Monthly Archives: January 2018

Lectin Lesson 1: What Are Lectins?

References: Int Jr of Plant ChemJr Cereal SciNutrients,

Ever had someone tell you that they are allergic to wheat? You scoff and say they don’t have celiac disease. And they don’t. They are sensitive to LECTINS. And lots of people are. If you feel your tummy upset when you eat bread or wheat, read on. This is for you. Actually, this is for all of us.
What are lectins? Plants make them to deter animals and insects from eating the plant. They are poisons. They are plants main way to protecting themselves. And plants have been very clever in figuring out how to do that over millennia. They have devised may lectins that look very close to the normal proteins inside of animals, but not quite the same. You see, if you make a close copy that messes up the animal by making fake signals, you make it feel sick when it eats you. So it stops eating you.
What did we do with wheat? In the 1950s, Borlag crossed old fashioned wheat with two grasses to make wheat go from the 14 chromosomes of old fashioned natural wheat to the 42 chromosomes of modern wheat. All the lectins in grasses got carried along into the new wheat. Now mind you, lectins are at very tiny levels. They aren’t the main show like carbs, or protein, or fat. They are like hormones, active at extremely low doses. This is how they have gotten by below the redar up till now. This is why you haven’t heard about them.

But lectins work exactly at that level. They act at very tiny doses like trace hormones. In your body you have millions of TLRs, Toll Receptor Proteins that are basically bar code readers. They are lining your blood vessels looking for invading bacteria and viruses and poisons. When their bar code gets matched with an invading protein, they stimulate the making of chemical signals to call in help. Those signals are called cytokines and your body makes a whole mist of the cytokines. There are dozens, if not hundreds of cytokines that all rise in a chorus of response to make an integrated immune reaction to the invader.

That immune response is meant to make an animal avoid that plant. The animal and plant, living in the same ecosystem get used to each other. They learn to tolerate, and accommodate each other. The animal’s gut bacteria develop a tolerance and acceptance of the plants lectin poisons, and start making a healthy immune reaction that is good, when done in tiny doses.

That all happens when animals live in the same ecosystem and eat the same food for millions of years. Humans did that up till about a million years ago. Then we learned to cook. Cooking inactivates a lot of lectins, so humans could add many more foods to their diet. All was well and good, as long as we humans were living in Africa and the Mediterranean, where we had reliable, accommodated foods. But then the thunderbolt happened. We learned to grow wheat and lentils in the Levant. 10,000 years ago, we learned agriculture. This allowed us to make cities and armies and increase our population. We didn’t have to go hunting game and could have farms and armies and kings. But we were eating a new food our guts weren’t really used to. The lectins really weren’t all that good for us. Over the next 1000 years, we lost a foot in height, a decade in longevity, 15% off the size of our brain but eating lectin rich foods instead of wild game. But the bargain with the devil was already done, civilization had begun. What would come next?
Read next week.
WWW.What will work for me. We all need to learn about lectins and their subtle but incredibly perverse effect. This applies to me and you. The scope of lectins is really the story of all our modern diseases. This is the underpinnings of inflammation, the engine that drives our common modern illnesses. Read on. We need to know this.


Pop Quiz

  1. What are lectins?                        Answer: trace substances, usually proteins made by plants that function to deter insects and animals from eating the plant.
  2. Plants and the animals that eat them get used to each other over million of years. T or F Answer: True. So humans come out of Africa and have gut bacteria that are familiar with African plants.
  3. How do lectins do their function?                                   Answer: they have often evolved to look quite similar to proteins inside the animal: close but not quite so they make dysfunctional actions that make the animal sick.
  4. Lectins are detected in animals by their “what” system?                        Answer: TRP or Toll Receptor Proteins lining all blood vessels.
  5. When humans started eating wheat and lentils in the Fertile Crescent 10,000 years ago, what happened.                                                              Answer: Civilization got started in cities and settlements, but humans also got shorter with smaller brains.   Wheat and lentils both contained new lentils previously unknown to humans. 10,000 years is not enough time to evolve new defenses to new lectins.


