Monthly Archives: June 2010 - Page 2

How Common Are Chronic Infections?

Very common.

One way of assessing the rate of infections is by looking for antibodies. This underestimates the rate of infection, because infections do not always generate antibodies, and antibodies can be lost during a persistent infection. However, antibodies can be detected in a simple blood test, making them the most useful measure of prevalence.

So what fraction of the population has antibodies to pathogens that produce chronic disease?

One representative study [1], conducted among Alaskan Eskimos, found that:

  • 94% were infected with cytomegalovirus (CMV), 90% with herpes simplex 1 (HSV1), 38% with herpes simplex 2 (HSV2), 80% to H. pylori, and 42% to C. pneumoniae.
  • Over 70% had antibodies to at least 3 of the five pathogens tested.
  • Seropositivity increased with age: a majority had antibodies to HSV2 and C. pneumoniae by age 45.

Infection rates are similar in other populations. Let’s look just at C. pneumoniae:

  • Among Japanese, 59% to 73% have antibodies. [2] Dr. Naoyuki Miyashita notes that “C. pneumoniae is widely distributed and that nearly everybody is infected with the agent at some time.” [3]
  • Among Finns, the prevalence of antibodies rises sharply through childhood, reaching 70% in 15-19 year olds. In elderly Finnish men, prevalence is 100%. [4]
  • Among Israelis, 31% of children and 74% of adults are antibody-positive. [5]
  • Among Italian schoolchildren, 29% have antibodies, and the prevalence increases steadily with age. [6]
  • In Singapore, antibody prevalence is 75% in men and 65% in women. By age group, it is 46.5% at ages 18-29 and 78.9% above age 40. [7]

Keeping in mind that C. pneumoniae infections often do not trigger antibody production, it seems certain that by age 40 nearly everyone has been infected.

Likewise there is no avoiding infection with other chronic pathogens. Likely agents include bacteria like Mycoplasma and viruses like cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr, and HSV1.

These infections cause few symptoms in the young. Over time, however, pathogens reproduce within the body and increase their numbers. The immune system is gradually overpowered. In the elderly, symptoms of chronic infection become increasingly common.

A thesis of this blog is that most of what we consider “aging” is not a natural degeneration of the human body, but increasing debilitation from chronic infections. Cardiovascular disease, dementia and memory loss, neuropathy and lost balance and falls, “grouchy old man” syndrome, cold intolerance, inflamed and arthritic joints – these are all symptoms of chronic infection.

But this is good news. Through diet, nutrition, and antibiotics, we can cure chronic infections. By doing so, nearly everyone can hope to maintain vitality and good health to a ripe old age – 100, or older.

[1] Zhu J et al. Prevalence and persistence of antibodies to herpes viruses, Chlamydia pneumoniae and Helicobacter pylori in Alaskan Eskimos: the GOCADAN Study. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2006 Feb;12(2):118-22.
[2] Miyashita N et al. Seroepidemiology of Chlamydia pneumoniae in Japan between 1991 and 2000. J Clin Pathol. 2002 Feb;55(2):115-7.
[3] Miyashita N. [Chlamydia pneumoniae infections]. Kekkaku. 2006 Sep;81(9):581-8.
[4] Tuuminen T et al. Prevalence of Chlamydia pneumoniae and Mycoplasma pneumoniae immunoglobulin G and A antibodies in a healthy Finnish population as analyzed by quantitative enzyme immunoassays. Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2000 Sep;7(5):734-8.
[5] Ben-Yaakov M et al. Prevalence of antibodies to Chlamydia pneumoniae in an Israeli population without clinical evidence of respiratory infection. J Clin Pathol. 2002 May;55(5):355-8.
[6] Dal Molin G et al. A population based seroepidemiological survey of Chlamydia pneumoniae infections in schoolchildren. J Clin Pathol. 2005 Jun;58(6):617-20.
[7] Koh WP et al. Seroprevalence of IgG antibodies against Chlamydia pneumoniae in Chinese, Malays and Asian Indians in Singapore. Int J Epidemiol. 2002 Oct;31(5):1001-7.

The Heartwarming Story of a Fibromyalgia Cure

One of my favorite sites is, formed to help chronic disease patients suffering from infections with Chlamydophila pneumoniae, a parasitic intracellular bacterium. When I first discovered this site I immediately recognized many of my own symptoms in the reports of other patients. Although I had already cleared many symptoms through diet and supplements, cognitive and neuropathic symptoms remained, and my doctor agreed that the evidence for a persistent bacterial infection was strong. Three months of antibiotics cleared nearly all my remaining symptoms.

I’m far from the only chronic sufferer to benefit from antibiotics. Yesterday cpnhelp had a lovely and inspiring post from Ladybug, an Australian painter who suffered from fibromyalgia, a condition that produces debilitating muscle pain. She describes her condition:

The hallowed shrine of my body was invaded by ugly bugs. They put on their own ugly bug ball in my central nervous system and invited all their friends and relatives. They feasted and made merry and committed unspeakably rude acts wherever and whenever they wanted. They poured waste matter down the drains and left rubbish lying about all over the place. [1]

The medical professional has badly failed at diagnosing and treating chronic disease. I’ll have more to say later about why that is – partly it has to do with the ineffectiveness of antibiotics on a bad diet, and partly with some defects in modern medical research and clinical practices. But there is hope for chronic disease sufferers:

I [have] really overcome the scourge of fibromyalgia, despite the rhetoric carved into the stone walls of western medicine:

    Australian Association of Musculoskeletal Medicine (AAMM): “What is fibromyalgia? Pathology: not identified.”
    Australian Rheumatology Association: “Currently there is no cure for fibromyalgia.”
    American National Fibromyalgia Association: “The underlying cause or causes of FM still remain a mystery.”

