Updated: Jun 12
There's a buzz going round about an enzyme called EZH2 and an exciting new study which has identified it as the missing public enemy no.1 in Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. There have also been big claims that a new drug GSK-126 will tackle EZH2 and be a major breakthrough for POTS sufferers. Want to know more?
A research team at Monash uni in Austrailia recently discovered that in people with POTS the normally beneficial enzyme EZH2 (aka 'enhancer of zeste homolog 2') fails to work properly causing it to silence or 'switch off' the much needed norepinephrine gene.
What does this norepinephrine gene do? Well, a whole lot of stuff to do with mood control, anxiety and the stress response, and your ability to concentrate. However, the part we're interested in here is the protein called NET (norepinephrine transporter protein) which acts as a kind of housekeeper to vacuum up any excess norapinephrine (also known as noradrenaline) molecules circulating in your system and pop them back into the sympathetic nerve cells where they belong, to be reused when next needed.
However, in those with POTS, EZH2 appears to target and impede the NET from 'hoovering up' the excess norapinephrine leaving it floating between the cells causing havoc. This is what is now believed to be behind the classic POTS symptoms of an exaggerated response to standing up, too great an increase in heart rate on standing, and a narrowing of the blood vessels in the brain causing dizziness (read here for more in depth explanation).
Professor El-Osta leading the Australian research team is convinced this discovery is the major breakthrough for POTS. His team are currently working on a drug compound called GSK-126. In the lab at least, tests have shown that GSK-126 successfully inhibits EZH2 and allows the norepinephine gene to reactivate. There are rumours that clinical trials will be under way soon but it will be a good while before we know the results and even longer before a drug comes to market.
But will GSK-126 be safe? What about potential side effects? Is there a more natural way right now that we can inhibit EZH2 and kickstart that norepinephrene gene without having to resort to yet another synthetic drug?
The answer is a resounding yes. You'll be delighted to hear that there are many proven natural EZH2 modulators. You won't have to wait years to go try them for yourself and they don't need a prescription. All you need is a shopping basket and a wander down the fruit and veg aisles of your local grocery store, along with a willingness to try a few new recipes at home adding herbs and spices.
Of course, if you prefer to take these natural EZH2 modulators in supplement form then first check with your doc or other qualified health provider that you're good to try something new, and then tell them about these big natural EZH2 hitters:
Curcumin - this is the yellow compound found in the spice Turmeric used in curries. Make sure you buy an organic make and take it with black pepper as it's poorly absorbed in the gut without it. I don't like the taste of tumeric much myself so I take capsules - I like Sash Vitality Organic Tumeric & Black Pepper. RDA is between 500mg and 2g per day. Start low and see how you go.
Triptolide (Thunder God Vine root). Also known as Tripterygium wilfordii, 'lei gong teng' and 'thunder duke vine' this herb has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine. The supplement is made from the roots and leaves of a plant grown primarily in China and Taiwan. RDA is 1-2 mg per kg of body weight daily.
Ursolic acid - this is a pentacyclic triterpene acid present in many plants, including apples (principally the skin), bilberries, cranberries, elderflower, peppermint, lavender, oregano, thyme, hawthorn, and prunes. RDA is 150mg with meals (3 times a day).
Sulphoraphane - found in broccoli sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts, red and white cabbage, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, bok choy and watercress. RDA is 7-34 mg for a 150lb person,
Berberine - a yellow coloured compound that looks like curcumin and is found in several plants including European barberry, goldenseal, goldthread and Oregon grape. RDA is 500mg up to 3 doses a day.
While only time will tell if enzyme EZH2 turns out to be the main culprit in POTS, there is plenty we can do for ourselves meantime to optimise our health through a clean lifestyle, good diet and, my favourite, homeopathy. If you would like to know more about natural treatments then come over and say hi on my Facebook group 'Natural Treatment for POTS' or sign up for my regular Helix Homeopathy newsletter full of natural health scoops.
Paula Webb BSc Dip IACH trained in Integrated Health and Homeopathy at the University of Westminster, London and the International Academy of Classical Homeopathy.
Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of your physician or health care provider who it is recommended you consult before starting any new dietary or supplement regime. Do not use this article as a means to diagnose a health condition. Speak to your doctor if you think that your condition may be serious, before discontinuing any medication that has been prescribed for you, or before starting any new treatment.