Eating Red Meat Raises Your Mortality

References: Archives Internal MedicinePNAS,

500,000 people aged 50-71 were followed for about 10 years with extensive questionnaires about food frequency. There were some 48,000 deaths in the men, 23,000 deaths in the women. This is a big study so should have validity. It was observational, not randomized, placebo controlled. They statistically controlled for age, education, marital status, family history of cancer (yes/no) (cancer mortality only), race, body mass index, smoking history, physical activity, energy intake, alcohol intake, vitamin supplement use, fruit consumption, vegetable consumption, and menopausal hormone therapy among women.
The findings are pretty interesting. Those who ate the most red meat had a 30% increased risk of dying. In women, those eating the most red meat were 36 percent more likely to die for any reason, 20 percent more likely from cancer and 50 percent more from heart disease. Men eating the most meat were 31 percent more likely to die for any reason, 22 percent more of cancer and 27 percent more from heart disease.
On the first blush, one things it must be the fat, and that is one of the reasons given in the article. I want you to think about possibly other reasons.

Here are a few. Ferritin. The more iron you consume, in the form of red meat, the higher your ferritin climbs. This has happened on Okinawa and there the mortality has risen sharply for cardiovascular disease and Alzheimers. Iron is a two edged sword. You need it badly if you are a young woman having babies every two years, our paleolithic past. But our iron absorption rate damages us badly when we get to menopause and stop losing iron through menstruation or babies. And men always have more iron. In fact, men live as much as 10 years less than women. Only 30% of that can be attributed to climbing ladders. A good portion of that is the excess mortality driven by the increased burden of ferritin in men, who never have a chance to lose it. The least Alzheimer’s in the world centers on places with ferritin of 20. American men average over 200 – some are as high at 6-800 and don’t know it.

Another reason. Lectins. In America we feed our animals corn. You can trace the corn through the food supply because of it’s mixture of carbon subtypes. The average American is 65% corn. The average European is 5%. Corn is loaded with lectins, proteins that bind to sugars and set off immune messages internally. You are not only what you eat, but what you ate, ate. When you eat a cow raised on GMO corn, or a chicken raised on GMO corn, you get the lectins from that GMO crop passed on to you. Lectins bind so tightly to sugars, and are pretty resistant to degradation, they survive the transfer. Corn makes cows fat, pigs fat, chickens fat and you fat. It’s not just the calories in the grain, it’s the hormonal effect of the lectins.
American red meat is full of ferritin, full of lectins, full of hormones all at the trace level that has been blessed as safe. It’s not safe. Eating red meat makes you die faster.
www.What will work for me. I’m startled by this. It is changing my mind. The ketogenic diet can’t be one of pure red meat. I’ve measured my ferritin and it was 160. I’m choosing salads much more now with traces of ocean raised fish. You should know your ferritin and get it down. You drop some 40 points every time you donate blood. Next week we will start a series on Lectins.

Pop Quiz


  1. Eating red meat is good for you. T or F                                              Answer: Way too complicated for T or F. You have to get B12 from red meat so we hav got eat a little. And women making babies need the iron. But men almost never need extra iron.
  2. If I cut down on red meat such that I’m at a serving a week, what will my mortality do compared to an every day kind of guy?                                             Answer: Down 30%
  3. American’s are composed of more corn based food that Europeans, by how much?                                                                Answer: We don’t have a huge study but 65% to 5% is one data point, American to European. Yes, you are made of 65% corn protein or fat.
  4. Name another source of possible problems with American red meat?                   Answer: by eating so much corn, the lectins in corn are passed onto the person who eats them
  5. What are lectins?                                                                                     Answer: proteins plants make to poison their predators. They attach to our feed animals meat and then we get them. They have many hormonal side effects. Read more next week.


