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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.


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 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 IX: Peeing Like a Racehorse

 References: Surviving MoldBiotoxin Journey

How often do you take a leak? Four to five times a day? Once at night? Or have you gotten used to urinating every hour? Twenty times a day? Do you get up more than twice at night? Do you feel thirsty all the time? Even more mysterious, do you have a lot of static shocks?

If so, these are all they symptoms of biotoxin illness affecting the pituitary gland. Once your understand it and you learn how to fix it, you breathe a sigh of relief. You cancel your scheduled prostate surgery. You decline to go to the Gyn doctor for bladder sling surgery. You weren’t getting old, you are biotoxin affected. And this symptom may be one of the only prominent ones you have. To really be fixed, you have to go back to the source and get rid of your exposure to biotoxin (usually mold).

Here is what is going on. Your brain has a meter that measures the concentration of your blood – the number of particles in it. That’s called your osmolality. It is tightly regulated in a very narrow range. When you drink a lot of water, your total “concentration” of ions, or osmolality falls. Every membrane of every cell in your body depends on that concentration being reliably consistent. If it is falling, you protect yourself by NOT secreting your regulatory hormone called ADH or anti-diuretic hormone. ADH acts by telling your kidney to hang on to water. (Anti Diuretic means it stops you forming urine.) Without ADH, your rapidly start to let go of all that extra water you just drank.

Vice versa, if you are dehydrated, your ADH goes way up and your kidneys promptly stop excreting out any liquid and start to concentrate your urine. You get the feeling of thirst and seek water to drink. That brings your concentration back into line. This is a very elegant system and works in a very tight range.

Biotoxins upset that applecart. For any given osmolality, your secretion of ADH is just a bit short, so you pee out more free water than you intended to. The concentration of your blood, your osmolality, rises. You feel thirsty and drink more to catch up. But it’s the lack of ADH comes first. You are drinking to keep up, and not always accomplishing it. Your blood concentration, or osmolality, rises, maybe not out of the normal range, but too high for the ADH level you are making. 60% of biotoxin damaged folks have this symptom.

This is where it gets weird. Your sweat glands are designed to help out. They can excrete a tiny amount of salt when your blood is too concentrated. If your kidneys won’t hang onto free water, your sweat glands try to make up for it by getting rid of extra salt.. Your skin gets to have a slight layer of salt on its surface. Salt is a great conductor of electricity. You become a walking battery. You touch anything with any charge on it, and you readily accept it, or transmit it. Little sparks fly off of you. No kidding! For those whom this affects, this can be a royal pain. You find yourself turning off switches with your elbow, not shaking hangs, avoiding wool clothing.

And you get a headache from hell. Your brain takes great exception to this slightly over concentrated blood and complains loudly. You may have blood tests that are hardly abnormal, but not matched. For a given osmolality, you need a certain ADH, and you come up short. The biotoxin has short circuited your measurement device in your hypothalamus/pituitary. You can go to every headache clinic in America and not come up with an answer.

How to fix this? That’s the next step in the biotoxin pathway. A simple, inexpensive analog to ADH called DDAVP, used for years to help kids stop bedwetting, helps you stop peeing every twenty minutes too. A dose of 0.2 mg once a day to every other day for a 10-30 period might just shake you back into shape, provided you have gotten rid of the biotoxin. It’s too easy a fix not to jump on. There are several regimens for DDAVP, which we will get to in future weeks too. Coming up is how DDAVP fixes some nosebleeds.  (There are some potential side effects: if you don’t get rid of water, you may get edema and gain weight with that.)

WWW.What will work for me. This is such a weird symptom, few folks notice it on their own, thinking instead that they are just getting old. It can be one of the symptoms that sneaks up on you when you aren’t horribly damaged yet by the biotoxin. Take warning. Get the biotoxin cleaned up or avoided before you get sicker.


Pop Quiz

  1. When your blood gets too concentrated you feel thirsty and drink plain water? T or F    Answer: TRUE
  2. The hormone that helps with your dehydration is called?                   Answer: ANTI-diuretic hormone or ADH. It is against you leaking out too much liquid
  3. What is the defect caused in biotoxin illness?                                        Answer: too little ADH for any given concentration of blood.
  4. The main symptom of that is?                                                                   Answer: too frequent urination.
  5. How often does this happen?                                                                    Answer 60% of the time in biotoxin illness
  6. And way do these folks have unusually frequent static shocks?         Answer: their sweat glands excrete a bit of extra salt, trying to help with the salt imbalance. This makes their skin a good electrical conductor, resulting in unusual skin conductivity.




