Dr. Gerald Pollack has a PhD in biomedical engineering and is a professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington. He is also the editor-in-chief of the Journal Water, and convener of the Annual Conference on the Physics, Chemistry, and Biology of Water. He is the executive director of the Institute for Venture Science. His interests have ranged broadly from biological motion and cell biology to the interaction of biological surfaces with aqueous solutions like water. In 2001, he wrote his second book named Cells, Gels, and the Engines of Life and in 2022 wrote his third book: The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid and Vapor.
Two decades ago, Dr. Pollack met with Dr. Gilbert Ling, another biologist who had started the idea that water in our cells was “structured” and had written much about that in many papers and books. Many think he should have won a Nobel prize for his work and Professor Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, who discovered vitamin C, said “Dr. Ling is one of the most inventive biochemists I have ever met”. Ling, who passed away in 2019 just short of his 100th birthday, spent his career questioning the sodium-potassium pump theory on how cells exchange materials...
The latest statistics show that 10.7% or 6.5 million Americans (65 and over) are living with Alzheimer’s disease in 2022. That is about 1 in 9 people, and it is expected to double by 2050. Every 65 seconds, one person in the US is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and almost two-thirds of them are women. The reasons for this are too complex for this one newsletter, but I want to address one cause – Medications. There are three classifications of drugs that can have this effect on our brains.
1. Anti-cholinergic medications 2. Benzodiazepines and 3. Opioids.
Before discussing anti-cholinergic medications, understanding what acetylcholine is helpful. It is a neurotransmitter, which means it is a chemical that nerve cells use to communicate within the brain and in the rest of the body. It is important for memory and for the parasympathetic nervous system. The Autonomic Nervous System is made up of two parts the sympathetic nervous system which has an excitatory effect on us, and the parasympathetic nervous system which has a relaxing effect on us. The parasympathetic is referred to as the “rest and digest” part of the nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system by way of acetylcholine release is going to help with digestion, saliva production, and tear production for the eyes. Therefore, taking a medication that interferes with acetylcholine could result in constipation, dry mouth, and dry eyes. Those medications will also decrease brain function and make you feel sleepy. The following are medications that should be a red flag if you are taking them on a regular basis, especially if you are a senior citizen...
Mast cells are made in our bone marrow and travel to various areas of the body where they live for 2-4 years and serve as a sentinel to protect against assaults that might cause harm to the body. They concentrate in the areas of the body where there is an interface between the body and the external environment such as the mucosal surfaces of the gastrointestinal tract, the genitourinary tract, the respiratory tract, and they are also in the connective tissue and the skin. Unfortunately, Mast cells’ efforts to protect us is a reason why we feel allergic and experience inflammation when they are activated.
Mast cells contain granules that secrete multiple chemicals such as:
If you have not seen a label like this in the supermarket yet, it will not be long before you do. Apeel is a new coating called a surface finishing agent, and it has been approved to be sprayed on fruits and vegetables, even organic ones under the name Organipeel. It may also be seen under another name – Edipeel. The different names appear with
different applications. The purpose of the coating is to delay spoilage of the food and give it a longer shelf life. Curb appeal, in real estate vernacular is that from a distance something looks appealing. That too applies here. Apeel looks and sounds good, but once we dig into the details a much different story emerges.
“Apeel keeps produce fresh for longer thanks to the help of a little extra 'peel.' Our plant-based protection slows water loss and oxidation, the primary causes of spoilage… Apeel is composed entirely of purified monoglycerides and diglycerides, edible compounds that can be found in a variety of foods. They are safe to eat as verified by regulatory authorities around the world, including Health Canada, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the World Health Organization (WHO). In fact, they are so safe they are found in products designed for the most sensitive populations, including infant formula and nutrition shakes for the elderly.”