Birth Control Pills Cause Breast Cancer


Birth Control Pills Cause Cancer

References: NEJM Dec 2017New York Times,

That’s it! They do. Birth control pills increase your risk of breast cancer. The issue should be, how much risk are you willing to take for the benefit of birth control. Pregnancy is not a benign condition either. It has risks. Labor and delivery used to be just about the most common cause of death in women, until we got modern medicine, ultrasounds, sterile technique, etc
What’s the data? The study followed 1.6 million Danish women for over 10 years. Their results showed that for every 100,000 women, birth control use increased risk by 13 women a year, from 55 to 68. Over 40 years, that would be 520 extra cases per 100,000 women. That’s 0.5% lifetime risk. Or, a 20% risk increase over baseline. In percent terms it doesn’t sound huge, and indeed, it isn’t compared to other risks. The study was not able to take into account confounding variable like weight, exercise, other disease, breast feeding, alcohol consumption, etc etc. What about IUD’s with tiny amounts of progestins in them? Nope. Still a problem.
What they also found was that lower doses in modern birth control pills still are risky and the use of “low dose estrogen” really doesn’t add much. And, the progestins (Manufactured artificial progesterone) may actually be the main culprit. If you look at the moleculeprogesterone, and compare it to the molecule medroxyprogesterone, you can quickly see that they aren’t the same thing. They have enough overlap in function to fulfill their duty of hormonal manipulation, but then confuse the body by not setting off the normal biological signaling that the proper molecule provides. The mid cycle surge of LH and FSH is suppressed by lowered free hormones, secondary to elevated Sex Hormone Binding Globulin. You don’t ovulate. Presto.
Are other methods of birth control any safer? You have to go through all the complex math of failure rate and risk of pregnancy, and consequences of pregnancy to come to your own decision. At the end of the day, birth control pills and the IUD are extremely effective at preventing pregnancy, but they do have some risk to them. Ok,, you are informed. (And we didn’t go into the risk reduction of ovarian cancer etc that birth control may help – whole other topic.)
Now, can you soften the risk. You bet. When you do get pregnant, consider breast feeding as your “anti-cancer”, “baby’s brain health”, strategy. For every 6 months of breast feeding, your future risk of breast cancer drops some 15-16 percent – with studies rangingfrom 20% to 60% lifetime risk reduction by getting in the habit and sticking with it.

And then there is iodine, 1 mg a day, Vitamin D to a level of 50, exercise, weight control, Vitamin K2, avoid xenoestrogens (BPA) and eat lots of organic vegetables, and you can keep dropping the risk further.

www.What will work for me. This is one of the most common questions I get asked. How safe are birth control pills. It’s a yin and yang. Life has risks and choices. Driving to my office has risks. Texting on the way is dangerous. What I do tell my clients is please, please take a 6 month sabbatical from birth control every 5 years. And if you don’t want any more children, male or female tubes can be clipped.


Pop Quiz

  1. Birth control pills cause breast cancer by how much?                                          Answer: 13 extra cases per 100,000 women per year – or .5% higher
  2. What is the risk of pregnancy?                                                Answer: in advanced nations with good prenatal health care, 12/100,000 maternal deaths from pregnancy is what WHO provides.   This low rate occurs where  we do not have a targeted strategy for all pregnant women, it’s higher that other parts of the world where risks are up to 200+/100,000 deaths per year from pregnancy
  3. What is the most effective method to lower my risk of breast cancer?                    Answer: breast feed for at least 6 months with every pregnancy. Try for a year.
  4. What other strategies can I do go lower my breast cancer risk?                               Answer: stay slender, exercise, avoid sugar, iodine 1 mg a day, Vitamin D, K2….
  5. Is the IUD any safer?                                                                                                          Answer: No.




Should I get a Flu Shot

Should I Get a Flu Shot?

References: CDC.govCell Mol Immunol,

This is the most common question I have sent to me by various people. I even have folks coming to ask me if I would sign statements about how they shouldn’t get a flu shot. The world I live in, functional medicine, has many anxieties about influenza shots and has not been quiet in voicing their concerns. Hence, confusion and uncertainty.

My response: let’s looks at the evidence and be a scientist. First of all, does the flu shot cause autism? The answer is NO. Does it cause Guillian-Barre? I believe it does have a slight risk for doing that. I’ve even had a close friend get it, and be hospitalized in an ICU for a week with it.

