Dr. Tim Jackson and I discuss underlying health issues of chronic problems touching on chronic fatigue, Lyme disease, mold illness, optimal ranges for various tests, hormone levels (and the problem with hormone clinics), how to increase white blood cell counts, detoxification, and some of Tim’s favorite health products and therapies.
About Dr. Tim Jackson
Dr. Tim Jackson is a leader in the alternative health sphere. He has his undergraduate degree in Health science and chemistry from Wake Forest University of North Carolina. He is educated in nutritional biochemistry, digestive health and its systemic effects, as well as functional endocrinology. He has also successfully battled Lyme disease.
Tim has some very interesting views on alternative medicine and has extensive experience with clients coming to him from all 50 states and 14 countries around the world. Currently, his medical practice is online.
Q: What do you think the underlying cause of chronic fatigue is?
A: The allopathic model has us thinking regarding simple cause and effect, but in the functional medicine matrix there are usually 10 or 12 different systems interacting to create this problem. For instance, a lot of people think if you heal the gut you’ll heal everything. True much of the time, but you can have systemic inflammation or systemic immune imbalance that leads to leaky gut so regarding chronic fatigue you see a conglomeration of symptoms. Normally there are some pathogens like HHV6, Mycoplasma (a cell wall deficient bacteria), Epstein-Barr. One thing to emphasize-even in the integrative circles they have been taught wrongly and incorrectly believe that IGM means that it’s a current infection, and IGG means a past infection (from college, or from childhood) – but in the work of Alex Vasquez (who wrote the book, “Integrative Rheumatology,”), there is discussion about some people not being able to mount an IgM response – their only immune attack is IGG. Therefore, if IGG levels are 3-4X the top of the normal range, this signifies currently active virus. As these numbers fall, even IGG numbers, people feel better. So Tim thinks there’s definitely a pathogen component, and a neuroinflammatory component, (often coming from the pathogens). So the microglial cells which we used to think were just structural in the brain and central nervous system play the role of an immune cell. When they get turned on they create brain fog, moodiness, insomnia, fatigue. There’s a number of different pathogens that can turn them on. Lipopolysaccharides from gram-negative bacteria (bad bacteria in the gut) can turn your microglia on, so that’s where the concept comes from that if you have a leaky gut eventually you’re going to have a leaky blood-brain barrier.
There’s supposed to be a new gut product from Germany that will be available in 1.5-2 years in the US. It’s not a probiotic, but it works by blocking lipopolysaccharides. Certainly, you want to try to get rid of as many gram-negative bacteria, but this product is supposed to be unique in that it blocks lipopolysaccharides in the subsequent cytokine storm or pro-inflammatory cytokine storm that you get in an immune attack like that. And then you also see there’s a hormonal component. The way another doctor Tim knows describes it is that pathogens hack into the neuroendocrine immune super system, so the nervous system, hormonal system, and the immune system are in a three-way conference call all the time. Hormone receptors can be damaged, and any time you have an inflammatory stressor, this is going to create pregnenolone steal. If you’re taking pregnenolone, the precursor, and it’s going down the cortisol pathway and the same thing can happen in women with both pregnenolone but also with progesterone. So some females are on 200 mg a day of progesterone a day, and the level is still in the tank because it’s not staying as progesterone, and that’s where these hormone clinics are kind of missing things, instead of saying “yes I can give you replacement hormones, but if you don’t address these other factors that hormone is not going to stay in the form that you think, and you can have paradoxical reactions.” A lot of the time in chronic fatigue you see a blunted cortisol response/a flat-line cortisol response.
Q: What is a blunted cortisol response from, in your opinion?
A: He does run adrenal stress indexes on patients but when he sees that there’s a stressor with a flat-liner cortisol or low cortisol level it’s not just one thing it’s all the stressors (total allostatic load in the body). So there may be a gut component if you have an infection there that is creating inflammation, stimulating the hypothalamus, pituitary adrenal axis, there may be systemic infections and reactivated viruses which are playing a role.
Q: That would indicate high cortisol, no? So why would somebody have lower cortisol? Let’s say if somebody has an infection, that’s going to stimulate the HPA-axis if they have inflammation like IL-6, and that’s going to cause high cortisol.
A: It will wear down to the point where your reserves are depleted. In the beginning, people have high cortisol, but toward the end, if you’ve been fighting it for a long time you will have lower cortisol levels.
Q: So you think there’s a reserve of hormones in the adrenal glands and they get used up?
