Widespread Inflammation: A Root Cause Protocol Case Study

Ray is 76 years old and came to see me for severe pain and stiffness involving joints and muscles in his whole body that was gradually increasing in severity – his pain had been around 8 out of 10 for months. His fingers were stiff and swollen and he was unable to be active in his home and garden.

His physician diagnosed Ray with polymyalgia rheumatica and prescribed Prednisone. Ray could only tolerate 5mg of Prednisone, any dose higher than that made his heartbeat irregular. Even the low dose Prednisone was causing insomnia. He was also using methotrexate, an immune suppressant and chemotherapy agent that blocks folic acid (one of the b-vitamins).

The onset of his symptoms dated back 3 years to a severe infection treated with intravenous antibiotics for over 50 days.

Recent scientific research indicates that the use of antibiotics (and especially Fluoroquinolones) not only damages the microbiome but is also toxic to the mitochondria and causes the body to lose copper from active enzyme sites. This loss of copper not only increases oxidative stress (all our anti-oxidant enzymes are copper dependent) but also disables the iron recycling system in the body causing iron deposition in tissues, increasing labile iron pool.  As a result, patients frequently experience onset of inflammatory or autoimmune conditions following a course of antibiotics, as well as fatigue, weight gain and brain fog.

Ray also reported drinking alcohol daily in order to cope with his pain. His complexion was very red, which can indicate iron toxicity. Drinking alcohol with meals causes increased absorption of dietary iron, leading to iron toxicity over time. Iron also accumulates with age so Ray had a number of risk factors contributing to toxic levels of iron.

Ray’s Cyberscan testing revealed widespread inflammation, bile congestion, mercury toxicity and candida overgrowth, as well as low testosterone levels.

My initial recommendations were to increase vegetables and fiber, reduce carbohydrates and sugar, avoid gluten and alcohol, eat pork and lamb (for bio-available copper), plenty of grassfed butter and stop drinking distilled water. Drinking distilled or reverse osmosis treated water is not beneficial for long term health as it causes mineral depletion. I also recommended he stop eating frozen meals as they can also contribute to iron overload (not to mention food chemicals).

I also recommended the Ray stops taking his zinc supplement. Zinc supplementation increases intracellular levels of metallothioneins – intracellular proteins that bind both zinc and copper. Long term zinc supplementation can aggravate copper deficiency and thus contribute to inflammation.

Ray also discontinued his vitamin D supplement. High doses of vitamin D will bind to retinol (Vitamin A) receptor as well and block vitamin A in the body. This contributes to “iron lockdown” in tissues.

A few days after seeing me Ray donated blood at Red Cross. Regular blood donations are necessary in order to reduce iron load in the body and are integral part of the Root Cause Protocol.  I recommend blood donations for most of my elderly and inflamed patients.  I usually delay blood donations until after about 1 month on supplement protocol but for Ray I felt his iron overload was so severe he needed to donate right away.

My other supplement recommendations were:

  • Cod Liver Oil by Rosita (retinol – animal based Vitamin A is a necessary co-factor for iron metabolism and is largely deficient in modern diet)
  • Magnesium glycinate and/or malate
  • Complete Mineral Complex Caps by Designs for Health – to balance trace minerals
  • Beef Liver Caps by Vital Proteins (as a source of B-vitamins/retinol and copper…only beef liver has copper)
  • Black Maca by The Root of the Matter to address low testosterone levels
  • CoQ10 with bio-perine by Doctor’s Best to support his mitochondrial health
  • Wobenzyme by Garden of Life to reduce inflammation and break up scar tissue
  • Potassium and Boron (Boron helps the body uptake magnesium into cells and is effective for long term prevention and treatment of arthritis)

In the first 2-3 weeks Ray experienced increased pain and stiffness. He stopped drinking alcohol and changed his diet. After his second Cyberscan session he developed a high fever for 5 days.  We attributed this to a healing crisis and continued with the protocol.  After this Ray began to steadily improve, with each session his body pain and brain fog gradually clearing up and energy level increasing.  After a little more than 2 months on the protocol Ray became pain-free.

Ray’s blood work also improved – his C-reactive protein (a marker of systemic inflammation) normalized, his level reduced from 27 to 5.4 (normal level is below 10).

This is a remarkable outcome in a short time, especially considering that Ray experienced challenges with anti-inflammatory diet, continued eating TV dinners, gluten and alcoholic beverages throughout the treatment.

March 30, 2020