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May 23, 2022 - Nagalase: Reduce it to improve your immune system and protect your thyroid


Nagalase: Reduce it to improve your immune system and protect your thyroid

May 23, 2022 Puzzle Piece


Nagalase is an enzyme with the technical chemical name alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase. It has an important role in the body and is essential for optimal health; however, elevated amounts can be an accurate indicator for serious health issues.

Nagalase breaks down certain glycoproteins (sugars attached to protein) and glycolipids (sugars attached to lipids/fats). This is an essential biological function.

This process is so important that when nagalase is not working as its supposed to glycolipids and glycopeptides accumulate in the body’s tissues. This results in Schindler disease, a metabolic disorder that causes issues with the nervous system.

Elevated nagalase

On the other end of the spectrum is the occurrence that is much more likely to happen: nagalase levels become elevated (i) and end up contributing to the suppression of the immune system.
It is this link to the suppression of the immune system that for the past 25 years nagalase has been used as a tool to help improve the immune system. First, the nagalase level in the blood can be measured to assess immune function; secondly, by bringing the nagalase level down a person can hopefully improve immune function.

Nagalase retards immune function by preventing the activity of important immune cells called macrophages. Macrophages—which means “large eaters” in Greek—are a type of white blood cell that engulf and digest pathogens. This long list of pathogens includes cancer cells, microbes, viruses, cellular debris and foreign substances.

When macrophages are prevented from “eating” pathogens, the cancer cells and viruses end up synthesizing more and more nagalase. This is why measuring nagalase levels has been used in recent decades by some clinics for measuring the risk of cancer. Conversely, for a patient under treatment, checking nagalase levels can be used to measure improvement.

Brief history of nagalase as a diagnostic tool

Using nagalase as a cancer diagnostic tool had it’s origins in 1998, when a research group led by Dr. Nobuto Yamamoto found that invading viruses and cancer cells use nagalase to infect the host and spread. Dr. Yamamoto’s conclusion, published in the British Journal of Cancer, was: “Nagalase measurement could serve as a diagnostic and prognostic index that might allow oncologists to design the dosage or nature of treatment.” (PDF of Dr. Yamamoto study available here.)

However, cancer is just one aspect of using nagalase as a diagnosing tool. In a broad sense, elevated nagalase indicates a compromised immune system—which can manifest in numerous ways.

Elevated nagalase has been reported in systemic disorders including systemic lupus erythematosus. Elevated nagalase levels have also been found in the blood of children with autism and autism spectrum disorders. Nagalase has also been shown to be linked to thyroid issues—and thyroid function returning to normal when the nagalase level is optimized.

According to supplement database, a high nagalase level can also be an indication of viral infections, and, according to an observational study of 100 people, it can also be linked to excessive alcohol consumption.
Yours in Health and Wellness,

Marc Harris MD, ND
John Brimhall, DC, FIAMA, DIBAK
Doug Grant, Nutritionist & Formulator

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