Jimmy Moore Interview: Is saturated fat the villain we thought?

Enter "weight loss" or "low carb" in your web search and you can't help but stumble across the prolific and widely-connected Jimmy Moore.

On his Blog, Livin' la Vida Lo Carb , Jimmy conducts a wide-ranging and informative discussion of the benefits of a low carbohydrate diet, a la Atkins. Though his initial claim to fame was the 180 lbs he lost in his first year of dieting on this approach, Jimmy has extended the conversation and built a considerable community of like-minded individuals, all of whom are participating in this grand "experiment."

Anybody who looks at lipoproteins and associated factors in health will quickly come to the conclusion that processed carbohydrates are the culprits in much of heart disease, diabetes, and heart disease. But I have had a hard time dismissing the ill-effects of saturated fat. After all, we've all been taught--drilled--with the idea that saturated fats cause LDL cholesterol to go higher, cause arterial constriction, growth of atherosclerotic plaque, inflammation, even cancer.

But there does indeed seem to be a growing sentinment that this long-held dogma may not be true. So I went to the ever-entertaining and informative Jimmy Moore, an able spokesman for these concepts.




TYP: It's certainly impossible to argue with the success you had in weight loss and the health you've regained on your program.

I think that the approach we use in diet in the Track Your Plaque program and the nutrition approach you advocate overlap to a great extent. We both emphasize plenty of vegetables, fruits, healthy oils, nuts, etc. The major point of difference seems to lie in saturated fat: We say restrict it, you say don't restrict it. Could you elaborate?





JM: Thank you for inviting me to your blog today, Dr. Davis. I have nothing but deep respect and admiration for the work you are doing to help educate others about how to keep their heart health in tip-top shape. Keep fighting the good fight, my friend.

While we do agree on probably 99% of the basic tenets of what I describe as
"livin' la vida low-carb," the issue of saturated fat to me is one where we
indeed do not. It's not a deal breaker regarding my support for what you do
just as I'm sure you would say the same regarding your backing of what I do. If
we all agreed on everything, then what a boring world this would be!

My thinking on saturated fat has evolved since I started eating this way nearly
four years ago. Like most people, I was terrified to eat ANY fat at all because
of the abject fear that people like Dr. Dean Ornish and other so-called health
"experts" instilled in me about how dangerously unhealthy it is to consume it.
This fat phobia is arguably the single biggest contributor to the ongoing
obesity crisis our world faces today.

With that said, you and I both know fat consumption is a part of a healthy
lifestyle. There are just too many benefits to the body that come from the
consumption of fats and even saturated fats such as coconut oil, butter, lard,
nuts, seeds, and animal fat when it is combined with a restricted carbohydrate
intake.

An intriguing study was presented at a scientific conference in November 2006 by two highly-respected researchers--Dr. Stephen Phinney from the University of California at Davis and Dr. Jeff Volek from the University of Connecticut--who conducted a side-by-side comparison of the amount of saturated fat in the blood of people on a low-carb diet with those following those highly-touted low-fat diets. What they found was the low-carb study participants had "significantly less" saturated fat in their blood than the low-fatties did.

Here are the actual numbers from the study:

- LOW-FAT/HIGH-CARB DIETERS: lowered saturated fat by 24%
- LOW-CARB/HIGH-FAT DIETERS: lowered saturated fat by 57%
- Eating 3X the saturated fat cut the amount in the blood in half

In an interview I conducted at my blog with Dr. Volek last year (here's the
link: http://livinlavidalocarb.blogspot.com/2006/09/volek-high-carb-low-fat-diet-useless-to.html),
he said the conventional wisdom regarding fat, especially saturate fat, is dead
wrong while the significance of carbs is all but ignored by those who claim to
understand the metabolic response mechanism.

Here's what Dr. Volek said in my interview:

"Eating fat does not make you fat, storing fat makes you fat. And carbohydrates play a major role in storing fat. So the level of dietary carbohydrate is really the most important factor to control because it dictates what happens to fat. Carbs are dominant and fat is passive. When carbohydrates are low, fat tends to be burned, and when carbohydrates are high dietary fat tends to be stored. The same holds true for the atherogenic effects of saturated fat. The body handles saturated fat better when carbohydrates are low."

Long-time low-carb practitioner and current President of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP) Dr. Mary C. Vernon from Lawrence, Kansas confirms the findings of Dr. Volek and Dr. Phinney in a succinct recap of what their research showed.

Here's what she said:

"Eating fat (whatever kind) does not make you fat. It does not increase blood
stream saturated fat. Eating carbs does make you fat. Eating carbs does put
saturated fat in your blood stream."

To me, as a simple layperson with no medical background, it's all a matter of who you believe. Do we continue to buy into the low-fat propaganda machine and assume that what they are telling us about saturated fat is true? Or do we instead start paying closer attention to the latest research that is coming out about saturated fat that doesn't exactly line up with the edicts of the last three decades? The choice for me is a simple one.

And if you haven't read the brand new Gary Taubes book entitled GOOD CALORIES, BAD CALORIES yet, then it is REQUIRED reading to arm yourself with the research studies about fat. After you read that book, it will be almost impossible for ANYONE to believe fat, including saturated fat, is unhealthy.



TYP: In our program, we advocate a wheat-free approach for many people, because of the addictive potential of wheat products, as well as the flagrant creation of the small LDL pattern that wheat products create, thereby adding to atherosclerotic plaque growth. However, many people express a concern over a lack of fiber in their diets if they eliminate whole wheat bread, pasta, Fiber One, Raisin Bran cereal, etc.

Have you encountered any phenomena of low-fiber on your approach?

JM: What an excellent question and I even wrote a humorous blog post about the importance of fiber intake called "Allow Your Bowel To Shake, Rattle, And Roll" (http://livinlavidalocarb.blogspot.com/2006/06/allow-your-bowel-to-shake-rattle-and.html).

Fiber consumption is another one of those issues that not everyone who advocates
a controlled-carb approach agrees is necessary. I'm on the side that it IS a healthy part of your diet and should be consumed in high enough quantities to keep you regular...something many people think is impossible on a low-carb diet.
Not true! I take a fiber supplement like FiberCon, eat plenty of high-fiber vegetables, drink lots of water, and even consume high-fiber, low-carb products that help me maintain high levels of fiber in my diet (see my favorite ones in this post: http://livinlavidalocarb.blogspot.com/2007/04/there-are-plenty-of-low-carb-fiber.html).

As for consuming the highly-touted "healthy whole grain" cereals that you
mentioned, what a travesty that would be for people trying to manage their
weight and health. While the cereal manufacturers have had a heyday in their
marketing efforts promoting their whole grain content, it's all just a big fat
ruse on the public trying to convince them that these cereals are somehow healthy for their bodies. Sure, they're better than the sugary cereals, but all those grains are metabolized as sugar inside the body, so you might as well be eating Lucky Charms and Fruit Loops!

Many of these "healthy" cereals contain as many carbohydrates in a single bowl
without the milk as I would eat in an entire day. Raisin Bran, for example, which used to be my favorite cereal before my low-carb lifestye, has a whopping 47 grams of carbohydrates. Needless to say, I don't touch that with a ten-foot pole nowadays because I would surely gain weight and get back on the blood sugar rollercoaster ride that I was on prior to beginning the Atkins diet on January 1, 2004. Plus, all those carbs just make you hungrier sooner, so it's better just to eat some delicious eggs cooked in butter, a couple of slices of sausage, and tomato slices to start your day off right. You'll get enough fiber in your body the rest of your day.



TYP: 180 lbs of weight loss in your first year is absolutely astounding.

I take it that you've continued this trend and have lost more weight since your early success. What role did exercise play during your first year and subsequently?
How are your food choices today different from that first year?

JM: Yes, that weight loss was indeed one of the greatest accomplishments I have ever experienced in my life. It was a hard-fought battle that even included a 10-week period where I was stalled with no weight loss. But I knew my chosen diet was the right one for me because I felt better than I ever had on a diet, was never hungry because I ate every 2-3 hours, and could see myself doing this for the rest of my life. So far, so good!

It has been close to four years since I began this journey and I am indeed continuing this pathway to better health. My low weight in 2004 was 230 pounds and I currently weigh 225 pounds. As long as I keep my carbs reduced, I am able to maintain my weight right where it is. I've had minor fluctuations in both directions where I got down to as low as 215 pounds at one point (but didn't feel good at that weight) and as high as 252 pounds (when I was allowing myself one too many high-carb foods here and there).

There's a balance that people need to find for themselves and it's different for
all of us. I am one of the unlucky people who has to keep his carbohydrate
intake below 50g daily or I gain. It's just a fact of life that I've come to
grips with and realize is a necessity in order to manage my weight for the rest
of my life. But I wouldn't have it any other way!

Exercise was indeed a part of my low-carb weight loss success in 2004 as I
forced myself to do cardio every single day as a commitment to this journey. In
hindsight, that was probably not the best thing for me to do since the body has
a rather peculiar way of telling you it needs to wiggle and move spontaneously
on its own rather than forcing the issue. But I consider the exercise I did to
be such an integral part of my success that I dedicated an entire chapter of my
book to the subject.

Today, my daily cardio routine is out the window and I choose instead to engage
in activities outside the gym that let me burn calories and have some fun in the
process. I regularly play volleyball, basketball, and referee flag football at
my church which all give me quite a workout. I'm very physically active and fit
on my 6'3" body and just enjoy burning off all this excess energy that I have
been given since losing nearly have my weight! I do want to get into a little
more organized resistance training routine soon to try to shape and tone some
areas of my body that still show signs of that 410-pound man I used to be
(although the loose, hanging skin in my abdomen and inner thighs isn't going to
get any better with exercise since the elasticity has been ruined from being
stretched out so far). Here is a link to some posts and pictures I have written
about this subject:
http://lowcarblinks.blogspot.com/2007/04/theme-based-low-carb-links-loose-skin.html

As for my food choices today compared to my weight loss year in 2004, they
haven't really changed a whole lot. This was a lifestyle change in every sense
of the phrase and I've learned to implement this way of eating into a permanent
and healthy diet that I can and will gladly live with forever and ever amen. I
probably eat more berries, melons, and nuts today than I did then, but otherwise
it's the identical diet.



TYP: I'm sure that you are as impressed as I am that much of the wisdom in healthy eating doesn't always come from doctors or clinical studies, but from the collective wisdom that emerges from this national experiment (inadvertent, for the most part) in eating. Your Livin' La Vida Low-Carb is, in my view, a perfect example of the sort of wisdom that is helping all of us understand what happened to our health over the last 20 years.

Does the approach you advocate today differ in any substantial way from the diet as originally articulated by Dr. Atkins?

JM: Actually, my personal diet is precisely based on the teaching of the late great Dr. Robert C. Atkins in his classic bestseller DR. ATKINS' NEW DIET REVOLUTION (DANDR) book. But most people are surprised when they learn I do not necessarily advocate the Atkins diet as the nutritional approach for everyone.

Nope, I sure don't!

Instead, my philosophy is simple: Find the diet plan that will work for YOU, read and research everything you can about that chosen plan, follow that plan exactly as prescribed by the author of that book, and then KEEP doing that plan for the rest of your life. If you do that, then there's no reason why you can't succeed just like I did.

Anyone interested in doing the low-carb lifestyle and needs help finding which
plan is right for them, let me HIGHLY encourage you to pick up a copy of Dr. Jonny Bowden's LIVING THE LOW-CARB LIFE (read my review: http://livinlavidalocarb.blogspot.com/2005/05/must-have-book-for-everybody-doing-low.html).
It's the perfect overview of low-carb living with a comparison and recap of the
major plans.

THANK YOU again for allowing me to share my story with you and your readers, Dr.
Davis!

TYP: And thanks to you, Jimmy!



For more on Jimmy Moore's lively and informative discussion of these issues, go to

Livin' la Vida Lo Carb

Also, watch "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb on YouTube"

Join the conversation at Jimmy's new low-carb forum called "Livin' La Vida
Low-Carb Discussion
" at LowCarbDiscussion.com


Also, Jimmy's 2005 book on his weight loss experience:
"Livin' La Vida Low-Carb: My Journey From Flabby Fat To
Sensationally Skinny In One Year"

Comments (45) -

  • Peter

    10/7/2007 2:02:00 PM |

    Hi Dr Davis,

    Really excellent to see this discussion of the much vilified saturated fat. If this results in a softening of the approach to saturated fat in your program I will welcome it. It seems like there have been other tweaks in this direction recently in your posts. Making a good thing better is always the way to go. Redefining that awful term "healthy fats" would be a great move.

    Peter

  • Anonymous

    10/7/2007 4:16:00 PM |

    I have the greatest respect for you, Dr. Davis. In your efforts to find the best strategies for the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease, you are willing to question everything and follow the evidence wherever it leads -- the mark of a true scientist. You would certainly find Gary Taubes' new book, "Good Calories, Bad Calories" to be of interest. Even if you don't necessarily accept all of his conclusions, Taubes does us all a great service by revealing the shaky underpinnings of what "everyone knows" about nutrition and health.

    Jen

  • Jimmy Moore

    10/7/2007 4:17:00 PM |

    THANKS again for the opportunity to share with your readers, Dr. Davis!  The saturated fat issue is indeed an exciting one to watch out of the research community in the coming years.  A lot of minds will be changed if people will embrace what the evidence shows them--I am sure of it!

    By the way, I also have a popular podcast show called "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show with Jimmy Moore" with nearly 100 encouraging, educating, and inspiring episodes under our belt.  THANK YOU again for interviewing me for your blog!  Keep up the great work you are doing, Dr. Davis!

  • Nancy M.

    10/7/2007 10:34:00 PM |

    You should check out Gary Taubes newly released book, "Good Calories, Bad Calories".  It is a historical look at the studies that were done that vilified fat, animal protein and glorified carbohydrates.  It is a study is how really poor science led to the current recommendations.

  • jpatti

    10/7/2007 11:26:00 PM |

    I've been low-carbing for many years due to diabetes, but after my MI, angioplasty and bypass in May/June, I've become much, much more interested in the fat question and have been reading like crazy.  The following are my preliminary conclusions.

    Fish oil is a flatout necessity to get the EPA and DHA we need.  Because of the importance of the bioactive form of vitamin D (which this blog first clued me into), I  prefer cod liver oil to regular fish oil.  

    While we don't convert vegetable-based omega3 to EPA and DHA very well, there does seem to be some good reason to get a lot of ALA on it's own.  Flax and nuts are a good source of ALA. Personally, I find whole nuts and seeds or nut butters very easy to overeat, so I prefer nut meals.  A combination of almond meal and flax meal makes a great replacement for flour in making breads, muffins and cereals.  The meals can even "raise" with a bit of baking soda.  For me, it is a great dietary choice to replace starches with these good fats.

    Everyone agrees monounsaturated fats are good or at worst neutral, so it's a no-brainer to use virgin olive oil on salad and avocado oil for strifry.  A friend tells me rice bran oil works well for stirfry also.  Preferring these  oils over polyunsaturated vegetable oils reduces the omega6 in your diet, thereby improving the overall omega3:omega6 ratio.

    Unfortunately, canola oil as sold in supermarkets is not a virgin oil, but hydrogenated. The process produces just few enough trans fats to allow them to round down to 0 grams trans fat on the label.  If you have a source for virgin canola oil, it moves up into the olive oil and avocado oil category; otherwise, it's a trans fat and should be ditched.

    We all agree, monounsaturated fats are good and trans fats are bad, the next question is whether polyunsaturated fats or saturated fats are bad.  There are bright people of goodwill with research to back them up on either side of the question.  As I've looked into this, I've come to the conclusion that it's not a simple issue.  

    The primary issue with polyunsaturated fats is that they contain too much omega6 for most of our diets.  Thus the vegetable oils that were pushed as heart-healthy for so long because they were not saturated turn out to have problems in themselves.  

    There's three primary issues with research showing that saturated fats are bad.  First is how often older research included trans fats in the same category as "normal" saturated fat.  We know for sure that any amount of trans fats are bad and should be avoided.

    Second is that it turns out that saturated fats containing primarily mid-sized fatty acids chains are in a different category than those made of the long chains, a distinction that has only been made relatively recently.  For me, this means eggs are best fried in coconut oil, and I make my own chocolate now with coconut oil, cocoa, flavoring and sweetener.  While very caloric, it is almost all fat and therefore has almost no effect on bg, which makes it a convenient food to eat between meals.

    Finally, the saturated fats from meat and dairy products produced from pasture-raised animals contain a lot of CLA (an omega6 fatty acid that turns out to be VERY good for us) and much more bioactive vitamins A and D than those raised on grain in enclosed feedlots where they don't get much sun.  For me, this means that I need to spend the money for the more expensive pasture-raised products even if that means eating less of them overall.  

    I never waste the bones from pasture-raised meat or poultry, but instead make stock.  Recipes generally instruct you to skim the fat off, but I figure when I'm using pasture-raised meat, the fat is good stuff.  Besides using stock for soups and gravies, if you concentrate down until it pretty much forms a layer of gelatin under a layer of fat, it makes great stuff to saute/fry vegetables in.

    I am also preferring raw milk fermented cheese for a number of additional health benefits in addition to their fat content.

    I use butter from pasture-raised animals on some vegetables, e.g. artichokes.  I consider anything that makes vegetables more palatable in the diet to be a good thing as I've come to believe vegetables should be the bottom of the food pyramid.  IME, low-carbers tend to eat much more fiber than otherwise due to their high vegetable intake, so I don't see fiber as a reason to eat grains.

    When pasture-raised meat and dairy is unavailable or prohibitively expensive, I would prefer low-fat dairy and the leanest meats instead.  There is definitely research that shows that monounsaturated oils are healthier than the regular saturated fats from the grocery store.  But with the pasture-raised products, I believe the saturated fat is very healthy and heart-protective.

    You can located pasture-raised meats and dairy products in your area here: http://www.eatwild.com

    You can locate raw dairy products in your area here: http://www.rawmilk.com

    While I must low-carb for bg control, I have come to believe the macronutrient content of a healthy diet is much less important than making the *best* choices for each macronutrient.  One can do either a low-carb or low-fat diet in a healthy or unhealthy manner.  For me, the criteria in choosing foods from each macronutrient category is doing so in a manner that maximizes the micronutrients.  

    Fresh vegetables, especially the nonstarchy ones, should be at the bottom of everyone's food pyramid.

    Even a diabetic can handle a serving or two of the low-sugar fruits every day, though usually not for breakfast.  

    Those who can tolerate a higher carb level than myself can also eat *real* whole grains, such as wheat berries, field corn, whole oats, brown rice, barley, etc.  These real cereals are much healthier than anything produced by General Mills or Post.

    In practice, I buy too much fresh produce every week and then rush to try to eat it all before it goes bad.  I think this is a great shopping strategy for health.  

    A great source for locating farmer's markets and community-supported agriculture (CSAs) for all your fruit and veggie needs is: http://www.localharvest.com

    Those in the northeast might look to see if there is a Wegmans nearby.  One just opened up near me and I can now buy all of these products in a regular grocery trip instead of having to shop a variety of sources.

    Short of quitting if you smoke, I believe controlling bg is the most important thing anyone can do to improve their heart health.  I have seen research that shows that the A1c is much more highly correlated with heart disease than lipid panels, even in nondiabetics ranges.  This is likely a large part of the explanation for low-carb being so heart-protective for most folks.

    While I have been low-carbing for many years, I had lost control of my bg due to a bout with acute pancreasitis about a year prior to my MI.  I recently received my hospital records and I noticed something interesting: during my hospitalization, I was tried on several insulin regimens before they got my bg controlled.  Two days after my bg was controlled, my triglycerides and LDL (calculated) were cut in HALF.  So it seems to me that bg control is primary, which does imply a controlled-carb diet.

    I think whatever the macronutrient makeup of a diet, it's a matter of choosing the best carbs, the healthiest fats and getting sufficient protein from as wide a variety of good foods as possible.

  • Rich

    10/8/2007 1:11:00 AM |

    If saturated fat is not yet understood and you are trying to reduce your calcium score, do you want to risk eating it?

  • Dr. Davis

    10/8/2007 1:58:00 AM |

    Jpatti--

    Thank you for your exhaustive discussion!

    But I'm bothered by one question: Why do you have heart disease?

    With your deep appreciation of health and nutrition, how did this happen?

  • Dr. Davis

    10/8/2007 2:00:00 AM |

    Hi, Rich--

    At this point, I truly don't know. I thought I knew. I have to admit that the entire conversation has to, at least, raise some doubts.

    It is disturbing, to say the least, that "fact" we accepted for decades seems to crumble in light of new information. There's no need, however, to dive into a diet rich in saturated fats just yet.

  • wccaguy

    10/8/2007 2:33:00 AM |

    Hi Dr. Davis,

    I'm confused about the meaning of Low-Carb labeling and an example from a recent post within the TYP member forum triggered this question.  I ask the question here because, hopefully, the great Jimmy Moore might have a thought about it too.

    At the http://www.foodforlife.com/ website, I took a look at "Ezekiel 4:9® Organic Sprouted 100% Whole Grain Flourless Bread".

    On the label, the Total Carbohydrates are shown to be 15 per slice.  3 grams of dietary fiber carbs and 0 sugar carbs.

    So my first stupid question is "where and what are the missing 12 carbs?"

    Second question is (perhaps for Jimmy):  I understand that the 3 dietary fiber carbs don't count toward the Atkins carb count right?  But would the 12 carbs of unknown type be counted toward an Atkins Diet carb count?

    Thanks Dr. Davis and thanks to Jimmy Moore!!

  • Dr. Davis

    10/8/2007 12:02:00 PM |

    It sounds like there's 12 g of non-sugar carbohydrates, meaning complex carbohydrates (polymers of glucose). Unless it's cellulose (which is indigestible to humans), it would indeed count towards a carbohydrate load.

  • Bix

    10/8/2007 1:28:00 PM |

    Dr. Davis,
    Do you recommend a particular % of calories from carbohydrate?  Or a grams-per-day?

  • jpatti

    10/8/2007 2:56:00 PM |

    Dr. Davis, I didn't HAVE this understanding before May.  I've been doing nothing but reading since though.

    What I had was 2 decades of being a T2 diabetic, the first decade of that uncontrolled until I got a bg meter and began low-carb.

    When I had pancreasitis, my bg went up to the 300s and stayed there for a year.  I was irrationally scared of going on insulin; I knew I needed insulin and kept postponing it out of fear.  I suspect that is the primary cause of my MI.  I'm on insulin now anyway AND had to have a bypass on top of it, so that was a pretty dumb move on my part.

    I haven't kept up with the literature since I was first diagnosed T2 and lots more has been discovered in nutrition since then.      I was a PhD candidate in biochemistry when I was diagnosed as a diabetic, but haven't worked in the field in most of that time and discovered I knew NOTHING when I started studying.  Nutrition discussions are all about compounds that weren't even on the radar screen a couple decades ago.  This is another reason I've become convinced of the importance of whole foods as I have no idea what they'll have discovered another couple decades down the road.

    Learning how the various insulins best work in my body was my first step, and it was mostly empirical as dosing information is skewed towards the ADA diet (which is pretty much as stupid as your rants against the AHA) and T1s.  

    Now I'm studying heart disease itself, inflammation and endocrinology generally.  

    I've also done a lot of reading about fat and nutrition along the way.  You can't study this stuff without doing so.  I'm still in recovery and not able to work, so there's little for me to do besides study this stuff day and night.  Frankly, I'm obsessed.

    The fat question is a BIG question and there are intelligent arguments on both sides of the aisle.  My conclusions on this are important to me since I'm apparently betting my life on being right.  I very much want to see any evidence if I'm not right!

    Or maybe not betting my life, but betting another bypass.  I've read a bypass "lasts" 15 years.  I want mine to last forever.  I know there are people who have them multiple times, but I can't understand that.  I found it to be the most horrible experience of my life and prefer to not do it again.

    BTW, I'm all of 45 years old.  I am postmenopausal, but I'm still pretty young for this; I was the only one under 80 in the CCU.

    The angio report said all my arteries other than the left descending (which is where the blockage was) looked good.  The bypass report said my mammary arteries looked good.  So I have a very good shot at being heart-healthy in spite of my history and diabetes if I am wise about my choices.

    This is one of the reasons I'm a fan of yours.  While I'm someone unlikely to get useful information from a heart scan, I'm extremely motivated to do the bits that you've seen work in your patients.

    P.S. To wccaguy: It's starch. Your body reacts to it pretty much identically to sugar because it breaks it down to sugar.  The only "complex carbs" that are not sugar in the body are fibers, we hardly break down much soluble fiber to glucose at all and don't break down any insoluble.  But starch is the same thing in your body as sugar and it's not reported separately on the label.

  • Dr. Davis

    10/8/2007 3:53:00 PM |

    Hi, Bix--

    For the people who need to restrict carbohydrates (e.g., low HDL, small LDL, high triglycerides, blood sugar > 100 mg/dl), we're generally recommending that carbohydrates be reduced to <30% of calories until patterns are corrected.  

    However, in all practicality, I rarely actually tell patients to follow this guideline. Instead, I suggest a virtual elimination of wheat and other processed carbohydrates and this has worked well. Fibers therefore come from vegetables, low glycemic index fruits, oat bran, ground flaxseed, and raw nuts and seeds.      

