I was recently emailed a question about how to determine if you are overloaded with neuro-toxins. I had brought this issue up recently because my personal LLMD recently indicated his conviction that one of my major road-blocks to full recovery is due to my own severe problem getting rid of neuro-toxins after a major bacteria, fungus and parasite die-off that causes neuro-toxins to build up in my system (very few infections cause a “Herxheimer” effect or neuro-toxin build-up.) We are all so different, and I wasn’t really sure how to answer this woman who was concerned about her son. So I continued to research some of the alternative treatments for binding and eliminating neuro-toxins. First of all, Dr. Shoemaker is a real expert on neuro toxins. He is the visionary behind http://www.chronicneurotoxins.com/index.cfm and the unique diagnostic testing advanced and described at that site. He is also the author of the following article:
“Victims Are On The Way! Surge In “Chronic Diseases” Caused By Organic Toxins Require New Approach To Helping Patients Get Better”
By Ritchie Shoemaker, M.D.
…If you’re like many Americans today, you’ve probably noticed that a lot of people around you seem to be struggling with “chronic” ailments marked by a distinctive grouping of symptoms, including fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, pain in joints, abdominal cramps, sensitivity to bright light, blurred vision, difficulty concentrating and short-term memory lapses.
As a family practice physician, I’ve been surprised to hear so many patients ticking off these same symptoms during the past few years . . . after telling me how they were recently diagnosed with such vague and difficult to pin down diseases as “chronic fatigue syndrome,” “chronic Lyme disease,” “sick-building syndrome” and even “fibromyalgia” (a catch-all term for an ailment that may not be a distinct entity).
When large numbers of patients first began showing up in my Maryland medical practice with these repeated complaints about five years ago, I was baffled as to the cause of their illness. Some of these suffering and demoralized patients did, indeed, appear to be struggling with a form of Lyme disease that never went away . . . regardless of the number of antibiotics and other medications doctors prescribed for them.
But it was also true that many other patients with the Lyme-like symptoms described above clearly were not infected with the bacterium (Borrelia) that causes Lyme disease.
What was going on here?
Scratching my head, I asked myself: Was there perhaps an invisible connection that linked these symptoms to a disease mechanism we didn’t understand?
Fascinated, I went to work.
It took me two years of steady research (see below) and hundreds of interviews with patients before I finally began to unravel the medical mystery at work behind all these endlessly repeating symptoms.
The invisible link was “biotoxins” – poisonous chemical compounds that travel with impunity through the human body. These tiny molecules shuttle from nerve to muscle to brain to sinus to G.I. tract and other organs in a continual circuit, while triggering the symptoms we define as “biotoxin-related illness.”
As recent research clearly demonstrates, the compounds are manufactured by a growing number of microorganisms that have begun thriving in our ecosystem. While some are genetically altered products of the Chemical Age, others were spawned by changes in the human ecosystem . . . such as the recent expansion of the suburbs into the countryside, which brought increasing numbers of humans into contact with the deer ticks that spread Lyme disease.
Although the ecological dynamics responsible for the surge in biotoxin-producing “bugs” are complex, the bottom-line results can be easily understood. They tell us, quite simply, that toxin-forming microorganisms have brought a new kind of disease into our world – a pathology in which bacteria, fungi, algae and other tiny organisms have “learned” how to manufacture toxins that linger on in the human body, long after the organisms themselves are dead.
These disease agents vary considerably, depending on climate and other variables. Some (such as the bacterium that causes Lyme) inhabit the bodies of carriers (deer ticks, in this case), before ending up in the tissues of their human victims . . . where they manufacture toxins that cause debilitating illness. Other toxin-forming bugs such as the fungi (Stachybotrys and others) that cause “sick-building syndrome” and the blue-green algae (Cylindrospermopsis andMicrocystis) now poisoning animals and humans alike in the lakes of central Florida and elsewhere do their work at a distance, by releasing their toxins into the air or water.
The pathogens may differ, but the biotoxins they produce all do their damage by setting off an “exaggerated inflammatory response” in humans. While hiding out in fatty tissues where blood-borne disease-fighters can’t get at them, they “trick” the body’s immune system for fighting germs into launching attacks of inflammation in many organ systems, including joints, muscles, nerves and brain.
Increasingly, there is evidence to show that these attacks are carried out by a newly discovered group of molecules, the “pro-inflammatory cytokines,” and that the devastation they cause is clearly linked to recent surges in the rates of heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Much more research is needed, of course.
Nonetheless, the recent findings about inflammatory disorders caused by biotoxin-driven cytokines do seem likely to challenge our understanding of the body’s “immune system” in the years immediately ahead, while also forcing us to reevaluate much of our currently accepted medical practice.
