Category Archives: Uncategorized

Fast Mimicking Diet 2: The Human Method Simplified

Fast Mimicking Diet 2 The Human Method

References: Longo: The Longevity Diet, ScienceGut,

Last week we heard about yeast being used to explore what genes are needed to make the right environment for longevity. Valter Longo’s hypotheses was that those same genes exist in mammals, humans included. If he could make the same changes in longevity by diet and its effect on genes in mice that he made in yeast, he would have a huge scientific win. He started looking at mice and their genetic code. Mice live about two years and start getting cancer around a year and a half. That makes a useful model.
What did he find? The exact same thing. Two key ideas. Extra sugar activate the PKA gene. That causes trouble. Mice with lower PKA activity, live longer. That simple. And extra protein activates the growth hormone receptor and TOR-6SK and increases the level of insulin and insulin like growth factor. Certain amino acids appear to be more potent at activating the TOR-6SK complex, like leucine. which then accelerates aging. That’s it. The foundation of aging down to two simple key processes. Too much sugar, and too much protein. That duo is the foundation of what Longo called his “basic juvenology research”, one of his Five Pillars of Proof.
The story is all about the nuance of glucose and protein.

Our body runs on glucose. It is our preferred food for our brain, if present. The story is all about how it is delivered and what happens to our bodies if we get too much, too fast. When you get low glycemic carbs from vegetables, your blood sugar rises very slowly and you hardly get an insulin response. (For example, it takes 19 cups of asparagus to make 50 grams of glucose). If you have a diet of broccoli, spinach and green beans, you hardly get any insulin spike at all. A substantial portion of those vegetables make it to your colon where the biome in your colon changes those coarse fiber rich foods to short chain fatty acids, just like in gorillas (See this column from 2 weeks ago). Just like with gorillas, a high fiber diet actually results in substantial increase in fatty acids, or fat. Adhering to a Mediterranean Diet appears to make this possible, all due to the activity of the biome in your gut.
A high protein diet changes your gut biome and increases many markers of cardiovascular disease,TMAO (trimethylamine oxide). So we have seen these changes from other lines of research as well.

We are even beginning to understand the incredible complexity of our gut biome. Our colon is there to take high fiber foods and digest them for us, releasing short chain fatty acids, turning low glycemic vegetables into short chain fatty acids. Bacteroidetes are more abundant in the stool samples of those eating a mostly plant based diet, while Firmicutes were more abundant in those who eat a more animal products diet. From those major families, the specific bacteria Prevotella and Lachnospira were more common in vegetarians and vegans while Streptococcus is more common among the omnivores with higher meat intake.

Can we take this to humans with specific guidelines? Well yes. This is what Longo has come up with. Protein should be about 0.31-0.36 grams per pound per day, of which about 40 grams for women weighing 130 and 60 grams for men weighing 200. Once you hit age 65, you likely need a little more protein, but not that much. Just a little.

Your diet should be rich in healthy fats like olive oil, fish and coconut oil, walnuts and almonds. These fats essentially do the same process of helping you get more calories from fat, like the gorilla. Trans fats and saturated fats are to be avoided. And there should be plenty of Healthy Carbs – the type that make it to your colon and turn into fat. They generally have a glycemic index under 20, or 45 max which would include beans (if you aren’t lectin sensitive). The carbs that get digested in your small bowel and make sugar spikes look like ground flours of any kind, sugar in particular, high fructose corn syrup in double particular, fruit juices or too much modern fruit (modern apples are nowhere near the original Himalayan apple – ditto for pears, bananas, on and on that we have altered in the last 100 years to be much richer in sugar). Most grains are just too rich in carbs to be too good for you, unless you have changed them to be resistant, usually by cooking and then cooling. Same with potatoes. The original potato from Peru was a fine food with a GI of 40. Now it’s a glycemic index of 80-95, unless you boil it and cool it making it resistant. (Is this enough to confuse you a little?)
Finally, cut your meals down to 2 and a snack. Try to fit all your food into 11-12 hours of eating and not for 3 hours before bedtime. Breakfast is NOT the meal to skip as there is plenty of evidence that that habit correlates with many illnesses.

Ok? Next week, we will discuss how to FAST and do it right so that you kick start your genes into being supercharged. It’s cool, and it works.
WWW. What will work for me. This is evidence based and I get it. I’m so fascinated that I drew my own lab tests and started doing it full bore, as much as can be done living in a modern 8-5 work world. It’s the fasting part that has my attention. I’ve completed my first 5 day session and intend to do it again. It wasn’t so hard. More next week.

Pop Quiz


  1. Animal protein appears to shorten longevity? T or F                           Answer: True
  2. We need animal protein to support our healthy brain? T or F          Answer: Again true. Conundrum? Yup. We get B12 only from animal sources. But nature doesn’t care much about you once you have made your babies and passed on your genes.
  3. A high carb diet is bad for you. T or F                                                    Answer: All in the details. High in low glycemic green vegetables, it’s very good for you and is actually a high fat diet.
  4. The über enemy of nutrition is?                                                           Answer: Sugar, fructose in particular when it gets above the 6% found in fruit.
  5. How much protein can I have a day?                                                   Answer: 0.31-0.16 grams per pound when under 65 A little more after. But not much.


Eating Red Meat Raises Your Mortality

References: Archives Internal MedicinePNAS,

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

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

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

Pop Quiz


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


Birth Control Pills Cause Breast Cancer


Birth Control Pills Cause Cancer

References: NEJM Dec 2017New York Times,

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

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

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


Pop Quiz

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




Should I get a Flu Shot

Should I Get a Flu Shot?

References: CDC.govCell Mol Immunol,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Pop Quiz

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



Biotoxin XV: VIP – The Magic Bullet

 Biotoxin XV: VIP The Final Magic Bullet

References: Surviving MoldBiotoxin JourneyInternal Medicine Review,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Pop Quiz


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


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.