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
Ask about oxalates to most doctors and they will respond that oxalates are an organic acid (oxalic acid) that is found in certain foods, is synthesized in our bodies and it binds to minerals that can cause stones - mostly in our kidneys. Is that all there is to know?
According to experts we should be paying closer attention to the number of oxalates we are consuming in our foods even if we have not had in the past or are now experiencing kidney stones. It may be that oxalate exposure could influence health problems such as mast cell activation syndrome, skin disorders, painful and stiff joints such as rheumatoid arthritis, peripheral neuropathies, myofascial and muscular pain syndromes, fatigue, dizziness, cramps, painful urination conditions such as vulvodynia, and interstitial cystitis and abnormal bowel movements such as IBS, digestive problems such gall bladder problems, lipomas, headaches, mood changes and osteoporosis. Also oxalates can form in the heart and cause problems there.
Humans have been using lead for over 5000 years. However, since the time of Hippocrates, which was about 2600 years ago and maybe earlier, an awareness of the toxicity from lead was known. More recently in the mid 1800’s Charles Dickens wrote about lead poisoning in his book The Unconventional Traveler, and in the late 1800’s the U.S. medical authorities were talking about lead poisoning in children. In 1910
Dr. Alice Hamilton wrote about lead poisoning in Illinois factories. Hamilton’s work essentially gave birth to the field of Industrial Toxicology. Despite this work by Hamilton and others about the dangers of lead, and despite the League of Nations declaring a ban on interior lead paint in the early 1920’s, the use of lead (tetraethyl lead) as an additive to gasoline to prevent engine knocking was accelerating. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that the U.S. banned the use of lead in paint and gasoline. Much of the credit at that time is due to Dr. Philip Landrigan, an epidemiologist and pediatrician who had studied lead poisoning from lead refineries and gasoline. Landrigan is known as one of the leading scientists advocating for children’s health. He has written several books about raising children toxin free (from lead, asbestos, and pesticides) and authored over 500 scientific papers.
If you are interested in reading a more detailed historical timeline ... KEEP READING
Do we have a butter deficiency in our diets?Can it help with longevity and with chronic pain? According to Sally Fallon the founding President of the Weston Price Foundation and author of the Nourishing Traditions Cookbook, we very well might. According to Fallon at the turn of the 20th century the average American ate about eighteen pounds of butter per year. Today, a little over a hundred years’ later Americans eat about 5.5 pounds per year. The main reason for this reduction has been the demonization of saturated fat in the past 70 years and its implied association with heart disease, which is the number one reason for death in the U.S. Is this association justified? Butter is 70% saturated fat, 25% is monounsaturated fat, and 2.3% is polyunsaturated fat. KEEP READING...
There is a growing movement in the use of vibration plates in gyms, physical therapy offices, wellness centers and at home as a means of simulating exercise, to provide neurological and orthopedic rehabilitation and to prevent bone loss in osteopenia and osteoporosis patients. Additional benefits being advertised are increased blood flow, decreased muscle soreness, and increased fat burning and flexibility. After researching this topic, I came to some surprising conclusions that I did not expect, so if you have thought about buying a device like this or use one in the gym that you go to you might want to read this.
Vibration plates are a platform device that when standing on it delivers a mechanical oscillating vibration to all the cells in your body. As the machine vibrates it transmits energy which causes your tendons and muscles to contract and relax dozens of times per second. There are two types of vibration platforms. One is Whole Body Vibration (WBV), and another called Low Intensity Vibration (LiV). With WBV, there are settings on the platform for increasing vibration, so much so that most include a handrail so that you do not lose your balance while on it. This vibration can be intense and therefore is not recommended for someone who is pregnant, has any current or recent blood clots, has a pacemaker, has a risk for retinal detachment or suffers from advanced osteoporosis, dizziness, or any other inner ear problem. On the other hand, LiV, emits a vibration that is much less intense than a WBV while you stand on a platform, so no handrail is necessary. Additionally, there are no medical restrictions to use a LiV. With two such opposing “platforms” for how to effectively build bone and muscle for aging adults, how do you “shake out the truth” between the two? keep reading
In December of 2021, I wrote a newsletter named Questioning Science, which was about the ineffectiveness and potential dangers of the Covid 19 mRNA vaccines primarily in younger people. With a year passing, did I get it wrong and is it time for an apology on my part? Not at all. In October, the CDC added the Covid vaccine to the children’s vaccination schedule, so it is time to Question Science once again.
Is a former executive at Black Rock who tracks health statistics as it relates to insurance companies. These statistics drives his positions in his investment portfolio. In 2022 he was reading a federal government report about labor statistics in 2021 which includes a question “are you or is someone in your home disabled”. Prior to 2021 this number hovered around five million with each report. When he looked at the data for 2021 in early 2022, he was shocked to see the number was up to thirty-one million! Furthermore, when Dowd looked at insurance company data on deaths from all-cause mortality in the second half of 2021 there also a spike in deaths among working aged people that was not there in the first half of 2021. These spikes correlate well from when the Covid vaccines became more available and mandated. In January of 2022, the CEO of One America Insurance said there was a 40% rise in death beneficiary payouts among working aged adults. This is an alarming increase and cannot be solely attributed to a lack of cancer screenings or suicide from the stress of lockdowns or even from Covid infections themselves. Not in this age group. Dowd and his partner did a deeper analysis. They went over the CDC’s VAERS (vaccine adverse reporting system) and insurance industry data and broke down the mortalities by age group. What they found was that in 2020 all-cause mortality was higher in the elderly population, but in 2021 in what Dowd calls a “mixed shift” in all-cause mortality, it was higher in a younger population of people. In millennials, those aged 25-44, Dowd found an 84% increased mortality over the baseline of the previous five years. Specifically, he found 61,000 excess deaths in one year…more deaths than the 58,000 deaths that occurred during the Vietnam war over a ten-year period. In what Dowd describes as “the smoking gun” .... (click the headline to keep reading)
An article in The NY Times caught my eye two weeks ago. In it they discussed that cancer tumors are rife with bacteria and fungi in a rich ecosystem called the tumor microbiome. I have on past occasions written about the importance of having a vibrant microbiome of beneficial bacteria in our intestinal tract, how it functions in producing beneficial vitamins and helping detoxify chemicals in our environment that may be harmful to us. However, in 2020, several research teams have shown that tumors are home to various kinds of unfriendly bacteria and fungi and two studies published in the journal Cell specifically imply that we may one day be able to find early signs of hidden tumors by measuring the microbial DNA that they shed into the blood. There is also a possibility that this research may reveal why certain tumors are more aggressive or resistant to treatments.