    If serious weight loss is needed, then <50 gram carbohydrates per day yields substantial results.

  • Colette Heimowitz

    10/8/2007 5:02:00 PM |

    Hi DR Davis,
              Some clinical studies (Westman et al., American Journal of Medicine 2002; O’Brien et al., AHA Scientific Session 2002; Hickey et al., Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, 2004; Greene et al., Obesity Research, 2003) indicate that LDL levels decrease in people following a low-carbohydrate diets. Yet despite the evidence provided by science, the majority of health professionals remain skeptical of this effect. The source of this skepticism is most likely the mistaken belief that all saturated fats cause an equivalent increase in LDL levels. Such a sweeping judgment, however, ignores a significant difference between distinct subtypes of saturated fatty acids (SFA). They include the following:

    1. Lauric acid (C12:0) – this is the most atherogenic SFA, i.e. it increases LDL more than any other SFA
    2. Myristic acid (C14:0) – this SFA is the second most atherogenic
    3. Palmitic acid (C16:0) – this SFA is the third most atherogenic
    4. Stearic acid  (C18:0) – this SFA has no effect on blood LDL, i.e. it is considered “neutral”

              Foods like red meat, butter, cheese, poultry, eggs, pork and fish are primarily composed of palmitic and stearic SFAs (typically in a 3-4:1 ratio) and contain minor amounts of lauric or myristic acids. Such a composition of SFAs would typically cause either a minor net increase or net lack of effect on total LDL levels. Yet one may ask, if a minor net increase in LDL levels is possible, then how does consuming such foods, cooked in heart healthy vegetable oils as part of a low-carbohydrate diet, lead to a reduction in LDL levels for some people?

              Firstly, it is important to note that the primary oils utilized in the ANA include olive, safflower, flaxseed, and canola oils which are rich in unsaturated fats and exert a potent reduction in LDL levels. Secondly, and more importantly, individuals who switch to a low-carb diet from a typical Western diet minimize consumption of hydrogenated oils, i.e. trans fats, found in high-carb processed food items. Since trans fats are the most atherogenic dietary fats, by increasing LDL and simultaneously decreasing HDL, it is easy to see how a low-carbohydrate diet may decrease LDL levels by this fact alone. In effect, people switching from a high-carbohydrate to a low-carbohydrate diet must, by default, consume the majority of calories from whole foods, thereby avoiding consumption of trans fats typically found in carbohydrate-rich, processed foods.

              Lastly, a reduction in LDL levels from a low-carbohydrate diet may also occur as a result of the reduction in triglyceride levels observed in the overwhelming majority of studies on low-carb diets. As triglyceride levels serve as a proxy measurement for VLDL levels, when triglycerides decrease, the VLDL size and/or particle number may decrease as well. As VLDL can be converted to LDL (following triglyceride delivery to body tissues by VLDL), it is easy to see that a reduction in triglyceride levels, and thereby VLDL, can lead to reduction in net synthesis of LDL in the blood which leads to a net reduction in total LDL levels. One further fact needs mention here. High carbohydrate consumption is known to cause an increase in triglyceride levels. Given the biochemical conversion mechanism mentioned above, this may explain why LDL levels increase on such a diet. In short, high-carb diets may be dangerous to ones cardiovascular health.

              In closing, given the enormous complexities of human metabolism, it is difficult to determine a priori who will experience a reduction in LDL levels as this effect is dependent on numerous factors that are not easily measured (previous dietary habits, genetic factors, overall lifestyle, etc). Nonetheless, known and demonstrated scientific facts reveal that it is not counterintuitive nor misleading to expect that in some individuals LDL levels may decrease in a low-carbohydrate dietary regimen.

    Great converstaion, thank you for this opportunity.
    Colette Heimowitz

  • Jimmy Moore

    10/8/2007 6:57:00 PM |

    Hey wccaguy,

    THANKS for your very kind comments!  When it comes to marketing labels on so-called "low-carb" products, my advice would be to be smart about what's right for YOU!

    The Ezekiel bread question is a good one and I've heard it regarding the Atkins Nutritionals bars and Dreamfields pasta most often.  It really will depend on the individual and how it impacts YOU!

    Personally, Atkins bars don't bother my weight and Dreamfields does not raise my blood sugars.  But there are "missing" carbs in both of those products just like there are in the Ezekiel bread.

    One good thing I like about the Ezekiel breads is the fact that they are all-natural, sprouted sources.  But I agree with Dr. Davis that the carb counts in these breads are MUCH too high.

    I prefer the low-carb breads from the Francis Simun Bakery in Dallas, TX.  They are the best low-carb breads I've ever tasted and only have a couple of net carbs per slice after you subtract the dietary fiber.

    Excellent question!  Feel free to contact me anytime at livinlowcarbman@charter.net.

  • Dr. Davis

    10/8/2007 10:53:00 PM |

    Hi, Colette--

    Wow! Well said! Very helpful discussion of the differing saturated fatty acid effects on LDL.

    Yes, I agree. I've seen many people reduce LDL particle number and small LDL, as well as triglycerides and VLDL, by reducing carbohydrates.

  • Stan

    10/9/2007 4:57:00 AM |

    Fascinating discussion!

    I have a message for jpatti:

    If you change your proportions of macronutrients closer towards the following (in g per kg of ideal body weight per day):

    Protein 1 g/kg,

    Fat 1.5-3.5 g/kg, (mostly animal fat including whatever beef or pork fat comes handy including corn or wheat-fed cattle as well; please be not afraid of saturated fat, if such fat hurt I would be dead long ago!)

    Carbohydrates 0.5-0.8g/kg,

    - your glucose control will further improve and you may be able to minimize your insulin injections, or even discontinue it if your pancreas is still producing even a little bit.

    Stan B.

  • Bad_CRC

    10/9/2007 6:46:00 AM |

    Colette,

    Can you provide a cite for your ranking of the SFAs by atherogenicity?  I have been looking for this very thing.

    Thanks

  • mrfreddy

    10/9/2007 12:32:00 PM |

    Hi there, I'm a regular reader and occaisional commenter at Jimmy Moore's blog, and since someone asked about saturated fats affects on your calcium score, just thought I'd add my experience with that very subject.

    In a word, for me at least, none. Not at all. Zero.

    I've been low carbing for five years, eating saturated fats in a very liberal fashion. Lots of beef, butter, cheese, etc. etc.

    Went to get a cholesterol test, my doc is alarmed at my LDL and total score (201 and close to 300,) I tried to explain to her that on a low carb diet, triglycerides are low, LDL will be large safe fluffy kind (btw, go see Dr. Eades blog at www.proteinpower.com for lots of excellent info on this-hey why not interview him as well?), but it went in one ear and out the other. She tried, really tried to get me to go on statins, but I refused. She then asked if I would consider a CT scan.

    Sure, why not.

    Long story short, scan results come back, ZERO calcium. Doc never mentioned statins again.

  • Bad_CRC

    10/9/2007 5:11:00 PM |

    mrfreddy,

    Good for you, but keep in mind that you're a sample of one and that a negative CAC scan doesn't prove that you're not doing serious damage to your arteries.  Especially if you're young, five years could be way too short a timeframe to see calcified coronary plaque emerge, although you may be full of soft plaque.  (Do you know your LDL is big and fluffy because you've had your lipid subfractions checked, or are you just assuming because of what you've read on the Internet?  You should also consider a carotid IMT.)  The foods you eat have been proven to cause transient endothelial dysfunction, the very sort of abnormal changes in vasodilatory capacity seen in diseased coronary arteries.  These changes are measurable and reproducible.  (See Esselstyn's Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.)

    Atherosclerosis aside, you're also skyrocketing your risk of certain cancers (esp. prostate), cardiomyopathies and arrhythmias, liver and kidney diseases, etc.  Again, no doubt your creatinine and other kidney function tests would look fine right now, but you don't see abnormal changes in these tests until the vast majority of your kidney tissue is destroyed, and at that point it doesn't come back.  I'd urge you to recognize that you're making yourself a guinea pig  and not to get too confident on the basis of a single test result.  Documentation on the dangers of high animal product consumption goes back for many decades, but we have perhaps 5-10 years' experience with Atkins and related diets, and already the results aren't good.  Atkins himself was overweight and suffered from hypertension, CAD, cardiomyopathy and CHF at the time he supposedly slipped and hit his head.

    I really wish Dr. Davis wouldn't dress down you low-carbers on his blog.  Atkins did us a favor by pointing out the dangers of refined carbs, but the fact that HFCS and white flour are toxic junk foods does not imply that butter, bacon, and cheese aren't also toxic junk foods.

  • mrfreddy

    10/9/2007 7:55:00 PM |

    bad,

    I'm not so young, I'm 51 in fact.

    It's actually amazing to me I didn't have any calcium, since I had an atrocious diet before I found low carb.

    As to the LDL, it is widely known that if your triglycerides are low, your LDL will always (well, almost always, there might be weird cases...) be the large fluffy kind. That said, yes, I did have an LDL subtype test done, and yes, it's mostly the large fluffy kind, type A pattern I think they call it. Btw, my HDL is pretty high too.

    As to the supposed dangers of a animal based diet, I'll point you towards Gary Taube's book, Good Calories Bad Calories, where he examines the sloppy science that leads to these sorts of nonsense conclusions. There's an article about it in today's NY Times Science section, you should check it out.

    As for the 5 -10 years of low carb diets, I'm not worried. We humans evolved over the past 2 million years on a diet that surely was high fat and had to have been low carb. I am hardly a guinea pig, in fact, those of you following a low fat/low sat. fat diet are the ones taking on a new, experimental, and unproven diet, when you look at it from the long view- two millon plus years versus the past 30 or 40 or so. Early results indicate your fat phobic diet - skyrocketing obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer-aren't too good.

    As to Atkins, didn't you mention something about a case of one? Anyway, I'll just say you are badly misinformed about his condition at the time of his death, and about the cause of his death.

    I'm off to enjoy some nice non-toxic grass fed beef, and some low starch vegetables smothered in non-toxic grass-fed butter.  but first I have some non-toxic grass-fed cheese as a snack...

    enjoy your tofu dude....

  • Peter

    10/9/2007 8:33:00 PM |

    mrfreddy,

    Cool calcium score. I visit here because I feel Dr Davis is a pragmatist and will do whatever is needed to drops scores. It is just possible that this could be the watershed after which saturated fat is finally recognised as the perfectly healthy human food that it is. Scores like your's will push TYP in that direction. In 20 years time, what will we think about the saturated fat phobia so prevalent today?

    Peter

  • Bad_CRC

    10/9/2007 11:57:00 PM |

    mrfreddy,

    Thanks for the book recommendation.  I hadn't heard of it (looks like it's very new), but I'll check it out.  I have read sat fat apologia in the form of Enig's Know Your Fats.

    Appeals to "man's natural diet" are pseudoscience at its worst, and I refuse to address them or base my own diet on them.  No question humans evolved as omnivores; our dentition, digestive enzymes, etc. prove it.  (Those few claiming otherwise tend to be animal rights whackos.)  Furthermore, we can be certain that grains (but also dairy, don't forget) appeared only in the last 10,000 years, refined flours, oils, and sugars in the last couple thousand, and HFCS and hydrogenated oils in the last <100.  But it's still a quantum leap to Atkins.  Nobody knows the ratio of meat to plants eaten by paleolithic man, and it's a moot point anyway because we don't know the impact on his health or longevity (although it's a safe bet he usually didn't live long enough to suffer heart attacks or prostate cancer).  So all nutritional camps are stuck working with basically post-WWII research.

    I'd recommend to you Eat To Live by Joel Fuhrman.  Among many other misconceptions, it addresses the low-carb mantra, "We tried low-fat and got obese from it."  But we didn't!  The stats show a slight reduction in fat as a % of calories over the last 30 years, along with a shift to more vegetable oils and a simultaneous large increase in total calories.  We are still eating almost as much of the animal fat and adding the trans-fat and white flour on top.

    Finally, wherein did I err about Atkins?  This was all over the press after the coroner's report was leaked to PCRM.  But if I'm wrong, please correct me.

  • mrfreddy

    10/10/2007 3:12:00 AM |

    You can research Atkins health and cause of death on your own, just don't rely on PCRM. That is just a propaganda wing of PETA, one of the most unethical and dishonest organization as I've ever heard of. Even their name is a lie. It leads you to believe their members are all doctors, but only a small fraction actually are.

    I'm familiar with Eat to Live... the only good thing I can say about it is that it is as low carb as a diet that avoids animal protein and fat can be. Which is a good thing, if you insist on being a vegetarian. But why avoid animal protein? To get the protein you need in a meal, you can eat a 12 ounce steak, or 35 cups of brocoli, hahaa. I know what I prefer. Anyway, none of the so called science the ETL crowd likes to quote stands up to any serious scrutiny.


    Low carb diets, including Atkins, are about as close as we can get, or need to get IMHO, to a true paleo diet. The important thing is to keep sugar and starch out of the diet. as this wasn't present during most of our evolution. It makes sense-our bodies evolved to deal with fats and proteins, we thrive on it. But we don't react very well to sugar. Of course, it's a good idea to supplement with Omega 3, and to eat grass fed as much as you can.

    It all boils down to the question of whether or not saturated fats are bad for you. When you look at the origins of that idea, and take an objective look at the science behind that idea, it falls apart. That, and given the likelihood that our ancestors probably ate as much of the rich fatty animal parts they could get their hands on, should tell you something.

    Here's a couple of other facts for you to ponder. If you don't eat enough saturated fats, and you aat a lot of carbs, guess what your body turns those carbs into? Yup, good old saturated fats. If it's so harmful, why does the body make it?

    Also, I've read that mothers milk can contain a lot of saturated fats.

    I realize I'll never convince you, but give the Taubes book a go, and try to be objective about it. You may find yourself tucking into a juicy ribeye someday soon without a shred of guilt.

  • Science4u1959

    10/10/2007 8:36:00 AM |

    Hi badCRC,

    You wrote: "But if I'm wrong, please correct me.". Where do you want me to start? Much of what you said is as "bad" as the Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) on your computer, I am afraid.

    I read what you wrote in response to mr.Freddy. For starters, Mary Enig, PhD is one of the premier lipid specialists. I hardly would call her writings and experience "sat fat apologia". She is the one that can be credited for our current (after decades of fighting for it) understanding of the many dangers of the man-made, engineered fats called trans-fats. Not exactly the work of a delusional person or apologist.

    Second, your assessment of the statistics regarding total fat consumption is seriously flawed. First, you base it on epidemiological "evidence" which is nothing but number crunching games that can, basically, be used to prove that the moon is made out of green cheese. The fact is that there is not a single piece of scientific evidence proving beyond reasonable doubt that (saturated) fat consumption in itself is detrimental to health. What IS there, is again epidemiological number games. But association doesn't prove causation. There are simply no tightly controlled, randomized clinical studies proving this.

    Third, you point to the solution in your answer. White flour, sugar, starch, and overconsumption of Omega-6 vegetable oils are the culprit. Not saturated fat which has shown to be, at worst, health-neutral. Not to mention the vast amount of clinical, tightly controlled studies that show an abundance of evidence for the many health benefits of, for example, tropical virgin coconut oils - a "super-saturated" fat.

    Fourth, you are definitely wrong to dismiss the brilliant work of the many (especially early) anthropologists, researchers and scientists that studied (and still study) real populations under real-life circumstances. Without exception they all reported that these "primitive" peoples were in excellent, vibrant health and showed none of the many ailments and illnesses we "modern" idiots suffer from. Only when "civilized" CRAP (Cereals Refined And Processed) was introduced, including, of course, sugars in it's many (also hidden) forms, health would decline and suffer.

    Finally, you are completely off the mark on Dr. Atkins death. That despicable group called PCRM you are referring to is nothing else than a bunch of wild-eyed ultra-low-fat anti-meat (vegetarian) fanatics that will do anything, say anything, and distort any truth or half-truth to get their dietary delusions exposed by the media - that same media that is always willing and ready to do anything to sell more newspapers. This PCRM and associated violent terror groups(!) like PETA have been earmarked by the FBI as a terrorist organization and many of it members (including the director) have been prosecuted and convicted. The fact is that AFTER his untimely death dr. Atkins showed a higher weight - which is completely normal as a result of fluid retention as organs shut down, one by one. Do some research (and find out the real facts!) before you believe PCRM propaganda and other nonsense. Trust me, you could not be more wrong on this one.

  • jpatti

    10/10/2007 2:02:00 PM |

    Peter said he visits here because Dr Davis is a pragmatist and will do whatever is needed to drops scores.  Me too.  A heart scan is unlikely to give me useful info because of the bypass, but it is AWESOME to know what has actually been shown to work in live patients wrt actual measurements of coronary disease.  I've not seen anything like it anywhere.

    I mentioned previously I've been low-carbing for a very long time before my pancreas was damaged.  I know about low-carb.  Unfortunately, I know about piles of mozzarella and pepperoni melted on a low-carb tortilla as a "pizza" and lots of other low-carb junk food.  Low-carb is a good start, but it's not the whole thing.

    You can do any diet unhealthily.  Living on low-carb "bars" and sugar-free candy isn't much healthier than doing low-fat by eating Snackwells; reminds me of vegetarians that live on chips and french fries.  

    Macronutrients are only part of the picture.  IME, we have ignored the importance of micronutrients.  This is why I like the fat from pasture-raised meat and dairy.  And this is why I *now* eat up to 10 servings of veggies per day, and a couple servings of fruit as well, which I did not do prior to the heart attack.

    I reread the diet chapter in TYP last night.  I agree with more than 90% of it.  In fact, I suspect the disagreement on the topic of saturated fat is much less important to overall health than the huge emphasis on vegetables.  We need this stuff - and we don't yet know half of why we need it.  The emphasis on unprocessed food is also very, very important.  

    There's minor points I disagree with Dr. Davis on wrt to diet - most having to do with fats.  And I don't see why anyone should eat nasty soy protein powder when there's lovely milk and whey protein powders!  But I agree MUCH further than I disagree.  Nearly everyone, whether eating low-carb, low-fat, or just the typical American diet, would be doing better to follow Dr. D's diet.  

    I am of the opinion that if more than half the food on your plate at each meal is vegetables, it's much less important whether it's lowfat cheese or pasture-raised fullfat cheese melted over it.

    It's a *good* choice to use 2 eggs in an omelet instead of 3, to cut the cream cheese in the middle in half, and to make up the difference with an artichoke or quarter head of butterhead.  But it's not because it cuts fat, rather because it adds veggies.  

    There's a certain amount of focus on macronutrients which implies that's the primary difference in our diets.  But my diet has more in common with a low-fat veggie eater than it does with many low-carb folks.  The type of dressing that tops a salad is much less significant than eating salads daily.

  • Anonymous

    10/10/2007 3:45:00 PM |

    I'm a long-time reader of this blog but seldom contribute.  This thread must be a record for Dr Davis.  The last few commenters reminded me that extremists exist in both sides of the lowfat discussion. And I tend to disbelieve extremists for no other reason than they're extremists.  

    Another lowcarb site recently published a study of what wild monkeys eat.  This is worthwhile because early man would have evolved eating the same way.  It showed wild monkeys eat a lot of fruit during the summer months, turning excess sugar into fat.  During the winter months they burned that fat.  Overall monkeys eat a varied diet of fruits, nuts and bugs.  No saturated fat, I assume.  Meaning no butter, no steak...  It suggests that although we can live on saturated fats, that just means we can adapt to digest just about anything, not that it's the best longterm diet.  

    I eat a lot of lean meats, vegetables, nuts and fruits.  Very little wheat, as Dr Davis recommends.  I'm 51, my resting pulse is 50, my BP is 105/55.  It may be healthy but a "juicy steak" is something I find repugnant.

  • mrfreddy

    10/10/2007 4:30:00 PM |

    Annonymous,

    you should understand something about human evolution. We came from pre-human creatures that yes, ate a mostly vegetarian, monkey like diet. Over a very long stretch of time, we ate more and more meat, making it possible for us to develop bigger brains and smaller stomachs. We needed an energy dense food to do that. Meat is that energy dense food. Fats in particular.

    I'm no expert, but my understanding is that because monkeys still have the big stomachs and small brains, they need to eat all day long to get enough nutrition out of what they eat. Mostly vegetation, but they do eat some meat (even other monkeys!) and bugs.

  • Bad_CRC

    10/10/2007 5:56:00 PM |

    I'll remain civil here and just point out that a sneering tone and ad hominems won't save your life or mine.

    I don't trust PCRM either, so here's the coroner's report on Atkins, indicating a history of MI, CHF, etc.:

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/atkinsmed4.html

    (Surely you're not arguing that the coroner had an animal rights agenda?)  I realize Atkins swelled with fluid; I'm referring to his weight at admission to the hospital: just shy of 200 lbs.  At his height, 6'0", that's a BMI of 27 -- significantly overweight.  If you had read Fuhrman, you would know that (although there are better measures than BMI) the true ideal weight for longevity is much lower than the CDC/WHO arbitrary cutoff of 25.

    It's interesting that you Weston Price people dismiss all epidemiological studies out of hand, yet gush over the "brilliant work" of the early anthropologists -- Price himself, presumably -- which was just an informal version of the same thing, without statistical controls.  Stopping on a tropical island for a few days to snap pictures of the natives' teeth is good science, but peer-reviewed multiple regression analysis on thousands of subjects in different countries is junk science, moon made of cheese, etc.  Could it be special pleading because those studies aren't finding the results you like?  Anyway, there's a small sample at the bottom of this blurb from Fuhrman:

    http://drfuhrman.com/library/article2.aspx

    ... and for the rest, I'll just refer you to the many hundreds of citations in his book (which also addresses your misconception about protein requirements).

    Still not good enough, you say.  You want "objective science" proving the danger of sat fat.  Did you miss the reference to Esselstyn in my original post?  You can measure the damage inflicted on your arteries by animal fat using brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD).

    If you're not familiar with this test, they take an ultrasonic measurement of the diameter of the subject's brachial artery at a spot on the forearm, then wrap a BP cuff around the upper arm and inflate it to crazy pressures, like 300 mmHg, for five minutes (ouch).  Then they release the cuff and repeat the measurement over time.  At first the artery is much narrower.  In subjects with normal endothelial function, the artery soon gets much bigger in diameter than when it started.  This is called "compensatory dilation" and is caused by the inner layer of arterial tissue, the endothelium, secreting nitric oxide, your natural vasodilator.  It's the same mechanism your body uses e.g. to swell the coronaries in response to increased oxygen demand by the heart.  In subjects with dysfunctional endothelium (e.g., because of atherosclerosis), the artery doesn't dilate like it should.

    Interestingly, you can induce that same dysfunction by feeding the subject a high-fat meal.  They fed a test group a 900-cal breakfast rich in animal fat (Sausage McMuffin meal, IIRC) and a control group a 900-cal low/no-fat breakfast (mostly shredded wheat, again IIRC) and found normal dilation in the controls but severely inhibited dilation in the high-fat group for several hours after eating.

    I won't repeat this again; read the book.

    Finally, as big an issue as sat fat is, you're wrong to think that it boils down to that.  The larger issue is nutrient density -- the fact that animal products (along with refined grains and oils) are rich in energy (calories) and deficient in carotenoids, flavonoids, organosulfides, etc., and hundreds of other protective micronutrients still undiscovered in fruits and vegetables.

  • mrfreddy

    10/11/2007 12:45:00 PM |

    howdy again MR. Bad,

    sorry if I was sneering, just get carried away sometimes!

    about that coroner's report-do you know how coroner's reports get filled out? Some guy in a coroner's office, who isn't familiar at all with a patient's history, scribbles something on a piece of paper. Yes Dr. Atkins did have heart issues, but his claim was that it wasn't related to his diet. I personally don't know, and you don't either.

    And yes, he was slightly overweight, as are a lot of folks who follow his advice to not worry about calories, just cut the carbs. That only gets you so far. That's why I stopped "doing Atkins" a long time ago. I still low carb-he got that part right.

    Do you know how that coroner's report got  into the public's eye? Your nasty and unethical PCRM folks obtained it illegally and distributed it, that's how. Because, in their view,it's a usefull piece of propaganda.

    I believe you said something earlier about a study of 1 doesn't mean much. I agree. So enough about Dr. Atkins.

    About Dr. Furhman, he's gotta do more than list a load of references. You need to make an objective, scientific analysis of those studies, and of ALL the relevant studies. You can't start with a conclusion already in mind-animal fats are bad-and find all the studies that support that notion, or seem to. That is sloppy science. That's what Taube's book is about.And I guarantee you that is what Furhman has done. He is ignoring all the evidence - and it is growing bigger all the time - that animal protein and fats are not the problem, but it's excessive carbs/starch/sugar.

    Speaking of sloppy science, the study you mentioned is a fine example. A McDonald's sausage McMuffin? Oh puh-leaze. Do you know how many carbs are in that thing? Not to mention trans-fats?

    And yes, I always eat lots of vegetables and fruit. Right next to my steak and with butter (on the vegetables, not the fruit! Although, buttered blueberries? hmm, might be better than it sounds...)