No cure, eh? Mystery, eh? Pigs’ ears!…

“Living Well With Fibromyalgia” my foot. I’d just as soon live well without fibromyalgia, thank you very much….

I, Ladybug, fell ill in 2000 and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in mid 2005. I had so much pain and confusion, I was barely crawling through the day. Five years on, thanks to Dr Powell’s [2] antibacterial, antiviral and detoxification therapy, I am leading a pain-free existence. [1]

Congratulations, Ladybug. We can be grateful that, thanks to the impetus and insight of frustrated patients and a few creative doctors and scientists, there is growing hope for complete cures for chronic disease.

[1] Ladybug, “Life After Fibromyalgia,” June 20, 2010,

[2] Dr. Michael Powell of the Fibromyalgia Treatment & Learning Center,

Plant Pesticides

I mentioned earlier, when discussing the case of the 88-year-old woman who suffered bok choy poisoning, that most of the toxins in our bodies come from plant foods.

This is a surprise to most, since we have been taught to regard vegetables as healthy, to fear meat and fats, and to fear above all synthetic environmental toxins like pesticides.

Yet the volume of plant toxins which our bodies must deal with from our daily food is remarkable.  Bruce Ames and Lois Gold of the University of California at Berkeley report:

About 99.9% of the chemicals humans ingest are natural. The amounts of synthetic pesticide residues in plant foods are insignificant compared to the amount of natural pesticides produced by plants themselves. Of all dietary pesticides that humans eat, 99.99% are natural: they are chemicals produced by plants to defend themselves against fungi, insects, and other animal predators….

We have estimated that on average Americans ingest roughly 5000 to 10,000 different natural pesticides and their breakdown products. Americans eat about 1500 mg of natural pesticides per person per day, which is about 10,000 times more than the 0.09 mg they consume of synthetic pesticide residues. [1]

They also note that 57% of natural plant compounds tested have proven to be carcinogens in rats and mice, compared to 60% of synthetic compounds tested. In general, plant pesticides are as potently toxic as synthetic pesticides.

Should you run in terror from the supermarket vegetable aisle? No, not at all: it’s better to back away cautiously, to avoid being noticed.  (Just kidding; in fact we recommend eating 1 to 2 pounds of plant foods per day, including vegetables!)  But it’s prudent to diversify your plant food consumption, avoid the most toxic foods like grains and legumes, and cook most vegetables.

[1] Ames BN, Gold LS. Paracelsus to parascience: the environmental cancer distraction. Mutation Research 2000 Jan 17; 447(1):3-13.

The Danger of Plant Foods

Recently, an 88-year-old Chinese woman was brought to the emergency department at New York University’s Tisch Hospital by her family. She had been lethargic and unable to walk or swallow for 3 days. [1]

She had been eating 2 to 3 pounds of raw bok choy daily for several months in the hope that it would help control her diabetes, and the bok choy had poisoned her thyroid. In addition to coma, her symptoms included low body temperature (36 C), a shrunken thyroid, dry skin and coarse hair.  Her life was saved by high doses of intravenous thyroid hormone, but she still needed four weeks in the hospital before she could be moved to a nursing facility.

Remarkably, but not surprisingly in light of how little publicity is given to the dangers of plant toxins, her family wanted to keep feeding her raw bok choy in the hospital! [2]

This episode is a timely reminder that most of the toxins in our bodies come from the plant foods we eat.  Plant toxins can be quite dangerous. 

For good health, exposure to plant toxins should be minimized by:

  1. Cooking most plant foods other than fruits and berries, which are relatively non-toxic.  The heat of cooking destroys many toxins, and renders many others more digestible.
  2. Diversifying plant food sources.  Don’t eat too much of any one plant; rather try to eat modest amounts from many different species.  Live by the toxicologists’ rule, first formulated by Paracelsus:  “The dose makes the poison.”  If you keep the dose of any one toxin low, it will not poison you.
  3. Eliminating the most toxic foods.  These are grains; legumes; oils from grains, legumes, and seed crops; and fructose sugars.

The Paleo principle – it’s healthiest to eat like a caveman – is a good guide to low-toxicity eating.  Paleolithic peoples gathered a wide variety of plants – hundreds of species – and did not eat the Neolithic agricultural crops. Agriculture needs plants that produce an abundance of calorie-rich seeds, but these are precisely the plants that load their seeds with high levels of toxins to discourage herbivores.

Eat like a caveman, and stay out of the hospital!

[1] Chu M, Seltzer TF. Myxedema coma induced by ingestion of raw bok choy. N Engl J Med. 2010 May 20;362(20):1945-6.