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Wellness and Rejuvenation Articles



  BONE MARROW (Bulalo)





In the Philippines, our old folks usually prepare broth made of the bony portions of beef, commonly referred to as “bulalo”, especially for people who are sick, and their recovery is hastened. In some areas of the country, like in Laguna and Batangas, the old folks call “_ulalo” as “pagkaing pampabata” or “food that will make you young!”
Traditional peoples like the Indians living inside the Rocky Mountain Range in the far North of Canada who consumed large animals did not ignore the marrow hidden away in the bones; in fact, they valued the marrow as an extremely nutritious food. In fact, "For the successful nutrition for nine months of the year was largely limited to wild game, chiefly moose and caribou. During the summer months the Indians were able to use growing plants. During the winter some use was made of bark and buds of trees. I found the Indians putting great emphasis upon the eating of the organs of the animals, including the wall of parts of the digestive tract. Much of the muscle meat of the animals was fed to the dogs. It is important that skeletons are rarely found where large game animals have been slaughtered by the Indians of the North. The skeletal remains are found as piles of finely broken bone chips or splinters that have been cracked up to obtain as much as possible of the marrow and nutritive qualities of the bones. These Indians obtain their fat-soluble vitamins and also most of their minerals from the organs of the animals. An important part of the nutrition of the children consisted in various preparations of bone marrow, both as a substitute for milk and as a special dietary ration" (Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, 6th Edition, page 260).

Bone marrow is of two types: red marrow (also known as myeloid tissue) where the red blood cells, platelets and most white blood cells arise and yellow marrow where some white blood cells are developed. The color of yellow marrow is due to the much higher number of fat cells.
Bone marrow contains two types of stem cells: hemopoietic (which produce blood cells) and stromal (which produce fat, cartilage and bone).
The explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson describes two types of marrow, one type from the lower leg which is soft "more like a particularly delicious cream in flavor" (the yellow marrow) and another from the humerus and femur that is "hard and tallowy at room temperatures" (the red marrow) (The Fat of the Land, page 27).
Bone Marrow contains so many nutrients that are fabulously fantastic for our health such that, it should also be listed as a functional food or medicinal food (any healthy or fictional food claimed to have a health-promoting or disease-preventing property beyond the basic function of supplying nutrients). It is more so, because most of its nutrients are able to exert a therapeutic effect. These are as follows:

• Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) play big roles in the formation of brain and retinal tissue. Huge concentrations of DHA can be found in fetal brain and neural development, especially during the last trimester. Babies, especially those yet to be born, can really benefit from DHA/EPA might also be a boon to the elderly; as we age, cognitive and visual health becomes more important than ever, and low DHA/EPA levels may contribute to the onset of !lzheimer’s disease, other dementias, and vision problems. Also, there has been some research suggesting DHA/EPA has some beneficial effect on the risk of various cancers, including prostate, breast, and colorectal. Suicidal depression and schizophrenia, too, may be linked with low levels of essential fatty acids like EPA and DHA.

* Hormones: Testosterone, Estrogen, Progesterone, Human Growth Hormone
* Vitamin A, D, E and K
* EPO (erythropoitin) Beneficial to patients with renal failure. (Sandler, O.E.: Some experimental studies on the erythropoietic effects of yellow bone marrow extracts and batyl alcohol. Acta Med Scand, suppl 225:133. 1949; Holab, B.J., Philbrick, D.J., Parbtani, A., Clark, W.F.: Dietary lipid modification of renal disorders and ether phospholipid metabolism. Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph. Ont, Canada. Biochem Cell BioI (Canada), 69 (7) p. 185-9; Jul 1991)
* Minerals: Magnesium, Calcium, Zinc, etc
* Saturated Fats
* Proteins: L-Arginine (which lowers BP in pre-eclampsic women), Glutamate, Aspartic acid, Lysine, Hydroxylysine and Histidine
* EPCs (endothelial progenitor cells) which improve the blood vessels and promote better circulation and blood flow and healthier endothelium.
*Serotonin, mood neurotransmitter (yes, SSRI antidepressants are highly associated with osteoporosis and nonvertebral fractures )
* Ether Lipids (Alkylglycerols)