  • Peter

    10/11/2007 12:51:00 PM |

    bad_cr

    You've missed out in your reading somewhat, check this link

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=12064344&ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSuml

    before you bet your life on those mysterious undiscovered

    "hundreds of other protective micronutrients still undiscovered in fruits and vegetables"

    which you believe in.

    Here is the last line of the abstract from the above citation:

    The overall effect of the 10-week period without dietary fruits and vegetables was a decrease in oxidative damage to DNA, blood proteins, and plasma lipids, concomitantly with marked changes in antioxidative defence.

    Please note the word decreased.

    I do have the full text, which is interesting but irrelevant to anyone fully committed to herbivory.

    Personally I'm more impressed by a EBCT score of zero than the advice to read Fuhrman's book.

    Peter

    PS here are the comments from one of the main funders of this vegetable wash out study:

    "The study has been carried out with financial support in part from a Danish Food Technology grant (FØTEK2, ‘Antioxidants from plants’) and in part from the Commission of the European Communities, Agriculture and Fisheries (FAIR) specific RTD programme, CT 95-0158 ‘Natural Antioxidants from Foods’. It does not necessarily reflect its views and in no way anticipates the Commission’s future policy in this area"

    I doubt it will affect your future policy either.  However, I genuinely wish you luck. You may need it.

  • Peter

    10/11/2007 3:18:00 PM |

    Sorry the link got chopped, the paper is

    Green tea extract only affects markers of oxidative status postprandially: lasting antioxidant effect of flavonoid-free diet.

    Young et al Br J Nutr. 2002 Apr;87(4):343-55

    Enjoy

    Peter

  • mrfreddy

    10/11/2007 3:44:00 PM |

    bad,

    If you and Dr. F. and the PCRM are right about saturated fats, how do you explain EACH of the following:

    1) Native populations who ate animal protein/fat almost exclusively (Inuit, Masai, etc.)did not have heart disease. No cancer either. No diabetes. If saturated fat alone was the boogey man you think it is, this simply could not be possible. Clearly other factors are involved.

    2) Your own body makes saturated fat when you don't eat enough of it.

    3) Mothers milk contains saturated fat. A lot of it.

    4) Human evolution. How could we have gotten to the point we're at now, if animal protein/fat was really so dangerous?

    5) Our bodies have numerous mechanisms/hormones, etc. to RAISE blood sugar. Only one, insulin, to lower it.

    6) Test after test of a true low carb diet have shown that the diet improves cholesterol, particularly in regards to reducing the only really meaningful part of cholesterol numbers, low density, small LDL particles. These are dangerous because they are small enough to penetrate cell walls and form plaque. Low carb diets have been proven, again and again, to reduce their presence. High carb diets do the opposite.

    Given all that, I think I'll continue to eat the diet that my body seems to be designed (exquistly so I might add) to eat.

  • mrfreddy

    10/11/2007 4:43:00 PM |

    Baddie my pal,

    About that sausage mcmuffin study, take a look at what Dr. Eades has to say about that one:

    http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/?p=144

    Here's my condensed version:

    The "researchers" only reported on a SUBGROUP,ie a MINORITY, of the subjects of the study-they IGNORED the majority of subjects who didn't give them the response they were looking for.

    In reality, most of the subjects involved in the test actually had improved "arterial compliance" on the ridiculous high fat high carb" meal.

    This is a classic example of truly sloppy science.

    Here's a little quote from Dr. Eades.

    So, actually, a majority of the subjects had improvement in arterial compliance with the high-fat diet as compared to the high-carbohydrate diet. But our researchers remained undeterred by these facts as they went on throughout the rest of the paper describing all the negative findings in the minority of subjects who responded negatively to what could only be described as a horrendous meal by anyone’s standards (except executives of McDonald’s, I suppose).

  • Bad_CRC

    10/11/2007 6:39:00 PM |

    Thanks for the amicable responses.

    mrfreddy,
    I don't remember for sure if it was a McD's breakfast.  It wasn't the carbs, because the control group meal was loaded with what you and I would agree are junk carbs (shredded wheat).  Could have been the trans fats, but there were several experiments, and the same results were demonstrated with other high-fat meals -- including the beloved extra-virgin olive oil.  Again, this was Esselstyn, not Fuhrman.

    I should make that distinction clear:

    Esselstyn:
    - afraid of all fats, plant or animal; strictly vegan, <10% fat by calories; allows unlimited whole grains
    - cured advanced CAD in a small group of subjects using this diet
    - member of PCRM

    Fuhrman:
    - not affiliated with PCRM (AFAIK)
    - allows animal products for up to 10% of calories; nutrient density, not avoidance of specific foods, is the point; most "vegan" diets are horrible
    - much harder on refined carbs than animal foods; whole grains allowed in moderation, but totally unnecessary and harmful for certain individuals
    - fats from whole plants are beneficial; optimal diet varies somewhat by individual, and may be anywhere from 10% to 40%+ fat

    Now to your points:
    1. Inuit, at least, still have worse longevity than even fat Americans.  (See http://www.itk.ca/media/backgrounder-health.php)  Almost any traditional diet seems to be better than McMuffins, soda, and Twinkies (surprise).  But what's optimal?  The populations with the highest proportion of centenarians (Okinawans, Abkhazians, Vilcabambans, etc.) all eat diets almost entirely of whole plants.  None are strictly vegan.

    2. Irrelevant.  How much glucose do you eat?

    3. I thought human milk fat was mostly medium-chain triglycerides, not the atherogenic long-chain SFAs; I'll have to read Mary Enig again.  Human milk is also 42% sugar (lactose) and only 7% protein by calories!  (http://www.disknet.com/indiana_biolab/b120a.htm)  Nobody disputes that babies' dietary needs are different from adults'.  What's your point?

    4. Evolution only needs you to live to about 30, so I don't see how this is relevant.  Natural selection wouldn't have selected out smokers, either.

    5. I don't get what you're saying here.  Clearly, for most of our evolutionary history our overriding concern was getting enough calories from any source.  All these appeals to "evolution" are conjectural BS.  What do comparative and epidemiological studies show to be optimal for health and longevity?  That's the question.

    6. Fuhrman addresses this.  Yes, starting from the toxic American diet, low-carbing causes (rarely maintained) weight loss and, consequently, improved lipid profile, insulin response, etc.

    The absence of clinically apparent disease (right now) isn't the same thing as good health.

    Peter,
    Your PubMed link got truncated.  Please try again or post the title and abstract.  I am very interested in reading this very counterintuitive-sounding study.  (Even the most diehard low-carber usually doesn't argue that veggies are bad for you?)

  • Bix

    10/12/2007 12:19:00 PM |

    Interesting comments.  (I got a lot of ideas for my reading list!)

    Dr. D, thank you for your response.

    Curious - If we remove the argument of whether saturated fat is good or bad ... is there an opinion of whether meat protein is good or bad?  I'm wondering about the hormones, the iron, the amines, the bacteria, etc.

  • mrfreddy

    10/12/2007 2:02:00 PM |

    Bad bad,

    responding to your responses..

    Now to your points:
    1. Inuit, at least, still have worse longevity than even fat Americans. (See http://www.itk.ca/media/backgrounder-health.php) Almost any traditional diet seems to be better than McMuffins, soda, and Twinkies (surprise). But what's optimal? The populations with the highest proportion of centenarians (Okinawans, Abkhazians, Vilcabambans, etc.) all eat diets almost entirely of whole plants. None are strictly vegan.


    Noone knows what caueses these populations to live longer. This is data chery picking at it's best.

    2. Irrelevant. How much glucose do you eat?

    haha, got a chuckle here. you actually have a good point... the body makes sugar from protein, to provide the glucosse the body needs. However, sugar, or glucose, is only used in very very small amounts, for just a few places in your body. My understanding is that sat. fats are a critical building block for all cells throughout the body.

    3. I thought human milk fat was mostly medium-chain triglycerides, not the atherogenic long-chain SFAs; I'll have to read Mary Enig again. Human milk is also 42% sugar (lactose) and only 7% protein by calories! (http://www.disknet.com/indiana_biolab/b120a.htm) Nobody disputes that babies' dietary needs are different from adults'. What's your point?

    Point is, if nature provides it, how can it be dangerous? It supports the notion that saturated fats are beneficial, even needed, by our bodies.  as for human breast milk, I think it's content varies a lot, even on the same day. I've seen all sorts of descriptions of what's in it, none of which agree with the other. But it does include lots of protein, and saturated fats.

    4. Evolution only needs you to live to about 30, so I don't see how this is relevant. Natural selection wouldn't have selected out smokers, either.

    If you want to disregard the fact that your body evolved over millions of years to thrive on a diet of meat and fat, because early humans tended to die early (no doctors, medicine, plumbing, not to mention nearby tribes and beasties that want to kill you....), well, I don't know what to tell you.

    5. I don't get what you're saying here. Clearly, for most of our evolutionary history our overriding concern was getting enough calories from any source. All these appeals to "evolution" are conjectural BS. What do comparative and epidemiological studies show to be optimal for health and longevity? That's the question.

    comparative epidemicologial studies are the height of BS. Read Taubes.

    6. Fuhrman addresses this. Yes, starting from the toxic American diet, low-carbing causes (rarely maintained) weight loss and, consequently, improved lipid profile, insulin response, etc.

    I would say that a low carb diet is helluva lot easier to stick to and maintain that Dr. Furhman's diet. I've been on it five years plus. I stick to it because it satisfies, really satisfies, to the core. In a way that Dr. F's rabbit food could never satisfy.

    There are thousands on the low carb forums that have maintained quite easily.

    I would also say that any given low carber's lipid profile is better than it would be on Furhman's diet. It' the triglycerides number that really counts. While his diet is a low sugar as it can be for a mostly vegetarian diet, it still delivers a lot of sugar to the body.

    what's your triglyceride count, btw? I think mine was 60 or so, but I'd have to look it up to be sure. If your's is under 100, I'd be suprised.

    The absence of clinically apparent disease (right now) isn't the same thing as good health.

    Only if we accept your definition of "good health". I'll take very low small LDL, zero calcium, and the fact that I rarely get sick (I've only had two or three colds in the past five years, in spite of the fact that I work in close proximity with folks who are coughing and hacking away, not to mention my carb loving gf who gets two or three colds a year...)

    I'm waiting patiently for your response to Dr. Eades on your silly Sausage McMuffin study. Particulary the point that the researchers only found the adverse reaction in a small minority of subjects, that most of them reacted better to the horrendous high fat/high carb meal. This is pure junk science.

  • Peter

    10/12/2007 10:59:00 PM |

    The reference for the intervention trial is here. NB this was NOT a low carb study.

    Youmg et al  Br J Nutr. 2002 Apr;87(4):343-55 Green tea extract only affects markers of oxidative status postprandially: lasting antioxidant effect of flavonoid-free diet.

    Some idea of how plant consumption produces sustained antioxidant effects is given here, thank goodness for uric acid:

    Lotito SB and Frei B (2006) Consumption of flavonoid-rich foods and increased plasma antioxidant capacity in humans: cause, consequence, or epiphenomenon? Free Radic Biol Med. 2006 Dec 15;41(12):1727-46

    A very much weaker observational study "associating" antioxidants with DNA damage (but it's as valid/invalid as those associating red meat with cancer) is this one:

    Watters JL et al (2007)  Associations of antioxidant nutrients and oxidative DNA damage in healthy African-American and White adults. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007 Jul;16(7):1428-36

    I have only the abstract for that study but here's the punchline:

    "African-Americans had statistically significantly lower plasma concentrations of vitamin E, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and lutein + zeaxanthin than Whites, as well as lower self-reported intake of most antioxidants. Levels of oxidative DNA damage, measured using the alkaline comet assay, were lower in African-Americans than Whites."

    I make no specific suggestion that eating plants is bad for you, other than the vast array of poisons they have evolved to combat herbivores, more that there are publications you should consider. In the words of Eeyore "Think of all the options... before you settle down to enjoy yourselves"  A.A. Milne (1928) The House at Pooh Corner. Methuen & Co. Great Britain p96.

    Peter

  • Bad_CRC

    10/13/2007 6:01:00 AM |

    mrfreddy,
    Forgot to respond to the Eades rebuttal...  Actually, the paper Eades attacks isn't one of the ones Esselstyn cites, which are:

    Robert A. Vogel, Clinical Cardiology, June 1999: "Brachial Artery Ultrasound: A Noninvasive Tool in the Assessment of Triglyceride-Rich Lipoproteins."
    http://grande.nal.usda.gov/ibids/index.php?mode2=detail&origin=ibids_references&therow=407824

    Note: In the book he doesn't mention McDonald's; I think it was in the video talk on his website: http://www.heartattackproof.com/media.htm

    ... and the olive oil one:
    R. Vogel, M. Corretti, and G. Plotnick, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2000: "The Postprandial Effect of Components of the Mediterranean Diet on Endothelial Dysfunction."
    http://content.onlinejacc.org/cgi/content/abstract/36/5/1455

    Anyway, I read the abstract and I say Eades is attacking a straw man.  They didn't just slice off the bottom tail of the curve and conclude circularly that some people react badly to McMuffins.  They showed that, in that subgroup of "fat reactors" (and only in that group), the endothelial dysfunction correlated with markers of insulin resistance, including baseline TG, glucose, and insulin, and peak postprandial TG.  I think the article was badly titled; their real conclusion seems to be this sentence: Normal weight young subjects with an insulin resistance phenotype show significantly decreased vascular compliance, increased postprandial TG peaks, and markedly reduced plasma nitric oxide metabolites after a high-fat meal.

    Given what we know about the importance of NO-mediated vasodilation, these studies are hardly junk science.  Still, Esselstyn definitely implies that everybody will exhibit that same set of responses.  In reading the two Vogel abstracts, nothing jumps out at me that contradicts that, but the Blendea article certainly suggests that it's not that simple.  Geez, this is complicated enough even assuming everybody is intellectually honest.  Thanks for that link.

    Peter,
    I'll have to look over these.  I am aware that a lot of the nifty antioxidant effects seen in vitro turned out not to work in vivo.  I will say that Fuhrman doesn't overemphasize "antioxidants" in touting the many benefits of veggies.  Anyway, I picked up Taubes' book today and am plowing through it.

  • Rick

    10/24/2007 9:45:00 PM |

    Dr Davis said:

    "At this point, I truly don't know. I thought I knew. I have to admit that the entire conversation has to, at least, raise some doubts."

    It's statements like this that set Dr. Davis and this blog apart.  He is willing to look at the data and follow it wherever it leads, even if it might mean letting go of a long standing belief.

    Thank you, Dr. Davis, providing such valuable information.

  • Anonymous

    11/2/2007 5:10:00 PM |

    I asked my doc for advanced lipid profiling and she says the jury is still out on this, I asked for a repeat calcium score test, I have to pay for it myself $400 as she says they don't know how accurate it is.or whats the info useful for??

    I take Lipitor 10mg a day and would love to get off it as reviews for women and lipitor are not good, I eat low carb, am off insulin, down 80 lbs and have good labs results. My last calcium score was 183 in 2004 and would like to see if it is down is it worth me pushing her to order these tests??

    Actually thats a dumb question to ask here, I read your book Dr D, great, but I don't eat grains as need a shot of insulin to do so, and I do use some sat fats, not allot but some cream in a coffee once a day and some butter on vegs,  try to keep under 20 gr a day.

  • Anonymous

    11/3/2007 1:11:00 AM |

    I think you already know what I think: I have no hesitation whatsoever in suggesting that repeat CT heart scans, especially after a 3 year interval provide INVALUABLE feedback on your program. Also, have you addressed vitamin D?

  • Anonymous

    11/3/2007 12:39:00 PM |

    Hi, yes I am going next week to ask again for the calcium score as just switched Dr. I use Vit D 1000 u a day.

  • ET

    5/4/2009 1:24:00 PM |

    For the last 5 years I've focused on raising my HDL, both with diet and immediate-release niacin. By eating a moderate fat (38%) diet rich in polyunsaturates and low in saturated fats and taking 4g niacin daily I was able to raise my HDL from 32 to 44.  After reading Gary Taube's book, I decided to transition to a high fat (60%), low carb (7%), approach and also increased by saturated fat intake (31% of calories) that contained significant amounts of coconut oil.  My LDL increased by 4 points while my HDL skyrocketed up to 71!  Polyunsaturated fats now account for only 6% of calories.  BTW, my triglycerides also dropped significantly.

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The Marshall Protocol and other fairy tales

The Marshall Protocol and other fairy tales

True to form, Dr. John Cannell has published yet another wonderfully insightful Vitamin D Newsletter.

One item caught my eye, a response to a question about the Marshall Protocol. I, like Dr. Cannell, was inundated with questions about this so-called protocol, which amounts to little more than the unfounded speculations of a non-physician, actually someone not even involved in health care.

In all honesty, I blew the whole issue off after I read Dr. Marshall's rants. They smack of pure quackery, though from somebody who clearly has a command of scientific lingo. To Dr. Cannell's credit, he took the time and effort to construct a rational response in the latest issue of the newsletter. I reproduce his response here:



Dear Dr. Cannell:

I understand Dr. Marshall conducted a study and found vitamin D is bad for you. What kind of study did he do?

Mary, Minneapolis, Minnesota


Dear Mary:

I have been inundated with letters asking about Professor Marshall's recent "discovery." Some have written that to say they have stopped their vitamin D and are going to avoid the sun in order to begin the "Marshall protocol." The immediate cause of this angst is two publications, a press article in Science Daily about Professor Marshall's "study" (which is no study but simply an opinion) in BioEssays. Dr. Trevor Marshall has two degrees, both in electrical engineering. Before I begin, I want to again remind you that I am a psychiatrist who works at a state mental hospital. In my duty to full disclosure, I must say that I have known a lot of psychiatrists in my life and a few electrical engineers. If I knew nothing else of a disagreement between two people but their professions, I would believe the electrical engineer, not the psychiatrist.

In reading his two articles, Dr. Marshall's main hypotheses are simple. (1) Vitamin D from sunlight is different than vitamin D from supplements. (2) Vitamin D is immunosuppressive and the low blood levels of vitamin D found in many chronic diseases are the result of the disease and not the cause. (3) Taking vitamin D will harm you, that is, vitamin D will make many diseases worse, not better. If you read his blog, you discover that the essence of the Marshall protocol is: "An angiotensin II receptor blocker medication, Benicar, is taken, and sunlight, bright lights and foods and supplements with vitamin D are diligently avoided. This enables the body's immune system, with the help of small doses of antibiotics, to destroy the intracellular bacteria. It can take approximately one to three years to destroy all the bacteria." That is, Dr. Marshall has his "patients" become very vitamin D deficient.

Again, Dr. Marshall conducted no experiment and published no study. He wrote an essay. He presented no evidence for his first hypothesis (sunlight's vitamin D is different than supplements). From all that we know, cholecalciferol is cholecalciferol, regardless if it is made in the skin or put in the mouth. His second hypothesis is certainly possible and that is why all scientists who do association studies warn readers that they don't know what is causing what. Certainly, when low levels of vitamin D are found in certain disease states, it is possible that the low levels are the result, and not the cause, of the disease. Take patients with severe dementia bedridden in a nursing home. At least some of their low 25(OH)D levels are likely the result of confinement and lack of outdoor activity. However, did dementia cause the low vitamin D levels or did low 25 (OH)D contribute to the dementia? One way to look at that question is to look at early dementia, before the patient is placed in a nursing home. On the first day an older patient walks into a neurology clinic, before being confined to a nursing home, what is the relationship between vitamin D levels and dementia? The answer is clear, the lower your 25(OH)D levels the worse your cognition.

Wilkins CH, Sheline YI, Roe CM, Birge SJ, Morris JC. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with low mood and worse cognitive performance in older adults. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2006 Dec;14(12):1032-40.

Przybelski RJ, Binkley NC. Is vitamin D important for preserving cognition? A positive correlation of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration with cognitive function. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2007 Apr 15;460(2):202-5. Epub 2007 Jan 8.


These studies suggest that the low 25(OH)D levels are contributing to the dementia but do not prove it. Only a randomized controlled trial will definitively answer the question, a trial that has not been done. So you will have to decide if vitamin D is good for your brain or not. Dr. Marshall seems to be saying demented patients should lower their 25(OH)D levels. Keep in mind, an entire chapter in Feldman's textbook is devoted to the ill effects low vitamin D levels have on brain function.

Brachet P, et al. Vitamin D, a neuroactive hormone: from brain development to pathological disorders. In Feldman D., Pike JW, Glorieux FH, eds. Vitamin D. San Diego : Elsevier, 2005.

It is true that in some diseases, high doses of vitamin D may be harmful. For example, in the early part of last century, the AMA specifically excluded pulmonary TB from the list of TB infections that ultraviolet light helps. They did so because many of the early pioneers of solariums reported that acutely high doses of sunlight caused some patients with severe pulmonary TB to bleed to death. Thus, these pioneers developed very conservative sun exposure regimes for pulmonary TB patients in which small areas of the skin were progressively exposed to longer and longer periods of sunlight. Using this method, sunlight helped pulmonary TB, often to the point of a cure. Furthermore, it is well known that sunlight can cause high blood calcium in patients with sarcoidosis. In fact, sarcoidosis is one of several granulomatous diseases with vitamin D hypersensitivity where the body loses its ability to regulate activated vitamin D production, causing hypercalcemia.

Cronin CC, et al. Precipitation of hypercalcaemia in sarcoidosis by foreign sun holidays: report of four cases. Postgrad Med J. 1990 Apr;66(774):307-9.

Furthermore, although medical science is not yet convinced, some common autoimmune diseases may have an infectious etiology. I recently spoke at length with a rheumatologist who suffers from swollen and painful joints whenever he sunbathes or takes high doses of vitamin D. As long as he limits his vitamin D input his joints are better. To the extent vitamin D upregulates naturally occurring antibiotics of innate immunity, sunlight or vitamin D supplements may cause the battlefield (the joints) to become hot spots. I know of no evidence this is the case but it is certainly possible.

However, If Dr. Marshall's principal hypothesis is correct, that low vitamin D levels are the result of disease, then he is saying that cancer causes low vitamin D levels, not the other way around. The problem is that Professor Joanne Lappe directly disproved that theory in a randomized controlled trial when she found that baseline vitamin D levels were strong and independent predictors of who would get cancer in the future. The lower your levels, the higher the risk. Furthermore, increasing baseline levels from 31 to 38 ng/ml reduced incident cancers by more than 60% over a four year period. Therefore, advising patients to become vitamin D deficient, as the Marshall protocol clearly does, will cause some patients to die from cancer.

Lappe JM, Travers-Gustafson D, Davies KM, Recker RR, Heaney RP. Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jun;85(6):1586-91.

I will not write again about Dr. Marshall's theories. No one in the vitamin D field takes him seriously. Personally, I admire anyone willing to swim against the tide and raise alternative theories. I have done the same with influenza and autism. However, I agree with the New York Times, An Oldie Vies for Nutrient of the Decade and Jane Brody's conclusion, "In the end, you will have to decide for yourself how much of this vital nutrient to consume each and every day and how to obtain it." I agree. You will have to decide for yourself.

John Cannell, MD
The Vitamin D Council

Comments (144) -

  • Ross

    3/31/2008 5:18:00 AM |

    I think "theory" is far too considerate a word for Mr. Marshall's speculation around Vitamin D.  He observed that there was a single condition that was exacerbated by 25(OH)D (sarcoidosis, where macrophages overproduce highly active 1,25(OH)2D from the less active 25(OH)D), and speculated that most (all?) diseases have the issue of overproduction of active Vitamin D as an underlying etiology.

    If that perverse chain of logic doesn't max out your quackery meter, little will.

    There are a very few conditions that Vitamin D will make worse (almost all were described in the excellent post above).  For just about everything else, higher levels of 25(OH)D (50-90ng/ml) will either be neutral or beneficial.

  • Anonymous

    3/31/2008 2:48:00 PM |

    Is itchy skin a side-effect of large dose vitamin D?  I'm taking betweem 2 and 4 grams per day, with fish oil.  The itchiness reminds me of when I was on doxycycline.  On days I forget to take the vit D I notice no itchiness.

  • Anonymous

    4/1/2008 9:18:00 PM |

    I've been on the MP site and read a little about it. The system is almost set up to lead everybody to believe that they have "l-form bacteria" that either does or doesn't cause symptoms. From what I can gather it sounds like he wants your 25(OD)D at 16-20ng/ml or so...and that's where we all should be naturally...uhhh? It's been proven that levels this low are symptomatic (muscle pain, weakness, etc.)...oh wait, that's the bacteria causing those symptoms, silly me. So does Marshall want us all walking around in agony with dangerously low levels? As for 1,25(OH)2D as it relates to 25(OD)D, if you're ratio is 2:1 then you have serious problems. Optimum 25(OD)D levels are about 50ng/ml and optimum 1,25(OD)2D are about 35 or so It's almost made to have everybody believe they have something wrong with them...to me it's irresponsible. Apparently some people have had success, but at what cost?

    I'm currently dealing with a D deficiency and have been trying to get better (someday I'll be able to stand in one spot without aching pain...ahh, someday). When I first learned about the MP I freaked out. I thought I was doomed and would need to take months of antibiotics. I feel the MP works off of fear myself.

