues, total acrylamide (parent compound an
metabolites) exhibits biphasic elimination with an   initial
half-life of approximately 5 hours and a terminal half life of 8 days (Edwards, 1975; Miller et al., 1982).
Acrylamide does not accumulate in the body.  [Note: all data derived from animal studies].

2. On 25 April 2002 (cf New Scientist of 22 April 2006 p 8 ) , Sweden’s National Food Administration announced that acrylamide in significant concentrations was found in many common processed foods . This prompted a major clinical food study by the European Union : the results are given on the EU’s food site: click on  Documents , Positions , search on acrylamides from website .


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