A: He sees on people’s adrenal stress indexes that if they don’t address the viral load or the gut infections or the toxicity component, he can give them herbs to help support the adrenals-Vitamin C, even low dose hydrocortisone, but if you don’t address these stressors it’s like anything else, eventually your levels are going to be low. Many doctors understand this concept. It’s not the adrenal’s fault; it’s more of an inflammatory issue, anything that creates inflammation will stress the HPA. It also has to do with part of the brain called the paraventricular nucleus that sends signals to the HPA.
(Me) My take on it is that if you have some underlying cause there are 50 or so different causes for why you would have high cortisol or a high HPA activation, and what happens is that they’re a few hormones in that pathway that severely disrupt the circadian rhythm including CRH and cortisol. So I think it burns out your circadian rhythm and that causes low cortisol. Cortisol is one of the hormones that’s strongly affected by the circadian rhythm so if your circadian rhythm is not working, it’s either going to be shifted, or it’s going to be flatlined.
A: He agrees, but at the same time he has seen people who have very good circadian rhythm-but they still have low cortisol from these other stressors, like the infections, stealth infections, gut infections, heavy metals, food sensitivities, leaky gut, dysbiosis, all those things. The circadian rhythm is a huge part in correcting the HPA however.
(Me) Right, so my take would be that as long as you’re having an underlying problem, such as if you’re immunodeficient and in some ways and you have high IL-6 for example, and you have chronic inflammation or chronic oxidative stress for whatever reason, then that’s going to continue disrupting your circadian rhythm; so it’s not only when you go to sleep, it’s also about what’s going on under the hood. If you have those chronic problems, it’s going to chronically cause problems with your circadian rhythm no matter what time you’re waking up or going to sleep. So that’s what my opinion would be for why it’s disrupted even if you’re trying to take care of it.
A: What happens is when you have the infections there’s a cytokine storm. There are certain nutrients you can take that will help lower the cytokines and help control that, but if you don’t address the infection he doesn’t think that’s a good option because you’re going to constantly have that activation and those cytokines are going to constantly stress the adrenals by creating inflammation. So yes you do create more inflammation when you take antimicrobials, but that’s why he puts people on things like systemic enzymes, curcumin, turmeric, Boswellia to control those cytokine storms. Epstein-Barr, for example, has been connected in studies to different types of cancer, so we certainly don’t want that virus to be active; we want to suppress it and lower your viral load.
(Me) I agree with you there in that you want to be taking care of infections and your immune system so that it’s taking care of these infections or else you’re going to continue having these problems.
A: There’s a handful of studies that show this (that IGG does not equate to past infections, but can signify a current infection). More importantly, Alex Vasquez (mentor he mentioned prior) who holds three doctorates, a DO, an MD and a Chiropractor, and published over a hundred different articles, wrote the textbook on it. He’s seen that clinically. Also, doctor Jacob Teitelbaum who wrote: “From Fatigued to Fantastic.” There are a handful of studies that show that. But more importantly we need to get out of this mindset of evidence-based medicine which even the British medical journal declares is an epic failure because they cherry pick their evidence and this hyper-specialization of only looking at one area of the body is detrimental to all of us. He’s very thankful for conventional medicine for things like kidney stones, broken arm, etc. but outside of that their model of saying there’s no studies for this or that, 95% of the time there are studies you just aren’t finding them. For example, you mentioned leaky gut, if you type in the leaky gut on PubMed it’s going to bring up nothing. But if you type in gut hyper-permeability it will bring up a lot of things. So there’s plenty of research that supports it. Most medical text books are sponsored in part by Pfizer or Merck. You’re getting cause information. Take depression for example, we know it’s a neuro-inflammatory condition, we know there are cytokines involved.
Q: What about high IGG-what range do you see somebody has chronic infections? I haven’t read many studies on IGG, but I wouldn’t be surprised if high IGG would signify viral infections. But what ranges do you see where you would say “ok it’s over this, so this person has systemic viral infections.”
A: I look at the normal range, taking into consideration that the range was from sick people, so it’s somewhat skewed or sometimes very skewed, but if the IGG number is 3X the normal range or 4X the normal range or 10 or 12 times the normal range, that’s a currently active infection. He tries to get people out of this-it’s great if we have a study for it, but clinically this is what he sees happen over and over again without fail. Learned from two very valuable sources – Dr. Vasquez and Dr. Teitelbaum, very reputable sources. Because of their clinical experiences with many patients a day with these sorts of symptoms, they’re going to be far ahead from what the research shows. It’s great to have a mechanism and a study and double-blind placebo-controlled studies on all of that, but it’s so easy to manipulate those; a lot of times people only publish good results and not the bad ones. For statin drugs look at all the studies showing that they cause mitochondrial damage, they predispose you to diabetes. Cholesterol isn’t even the issue; it’s more inflammation and the percent oxidized cholesterol. If you want to focus on anything with cholesterol – look at the percent oxidized LDL, LPA, APOB. Look at those factors and not the total cholesterol, because up until the 1980s or so, Hypocholesterolemia was indicative of subclinical hypothyroidism, but then all these antidepressants started coming out, and so they changed that. An MD he collaborates with said when she was at her residency, the thyroid reference ranges were very different (she’s been practicing for about 30 years, and they even vary from state to state). What he tells people when they see these normal ranges – “normal is Homer Simpson.” Waiting for all markers to be out-of-range would mean being in an intensive care unit.
