Category Archives: 22. Toxins

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.




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.


Biotoxin XIV: Fixing TGF-beta 1


Biotoxin XIV: Fixing TGF-Beta1

References: Shoemaker ProtocolScienceWikipediaSci Rep 2017,

We are almost at the end of our Biotoxin Treatment Pathway. Fixing TGF-beta 1 is next to last. If your level is over 2380, you need to fix it. And fix it you can. What is it that TGF-beta 1 does? It’s a member of superfamily of cytokines in that it has myriad functions. It plays a key roll in cellular differentiation, proliferation, and finally apoptosis. Many cells secrete it and respond to it, so our understanding of it is just getting started. We do see it act badly in Marfan’s syndrome where folks are super stretchy and bendy and have a “wingspan” greater than their height. They often die from burst aortic aneurysms, caused by too much TGF-beta 1. In fact, someone whose wingspan is greater than their height is very likely to have an elevated TGFb1. Hmmm. Might you measure yours? If you have an autoimmune disease, know your wingspan, and your TGFb1, as fixing your mold illness may revert your BT illness. Cool, huh!
Levels of 5000 and below usually aren’t too sick but over 10,000 and you are almost certain to have some identifiable effect. Lung, joint, brain are common victims. For example, in the brain we know that glial cells put out Glial Fibrillatory Acidic Protein, that inhibits cell growth and axonal connections. In lungs we suspect that at many as 50% of adults developing new asthma are doing so from biotoxin illness with ‘TGF-beta 1 playing a leading roll.

TGF beta 1 drives the development of imbalance between T-regulatory CD4+CD25++ cells and TH-17 cells. This might be at the heart of autoimmunity. T-regulatory cells help prevent autoimmunity – the body attacking itself. In some with biotoxin illness, T-regulatory cells are improperly changed into pathogenic effector T-cells by TH-17 cells. The next effect is an endless positive feedback look driving more TGF beta 1. We can now measure CD4+CD25++ and CD4+CD25++127lo/- cells as one method of getting to the heart of this imbalance. Can you imagine if this works out to have a major impact on ALL autoimmune disease. That would be so amazing!

How do you fix it? Actually, it’s easy….well, sort of. Cozaar, or Losartan, yes – a high blood pressure mediation lowers TGFbeta 1. If it is above 2380, and particularly if T-regulatory CD4+CD25++ combo cell levels are less than 18, you need to be on Losartan. 25 mg twice a day will do most adults, but if blood pressure doesn’t drop too much, 50 mg a day will push it even faster. For how long? Until you are better. Not years, weeks. Maybe months. Provided you are out of the biotoxin environment and not being reignited with new inflammation. For those whose blood pressure is too low, VIP spray also works. (Next week).

What is it that Losartan does? Remember, you asked: here goes: “EXP3179, but not losartan and EXP3174, dose-dependently inhibited (P<0.05) phorbol myristate acetate and insulin-stimulated NADPH oxidase activity. EXP3179 also inhibited phorbol myristate acetate-induced NADPH oxidase in endothelial cells. In addition, EXP3179 inhibited (P<0.05) both phorbol myristate acetate-stimulated p47phox translocation from cytosol to membranes and protein kinase C activity.” Did you get that? I didn’t either till I read it three times. Remember, EXP3179 does it, not Losartan. But it does lower TGF-beta 1. Aren’t you relieved! Stupid little high blood pressure medicine, works wonders on TGFb1.

WWW.What will work for me. I’m seeing tons of folks with CIRS and mold illness with TGFb1 over 10,000. My highest has been 28,000 something and that person answered 29 symptoms on Shoemaker’s symptom list. Mostly they said their brain just didn’t work. Can you imagine the wonder I feel to see folks getting better from a mystery illness that heretofore went not only unrecognized, but blamed on the victim?  It’s like a Christmas present.


Pop Quiz:

1.     TGFb1 is ….?                                                                    Answer: a peptide cytokine that has regulatory properties for cell growth and differential, and eventually cell death. It plays a key role in facilitating autoimmune disease.