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.







Biotoxin V: How do I Get Rid of Biotoxins?

References: Biotoxin Journey

You now know that biotoxins circulate endlessly in folks whose immune system can’t “see” the toxin and label it. You know that merry-go-round involves the toxin entering through your nose lungs most of the time, or ingested, or stung, or absorbed. From there the toxin sets off all sorts of cytokines in toll-receptor proteins all over your body. These cytokines descend on your primitive lizard brain, your hypothalamus, and essentially damage the leptin receptor that is the entry point to proper functioning of your POMC (pro-opiomelanocortin) system, that is foundational to your pituitary and most of your hormones.

The net effect of this blockade of the leptin system and POMC system are that you reduce the output of MSH, melanocyte stimulating hormone, which might be considered the “mother of all hormones” as it is so upstream from much of your endocrine system. You have trouble concentrating and remembering. You have a head ache. Your muscles ache. All your symptoms are nonspecific. All your traditional lab tests are normal.

Now, the toxins circulate through your body and eventually find their way to your liver, which politely and promptly dumps them into your bile. From your bile the toxin ends up in your gut. In your gut, it passes down to your colon, where, without an antibody label on it (because your immune system can’t see it) you reabsorb it. The Merry-Go-Round. The toxin circulates endlessly.

And that is the key! That is how we can rid you of it. Cholestyramine (CSM) is an old fashioned cholesterol drug, invented to soak up bile acids in your gut, which was supposed to lower cholesterol as a secondary effect. Turns out that strategy to reduce blood cholesterol was an ineffective remedy. But it is a potent binding agent nevertheless. It binds almost every biotoxin brilliantly while it is in your gut. The shapes of biotoxins make them quite fat soluble, so they pass through membranes easily so binding them is the only way off the merry-go-round. A second drug called cholesevalam (Welchol) also works, but takes 2-3 times the time to do it. It’s a good back up for folks who get too constipated with CSM. It is used as a blood sugar drug in diabetes.

The dose of cholestyramine is 9 grams, four times a day. That is typically one scoop of the standard preparations and the dose recommended by the FDA for cholesterol care.

There are some caveats. Folks who have Lyme will tend to have a flare of symptoms shortly after starting CSM (Herxheimer reaction). Collecting data like C3a and C4a and MMP9 before hand and with a flare will confirm the real perpetrator, and allow countermeasures ahead of time like pretreatment with a no-amylose diet, fish oil or pioglitizone which blocks PPAR receptors and reduces TNF-alpha production).

And in a month you are better. Did you get that? It seems impossibly complex when you read the above, but the cure is easy. One month, binding agent, fixed!

That is totally, unbelievable, factually true (20-40% of the time). But you have to watch the details. Can you get better if you are still living in a contaminated home? No. Can you get better if you have Merry-Go-Round #2 in your nose going on? No. Can you get better if your whole pituitary POMC system is screwed up? No. But those are all reduced likelihood events, and the subjects of coming weeks detail. Keep reading.

Notice, I didn’t mention any of ten other binding agents. You know why? Because Shoemaker has checked all of them against placebo controls and found none of them (charcoal, clay, zeolite,) to work like cholestyramine. So, don’t bother.

WWW.What will work for me.   This is a whole new field of medicine. The cure seems very simple but it has so many caveats that the devil is in the details. Cholestyramine is a magically simple drug, provided you have all your ducks lined up. In the meantime, I’m looking into ways to clean up basements and circulate air. My neighbor has had his basement being vented with an aerator that pushes out air and dries out basements better than dehumidifiers. I’m exploring one for myself.


Pop Quiz

  1.  The best way to excrete biotoxins is to snag them in your gut? T or F       Answer: True. You got it. You read the book. Nice work
  2. The best drug to do this is………?                                                                        Answer: Cholestyramine
  3. The right dose is…………..?                                                                                  Answer: One scoop or 9 grams
  4. Many binding agents bind mold toxins? T or F                                              Answer: Well, only one other works (Welchol) and it works at 1/2 to 1/3 the pace.
  5. Taking cholestyramine, one time a day will keep me protected?               Answer:   Nope. Seems to be a threshold of dose to work.   4 grams a day might be the lease you can take to be effective, and at least it keeps your constipation at bay. Ok, we didn’t mention it above but it is in the references.

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.