Q: What would you say the ideal range is for T3?
A: Ranges are going to vary state by state for free T3 but whatever your range is you want it in the top 25%.
(ME): So most of the tests that I see the free T3 are in the range of like 2.5 – 4.5. My ideal range would be over 3. What would be your range in those numbers?
A: Maybe 3.4 or higher. Thyroid tests don’t really tell us how well the thyroid is being used and metabolized at the cellular level. A thyroid expert he knows makes people take their body temperature, and he keeps bumping them up until they reach a normal body temperature.
Q: What is that, 98.6 degrees?
A: Yes. It’s varied throughout the day. A lot of people say it’s high in the morning, but it’s actually high between 8 pm and 10 p.m. But he has people test because even 4/10 or 5/10 of a degree decrease slows down your immune system and every system by about 30% because it’s affecting enzyme function. The two ways to change the_activity of an enzyme are (find at 19 min 14 sec.) to change the temperature and to change the ph. So if you change those two things, all the enzymatic activity in the body suffer. Good luck detoxing if the thyroid doesn’t work, because all those enzymes need to work and all the detox pathways need to work. The liver needs to be moving phase I, II and III appropriately. If you’re not doing those things you can take all the detox supplements, juice cleanses, colonics you want, and you’re probably not going to get the toxins out as well as you should.
Q: What parts of the immune system do we want to increase? We want to decrease things like cytokines, but what parts do we want to increase?
A: Cortisol can be pretty high at first and in the middle it may be very low. A researcher at the University of Alabama-Birmingham says the same. His lab is focused on chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and immune dysfunction. He showed cytokines starting out being at a very high level, especially if something comes on acutely, but then over time they become depleted. There’s a lab that has a stimulated cytokine profile where they use lipopolysaccharides, PHA (Phytohaemagglutinin), and others. (In his opinion, for the cost of the test it doesn’t really give too much information). There’s the energetic apex protocol where you can have the person take certain supplements, and you can try to determine Th1, Th2, but now the stimulated cytokine test also looks at Th17. He thinks it may also, under their lymphocyte subset panel, look at different natural killer cells and different lymphocytes, but it also measures their activity (which is important). We’re kind of hyper-focused on the number where you may have the correct number of natural killer cells, but if they’re not active then they’re not doing you any good.
Q: I actually recommend the stimulated cytokines test because I want to see if they have a systemic base level of cytokines. The only thing that I’m on the fence about is how I interpret the stimulated cytokines-the LPS, the Phytohaemagglutinin. So if someone doesn’t have a base level of cytokines, that means they’re probably not having an issue with LPS. How would you interpret that, and how would you interpret somebody who has it in response to stimulation? (If the baseline of systemic cytokines are low so why would that make a difference even if it’s in response to stimulation?)
A: If their baseline is low they have been suffering from some subclinical or clinical infections for a while, so it’s been kind of wearing on the adrenals and the immune system. T-cell exhaustion – if your immune cells are constantly stimulated (not essentially how it works), but basically you can think of your immune cells as getting tired, so your immune cells may not be as active as they used to be… This is why you should check Natural Killer Cell Activity. As far as cytokines go, he gets some MDs that he works with will test blood cytokine levels unstimulated, but he rarely sees those high. If he does have one do a stimulated cytokine panel, a lot of times they are very high. He doesn’t do that test very much because people are limited in resources. Instead, he does the Metametrix stool panel along with some viral titer testing, thyroid testing-the other tests kind of depends on the person and what they’re dealing with. There still needs to be more studies, and they’re working on that. At the beginning of what’s an acute infection you see a huge cytokine storm, TNF-alpha, interleukin-1 beta, IL-6, all those three are elevated, and that’s what as you already know, you feel when you have an infection, a cold or a flu – there’s something called cytokine-induced sickness behavior, which is basically depression, social isolation, lack of motivation, brain fog, inability to focus, because again if these cytokines are elevated long enough, they basically punch holes in the blood-brain barrier. Then you’re getting that microglial activation, and those are meant to be turned on and turned right back off; they aren’t meant to be turned on long-term, and they can lead to brain fog fatigue, insomnia, depression. He’s had clients (where he works with their MD) and recommends LDN.. they feel so much smarter on LDN. This is because their brains aren’t being bombarded with TNF-alpha and IL-6, and IL-1β as much.