2.     It needs treatment to lower it when…?                       Answer If you feel sick and have levels over 2380,

3.     The best way to lower it is with a drug called…..?     Answer: Losartan

4.     How long do you have to treat for?                             Answer: until better with normal TGFb1, which might be a couple of weeks or months. Or VIP

5.     If you are “double jointed” and can bend your fingers back to your wrist or scratch the middle of our back easily, you might first want to measure what?                   Answer: Your wingspan, then your TGFb1.




Biotoxin XII: Cleaning up C3a

References: Surviving Mold, Mold Warriors, p 396Jr of Immunology,

Ever heard of C3a? Bet you hadn’t. Ever heard of statins? Sure. That’s where statins work. And C3a is the heart of biotoxin illness. It is the nexus of the complement system. The complement system is the cascade of inflammation that fires off when your body sees and recognizes an outside invader. We have made the analogy of biotoxin setting off the 911 alarm system in your community with sirens blaring everywhere. C3a is the volume of the siren.

You can look at a diagram of the C3a activation system. and you see that the production of C3a is the first summary action. And uniquely, it plays in role in starting the inflammatory process, and then in modulating and reigning it in. Shoemaker has discovered that C3a is like the gift that keeps on giving in mold illness. When folks get sick, it’s C3a and C4a that go up right away. In Lyme disease, C3a is a unique marker for early Lyme and can skyrocket with two days of infected Lyme bite. The same happens with acute mold exposure. C3a rises as soon as within 4 hours of exposure to mold. In folks with the genetic HLA biotype for susceptibility to Lyme, the C3a doesn’t go back to normal with the proper antibiotics. In folks with a normal HLA genotype, their C3a goes back to normal. That explains the Lyme riddle of why some folks never get better with continued antibiotic.

What’s going on in mold with high C3a? The complement system continues to be activated. Low grade inflammation of the innate (lizard) system keeps happening and the involved person keeps feeling ill. What ever organ appears to be affected continues to be affected. For those with plaque developing in their brain, they keep developing plaque. For those getting asthma, they keep getting worse. For those getting coronary artery disease, they keep getting worse. C3a is the attack dog of the innate immune system, and it continues to rot you out from the inside.

Now, along comes a unique cure. Guess what lowers C3a and puts it to bed? Guess what resolves the inflammation and cures C3a, provided the mold exposure is gone? A high dose statin. For a month. Yes. A statin. Imagine, is this why statins work? You can search the internet and see lots of odd links, but Shoemaker has seen the clinical evidence of coronary artery disease and “cholesterol” normalizing with C3a normalizing. Now, you need to start CoQ10 at least a week before you start the statin, and push whatever statin you use to its upper limit, and then watch the C3a fall. And with the MMP9 coming down, and the PAI-1 coming to normal mean the illness was cured.

Can you imagine the scope of biotoxin illness if everyone developing coronary artery disease had their HLA typing and their C3a measured. This topic might have broader implications than anyone has imagined yes.

WWW.What will work for me. Well. Measuring C3a is turning out to be quite a challenge. I haven’t figured it out yet in Milwaukee. None of my labs have done it right, so we are in that stage of trying to navigate this journey. Once we can get the wheels greased for the lab evaluation, I have lots of folks pent up waiting to get better. But they only get better when their mold illness is fixed, and that starts with their homes and their workplaces. I got Sporocidin today and the sprayer is coming. I want my basement to smell pristine when I’m done. Sporocidin is the cleaning agent you want to use if you have a “moldy” smelling basement.


Pop Quiz

1.      C3a is the common instigating cytokine in the innate immune system? T or F                  Answer: That is about as accurate as you can be

2.      C3a both activates and modulates the innate immune response. T or F                           Answer. Again. Just about right.

3.     In acute mold illness, C3a rises very rapidly? T or F                                                                Answer: Bingo, you can prove it with reexposure.

4.      In Lyme Disease with the dreaded Lyme HLA phenotype, you get better in just two weeks. T or F       Answer: This was my dummy question. If you got this wrong, you didn’t read the column and skipped to the pop quiz. False.

5.     And you can cure high C3a, and in fact MUST cure high C3a, with what?                           Answer: High dose statins for a month, after meticulous removal from exposure.