How dangerous is influenza for us? That’s the rub. The CDC says there will be between 9 and 35 million casesof it this year, with 12-56,000 deaths. The mortality is directly linked to age, with infants and elderly being most vulnerable: infants because their immune system is immature and elderly because their immune system is waning.

There have been reports that the flu shot this year is only about 10% protective. The virus that got loose in Australia, that has it’s flu epidemic when we are having summer turned out to be nastier and more virulent than expected, and the pick of viruses contained in the flu shot, wasn’t quite the right mix. The CDC has vigorously refuted that saying that the flu shot has never been perfect at preventing the flu, what it prevents is DEATH. That’s why you want to get a flu shot.

Here is my take on it. It’s DEATH you are most interested in preventing. Influenza does something most viral syndromes don’t do. It stirs up your innate immunesystem. When this happens with influenza you get a “cytokine storm” that is like runaway dominoes. The severe epidemic of influenza in the 1918-19 era was reported to have killed people in 12 hours. Young men, fresh of the plains of Kansas, coming from isolated communities where they had never had influenza before, died in just hours. Their lungs filled up with fluid and they drowned in their own congestion. Remote communities, like the Innuit in Alaska, were wiped out. That’s what influenza can do, and has done every 30 years for millennia. Regular flu feels like that, in mini form. Your lungs feel full. You have trouble breathing. You have a risk of getting pneumonia. But your immune system can limit the runaway “storm”.
Why? Because we, all of us, the collective human race, started getting flu shots. For 50 years now, we have been getting flu shots. When you get a shot, you get immunity to that particular strain of influenza, both A and B that will last you for 4-10 years to that strain. And that immunity overlaps enough with others to help you in other seasons,
Here is the devil in the details. The influenza virus is able to mutate every year and come back again. Your immune system can’t see it clearly. We have been waiting expectantly for another vicious epidemic, much like in 1918. But it doesn’t come. Why, we have to ask, why has this scourge not recurred, like it did for thousands of years? It’s because we are all getting flu shots, and the residual immunity doesn’t allow the cytokine storm to overrun us.

Should I get a flu shot. Darn right. Will it protect me from this years flu? Maybe, maybe not. Will you be around to complain about i? Yes. That’s the point.

Practicing emergency department physicians will point out to you that every year they are crushed during the flu season. Not from flu only. The frail elderly come in with strokes, heart attacks, pneumonia, kidney failure, failure to thrive, congestive heart failure – in droves. You name it. The ER is jammed pack. Do they have the flu? Can’t tell. You know they are sick. You know the hospital is full. You know it’s happening concurrent with half the ER staff being sick with the flu.

WWW.What will work for me. I get a flu shot every year. I’m over 65 so I get the heavy duty one for “frail elderly”. And, I take Vitamin D faithfully. Good evidence that taking D and getting a flu shot is synergistic (roughly 50% extra). And, I wash my hands, wash my hand, wash my hands.


Pop Quiz

  1. Getting a flu shot protects me completely from the flu? T or F                          Answer: False, false, false. Polio, small pox etc all are 100%. Flu keeps mutating. Even with that, it’s still only a 50% reduction in even getting it.
  2. What the heck am I getting it for?                                                                   Answer: So that you don’t die. In that regard, maybe as much as 95% reduction.
  3. But I don’t see people dying of the flu. What on earth are you talking about?           Answer: people don’t look like they are dying from the flu. But they are. The cytokine storm that flu sets off makes every underlying disease worse. Your death certificate will say “heart attack” but that crafty flu virus that was in you at the time is rubbing his greedy hands together with glee, cause he got another good one.
  4. What is a cytokine storm?                                                                                   Answer: It’s your innate immune system with dominos falling hyperbolically – accelerating faster and faster. Flu, uniquely sets that off when the pandemics come to town. It sets it off mildly with regular flu.
  5. Explain to me why we haven’t had a pandemic now for over 50 years when we used to have them every 30 years since time began?                                                          Answer: because the whole world has been getting flu shots, and damping down that cytokine storm this year with this years flu shot, so that next year it doesn’t run away from us. Got it?