(ME): I think that everybody has so many infections, EBV is very common, etc. so my personal approach is to try to look more at somebody’s immune system and see if that’s not working right; because if you have all of these infections you are still going to want to treat the infections the same way anyway.
A: I think that works to an extent but where you run into a problem is when someone goes through a really stressful period – i.e. car crash, a parent dies, and surgery, which is going to weaken the immune system. Then these opportunistic infections become active. Once they become active they then manipulate the immune system, the neuroendocrine immune system and can lower certain immune counts. Viruses, bartonella, babasia (parasite), and lyme can do it, and they do it through a process called antigenic variation, so they vary the surface proteins that trick the immune system from recognizing them. In this way, they stay active, hide from the immune system, start producing biofilm to protect themselves and then your immune cells cannot reach them. He agrees, as one of his mentors says, you can’t kill your way to health (by taking antimicrobials, etc.). So he doesn’t do this, rather he gives them these things along with an immune balancing program. If you don’t correct it then you’re just going to be chasing infection after infection. The reason he tests a lot of times for specific viruses is that he uses homeopathic kits specific for certain viruses and pathogens. So he wants to see which ones are the most active and probably contributing to the problem, then recommends those kits vs. just having them take all the kits.
Q: What are your top 5 approaches to combat infections? Ozone etc.?
- Make sure to optimize glutathione – important as a natural antiviral and detoxifier.
- He makes sure they are on a good probiotic based on their stool result and that the gut lining is healed (or is healing).
- Supports the immune system with something like liposomal colostrum or proline-rich polypeptides (PRP). They have had a lot of studies on these in patients with AIDS. They’ve been shown to help bring up their immune counts like their CD4, CD8 count. Researcher in Texas uses them, but PRPs are kind of like adaptogens for the immune system so if cytokines (or is it excitokines?) are really high, then this will lower them, if they are low then PRPs will stimulate them.
- Homeopathic kits and certain herbal antivirals, sometimes ionic or colloidal silver. He usually uses a biofilm buster along with them (can use Lactoferrin, but he uses Boluoke from silkworms. You can use serrapeptase with Boluoke which will make be a little more potent. Boluoke is expensive, $70 a bottle, but it breaks down the biofilm so that when you do take antimicrobials, they are able to get where they need to be-more effective.
Q: Optimal ranges of hormones: Testosterone?
A: For men, according to the studies, anything below 550 ng/dL puts you at risk for all cause mortality. So that’s the cut-off. The range where he likes to see people is really 650-800 for the total testosterone.
Q: How do you get them there?
A: It depends. Sometimes he approaches the adrenals and the thyroid first because the body will prioritize adrenal and thyroid function first, and then he will go on to analyze how far away they are from their goal. For example, one patient was at 530 (at the cusp). He gave him Tribulus, Tongkat Ali, and about 4 other herbs that he’s used personally and seen lab changes in and has had success. But if someone was around 250, they are going to either need HCG shots or HCG shots along with clomid. Your listeners have probably heard of HCG because of the HGC diet. This is not that. This is a different dose and it’s using it to stimulate the leydig cells and the testicles, because a lot of time what’s happening is that a lot of men are going on TRT, which can be ok if and only if they are receiving HCG shots. Otherwise, the testosterone that you are taking exogenously is going to shut down your own testicles and make you infertile.
These hormone clinics are popping up like Starbucks, but if you just give someone hormones you’re only solving half the problem. For example, inflammation and cytokine storms- the more of that you have, the more likely your testosterone is to aromatize to estrogen. So we can’t just say “ok you’re low in this hormone let’s give you it.” You may need it, but we still need to do other things. Percentage of different problems and the weight of each problem varies patient to patient. Many infectious disease doctors miss infections including Lyme because they very often are presented uniquely in patients.
Q: Optimal ranges of estradiol?
A: 15-25 is optimal. Anything over 25 is too high. You also have to look at it in context so if the person has an estradiol of 25 and they have a free testosterone that’s in the upper 20 percent, and a total testosterone at 750, then that’s ok, but if you have an estradiol of 25 and your testosterone is 250 ng/dl, that’s big trouble. This is because the more testosterone you have, the more it’s going to aromatize the estrogen. Can pretty much predict that once we get your level up to 550 your estradiol may be 40, and that’s not good because it blocks testosterone at the receptor level. So for estradiol for women, it depends on their age, days of the cycle, looking at E1 E2 and E3 things like that, but for men, 15-25 that’s where you want it. Also, the more inflammation you have, the more likely testosterone is to aromatize to estrogen.