Biotoxin XI: Cleaning up VEGF and Getting Your Energy Back

References: Mold Warriors, p 93 by Ritchie Shoemaker, Surviving Mold – BerndtsonJr Physiology,

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!


Pop Quiz


  1. 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.
  2. The main symptom of low VEGF is?                                                                  Answer: Fatigue. Deep, bone chilling fatigue. As much as two days in bed after any exercise fatigue
  3. The fatigue is caused by?                                                                                    Answer: plugged capillaries with low flow blood and lowered oxygen delivery caused by low VEGF.
  4. 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.
  5. (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.


Biotoxin Part X: Putting Cytokines back in Order – One by One – MMP-9 First

References: www.survivingmold.comBiochem Biophy Res CommMol Med Rep

CIRS (Biotoxin Illness) or Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome sets off a host of cytokines. We are a long way from understanding the complexity of all the interactions that occur, but we are beginning to understand preliminary methods of how to manipulate them and fix them. Remember, CIRS is really a firestorm being set off in your innate immune system – your lizard level built in, non specific, immune system that creates inflammation but isn’t focused and precise. The folks who get sick with CIRS are the ones who can’t mount the next level of response and sit there mired in the continued process of hyper alarm with no relief. To bring relief, we want to start disconnecting and calming down all the sources of dysfunction.
Specifically: you get “invaded” or exposed to biotoxins (the musty smelling basement, the ancient church choir closet, the leaking school roof). These toxins are fat soluble and circulate throughout your body. In your fat tissue, fat cells take them up and don’t like it. They put out a host of cytokines that circulate all over asking for your adaptive system to come and clean them up. You can’t “see” the biotoxin because your immune system is “blind” – you have a high risk HLA type – 25% of us all. The circulating cytokines damage your hypothalamic leptin receptor and MSH, VIP and ADH all get damaged. You feel chronic pain, fatigue, and 31 other odd symptoms. You are off to the races with biotoxin illness.

That’s where MMP9 sits. It is the mediator of the cytokine chorus. If it is elevated, you have a biotoxin burden. MMP9 is not a cytokine, it is a protein enzyme that facilitates the entry to biotoxins into the sub-intimal space. This is the part of tissue beyond the basement membrane of blood vessels. Your blood vessel’s intimal membrane is the last barrier protecting your cells from invading damage. It’s the “gristle” of dense, gooey connective tissue that the blood vessel cells sit on and typically is impenetrable. MMP9 penetrates it. Penetrating it is a huge step, and a dangerous one. Once you have penetrated the basement membrane the inflammatory cytokines get into your brain, your lungs, your muscles, your joints. In the brain, MMP9 can help make plaque that looks like MS, and even shows up on MRI scans. In your lungs, you can cough endlessly and look like asthma, often being misdiagnosed (as much as 50% of kids?). In your joints, it looks like arthritis. Can you see the scope of what can happen once you open the gates and high MMP9 lets the cytokines get in? It’s a runaway train with no conductor.

How to reign it in? Well, this is what is fascinating and unique. Ritchie Shoemaker had the genius to look at the bench research on cytokines and chase down a new idea. The thiazolidinediones class of diabetes drugs (Actos as an example) turn on genes as their method of action. In fact, ACTOS lowers MMP9 (and TNF, leptin, and PAI-1)after biotoxins cause it/them to be elevated. And in a couple of weeks, we will also learn in increase VEGF. Actos (pioglitizone) is the gift that keeps on giving. It activates the PPAR-gamma class of nuclear receptors. It is that PPAR system you are trying to activate with Actos, as that is what lowers the MMP9. And you can overwhelm it and ruin the effect if you force insulin to rise rapidly be eating foods with lots of freely available glucose. The food form of glucose that gets into you the fastest is called amylose. It’s in all grains, all root vegetables, bananas. The only folks who need to be wary of Actos are the really skinny folks with low leptin who need to get on enough fat to raise their leptin level first. Then, Actos will work and their MMP9 level will come down.

Sounds complicated? Actually, it’s not. Actos, combined with a low amylose diet is a fantastically simple form of gene therapy that works with anyone with a high MMP9. We can’t see what’s happening at the cellular level, but you can imagine that by muscling the MMP9 down, the circulating cytokines can’t get in to cause their damage. If you have cleaned out the biotoxin, now you need to clean up the mess they made. And MMP9 is the first layer.
Again, simple. Amylose free diet, frequent small meals, pioglitizone, 45 mg a day.