  • Mo

    4/2/2008 1:40:00 PM |

    Mark London has a good article about this here: http://stuff.mit.edu/people/london/universe.htm

    To anonymous: I've read certain types of fish oil are less inferior. At the same time isn't 1-4grams of D a bit excessive (unless prescribed)?

    Low D = higher PTH, high PTH is a marker for bone loss. The reason why the MP has worked for some people is due to the fact that even mainstream physicians haven't disputed the drugs they use for many illnesses, not the D avoidance. It's my belief that Marshall hasn't tested whether the drugs work, or even work better with a D replete system.

  • Anonymous

    4/2/2008 7:24:00 PM |

    Wow, Mark London's article is exactly what I've been looking for. The MP contradicts itself in every way.

    To say that we are supposed to have low levels of Vitamin D naturally is absurd. We're meant to be in the sun.  So when we were cave dwellers we were taking in this steroid hormone at unsafe levels all of the time...evolution decided to just let it slide I guess and we survived.

    I've actually spoken to somebody on the MP and they were the ones who told me to get my D levels checked. While I'm glad I did (this is how I found out I was deficient) they wanted me to get them checked to see if I fell under the MP's guidelines as having some inflammatory response. From reading London's article it sounds like most of the population falls under the MP's guidelines, so we all must be experiencing chronic inflammation...unbelievably irresponsible.

  • Cindy Moore

    4/19/2008 12:05:00 AM |

    Thank you for posting this! I've recently been diagnosed with Palindromic Rheumatoid Arthritis, a fairly rare form of RA and on one of the support boards was directed to the Marshall Protocol site. I was amazed! And shocked!!

    Marshall's "findings" contradicts everything I've been reading about D and, like another commenter said, just doesn't make sense in looking at how we evolved!

    What concerned me about the website was the amount of dangerous information given out! Telling people to avoid going on all forms of steroids, even when having respiratory problems! And the Benicar doses he recommends? Scary! And, like anonymouse 2 said, symptoms are either caused by the bacteria running rampant (not following their protocol) or a "herx" or reaction to the protocol that shows it's working! Sorry, you can't have it both ways!  

    I do take doxycycline for my PRA, and hope it works. I'm taking it because I figure it's a reasonable and fairly safe way to try and treat this disease. But avoiding the sun and attempting to get your d levels as low as possible just doesn't make sense!

    "If I knew nothing else of a disagreement between two people but their professions, I would believe the electrical engineer, not the psychiatrist."

    This just cracked me up!!

  • Andy

    6/16/2008 1:53:00 PM |

    Gosh, I'm glad I read this! I've just been diagnosed with sarcoid, and had been looking into the MP. I'm glad that I checked the other side!

  • Anonymous

    6/23/2008 5:00:00 PM |

    Rebecca's comment,
         I've recently been diagnosed with sarcoidosis.  I have granuloma tumor involvement in lungs,heart,kidneys,liver, spleen, lymph nodes, muscle, bone and spine.  I am also an Insulin Dependant Diabetic of over 30 years with no complications at this time.  The medical profession has made it very clear that they do not understand the etiology of this disease, but that they believe that it is an auto-immune disease, such as, MS, diabetes, lupus and on and on.  So they decide to suppress the immune system with things like Methotrexate (chemo) and high dose corticosteroids (Prednisolone).  I am also a healthcare professional,  I can tell you, we are also trying to figure it out and making alot of mistakes along the way.  This treatment plan promises only to slow down the process, but is in no way curative.  And by the way, offers a higher degree of mortality for a diabetic by way of kidney failure, and enormously out of control blood sugars.
         I really get the science behind the MP, it is really exciting to me.  It contradicts the ideas of the vitamin D teachings at this time, which makes this an unpopular choice.  With Th1 inflammatory disease, there is an inflammatory cycle that eventually begins to synthesis its own Vit D.  And Vitamin D is not a vitamin at all, but a secosteroid.  It behaves like a steroid.  Too much of this may fight cancer (like chemo does), but is not good for you at high doses.  Be careful.  I know that I will be careful as I begin the Marshall Protocol.  Watch my labs closely. Keep very diligent daily graphs and notes.  By the way, this too has its dangers, but not anymore dangerous than what the accepted treatment has to offer me.

  • J. Rae

    6/26/2008 2:11:00 AM |

    Dear Dr. Davis,

    I doubt you will even publish this comment, as its the only one here that is critical of your original blog, but at least you will see it, and it is you that it is intended for.

    I am a physician myself (so I'm sure that your opinion of me has just sky-rocketed) - I was very disappointed to hear you discredit a researcher for being a non-physician. There are many reasons one could find to discredit a researcher, and this is perhaps the lamest one. Sadly, it smacks of the exact kind of physician snobbery we doctors are so often criticized for. Nice going. What's more, a brief reference to Dr. Marshall's bio revealed that he worked at Sick Children's Hospital in Toronto where he was involved in diabetes research. Thus, your claim that he is "not even" involved in health care, lacks the kind of accuracy one would expect of a physician in your position.

    I have read Trevor Marshall's claims, and I have my own questions about them. However, I would not want to be caught calling someone's ideas rants or quackery. That happened with another Dr. Marshall - the one who discovered the causative link between h. pylori and duodenal ulcers. Remember? His colleagues walked out on his presentation; years later, his "rants and quackery" earned him the Nobel Prize.

    I read Dr. Cannell's essay on Dr. Marshall, and it was immediately evident that he had not even read the protocol - I could tell this and I have read it only briefly. My understanding is that Dr. Marshall's claim is that 25-D is preferentially converted to 1-25-D in certain disease states. So Dr. Cannell's detailed defense of 25-D rather misses the mark.

    I'm not defending Dr. Marshall's claims here; I'm simply critical of your reaction to them. It is, in a word, unscientific. As a cardiologist, I very much doubt that you have to deal with patients suffering from conditions such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. If you did, you would know that there is very little that "the great men of medicine" have to offer them. In fact, the longer I am in medicine, the more frankly embarrassed I am by how little we offer patients with chronic disease.

    I intend to remain open-minded to the ideas of others - whether they are "real" doctors or not. Personally, I think science can benefit from the kind of creativity found in other fields, especially in considering approaches to conditions which continue to confound us.

    Respectfully,

    Dr. J. Rae

  • SDD

    7/1/2008 2:13:00 AM |

    Amen to that, Dr. Rae!

    I have been on the Marshall Protocol for a couple of years. I am thrilled with the progress that I have made so far and surprised how much of the Marshall Protocol makes sense to me.

    I remember reading a post on a health board written by a woman who lived in Florida. She was diagnosed with EBV and was surprised that she had a low vitamin D level. Months later, she posted again and her vitamin D levels had gone up. And guess what? She was feeling better too! So this tells me that:

    a) A low vitamin D level is not the cause, but rather a symptoms of the disease.

    OR

    b) The lab made a mistake with her blood sample.

    I believe the reason is A. I remember when my illness took a turn for the worse, I had photophobia. That tells me that I needed to avoid sunlight and it just gave me assurance that I was on the right treatment.

    Regards,

    SDD

  • Anonymous

    7/1/2008 6:07:00 PM |

    I had the same reaction as Dr. Rae.  

    I am currently on the MP for a number of reasons.  First, the theory proposed by Marshall best explains the confusing array of symptoms I've had over the years over all of the theories I've read about (diagnoses: CFS, Fibro, MCS, mild COPD, ETC.), and second, once after my body seemed to be on a natural immunological tear a number of years ago, I developed my own diet and when the 8-month long immune response finally ended, I felt 15 years younger.  My health had improved.  (Too bad I didn't get my Vit D tested at the beginning and the end of that.  No doubt, the levels would have gone up as I became healthier.)  My diet?  Almost the exact same diet of the Marshall Protocol.  Unfortunately, I allowed myself to be given steroids on a number of ocassions after that improvement (I still had chemical sensitivities so I still had a long way to go to good health, but I had my energy back and almost all of my body pain had stopped), and my illness got worse following the use of steroids and I was eventually disabled.  On top of that, I had started consuming eggs in greater number (naturally high in D) and I was once again consuming added D (in foods such as milk).

    Now, on the MP I am getting better again.  When well, I plan to avoid added D, but consume foods naturally high in D in moderation because I believe that Vit D is probably important.  We wouldn't have a VDR if there wasn't some role for Vit D--that seco-steroid--in the body.  However, I don't think it has the importance that current research is giving it.  

    Do I think Marshall is 100% right.  No.  I don't even think he thinks he has it all (he's too smart to believe that).  But I do believe if I reduce my Cell Wall Deficient bacterial load that my body will be better able to handle whatever else might be contributing to my CFS, whether that is EBV, HHV6 (I think that's the abbreviation of one of the suspect viruses), the retro-virus imbedded in the human genome that seems to be associated with CFS and MS, or PIV-5, which I think has the greatest chance of what made a bad CWD condition at my birth worse.  (PIV-5 shuts down interferon production, leading to a reduced ability to fight bacteria in the body.)

    Indeed, my belief that reducing the CWD will help comes from personal experience.  Imagine three small girls all born to mothers (war brides) within a year of receiving military vaccinations in London in order to enter the US.  All three get feral kittens from the same litter (likely PIV-5 carriers) as children and go on to develop symptoms shortly thereafter.  All three grow up to have CFS/Fibro and one dies from cancer (one of the leading causes of death of folk with CFS).  None of their older sibs born overseas or younger sibs born after them are anywhere near as sick when it comes to immune disease.  I don't think that is a coincidence.  I'd love to see a study of people born to mothers after they've received the sort of shots our mothers received (possible transmission of CWD that either piggy backed on the vaccinations or somehow increased temporarily and was exacerbated during pregnancy when 1,25D naturally elevated before the mothers' immune systems had a chance to handle the invaders).  Are we, the kids born after a series of shots like that, sicker than most as adults?  

    For me, my only hope to achieving any sort of wellness seems to be reduce the CWD load and get my immune system up and running again.

    Most of the Vit D research out there is observational and short sighted.  The elementary nature of the research is just shocking.

    Hogwash is what a lot of the criticism is that is directed at Marshall.  (Indeed, a recent study showed that half of what doctors do for their patience is not supported by research--I mean, who is practicing voodoo here?)  I'd like to see someone with experience in molecular modeling and medical research do a critque of his work.

  • Anonymous

    7/2/2008 9:52:00 PM |

    Here's a good primer on the science behind the Marshall Protocol:   http://bacteriality.com/2008/05/07/mpintro/

  • moblogs

    7/6/2008 9:54:00 AM |

    "I'd like to see someone with experience in molecular modeling and medical research do a critique of his work."

    I can't find any exact links now but I have seen comments from his fellow peers that criticize the fact they're unable to comment on the model due to him not sharing relevant data. Some others have speculated just from distant observation that the data seems erroneous. I would take him seriously if he had a peer reviewed study, not a peer review opinion, but in all the years MP has been going this still hasn't happened. I don't care for anecdotal reports from the MP study site.

  • Anonymous

    7/9/2008 4:08:00 AM |

    Believe what you wish .. I have been ill since 1992 when I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis. I was also diagnosed with Lyme. I had a lung biopsy, and later had heart surgery to correct 2 reentrant AV nodes. That said I went on the Marshall Protocol a little over 6 month ago. I can honestly say that I feel better and that I believe that the MP has helped me. I suffered for many years. My labs have dramatically improved, my mental function has improved as well and while it was not easy in the beginning, I finally have some hope for my future. What gives with the negativity on this blog ? It's obvious to me that few of the posts are informed about the MP. Put simply, before you blow off the MP as a possible treatment, read the posts for yourself from the MANY people like that have been helped at www.marshallprotocol.com.
    I am grateful that I found the Marshall Protocol.

    Matthew - Brooklyn New York

  • Derek Smalls

    8/19/2008 10:50:00 PM |

    As a former MP participant, and sarcoidosis sufferer, I can tell you that this protocol didn't work for me, and I have the skin lesion version of the disease.

    My biggest objection to Trevor Marshall is his inability to take constructive criticism or questions about his theory.

    There have been no standard double-blind studies accomplished or any follow-up initiated on failed participants like myself. If you are not 100% into this protocol, you are not wanted, or needed, as failures don't sell.

    The Marshall Protocol proctors are cult-like women that worship this man. It can be quite unsettling when they come at you like attack dogs. This is a very common occurance if you disagree with their opinions. If you question too much, you are banned from the site, try it and see.

    Additionally, very few medical community peers support this man.  The world renown sarcoidosis specialist, Dr. OM Sharma (USC), doesn't even recognize this protocol; nor do Drs. Marc Judson (U of South Carolina)and Dr. Robert Baughman (U of Cincinnati).

    If you have been recently diagnosed with sarcoidosis, stay away from the "Marshall Protocol" unless you're into cults. The three physicians I mentioned above are the best in the country-start there.

    P.S.  The only cult I like are the "Blue Oyster Cult" they rock, and they won't dammage your health.

    Thanks,

    Derek

  • James

    8/21/2008 3:18:00 AM |

    There are 3 distinct problems with the Marshall Protocol:

    1. It requires that the patient take an active role in their healthcare. It may even require you to [gasp] disagree with your doctor.

    2. It requires discipline. The patient actually has to follow the (quite simple) instructions, to the letter, every day. "Cheating" here only delays the return of your health.

    3. It requires patience. It took a long time (probably decades) before you were clinically diagnosable, and it will take several years to recover health. Those who want a quick fix and immediate gratification will have to look elsewhere. Sadly, there's nowhere else to look.

    It's because of these three issues that the average person will have problems with the Marshall Protocol. Sadly, they'll often turn around and blame their failure on the treatment, rather than their lack of motivation or discipline.

  • SHS

    8/25/2008 4:38:00 AM |

    @ Derek - I'm truly sorry to hear that the MP didn't appear to work for your sarcoid. I however, can attest that it is working very well for mine (cardiac / pulmonary). I am left wondering a) how long you were on the treatment, and b) how diligently you followed the protocol instructions. The instructions aren't difficult, but I know from experience that it requires work and some real commitment to stick with it every single day...taking Benicar every 6 hours, pulsing the antibiotics properly, etc. I'm afraid there are no shortcuts or quick fixes, as James mentions above. I'd encourage you to give it another try.
    As to Dr. Marshall taking "constructive criticism" about his theory, unless you are a highly trained molecular genomicist, I truly doubt you have anything genuinely constructive to add, and your questions are likely all answered on the site. Furthermore, if you were to challenge any of the foremost "experts" in sarcoid treatment that you cite, I daresay you'll find even less receptiveness to your input than you received on the MP site...that has certainly been my experience with the mainstream experts.
    Show me the "standard" double-blind studies that demonstrate long term efficacy of the corticosteroid treatments that your so-called experts put all their patients on. I'll save you some trouble; there aren't any. In fact, Prednisone is prescribed "off label" for Sarcoid...it's never been approved by the FDA for treating the disease. In fact, the most comprehensive study ever done on Sarcoid, the NIH's "ACCESS" study (2003), concluded that steroid treatments did not improve a patient's long term outlook one bit, and not one patient was found to go into "remission", which is a myth that persists about sarcoid, even though the clinical data doesn't support the notion.
    Your statement "If you are not 100% into [the Marshall Protocol], you are not wanted, or needed, as failures don't sell" is ridiculous...Dr. Marshall isn't selling anything to anyone, and his treatment doesn't recommend buying anything. To suggest otherwise reflects either malicious intent, or complete ignorance. The MP site is an FDA-monitored Phase II study site. They simply aren't interested in the site becoming a dumping ground for those with axes to grind.
    You are right on one count though - very few of the "experts" in the mainstream medical community support Dr. Marshall at this point. So what? The AMA has found that it takes, on average, 17 years before research findings make their way into mainstream medical practice. Remember the other guy named Marshall (no relation) that discovered that h. pylori bacteria actually caused stomach ulcers? He was ridiculed for many years, and his "expert" colleagues would walk out on his presentations at medical conferences. He later was proven correct and awarded the Nobel prize. Of course, being ridiculed doesn't automatically make one's theories correct...but by the same token, to point to a lack of concensus as proof that one's theories are incorrect is obviously absurd. The foremost experts have had lots and lots of time and money provided them to come up with their own theories...and they've produced zilch. They're the foremost experts on a disease that they freely admit they don't understand why it starts, nor how to cure it. How very impressive are those clinical records; we should all pay homage.
    Dr. Marshall himself  on the other hand, had sarcoidosis for over 35 years, researched it for over 20 years, and put his disease into remission in 2002 by following his own treatment protocol. Remember, the NIH's ACCESS Study showed that using conventional treatments, nobody went into remission during the largest sarcoid study ever conducted. Think about that for a moment. That is something worth looking at very, very closely.
    Concensus is for politics - science is always moved forward by the insight and heculean efforts of an innovator. And that innovator is historically always berated and called names by those who are most invested in not rocking the boat...note the highly professional tone of the posts that started this thread for prime examples of those who are desperately clinging to the status quo.

    - SHS in Maryland

  • Someone Who's Been There

    8/26/2008 1:03:00 AM |

    All I can say to all of you naysayers is this: The proof is in the pudding.

    After losing a precious year doing things the "tried & tested" way of mainstream medicince, I feel extremely lucky to have found my way to the Marshall Protocol -- a treatment that offers a cure rather than just masking symptoms.  After spending a year on the standard, high-dose antibiotic approach to "managing" Chronic Lyme Disease, I realized maybe a 75% improvement before starting to spiral downwards into a nice little blend of MS and Alzheimer symptoms.  Within 3 months on the MP, I had my mind and body back, surpassing that previous 75% improvement by a wide margin. This was done with relatively low doses of THE SAME antibiotics.  

    If you are afflicted with any of the so-called autoimmune illnesses, don't look to mainstream medicine -- I don't know anyone who has walked away from them cured. How many people do you know who have died on the standard treatments for Sarcoidosis, Parkinsons, MS, etc.? Do you ever see anyone actually getting better?

    As a scientist, the science of the MP just makes sense to me, and what's more: it is working -- for 100s, if not 1000s of folks, by now, with a multitude of disease labels.  How much more "proof" does anyone really need?

  • Anonymous

    9/8/2008 1:15:00 PM |

    Dr Davis,

    While I certainly can't comment on the MP itself, although having suffered from severe IBS for 20+ years, the potential of anything different that might help would be of interest, and I would consider worthy of further time on my part to make a determination as to it's value.
    However I am horrified by some of the inference of your introductory post, and the more direct ascersions of Dr Cannell's article. The direct inference is that only a medical physician can comment on or contribute to the area of medical science.
    This is the most frightening and absurd proposition I have possibly ever heard, and is all the worse for coming from those who should know better.
    As a cardiologist I would have expected you to have been the first to recognise the enormous contribution to the medical sciences by applied and pure scientists from all disciplines, over the years. Indeed the school of engineering from which I graduated was involved heavily in global studies of the physiology of the cardiovascular system.
    Indeed I would go as far as saying some of the greatest contributions in science to any area have often been made by those from other fields with strong personal motivations and interests in the subject being addressed. Engineers specifically have contributed greatly to understandings of previously misunderstood aspects of natural systems, specifically by looking at biological systems as engineered solutions to problems. By often not being classically trained within a field, a scientist is often able to make the critical leaps in understanding required to find new solutions in other areas, as they are not constrained by often incorrect contemporary understanding.
    Conversely a significant proportion of the questionable body of medical theory over the years has had it's genesis amongst the body of medical practitioners, who simply grasped at pet theories and built data sets and studies to suit their needs, no doubt motivated by the potential for recognition amongst their peers, that would result from “curing” the previously poorly understood.
    I hope your attitude is not prevalent in the medical community, but I fear it probably is, and this does not bode well for the future of finding solutions to the many as yet untreatable conditions plaguing our modern lives.
    I would suggest that until someone in the medical profession finds a solution to one or more of these syndromes or diseases, that it would be best not to throw stones in a glass house. Surely it would be more prudent to disprove Dr Marshall scientifically, as it would his supporters to provide supporting evidence beyond the anecdotal

  • Anonymous

    9/29/2008 4:07:00 PM |

    The molecular modeling community is not getting in line.  Note that the comment on Wiki about Marshall entered by one of his followers was flagged for not being a neutral point of view (npov)and thus discussion was opened up for contributors to add their thoughts.  One respondant was a molecular genomics knowledgable person who had objections to Marshall's methods

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Trevor_Marshall#Importance_of_Dr._Marshall.27s_molecular_biology_research

    Another comment on molecular genomics and potential ways to make mistakes is found here

    http://www.thisisms.com/ftopict-5628.html

    Derek's experience with the MP is common, and the responses by others here, evaluating his failure as an obvious lack of fortitude in adhering to its tenets, is ubiquitous among MP apologists are all over the net making these claims anywhere someone posts a negative experience.

    As a result people who fail the MP are invisible and have no where to be heard.  THEY become marginalized as the nuts and whackos by these apologists.  

    Meanwhile, people with hopeless prognoses who are being told the MP will work and will cure them are defending it everywhere on the net, desperately believing/hoping it HAS to be right.

    What I find incredible is the constant assertion by people like Dr Cannell that no one takes this seriously and therefore it is not worthy of aggressively debunkng it.  Why isn't the FDA interested in a treatment that espouses very high doses of an angiotensin blocker for an off label use?

    The fact is these apologists, by posting positive testimonials peppered with the pseudo science Marshall puts out, are making these kinds of attempts at debunking the MP sound a little reactionary and as if the author somehow missed the salient fact and just doesn't 'get it'.

    The real fact is that this is a growing cult, whether vitamin d researchers/physicians acknowledge the fact or not.  

    Somebody needs to take it seriously.
    I personally know of a person who lost bone density, had kidney malfunction thyroid, and adrenal dysfunction and became very ill after 4 years on the MP even though initially there seemed to be a positive response to the approach.  This person is now off benicar and the numerous lab abnormalities corrected 6 months after getting vitamin d levels up from 8 to a healthy 45, and feeling much better.

    This person was banned from the MP boards and attempts to make even an innocuous post about the experience were removed from the MP experiences forum.  The person attempted to tell the story several times and all posts were removed by the admin board.  The tale told by TM is that he is following up on this person and he implies that some data is being kept, when in reality there is no contact.

    The MP theories don't hold water when you really take time to learn and understand them;  I wish the medical community would take the threat of this cult seriously.  It has already got a huge influence over desperate and vulnerable people.

  • Anonymous

    10/8/2008 7:32:00 PM |

    I was on the MP for about a year. My 25 D got as low as 4 ng.  I was feeling very forgetful, low energy, depressed, etc.  I felt just plain lousy and was not able to work. I feel that the MP is dangerous. I have seen people of the phase II forum at the MP either die or become very sick to the point of hospitalization.  The doctors in the hospitals do not know how to handle these patients with all the different types of antibiotics they are taking. It gets more confusing when you have the staff at MP trying to direct the doctors what to do through the patient's families. When some of these patients have ended up dying, TM and the staff blame the doctors and play the martyr.

    What is scary to me is that the staff and TM are claiming that they have the "only cure for their malady". They seem to pray on the vulnurabilities of people who are sick and desparate. Of what I read, they tried to poison the participants  against their doctors so they would only trust them.

    When I was getting off the MP I was told by one of the staff that my condition (I have sarcoidosis) would only get worse if I did not continue on the MP.

    7 to 8 months later I am doing MUCH better.  I was able to increase my vitamin d, and have a lot more energy and am ready to get back to work.  I am not getting worse as the MP staff predicted...far from it!

  • Anonymous

    10/16/2008 11:26:00 PM |

    I agree with anonymous above, just enter marshall protocol in your search box and see how many things pop up.  This is huge on the net, not something that should be ignored.

  • Anonymous

    10/17/2008 7:51:00 PM |

    A frequent trouble with the human mind, even the most intelligent, is its desire to generalise to far.

    Just because the Marshall Protocol recommends reducing vitamin D in order to help fight certain diseases, and by all accounts has been very effective in doing so for many people, this does not mean that vitamin D is now classed as generally "bad".

    Surely, it is not that difficult to comprehend that vitamin D may be bad for people with these diseases, but perfectly healthy for everybody else.

    What is the big deal here?

  • Anonymous

    10/20/2008 9:37:00 PM |

    I was on the Marshall Protocol almost 4 years.  The last year that I was on it (2007), I got breast cancer.  Then when I had my bone density test done, I was well into Osteoporosis, which I had never  been before.  So much for lowering your Vit. D. I had gotten my Vit. 25D level down to 8, and was praised by the then staff! Dr. Marshall has had 3 people on his so-called protocol die, and others are having renal failure perhaps from all the huge doses of Benicar that he recommends.  Between the low Vit. D levels Dr. Marshall requires and the huge amounts of Benicar he requires, people are either going to die of cancer or renal failure.  Pick your poison.  If you are now on the so-called Marshall Protocol, I beg you to STOP and get out with your life before you also get cancer, osteoporosis, or renal failure.

  • Anonymous

    10/21/2008 1:36:00 AM |

    I was also on the MP for almost two years.  I don't have sarcoidosis, but eight other diagnosed auto-immune induced conditions.  Quite frankly, it didn't do much for any of them, except control my high blood pressure, and that was due to all the Benicar.  I'm still taking the Benicar (at a more reduced dosage than the four times normal dose required by the MP), for BP control, as well as inflammation control.  It's an excellent anti-inflammatory.  They claim it is safe for long-term use at higher dosages, but nobody has really tried it for very long (at least longer than the four or five years the longest MP participant has been on it), so nobody really knows the effects of staying on it that long, at that high of a dose.