Biotoxin XV: VIP – The Magic Bullet

 Biotoxin XV: VIP The Final Magic Bullet

References: Surviving MoldBiotoxin JourneyInternal Medicine Review,

100%. Did you catch that? Everyone with mold illness, following the 11 step program Shoemaker has put together, will find relief. Well, almost everyone. Some folks who have been sick for years have deeply imbedded patterns and may need to be on VIP for a long time, but nevertheless, Shoemaker has found that his program returns (almost) everyone back to much higher levels of functioning, if not complete cure. The limitations are more on getting to a completely clean environment free from biotoxin after a life time of training their immune system to be “sicker, quicker”. Remember, it’s not quantity that sets off the innate immune system, it’s just the first domino that sets off the storm.
Well, explain what VIP does. What is it first of all. Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide was discovered as being active in the gut, hence its name. But its most profound effects are more likely in the brain.

The sequence of events is as follows. You live in a moldy home, or work in a moldy workplace. The ceiling has black spots below the AC unit upstairs. You breathe in the mycotoxins. (They are TINY: if botulism toxin weighs 150,000 daltons, T-2 toxin weight 466). They set off the “cloud” of cytokines of your innate immune system: the fire alarm. The cytokines attach themselves to the Leptin Receptor in your brain which is the gateway to secrete MSH, VIP and ADP. First, you stop making MSH. With a mucked up VIP receptor, your whole POMC system goes down. You stop making beta-endorphin and you start to hurt all over. Your energy tanks. You gain weight. You are tired.
VIP dropping shortly follows. About 98% of folks with chronic fatigue syndrome have low VIP. It is a regulatory neuropeptide that acts in the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus. Does that sound like a mouthful? It appears to have a profound effect on Cyclic AMP which is a second tier messenger. But other than that loosy-goosey explanation, we haven’t a clue how it really works. And it just doesn’t work if you skip any steps in the 11 step program. But if you have done the other 11 steps, it becomes a secret super weapon. It works in minutes.

The sorts of things you can measure are almost immediate improvement in the pulmonary artery pressure. That means blood is flowing much faster, immediately. Breathing is easier. “Asthma” suddenly feels ok. That means energy perks up, right away. In two hours your fizz is back. In two days you feel like you were never sick. For those folks with joint stiffness, 10 minutes and you are feeling more limber. This is a real magic wand.

The protocol is to take it as a nose spray 4 times a day for 30 days; then twice a day for 30 days; then daily for 30 days; then off 30 for days.

Unless: you have any of the following: ERMI > 2 at home/work/school, your VCS (Visual Contrast test) still positive, still have MARCoNS in your nose, MMP9, PAI-1, leptin still high, Untreated C3a, C4a, TGF beta-1 still hanging around.

This is really cool. We have a final step that fixes things that is measurable, repeatable, explainable. I have met one person who flunked VIP, albeit they did feel a little better.

www.what will work for me. I’m eager to get experience of using it. Again, it will be a new modality in this town so getting a pharmacy to make it right might be a challenge. Getting insurance to pay for it. Well, dream on. But there are work-arounds for all those things. In the meantime, I’m still working on my own basement. My ERMI was 4 and I’m determined to get it down. When I see someone with a -6 ERMI, I’m jealous. They lived on the 16th floor of a pristine, new condo building. Lucky devils.


Pop Quiz


  1. Where was VIP discovered?                                                       Answer: as a regulatory peptide in the gut, hence the name, Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide.
  2. Where else does it work?                                                           Answer: very definitely in the brain – in the suprachiasmatic nucleus, to be exact – and many others.
  3. What does it do?                                                                          Answer: We haven’t a clue. It has effects on a secondary messenger inside cells called c-AMP but other than that, we are clueless. It just fixes everything like a magic wand.
  4. What makes it not work?                                                            Answer: anything in the previous 11 steps that weren’t fixed first. Still living in a toxic environment with an ERMI score over 2, still having MARCONs in the nose, still having elevated cytokines, etc etc.
  5. How quickly does it work?                                                           Answer: Minutes. And can be tapered over 3-6 months to off, provided the person doesn’t go back into their dangerous place.