Fatigue is a cardinal symptom of the Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, CIRS. Biotoxin Illness. Folks just feel tired. And this unpacks the third layer of biotoxin illness. Layer one is the nonspecific inflammation set off by the innate immune system and all the resultant cytokines streaming all over your body, wreaking havoc and causing weird symptoms. Layer two is the resultant disruption of the leptin, MSH, ADH and VIP systems in the hypothalamus and pituitary. Now we get to layer three, the disruption of blood flow by damage to the VEGF system.
VEGF is Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor. It’s the internal hormone your body uses to make more tiny capillaries to bring in more blood, usually in response to low oxygen and signs of anaerobic stress. It’s getting a lot of press recently in cancer care because cancers need a lot of blood flow to survive, so blocking their ability to create new blood vessels slows down cancers.
The cytokine storm caused by biotoxins acts differently. The lining cells of capillaries can both send off cytokines, calling for help, and respond to them by making “glue” for white cells to stick to. If you have an infection invading you, that works well. The lining cells call for help, the white cells show up and can stick to the glue and the white cells can then kill the bugs. That works. In biotoxin illness, the cytokines are everywhere and nowhere. All the blood vessels get choked up with white cells looking for invaders they can’t find. And VEGF that is meant to now surge to allow new blood vessel formation instead tanks. No VEGF. No new blood vessels. No better blood flow. Horrible consequences.
What do you see? Fatigue. Not short term fatigue. Days worth after every exertion. Go out for two hours and spend two days in bed. It can start with, “Why am I so tired all the time?” and end up with, “I can’t get out of bed.” No kidding. And you can prove it physiologically. Take someone with CIRS and send them to the hospital for a pulmonary stress test to measure their oxygen consumption and their anaerobic threshold. In 10 minutes you will find a robust, buff looking 35 year old testing like an 85 year old with congestive heart failure. When you can’t deliver enough oxygen to your tissue to burn fuel, you start burning glucose into lactate without oxygen. That’s your anaerobic threshold. In heart failure it’s the heart that’s failing. In CIRS, it’s the capillaries that are plugged and VEGF that’s failing. But no one believes a buff 35 year old isn’t just faking it. So we add insult to injury.
That damage actually can go deeper. Your body gets so desperate for fuel that it turns to burning up protein to make new glucose, leading to protein wasting. The cycle of dysfunction can get pretty deep, explaining why it takes so long to recover.
Can I fix VEGF? Actually. You can. And remarkably easily. Flood your system with the building blocks for all the anti-inflammatory cytokines. Fish oil. Get yourself on 2.4 grams of EPA and 1.8 grams of DHA per day – or 4 grams of high quality fish oil. Daily. Add pioglitizone (Actos). Combine that with a very low amylose diet so that you reduce your PPAR competition. (Remember last week where we gave a nod to the competition between amylose containing foods and inflammation. By avoiding amylose and taking pioglitizone, you let your own body lower than inflammatory response that comes along with anything that induces insulin. If you want a deep dive into the Common Soil Hypothesis – you can get all wrapped up in inflammation versus metabolism). What you need to know is that you can chill out VGEF with lots of fish oil and no amylose.
If that fails, Shoemaker noted that folks with low VGEF felt better at high altitude. Follow that reasoning and humans put out more red cell production stimulation with a hormone called erythropoietin when at high altitude with low oxygen. So called “epo” or branded as PROCRIT, you can turn off VEGF with a course of low dose erythropoietin when fish oil fails. Given in low doses over a month, you can again play gene therapy with erythropoietin and walk away with a normal VEGF in just a month. You can reset your genes and your VEGF in a month. What happens to your pulmonary anaerobic threshold? You guessed it. Returns to normal in the twinkling of an eye. Gene therapy, all aimed at your primitive lizard level immune system, works. (This is very controversial because of Procrit’s black box FDA warning and used mostly in cancer patients. For the vast majority, stick with the fish oil and low amylose diet)
www.What Will Work for Me. I’ve been slugging away at my fish oil for years knowing that it basically was good for me. The Lyon Heart Study showed that a gram a day reduced mortality more than statins, so I’ve done it for years. Now I know the biological basis for it. If you can sort out the complexity of the common soil idea, you understand that the precedent for inflammation is dysfunctional glucose metabolism. Biotoxin illness highlights it in blazing headlines. You can’t get out of bed. And now you can. We can fix you!
- Low VEGF is a common finding in biotoxin illness? T or F Answer: True. So common, it is one of the necessary separate steps in repair.
- The main symptom of low VEGF is? Answer: Fatigue. Deep, bone chilling fatigue. As much as two days in bed after any exercise fatigue
- The fatigue is caused by? Answer: plugged capillaries with low flow blood and lowered oxygen delivery caused by low VEGF.
- The easiest way to fix low VEGF is? Answer: Start with high dose fish oil and low amylose diet combined with pioglitizone. With a lot of care, you may need a round of low dose erythropoietin.
- (Extra Credit) The common soil hypothesis refers to? Answer: the intersection in biology of inflammation and metabolism of glucose. They both seem to stem from a common evolutionary source, so confound each other with their overlap. They aren’t quite distinct and separated, so high glucose ends up with inflammation. An aspirin overdose (anti-inflammatory) ends up with low blood sugar. Etc.