    Also, the light sensitivity that most encounter while on the MP is incredibly restrictive.  Many exist in totally blacked out "caves" with only 40 watt light bulbs in their homes, and cannot leave home at all during the day, for a year or two, and to some even so much as a crack of sunlight coming from under the door can feel too bright.  This is not a normal state to be in (partially from the lowered D levels), and after some months became really annoying for me, and the hardest part of the MP.

    And I can completely second Derek's comments that the MP is a cult.  One of the hallmarks of cults is that they have a charismatic leader who knows it all, can do no wrong, and cannot be questioned, no matter how nonsensical his pronouncements.  This is definitely true of the MP.  He is horribly rude to people, and acts like a total dictator on the "study" site.  People fawn and grovel to him, and I even found myself doing it at times, because that's just the way you behave there.

    It is also totally true that you cannot doubt or disagree with them in any way or it gets deleted.  If you do it too much, you are banned.  As I was leaving the site, I politely offered to fill in any questionnaires about my experiences on the protocol,, as to what did and more importantly what did NOT work for me, for them to include in their study data base.  However, nobody ever took me up on this offer.  They don't seem to be interested in anybody's failures, only successes.  That is hardly an objective study.  Once you are off the board and out of the "cult" the moderators won't really communicate with you at all, another hallmark of cultic behaviour.

    I'm sure there are a few people that the MP worked for.  However, I suspect for the vast majority it was/is a waste of time.  Those that claim otherwise are in denial.  I just hope I haven't harmed my system permanently by having my D levels at <4 for over two years, or set myself up for something dreadful like cancer further down the line.

    Thanks for the honest and open discussion here, it's a pleasure to read.

  • Dr. William Davis

    10/21/2008 11:52:00 AM |

    I was not aware of the cult-like characteristic of the Marshall program.

    I've also received some hateful comments to this post. Generally, if there foul language or insulting remarks, I usually don't let them through. I'd prefer that this be a forum of ideas, not attacks on motivation or character.

  • Anonymous

    10/23/2008 5:37:00 PM |

    As you can see, most of the post MPers like myself are posting as "anonymous" and not by accident. This is because of the nature of leaving the MP is much like leaving a religious cult. Yes, it's that bad and maybe even worse in that we are all very physically sick individuals looking for help so many folks are willing to do just about anything in order to get back some semblance of a life including taking extremely large unsafe doses of Benicar for years and against Dr's advice at times.

    I can't find any data or study info anywhere to prove the MP theory really works or that what is happening is beneficial.  If anyone can find any info to back up Trevor's work other than on the MP site owned and operated by the leader himself, please, by all means, let us know about it.  This is one of the first things that alerted me that something was very wrong.  You would think that after nearly 8 yrs, (his first sarcinfo site started around 2000-2001) there would be some corroboration by other researchers if there was any credence to any of the D dysregulation theories used by the MP, but I can't find anyone or anything to back up these theories.  

    Also, most of the early adopters I have found are either still sick, sicker or are still unable to stop the MP meds without worsening of symptoms.  

    You would think that if people were actually making themselves more sensitive to the antibiotics while on Benicar that anyone taking this medication for hypertension would not be able to take the normal doses of antibiotics if they got sick if that was truly the case. I had been on the MP for nearly 4 yrs and I had first started to feel better but then as I lowered my Vit D level to single digits, which took several years to accomplish btw, my bone density worsened and I began to relapse and end up sicker than before starting the MP.

    I do believe those people that say they are glad they found the MP are experiencing the positive early effects of reducing inflammation which is a known by product of taking Benicar, (it's how it reduces hypertension)lowering light levels and even taking minocycline.

    Eventually, the MP causes folks to realize they are not getting well or they get stuck with no where left to go. By that time the patient thinks the MP is working and they've already invested so much that it's hard to leave; just like any cult.

    It's very sad and I definitely say it can cause many folks harm, some permanent and can make one more susceptible to cancer, osteoporosis, and opportunistic infections, not to mention the brow beatings and emotional scars of rejection one gets if/when they question the cult leader and his cohorts.

    As for the D dysregulation, I realize now that I never had it, nor do I believe most folks do. I was able to get my D level back up just fine mainly from sunbathing this past summer and my bone density levels after less than 6 months off the MP have IMPROVED to nearly normal bone density levels for my age. I had lost all of my gains for the past 5 yrs when I lowered my D levels to single digits as advised by MP staff.

    I think the MP is dangerous and very costly to put it kindly. It's misleading at best and I wish now that someone would have called Trevor to the carpet on this a long time ago so that I would have never trusted his so called work and study info.

    I wasted alot of time, energy and money helping myself and others which would have been better spent in other ways. I can truly say I am now on a path to regaining my health, but with a group of real scientists, clinicians and folks that really have some true science and study history and a real track record with an end point of folks recovering.

    I appreciate this forum and the ability to post anonymously so that others can read this info.  Thanks for providing it.

  • Anonymous

    10/29/2008 12:58:00 AM |

    Mark me down as another Marshall Protocol failure.  Like the above poster -- several posters actually -- I too followed all the MP rules to the letter and ended up much sicker.  

    Yes, I was very sick before starting the MP.  But while I was on the protocol I became way sicker, totally disabled and unable to leave the house.  At one time during this fiasco my vitamin D read <4, which to TM and company is an excellent reading.  He says the immune system is optimized when 25D is less than 12, and doesn't even begin to work until under 20.  Of course, there is NO data to back this up, not a shred.  And no one else in medicine or science -- anywhere I have seen -- agrees with Marshall on this, or has validated his work in any way.  The molecular modeling work, for example, is held in top secret; no peers have analyzed it or have been able to comment. After so many years you'd think there'd be a piece of valid science to back it up. Just one!

    At the heart of this thing is the premise of a vitamin D dysregulation, which supposedly every chronically ill person has.  This, in theory, results in crazy high levels of 1,25D with corresponding low levels of 25D.  That is what they saw in most of the sarcoid patients originally.  But if you read the D results of the other patients, Lyme, CFS, fibro, etc., the numbers are all over the board, high and low, totally out of bounds of the theory.  But this doesn't seem to matter.  Somehow they explain around this discrepancy, and EVERY patient, every single one, who writes in is told they are a good candidate for the therapy.  I have not seen a one patient told the MP was wrong for them.

    According to the theory -- approximately -- CWD bacteria energetically convert 25D into 1,25D, fueling massive inflammation.  But there are lots of inconsistencies.  Like the other poster, I too raised my 25D back to normal simply by sunbathing (using no vitamin D foods at all), and my 1,25D stayed in the normal range, which according to the theory should not be possible.  So clearly I never had this dysregulation either.

    As for the cult-like mentality, well, it's all true.  It's an insane sort of atmosphere on the (MP) message boards, with people frightened to speak the truth.  Patients gloss up their "improvements" and play down their side effects (or, rather their herxes, as everything -- and I mean EVERYTHING -- is explained away as a herx) to appease the moderators and the leader.  When reading MP posts of people I know I'd often think "Is this the same person I just spoke with?" as their progress reports were so much rosier than the reality they had told me.  

    And don't ask any difficult questions.  Difficult questions are met with non-answers.  If the questioner persists the tone becomes ugly, and the patient is quickly ostracized.  So patients fearful of being banned, and having their perceived lifeline, the only community they know, yanked out from under them behave like frightened little lambs.  I have seen it  time and again: a real question, for which the moderators have no good answer, leads to attack and then banning.  Anyone who questions the validity of the "science" is quickly tossed out.  The idea of it being a study site is funny, as the failure rate is so high, and it's something they don't own up to.

    As for the patients who have died on the MP, the moderators say this isn't true.  I suppose in a way they are right, as the emergency doctors tend to yank them off the antibiotics and the 4-6x doses of benicar they'd been taking.  So, technically speaking, at the moment of death you could say they were not on the MP.

    Other than that it's a great program.  I highly recommend it!

  • Anonymous

    11/10/2008 12:34:00 PM |

    Physically sick patients act as the operatives over at the MP board. These said "moderators" have actually not regained their health, but are still plugging away on enormous doses of Benicar and the antibiotics as if they were Flintstone vitamins. I was on the MP for a year, and anytime I got into trouble, the "antidote" as told to me by the moderators was always to take more Benicar. I wound up in the ER with Kidney issues and an extremely high Potassium level, as Benicar has a Potassium-sparing, Sodium-depleting effect, which is obviously magnified when you are taking it at four times the standard dose as the MP tells you to. Others have had similar complaints, with one individual I know of actually having Kidney failure.

    I did not have a "dysregulated" Vitamin D conversion either, but was told that I did. I spoke to many on the board, and one individual had told me that after 18 months on the protocol, that their bone density scan revealed a greater bone loss than two years previous; the last time they'd had one done. I took the liberty of asking "Dr." Marshall about this, and his response was "how long do you think it will take to reverse a lifelong accumulation of Cell Wall Deficient bacteria, 18 months or 3-5 years?"

    Needless to say, I wasn't buying it then, and am not now.

    The time period stated on the site that it takes the "average" participant to be "cured" of each disease state gets longer and longer, as originally it was stated that it took 18-24 months to regain normalcy. Then it was 3-5years. The last stated time frame I saw was that it could take up to 8-10 years to be cured; whatever the ailment. Obviously, the failed cases are being granted an extension.

    Also, you are not allowed to take any supplements when doing the MP; at least that is what you are told by the MP "staff." Even something as simple as a probiotic is frowned upon. Some take them, and just keep it hush-hush that they are doing so, for fear of being ridiculed once again by the moderators. Even if it makes you feel physically better, you will be shunned if you mention it.

    Lastly, I myself fell victim to what previous poster derek smalls refers to as the "cult-like women that worship this man" when my poor reactions to this protocol were met with ridicule by the staff. No matter what, if something goes awry, it is explained away as being your fault for not following the guidelines. As if having an illness isn't difficult enough, you then are scolded like a grade school child by someone you've never spoken to before in your life when the protocol has its shortcomings.

    If being talked down to and pseudo-science interest you, then you can certainly find it over at the MP study site.

  • Anonymous

    11/10/2008 7:42:00 PM |

    My partner is a current MP cult member, and is trying to pressure me into starting the MP.  There is a persistent theory there that the bacteria are infectious, and spread through families, so you're supposed to get all your family members tested and on the MP.

    I had my 25D and 1,25D tested, and, sure enough, I was a candidate.

    That's when I starting looking into how the testing worked, and reading a ton of entries on the MP boards where people posted their test results.

    There are three possible results:

    1) Your 25D is above 16.  This means you are still supplementing, and your test results are INVALID, per Trevor and the board moderators.  You must eliminate all D, and retest.

    2) Your 25D is below 16, and your 1,25D is above 30.  This means you have the 2:1 ratio which indicates "disregulation", and you should start the MP right away.

    3) Your 25D is below 16, but your 1,25D is not above 30.  The lab probably messed up your test.  Do it again.

    What makes this even worse is that 1,25D has a lag effect.  It tends to follow changes in 25D by a couple months.  For instance, when 25D drops to its lowest in January, 1,25D drops to its lowest in April.

    So if you have a 25D over 15, and you follow their instructions to avoid D in all foods and light, of course your 25D will drop.  But your 1,25D will remain at the same level as your body starts using the stored 25D.  

    Their test is guaranteed to result in a positive almost every time.

    If the tests refuse to show the problem, you can start the MP anyway.  You can do a "benicar drug trial" and see if you feel better or worse.  If you feel better, it means it's helping, and you should do the MP.  If you feel worse, it's killing bacteria, and you should do the MP.

  • Scott

    11/23/2008 4:32:00 PM |

    The bottom line is that no treatment will work for everyone. Clearly, there are some people that have not been helped by the MP...however, there are many that owe their lives to the treatment; I am one of these.

    If you have Sarcoid or several other autoimmune disorders that have an unknown origin and no cure, you owe it to yourself to look into the MP, and once educated, to diligently apply it for a reasonable period...in my estimation, about a year. If you show no signs of improvement during that time, by all means stop the treatment and go back to the corticosteroids.

    That's the thing - sure, the MP may not be effective for everyone, but the only treatment that mainstream medicine can offer as an alternative seems to be steroids. These have not proven to be effective at all, particularly in the long term. As someone mentioned above, the 2003 ACCESS study of sarcoidosis patients found that steroids were ineffective for treating the disease. Prednisone is prescribed "off label" for use against sarcoid...just as Benicar is by the MP. If you know anything about those two drugs, you know that long term use of prednisone can absolutely ravage a person. Of the two treatments, the MP is much much safer...certainly to try for a year, as an alternative to the "traditional" treatments that are known not to work. I'm sure some people have died while on the MP. What do you think happens to people who are on the traditional treatments?

    As to Dr. Davis' assertion that "I'd prefer that this be a forum of ideas, not attacks on motivation or character." I have to chuckle. If you objectively read the opening posts that began this thread (written by Drs. Davis and Cannell), you will see they are in fact, rather vicious character attacks. Just the title of this thread is an obvious insult which violates this supposed policy.

    I don't worship Dr. Marshall, but as someone that was close to death following 10 years of traditional treatment of my cardiac sarcoid, and who is now on the path to recovery following the MP, I am interested in helping others discover this viable treatment. I wish there were other alternatives that would help my disease - but there aren't.

    So until the medical establishment can offer a viable treatment alternative, I suggest the idea that turning people away from the MP is irresponsible at best, and a violation of medicine's Hippocratic oath at worst.

  • Anonymous

    12/6/2008 12:29:00 PM |

    It seems clear from these comments that pro-MP people brush aside the totalitarian atmosphere of the MP forum. He personally and the moderators hurt my feelings many times by being very unsensitive. I was raised in a fundamentalist religion and I have to say that the way they dealt with people who had doubts might have been even a bit less worse than on the MP forums and I was traumatized pretty well by even that.

    I tried to understand to understand the science behind it and I came to the conclusion that it would take experts in every related field (including molecular modelling) and checking if references are used in context to verify if there is basis in the theory. I'm pretty sure that just being an M.D doesn't lend one quick understanding of the validity of the theory.

    I could say a lot of other stuff but mostly they have been said already. I'm not saying stay away from MP but perhaps keep your own head when you try it. And remember that while CWD bacteria may exist and may be part in a lot of diseases, so may 9/11 be an inside job and the Apollo moon landing a hoax... it's all grey... except when it's not.

  • tickbite

    12/29/2008 11:48:00 PM |

    Is Munchhausen a disease based on a fairy story or the magic Merck manual?

    a dis regulation of something controlling my skin hair eyes lungs stomach bones nerves
    kidneys heart immunity blah blah blah

    i have no faith in the Marshall protocol
    but i see the real evidence of its success and it is too overwhelming.

    in silico is the way to go.

    Trevor should have proprietary rights
    to what software he develops.

    P.S. most health care workers are at extreme risk of developing a chronic  intra phagocytic meta genomic micro biota
    causing neurological problems.
    either they start Quacking up or start
    nesting. they might even self diagnose themselves with SARS.

  • Anonymous

    12/30/2008 8:31:00 PM |

    Well said, Scott and Dr. Rae.I think people need to get their facts straight. And I think we all need to practice discernment, caution,and balance. The real quacks are the parrots who repeat every tired old dead-end theory fed to them in school, too lazy, greedy or stupid to think outside the box. Let's all wake up, shall we?

  • Anonymous

    1/21/2009 8:22:00 AM |

    First of all Dr. Marshall is not an electrical engineer.  He is a PhD in BioMedical Engineering with a speciality in Molecular Biology.  I think he knows what he's talking about.

  • Anonymous

    1/22/2009 4:59:00 PM |

    According to the university he attended, he graduated with a degree as an electical engineer.

    In fact, much of what he presents is not as it appears.

    Check it out:

    http://impnvestigator.chat.ru/

  • trevor

    1/29/2009 1:27:00 AM |

    I should start by saying that vitamin D is not a vitamin. It is infact a secosteroid transcriptional activator.

    This paper explains Professor Marshalls view on vitamin D.

    http://trevormarshall.com/BioEssays-Feb08-Marshall-Preprint.pdf

    It is well documented sarcoidosis patients have a low 25D and a high 1,25D. It is also well documented that Sarcoid patients who take too much vitamin D will get hypercalcima. I know this because it was taking vitamin D tablets that put me in hospital for 3 days.
    So too much 1,25D and too little 1,25 will damage your bones. In normal people the level of 1,25D is controlled by the kidneys but is not controlled in sarc patients.

    I have had sarcoidosis for 19 years and have been on MP for 5 years with considerable success. My 25D was for several years unmeasurable but my 1,25D was in the normal range and I have had no ill effects from this. It took 2-3 years before I realy began to feel the benifits and I now can live a normal life. When you start MP you do get Immunopathology which can make you feel very bad but you learn how to control this.

    Some people have questioned the high doses of benicar used. In fact it is not uncommon for such doses to be used to treat kidney and other diseases. The FDA have stated that there are no safety concerns with taking Benicar at these doses. You will also note that the FDA have never set a toxic level for this drug dispite giving rats massive overdoses.

    It is well worth going through the paper referenced above if you want some understanding of vitamin D.

  • trevor

    1/29/2009 10:39:00 AM |

    I am a bit suprised that someone has reported here of getting Osteoporosis while on MP. The most common cause of Osteoporosis in sarcoid patients is Prednisone. In fact if you were on pred for some time your doctor should have ordered bone density tests then.

    There is however one situation in MP where vitamin D supplements may be required. As has been stated before 1,25D is generated by the granuloma in sarc patients. During this time the kidneys production of 1,25D is downregulated. In the final stages of MP the number of granuloma decrease and so the kidney needs to start producing 1,25D again. Unfortunatly it takes time for this to happen and so a patient may need to supplement for a short period of time.

    It is very important to understand the difference between 25D and 1,25D. The kidneys convert 25D to 1,25D so 25D is a precursor and has no other role in the body. It is the 1,25D that is important and if involved in many of the bodies systems. Doctors often only  measure your 25D and assume that it follows the 1,25D level. In many diseases this is not true. So it is very important to measure your 1,25D.

    I was very surprised to see an account of breast cancer. Marshall has recently stated that there have been no reports of people getting cancer while on MP.

  • Anonymous

    2/15/2009 5:14:00 PM |

    I have been following the Marshall Protocol for three years now, and I have seen many patients experience improvements.  I have no doubt that there is some foundation in the basic science, but in practice, it leaves a lot to be desired for many patients.  I myself have seen no improvement whatsoever and if anything am sicker than when I commenced.

    In this time, I have seen other patients drastically worsen, several hospitalized, four die, and many, many, drop-out from the protocol.

    I have also become increasingly disturbed at some of the medical advice given by Trevor Marshall and his 'staff', and am aware that some information on the sites is, to say the least, economical with the truth.

    The reply above regarding cancer is a case in point. Trevor (the commenter, not Trevor Marshall) is correct up to a point - but what Dr Marshall more specifically said was that nobody CURRENTLY on the protocol has been diagnosed with METASTASIZED cancer.  Note that he has adapted this from his assertion a while back that no-one on the protocol had been diagnosed with ANY cancer.  He knows this is no longer true.

    A patient who left the protocol last year (after nearly 3 years following it to the letter) has recently been diagnosed with metastasized cancer.  However, as this patient is no longer adhering to the protocol, Dr Marshall's assertion is technically correct.  Whether the statement is morally safe is another matter.

    I am even more concerned now that I know that two of Trevor Marshall's main staff, both of whom were former board members of his Foundation, have recently left/been forced out from the organization, at least partially over concerns for patient safety.  Current members posting on the forums will notice that the nurse moderators are no longer posting advice either, I believe in protest at recent events.  

    I still believe that were Dr Marshall to open up his data and results for thorough examination by researchers and physicians that he has made a genuine scientific breakthrough.  But until that examination takes place, I would be very wary of advising anyone that this is a safe and guaranteed treatment.

  • Anonymous

    2/18/2009 4:48:00 PM |

    Interesting that a poster named "trevor" who had sarcoidosis  for 19 years is posting about the MP.  And repeating the standard lines used by the MP staff.

    The MP staff is extremely deceptive about Benicar.  First they tell people it's a tiny little dose; no, actually, it's 4-6 times larger than the larger recommended dose, per manufacturer's dosing guidelines.

    Second, they then claim that the FDA says it's safe at this level.  True enough...the lethal dose appears to be far higher in rats.  

    But finally, they claim that the extra dosage does not have any additional blood pressure effects.  Completely false, and a drastic reinterpretation of the paper they cite to back this up.

    What the paper said was that the researchers found little effective change between 40 mg and 80 mg; therefore, they recommend patients use the 40 mg dose.  This does NOT mean that the 80 mg has no more effect than the 40 mg; just that the increased effect is not needed.

    So what happens if you take 160 mg - 240 mg per day, as per the MP?  Who knows.  They didn't test that high in that study.  

    Yet this is the study the MP likes to quote when telling you how safe Benicar is.

  • Louisa

    2/18/2009 5:55:00 PM |

    The poster above said: Interesting that a poster named "trevor" who had sarcoidosis for 19 years is posting about the MP. And repeating the standard lines used by the MP staff.

    That implies the poster named Trevor may be Marshall himself - note that there is actually a UK based patient named Trevor who posts on the MP 'study' site, ie NOT Trevor Marshall.

    Apart from the implication above, I agree completely with their comment about the inaccuracies of the MP proponents' representations of benicar safety data.  

    It frightens me people  believe the stuff on that site.

  • Anonymous

    2/20/2009 4:43:00 PM |

    I follwed the MP strictly for several years.  I would love to believe that it is a cure, but my lab results show otherwise. I can, however, attest to the almost cult-like devotion of some of the people on the site.  When I tried to objectively post my lack of progress, I was told that I must not be following the protocol properly, I had to follow it longer, the test results were wrong, or that it was because I was so sick.  When people question the limits of the MP, they are told that laymen do not have the detailed knowledge to understand the protocol and that they should trust the study team.  It cannot be that the protocol does not work for some people, because the science and the results of the modelling show otherwise.  I am concerned that the statistics from people for whom the protocol does not work are being dismissed for reasons of non-compliance or dropping out, and that the results being put forward as proof only show one side of the distribution.


    Computer simulations are only as good as the model, the input and the assumptions that are used.  What you don't simulate and the assumptions you make are every bit as important as what you do simulate.  Therefore, in order for results from any investigation to be considered credible, one must also publish the assumptions used.  The body is an intricate system, and the VDR is only one of many subsystems that interact with each other in ways that we do not fully understand.  Therefore, showing the behavior of the VDR in silica, does not mean it will work the same way in vivo in the context of the overall human system.

    Science is not about trust.  Science is about objective analysis of data to either prove or disprove a hypothesis.  One of the primary requirements of an experiment is that it is repeatable so that it can be independently verified. To do that, one must be open with the assumptions and the method of analysis so that others can repeat your work. Unfortunately, this information has not been published, thus there is no chance for verification.  A second requirement is that the analysis of the data should be objective.  It is very difficult to be objective when you are experimenting on yourself.  This makes it doubly important that the experiments should be repeatable and verified by others.

    I am very happy for the people for whom the MP appears to work.  However, that does not mean that the MP will work for everyone.  I share the concerns of some of the other writers who feel that the MP site has gone beyond science.  It could well be that this is a major breakthrough in medicine, but without independent verification, we will never really know.

  • Anonymous

    2/23/2009 3:58:00 PM |

    The Dr from the vitamin D council makes a couple bold misstatements. Trevor Marshall has never claimed that the vitamin D in tablets (apart from some being D2, which will convert to D3 eventually) is any different from the vitamin d produced by exposure to sunlight.

    The reasons for avoiding light & sources of D on the protocol have to do with the affinity of the drug for certain key nuclear receptors that they are trying to activate with it. Mainly the vitamin-D nuclear receptor. They are trying to activate this & a few other receptors due to the effects of an enzyme released by many persistent bacterial infections called capnine. Capnine has a high affinity for the VDR, blocking the receptor and deactivating transcription; capnine needs to be displaced by the drug they use, benicar, to activate that receptor. Benicar is being used as a VDR agonist, and for some of its effects on reducing TNF-a and interferon-g to reduce inflammation. As well as having to have the dose of benicar high enough to displace the competing capnine (and other VDR antagonist) Benicar is also displayed by 25-D, and by 1,25-D.  So avoiding the light on the treatment helps keep the drug in place, and helps reign in the effects of capnine during.

    I'm forced to post this anonymously due to my own circumstances. There are claims in the protocol which are unproven. Even Marshall is backing off of his 25-D to 1-25D ratio claim. Its indicative, but its far from fool proof.

    Marshall could greatly benefit from sensitivity training, and his board staff are largely confined to reading scripts that can be quite dangerous for people who are experiencing problems outside of simple herx, or where immune pathology has done real damage (e.g. resulting in adrenal suppression/adrenal failure).