WWW.What will work for me. I’m just thrilled with this simple concept. I have already tried it on dozens of folks and sure enough, they start to feel better, start to lose weight, get their headaches in control, feel less fatigue. If you are someone who is overweight and simply can’t lose the weight and feel achy and sore, it’s likely you have biotoxin mediated high leptin and high MMP9. It’s not you that is to blame, it’s the biotoxin. Get your MMP9 down!

Pop Quiz

  1. MMP9 is a cytokine. T or F                                                                          Answer. Wake up, sleepy. Read the blog again. It’s a protein enzyme.  It dissolves connective tissue and allows inflammatory cytokines access to the tissue beneath the membrane.
  2. What does MMP9 do?                                                                                 Answer: It dissolves the gooey, gristle that is the foundation of connective tissue lining blood vessels, allowing biotoxins to penetrate from inside the blood vessel into brains, joints, lungs etc.
  3. MMP9 is a handy marker of biotoxin illness. T or F                                Answer: That’s it in a nutshell. And it should be under 332. Many labs say normal includes a higher range than that because there are so many people with elevated MMP9 that are then included in the normal population. Well people have levels below 332.
  4. The best way to lower MMP9 is with?                                                       Answer: gene therapy using pioglitizone (Actos) combined with a low Amylose diet.
  5. What is amylose?                                                                                          Answer: the form of glucose plants use to store glucose that is the most easily digested (you have amylase in your saliva and start breaking it down as you chew) found in root vegetables, all grains, bananas. Eating amylose with Actos undermines the gene therapy of lowering MMP9.




Biotoxin VIII: Absent Androgens

References:  Surviving Mold,  Jr Sex Medicine,

How many men do you know who say they are low on energy? And how many ads do you see touting the claim that they are “low T” and suggesting they get on more testosterone? Are you a bit skeptical that that may be the case? You should be, because many of those men, if not most, are Biotoxin Refugees, not “Gonadal Insufficiency” as modern medicine defines them.   They can get fixed by going upstream, in the majority of situations, to the root cause.   So just how does that happen?   Explain that “root cause”.  (First: Definition –  Biotoxin Refugee: they are sick from biotoxins and no one recognizes it and calls them crazy.  They are medically homeless and fleeing from a pervasive enemy.)

Here’s the skinny explanation. We are now in the phase of explaining the next layer of biotoxin illness, the hypothalamic and pituitary damage that arises from biotoxin’s effect on MSH (melanocyte stimulating hormone), VIP (vasoactive intestinal peptide), ADH (anti-diuretic hormone) and all the rest.   To recap, you inhale the biotoxin. That comes from the breakdown products of “black mold” which is code word for a complex mix of molds, bacteria, actinomycetes etc  . When the mid winter sun is angling across your room, you can see tiny bits of dust floating in the air. You breathe that in.   That floating stuff is what turns into the dust bunnies under your bed, and contains the substrates of biotoxin illness. The biotoxins all share a similar structure that makes them incredibly fat-soluble and damages cells by mucking up their energy production and DNA messaging. Your innate immune system recognizes them as foreign and sets off fire alarms in the form of “cytokines”, calling 911. But your adaptive system, the higher order immune system that makes antibodies and T-cells doesn’t “see” or “recognize” biotoxins in 25% of us. Those are the folks who get in trouble. The biotoxin sets off your bodies 911 system, and your adaptive system doesn’t know what to do. You flounder. That floundering takes the shape of downshifting POMC endocrine system: the 11 hormones made from one protein substrate. When you downshift 11 different hormones, you are going to have a broad array of dysfunction. No wonder hormone production takes a hit.

That’s the upstream skinny. So simply giving testosterone circumvents the real problem. Of course, folks feel better and function better for a short period of time. And then it fades. A higher dose of T then reboots the problem and your pituitary responds by making less and less LH, the hormone that drives T production. And it fades again. You have now accomplished a further down-regulation of your hypothalamus; the same place the biotoxin down regulated. And all the complex interplays of LH and pituitary/hypothalamic balance get forced out of balance.