The following are studies done on some of the nutrients found in bone marrow:
The therapeutic use of bone marrow particularly that of calves was first introduced in 1952 by Astrid Brohult, a young Swedish doctor, who hypothesized that a bone marrow extract made from fresh calf bones may stimulate white blood cell production in leukemic children with leukopenia. Although her initial results were uneven, yet improvements in white count and energy were promising, enough for her to ask her husband, a professor of biochemistry at a Swedish university, to analyze the calf bone marrow to see if he could determine what factor was responsible for stimulating white cell production. He established after years of research, that the immune stimulants were alkylglycerols. (Melvyn R. Werbach, Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine Vol. 9, No. 2, 1994)

Alkylglycerols , or AKGs are are group of glyceryl ether lipids: chimyl, batyl, and selachyl alcohols (Krotkiewski M, Przybyszewska M, Janik P. Cytostatic and cytotoxic effects of alkylglycerols (Ecomer). Med Sci Monit. 2003 Nov;9(11):I131-5) occurring naturally in various mammalian tissues, including most organs responsible for producing blood cells, such as the bone marrow and spleen. It is also interesting to note that AKGs are also found in human breast milk, and are now thought to contribute significantly to an infant’s immunity, especially while the immature immune system is at its most vulnerable. As a matter of fact, human breast milk contains up to 10 times more AKGs than does cow’s milk (Hallgren B, Niklasson A, Stallberg G, Thorin H. On the occurrence of 1-O-alkylglycerols and 1-O-(2-methoxyalkyl)glycerols in human colostrum, human milk, cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, human red bone marrow, red cells, blood plasma and a uterine carcinoma. Acta Chem Scand B. 1974;28(9):1029-34; Andreesen, R.: Ether lipids in the therapy of cancer. Prog Biochem Pharmacol, 22:118-131; 1988; Berdel, W.E., Bausert, W.R., Fink, U., Rastetter, J.: Anti­tumor action of alkyl-lysophospholipids (Review). Anticancer Res (Greece), 1 (6) P 315, 52; 1981

The Brohults and other scientists continued to study AKGs and quickly discovered that they inhibit cancer proliferation (Krotkiewski M, Przybyszewska M, Janik P. Cytostatic and cytotoxic effects of alkylglycerols (Ecomer). Med Sci Monit. 2003 Nov;9(11):I131-5) and prevent radiation sickness (Brohult A, Brohult J, Brohult S, Joelsson I. Effect of alkoxyglycerols on the frequency of injuries following radiation therapy for carcinoma of the uterine cervix. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1977;56(4):441-8). The latter finding is especially significant because it is a well-known fact that radiation slices through cells like hot knives through butter, thus, damaging the cells at the molecular level and generating free radicals that propagate destruction in a kind of chain reaction. Most known antioxidants neutralize free radicals in the bloodstream and within the tissues, but few are capable of penetrating the cell membrane to enter individual cells. AKGs appear to exert antioxidant effect within individual cells, as suggested by clinical studies of patients receiving AKGs in combination with ionizing radiation (Brohult A, Brohult J, Brohult S, Joelsson I. Effect of alkoxyglycerols on the frequency of injuries following radiation therapy for carcinoma of the uterine cervix. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1977;56(4):441-8; Brohult A, Brohult J, Brohult S, Joelsson I. Effect of alkoxyglycerols on the frequency of fistulas following radiation therapy for carcinoma of the uterine cervix. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1979;58(2):203-7; Brohult A, Brohult J, Brohult S. Effect of alkoxyglycerols on the serum ornithine carbamoyl transferase in connection with radiation treatment. Experientia. 1972 Feb 15;28(2):146-7; Brohult A, Brohult J, Brohult S. Effect of alkoxyglycerols on the frequency of injuries following radiation therapy. Experientia. 1973 May 1;29(1):81-2).