At the same time, these provocative discoveries will require medical researchers to confront the grim possibility that these organisms have “figured out” how to skew our basic immune responses. How? By targeting them with powerful toxic molecules that can wreak havoc on the body’s system for protecting itself from disease.
My research led to the discovery of a diagnosis and treatment paradigm for chronic, biotoxin-induced illness. The paradigm includes multiple system symptoms, a deficit in the ability to detect visual patterns (measured by the VCS test) and treatment with a non-absorbable polymer (CSM) to bind toxins and increase their elimination rate. Many people are chronically ill due to the presence of biotoxins in their system which they are unable to naturally eliminate. Chronic, biotoxin-induced illness is only now beginning to be recognized by the medical community.
Many patients successfully treated by Dr. Shoemaker had previous diagnoses that did not recognize the underlying cause of illness in these individuals. These diagnoses included Chronic- or Post-Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, sick building syndrome, depression, multiple chemical sensitivity, multiple sclerosis, Bell’s palsy, sensory-neural deafness, irritable bowel syndrome, low vision, chronic soft tissue injury, learning disability and endometriosis. Other diagnoses such as seafood poisoning, possible estuary associated syndrome, poisonous spider bites, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (endogenous toxin) and mycotoxicosis were thought to involve biotoxins, but there was no known effective treatment.
The diagnosis of chronic, biotoxin-induced illness is based on biotoxin exposure potential, multiple system symptoms, the VCS deficit discovered by Dr. Hudnell, and no other reasonable explanation for the illness (requires a visit to a doctor). Since there are usually no tests available to identify the toxins in human tissue, proof of the cause of illness is VCS recovery and symptom resolution following treatment with our protocol, particularly compelling in chronic illness cases.
CSM was long ago approved by the FDA to lower cholesterol levels. It uses an anion exchange capacity to bind toxins from bile in the intestines, causing them to be eliminated rather than reabsorbed with bile through enterohepatic recirculation. No other mechanism by which CSM could effect a cure is known, and our double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over clinical trial showed that biotoxin patients remained ill while taking a placebo, but were well following CSM treatment.
Treatment for Chronic- or Post-Lyme disease (used to refer to a variety of diseases caused by tick-borne organisms) is more difficult than other biotoxin-induced illnesses for several reasons.
First, antibiotic treatment adequate to kill the organisms is required prior to CSM treatment.
Second, during antibiotic and CSM treatment, another medication is needed to prevent a Herxheimer-like intensification reaction. This treatment upregulates peroxisome proliferator activator receptor gamma (PPARg) which downregulates proinflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa) and interleukin-1-beta (IL1b).
These cytokines are increased by many biotoxins, causing tissue inflammation in many areas of the body and symptoms. Third, many people have been chronically ill with tick-borne disease for a very long period of time, even after all the organisms have been killed with antibiotics. Longer periods of illness often require longer periods of CSM treatment to purge toxins from their internal storage sites.
The above article and research is available at http://www.chronicneurotoxins.com/info/research.cfm
One of Dr. Shoemaker’s patients posted on a Lyme forum:
“I’m a patient of Dr. S. I had lyme disease since 2001. Through college I had joint pain, hallucinations, paranoia, vertigo, weight loss, extreme fatigue, and the list goes on. 4 weeks after I saw Dr S 100% of my cognitive symptoms were completely gone. I’m just now getting to the second phase of treatment to correct all of my hormones and such.I am very impressed with Dr. Shoemaker and if you are luck enough to live near Pocomoke City, Maryland, you should try to get an appointment.
Dr. S predicted my labs exactly before even drawing my blood. He is that smart and honed in on the symptoms. He is a freaking genius! He uses genetics to determine treatment. Not all people need antibiotics. Not all people will respond the same. Any doctor who doesn’t test genetics MIGHT get you better. It is impossible for them to do any better than 3/4 success rate because 1/4 people have the dreaded genetics that I have.”
Dr. Shoemaker’s treatment protocol uses cholestyramine among other things. See http://www.survivingmold.com/treatment to see his new website and read about his treatment strategy. Another respected Lyme researcher and herb expert, Stephen Buhner, author of “Healing Lyme”, recommends Smilax as an antidote for “Herxheimer” reactions and for removing neurotoxins. I personally rely heavily on Smilax (also called Sarsaparilla) during herxes, and have recently added 4 capsules daily to my healing protocol to help clear out severe embedded neuro-toxins that hinder my complete recovery, and add to my brain fog and profound fatigue. These neurotoxins routinely stimulate painful symptom flare-ups.
Please comment on your experience with neurotoxins and any success you may have had with specific detox protocols.