Sickle cell anemia and sickle cell trait is a condition that affects millions of people throughout the world and is particularly common among those whose ancestors came from sub-Saharan Africa; Spanish-speaking regions in the Western Hemisphere (South America, the Caribbean, and Central America); Saudi Arabia; India; and Mediterranean countries such as Turkey, Greece, and Italy.
It’s also is the 4th leading cause of deaths in children in many developing countries.
70 years ago, researchers found a genetic connection to the anatomical abnormalities seen in blood cells. A mutation seemed to be causing the moon-shaped blood cells. The most severe form of the disease occurs when two copies of the mutation are inherited. However, patients with one sickle cell gene, referred to as sickle cell trait, usually do not have any of the signs of the disease and live a normal life, but they can pass the trait on to their children.
As with all inherited genetic diseases, it’s expected that natural selection would weed out a gene causes sickle cell disease, but that isn’t the case. As of 2015, about 4.4 million people have sickle cell disease, while an additional 43 million have sickle cell trait. So the question is, what makes the disease linger in the human population?
Researchers found the answer by looking at where the disease was most prevalent. As it turns out, 80% of sickle cell disease cases occur in Sub-Saharan Africa or people of African descent, as well as in other parts of the world where malaria is or was common. There was a long standing theory that the sickle cell trait – having only one sickle cell gene – didn’t cause discomfort and provided a bonus trait of preventing patients from contracting severe forms of malaria. It was later confirmed that sickle cell was linked to a 29% reduction in malaria incidence – this working theory would explain why the mutation stuck around in evolution. In 2011, researchers used mice to confirm the assumption.
Miguel Soares and Ana Ferreira of the Gulbenkian Institute of Science in Oeiras, Portugal, and colleagues found that haem – a component of haemoglobin – is present in a free form in the blood of mice with sickle cell trait, but largely absent from normal mice. By injecting haem into the blood of normal mice before infecting them with malaria, researchers found it could help guard against malaria. The mice did not develop the disease. Their results also showed that the gene does not protect against infection by the malaria parasite, but prevents the disease from taking hold after the animal has been infected.
SICKLE CELL DISEASE
People with sickle cell disease have red blood cells that are crescent (or sickle) shaped. This abnormal shape makes it difficult for the cells to travel through the blood vessels. As the sickle cells clog the blood vessel, they can block blood flow to various parts of the body, causing painful episodes (known as sickle cell crises) and raise the risk of infection. In addition, sickle cells die earlier than healthy cells, causing a constant shortage of red blood cells, also known as anemia.
SICKLE CELL TRAIT
When someone has sickle cell trait (SCT), it means they have inherited one sickle cell gene and one normal gene. People with SCT have both normal red blood cells and some sickle-shaped red blood cells. Most people with SCT do not have any symptoms of sickle cell disease.
As carriers of the sickle cell gene, though, parents have a 50% chance of passing the gene on to their children. That means people with sickle cell trait can be at risk of having a child with SCT or SCD.
Sickle Cell symptoms
Signs and symptoms of sickle cell anemia usually appear around 5 months of age. They vary from person to person and change over time. Signs and symptoms can include:
- Anemia. Sickle cells break apart easily and die, leaving you with too few red blood cells. Red blood cells usually live for about 120 days before they need to be replaced. But sickle cells usually die in 10 to 20 days, leaving a shortage of red blood cells (anemia).Without enough red blood cells, your body can’t get enough oxygen, causing fatigue.
- Episodes of pain. Periodic episodes of pain, called pain crises, are a major symptom of sickle cell anemia. Pain develops when sickle-shaped red blood cells block blood flow through tiny blood vessels to your chest, abdomen and joints. Pain can also occur in your bones.The pain varies in intensity and can last for a few hours to a few weeks. Some people have only a few pain crises a year. Others have a dozen or more pain crises a year. A severe pain crisis requires a hospital stay.Some adolescents and adults with sickle cell anemia also have chronic pain, which can result from bone and joint damage, ulcers, and other causes.
- Swelling of hands and feet. The swelling is caused by sickle-shaped red blood cells blocking blood flow to the hands and feet.
- Frequent infections. Sickle cells can damage your spleen, leaving you more vulnerable to infections. Doctors commonly give infants and children with sickle cell anemia vaccinations and antibiotics to prevent potentially life-threatening infections, such as pneumonia.
- Delayed growth or puberty. Red blood cells provide your body with the oxygen and nutrients needed for growth. A shortage of healthy red blood cells can slow growth in infants and children and delay puberty in teenagers.
- Vision problems. Tiny blood vessels that supply your eyes can become plugged with sickle cells. This can damage the retina — the portion of the eye that processes visual images — and lead to vision problems.
But there is light at the end of this tunnel.
How to reverse Sickle Cell
I found two research articles that demonstrate that Powdered Black Seeds or their extract have an anti-sickling effect on the blood.
The World Journal of Advanced Research and Reviews, published a research article titled,” The effect of fixed oil extracts of Nigella sativa on sickle cells: An in-vitro study in Khartoum state -Sudan. Within it states:
The aim of the current study was to evaluate of the anti-sickling activity of the NS extracts, forty patients with sickle cell anemia were recruited for the study. A total of 3ml of venous blood was collected from each patient after obtaining the consent and the ethical approval, the blood was treated with Nigella sativa (NS) extract, and sickling test was performed. Descriptive study and p-values were used, and the correlation was evaluated, data was analyzed by SPSS.
It concluded by stating:
Recent study found that the sickling test after treating blood with Nigella sativa extract showed a negative result in 75% of patients and a 25% of patients showed persistently positive sickling test result. The anti-sickling effect in relation to various hemoglobin concentration, gender and age group showed p values of 0.007, 0.672 and 0.853 respectively indicating significant relationship with Hb concentration. Our study concluded that the fixed oil extract from Nigella sativa has an in-vitro anti-sickling activity on patients with SCA and this finding could indicate the use of this extract in treatment.
Here is a PDF link to the above article.
In another study on Pubmed, “The effect of fixed oil and water extracts of Nigella sativa on sickle cells: an in vitro study“. it states:
Results: The 0.1 percent v/v concentration of the oil extract of NS (Nigella sativa) resulted in an approximately 80 percent reduction in the formation of sickle cells. The 0.05 percent v/v concentration of NS produced an intermediate effect, while the 0.01 percent v/v concentration had no effect on the formation of sickle cells. The 0.1 percent v/v concentration of the fixed oil of NS led to a considerable reduction in the formation of ISCs.
Conclusion: The fixed oil extracted from NS seeds has an in vitro antisickling activity.
This research gives hope to the millions of people suffering from sickle cell disease or the trait. You can purchase Organic powdered black seeds(NIgella Sativa) in 1 lb bag, 12 oz bag, 6 oz bag, 2 oz bag, or 90 vegan pills on my website.
Necessary internet disclaimer: All information and resources found on Nothingsincurable.com are based on the opinions of the author unless otherwise noted. I am not a doctor nor do I have any medical training, all information is intended to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider. The author of this site encourages you to consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition.