FHP – Ep. 2 – “Toxicity” feat. Dr. Neil Nathan

FHP - Ep. 2 - "Toxicity" feat. Dr. Neil Nathan

Dr. Barter talks with Dr. Neil Nathan, MD, author of the bestselling book “Toxic” about the dangers of environmental toxins and hard to diagnose cases.



Dr. Ann-Marie [00:00:03] Hi, thank you for joining us. My name is Dr. Ann-Marie Barter. And this is Fearless Health podcast. I’m so excited today. I have a very special guest. I have Dr. Neil Nathan, who is an M.D.. He’s a board certified physician. He’s also the founding diplomat of American Board of Holistic Medicine, now called the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine. For years was certified in pain management by the American Academy of Pain Management as well. And now is treating complex patients and also is the author of multiple books, one which I found incredibly interesting that’s called toxic. Thank you so much for joining us here today and for taking the time to do this.


Dr. Neil [00:00:46] Thank you for having me.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:00:47] So pleased to have you here. So you are an expert really on mold in Lyme disease and treating really, really sensitive patients that have been that have had chronic health complaints for a significant amount of time and marked with psychiatric disorders because no one can really get to the bottom of their case. Am I correct?


Dr. Neil [00:01:12] Yeah, that’s what they tell me.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:01:14] So tell me how you actually got into treating the quote unquote sensitive patients.


Dr. Neil [00:01:23] Actually, that story goes back a long ways. I, when I was in medical school, I really wanted to be a healer and I thought I was going to learn how to do that in medical school. And I must confess, I was quite disappointed because they were going to teach me what I now understand is how to be a medical technician. And and so I took what I could from my medical school experience and realized if what I wanted to do was to be a healer, I really had to learn a lot more. So after I left medical school, I plunged into every form of healing, you can imagine. I studied acupuncture, emotional release techniques, hypnosis, homeopathy. And the list goes on and on and on. If it was interesting, I studied it and I found that each field that I looked at added another tool to my tool bag of how to help people so that what I thought was a limited tool bag when I started got to be a bigger tool bag and was the bigger tool bag. My colleagues began to refer to me the patients that they didn’t know what to do with, and I have this unusual fascination with them that rather than think of them as difficult. I thought of them as challenging and fascinating. And I thought, Gosh, if I can help them think of how many other people I could help. So over a 47 year medical career, I’ve increasingly moved into the arena of attempting to understand what makes someone sick and how to help them with whatever tools I think would be most appropriate for them. So that’s the cliff note version of how this got started.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:03:27] I really like that. And your book was so interesting I felt like it brought together what I would probably assume is many years of treating patients and pulling that together. And you know, it’s when you’re sitting down in your reading. I mean, it’s pretty clinical. I couldn’t put it down. It was so, so great. But the first thing that I thought that you made a great point in in your book was, is the patient’s sensitive or is the patient toxic, which I think as a clinician, we run into. And then also patients don’t really know the difference. And so how do you make that differentiation in practice, OK?


Dr. Neil [00:04:12] And keep in mind that there can be a significant crossover between the two. Many people are sensitive and toxic, but sensitive refers to the state of activation of their nervous system, meaning how they respond to stimuli, sound chemicals, light touch, EMF. And when patients get sensitive, they become overreact to those. That’s not a psychological event which many people accuse them of. It’s they have an over active nervous system and usually it’s overactive because something or things have fired up that nervous system. So it then behooves us to look for, OK, what caused it? Not gosh, I’m sorry, you’re a mess. It’s sure we can quiet down those nervous systems, but more important, we can usually cure it if we figure out what set it off in the first place. That’s sensitive. Toxic is where you’ve been exposed to something that’s toxic. The commonest one we see is mold toxicity, but any environmental toxins can cause that. We have 80000 chemicals in our environment, 75000 of which didn’t exist 50 years ago, and we’ve studied virtually none of them. So we live in a very chemically reactive environment. We have electromagnetic frequencies that we’re exposed to that didn’t exist 50 years ago. We have heavy metal toxicity. We have nuclear reactivity just like Fukushima. So we’re living in a fairly toxic environment. And to add to that, a number of very specific bacterial infections like Lyme and the co-infections of Lyme can as weak, cure it or work with it. They can release toxins which make us toxic as well. So I think it’s important for patients to understand to look for if I am reacting very strongly to something and my reacting strongly because my nervous system is wired up or is it because of I’m toxic or both?


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:06:39] You know, something that I have seen and you’ve been in practice a lot longer than I have, but I’ve been a practice for about 10 years and the problems that I saw 10 years ago versus five years ago versus two years ago, I feel like I’m I’m constantly dealing with environmental toxicity. Are you seeing an increase of that in your practice as well, that people are being exposed more? And I guess I say that let me qualify this. I used to when I when I gave us talk about 10 years ago and I’d say, you’re you’re exposed to 75000 chemicals every seven days. Now, I think the stats are 80000 chemicals every single day. And so now I feel like it’s an uphill battle in practice. Have you seen the same thing?


Dr. Neil [00:07:28] Yeah, I have. In fact, you know, I devote a whole chapter in my book Toxic to what I think is an underlying major issue that we must look at, which is what you’re talking about right now, the increasing toxicity of our world. And I think what has happened is that our livers, which are the main organ that we use to detoxify, are just getting overloaded when earlier they had only a few things they had to deal with and detoxify. And now it’s coming in, it’s pouring in. And I believe what we’re seeing is a planet in which the people who are coming in now are the tip of the iceberg. They are the canaries in our coal mine. They are the ones who are the first to manifest the effects of this toxicity, and it’s going to be more and more people. And I’m seeing what you do. You know, there are statistics that prove it when when my kids were in school, maybe one or two kids in their school room had asthma. A couple had inhalers. By the time they left school, which is now talking 20 years ago, I know 20 percent of every classroom the kids were asthmatic and they all had inhalers. It’s more now. Autism statistics. Autism was a rare disease 50 years ago, now one in every two kids has developed autism. This is not an accident. This is not genetic. This is come on, people wake up and this is the world we’re living and we’re really. Despite comments of the people who own the companies that do not want to own this toxicity, despite our political leaders who want to put this under the rug. We need to look at what is obvious and go, this is wrong, we got to do something about it.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:09:31] I agree, I agree. I love how you touched on mold. And I think mold is a huge, huge problem as well as slime, and I definitely want to circle back to slime, but with mold. What symptoms at first suffered? A lot of patients don’t realize that they were exposed to mold. I feel like that’s a common problem and trying to identify that in treatment. When you as a clinician, are you suspect that they have been exposed to mold, but getting them on board? Well, I don’t remember it. Oh, I don’t think so. But there have there, they’re displaying all those symptoms of mold toxicity. What are the symptoms that are low grade of mold toxicity?


Dr. Neil [00:10:16] Well, the symptoms are so many that often when people start complaining of it, their doctors who who may not know anything about it go well, no one could have all of that. But mold toxin inflames the body, and it inflames every system of the body so that virtually any symptom you have could be mold. And often people have many of what I’m about to name. So you can have fatigue. You can have difficulty with focus, memory concentration, brain fog, finding words. You can have difficulty with anxiety, depression, OCD, even elucidation at times. So yes, you referred to the fact that you can have psychological symptoms and it may not be quote in your head other than the fact that your brain is inflamed and we need to get rid of the toxin. It can affect the GI tract. It can cause diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, bloating gas. It can cause joint pain, muscle pain, weakness, dizziness, lightheadedness difficulty with balance particular symptoms that really show up mold or an electrical sensation in the body. A vibration sensation inside the body, which can be anywhere unusual numbness and tingling in places that neurologists tell you can’t have numbness and tingling. But they do an increased sensitivity to everything we talked about light, sound, smell, chemicals, EMFs. All of these are. And more. I mean, the shortness of breath and post nasal drip and sinus issues, I mean, virtually everything you can think of can be odd neurologic neurological symptoms, tremors and what it’s called pseudo seizures, where you have seizures, but the EEG doesn’t show it. All of these things. Can be mold toxicity. And, of course, given everybody’s unique biochemistry and genetics, everyone shows up differently. But if someone has some or even most of these symptoms, then you begin to think mold. And you also should be thinking like. And if doctors say you can’t have all of these, read my book. They’re wrong. This is common. It is estimated that at least 10 million people in this country have some degree of mold toxicity. Mold is extremely common, as you allude to and houses, any house that has any water damage is at risk. If you’ve had a leak in the basement, if you have a sub basement or crawlspace or attic where there was a rainstorm in the roof leaked or a water heater broke. Water damage produces the possibility of mold growing there, and Lord knows we’ve had all of these horrible floods in Texas and Florida and fires in Northern California. We’ve had a number of ecological disasters which have changed our environment profoundly. So that’s the again, the CliffsNotes version, right?


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:13:51] And do you believe that this is setting people up for immune dysfunction? Clearly down the line for what you’re saying is does lime or mold come first, I guess, is what I’m trying to figure out.


Dr. Neil [00:14:05] Well, each produces the other and both weaken the immune system so that autoimmune issues come up come to the fore as well. So mold weakens the immune system so that you’re more predisposed to getting Lyme like Lyme weakens the immune system so you’re more predisposed to moles, so each influences the other. And unfortunately, in my practice, it’s extremely common for people to have both.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:14:33] So when we’re looking at somebody, let’s say somebody had an Epstein-Barr infection when they were or mano a mano, but Epstein-Barr, when they were a kid, they live in a moldy house and then the Epstein-Barr infection flares later on or some sort of other viral infection, whatever it might be. Do you believe that the reason for that is solely because the mole has weakened the immune system, and that’s why the Epstein-Barr has flared that maybe Epstein-Barr is not the problem.


Dr. Neil [00:15:04] It’s the main reason can we think of Epstein-Barr as as we call it, an opportunistic infection, meaning if the immune system has gotten weaker, it can flare up. So there are several types of Epstein-Barr. First of all, one of which which can be measured easily with blood tests is if a patient has what’s called the early antigen. For Epstein-Barr, that implies that they may have a recurrent form of it means you can get Epstein-Barr over and over again. However, underlying this, the mold toxicity and weakening of the immune system for most of my patients is the primary issue. If you cure the moles, the immune system can bounce back and get that back under control on its own, often without even needing additional treatment.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:15:57] Wow. And I’ve always heard the pneumonic that mold heavy metals and Candida like to run together. Do you have any comments on if that’s true or not?


Dr. Neil [00:16:10] It is true for very specific reasons. Well, first of all, Candida and Mold are kissing cousins. So when when one weakens the immune system, it totally allows the other to overgrow as well. The conditions in which mold flourishes are identical to the ones in which Candida flourishes, and we more often than not see Candida and moles together. So that’s almost a given now. Heavy metals are interesting in that the body’s ability to detoxify is profoundly influenced by these other toxicities. So example, one of the cardinal features of modern toxin is that it messes with the body’s ability to detoxify so the body can’t use its usual methods. Lymphatic, kidney, liver, gut, gallbladder, skin they don’t work as well to get the toxins out, and so toxins accumulate, and that includes heavy metal toxins. There is actually some specific biochemical issues that really prevent the body from allowing heavy metal detoxification to occur. So you’re making a very good point. They go together.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:17:33] So in the order of treatment, let’s say you suspect a patient has all of those three. And of course, a case is going to be more complicated than that. But they have mold, they have metals and they have Candida or yeast overgrowth. What order would you pair that down? Would you start with mold and go from there?


Dr. Neil [00:17:56] I’m usually I usually treat Moulden candidate together from my way of thinking they are so close that some of the same principles that apply to mold also apply to Candida. However, there are some specific triggers for camp data, which I also utilize and treat my own patients when it comes to the heavy metal toxicity. This is a little trickier if the patient is constitutionally strong. We can address it early on. If they’re not, we may have to wait until we improve their ability to detoxify before we can address it. Some of the treatments for heavy metals, one of them is a material called DMCA say it’s a sulfur containing material, and one of the difficulties here is that sulfur containing materials feed Candida. So what we’re using to treat the heavy metals may actually make the Candida grow. And you’ve got to be really careful to orchestrate that in a way that you’re not setting someone back without realizing what you’re doing.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:19:08] Do you think it’s I think in particularly sensitive patients that have been to the rigamarole and have co-infections and have mold? Do you feel like detoxifying them with a chelating agent like DM’s say, is generally too much for them often?


Dr. Neil [00:19:28] Yeah. So I often have to wait until they’re stronger to get into the heavy metal detoxification piece of it. My patients tend to be unusually sensitive to almost everything. And we often have to go very, very slowly and carefully from the beginning and that. Forces us to just not jump into everything we know we’re going to need eventually. I find that if you recognize heavy metal toxicity and think, Oh, this is terrible, I’ve got to treat this early on, that is something that often makes my patients worse. They’ve often been doing it for a while and it’s not a wrong concept, but they’re not ready for it, right?


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:20:19] That’s what I found, too. And especially if the detox pathways aren’t working, if you detoxify them out heavily. I mean, where where are those chelating, you know, materials going to go probably to the brain is what I would assume. You know, if they can’t, if they can’t dump it.


Dr. Neil [00:20:37] Well, it’s simply not going to work, the body can’t do things before it’s ready to do it. I agree a very important concept that hasn’t received a lot of attention in the medical world. We were really good at identifying what needs to be treated. And from my perspective, not so good about knowing what should be treated and what order and how aggressively. Now, if you’ve got a constitutionally strong patient, you can throw the book at them. And though they’re great and life is wonderful and you can think you really know what you’re doing. And for that patient, you do. But if you get the kinds of patients that I work with as my primary and I, I primarily get referrals from other health care providers who have don’t know what to do with patients because they can’t take what they want to give them in my patient population. My my axiom is if some is good, more is not better, and that has served so many of these patients well.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:21:50] I agree. I think we have to pare back some of the treatment protocols, and I’ve seen some pretty, some pretty sick patients on probably like 20 supplements. And I just don’t think that maybe that’s in my opinion, how I practice. That doesn’t work because my patients are sensitive as well. I mean, they come in and they can’t eat anything. They’ve been taken off everything and they’ve been eating like that for two years. It’s it’s kind of bananas. They asked me how I eat, and I certainly don’t eat like that. You know, they eat, you know, two different types of foods. It’s it’s pretty incredible what some of these people endure. So do you have it as your detoxing, let’s say, for mold and Candida? Do you have a recommendation on a diet that you feel like works in the time of detoxification?


Dr. Neil [00:22:43] I have two answers to that question. First, your basic diet, if your constitution is reasonably strong, is a high protein, low carb diet. The key to it is you don’t want to feed the bugs and you don’t want to feed the Candida and you don’t want to feed them all. So they they love sugar, any form and carbs in any form will do. So keeping that to a minimum does make a very definite decision and healing. The other part of that, though, is for the patients that you are describing who can only eat three four foods and Lord knows we see them. Boy, you’ve got to be more careful with them. Typically, for those patients, what they’re basically saying is number one, they have probably developed mass cell activation from their mold. Number two, they have probably inflamed both their limbic system and vagal nerve systems so that they have wired their body to be hyper vigilant. So it is unwilling to let anything it doesn’t absolutely trust, you know? And so. Their bodies, not their heads, their bodies are going, this is all I will let you eat. So you got to work with that until you change it. So the obvious place you go to from there is OK. And the starting point for these sensitive patients is before we even get into mole treatment, we need to treat their limbic system, treat their vagus nerve, look for and treat muscle activation. Before we even think about giving them the binders they’re going to need for mold or they’re never going to get their.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:24:43] That’s great. And where are you? I’m sorry, go ahead.


Dr. Neil [00:24:47] No, just. Is that making sense? Am I being? Absolutely.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:24:50] Yeah, absolutely. And why don’t you define what Marcel acts of activation is for the listeners out there, OK?


Dr. Neil [00:24:59] Mast cells are a type of immune cell that their job is to monitor your body for toxins and infections and coordinate how the immune system reacts to it. You can find mast cells in every tissue of the body. They’re especially present at the interfaces with the outside world. So sinuses got vaginal area, any place that’s close to the outside world. We have more mass cells. And basically, if they’re doing their job, they’re just monitoring you. And life is good. A number of conditions, most notably Mold and Bartonella, one of the co-infections of Lyme annoy or irritate the mast cells, so they they’ve become what we call activated. And what that means is now they’re a hyper reactive cell and they will start to react in excess, overreact to things. They normally wouldn’t react to it well. So the ones in our gut are the more important ones and the ones that are a tip off to what’s going on. So if a patient tells me that they begin to sweat or have palpitations or anxiety or gut pain or bloating or sinus pains or itching or sweating within minutes of eating anything, that’s a tip off that we’re dealing with activated missiles. That’s not an allergy, that’s an activated missile. And it’s very confusing to patients because yesterday I ate this didn’t bother me at all. Today I ate this, and I’m anxious and palpitating and I’m sweating on what gives. And the answer is it’s not about the substance, it’s about the state of activation of the mast cells at that moment. If they’re activated, anything drinking water can produce those symptoms and it does for some patients.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:27:11] And so to start with the mass cell activation, are you doing a low histamine diet to start to help with that? Initially, because that’s that’s where people are in chronic pain and having all kinds of chronic problems. I mean, that’s probably the worst type you see, I would assume, right?


Dr. Neil [00:27:30] So when patients activate these missiles, what’s happening is that the mast cells are releasing their contents, which are all kinds of little tiny granules on a microscopic level. And primarily, those granules contain histamine. So what we’re getting is a massive release of histamine in response to something that ordinarily wouldn’t bother that person at all. I find that about half of my patients really benefit from a low histamine diet and half don’t. So I try all of them on a low histamine diet for at least two weeks. And if they’re telling me, well, that’s better, we’re going to stay there. And if they’re going, I don’t know. I don’t see much there. I’m not inclined to continue. And I am inclined to then provide them with both supplements and medications to quiet those missiles down.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:28:26] And why do you think some people respond to the histamine diet and some people don’t?


Dr. Neil [00:28:31] No idea, huh?


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:28:33] Yeah, I’ve wondered about that too. I’ve seen a split on that too.


Dr. Neil [00:28:37] You know, I’ve been doing this for a long time, and what I’ve learned is human beings are unique or unique critters. All of them, they have unique biochemistry. They have unique genetics and know the same stimuli will produce completely different effects in two different human beings. The same treatment will produce completely different, different effects in two human beings with similar symptoms. So we have to treat each person who comes to us as a unique being. We need to help them figure out what is their past. A lot of people have asked me or begged me to make an algorithm, make a flowchart of how to do this, and I have steadfastly refused to do that because if I do, some practitioners will take that as gospel. Neil said, Do this first or this second and do this third. Neil never said that. Neil said, Pay attention to your patient and how they’re responding. Try this. See how they respond. Try this and see how they respond. And they will teach us what we can do and our path. And that’s the only way I know to do it. So this is a hands on process. This isn’t going to be done by a computer, by the way.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:30:04] I agree, and I just don’t. I cannot come up with individual product programs or protocols for people to write it out because everybody is so individualized. And I. Yeah, how they react. I 100 percent agree with you. I think that’s totally true. So do you do you feel like some people just have a genetic predisposition to basal activation? Is that why some people have it that have been exposed to mold or Lyme or some of the co-infections? Or what’s your thought behind that?


Dr. Neil [00:30:35] So first of all, there, there is a particular genetic predisposition for some people, which is rare, but roughly about 10 percent of the population has at any given time, cell activation. It is much less rare than people think that’s high. Having said that, at least 50 percent of my patients with mold have mass cell activation, meaning mold and Bartonella clearly trigger it so that those toxins and those infections get those mass cells all bent out of shape. And we need to include that in our treatment.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:31:17] OK, so you’re treating. How are you treating to calm down mass cell activation?


Dr. Neil [00:31:25] The first thing I look for is. A patient predeceased predisposition. Just what we’re talking about, what works for them. I typically find that patients either like pharmaceuticals or supplements rarely both. So I will typically start them on quercetin, which is my favorite muscle stabilizing agent and see how they do with that. And then I will usually add to that Claritin or Allegra and see how they do with that. If they tell me, Wow, this thick claritin is fabulous, I will then look at other pharmaceuticals like Contraption or Crumlin sodium. If they basically go, you know, I’m not sure that the Clinton’s doing anything for me. But the quercetin is definitely better on that. Then I will add all clear Perram mean Dayo, any number of materials that we know can stabilize the mast cell and quiet or deal with the release of histamine and the more of them a patient can do. The better they do. So it’s not about finding one. It’s about finding a team of materials that will quiet them down.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:32:48] That’s well said, well said. And how long does it generally take you to quiet down mass cell activation? Well, yeah,


Dr. Neil [00:32:57] that’s what I’m doing with curing what’s causing it. OK. So many of the people who write about Marcello activation, Larry Afriend Dr. theorizes they are specialists who work with Marcel activation primarily. And although both of them who are wonderful people acknowledge that. Other things trigger it, that’s not part of their treatment, so the take message is that many people get is, oh, you know, you got dealt a bad hand, you got muscle activation, you have to live with it for the rest of your earthly life. I don’t believe that I have seen the vast majority of people who had muscle activation caused by mold or Bartonella cured. Once we got those things taking cure. So the answer to your question is it can take a year or more to get the mold out, and it can take longer to cure Lyme and Bartonella. So it’s not a quick process, but once the mold is gone, usually the missile activation is way better. Often no longer even apparent, so curing it is really about curing the cause.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:34:18] So now going into Lyme, I actually read an interesting fact, and I’d like for you to comment on this. I guess the CDC reported that there had been no cases of Lyme in Colorado, which is completely counterintuitive to what I’ve personally seen in my practice. But I’d like for you to just comment on why people don’t think that this is going on.


Dr. Neil [00:34:50] But I. Well, there’s a couple of reasons for that. First, when I lived in Missouri, which I did for 14 years, the infectious disease specialist in Missouri maintained that there were no cases of Lyme in Missouri. The Department of Health for the State of Missouri logged in over 500 new cases every six months. It was not a mandatory report so that with some infectious diseases, as you know, if you get that illness like syphilis, you have to report it to the state so that they can follow up and be sure that all contacts are being notified and treated properly. That doesn’t exist with Lyme. So in a state who did not have a mandatory report, doctors are still taking the time to call in a thousand plus cases a year of a disease that the infectious disease specialist say doesn’t exist. That’s what’s happening in Colorado. There are two. Medical organizations that have very strong opinions about the existence of Lyme disease, the the IDSA, the International Diseases Society for Infectious Disease has maintained for a very long time that there is no such thing as chronic Lyme disease. They believe there is something called post-storm syndrome. Now we’re playing with words in which people who had Lyme are sicker than snot for years afterwards. But they do not believe that it’s treatable by antibiotics or any other form. It basically means you’re screwed if you’ve had Lyme disease and you get sick. This organization is a primary source of information for infectious disease specialist. And what that organization doesn’t always know is that most of the physicians who were on the panel, it stated that there is no chronic Lyme disease are being paid by the insurance industry to have that opinion. So if you’re wondering, OK, where is this coming from? If the insurance industry were to admit that there was an epidemic of Lyme, the amount of money they’d have to be paying out for antibiotics would be significant, shall we say. Yes, there’s another organization in the world called Islands, the International Lyme and Infectious Disease Association. These are people who have recognized that there is chronic Lyme disease and have for the last twenty five years, been successfully treating it with antibiotics, herbs and a wide variety of other adjunctive treatments. And these two organizations are at odds. Each of them believes that the other are idiots and you’ve got a frown on your face, but that’s really the way it is.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:37:55] Yeah.


Dr. Neil [00:37:56] For those of us who have treated Lyme successfully to tell me that it doesn’t exist, I’m going to roll my eyes right. I’ve successfully treated over 2000 patients. For lime and co-infections. And they are well now, and they were so sick that they were bedridden and couldn’t function when I started. So if you tell me where is my research, that’s my research. And there are hundreds and hundreds of us who have had the same experience. We we look at the claim that there is no such thing and we just shake our heads and go, What? What are you talking about? The CDC admitted recently that there are 400000 new cases of Lyme in this country every year, up from 300000 in 2013. This is an epidemic so much greater than HIV ever was that it’s not even comparable. And yet we have. Large group of doctors who are basically saying there is no such thing, and this leaves patients who number in the millions now. This leaves patients holding the bag going. My insurance company says there’s no such thing, so they won’t pay for what I need, and that is a travesty of epic proportions.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:39:24] Absolutely. And I think just to touch on another point that I think is a problem is there are a lot of is it 50 percent false negatives? Online testing, that’s just standard blood work. Is my number correct?


Dr. Neil [00:39:42] Well, let’s talk about standard blood work. Yes. It’s different in conventional medicine. To test for Lyme is a two step process. First, you get what are called Lyme antibodies. If they’re positive, then you go ahead with a western blot. Now the problem with that is testing for Lyme antibodies is notoriously horribly inaccurate. It’s not 50 percent, it’s 10 15 percent tops. OK, so many patients are being told I tested you for Lyme and you’re negative, so we have nothing to talk about. When their test was so lousy that we have everything to talk about, you haven’t done a good job. Second, most conventional laboratories then turn to Quest or LabCorp to do the western blot. Now, both of those are nationally known laboratories, which are excellent in other aspects. Do a limited test for the for the what are called Western blot antibodies, so that again, it is an inadequate test using the best tests that we have, which are probably still the hygienic laboratory AGM and ECG western blot. Even those are, at best, 70 percent accurate. So you’re absolutely right. Our testing is inadequate. One of the reasons for it is that like mold line weakens the immune system so thoroughly that the body can’t make the antibodies we use to test for. So we have found that if we believe that someone has Lyme and we treat them six months later with a negative test, if we retest them now, they’re positive, meaning the antibiotics and herbs that we’ve used for treatment have gotten them so much better and stronger. Now they can make the antibodies, and now they test positive. So at the very beginning, if you think someone has Lyme and they have every symptom to make you think that that’s the case, I don’t think you’re doing them a favor by saying your test is negative, so you don’t have it often to do right by them. We should at least be offering them an empirical treatment. Let’s see how you do on this, because otherwise we’re subjecting literally millions of people to a a false. Understanding that they do not have it based on quote, good lab testing, and they’re mistaken.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:42:29] Right? And I’ve also heard that some people have great success treating Lyme just verbally or just with more conservative methods. And some people say there’s definitely a a line in the sand that you need antibiotics as well as the herbal remedies. What have you seen in clinical practice? What works the best at eradicating the lie?


Dr. Neil [00:42:57] In my experience, and I will confess, it may be. Twisted a little bit because of the sickness of the people that I see. I don’t see people with a little bit of Lyme disease. I see people who’ve been sick for a long, long time and they have Lyme and co-infections and mole and I can go and and and in my patient population, very, very rarely are herbs alone going to fix them. And I’m talking to the tune of. Maybe one percent, so maybe one out of 100 people will be able to get well on herbs alone. And I partly say that because some of my patients have begged me to try it, meaning they’ll come in and they’ll say, I don’t want to take antibiotics, Neil. I want to do the Cowden protocol or the donor protocol, and I’ll go, OK, I I’ll share with them my bias, which is, I think you’re going to need antibiotics, but I’ll make you do. If within six months you are no better or worse, then we’ll do it my way. And what I have found over the years is that virtually no one has gotten well on those protocols. Do I find the Cowden herbs helpful in helping to speed up line? Absolutely. Do I like the beauty of protocols? I’d like to think that Stephen Dinner is a good friend of mine. I’ve written the preface for some of his books, I think he’s a genius, I love what he says. I love his herbs. I use them, not exclusively so from my experience. If you don’t get into the antibiotics, you’re not going to really succeed the way you need to. Just as a comment here, Emory. Many people look at me and go, Oh, that is so disappointing, I thought you were holistic. And I’ll go. Well, I like to think I am, but my definition of holistic is to use the safest, best treatment that I have access to for my patients. Do I want to give antibiotics to anybody for two years? Absolutely not. But do I want to see them go down the tubes because I haven’t treated the matter? No, I don’t. So I think that antibiotics are safer than their reputation is. I have had very few patients have difficulties with them over the years. Yes, a few. But the vast majority have not only succeeded with it, they’ve been able to get well with it. So my bias is that a combination of treatments is by far the best approach.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:45:46] I can see that especially when there’s biofilms or when they’re hidden or when it’s really, really challenging to get rid of the infection. And they just will show up at the infection, show up again and again. As your immune system gets depleted, anything happens. You get a cold or bam and then you’re back laid out.


Dr. Neil [00:46:04] These bugs are called by some people still pathogens, meaning they have evolved over centuries to know how to weaken our immune systems so our immune systems can’t mobilize an appropriate attack against them on our own. So with many bacterial infections, you can be exposed to the infection. You get rid of it on your own. Your immune system will take care of it with things like Lyme or Bartonella or BRCA or Alicea. Those organisms have learned how to paralyze our immune system. The commonest way is that symptoms that they’re famous for, which is inflammation. They will cause such a massive inflammation in the body that it distracts our immune system and doesn’t then go after. So we need to respect how clever and evolved these organisms are, and merely wishing them to go away doesn’t work very well.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:47:05] The power of the mind


Dr. Neil [00:47:07] power of the mind is I’m all for the power to I am and harnessing it the other hand.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:47:14] Now it’s like, Well,


Dr. Neil [00:47:16] you know, a couple of years ago, I was close to death from sepsis and God blessed intravenous antibiotics saved my life. So like, I’m not like him, there’s a place for them.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:47:30] I agree with that. Absolutely. And I mean, I think life has been a very, very tough infection and you have gotten into the cofactors pretty in-depth as well that you think are very much a contributing factor. Are these are these treated similarly to when you treat Lyme? Are you also treating the cofactors as well? Are you going onto a different protocol for those?


Dr. Neil [00:47:58] Yeah, unfortunately, they’re a different organism. They’re a different microbe and they require a different treatment. So the antibiotics and herbs that work for Lyme often work very, very poorly for Bartonella or for or care or for, but this year. So we need a different approach for them. And again, for patients who want to be working with someone who we call Lyme literate, you want to be working with someone who understands the whole terrain of these microbes and how they interface with each other and your immune system so that you can make the best choices for where you are at any given moment in time.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:48:43] And your symptoms of can you can you go over the symptoms of Bartonella?


Dr. Neil [00:48:52] The first thing is they’re really, really similar to the symptoms of mold that I outlined because although Bartonella is a bacteria and mold is a toxin, they both stimulate the immune system to make very, very similar inflammatory cytokines, so they have a similar clinical picture. It might be more helpful to listeners to distinguish Lyme, say, from Bartonella from BBC. OK? You can get a flavor of that, and these are crude, and it does not apply to all patients or in all parts of the country. So you need to take what I’m about to say with a grain of salt in general, all of them cause significant fatigue and cognitive impairment. So those symptoms don’t really separate anything. Lyme is very associated with joint pain. Bartonella can be associated with joint pain as well. They’re also associated with headaches, for example, but particularly headaches at the back of the head. Bartonella, for example, is more associated with head pressure in the front of the head. So it’s not a rule, but if you really listen to the patient about where exactly their symptoms are, they will begin to lead you to which organism is the one you want to go after first. Bartonella, like lime, causes extreme anxiety and depression. To the point of despair and hopelessness, lime usually doesn’t do that. So that’s a distinguishing feature. Both Bartonella and Mold cause visual abnormalities, blurred vision, not being able to read, not being able to see clearly much more so than Lyme itself about. Bartonella is famous for having paint on the bottom of the feet, things that some people call plantar fasciitis, but it’s not. It’s just what Bartonella does. We can distinguish them in a sense that again, I mentioned that unique to mold or electrical pains are electrical sensations. Bartonella doesn’t have that so much. The BCA has a couple of other symptoms more common to it, which include sweating a type of shortness of breath that we call air hunger, which means you feel like you can’t take a deep breath. You’re not dying of respiratory failure, but it just feels like you can’t take a deep breath, which is that that’s what we call it again. Mold can do that. Bartonella, not so much so that Lyme doesn’t typically do that at all. So, I mean, there’s more, but that’s sort of the kinds of things we look at as our patients describe what they’re going through to help them figure out, OK, this is what your immune system is wrestling with by symptoms. So this is what we ought to be tackling early on.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:52:05] It’s great info. And one thing there’s there’s been a debated topic of actually how Lyme and their cofactors are transferred. You know, I’ve heard, you know, ticks, but I’ve also heard it can be sexually transmitted because. And what’s your take? What it what do you feel like the organs of or how Lyme is transmitted,


Dr. Neil [00:52:29] per say, listeners are not going to like this.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:52:31] I want to hear it,


Dr. Neil [00:52:33] but there is research. I know that Dr. Stricker several years ago published a paper clearly showing that Lyme can be transmitted sexually. I don’t think it’s transmitted sexually like gonorrhea or syphilis to that extent, but it can be. We actually know that the spirit keep the bacteria of Lyme can be found in every single body secretion. Saliva tears, vaginal secretions, sperm sweating, breast milk, stool, urine, you name it. So in theory, it is an infectious process. It’s not very transmitted that way, but it can be. Now the what we call the vector, the what transmits the Lyme has always been attributed to the to the tick. There’s a great deal of misinformation about that. I’ve heard people say, Oh, it’s only the deer tick, other tick forms don’t transmit it, the nymph forms don’t transmit it. Every single type of tick and every symbol form has been known to carry and transmit Lyme disease, so it’s transmitted in all ticks, and it has been shown to be present in flea bites, mosquito bites and fly in biting flies of different types. Bartonella especially can be transmitted by fleas as well. And it can also be carried by cats, which about 40 percent of cats, if you get scratched or bitten, can carry Bartonella. So you can get these illnesses not just by a tick bite. And while that might be scary, that’s important for people to know so that they don’t limit their awareness to, well, I’ve never been bitten by a tick, so I can’t have it.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:54:33] And when they described the signs and symptoms of cats, cat scratch fever, Bartonella, right, they say that you’re going to have a very inflamed lymph node and it’s going to be swollen. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case, as it is also in why you’re not going to get the bullseye rash. I think what 30 percent of patients get the bullseye rash


Dr. Neil [00:54:55] at most, at most, at most. So what is called cat scratch fever is Bartonella, but there are 27 different species of Bartonella. Only one causes the cat scratch fever. So if you’re relying on a swollen lymph node following cat scratch, that’s not the only diagnosis. And I’m just a wealth of positive information here, you know? All right, I’m going to get people scared, and that’s not my goal. I want to jump in and say, you know, everything I’ve ever written is positive, which is I want people to be educated and everything I’ve written about is treatable. So this is not intended to scare you. But if you’re not aware that this information is out there. It’s super important that if you or a loved one is sick or ill and it’s not being diagnosed in a conventional medals medical setting, please think moles, think Lyme and don’t accept a conventional no as an answer. You can stay sick and bedridden for years, and it’s treatable. So that is the take-home message I really want people to come home with. I mean, my book Toxic, which I hope readers will be interested in check out is really written from the perspective of this is informational, but more important. This is what you can do about it to get well. And that’s really what I want to be the take home message.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:56:39] Thank you. Thank you so much for coming on and sharing all of this information. That was really, really great. Thank you. Get it. Anything else I didn’t ask that you’d like to add?


Dr. Neil [00:56:53] No, I think I think I’ve already overwhelmed some of your listeners, so it’s these are important illnesses. Please get yourself educated about them because you are a loved one, a friend relative. Maybe, maybe running into that, and you can really help them to get the right diagnosis sooner and really help them get well, if you if you begin to understand this information.


Dr. Ann-Marie [00:57:25] Well, thank you so much for joining us.


Dr. Neil [00:57:27] Thank you for having me.

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