We can’t get close to understanding all the interactions of our pituitary/hypothalamic hormones yet. Thinking that Testosterone replacement will fix our waning libido is true, only so far. There are several dozen other functions of T that aren’t so easily measured or experienced. I want to live long enough for the research to emerge that clarifies them all. As an example, STEP 11, 4 weeks from now will tell you how VIP normalizes MSH, lowers TGF-beta1 and raises VGEF. VIP is called Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide, but it does so much more, it’s hard to describe. Its name implies that it is involved just in the gut, because that is where it was first discovered. But its most important function is likely it’s balancing the POMC system, and bringing the orchestra of the hypothalamic opera into tune.

So, what specifically is being mucked up with androgens? Part of the explanation is around the enzyme aromatase. This enzyme is the last step of estrogen production, which is turning testosterone into estrogen. Aromatase gets up regulated in biotoxin illness. Testosterone disappears into estrogen. Giving more T results in more Estrogen until you get to the root problem.   The solution is not more T, it’s DHEA, the precursor to T. Most folks in their 40s and 50s have very low DHEA the precursor hormone to T and E. Giving that doesn’t seem to disrupt the whole system, and allows your body to proceed with balancing its hormones as it sees fit. We need to know more. That’s coming. Sooner would be better.

WWW.What will work for me. Well, I’ve now checked MSH and TGF-beta 1 in a handful of my clients with low T, and sure enough, they have all been low and all report basements that smell “musty”.   I’m not sure we can explain the whole story to them yet, but I’m certain this is a more satisfying track.


Pop Quiz

  1. We need testosterone for more than libido. T or F                                    Answer. Immune function is on the list and that may be part of the dysfunctional damage of biotoxins.


  1. Biotoxin refugees are?                                                                                     Answer: Folks with low energy, diffuse pain, lousy sexual function, diarrhea, trouble concentrating, mind fog…….(all the 31 symptoms of biotoxin illness) and no one wants to give them the time of day because the current medical model hasn’t learned biotoxin illness yet, so they are “homeless”.


  1. Replacing Testosterone is fraught with risk because?                             Answer: the enzyme aromatase is already up-regulated by biotoxins, and further exacerbated with extra T. Aromatase makes more estrogen from the T. So the T/E ratio gets all out of whack. The human body likes proper balance.


  1. The best way to fix low T is:   a) Replace it,   b) Give Clomiphene, c) Fix the biotoxin problem, d) Give DHEA e)   All of the above                                                                 Answer: Probably C needs to be number 1.   You do that by d). Your may use b) now and then.   Stay tuned, more to learn.


  1. Giving T without measuring MSH may be jumping the gun. T or F     Answer: Bingo, that’s this week’s take-home.

BioToxin VII: The Gluten Connection

References: NatureImmunityClinical and Devel ImmunSurviving Mold,

How many folks do you know who are gluten sensitive? You hear some people scoff at the idea but you also know quite a few folks that say they just feel better when they are off gluten. They don’t have celiac disease, at last most don’t. So, what’s up? Would you be surprised if you heard that biotoxins set off your innate immune response, and that sets up for the production of TH-17 immune cells, that tip you in the balance towards autoimmune disease? And gluten does that!
Step 4 in Shoemaker’s Surviving Mold Pathway is to get off of gluten/amylose for at least 3 months if you have antibodies to Gluten. This is the next phase of the Shoemaker protocol: sequentially and progressively cleaning up all the sources of persistent inflammation. And actually, he calls for you being off amylose. Amylose is about 30% of most white carbs. It is composed of long strings of glucose hooked together at the 1,4 positions on the glucose molecule, making for a long, linear chain. Amylopectin is the other component of most starches. It is branched and less dense in formation. Plants can store more energy as amylose. Curiously, it’s structure also binds iodine avidly, making for a dark color indicating the presence of amylose with iodine.
This is where future research is going to have a rich source of discovery. We don’t know all the details yet. What we do see is that lowered MSH (melanocyte stimulating hormone) and elevated TGF-beta 1 leads to unbalanced TH17 immune cells. These are the regulatory cells that march you down the path to autoimmune disease. And oddly enough, we see antibodies to gluten like IGg and IgA antibodies to gluten in biotoxin disease. That’s what leads you to step 4.