(Me): My own personal ranges were under 30 but that’s interesting to know that you like it under 25. Is this based on studies or your clinical experience?
A: I learned from very smart people. One of the leaders in male hormone replacement is Dr. John Crysler, an osteopathic physician. He is the one who recognized the need for HCG shots and things of that nature. So this is where he likes it. He likes for men to have the high-sensitivity estradiol test done because it’s more accurate than the plain estradiol test. I like it between 15 and 25 but I also look at it in context of “ok this person has a large amount/optimal amount of free and total testosterone so that’s not so bad, but if their testosterone is low then they are probably going to need an aromatase inhibitor like an Arimidex?, zinc, and some other things potentially to get that down.
Q: What are the main natural things you use to decrease estrogen?
2. DIM: this will help with the conversion process, so kind of works on the same mechanism
3. Calcium glucarate works on a different mechanism, helps to bind up the toxins, especially estrogen, and excrete them through the stool, so certain people with certain genetic polymorphisms like COMT and others can cause you to have a little bit of difficulty detoxing your estrogens. Then you throw in environmental toxicants that have estrogenic properties and you can quickly have someone who is estrogen-dominant. They may present with a lot of extra fat around their chest, around their triceps, their mood may be off, and things like that. Everyone focuses on testosterone as the sex hormone, and it definitely does that, but it does a lot of other things in terms of brain function, and has a direct effect on the Krebs Cycle, in terms of energy production. It’s responsible for reverse cholesterol transport to the liver. If you optimize someone’s testosterone and their thyroid, their cholesterol will almost always normalize because they’re inversely related (the lower testosterone, the higher your cholesterol, the lower your thyroid the higher your cholesterol).
Q: What about DHEA?
A: He usually has it measured on an adrenal stress index. Typically he wants it to be in the top 20%-definitely in the top 20-25% no matter the age. When the adrenals are worn down and not producing as much DHEA, we need to support that, sometimes we need to support pregnenolone so you can create more DHEA. The issue is if you have these inflammatory stressors pregnenolone is going to go down the cortisol pathway and not down the sex hormone pathway.
Q: Do you ever recommend people taking DHEA if it’s very low?
A: All the time. He uses a company called Neurobiologix-they have a lot of transdermal creams, one of them is a DHEA cream. He doesn’t like taking it orally because it has to go through the first path effect and it’s more likely to convert to estrogen, either sublingually or topically. Topically is almost like giving you a shot (directly into the bloodstream).
Q: So if it’s not in the upper 25% you recommend someone take DHEA?
A: Yes. Sometimes he will start them off with adaptogens and some neurotransmitter support to calm down the HPA. He will see a moderate increase in the DHEA that way. Other times he has to supplement with adaptogens…DHEA levels are important because if it’s too low it affects mood, energy, secretory IgA. If your secretory IgA is low you’re open to infections in the nasal cavity, gut cavity, lungs.. all of our mucous membranes.
Q: What about the ideal ranges for pregnenolone?
A: They would be 150 or higher. He was taught this by Dr. Kendal Stewart. There’s no negative feedback loop to the brain-you don’t shut down your body’s own production-so he takes up to 200mg a day of pregnenolone. It’s a good nootropic for increasing brain function and mood. If you have a lot of inflammatory stressors, you probably won’t notice as much of a difference with pregnenolone.
(ME): I personally take 25mg or 35mg of pregnenolone daily for the past year, and less before that. I found that that was the best dosage for me. If someone is really bad I’ll see maybe 20 in the blood, but generally, it’s going to be under 100.
A: I would also look at their cholesterol too because their cholesterol may be on the low side. A lot of the time what happens is that your body starts burning through your pregnenolone to convert to cortisol (doesn’t happen overnight), and it starts burning through your cholesterol. So you can have low cholesterol (like below 160) and that’s going to negatively affect brain function and sex hormone function.
Q: What about ranges for progesterone?
A: He likes them to be right in the middle or just to the right of the middle. He doesn’t want to have too much progesterone but you do need some-it’s very protective to neurons in the brain and to stimulate GABA to help with sleep. In women it’s important for controlling inflammation, helping with sleep, mood, brain function. It depends on when they have it tested, days 19-23. All the ranges are different, but he likes it to be in the upper 25% of whatever that specific lab range that is.
Q: Do you give them creams if it’s not in that range?
A: Sometimes but I tell them that it’s a bandaid and that it’s not going to stay as progesterone unless we address the patient’s viral load, dysbiosis in the gut, blood sugar imbalances, heavy metals, all those things. So he can give them progesterone but the long-term goal is to find and eradicate as many of these stressors as possible.