    Marshall could also benefit from not making as many claims as facts, but rather as theory. Its a consistent trait I've observed in Marshall from 2002 on when he titled a pair of papers antibiotics in sarcoidosis, and sarcoidosis succumbs to antibiotics. He couldn't substantiate many of the claims made in those papers, instead was trying to say that because these folks get a herx response to the treatment thats proof enough that its working.   To me thats mere proof that more likely than not the bacteria are present, but it doesn't speak to actual recovery,just people experiencing uncomfortable herx reactions. He would argue a leap in logic, but a herx reaction does not mean a cure. Plenty of lyme sufferers get herx reactions from antibiotic treatment too, and the cure rate for them is not all that high.

    The cult like environment of the study site is indeed troubling. As was the tendency of posts with those having serious complications to disappear quickly -- back when there was a forum for crisis problems.

    There are real risks to being on an experimental treatment. Unfortunately, its hard for anyone in the trial to gauge those risks, and I would say impossible for anyone outside of it considering the treatment to gauge them accurately.  The vague warning of "some people may experience immunopathology too severe to continue the treatment" does not even begin to describe what is possible, and the potential other unknowns down the road.

    While I have met others in the trial who are doing excellent, some at the 5 year mark with their life back, I have met & talked to others who are at the 4-5 year mark and can not get off the antibiotics, nor the benicar their immune system wreaking havoc on them.   This isn't to say that a majority I've observed are not doing better at the 1-2 years mark, but its very hard to pin down if there is an actual end point where a person is restored to health again.

    Dr Marshall's claim of success of greater than 16% does little to provide anyone with a good measure of its success. Only the raw data would give us the information to interpret that, thus far that is nowhere to be found.  I suspect a lot of that number is due to a very high drop out rate, and lost to follow up. But some of those will be for cause, and cause unknown. How diligent they are at marking those causes I do not know.

    I elected to try the treatment, and though I've had some pretty scary moments in the beginning of it - I am far more well than I have been in any of the past 8 years. That is far far from cured, but it was enough to let me resume several activities I never though I would on any of the standard treatments for my diseases.  

    I'm hopeful that it will result in a full reversal, but I am still quite leery of recommending it to my friends who are also sick at this point. Most could not make the lifestyle adjustments, and I'm not convinced yet that the risks are anywhere near as low as claimed. Nor am I convinced that the majority success rates in the early years of the treatment will result in cures at 4-6 years. I truly hope that they do, but I have a feeling the shakeout from the treatment is going to be a lot more mixed when more get to the 4-6 year mark. Many of those in the study may find themselves looking around at others cured and wondering why they haven't gotten there & still herxing at every dose, or their immune systems wreaking havoc when they try to go off. I can already hear the answers being given "you need another year or three on this combo here"...  

    This doesn't mean I don't believe that Marshall's work has merit. I think several of his theories will pan out, but I know several wont as well.

    Its something to consider when you are at a dead end and the conventional treatments have failed to help. But the data isn't in to call it a cure for the majority yet. Even Dr. Browns treatments had 10-20% success rates. Greater than 16% doesn't change anything from just taking standard antibiotics treatment. Its still better than the 0% offered by immune suppression, but its a long way from a majority.

  • Anonymous

    2/23/2009 9:02:00 PM |

    That site is full of misinformation.  One of their claims is that you don't need to worry about Vit D in your diet, because you will get enough from sun:

    http://www.marshallprotocol.com/view_topic.php?id=2572&forum_id=2&jump_to=47219#p47219

    "The vitamin D used by the body (1,25-D) comes mostly (90 to 100%) from exposure to sunlight. http://tinyurl.com/4z25e Ten to fifteen minutes of sun exposure two times per week to the face, arms, hands, or back is enough exposure to provide an adequate amount. People can get that in only a fraction of the amount of time they spend driving each week."

    There's a few problems with this.

    First of all, I've seen some research claiming that the vit d converted by the skin is most likely used by the skin at that point, and doesn't get used by the rest of the body.

    Second, your vit D conversion goes down dramatically with age.  After 40, you're probably not getting enough vit d through your skin.

    Third, vit D is produced by UVB.  UVB is blocked by glass.  Unless you are driving a convertable, your car has windows that are blocking the UVB, and you're not getting any vit d from your drive.

    Their site is full of these kinds of problems.  And like the last few posters have indicated, there is absolutely no tolerance for dissent of any kind.  You don't question the Dr M; you obey.

  • Peter Blogdanovich

    2/24/2009 5:51:00 AM |

    I believe I was greatly helped if not cured by the M.P.  I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis by lymph biopsy in 87.  I was lucky, having few problems until the late 90' when I started getting asthma symptoms and had chronic wheezing.  I stumbled onto the M.P. on 02 and used the Benicar and low dose Minocycline, as therapeutic probes as recommended by Marshall.  For me, all hell broke loose, I had tachycardia, night sweats, and trouble breathing.  I took this as a sign Marshall was on to something.  I am still taking Benicar and Mino, and on weekends, Azithramycin, and clindamycin.  Recently, I added oregano oil in high doses to this phase three therapy.  I take about 200 drops of healthy health brand oregano oil daily.  I put the oil in jel caps and take six a day.  That's a lot of oregano  oil, but it is working great for me.  Working great means pain, and tachycardia, but progress as well, manifested as feeling much better.  I doubt his theories are bullet proof, but if the "therapeutic probe" experiment works for you, I advise you proceed with the M.P.  And throw oregano oil into the mix at the end.

  • Aluwings

    3/13/2009 11:29:00 PM |

    My personal experience with Dr, Marshall's (Phd) Protocol has been excellent.  I have studied the material as much as I can as an intelligent layperson, and have carefully considered more carefully crafted critique's than the one you've posted here.

    I find that many efforts to discredit him are dishonest and misleading - such as referring to him as an electrical engineer! Be serious, please.

    An excellent source of better information than Dr. Cannel is the site:
    www.bacteriality.com

  • Dquixote1217

    3/16/2009 1:53:00 AM |

    You conveniently left out the part about bacteriality.com being a Marshall Plan shill site by his promoter and associate Amy Proal.

    The trolls really come out when their cult hero is challenged don't they?

  • Mark

    3/16/2009 3:54:00 PM |

    I am on the Marshall Prtocol also. I have a background of healthy living. I was born and raised in a family without vaccinations, given a nontoxic environment, and ate organic food before anybody knew what it was. I never tasted refined sugar or artificial anything until I was a teenager. I have educated myself, and spent tens of thousands for the best holistic care and products available. Most of the current "alternative" medical wisdom is child's play to me .... I have known it for decades.

    I SHOULD be very healthy. But I have been VERY SICK my whole life. My whole family has been very sick, as well. None of it worked for me, because none of it killed the bugs that were making me sick. Thanks to Dr. Marshall I am well on my way to becoming the first person in history to be 100% cured from Asperger Syndrome. Not to mention chronic fatigue and arthritis. The Marshall Protocol requires time and commitment. But given that Dr. Marshall has identified the CAUSE, there is no other option.

  • Anonymous

    3/18/2009 9:53:00 PM |

    These last few posts absolutely capture what is wrong with the MP and Dr M.

    He may be on to something.  Maybe there is something to the idea that vit-d disregulation could be a factor in autoimmune disorders.

    But he has extended this beyond all belief to a panacea, a cure for everything.  Now it cures Aspergers!  WOW!  Next it's going to cure death.

    Actually, Dr M believes it does.  He's started talking about life extension through the MP on his site.

    And Aluwings?  He IS an electrical engineer.  Check wikipedia if you don't believe me:
    "Trevor Marshall received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Western Australia in 1984. He also possesses an undergraduate and a masters (1978) degree in Electrical Engineering."

  • Anonymous

    3/19/2009 6:44:00 AM |

    Who cares whether he has a degree in Electrical Engineering. That is so beside the point!

    Life-extension? Yes, I guess it does do that. My life expectancy was not very good before I tried this protocol, but now I do have a chance to live a full life-span. I don't know what's so wierd or far-fetched about that. That was probably what he meant.

  • Anonymous

    3/19/2009 6:52:00 PM |

    I have been on the MP for about two and a half years.  I went on it when my pulmonologist said I MUST start treatment immediately as I had end-organ damage occuring.  I had investigated (as much as a masters' level social worker could-but had to get cellular microbiology texts to understand) the MP and had a physician who had agreed to work with me.  I had pulmonary sarcs as well as on other organs.  I was on oxygen 24/7.

    The initial months were rough but I began to improve gradually and now have "high normal PFT findings" and am living as normal a life as I was before being diagnosed (and before that being VERY affected by the disease).

    I have learned that sitting in front of a medical professional and making reasonable decisions about my treatments is much better than a short answer on the website from someone who does not know my personal history.  Consequently, I have made decisions and engaged in behaviors (treatments) that I know would have drawn, at best, criticism and, at worst, censure from the moderators.  I too have been the recipient of Dr. M's harsh responses.  

    I think my improved (pulmonary)health is because of the MP and as I am on the third (and final) cycle. I will see it through to the end.  I do have to say though, I have requested info about the next phase (maintenance) and have not had any responses...
    I will also say I am still on the Benicar and, interestingly, it has not had any effect on my hypertension (other than many medical people (MDs, PAs, nurses) have commented that the Benicar is a good medication to be on, that it will help to protect my kidneys.

    So, bottom line, get all the information you can about conditions, treatments, outcomes and then PROCESS that information with as many knowledgeble people as you can, always remembering it is YOUR life, lungs, or whatever and you will live with your decision.

  • Anonymous

    3/29/2009 10:42:00 PM |

    Thank you, Dr Davis, for letting this blog keep running. I have CFS, and a very strange autoimmune reaction to sunlight that I've never understood. I almost went headlong into the MP, and had difficulty finding independent analysis of the merits of MP until finding this.  After reading everything, I'm staying away.

  • John

    4/19/2009 5:02:00 PM |

    I think it's great that there are so many experts in chronic disease and molecular genomics that frequent this board.  Really, the disinformation being spewed here about the Marshall Protocol is quite maddening. It's quite apparent that the vast majority of people posting negative comments about the MP have not researched the large (and growing) body of evidence to support Professor Marshall's claims.

    As for me, I'm sure that the MP science is not yet perfected...but as a chronic disease sufferer who has been near death while following the traditional treatments, and who is much improved on the MP, I'm happy to have a viable alternative.

    To the last "anonymous" poster above - What's the big deal? Try the MP for a year to see if it helps you. If you're really sick, you have very little to lose, and you can always go back to the non-effective and harmful steroids later.

    I wonder if Bernie Mac (if he hadn't died while on the traditional treatments for sarcoid) would have tried a different approach had he only known about it? I guess we'll never know. No, I say stick with the "tried and true" approaches to chronic disease - after all, my family runs a mortuary and we need the money.

  • Anonymous

    4/20/2009 4:07:00 PM |

    As I get older, I get more cynical about things and, after several days of research, I'm getting that same familiar feeling in my stomach. While the Marshall Protocol may be on to something, I keep asking "Is this all about human welfare or are the motivations not quite as pure as they seem?". Then I came across this: United States Patent Application 20070135504
    http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2007/0135504.html.
    If the motivation is money or recocnition, the application has certainly covered a lot of ground and that the desire for fame and fortune is no small factor. It suggests to me that it might be the reason that the study MUST NOT FAIL even if it means engangering the health of those who choose to follow. The patent application will prevent any interest on the part of any other organisation to support the approach because, quite frankly, there is little economic gain or intellectual recognition for them. I don't expect any breakthrough from anywhere else for the same reason. The study currently under way will not be carried out objectively and even, if it fails to help most, will probably be presented as a massive success. I wish, in my heart, that this was "THE THING" and I hope that there are some people cured through the Protocol  but I don't believe it will ever see any kind of objective review.

  • Anonymous

    4/20/2009 10:04:00 PM |

    Thanks from me also.

    I heard about marshall protocol and amy proal's website last week and immediately stopped my d3 supplementation.

    thanks to articles like this and the people who have taken the time to comment i can safely resume my d3 supplementation.

  • Louisa

    4/22/2009 8:03:00 PM |

    Yet another patient on the Marshall Protocol died last weekend (April 18th).  She was just38 years old.  This is AT LEAST the FIFTH known MP patient to pass away in the past three years.  And yet still scant warning is given that to prospective patients that they may not survive treatment.

    If a patient is hospitalized on the protocol and then dies, the blame is placed by the MP acolytes on the hospital treatment, or medication that a patient took prior to the hopitalization.  None of them ever consider how sick the patient was to need other medication or hospital treatment in the first place.

    I never ceased to be amazed how the patients who thrive (and some of those who don't) can fail to notice and question what is happening in front of their very eyes.

  • Anonymous

    5/9/2009 9:20:00 AM |

    (I had posted back on 9/29/08.) I am still doing much better since getting off of the MP. My condition didn't get "worse" since quitting the MP as was prophesized by a particular nurse/staff member.

    It really concerns me that another MP'er (or two) has/have died since my last posting. There has to be something we can do about this. Some organization/government agency we can contact.

    I do know that when I went to Mayo Clinic a year ago, I was clearly told that Mayo Clinic did not approve of this treatment and have warned their patients to stay away from the MP.

    I am, however, relieved that those of us who are concerned about the MP, have a safe place to write about their concerns/experiences. When one googles the Marshall Protocol online, they are unindated with all of the multiple MP websites under different names. I had heard that there had been many websites in the past that had anti-MP posts that were taken off because of legal threats against them.

    People do need to have the opportunity to view the pros and cons of a "treatment" before making any decisions. By blitzing the Internet with only the "positive" websites and eliminating the "negative" ones, people are not able to make informed choices.

  • Anonymous

    6/18/2009 12:48:59 AM |

    I was on the Marshall Protocol for almost 2 years for CFS, and I am now almost a cripple now. I followed it to the letter and until I got so sick my family was deciding whether to cart me off to ER. The MP site is very misleading and does not inform patients of any prospective risks associated with the 'treatment'. So I wrote them up for all to see:
    http://www.natmedtalk.com/general-discussion/4120-hidden-risks-dangers-marshall-protocol.html

    So for anyone new interested in the MP, please consider all the risks so you don't become a statistic!

  • Scott

    6/23/2009 1:21:13 AM |

    This is for those who make ridiculous posts about people who die while on the MP.

    Fact: people that are on the Marshall Protocol are often very seriously ill.

    Fact: These same people have normally been following the "approved" treatments for their chronic disease...many for DECADES...and yet they are still very ill and go searching for alternatives.

    Fact: People with chronic autoimmunity diseases die. Patients being treated at the Mayo / Cleveland / Johns Hopkins sarcoid clinics die while following their physician's orders to the letter, yet nobody blogs about it.

    To claim that the Marshall Protocol is dangerous because some patients die while on it, is as ridiculous as saying that firemen start fires...after all, they're always around when you see a fire raging.

    If anything, you should blame the ineffectual, indifferent medical establishment for these deaths...in the vast majority of cases, the fact that their treatments don't work is the reason alternatives such as the MP exist.

    The MP is dangerous? Hmmm. A (very) mild anti-hypertensive, combined with extremely low doses of antibiotics. Yep obviously very dangerous...I'm sure the Mayo Clinic will be very happy to put you on some nice safe corticosteroids or methotrexate for the rest of your (short) life.

    I see lots of ignorance in many of the posts here. This is not normally too problematic, but in this case it's too bad since some people will be dissuaded from what might be their only chance for survival. If you are reading this and are genuinely ill, don't let anybody to tell you what's  right for you. Read...not blogs, but the actual science behind the treatments. Take responsibility for your own health. Nobody - including your doctor(s) can do this for you.

  • Anonymous

    6/24/2009 5:56:12 PM |

    Scott,
    Your wording and phrases sound exactly like that of Trevor Marshall.

    Trying to protect your "empire"?

  • Anonymous

    6/24/2009 6:36:09 PM |

    Scott said: Read...not blogs, but the actual science behind the treatments.

    And yet when I look for answers on the MP site, I am often referred to bacteriality.com - a blog.  So should I be reading that, or not?

    I am always very suspicious when I'm told not to read other opinions than that of the proponents of any particular treatment.

    It's ridiculous in the context of the Marshall Protocol - if the patients hadn't read around, often via a variety of sites and blogs, they would never have encountered the MP in the first place.

  • Scott

    7/6/2009 3:43:35 AM |

    Ahh yes, more informed opinions. There are lots of actual scientific papers cited by the MP, not just blogs. The Bacteriality site has many links to them, and also is chock full  of interviews with scientists whose independent research validates various portions of the MP research. It also has interviews with folks who owe their lives to the MP. Hey, if you prefer, go read the blogs about people who've been saved by steriod treatments. Oh, that's right, there aren't any.

    To "anonymous", no, I'm not Trevor Marshall...I'm just an average guy who has cardiac sarcoidosis, and who should (statistically speaking)  be dead right now. I was actually on my deathbed in the summer of '07 when I finally got fed up with the crappy care I was getting (at Hopkins no less), and I went once more in search of something that could actually work. I stumbled upon the MP, and immediately was skeptical. But, I spent two weeks reading every bit of science I could find on the subject, and realized that the treatment made sense, the hypothesis made sense in terms of my experience, and I was at my lowest, so I had nothing to lose. I had to wean off of prednisone (fun), but was able to take Benicar right away, and immediately began to feel different...mostly better, but with some other reactions predicted by the treatment. I'm two years in this month, and I am 300% better, and feel like I've been given my life back. If you've not been in my position, with your clueless doctors sending you home with ever-increasing doses of ineffective meds, all the while monitoring you like a bomb squad monitors a ticking briefcase, then maybe you can't appreciate what the MP has meant to me.

    I hope for your sake, you never get that sick. But for those who ARE really really sick and know that what they're doing isn't working, don't ruin their chances of getting better because you posted some specious, uninformed, ad hominem attack against a man who is leading an assault against the status quo. If you have another viable alternative to the ineffective standard treatments for chronic illnesses, by all means communicate it. If not, then consider what agenda you're pushing with your posts.

    I know what I'm supporting - I desire that anyone who is ill with Sarcoid (and a number of other autoimmune illnesses) and who is not satisfied with the results they're currently getting, should definitely try the MP...the drugs are inarguably safe, the science behind it is sound (if you read it), and my experience shows it to be very effective.

    - Scott

  • Anonymous

    7/26/2009 9:09:45 PM |

    I feel there is a general bias against Marshall Protocol. Evident from the fact that someone said that two previous moderators on MP's website left because they had concerns about safety of patients on MP. But I have recently received e-mail message from Meg and Belinda about a service they have started for supporting doctors and patients on MP through a website. So please avoid to state things which are not fact. By all means post facts and experience whatever becasue that will help others.

  • Anonymous

    7/30/2009 6:03:40 PM |

    "I feel there is a general bias against Marshall Protocol. Evident from the fact that..."

    THAT'S the point why there is a bias against the Marshall Protocol. There is NO evidence that the MP really works. The proper testing/trials were NOT done.

    What is being done is "trial and error" on human guneau pigs for some ideas that a PHD in Electrical Engineer came up with!

    Thankfully, I got off of the MP before it caused me any further medical issues...

  • Anonymous

    8/4/2009 8:56:43 AM |

    Is there anyone out there that followed the MP and today is cured to the point that he/she does not need any medication anymore?? I believe to have read that with MP you can actually CURE certain diseases, such as sarcoidosis, but haven't so far read a post form a cured person. Just curious.

  • Scott

    8/5/2009 1:41:36 AM |

    A couple points:

    - The traditional treatments for Sarcoidosis have not been "proven" by the "traditional methods" to be effective. Prednisone is prescribed off-label for the treatment of Sarcoid. Why do people not know this? The FDA has NOT approved the standard treatments being prescribed for Sarcoidosis. Not only that, but the National Institute of Health's Access Study showed traditional treatments to be ineffective. Who are the real tellers of fairy tales here? Who can refute these facts???

    - The AMA has published that it takes, on average, 17 years for a research discovery to make it into mainstream medical practice. The MP is only about 7 years old. If you're really ill, I hope you can hang on for another decade for your doctor to come around.

    - Ad Hominem arguments are the weakest form an argument can take. Most of the "negative" attacks against the MP on this blog are Ad Hominem in form, including those that started this thread. Look the term up. If you want to argue, at least address actual facts. I don't care if a garbage man discovers the treatment that saves my life, I'll still happily use it if it works - and you would too.

    - Double blind studies of MP efficacy are beginning this month at a Chinese medical research facility. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-07/arf-sat072109.php

    - There is an entire section of the bacteriality.com site devoted to interviews with MP patients who have recovered from "untreatable" illnesses. Naturally, these should not be trusted, since they are clearly part of the MP's disinformation campaign to secure Trevor Marshall's global empire. Right.

  • Anonymous

    8/6/2009 2:38:55 AM |

    "The MP is only about 7 years old. If you're really ill, I hope you can hang on for another decade for your doctor to come around."


    ....  The problem here is that the original time to cure was supposed to 12-18 months.  Then, when a large percentage of patients didn't improve, the timeline was increased to 2-3 years.  Then 3-5 years.  Now it's up to 6+ years.  Maybe even 10!  It is not acknowledged by Marshall and company that there is a serious problem here: Many patients don't improve, and many in fact get worse.  Instead, the timeline is simply increased under the assumption that eventually these difficult patients will magically turn around.  I've been reading these sites since the beginning and have yet to see one miraculous turnaround.  There is no way to gauge the success of this program because the drop out rate is so high (look through old posts to verify), and the administrators have no interest in following up with these patients to learn the reasons for this.  As of this day, there has been no science performed to attempt to prove even one of TMs theories -- let alone the whole cobbled together quilt work.  

    "I don't care if a garbage man discovers the treatment that saves my life, I'll still happily use it if it works - and you would too."

    .... I agree.  But if the garbage man misrepresents his program over and over then there is a problem.   Go back and reread the comments in the thread -- many patients have been harmed by this therapy, some severely.  Now try to find any evidence of this on any MP site or bacteriality and see what you find.  Keep looking, because you won't find any.  It's great that you have improved, but this does discount the experiences of others.

    "There is an entire section of the bacteriality.com site devoted to interviews with MP patients who have recovered from "untreatable" illnesses. Naturally, these should not be trusted, since they are clearly part of the MP's disinformation campaign to secure Trevor Marshall's global empire. Right."

    ..... When Bacteriality honestly deals with the failures, then that site will have some credibility.   Until then it is another bit of MP propaganda.

  • Louisa

    8/6/2009 6:38:13 PM |

    Anonymous said: There is no way to gauge the success of this program because the drop out rate is so high (look through old posts to verify), and the administrators have no interest in following up with these patients to learn the reasons for this.

    I totally agree. The high drop out rate is hidden on the site, but well known to doctors - as a patient who got much worse on the MP, none of the doctors that dealt with my case will now prescribe the MP to anyone else ever again.

      This patern has repeated time and again in countries all over the world and is why it is so difficult for people to find a doctor willing to prescribe the MP.  

    How does Trevor Marshall's denial of the true dropout rate help the developement of either the treatment or the science?

    Just because, as Scott keeps repeating, the conventional treatments don't work doesn't mean the MP does work.  Not for everyone, anyway.  It didn't help me, just wasted precious time.

    As for the testimonials on bacteriality, at least one of those listed, Lisa Shanahan, long quit the protocol and tells anyone that will listen that it doesn't work. So take those 'recoverys' with a pinch of salt.

  • Scott

    8/7/2009 2:27:34 AM |

    Dear Anonymous:

    Among other things, you failed to address the most salient point from my post above: the "approved" treatments don't work for Sarcoidosis. At all. Not according to me, but according to the National Institute of Health in the most extensive study done to date. http://autoimmunityresearch.org/access-2yr.htm

    The key issue is not whether the MP works fast enough or within some timeframe, or even if some people have not been cured; the point is that it works at all...in any capacity, and as such it is a miracle for those of us with what mainstream medicine has labeled an "incurable" disease. The medical community should recognize that there are now at least *SOME* people who have improved, and I daresay even recovered from Sarcoidosis as a result of the MP...this, as compared to - what? The great success of  immunosuppressive drugs? Methotrexate? Please.

    An honest medical practitioner would tell their patients that they cannot cure Sarcoidosis, and that the disease is usually fatal within 20 years of diagnosis (according to the NIH). I believe it's literally criminal to turn people away from the MP when the only thing you have to offer is proven to be ineffective. On the one hand you have maybe a 30% chance of improvement on the MP (I'd guess it's actually higher), and on the other hand you have...what? As for people being "harmed" by the MP, I've been treated using standard immunosuppressive drugs and the MP drugs. If you want to chronicle people being harmed in their treatments, just look up the long term effects of prednisone. Benicar and and the common antibiotics used in the MP are proven safe by the FDA.

    While I feel badly when I hear that some people haven't had success on the MP, I personally can't give much creedence to MP "failures". Quite simply, there's no way to tell if people have applied the treatment properly. If I'm honest, my experience of people is that they lack patience and discipline...the two most important elements of the MP treatment. No treatment is 100% effective. On top of that, people are conditioned in the West for the "quick fix"...if they can't get results in a week or two, they won't stick with it. They take supplements when they shouldn't; they "cheat" on their diets; they don't pulse the antibiotics properly; they miss doses of medications; they feel worse due to killing the bacteria in their bodies and they give up, claiming they were harmed by the treatment. It is not the job of the MP site or Bacteriality.com to advertise treatment "failures". At this point they are the only accurate outlets for information about the MP.