Epstein Barr Virus and the Risk for Autoimmune Disease
Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) is virus that is responsible for what is called the kissing disease, or Mono which is short for mononucleosis. It is a virus that causes a common infection amongst children and the younger adult population because it is spread from saliva. Kissing, or even sharing a food utensil or a bottle of water can spread the virus. In children, infection may be asymptomatic. In a young adult the symptoms usually are fatigue, a sore throat, fever, swollen tonsils, swollen lymph nodes, and in more serious cases in those with a compromised immune system, an enlarged spleen, inflammation of the liver and jaundice (yellowing of the skin), myocarditis, meningitis, anemia, and low platelets. Blood testing in the active phase would show positive IgM antibodies to the virus. Most people recover between 4-6 weeks after onset of symptoms and would then test positive for IgG antibodies to EBV indicating that their immune system has natural immunity to the virus.
In May of 2023, a study out of Sweden showed a strong correlation between those who had M.S., (Multiple Sclerosis) also had an autoimmune cross reactivity to EBV. An autoimmune reaction that takes place in our body is when our immune system is primed to recognize a bad guy (in this case EBV) and it does so, but in the process, it also attacks a part of you that it should not. Cross reactivity is when there is a part of the bad guy that looks very much like a part of you (due to molecular mimicry) and the body attacks it. Therefore, autoimmune explains what happens and cross reactivity due to molecular mimicry explains why it happens.
Four years ago, I became fascinated with the idea of using oxygen as a way of helping people with chronic illness and I added Exercise with Oxygen Therapy (EWOT) to the office as therapy. Because of the nice results with EWOT, I purchased a hyperbaric oxygen chamber (HBOT) and am now devoting a room in the office for oxygen therapy, PEMF, and Infrared light therapy. All these therapies improve mitochondrial function which research in the past decade is showing to be an integral approach in treating chronic inflammation and illness. Why add HBOT as another therapy and what advantages does hyperbaric oxygen offer? That is what this newsletter will “dive” into.
In the early 1960’s a compound was developed to treat addicts by blocking opioid receptors on the surface of our cells (mostly brain cells). Naltrexone would block the opioid receptor sites for 24 hours stopping the high from heroin, and the addictive behavior. In 1984 the FDA approved Naltrexone for use in opioid abuse at doses of 50-150 mg per day. In 1994 the FDA approved it for alcohol abuse at a dose of 50 mg, and in 2014 the FDA approved it for use in weight loss when prescribed along with Wellbutrin (an anti-anxiety medication). These applications for Naltrexone would go on to help many suffering from addictive behaviors and this alone would qualify Naltrexone as a monumental drug in the annals of medicine. However, there is more to this story.
Dr. Bernard Bihari, a Harvard educated M.D., was working with Naltrexone and addicts in the mid 1980’s in NYC when he was suddenly inundated with AIDS patients. In an interview filmed 11 years ago, he said that “he knew the immune system was in large part controlled by the opioid system, and having sufficient endorphin levels was essential to stimulate the immune system to help these AIDS patients”. When testing AIDS patients, he found that their endorphins levels were only 30% of what they should be. Knowing that Naltrexone blocked endorphins, Bihari did a study that included fifty patients to find the lowest dose of Naltrexone hoping that it might function as an immune system modulator and increase endorphins. He discovered at a dose as low as 3 mg, he would get the same endorphin release as he would with 50 mg. Even though Low Dose Naltrexone leaves the body within 4-5 hours instead of 24 hours at the higher dose, there is an endorphin rise that lasts for 24 hours. The low dose and short-term blocking of the opioid receptors paradoxically triggers a rebound phenomenon with an overproduction of more endorphins (and enkephalins) than would have been done normally.
Help For Your Gallbladder.
The Ox Bile, Bear Bile, and TUDCA story.
Human livers make about three cups per day of bile from about half the cholesterol we make each day through a complex series of reactions within the liver and the P450 enzyme pathways. Bile is stored in the gallbladder to be used for digestion of fats and detoxification. Within the bile there might be toxins like heavy metals, bilirubin, and hemoglobin from old red blood cells. The gall bladder is really a reservoir of bile for when you eat but even for those people without a gall bladder, bile production continues in the liver and is emptied directly into the small intestine throughout the day. Bile is so important that the intestinal tract recycles 95% of it, yet because of excess stress and dietary insults, many of us are deficient in bile acids.