Q: Where do you like to see the white blood cell count?
A: He likes to see it to be at least 6 or 6.5 because he wants to see a robust immune system.
(ME): They’ve done quite a few studies showing that over 6.5 increases the risk of overall mortality.
A: He guesses this is because it may be suggestive of an infection.
(Me) That’s a good point. I think that’s one thing, but I think if you have chronically high levels of white blood cells then they’re going to lodge into your arteries- and the neutrophils. They’re going to cause more oxidative stress and things like that, though I think a big part of it is what you said.
A: Only if they have a reason to like plaque in the arteries. You have your bone cells, your immature white blood cells, but what they’re doing is walling off infections-viruses, bacteria, so that they don’t make it through the microvalve and tricuspid valve. So he would say it’s probably not the white blood cells that are killing them, it’s probably that the white blood cells are elevated due to an infection. But he thinks it’s certainly possible to have elevated white blood cell levels without having an infection without it being dangerous (we’re getting that range from sick people, so a lot of people with suboptimal immune systems are bringing the test down to 4). Therefore he wants it at 6.
Q: What are your top ways to increase white blood cell counts? It’s not easy.
A: He usually uses a combination of things, so can’t pin down how much helped in what percentage but he uses a combination of liposomal colostrum, pro spray, high dose vitamin C, glutathione, occasionally LDN. Their white blood cell count can increase 1 or 2 whole points. You also need to check the Natural Killer Cell Activity, CD57 (can be important in Lyme), T regulatory cells, CD-54 and CD-25 those are important for autoimmunity. Sometimes he measures those in the blood, depending on the person’s history, timeline, symptoms, finances..he tries to prioritize tests. Sometimes if people just want more information he’s happy to order the tests. It can only help the more information you have, as long as you have it interpreted appropriately. For these people, he’ll test for the immune cell counts, more so than that he tests immunoglobulin counts, so total IGG and IGG subclass 1-4.
Q: You want to make sure they are all normal or high?
A: What happens a lot of times in these people with neuroimmune issues is that their IGG total may be normal, but subclass 1 or 3, or 1 and 3 may be deficient, and if you’re deficient in those it makes it very hard to get rid of infections. The question he poses to people for about the past 2.5-3 years (and no one knows) is if supplements like colostrum (called IG3x from Neurobiologix that provide IGG) and other immunoglobulins significantly raise one’s IGG or IGA levels. Maybe, but usually, they’ll also test total IgA and the two IgA subclasses. If those are low then you can apply for IVIG (it can take a lot of time to try to get it approved) where you’re given intravenous immunoglobulins.
(Me): Colostrum has a lot of IGA and a bunch of IGGs.
A: The question is if it’s enough for some people. If you’re extremely deficient you need the infusions.
(ME): You mentioned Tregs. I actually offer that and was thinking about using it, but I looked into studies and it’s very complex when you get into these; reading what a number means is extremely complex. I don’t really test for it. I would rather test something like systemic cytokines.
A: He doesn’t test for T regulatory cells that often, but he does deal with a lot of people with mold toxicity, and that’s one of the markers shoemaker recommends testing for, so he will check for it because what happens with mold is that if you have one of the HLA-DR genotypes, you accumulate mycotoxins. They sit around and create inflammation, disrupt hormonal pathways, cause weight gain, all sorts of things. If you have one of the HLA-DR genotypes, you’re not going to get rid of them without some sort of binder. They can turn on autoimmunity. That’s why he checks the CD4 and CD25 Treg Cells.
(ME): I’m getting into mold sensitivities and it sounds like a particularly tough problem. What are your best ways to deal with that?
A: It’s important to realize that there is ‘mold sensitivity’ where you develop maybe a runny nose, post-nasal drip, brain fog, fatigue, that’s one thing. That’s like an IgG or IgE reaction. What I’m talking about with mold toxicity is the HLA (human leukocyte antigen)-DR gene. 25% of the population has at least one version of it (there are 5 different versions). He has the worst one. What that means for him, and say Joe doesn’t have it, is if they are both exposed to some mold, Joe may notice no effects from it where Tim may be incapacitated from it because his immunoglobulins don’t recognize the mycotoxins. They don’t bind the mycotoxins up, so instead, they build up in the gall bladder in the sphincter.