  • Anonymous

    8/8/2009 3:33:21 AM |

    "It is not the job of the MP site or Bacteriality.com to advertise treatment "failures"."

    It is VERY IRRESPONSIBLE and DANGEROUS for the MP sites to tell sarcoid people that the MP is the ONLY cure for their illness as well as to share only the "so called" successful cases.

    When my doctor decided to pull the plug on me taking the MP drugs and following the protocol, because I was getting sicker, I was bullied by the MP staff in phase 2. I was told that I would only get worse if I stopped the MP. I was told that the MP was the only effective treatment for Sarcoid. My doctor was also attacked on the forum. (I sent him a copy of that posting).

    I just looked up the definition for "propaganda". Hmmmmm.

  • Nancy

    8/14/2009 7:00:54 PM |

    Dr. Cannell and Dr. Davis:

    I am heartened to see a dialogue (or sorts) occurring on issues of chronic disease.  For many sufferers, this a great improvement over the past decades of being told "it's all in your head."

    To see theories debated is a step forward and I am grateful for those that pursue the unconventional and for those that act as a check and balance system.  

    Having said that, after 15 years of failed attempts from the medical community to correct my illness (despite the best resources being applied from MRIs to Carbon-14 breath tests), it was me -- not a doctor -- that did enough research to return my body to a reasonable state of health.

    The cure was a coctail of antibiotics, anti-fungal and anti-yeast medications taken together. The incredients were determined by me and, fortunately, agreed to my family physician and specialist because, as they said it best, they "bought the research I had done."

    My experience has shown that there is value in the citizen scientist, whether they are an electrical engineer or a news reporter.  I am no longer disabled due to my mystery illness (CFS, Fibromyaligia) and I share my story with as many as I can.  

    Ultimately, there is no medical degree required for applied reasoning and no limit to what an intelligent person can accomplish.  There will, unfortunately, be limits to what is readily accepted.

    I believe it is wise to pursue results that can be reliably duplicated using a protocol.  However, it is time for the medical community to actually look for those results in the users of a protocal, not in the science papers dismissing it.  For example, try telling the millions of people who lost weight on the Atkins diet, that it doesn't work.  No amount of talking or press will ever change the mind of someone with first hand experience and the same reality applies to medical treatments.  If the results exist, then it is time to honestly and open-mindely review the protocol.

    I don't know if that is the case with the Marshall Protocol but all physicians and citizens should remain open-mined to the possibilty.  Every avenue should be investigated and uncoventional thinking should be embraced for the path it may reveal and the cure it may one day, even indirectly, lead to.

    Nancy Argyle

  • Scott

    8/15/2009 10:19:01 PM |

    Dear "Anonymous" - let's see if your claims are supportable:

    "It is VERY IRRESPONSIBLE and DANGEROUS for the MP sites to tell sarcoid people that the MP is the ONLY cure for their illness as well as to share only the "so called" successful cases."

    NAME ONE other curative therapy for sarcoidosis. I'll await your response with interest, since as a sarcie who is recovering on the MP, I'm clearly invested in knowing all treatments available, and I'm not aware of any others that are curative in nature. It isn't "irresponsible" or "dangerous" to tell people the truth; quite the opposite. It isn't hard to find people who self proclaim that they have cured their sarcoidosis on the MP; why would they claim this if it were not the case? What would be their motive?

    PROVE that the MP site only discloses successful cases. Dr. Marshall publicly shows study findings that by 15 months into treatment, 81% of cohort participants report that they experienced an improvement in their diseases. That's a large number, but it is clearly NOT 100%...thus, they obviously admit that some people are apparently not helped by the protocol at this time.

    "When my doctor decided to pull the plug on me taking the MP drugs and following the protocol, because I was getting sicker..."  
    That's the issue...you let your DOCTOR decide to "pull the plug", whereas YOU needed to take responsibility for your treatment. If you had studied the science behind the treatment, you'd have realized that you probably weren't getting "sicker", you were most likely feeling the short-term effects from immunopathology caused by killing the bacteria in your cells. Everyone who is successful on the treatment goes through this, and it is an uncomfortable, inconvenient, difficult yet unavoidable and expected part of the process. You shouldn't have expected your doctor to understand this for you; his interests and outlook regarding your health are by necessity very different than your own, and are much more rooted in mitigating short-term liability than in maximizing your long-term health outlook.

    "I just looked up the definition for "propaganda". Hmmmmm."
    Good for you...then you now know that propaganda often presents facts selectively, or uses loaded messages to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. YOU and many others on this blog are guilty of presenting facts selectively and emotionally; you somehow think that just because the MP may not have "worked" for you personally, that it is responsible to discourage others from trying it as a viable treatment option, even though clearly MANY PEOPLE HAVE BEEN HELPED, and even CURED, by the MP.

    Try a thought experiment. What if Dr. Marshall's claims are grossly inflated...what if only 20% of patients actually are cured on the Protocol? This blog thread alone has probably a dozen or more people who posted something sad like "gee, I was just about to try the MP...thanks for setting me straight". For each person that posts, there are hundreds if not thousands that do not. Statistically in our experiment, at least 20% of the people you helped to dissuade from trying the MP could have been CURED of their disease.

    The only propaganda I'm pushing is that if you or someone you actually care about has Sarcoidosis or one of many other autoimmune disorders, you have NOTHING to lose by studying the science behind the Marshall Protocol, and once educated, by diligently applying it for at least a year. It absolutely will not work 100% of the time...but it WILL work a large percentage of the time, and you won't know if it will work for YOU unless YOU try it. I'll say it one last time: discouraging someone from a treatment that is known to be effective in many cases, especially when you don't have anything better to offer, is to me, the definition of "Irresponsible" and "Dangerous" whether you are a layperson, or a medical doctor.

    Scott

  • Anonymous

    8/16/2009 3:03:29 AM |

    Scott said:

    "That's the issue...you let your DOCTOR decide to "pull the plug", whereas YOU needed to take responsibility for your treatment. If you had studied the science behind the treatment, you'd have realized that you probably weren't getting "sicker", you were most likely feeling the short-term effects from immunopathology caused by killing the bacteria in your cells. Everyone who is successful on the treatment goes through this, and it is an uncomfortable, inconvenient, difficult yet unavoidable and expected part of the process."

    Scott,

    Please try to get it through your head that MANY people have gone through the MP and ended up worse, some becoming disabled from the treatment.  Despite, What TM tells you, everything reaction not a herx!  Read that last sentence again.  And again.  AGAIN.

    Now, go back and read the posts above where people tell how they degenerated during the MP.  I know many of these people; they got sicker.  Not herxing: SICKER.  I was one of them.

    Very little is understood about the effects of beincar and vitamin D depletion on the immune system -- Marshall's series of unproven theories notwithstanding -- and suggesting this is without any risk is criminal.  Sure a few get better, but NO ONE has been cured yet.  No one that I'm aware of has gotten off the bencar and remained symptom free for any length of time.  

    It is extremely insulting for you to come here and suggest that those of us who failed the MP did so because we did something wrong.  Get off your self-rightous horse and read the above posts again; so many have gotten sicker and some have not returned to baseline.  Are you the only one who can follow directions?  Or maybe only the patients who suddeed can follow directions?  The failures must be too dim?  Or maybe weak willed?  Is that it?  What is our shortcoming?

    I have been off the MP over a year and a half now, and I have not regained the lost ground.  If all that was herxing, and I was killing bugs, then why did I not improve?  Please, enlighten me.  I would love to know the answer.

    Before the MP I was sick but functional.  During it I became disabled and bed bound.  My muscle weakness, which developed on the MP, and which the moderators and TM and Blaney (who oversaw me) said was a herx, has not gone away.  (Unless, perhaps, you are suggesting that Blaney doesn't know how to implement the MP.)  I am MUCH worse off than before I started the MP.  I did everything by the book.  And now I have trouble walking.  Before the MP I was self sufficient.  Think about that before you speak.  

    No one is doubting your positive reaction.  Many people do well, a small handful do very well, particularly sarcoid patients.  But most don't.  Most fail.  Please stop projecting your experience onto others.  just because you did well does not mean everyone does or will.  It also does not mean that your experience is indicative of the general MP experience -- it is not.  

    I am glad you are doing well, and do not doubt it.  Please pay me, and the others who have been hurt by this therapy, the same respect.

  • Scott

    8/16/2009 4:08:30 PM |

    Dear Anonymous,
    I am honestly and truly sorry to hear that you have been doing poorly since being on the MP; as a fellow chronic disease sufferer I have some notion of what you are going through. If your MP physician was Greg Blaney of British Columbia, then it IS very surprising that your outcome wasn't better...no doubt Dr. Blaney was most surprised of all, given his outspoken support of the MP, and his personal testimony that it has cured his Th1 disorders and those of many of his patients, even publishing some success with Multiple Sclerosis. I'm sorry, but I don't believe your assertion that most of his patients "fail". If that were true, it would be his duty to never treat another patient using the MP, and clearly this is not the case.

    Your blanket statements such as "no one has been cured" or "no one can go off the Benicar without relapsing" is unsupportable. I can point you to many testimonials that say quite the opposite, and there's no logical reason for these people to lie. What proof can you offer? Along that line, you claim that the majority of MP patients fail and have outcomes similar to yours; again, what proof can you offer? You claim to know lots of people who have been harmed by the protocol. Other than online, I don't personally know another soul that's even heard of the MP, let alone been on it. I find it fascinating that you know so many of these people, including many of those that posted on this blog.

    If you didn't treat your illness with the MP, what would you have treated it with? I'm sorry, but if you think you could have simply continued to not treat your autoimmune illness and it wouldn't have gotten worse on its own, that isn't what research tells us. The point is, we all get worse, not better if left untreated, and eventually we die early. Statistically speaking, my cardiac sarcoid should have put me in the ground two years ago...but I am recovering from an unrecoverable illness thanks to the MP. Maybe you need to read THAT sentence three times. With all the people you know who have autoimmune illnesses, why don't you give a long term report as to how those who are being treated with steroids are doing? Swimmingly well, I'm sure.

    Dear Anonymous, I'm afraid it's YOU that is projecting your negative experience. All I'm claiming is that the MP works for some people when nothing else does, and an individual won't know if it will be effective for THEM unless they try it. Is it free of all possible risks? What treatment is? But the risks of immunosuppressive therapy are known to be much greater, and the outcome of non-treatment is literally a dead end.

  • Anonymous

    8/21/2009 3:19:21 AM |

    Hi I am not connected with dr marshall in any way but have been on the protocol for a litle over 2 years after 15 years of joints swelling to three time ther normal size being diagnosed with gout but no relife from any medication sholder hands elbos knees and ankels swelling on an almost weekly basis  and some times over knight I reached a totally non functional state  I tried the mp out of despration  belive me it is real  each stage reacted excataly as dr marshall stated  with results from a small dosage of antibotic that should have had no efect I truly belive I would have dide with out it as does my wife now in the end stages  of stage 3 I havent had a swolen joint of any kind in over eight month that said be advised that  treatments are hard very hard and I nearly gave up several times but stuck with it  the treatments are about sarcoidosis any way not I repeat not about vitamine d how ever my fife noticed  that if I ate certan foods high in d  I sufered much great joint pain before the mp I could care less about dr marshall s qualifactions I wouldnt care if he were osma ben lauden or adof hitler  the mp works !!!!

  • Anonymous

    8/21/2009 4:41:27 PM |

    I recall from my time with the MP that they recommended a "modified" low glycemic diet.  

    What if most if not all of the improvements are from the change to a healthy diet. It is my belief and of others that diet plays an  important role in our physical wellbeing.

    I find for myself, that if I am eating better, such as staying away from sugar and refined products, I feel a lot better.  When I start eating unhealthy foods again, my sarcoid starts acting up or gets worse, such as inflammation to my skin, joints,  etc. I feel lousy.

    Also, I remember talking to others while on the MP who were doing  other types of things, such as supplements that were not allowed on the MP. They did not post this information on the forum. What is to say that improvements were from these other measures rather then the MP?

    I also find that people can write anything they want on the MP site (for that matter on the internet)and it might not be true.  How can there be a protocol on the internet, that one does not even know if what is posted is even true?

  • Deborah

    9/17/2009 4:08:03 AM |

    My loved ones pain Dr told us about the Marshall Protocol. We had his vitamin D test ran and we studied the Protocol and decided we were going to do miarcle cure whole heartedly. He has been sick for so long we were willing to try anything to cure him. Well within a few weeks he went into kidney failure. The DR and the Protocol ladies told me over and over to give him more Benicar so I did. He almost died. I got him to the E R and they saved his life. Why does Mr. Marshall think he is smarter than 90% of DR's? He is a crazy cult leader.Stay away from this hog wash or risk lossing your life!

  • The Kelleher Family

    11/13/2009 5:46:52 PM |

    This is for Scott, Re: your comments to 'Anonymous' such as, "I can point you to many testimonials that say quite the opposite, and there's no logical reason for these people to lie. What proof can you offer? Along that line, you claim that the majority of MP patients fail and have outcomes similar to yours; again, what proof can you offer?"

    Scott,  I ask you what proof do you and the other Marshall proponents have to offer?  If we are to accept all the positive Marshall anecdotes as evidence, then by default you and all other Marshall proponents must accept positive anecdotes from people who supplement with Vitamin D.  

    Exactly what Amy Proal and other proponents criticize about Vitamin D proponents' work is exactly what they are FAILING to criticize about their own work with MP.  

    THERE ARE NO PEER REVIEWED, RANDOMIZED, BLINDED STUDIES BEHIND MP.

    Even the studies used to form the basis of his protocol, that 25D levels above 20ng/ml are immunosuppressive don't even come from HUMAN studies (in vivo).  They don't even come from the next best source... in vitro.  They are 'IN SILICO' studies.  Do you know what that means?  COMPUTER MODEL studies.  We've all seen how well computer models work.  Just ask the IPCC how well their Global Warming computer model studies are being proven nowadays (NOT).

    The problem with MP anecdotes has been alluded to by other posters.  This is a multi-faceted protocol.  IN order to prove the ENTIRE protocol works, one would have to have separate treatment arms.. one with antibiotics only with two separate arms, with and without D.  Low D with and without antibiotics and all of these combinations with an without Benicar, and then there are the improvements in diet.. avoiding refined sugars, etc.  

    I'm not doubting that SOME people have had positive results from MP, but we and THEY don't know WHY.  Was it the diet alone?  Was it the limitation of 25D?  Was it the same antibiotics just tried over a long period of time that did it by themselves?

    The MP people CAN'T tell you or ANYONE because they don't know.  It is UNPROVEN.

    Then, look at the amount of time some people are on MP before they are cured.  Sometimes YEARS!  You do realize that some people with chronic diseases like chronic lyme have resolved their illness over a period of years WITHOUT the MP?  Who is to say those on MP resolved because of MP and not just some part of it, like the antibiotics alone?  You CAN'T because we don't know because they DON'T HAVE THE DATA.

    Until someone from the Marshall crowd can show me the following:

    A.  Full clinical studies with all the arms mentioned above to pinpoint which parts of the treatment are valid and actually do work.

    B. Or, in the absence of A, show me an IN VIVO studies with real humans that looks at baseline 25D and 1,25D, PTH, and Calcium levels, and also a baseline of antimicrobial peptides and other immune markers.  Have at least 2 arms... 1 where D is limited as in MP and see is immune markers improve or get worse, and another arm where D is supplemented to 40-60ng/ml levels and again see if antimicrobial peptide production goes up or down.  THIS is how you prove whether or not 25D above certain levels is immunosupressive or not, NOT some video game 'IN SILICA' model.

    Sorry for the hostility.  I am looking for answers like everyone else.  I just find it odd that MP proponents attack Vitamin D proponents with the same arguments that the MP folks themselves CANNOT live up to.

  • Anonymous

    11/25/2009 9:40:25 PM |

    Dear Kelleher Family,

    Don't hold your breath waiting for such data.  Or any data.

    Marshall, PhD, is unable or unwilling to answer the most trivial of questions about the protocol.  For example:

    1) what percent of patients have, in their opinion, improved their condition?  How about gotten worse?  Or had no change?  How do these percentages compare to doing nothing, or conventional treatments?

    2) what percent of patients drop out from the protocol and do not finish?

    Neither of these would require much more work than patient surveys and basic counting skills.  Yet you will find it nowhere on the site that I can find.

    Scott,
    "The MP is dangerous? Hmmm. A (very) mild anti-hypertensive,"

    Benicar is hardly a "mild" hypertensive, especially when you take it at 8x the maximum recommended dosage and you do not have high blood pressure!

  • TedHutchinson

    12/22/2009 10:21:54 AM |

    25-Hydroxyvitamin D(3) is an agonistic vitamin D receptor ligand.
    here is an exciting new paper that shows quite clearly Vitamin D3 in the form CALCIDIOL works together with CALCITRIOL to actively assist Calcitriol fulfill it's functions.

    This paper is showing quite clearly, higher (not lower) circulating levels of 25(OH)D are required.

  • Jeanette

    1/1/2010 10:09:06 AM |

    I found out a few months ago I have sarcoidosis stage 2. so i've been looking and researching about what the different types of treatment are, and I came across this Marshall Protocol. I honstly don't know if it works or not b/c i have not tried it. but from reading the different websites and message boards, and from watching the long video on the marshall protocol website and reading their message board it almost seems like a lot of the people are fake. and posting anonymous as who you are, and almost every story sounding the same, it just doesn't sound like these are actual people that have tried it. so if anyone is looking up info on this be careful, i'm not trying to tell you it doesnt work, b/c i don't know, but from the research i have done it just seems like a lot of these people posting their stories sound the same, and it seems real fake. i could be totally wrong, and am not sure if i myself with try this. but i will be researching more before i listen to the first few post on this. with that being said i wish everyone the best and god bless. i do not want to offend anyone, i'm just saying that its very possible that some of these stories are fake.

  • Anonymous

    1/2/2010 2:54:38 AM |

    I can only speak for myself. I also have sarcoid. I have had it for over 20 years. I also did research, and it sure seemed the way to go for my sarcoid. The information on the Marshall Protocol (MP) advertised that they were the "only" ones who had the cure for Sarcoid (and some other diseases) I decided that I had to do it. It was the only way I could get rid of the sarcoid once and for all.  I ended up being on the Marshall Protocol(MP) for over a year. I ended getting much sicker on it. (More then the symptom I had before this time). The doctor who was treating/prescribing me the drugs on the MP, pulled the plug and would not let me continue. The doctor was getting worried about continuing the MP with other patients too. The risk was too high. Besides, I think the doctor did not want to be liable in case there were any adverse reactions.

    During the time I was on the MP there were adverse reactions. Sometimes even death or severe infections resulting in hospitalizations. I read all about this on the forums on the MP website.  

    If you are willing to be a guinea pig for a theory that was done on a computer and not through proper "real life" testing, then go for it. I learned my lesson the hard way!

    Also, realize that a lot of the websites on the internet that promote the MP are owned by the MP people.

    Remember if it sounds too good to be true...

  • Cricket

    2/21/2010 11:05:30 PM |

    I have been on the Marshall Protocol for 3 years.  My D levels are currently at 8.  My physician just pronounced me cured of asthma.  I have not had any symptoms of asthma for more than 2 years.  My husband has been cured of RA and my mother is cured of scleraderma.  Prof. Marshall cured himself of sarcoidosis.  Read this study about healthy people with low vit D levels:
    http://tinyurl.com/yzlo2ob  We should be questioning why these levels are described as deficient when there is no disease associated with them in a country that does not add D to their diet.

  • Anonymous

    3/7/2010 9:25:54 PM |

    Vitamin D controls T cell antigen receptor signaling and activation of human T cells

    http://www.nature.com/ni/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ni.1851.html

  • Anonymous

    3/9/2010 12:55:24 AM |

    This is just a theory. Therefore,  does not mean that it is valid. Especially since we are unable to read the entire file. That is, unless you want to pay for it!

    It doesn't take rocket science to know that a large number of us were made worse by cutting out the Vitamin D.

  • TedHutchinson

    3/9/2010 1:48:22 PM |

    Re Vitamin D controls T cell antigen receptor signaling and activation of human T cells

    There are several articles online explaining this paper in more detail.
    Sciecne Daily's version
    Here is the NHS CHOICES item on the same paper.
    Vitamin D immune system boost?

    Without Vitamin D to activate T cells your body is unable to fight  infection.

    Marshall Protocol practitioners are therefore making themselves more vulnerable to pathogens.

  • Anonymous

    3/10/2010 7:18:32 PM |

    You have really great taste on catch article titles, even when you are not interested in this topic you push to read it

  • Anonymous

    3/13/2010 3:30:56 PM |

    This is my first visit here, but I will be back soon, because I really like the way you are writing, it is so simple and honest

  • Anonymous

    3/14/2010 4:26:05 PM |

    I found the two links that Ted posted on 3/9/10 very interesting.

    It brought home to me the correlation between vitamin D levels and natural killer cells.

    I looking at the links and decided to look back at my lab numbers before and after being on the MP.

    At the start of the MP my vitamin
    D3 level was low at 16 ng/mL (normal range was 20-100 ng/mL).

    When I stopped the MP, my vitamin D level had dropped to a very low level of 6 ng/mL.

    Shortly after that I had extensive lab work done by an immunologist. One of the lab tests measured natural killer cell numbers. The test showed that my numbers were extremely low at 32 (normal range 95-494).

    As a result of the drastic elimination of vitamin D from my diet as the MP dictated, I ended up being put in an extremely  vulnerable position against infection!

  • Anonymous

    3/15/2010 3:09:46 PM |

    Or perhaps your immune system was/is not challenged because the MP allowed you to fight off underlying infections.  If you have less natural killer cells, it is because your body is not producing them. Those cells are on a positive feedback loop, more infection, more NKC.  Less infection, less NKC.

    It doesn't matter to me if you are on the MP.  The MP worked for me, my husband and my mother.  It has also worked for thousands of patients with TH1 diseases. If you don't have a TH1 disease, it wont work.  If it doesn't work for you, don't do it.

  • Anonymous

    3/16/2010 2:20:23 AM |

    In response to the prior posting, I am breaking part of it down and providing my point of view.

    "…It has also worked for thousands of patients with TH1 diseases.”

    How do you know that the MP worked for thousands of patients? Where were these numbers obtained from? How do you know if the numbers are valid? How was the data collected? Could it perhaps be from the “founder” of the MP? The numbers sure seem extremely inflated to me!

    “If you don't have a TH1 disease, it wont work…”

    According to the MP guidelines, I have a “so called” TH1” disease called Sarcoid. It didn’t work for me, but rather made me worse.

    What makes it interesting, however, is that according to the MP website, most diseases are caused by the TH1 disease. I do understand that the list keeps growing!

    “If it doesn't work for you, don't do it."

    How does one know if it works unless they try it?

    What about those people who had blind faith in the protocol and got sicker, had life threatening medical issues because of it, or had the worst possible reaction…death?

    When I was on the MP, there were a number of people who died. One such person who was on the MP for many years, had so many complications as a result of taking the so called ‘MP drugs” that when the person was hospitalized; the doctors had a hard time stabilizing the person. The spouse wanted the doctors to talk to Trevor to get his guidance (even though he is not a medical doctor, but rather has a doctorate degree in Engineering). When Trevor posted about the death, he blamed the doctors for it, rather than his own involvement. What makes it even worse is that the autopsy report showed the MP had no effect on the massive sarcoid in the lungs. It sure seems to me that the MP didn’t help at all in this case!

  • Anonymous

    3/30/2010 5:38:02 PM |

    How do you know that the MP worked for thousands of patients? Where were these numbers obtained from? How do you know if the numbers are valid?

    Good luck ever getting an answer for this question.  I posed it in a similar fashion above.  The MP simply lacks the most basic data collection, including "How many people have tried it?".  

    according to the MP website, most diseases are caused by the TH1 disease
    Over time, the MP has extended far beyond an interesting approach to sarcoidosis to a panacea for all illnesses.

    The MP attitude of "just try it" is insane.  They believe that only sick people will respond to taking huge amounts of benicar and antibiotics, while ignoring the simple fact that all of these drugs have side effects.  

    If you feel better, it's the MP!

    If you feel worse, it's herx reactions, which show you need the MP even more!

    The MP is a medical cult.  It has all the hallmarks: group think, thought guards, us and them mentality, etc.

  • cricket

    4/1/2010 8:49:08 PM |

    *sigh*  It sounds like the MP not for you, but there is no denying that the MP has helped thousands.  If you are a medical professional you can access the data.  

    Prof Marshall states that the diseases that are cured are only TH1 diseases.  The MP is not effective against virus, nor are yeast/fungus, nor bacteria with cell walls.  The MP is for cell wall deficient mycoplasma that exist inside the macrophages.  BTW, scientists have known about these bacteria inside macrophages for more than 20 years but thought them to be benign.  Prof Marshall's genius is that he found a way to enhance your innate immunity so that your own body will rid it's self of these bacteria.

