Category Archives: Arthritis - Page 2

Curing Arthritis and Depression with Diet and Antibiotics

Most chronic diseases are considered incurable. But if cures are rare, it may only be because doctors and patients rarely try the proper dietary and antibiotic therapies.

Two smart commenters who figured out how to make progress against their own chronic diseases refute the notion that disease progression is inevitable.


First, Michelle cured her arthritis with diet and antibiotics:

I’ve successfully put RA into remission using low dose, pulsing antibiotics, based on the work of the late rheumatologist Dr. Thomas McPherson Brown. I’ve been a low dose of Doxycycline, 100 mg, on MWF, for a little over two years now. My joints are no longer reminding me of my arthritis daily.

For background reading, check out “The New Arthritis Breakthrough” by the late Henry Scammell. “Why Arthritis?” by researcher Harold Clark is good too.

A few months before my arthritis reared its ugly head, I gave up gluten. In the last year, I’ve weaned myself off the myriad GF products such as GF cookies, bread & pasta. We’re buying meat from healthy animals a local farm. I’ve gotten reacquainted with butter, cream, and I avoid PUFAs like the plague.

I’m keeping an eye on my fluctuating thyroid function, and fluctuating progesterone levels (I’m 47). Taking probiotics. Checking Vit. d levels.

I’m sure all the positive changes have contributed to the remission, but I feel certain the low dose pulsing antibiotics got me over the hump.

I noted that many if not all cases of arthritis are caused by infections, with C. pneumoniae probably the most common agent, and Michelle replied:

Yes, I had a panel of tests done at The Arthritis Research Center (

The lab checked for strep, plus mycoplasma (M. hominis, M. fermentans, M. salivarium, & M. pneumonia), plus chlamydia (C. pneumoniae, & C. trachomatis).

Ding! Stealth infections!

Michelle’s infections included M. hominis, C. pneumoniae, and C. trachomatis. It’s quite common to have multiple infections, even in the general (“healthy”) population as we noted in this post. So it’s no surprise there was more than one.

Michelle’s doctor recommended low-dose doxycycline (100 mg three days a week), which took 2+ years to cure the arthritis. She might have been cured quicker with a larger dose. As she describes the issue:

I understand there’s controversy about stealth infections. Some say they are very difficult to treat, and one needs to throw the kitchen sink at them— high doses, daily dosing, rotating various antibiotics. My MD felt that many people were having trouble with stealth infections because they were over-treating. High, daily dosing makes the situation worse for many.

When I questioned this, he reasoned that we can always raise the dose later, or switch up antibiotics later. As it turned out, I made progress on a small dose. It was slow going, but 2+ years later, I no longer worry about being crippled by arthritis.

Dosage is a tricky issue.

  • Higher levels of antibiotics are more likely to denude the gut of probiotic bacteria, and populate it with pathogenic species that shelter from the antibiotics in biofilms, or with fungi that are immune to the antibiotics. The loss of probiotic species in the gut can lead to new infections; immune cells go to the gut to fight pathogens there, get infected themselves, and then go to joints to fight infections there, and spread their pathogens into the joints. Thus, there is a potential to add new pathogens to the joint infection, compounding the arthritis.
  • On the other hand, lower levels may be insufficient to clear the infection, or may take inordinately long to do so. If the duration of antibiotics is longer, gut problems may be as severe on low antibiotics as on high.

My own prejudice is “go as fast as you can but no faster,” but clinical experience will teach us the best course in different diseases. In more severe diseases – multiple sclerosis, for instance – low-dose monotherapies have no chance and high-dose combination protocols are needed.

The potential for antibiotics to backfire is why you want to adopt all the dietary and nutritional steps first (in our book Steps 1, 2, and 3), then pursue antibiotics and therapeutic diets (Step 4 in the final version).


Second, Winalot has made progress against depression and suicidal tendencies by eating a ketogenic diet:

I’m zero-carb as I’ve found Ketosis has greatly reduced my depression / suicidal tendencies, however I do worry that this might not be “healthy”.