Get off of anything that stimulates inflammation. It’s not just wheat, it’s all amylose products like potatoes and rice too. All white carbs.

Now, your brain, your gut and your immune system all make a team, a triad. When you have inflammation in your gut, your brain doesn’t feel so good either. Biotoxins are setting off cytokines all over your body that are then blocking the leptin receptor in your brain, lowering your MSH. Without MSH to direct your immune system, your gut gets dysfunctional. Autoimmunity emerges.  Gluten wasn’t the first step, mold biotoxin set the table.

You thought your gluten sensitivity was set off by the changes made to wheat back in the 1950s when we tripled it’s chromosomes. I thought that. May not be the sole problem The underlying dynamic may be that your innate immune system is goofy because of biotoxins from molds. And you are in the 25-30% of folks sensitive to those biotoxins. If you live and work in clean environments, you might not ever feel the effects. You can eat bread and potatoes all day long. But add in biotoxins and your genetic susceptibility takes over.

We have tantalizing clues that this is what’s happening. Rock solid proof awaits. We do know that Hashimoto’s gets better with wheat avoidance. We do know that Crohns and Sjogren’s appear to be sensitive. Stay tuned.

WWW.What will work for me. I don’t eat much wheat anymore. We just don’t buy bread or potatoes. It becomes a lifestyle thing. Shoemaker asks the same as Functional medicine with wheat, 3 months without any. Now, that’s hard. For those who are sensitive, the rewards are there. I can’t wait for more science to figure out this connection more fully.


Pop Quiz

  1. Gluten irritates your gut and sets off autoimmune disease? T or F                          Answer: We used to say this was true. We now think that biotoxins lower your MSH that then makes your immune system unable to protect your gut. That’s the nuance.
  2. To have an effective challenge of being gluten free, you need to be off for how long? Answer: Three months
  3. If I put a drop of iodine into a cup of hot water with rice flour in it, it will instantly turn black, making for a great magic trick? T or F                                                  Answer: True. Amylose binds iodine avidly. It’s kind of fun. You can complete the trick with a tablespoon of green tea after your iodine turns the water black – if you want to really have fun with food chemistry tricks. Poof, clear again. Try it.
  4. Turning off amylose sensitivity is the first step in fixing the inflamed body, once biotoxin is removed from your body and your MARCoNs are cleaned up. T or F               Answer: That’s it. Now we embark on tackling all the sources of inflammation and calming your hot body down.
  5. Biotoxin illness spreads its trouble much further afield than I ever imagined. T or F                Answer: Just wait till we get to hormones! True, true, true.






Mold, Biotoxin Illness

Biotoxin Pathway IV: The Biotoxin POMC Merry-Go-Round

References: Nature, Biotoxin Pathway

You’ve been exposed to a biotoxin. You didn’t know it because you didn’t even know the building was damaged by water, or the brown discoloration in the bay your were fishing didn’t look all that weird, or the fish you ate tasted a little odd but not that awful. We now know that many organisms can set it off: Dinoflagellates: Pfiesteria and ciguatera, fungi like Stachybotrys and Chaetomium, Blue-green algae like Microcystis and Lyngbya, Spirochetes like Borrelia burgdorferi, Apicomplexans from Babesia microti, some gram positive bacteria like Coagulase negative Staph and anthrax, some spider bites like brown recluse spiders – lion fish, etc. The DNA fragments and protein fragments from “black mold” in water damaged buildings is likely the number one cause in America.

How do those toxins wreak their damage? Here’s how.