The only way to get them out is through things like high dose phosphocholine and a protocol to flush them out along with some other binders to bind them up. Also important to work on reducing humidity in the house. Obviously depending on where you live humidity can be more or less of an issue. But a lot of people have a sense of security that their house is only 10 years old so it doesn’t have mold. However, it doesn’t have much to do with the age of the house. Some of the newer homes are even more predisposed to mold than the older ones because they are built to be so energy efficient that there isn’t very good circulation of indoor and outdoor air, which means there’s not a lot of competition for the mold that’s in the house. Just like the gut when you have one microbe without any competition and those levels exponentially increase. So to get rid of mold and mycotoxins it typically requires some kind of binder.
A: Toxin supreme is what a lot of his MD doctors use (it’s a black powder from a bamboo tree). It looks just like activated charcoal. He doesn’t know if it directly binds to the mycotoxins, but he can say that when he gives it to people with mold issues they feel better, assuming that they have regular bowel movements. This is because if you bind the mycotoxins up, but they still sit there in the body, they are still going to create the same inflammation.
(ME): I was looking into a bunch of natural bile acid sequestrates, because like you said it seems like that’s where they’re being stored.
A: He uses the Patricia Kane Protocol, which is a lipid exchange protocol, and has people work up to high doses of acetylcholine. He uses ox bile and lipase to help break down, digest and assimilate pc. That doesn’t bind anything, but it flushes the gall bladder, so sometimes people will notice changes in their stool. Choline is extremely important in terms of cell membrane health, so it’s kind of like rebuilding cell membranes and that helps flush out the mycotoxins. One of the reasons mycotoxins are so detrimental (there are so many reasons) is that they can damage the mitochondria from the inflammation that they create. So you want to get them out. He doesn’t know if they are even made anymore, and doesn’t know the name of the brand, but there are some foot detox pads, though he asys they sound hokey, from Japan, that you put on your feet at night before bed. In the morning you take them off and they usually will have black stuff present on the pads. As the weeks goes on the pads should get lighter and lighter. It supposedly draws out mycotoxins.
There’s also a device you can build at home that is similar to a rife, by Dr. Loyd: http://www.royalrife.com/
You get some simple wires and alligator clips from radio shack and then you connect it to two different tubs of water-one foot in each. Some people have seen benefit with this.
There’s also the issue of neutralizing mold. Noni juice is good for this. You still need to bind it and excrete it, but you can also neutralize it in the meantime so it’s not as harmful.
Q: What about ideal levels of ferritin? I know you want to have it over a certain amount for thyroid function, but the more iron you have the more oxidative stress it’s going to cause. What are your ideal levels. Ranges are 20-400 usually.
A: That’s a huge range. I would say probably 50 or 60 to maybe 220-250.
Q: How would you get that up. Liver, red meat?
A: Red meat, and if they are eating meat we would look at absorption, their stomach acid levels, their bile levels, their pancreatic elastase.
Q: How would you look that up? Stool test?
A: Yes through stool test for example to measure GI effects they look at peptic elastase. Also look at fat absorption markers. To get iron up he usually tries to have them eat more meat, work on digestion, take vitamin C to see if they can get it up with that since vitamin C improves iron absorption. Then if they still can’t get their ferritin after that he would give them an iron supplement. But there’s something called anemia of chronic inflammation-this means if they have low iron it’s usually a symptom of chronic inflammation. It’s depleting the iron in an effort to keep the bacteria from reproducing. Most bacteria need iron, except Lyme, which needs manganese.
Depersonalization & Derealization
Q: Have you ever fixed someone that has Depersonalization and Derealization who has had it chronically for a long period of time?
A: Define what you mean by Depersonalization because he hears different things from different people.
(ME): There’s Depersonalization and Derealization. Part of it is that you aren’t in touch with your body and it seems like you’re a third person in some way. Wikipedia describes it as: “an anomaly of self-awareness, it can consist of a reality or a detachment within the self regarding one’s mind or body or being a detached observer of one’s self. Subjects feel they have changed and the world has become vague, dreamlike, less real or lacking in significance. It can be a disturbing experience.”
A: He’s had several people who fit this bill. A lot of these people he has worked with have Lyme and mold. That can certainly cause it, especially if they have Bartonella and Babesia along with it because it affects the blood flow to the frontal lobe. The microglial cells can activate it. They cause more brain fog and makes it seem like you are in another world, then if you have LPS from the gut that are coming up activating microglial cells then that’s creating another stressor. So I think that all of these things can contribute to Depersonalization.
Mold-MSH, VIP, C4a
(ME): I have a client that got that from severe mold toxicity.
A: If you look at MRI scans of people with MS and mold toxicity, they are indistinguishable. There’s a decrease cerebral perfusion that’s going on, there are hormonal disruptions, and hormones that a lot of people don’t know about like alpha-MSH, vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), things like that.