Drs. _rohult’s team was surprised to discover that !KGs when given to cervical cancer patients, the tumors regressed even before radiation treatment began, a finding that was soon replicated by others (Brohult A, Brohult J, Brohult S. Regression of tumour growth after administration of alkoxyglycerols. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1978;57(1):79-83; Boeryd B, Hallgren B, Stallberg G. Studies on the effect of methoxy-substituted glycerol ethers on tumour growth and metastasis formation. Br J Exp Pathol. 1971 Jun;52(3):221-30). More recently, other scientists have determined that AKG’s ability to accomplish this feat is by directly interfering with cancer cell signaling, which is crucial to tumor growth and metastasis (Samadder P, Richards C, Bittman R, Bhullar RP, Arthur G. The antitumor ether lipid 1-Q-octadecyl-2-O-methyl­rac-glycerophosphocholine (ET-18-OCH3) inhibits the association between Ras and Raf-1. Anticancer Res. 2003 May;23(3B):2291-5; Arthur G, Bittman R. The inhibition of cell signaling pathways by antitumor ether lipids. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1998 Feb 5;1390(1):85-102; Pedrono F, Khan NA, Legrand AB. Regulation of calcium signalling by 1-O-alkylglycerols in human Jurkat T lymphocytes. Life Sci. 2004 Apr 16;74(22):2793-801). This very mechanism of AKGs can reduce radiation side effects, although it is not exactly clear yet, they appear to penetrate cell membranes and mop up free radicals. AKGs is also able to amplify platelet-activating factor synthesis, which might help reduce radiation-induced bleeding by promoting platelet aggregation (Cheminade C, Gautier V, Hichami A, et al. 1-O-alkylglycerols improve boar sperm motility and fertility. Biol Reprod. 2002 Feb;66(2):421-8). Furthermore, recent research indicates that AKGs inhibit activation of protein kinase C, which is essential for the runaway cell proliferation that is a hallmark of cancer (Pugliese PT, Jordan K, Cederberg H, Brohult J. Some biological actions of alkylglycerols from shark liver oil. J Altern Complement Med. 1998;4(1):87-99; Aroca JD, Sanchez-Pinera P, Corbalan-Garcia S, et al. Correlation between the effect of the anti-neoplastic ether lipid 1-O-octadecyl-2-O-methyl-glycero-3­phosphocholine on the membrane and the activity of protein kinase Calpha. Eur J Biochem. 2001 Dec;268(24):6369-78) and also directly boost the immune system by stimulating production of white blood cells called neutrophils and by activating macrophages (a type of white blood cell that protects against bacterial and fungal invaders) (Yamamoto N, St CD, Jr., Homma S, Ngwenya BZ. Activation of mouse macrophages by alkylglycerols, inflammation products of cancerous tissues. Cancer Res. 1988 Nov 1;48(21):6044-9; Marberg, C.M., Wiles, H.O.: Yellow bone marrow extracts in granulocytopenia. J Amer Med Assoc, 109:1965; 1937). Because AKGs help enhance the immune system (Nathan, C.F.: Mechanisms of macrophage antimicrobial activity. Trans R. Soc. Trop. Med. Hyg. 77:620-630; 198), they are also claimed to help against colds, flu, chronic infections, asthma, psoriasis, arthritis, and AIDS (Murray, H.W.: Macrophage activation in the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. In: Mechanisms of host Resistance to Infectious Agents, Tumors, and Allografts. Steinman, R.M., North, R.J. (eds), Rockefeller University Press, New York, P.333; 1986).

Proponents also claim that AKGs inhibit tumor growth on several types of colon cancer cells and render existing cancer cells less likely to invade new tissue (Wang H, Rajagopal S, Reynolds S, Cederberg H, Chakrabarty S. Differentiation-promoting effect of 1-O (2 methoxy) hexadecyl glycerol in human colon cancer cells. J Cell Physiol. 1999 Feb;178(2):173-8; Pedrono F, Martin B, Leduc C, et al. Natural alkylglycerols restrain growth and metastasis of grafted tumors in mice. Nutr Cancer. 2004;48(1):64-9).
Other roles of AKGs are:
* It is a powerful vasodilator able to cause an important arterial hypotension, it
increases vascular permeability and movement of liquid out of the vasculature. (Blank,
M.L., Lee, T.C., Fizgerald, V., Snyder, F.: A specific acetylhydrolase for1-alkyl-2-acetyl-sn­
glycero-3-phosphocholine ( a hypotensive and platelet-activating lipid) J biol Chem 256:175­
8; 1981).
* It probably is involved in ovulation and egg: implantation could be inhibited by
PAFantagonists. (Cheminade C, Gautier V, Hichami A, et al. 1-O-alkylglycerols improve boar
sperm motility and fertility. Biol Reprod. 2002 Feb;66(2):421-8)
* Chelator of mercury in man. (Fredin, B.: Preliminary observations of rapid effects of
alkylglycerols on the excretions of mercury in man. A pilot study, Department of
Physiological Chemistry IV University of Lund -Sweden; 1988; Fredin, B.: Effects of alkoxy­
glycerols on the accumulation of mercury in rats after a single dose of metallic mercury.
Swed J Biol Med; Jan 1990)