Explaining Biotoxin Illness

References: Surviving Mold,

We are all familiar with bacterial illness. We have experienced sore throats, or skin infections, or sinusitis and have been diagnosed and treated with antibiotics. We have also seen traumatic illness, and have had X-rays and casts or stitches for cuts. We understand metabolic illness with thyroid and sugar and other metabolic parameters. But biotoxin illness? Even the spell checker tries to correct me and call it biotin illness. I mean, BIOTOXIN. This is a whole new field of medicine that will become part of internal medicine or family medicine in the future. For now, it’s just being elucidated and clarified. Here goes my stab at it. This will likely take several weeks to make it a clear story.
In introducing this topic, one has to give credit to Ritchie Shoemaker as the first to understand the new field, the paradigm shift. He was a family physician in Pocomoke, Maryland who persisted in believing his patients who said their were ill in the midst of a pfiesteria bloom on the Pocomoke river. The CDC and Johns Hopkins both came to town for the mystery illness and could not name anything to explain the sick folks symptoms. Dr Shoemaker is now clinically retired but actively teaching new physicians to understand the huge new field through his web site, One of his patients had terrible diarrhea with the mystery illness. He gave her cholestyramine, an old fashioned cholesterol drug now known to be useless for cholesterol and used mostly to control loose bowels in folks with funny guts. She got better in two days. Not just her stool was better, but her fatigue, her brain fog, her aches and pains – all went away. And then, other patients also got better with cholestyramine.
So, what is biotoxin illness? It is a constellation of symptoms brought on by toxins made by a variety of sources. We are still finding them. Mold in water damaged buildings is likely the most common, with about 30-50% of American buildings being damaged with measurable mold detritus. It’s not the mold spore, but the fragments and protein of many different molds, actinomycetes, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), inflammagens and other yet to be identified components that set off the syndrome. Other causes include aforementioned pfiesteria, a water based dinoflagellate. Lyme disease, spider bites, eating Lion Fish, red tides, the antibiotic CIPRO, multiple wasp stings, beruli ulcer, and probably many more. In weeks to come, we will explain how it may be that some 500,000 Americans are getting Alzheimer’s with mold toxin as a participant.
Most folks are likely fine until they have some trigger that sets them off. Some antecedent event makes them more vulnerable. And they have to be capable of being vulnerable. Turns out roughly 24% of us are genetically “vulnerable”. Our immune systems are unable to see and tag those toxins that will make us ill. We can even measure and find those folks with HLA testing, the same testing you do to see your self identifying proteins that make you you when you need to get a organ transplant. There are patterns Dr Shoemaker has identified that represent the vulnerable and susceptible. The rest of us, 70% are capable of seeing mold toxins and have no trouble getting rid of them. Then there are 2% of us that are catastrophically sensitive.

And what does this illness look like? Simply stated, they check out at ok by typical modern medicine. They express fatigue, brain fog, joints pains, rashes, diarrhea, cough and so many other symptoms that their doctors dismiss them as psychiatric. The house of medicine calls it fibromylagia, or chronic fatigue. And if I told you that 80% of chronic fatigue folks had mold in their urine, would you sit up and pay attention? This needs to be a whole new branch of medicine. Every doctor should know it. It affects 25% of us.

WWW.what will work for me. I’m trying to wrap my head around this way of thinking. It’s a whole new field. If you stick with me, I’m going to keep defining it for you, and learning it for my self. I feel like someone turned on the lights. I’ve tested about 50 people with unexplained fatigue and illness. I’m batting 90% mold as best I can tell. Biotoxin illness. Even my spell checker doesn’t recognize the word.

Pop Quiz

  1. Biotoxin illness is caused by rare bacteria or weird molds? T or F                       Answer: No. It’s is caused by the immune reaction to proteins and broken bits of DNA, or to foreign compounds that alert our innate immune system in a human that doesn’t have the genetic ability to adapt. (Lion fish, red ted, ciguatera, pfiesteria, mold, CIPRO, beruli ulcer, wasp stings….and probably many more)


  1. Most of us get sick to these biotoxins when exposed. T or F                              Answer: False. Fully 70% of us have immune systems that see the toxins, tag it, excrete it, done.


  1. We can get a simple blood test to measure our risk of biotoxin illness. T or F           Answer: Well, if you consider transplant tissue typing a simple test, sure. But right now it costs some $ 600 bucks and takes a week to get back.


  1. Mold illness may play a role in many common illness, like Alzheimer’s.                 Answer: True. But unfair. We haven’t gotten to that yet. Just a hint.


  1. So you mean to tell me that that whacko person who walked into our church and said, “I can’t stay here, this place is bad for me,” wasn’t whacko?                     Answer: Hang your head in humility. They were likely one of the 2% who are exquisitely sensitized. Be grateful you don’t live in their skin. And make sure your home is not water damaged.