You mentioned “some mental health and neurological disorders, may benefit from very low-carb “ketogenic” diets” and I was wondering if there’s any more advice you can give on finding that sweet spot?

Ketosis hasn’t cured me, I still have bad days and take SSRI’s but it’s certainly better than boatloading carbs for “serotonin” like I used to.

It’s very smart of Winalot to have found the ketogenic diet. A ketogenic diet has two major benefits for infectious brain diseases:

  1. Ketones induce neuronal autophagy, which means they upregulate the primary intracellular immune defense mechanism against bacterial infections.
  2. Ketones are neuroprotective. One mechanism: They are an alternative energy substrate for neurons. Bacteria steal pyruvate and other glycolytic products for their own energy metabolism, depriving neurons of their main energy source and inducing the cognitive symptoms of hypoglycemia in the brain. But bacteria cannot consume ketones. If ketones are supplied, neurons do not starve. Starvation is probably the main cause of neuronal death in many of these diseases. If you don’t wan’t to suffer the shrinking brain that is so common in Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and other infectious brain diseases, a ketogenic diet is prudent.

Winalot asked for a “sweet spot” and I gave the following advice:

In general, I recommend 200 starch calories a day. This will not prevent generation of ketones if you take a lot of ketogenic short-chain fats and will protect you against glycoprotein deficiencies leading to bowel cancers and other nasty long-term side effects, not to mention impaired immunity against extracellular pathogens.

This should be accompanied by a boatload of coconut oil for those ketogenic fats. I suggest about 1500 calories / 6 fluid ounces / 12 tbsp coconut oil per day. This sounds like a lot, I know, but it is therapeutic.

Also, get 400 protein calories per day. This is higher than our normal protein recommendation.

Finally, I highly recommend antibiotics, since I believe bacterial infections of the brain (leading to tryptophan sequestration by interferon-gamma and IDO) are far and away the most likely cause of your depression and serotonin deficiency. I would start by assuming this is C. pneumoniae, the most common brain pathogen, and take the Wheldon protocol antibiotics. You can find a good guide at

Tryptophan sequestration is a primary intracellular defense against bacterial infections, and bacterial theft of tryptophan from serotonin also tends to denude infected cells of serotonin. We regard serotonin deficiency symptoms as prima facie evidence for a bacterial infection of the brain. C. pneumoniae is the most common bacterial pathogen in the brain, so antibiotic strategies that are proven against C. pneumoniae are a good place to start against depression.

Doxycycline is a good first antibiotic; it enters the brain well and is active against C. pneumoniae. The response to doxycycline also has diagnostic value. If you don’t have an infection, usually there is no obvious effect to the antibiotic. If you do, there are usually clear effects, either good or bad:

  • Good, because doxycycline is a protein synthesis inhibitor and will slow down bacterial activities that may be damaging you, including tryptophan theft. You may experience euphoria for a few days, followed by richer emotions and relieved depression.
  • Bad, because it may produce either toxicity effects from bacterial die-off (endotoxins and porphyrins) or other side effects. For instance, C. pneumoniae inhibits apoptosis (cell death) of immune cells, and inhibition of protein synthesis will stop this and may be followed by the immediate suicide of most white blood cells. This sudden drop in white blood cell count could lead to a surge in fungal or other infections, lasting several weeks until new white blood cells can be manufactured.

If you notice such effects, continue the doxycycline, but modulate doses so that the bad effects are not too severe. Other antibiotics can be added in combination once the bad effects are modest.


The thesis of this blog is that most chronic diseases can be cured in a two-part process:

  1. Good diet and nutrition should be used to eliminate toxicity syndromes and empower the immune system.
  2. Antibiotics can then be brought to bear against entrenched infections to work a cure.

Diet and nutrition should be the first step. A good diet will clarify symptoms and help diagnose pathogens; minimize antibiotic doses and duration needed for a cure; and minimize die-off effects from bacterial endotoxins and porphyrins during antibiotic treatment.

It’s great to hear from people who are making progress against their diseases. Hopefully, our book and blog can generate many more such cases. Abundant cures will do more than billions in research funding to teach doctors and scientists how to treat these diseases.