The various biotoxins set off your innate immune system. And in the 25-30% of us who are not able to mount an effective antibody response (adaptive immune system) the toxin gets “started” on the first merry-go-round. As it circulates through the air, (most commonly) you breathe it in through your nose and it soaks up into your taste/smell receptors at the tops of your sinuses, or through your lungs. Because your body cannot “see” it and make an effective antibody to clear it, the biotoxin circulates up to your brain where it gives your POMC system a whack. How exactly does this happen? The biotoxins bind to many toll receptor proteins” that set off cytokines, TGF-beta1 and split products of complement. There are dozens, if not hundreds of cytokines. These cytokines, in turn, being part of the innate immune system, set off MMP-9 in your blood, and in your brain, they block the Leptin Receptor. This is a critical junction receptor because there are many processes that run through it. Notably, POMC.  Pro-Opio-Melano-Cortoin.  POMC  is the precursor protein that can be chopped into 11 different hormones, depending how it is chopped up. If you can’t make POMC, you can’t make a lot of things. The O stands for Opio – and there is a down regulation on pain control. The M stands for Melano and that stands for Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone and the C stands for Cortin, all about energy homeostasis.  Folks affected end of tired, in pain, overweight and “sick”.

The biotoxin then circulates in your blood and your liver says, “let’s dump this junk” and into the bile it goes. In your bile, it proceeds to your gut and your colon, where it happily gets reabsorbed.   Back into your blood, up to your brain, back to your toll receptor proteins all over your body, back to your elevated TGF-beta one and MMP-9, back to your blocked leptin receptor. It’s like the horror show merry-go-round with the crazy clowns and the monster show. Round and round and round because your immune system can’t see it.

That’s merry-go-round (MGR) one. MGR two goes as follows. With a damaged alpha MSH secondary to blocked POMC, your immune system becomes even more blinded. A perfectly innocuous bacteria that grows on your skin, called Coagulase Negative Staph (I can grow it off anyone’s skin, anywhere) can invade into your nose and take up residence. Curiously, it seems to pick up antibiotic resistance from who knows where. We call it MARCONs: multiple antibiotic resistant Coag Negative Staph. It secretes two proteins, called A and B, which cleave MSH, further reducing MSH. With low MSH, MARCONs can keep hanging out in the “biofilm” in your nose. That’s MGR number two. The biofilm in your nose is a good hiding place for it to persist. You can’t clear it on your own. So it perpetuates itself.   MGR #2. Round and round.

Two merry-go-rounds that are both self perpetuating, and never-ending. I mean, years. The biotoxin can circulate endlessly, and the MARCONs can persist endlessly. Many folks continue to be exposed to the biotoxin, reinforcing the merry-go-round by juicing it up. They symptoms are odd enough and strange enough, and delayed enough, that the association with the source isn’t immediately clear. So on, and on it goes. And where it stops…nobody knows.

Well, you now know. We can stop this continuous cycle. That’s coming next week.

WWW:What will work for me. I’ve seen people sick for 10 years who come in having seen 10 doctors. So these merry-go-rounds are nuclear powered. They can go forever if not interrupted. And the level of their disruption is a real wake up call. I want you to know the steps it takes to clear them. But the first step is a clear, visual image in your brain of the two merry-go-rounds. Next week, we start dismantling them and pulling off the horses, one by one.

Pop Quiz

  1. Biotoxins can come from many sources but the most common, as best we know come from…?                                   Answer: Water damaged buildings and mold..


  1. Biotoxins attach to what in many cells all over your body?           Answer: Toll receptor proteins
  2. The net effect of biotoxin invasion is to set off all sorts of what signaling?         Answer:   Cytokine activation.   Possibly dozens or more different ones. So far we can measure MMP-9 and TGF-Beta1 but there are likely many more.


  1. What is Merry-go-round #1.             Answer: the endless circulation of toxin through your blood, into your brain, out by the bile into your gut and back into your blood via your small bowel and colon. Back to your brain. And again and again.


  1. And what allows MGR2 to get started?             Answer: Low MSH that allows the invasion of MARCONS into your nose.   MARCONS makes two proteins from its hiding place in biofilms in your nose. Those two proteins cleave MSH, leading to continued suppression of your immune system and further lowering of MSH. Round and round and round. That’s MGR2.

Biotoxin Illness Part III: The Role of Glutathione

References: Toxins (2014)SciWorldJr,

So, you know about your immune system having two layers, the innate or lizard system, and the adaptive or precise mammalian system. A good analogy is like a bomb going off by a terrorist. Your city reacts with a curfew, 911 is activated, the police clear the streets, sirens are wailing. This is your innate immune system – “all hands on deck, but who is it that we are fighting?”. Nonspecific, system wide, reactive. Then, surveillance cameras pick up a suspicious character and his license plate is put out there with a sketch of what he looks like. Then his picture shows up from the driver’s license bureau. This is slower, your adaptive system, but it has precision and accuracy.