Endothelial Progenitor Cells (EPC)
Reduced EPC levels are associated with endothelial dysfunction and an increased risk of cardiovascular events. Coronary artery disease and its risk factors, such as diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension and smoking, are associated with a reduced number and impaired functional activity of circulating EPCs. (Besler C, Doerries C, Giannotti G, Lüscher TF, Landmesser U. Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2008 Sep;6(8):1071-82)
Progenitor cell therapy is a promising treatment for ischemic heart disease. Early clinical trials of autologous bone marrow-derived progenitor cell therapy for acute and chronic myocardial ischemia showed modest functional improvements. (Jeremy L. Herrmann,, Aaron M. Abarbanell, Brent R. Weil, et al. Ann Thorac Surg 2009;88:1714-1722)
EP_’s as a novel treatment option for complications requiring therapeutic revascularization and vascular repair especially to patients with diabetic complications. Diabetic patients’ EP_s have decreased migratory prowess and reduced proliferative capacity and an altered cytokine/growth factor secretory profile that can accelerate deleterious repair mechanisms rather than support proper vascular repair. Thus, functional manipulation(s) of EPCs to overcome these hurdles is recommended. (Yagna P.R. Jarajapu, Maria B. Grant Circulation Research. 2010;106:854-869)

Bone marrow–derived endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) contribute to vascular repair although it is uncertain how local endothelial cell apoptosis influences their reparative function. This study was conducted to determine how the presence of apoptotic bodies at sites of endothelial damage may influence participation of EPCs in retinal microvascular repair. Endothelial lesions where apoptotic bodies were left attached at the wound site showed a fivefold enhancement in EPC recruitment (P < 0.05) compared with lesions where the apoptotic cells had been removed. (Ashay D. Bhatwadekar, JosephineV. Glenn, Tim M. Curtis, etal. InvestigativeOphthalmologyandVisual Science. 2009;50:4967-4973.)
Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) protect kidneys from acute ischemic damage. Mice subjected to unilateral nephrectomy with simultaneous contralateral renal artery clamping for 30, 35, and 40 min, were protected from acute renal failure when pretreated with EPCs. (D. Patschan, S. Patschan, J. T. Wessels, et al. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 298: F78-F85, 2010. First published November 11, 2009)

Neurovascular dysfunction and senescent endothelium contribute to the progression of Alzheimer disease (AD). Circulating angiogenic cells (CACs), such as endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), provide a cellular reservoir for the endothelial replacement. Our results indicate that patients with Alzheimer disease (AD) have reduced circulating angiogenic cells, suggesting that an abnormal capacity to regenerate endothelium is associated with AD. Thus, increasing the EPCs level of AD patients will result to better prognosis. (S-T Lee, MD, K. Chu, MD, PhD, K-H Jung, MD, H-K Park, MD, et al. NEUROLOGY 2009;72:1858-1863)

Cholinergic neurons are very important cells in spinal cord injuries because of the deficits in motor, autonomic and sensory neurons. In this study, bone marrow stromal cells (BMSC) were evaluated as a source of cholinergic neurons in a rat model of contusive spinal cord injury. BMSC were isolated from adult rats and trans-differentiated into a neuronal phenotype – cholinergic neuronal cells. The trans-differentiation of BMSC into a cholinergic phenotype is a feasible therapy in spinal cord injury. (Naghdi, Majid, Tiraihi, Taki, et al. Cytotherapy, Volume 11, Number 2, April 2009 , pp. 137-152(16)