Q: I’ve been looking into those, and have taken MSH just to experiment, but how do you increase VIP? VIP is also low in mold toxicity, how do you correct this?
A: Million dollar question. there is one MD in Florida who claims he has some special concoction that of course, he won’t share with any other doctors or professionals to raise alpha-MSH. I don’t know if it does or not.
(ME): You can get MSH at anti-aging sciences (link below, or here). However, you can get a prescription of VIP but I don’t think it’s easy and it’s expensive.
A: I’ve taken VIP it’s expensive. It works, typically you need it for several months. It’s about $200 something a bottle. Hopkinton Drug is where he got his. It helps lower blood pressure if that’s an issue, lowers inflammation. Shoemaker’s protocol has a pyramid of what things to address first and typically he recommends taking the VIP for a couple of months.
I’m interested in alpha-MSH because the only way he knows to improve it is through one company for example that has herbs which claims to make it go up but basically you have to get rid of the mold, mycotoxins, Lyme, etc.
(ME): If you get sun you’ll increase MSH.
A: In Shoemaker’s book he says really the only way is to get rid of the mold and Lyme and MARCoNS (nasal staph bacterial infection). If you have that, get rid of it because it can lower your alpha-MSH. At the same time I know this is just a piece of the puzzle because I know people who have very low alpha-MSH and they feel great, and seen people with high alpha-MSH who feel bad. So there’s definitely more to it than just alpha MSH and VIP, and a lot of it has to do with cytokines, like the article I was reading last night- a lot of people assume that if their sedimentation rate and high sensitivity CRP are normal they don’t have any inflammation. That’s not true. This is also what he sees clinically.
(ME): I had a client with very low CRP but out of control cytokines. You don’t only want to rely on CRP. Then you also don’t know about local inflammation. That’s also a problem with CRP.
Q: What about C4a, that’s usually elevated in mold.
A: C3a is more closely associated with lyme and C4a more closely associated with mold. However just like what we were talking about, he has seen people with normal levels, who have other markers that indicate they have issues.
Q: How do you get C4a down?
A: Remove exposure. You can do an ERMI test or a HERTSMI-II test or you can get a really good/trusting remediator.
Q: What about if you are out of exposure?
A: Removing exposure first, then taking the binders, as long as you are excreting them that’s going to help, curcumin, turmeric, combined with Boswellia, magnesium and vitamin D, and then working on the detox with the mold in your body, like the phospholipid protocol, acetocholine lipid exchange protocol?, (1.09) that helps a lot. It starts to push things out of the body, but it’s only going to have marginal effects if you still have —in general you want the humidity in your house to not go up 50%, definitely not above 55%.
(ME): The only scientific information I’ve been able to find on C4a and how to reduce it is that it’s controlled in large part by interferon gamma (IFNγ). There’s a bunch of ways you can lower interferon gamma and I’m hoping if I can do that I can lower the clients that I have with high C4a.
A: Certainly could be, but the way Shoemaker talks about it is he doesn’t use a whole lot of supplements, he’s more meds. He does use fish oil. He talks about balancing the body with Cholystyramine or Welchol and VIP. And he talks about lowering C4a with getting rid of exposures and detoxing the body.
- Tim Jackson’s website: healyourbody.org
- His personal email: [email protected]
- His practice is all virtual at the moment. He has clients in every state and in 14 foreign countries.
Testing for CIRS
There are a number of tests that you can do to differentiate what kind of inflammation you’re having, which will be important in identifying the root cause.
Some of the test that will identify mold illness include:
- VCS test – tests for mold problems,
- Transforming Growth Factor Beta1 (TGFb1) – Will help you determine if you have a biotoxin issue and if you are actively being exposed… needs to be shipped frozen. Normal Range: <2380 pg/ml .
- Complement C4a – Will help you determine if you have a biotoxin issue and if you are actively being exposed… This will necessitate a different protocol…it needs to be processed fairly quickly, no significant lag time during the processing period. Normal Range: 0-2830 ng/ml .
- MSH – This is an anti-microbial and anti-fungal and can easily be increased by sun and MSH analogs. normal range: 35-81 ,
- VIP – VIP is an anti-inflammatory and you can easily increase it naturally and with VIP. In healthy controls, a median VIP-serum level of 42.44 +/- 2.540 pg/ml (range, 12.9-98.5 pg/ml) was found ….Normal range: 23-63 .
- Vitamin C
- Probiotics (Garden of Life) (IHERB)
- Colostrum – high IG
- Colloidal Silver (IHERB)
- Zinc (50mg) (IHERB)
- Calcium Glucarate (IHERB)
- Low dose naltrexone
- Magnesium Calm
- Vitamin D
- Activated Charcoal
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