What are you using to clear the toxin, once you know what it is? The answer is glutathione. Glutathione is simply three amino acids tagged together but they have sulfur atoms in them, making it able to soak up loose electrons. Every cell in your body has it. It’s your natural defense, in effect, part of your 911 mop up system. It’s sort of like your fire hose cooling off the burning embers of the fire. And as you age you make less of it. Dramatically less.

Turns out, it is a critical player in Biotoxin illness. It enables your body to tag and dispose of mold toxins. The paper we review this week details how we make glutathione through a delicate dance with Nrf signaling and the protein GST or Glutathione S transferase (GsT) . There are 7 GsT types inside a cell, and the first and most common has many genetic variants. Half the adult population has a polymorphism that is dramatically less active. This has been associated with oxidative stress all over the body, most notably in the brain with Alzheimer’s. Mold toxins wreak some of their havoc by down regulating the level of glutathione production. And as we age, our levels of glutathione drop dramatically.

Well, well! If that’s what mold toxins do, what would happen if we gave glutathione to someone with all the symptoms of biotoxin illness, and positive markers of biotoxin disease? Here are two stories. A middle aged woman with three years of asthma symptoms not responsive to typical asthma therapy and cleared of asthma by the traditional medical system becomes symptomatic again. Treatment with one gram of IV glutathione for three days completely reverses her symptoms. In fact, her oxygen saturation surged from 95% to 98% within 10 minutes of treatment.
A second story. Multiple insect stings. A mid seventies women with over 15 hornet stings, treated with traditional Benadryl with only partial success. Insect stings are known to be another entry into the Biotoxin pathway. Two treatments with 1 gram IV glutathione result in dramatic and almost immediate, complete recovery.

Did you get that? Now, you can’t take oral glutathione easily as it is digested in your stomach like any other protein. And not everyone has access to IV glutathione. (It is just 3 amino acids long). But you can take it in “liposomal form” which is widely available in Supplement stores and on the net. And, more importantly, you can take N-acetyl cysteine or NAC and give yourself the rate limiting cysteine combination. NAC is a revolutionary supplement that has been around for 40 years. 40 years ago it revolutionized Tylenol overdoses. Prior to NAC, a Tylenol overdose was a guaranteed death sentence or liver transplant. NAC is so powerful that folks with Tylenol overdoses are now sent home from the hospital with NAC to take a couple of times a day. No wonder NAC makes Bredesen’s supplement list for Alzheimer’s prevention.

WWW.What will work for me. Well, I take NAC in my daily supplement list. If I was still an emergency physician, I would find a way to study glutathione for folks with nasty insect stings. But I’m now adding IV glutathione to my treatment regimen for everyone with Biotoxin illness. The jury is out about randomized, placebo controlled trials. But considering that glutathione is in you already, just less because you are old, means you and I should consider paying attention to our glutathione levels as we age.

Pop Quiz

  1. Glutathione is my natural antibody booster. T or F                                          Answer: False. Nothing to do with antibodies as that is the adaptive, more precise immune system. So called “glut” is your innate immune system’s fire hose. Just calming things down.
  2. As we age we make more glutathione. T or F                                                    Answer: Again, false. Testing to see if you actually red the article. Much, much less.
  3. Biotoxin illness down regulates your production of glutathione. T or F       Answer. Ok, we will give you a true
  4. There is a simple supplement that gives you the amino acid pieces to make your own glutathione. And it is called……………..                                                                 Answer: NAC or N-acetyl cysteine
  5. We all make pretty much the same amount of glutathione. T or F                 Answer: surprisingly false. There are 7 different forms of glutathione converting enzyme inside the human cell, and the first and most dominant one comes in form that is much less active in 50% of us. Why, we don’t know. But every protein has many slight alterations that we inherit in our gene mix called polymorphisms. That happens to be one that is curiously dysfunctional.