There are two main bile acids, cholic acid, and chenodeoxycholic acid which transform into deoxycholic and lithocholic acid by gut bacteria in the small intestine. There are also two main bile salts, which are bile acids bound (or conjugated) to an amino acid taurine or glycine. When bound they are called taurocholic or glycocholic salts. Bile salts and bile acids are used interchangeably but in the salt form they are stronger acting like a detergent to empty the gallbladder. Many people have difficulty with digesting fats because of a dysfunction in this normal process. It could be genetics, food sensitivities, lack of gut microbes to transform the bile acids to bile salts which is what is needed to reduce cholesterol, environmental chemicals or medications interfering with the P450 enzyme process, or it could be they have had their gallbladder removed and the reservoir for bile is not available for when they need it most.
A lack of bile or a sluggish release of bile impairs fat digestion and could predispose someone to gallstones, obesity, and the absorption of the important fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin A, D, E, and K). It also helps hypothyroid by converting thyroid hormone T4 to T3.
What follows are three choices in gallbladder supplementation.
Ox bile, at least a high-quality variety, is harvested from the gallbladders of cattle that lived off grasslands and is used as a supplement within the natural health community to help sluggish bile symptoms. It might help with gallstones, diarrhea, skin rashes, help in removing toxins from the body, reducing chronic inflammation in the gut, removing excess cholesterol, reduce elevated liver enzymes, and help with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Bear bilein traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been prescribed to patients for over one thousand years. Known for its medicinal properties in healing fatty liver issues, gallstones, improving memory, helping digestive problems, fevers, sprains, lowering cholesterol, vision problems, and many other problems. Unfortunately, this prized medicine has resulted in inhumane bear farms throughout China and the far east where upwards of four hundred bear farms housing about 10,000 Asiatic black bears live in small cages and their gallbladders are emptied of bile twice a day through a permanent drainage port. These torturous practices cause pain and suffering and reduce their lifespan from 30 to 5 years. This bile is sold in the far east, the U.S., and other western countries where traditional Chinese medicinal herbs are sold. Why is bear bile so prized? It turns out that bear bile contains 50% UDCA. Humans and cattle make it too but in far lower amounts. UDCA makes up 50% of the bile acids in bears but only 2% of the bile in humans which explains why bear bile is so valued.
Fortunately, synthetic bear bile called TUDCA is readily available and although 200,000 kilograms (almost a half million pounds) of it is used worldwide, traditional bear farming still exists, and bears are hunted for their gallbladders and other parts such as paws for TCM. TUDCA, a synthetic form of bear bile, stands for tauroursodeoxycholic acid. If you break it apart this way, it is easier to pronounce: tauro-urso-deoxy-cholic acid. It is UDCA with a molecule of Taurine (an amino acid) attached to it. Although we make a small amount of TUDCA ourselves in our intestinal tract when microbes convert bile acids into UDCA which later binds to taurine forming TUDCA, we simply don’t make enough of it, and ox bile doesn’t provide enough of it to effectively treat more serious and chronic conditions that TUDCA can .
TUDCA is very safe. Even those with cirrhosis or hepatitis tolerate it well. It does take about six months of regular use to see results. However, pregnant, or breastfeeding women should avoid it and alcohol usage should be avoided as well. The dosage is usually 250-1500 mg per day. Some dose it at 15-20 mg/kg of body weight with caution at a dose over 1500 mg because it might result in diarrhea. It does have a bitter taste, so it is best to take it in a capsule. TUDCA can cross the blood brain barrier and therefore might help the nervous system and brain as well as protecting against neurological degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s or preventing strokes.
The Benefits of TUDCA– What the Science is Saying:
Here are studies that are worth reading about TUDCA.
Because TUDCA reabsorption is slowed by dysbiosis (disrupted microbiome) in the gut, attention to removing unwanted bacteria, fungi and parasites is helpful to seeing improvement. Therefore, using TUDCA in conjunction with microbiome support such as probiotics, and natural antimicrobials is a natural fit to use alongside TUDCA.
The historical use of bear bile needs to stop. www.animalsasia.org is an organization that is trying to save as many of the Asiatic black bears so that they can live their lives in sanctuaries. Ox bile and TUDCA offer a much safer, effective, and ethical medical intervention for people who need gall bladder support without harming these endangered bears