    For those of you who doubt, don't use it.  For the rest of you, study, study, study before trying the MP and in the end remember another Marshall, Dr. Barry J Marshall who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine (2005) after being ridiculed for 25 years for suggesting that stomach ulcers were caused by a bacteria (Helicobacter pylori).

  • TedHutchinson

    4/1/2010 9:32:15 PM |

    *sigh*
    There are indeed people who are unable to recognize fraud even when it is staring them in the face.
    Information about Trevor Marshall

  • cricket

    4/3/2010 1:43:03 PM |

    From the article cited above:

    We don’t mean to imply that the protocol is ineffective or unsafe, only to point out that there has been insufficient study and time to state these as facts, as Marshall frequently does.(My note: Prof Marshall does not state these as facts, he simply offers alternatives)

    What I know is that the MP worked for me, my husband, my daughter and my mother.  I have personal experience with the efficacy of the MP.  My physician was so impressed by the results in my family that she puts her patients (with TH1 diseases) on the MP.  

    Many of the people who are on the MP have exhausted all other possibilities (My mother was one of those).  Aussie Barb is one of those.  She has had enough improvement to enable her to carry an exhausting schedule as a moderator on the MP Boards.

    I am a biologist, my husband is a physicist.  We did not go on to the MP blindly.  I encourage anyone who is considering the MP to study it thoroughly before starting.

  • Louisa

    4/4/2010 6:33:33 PM |

    Cricket,

    I'm pleased that the MP seems to have been effective for so many of your family.

    But I'm alarmed at your comments about Aussie Barb.  She never fully went back to administrating or moderating the board after her six week stay in hospital a couple of years ago.  She is no longer administrating the boards, and is just listed as a member.  She's stated that she's not even taking benicar anymore.

    As she's consistently reported how utterly debilitated and dependent, unable to care for herself she is, I find it astonisshing that you've used her as a success story.  

    I suggest you check your facts before posting comments like that.  It hardly advances your argument.

  • cricket

    4/5/2010 1:06:53 AM |

    I wish you a Happy Easter.

    My mistake:It is true that Aussie Barb is no longer moderating the boards. I forgot that she is no longer a moderator because I hear from her via private messages.

    Aussie Barb is on 5mg Benicar Q7H.  She is walking and/or swimming 90 min.

    Aussie Barb isn't cured.  She is better off now than she was in 2004.

  • Anonymous

    4/5/2010 11:20:10 PM |

    Well that is interesting. I also privately communicate with her. The updated information isn't the same as what I have been told.

    Oh well...

    "My mistake:It is true that Aussie Barb is no longer moderating the boards. I forgot that she is no longer a moderator because I hear from her via private messages.

    Aussie Barb is on 5mg Benicar Q7H. She is walking and/or swimming 90 min.

    Aussie Barb isn't cured. She is better off now than she was in 2004.'

  • Louisa

    4/7/2010 4:21:44 PM |

    And a Happy Easter to you too Cricket.

    I have to concur with anonymous - the information I have is that Aussie Barb couldn't tollerate benicar at any dose and has taken none since January.  I am aware that she is able to excercise in water, but is still unable to walk unaided on land.

  • raven

    4/7/2010 4:54:11 PM |

    Thank you for posting this.  It identifies the main issue that I've been having with understanding the Marshall Protocol.  I've noticed that taking Vit D supplements or spending any length of time in sunlight corresponds to a great increase in my symptoms.  So, I've begun to wonder if there is something to it.

    It is easy to confuse correlation for causal interaction.  This fallacy is often associated with over-interpretation of scientific data, especially at the early stages of an investigation.

    As a lay person considering the protocol, I would like to see more data on this issue.  Especially causal data, not just stuff like such-and-such Vit. D levels correspond to such-and-such ailment.  Just because dandelions and grass frequently grow side by side, it doesn't follow that grass is caused by dandelion flowers.

    I think there is defiantly a need for more data on this issue and I would love to see, or even participate in clinical trials.

  • Andrew

    4/12/2010 7:19:51 PM |

    Marshall's "theories" on vitamin D are completely contradictory to every reliable study I have seen so far. Vitamin D is not an immunosuppressant like he claims. It activates some parts of the immune system while keeping others in check so they don't overreact.

    People with low levels of vitamin D are more prone to show symptoms of autoimmune disease and have higher rates of infection from pathological organisms. Lowering vitamin D levels further is not the answer when we should be getting more of it.

    Vitamin D ratio is not a reliable way to diagnose disease. The ratio of 1,25(OH)2D over 25(OH)D is naturally high in the case of a deficiency. As 25(OH)D goes up to 16 ng/ml the 1,25(OH)2D level drops and then picks up again after this. The problem with the MP is that it requires this <16 ng/ml 25(OH)D level for a "reliable" test, but at this level the ratio has been shown to be higher than 2:1 in HEALTHY people. According to Marshall and the MP our entire vitamin D deficient population has latent l-form bacteria, lol. What's more is that 1,25(OH)2D levels are different on different days especially in pre-menopausal women. Levels may also fluctuate within a single day.

    Everyone advocating the MP keeps harping on how bad traditional immunosuppressive treatments are but a low level of vitamin D has the same effect and is much more serious. They keep citing one study using corticosteroids off label to show the traditional approach has no effect. Doctors have been honest about this fact and usually subscribe such treatments only when the patient wants it. What they don't mention is the individual cases in practice where sarcoidosis has been successfully treated with antibiotics, the SAME ONES Marshall use, that are not included in any study but with a much higher vitamin D level.

    What is still not established is whether sarcoidosis causes low vitamin D or whether it is the opposite. In all cases both conditions are diagnosed concurrently. The MP claims sarc patients can't tolerate vitamin D but in reality only some can't tolerate any. Marshall is aware of 6 cases taking vitamin D that resulted in remission but he glances over this citing the 3 that could not take any as a reason to avoid it.

    The only thing Marshall has for his hypothesis is a computer model which nobody else has been able to evaluate yet. Computer models are NOT accurate representation of real life. I refuse to take him seriously until he allows his peers to review his work.

    Since starting supplementation I have been feeling much better to the point where I am actually able to write this. I have seen some symptoms returning and going away together with some new ones. Marshall says this is what happens on his protocol but according to the MP the vitamin D is actually making me sicker while on the MP it is a herx reaction. ROFLOL.

    If his site is a FDA monitored study site then they should start taking control of it so we can hear the truth from those whom the MP has not helped or has made sicker. That they are not interested in it becoming "a dumping ground for those with axes to grind" is nothing but a lame cop-out. The FDA is interested in all comments, not just the good ones. Instead Marshall is controlling everything in the name of the FDA.

    Here's a nice outline of the flaws in the MP with references to back up almost every assertion. In contrast Marshall uses one reference out of context to back up a whole conclusion.

    If you have sarcoidosis I can in good conscience neither tell you to do the MP or not. For everybody else you are much better off using vitamin D instead. But still there is no reason to regard the whole protocol as truth based on blind faith. Marshall has taken a hand full of darts and by some miracle one might have hit the bullseye.

  • Andrew

    4/12/2010 9:37:49 PM |

    Scott said on JUNE 22 2009: If you are reading this and are genuinely ill, don't let anybody to tell you what's right for you. Read...not blogs, but the actual science behind the treatments.

    And yet Marshall will claim that the average person can not understand the science. He has to convince you to try it through what? A blog!

    Scott said on AUGUST 04 2009: Ad Hominem arguments are the weakest form an argument can take. Most of the "negative" attacks against the MP on this blog are Ad Hominem in form, including those that started this thread.

    In the "ad hominen" arguments that started this it is clear that Dr. Cannell is biased in favour of the electrical engineer. Yet he is not siding with him. This should be a clear indication that it is his arguments that are weak and open to attack and not his character. I hope you're not implying that attacking a person's argument is an ad nominem attack?

    If Marshall's character is attacked it is because he is not facing up to the facts. He is not admitting that his hypotheses are contradicted by true studies. He has a degree in electrical engineering but misrepresents himself as a medical doctor. Anybody who claims otherwise has been unable to verify their claims. These are serious accusations not ad hominem attacks.

    Scott said on AUGUST 06 2009: While I feel badly when I hear that some people haven't had success on the MP, I personally can't give much creedence to MP "failures". Quite simply, there's no way to tell if people have applied the treatment properly. If I'm honest, my experience of people is that they lack patience and discipline...the two most important elements of the MP treatment.

    That is the major problem. You exhibit the same behaviour as those on the Marshall site. If someone is "cured" it is all because of the protocol. If they fail it is all blamed on them. They are set up for failure right from the start. Nobody has been cured yet. There are some major flaws with the MP but nobody involved with it will admit it.

    On top of that, people are conditioned in the West for the "quick fix"...if they can't get results in a week or two, they won't stick with it. They take supplements when they shouldn't; they "cheat" on their diets; they don't pulse the antibiotics properly; they miss doses of medications; they feel worse due to killing the bacteria in their bodies and they give up, claiming they were harmed by the treatment. It is not the job of the MP site or Bacteriality.com to advertise treatment "failures". At this point they are the only accurate outlets for information about the MP.

    People generally stick to treatments that show results. For many the MP has done nothing but made them worse. Chemotherapy is one of the worse treatments there is but people stick with it even though the effects are terrible. It's only when it doesn't work that they stop it so they can at least live out what's left of their life. But no if someone on the MP doesn't get better it's all because of them and never the flawed protocol itself. Of course it's not the job of the MP site or Bacteriality.com to advertise failures. Only success stories make good advertisments. They are NOT the only accurate outlets for information about the MP.

    Anonymous said on March 15, 2010: Or perhaps your immune system was/is not challenged because the MP allowed you to fight off underlying infections. If you have less natural killer cells, it is because your body is not producing them. Those cells are on a positive feedback loop, more infection, more NKC. Less infection, less NKC.

    That is beside the point. Every test has a minimum and maximum value. Anything not between this and you are probably not healthy. It does not matter how little infection he has it should still be higher than 95 not 32.

  • cricket

    4/13/2010 3:08:55 AM |

    *sigh*  I have no dog in this fight.  It doesn't  matter to me who does or doesn't try the Marshal Protocol. Study the protocol, read the scientific papers.  If the MP doesn't suit you, don't try it.

    There are 4 members of my family who have been cured by the MP.  My husband has been cured of RA, my 13 year old daughter and I have been cured of asthma and my (82 year old) mother was cured of sclera derma. It worked for us.

  • Anonymous

    4/13/2010 6:52:56 PM |

    I personally know 3 people who are doing the MP, and are very far along.   All three have asthma problems, and the MP has had zero effect on it.  How can the MP "cure" you two of asthma, and yet do nothing for them?  Did they do it wrong?

    The plural of anecdote is NOT data, cricket.  

    And that's what we want: data.  Valid, reliable data.  We want  peer-reviewed studies and hard data, not hand-waving cherry-picked results.

  • Cricket

    4/14/2010 5:11:25 AM |

    The MP worked for me, my daughter, my husband and my mother.  My physician is now prescribing the MP for other patients who are "Doing quite well on the Marshall Protocol".  Prof Marshall will be the first to admit that the MP doesn't work for everyone.  But it does, as Scott notes, work for a great many patients.  It worked for my family.  

    My treatment for asthma before the MP was simply to try to manage my symptoms.  I was taking inhaled steroids and albuterol.  The MP has made a huge difference in my life.  I haven't had an asthma attack for more than 2 years and I am free from wheezing.  At my recent physical, my physician pronounced me officially free from asthma.

    If the MP doesn't work for you, don't use it.  As for your friends with asthma, either they have asthma caused by something different than what caused mine, or they are getting Vit D.  My husband wasn't progressing and discovered that his new found taste for beer was driving up his D levels. Once he stopped the beers, he progressed to a cure for RA.

  • Anonymous

    4/16/2010 11:58:59 PM |

    the world we live in today is very corrupted and hard hitting against new ideas.  introducing massive amounts of chemicals, and over haling on certian vitamins when its very accessible in the first place, ultimately and knowingly is poisoning every single one of us and yet nothing is done. As well in any turning point in any expansion of society EXTREME reluctance and hard headiness was always present by deciding power. diseases cant always be controlled and there ll always be a certain percentage of humans who will be ill no matter what, but as we develop as a society and introduced many things into our bodies unnaturally and mostly unknowingly this CLEARlY has to be the cause for majority of illnesses in many people or else humans as a species are de-evolving. so eat right

  • Anonymous

    4/18/2010 1:56:01 AM |

    Cricket,

    The MP recommends making changes to the diet, such as eliminating white flour products,sugar, etc. They even recommend low-carb and low glycemic diets.

    What if your improvements were due to a change in diet? Good diets have been known to improve the health of many.

  • Anonymous

    4/18/2010 5:35:12 PM |

    To Scott, Crickett, and others...

    Until there is proof that the MP works at a level HIGHER THAN THE PLACEBO EFFECT, your defense of it is laughable.  Personal anecdotes are not evidence.  Tell Marshall to release his data.  As a current student (and planned future researcher) in biotech I'm interested in seeing it, as I'm sure many others are.

  • Cricket

    4/19/2010 4:22:32 PM |

    It may well be that my cure is due to diet change. I made minimal changes for the MP.  I eliminated fish, and vit D supplemented milk.  I still ate processed foods, sugar, flour etc.  I agree that it would be good to go to a better quality diet and that should play a part in regaining health.  My husband was never a fish eater and he is lactose intolerant, so he didn't change his diet except for changing his breakfast to oatmeal.

    "Until there is proof that the MP works at a level HIGHER THAN THE PLACEBO EFFECT, your defense of it is laughable."  

    I am laughing!  The placebo effect doesn't last forever! :
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placebo

    You need to take a class in statistics:
    http://udel.edu/~mcdonald/statchigof.html.  

    In my mother's case she has been free from sclera derma for 5 years. I have been free from asthma for more than 2 years, my daughter has been free from asthma for almost 2 years, my husband has been free of RA for almost 4 years. The other treatments that we tried before the MP did not work which argues against the placebo effect.

    Since my husband and I are scientists, we came to the MP with skepticism.  I also came with a strong background in biological statistics.  My husband is a Physicist, I am a Biologist.  The MP worked for my family.  I am not saying that the MP will work for everyone(nor does Prof Marshall) but if you do not have relief through other treatments, the MP is worth a try.  

    I am surprised at the heat that some of you feel in opposition to the MP. Some of these posts are bordering on hysteria.  

    My stance is always the same, if you want to see if the MP works for you, try it.  If you are getting relief from another treatment or if you think the MP wouldn't work, don't try it.  If you try the MP and it doesn't work, stop using it.  Simple!

  • The Kelleher Family

    4/19/2010 9:57:10 PM |

    Cricket-  It's not that simple.  First of all, the MP blames side effects on herx reactions, when they could indeed be side effects from the various meds.  MP proponents say this is a sign that it's working but some patients that can't handle them quit (and sometimes at the derision of MP proponents because they 'couldn't hack it).

    You say you are a scientist.  Here are the problems I have with the MP.  First and foremost is lack of clinical data.  The 'studies' that demonstrate Marshall's theory on Vitamin D are NOT in vivo (in actual humans), nor in vitro (human tissue in a petri dish), but IN SILICO.  They are computer models.

    The next problem I have, as any scientist should with a multi-faceted treatment like this, is how do you know what part is working or helping the patient?  Is it the Benicar?  The antibiotics?  The diet changes? The reduction to light exposure?

    I'll take light exposure for one example.  Reduction in light exposure can increase one's own natural production of serotonin and by extension melatonin, leading to improvements in mood and improvements in sleep.  Depression is often associated with unexplained body aches and pains.

    Another major problem I have is the sub-clinical doses of antibiotics.  This is a potential recipe for disaster, as it will likely select for resistant bacteria.

    Lastly, referring back to my comments on Vitamin D and Marshall's in silico models, there are a plethora of credible in vitro AND in vivo studies that demonstrate the opposite of Marshall's assertions.  I believe a poster from a few weeks ago linked some of these.  But Vitamin D is important for the production of T-Helper cells as well as antimicrobial peptides that kill bacteria and viruses.  It's been shown to activate and deactivate certain aspects of the immune system to help maintain a balance.

    I'm glad this seems to have worked for you, but again, if MP did work for you, you can't tell me with a straight face that you know which part of the MP helped you.  I would posit that eliminating processed food and some of the other dietary changes are very helpful.  That, plus the increased melatonin production from decreased exposure to light would go a long way to helping alleviate unexplained aches and pains in a lot of people.

    Also, I'm curious, once your asthma resolved, do you have to continue the MP for the rest of your life, or can you kick the Benicar and antibiotics and just maintain the dietary changes?

    As a side note, you or anyone else with Asthma could benefit from taking 2000mg or more of vitamin c per day.  There is certainly more clinical data supporting this than there is for the MP.

  • Anonymous

    4/27/2010 7:53:03 PM |

    Also, I'm curious, once your asthma resolved, do you have to continue the MP for the rest of your life
    I am  curious to hear the answer to this too.  It seems like Marshall keeps moving the goal posts on when people are actually cured.  What was once a 1 year program has turned into a 3 year program, then a 5 year, and now I think they're even talking about 8-10 years for a "cure".  Soon it will be a lifestyle.

    My treatment for asthma before the MP was simply to try to manage my symptoms. I was taking inhaled steroids and albuterol.
    And now you're taking Benicar and antibiotics?  How is this different?

    Except that the amount of benicar you are taking (assuming the usual every 4-6 hours dosage) is something like 8 times the recommended dose.  What research has been done on long-term over-usage of this drug for people without high blood pressure?  
      
    You keep trying to tell us "It works for me, so don't worry about it."  Well, I do worry about it.  When someone is selling snake oil, it's a problem.  When that snake oil is potentially dangerous, it's a huge problem.

    Every other scientist in the world has to prove their results.  You don't get to make huge claims without proof.  Studies.  Clinical trials.  Peer-reviewed articles.  In-silica experiments which can be replicated by others (Marshall refuses to provide enough data for this, fyi.)

    Marshall is saying something that is completely opposite of medicine.  Maybe he's right...medicine has been completely wrong before.  For example, introducing hand-washing among doctors greatly reduced deaths in pregnancy.

    But he has to prove it.  And so far, what he has said has been unconvincing.  The London article decimates his every argument by citing studies showing the reverse.  And Marshall refuses to ever provide even the most basic of statistics on his research.  For example, you four are successful at curing asthma.  GREAT!  How many people tried it, and were helped?  How many discovered it did not help?  That's the most basic metric I can imagine, and there is nothing like that available.

  • Anonymous

    4/27/2010 8:16:44 PM |

    And one more thing...the MP page is now locked, so almost every external link fails, with the "Sorry, you do not have permission to view this topic."

    Example link to the MP stating again that the 2:1 ratio of 1.25D to 25D is unhealthy:
    http://www.marshallprotocol.com/forum2/366.html

    Why is that suddenly off-limits?  Why is the MP suddenly hiding everything?  These are NOT obscure links to a post by some random person...these are links to the guiding stickied posts by Marshall and his staff, the ones that people have been following faithfully for years.  

    Every one of them is suddenly hidden from view, unless you are already a member.  If you're not...well, tough, because they won't let you join.  

    They claim it's because the "cohort has grown so large that we have had to temporarily close enrollment".  Temporarily?  This message has been there for months.  The cohort is too large?  I can understand wanting to limit patients, but why can't people view the forums without posting?  How does that affect the cohort or the MP staff in any way?

    The reason is obvious.  It's posts like this, or the London article, which has had to be moved before because Marshall objected to it.  Marshall doesn't like criticism or even analysis of his ideas.  The locking of the forums is obviously his way of preventing his own words from being quoted.

    And that's not the way medicine and science work.  We don't do things behind closed doors and in black boxes.  We publish openly, and let the criticisms fly.  If you can't disprove my theory with your own evidence and studies, then it becomes science.  If you disprove my theory, then I have to go back to work.

    Marshall is continuing to run the MP like a cult.  First opposing opinions and dissent were not tolerated on his forums.  Next, thought-guards attacked anyone who said it wasn't working for them, and blamed the victims.  Now the outside world isn't even allowed to look at what's going on.

  • bclass

    4/28/2010 2:28:09 AM |

    I am no longer on the MP because I am cured.  My mother is also off of it and so is my daughter for the same reason.  My husband is still on the MP at a reduced dose.  Don't ask me to explain Dear Hubby.

    I was on the MP to phase 3, my daughter and mother were on through phase 1.  

    My daughter and I had asthma, my mother had sclera derma, my DH had RA. Yes, the MP worked for us and no negative side effects. In my case when I was taking up to 200 mg of Benicar a day, my blood pressure moved a whopping 4 points.  

    My physician was so pleased with our results that she is successfully using the MP to treat all of her patients that have autoimmune disease.  

    What can I say about the MP website?  I would not attribute sinister causes to a funky website.I know that if you are a physician, you have access to information about the cohort that is not available to patients.  Have your physician get the information that you desire.

  • Anonymous

    4/28/2010 10:51:19 PM |

    Sclera derma?

    Do you mean scleroderma?

  • bclass

    4/29/2010 2:49:59 AM |

    Yes, my computer corrects to sclera derma.  https://health.google.com/health/ref/Scleroderma

    It is a pretty nasty disease that results in death.  I am so glad that my mother no longer has it.

  • bclass

    4/29/2010 3:27:03 AM |

    Minocycline as a treatment for scleroderma:http://www.rheumatology.org/publications/hotline/archive/0598scleroderma.asp
    Mino as treatment for RA:
    http://www.rheumatology.org/publications/hotline/archive/0195minocycline.asp
    Both of those links are from the American College of Rheumatology

  • Andrew

    4/30/2010 5:49:40 PM |

    Rheumatoid arthritis has been shown to be aggravated by vitamin D. Indeed many people suffering from RA can not tolerate much sun exposure as it increases inflammation, the same with supplementation. Does Benicar not ease inflammation? Certain viruses and bacteria may also cause RA.

    Asthma is an allergic reaction causing an over reaction to irritants. Some of those irritants may well be eliminated by antibiotics. It is not always a permanent condition and also more than half of children with asthma will 'outgrow' it in a decade. The long duration of the MP might well mean that it disappears on its own while only the symptoms are managed.

    The MP consists of so many factors that an extensive study is needed to determine what (if any) of them have an impact on which diseases. Right now it's marketed as a 'catch all', if throwing everything in will not cure you them nothing will.

  • Anonymous

    4/30/2010 9:38:20 PM |

    Minocycline is not the only drug that is used on the Marshall Protocol. The protocol uses a cocktail of medications, including Benicar, Clindamycin (affectionately called “Clindy” by the MP), and Azithroycin.

  • Anonymous

    5/16/2010 7:20:50 PM |

    My wife was infected with a tick bite. She's now had PLDS (post lyme disease syndrome) for 3 yrs.

    After numerous tests, nothing was found in her blood, in her spine etc.. The medical community in UK and France were completely unhelpful. We even

    had to beg for the initial antibiotics for the acute Lyme symptoms.

    Things got even worse (as I'm the main breadwinner)  when I started to developed multiple symptoms. Primarily neurological, dizziness, brain fog, feet

    burning (peripheral neuropathy) numb limbs. Our whole way a life was under threat - with no medical support  (GP's useless. BUPA doen't want to

    know).

    Started private treatment on doxycycline, but the symptoms all came back after 2 months for both of us. I did some research and I found the Marshall

    Protocol site.

    After nine months on the MP, all my 7 primary symptoms have reduced by 90% and my wife has stabilised and experiencing considerable improvement

    with her PLDS. She can now work again, and stay awake for more than a few hours, and think clearly.  No brain fog, no panic attacks, no sudden

    depression, no flashing lights when she's trying to sleep. She has halved her symptoms and now has a life!

    I'm afraid that your average person is totally alone with this nightmare of chronic immune disease.

    The MP works. Look at the list of diverse people ( who on the whole have much worse histories, that are much longer, than my wife and I ) and they are

    all improving.  It takes time, but it works.

    We have 2 children. If they start to develop any symptoms, I will not hesitate to get them on the MP to safeguard their health.

  • Kent

    6/22/2010 5:41:09 AM |

    What a fascinating discussion.

    The most obvious thing to me is that these MP adherents are being given long term doses of antibiotics. Given this scenario, it is laughable to attribute anecdotal positive accounts to the accuracy of any of Mr. Marshall's theories. Conventional treatment with antibiotics have been shown effective for any number of the illnesses indicated for MP. We don't need an alternate version of of the function/behavior of D vitamins to predict a margin of effectiveness in the indicated diseases correlated with antibiotic use.

    One thing that is almost always true: Good science is forthright and transparent. Marshall and his MP are not.

  • MalibuMom

    6/23/2010 3:59:10 PM |

    There are some diseases where the MP is an effective treatment or cure and other diseases where the MP has no effect.  

    If you are thinking about trying the MP, study it.  Prof Marshall has numerous scientific papers on his theories and the MP.  If, after studying the MP, you think that it is not for you, then don't try it.

  • Anonymous

    7/6/2010 8:22:55 PM |

    Dr. Marshall is himself a sarcoidosis patient. Sarcoidosis features the production of numerous small tumor-like granulomas. Vitamin D is the fuel which increases the production of these granulomas and assists progression of the disease. If this is not so why does the Vitamin D council itself, presumably an organization designed to promote vitamin D supplements, note that some patients, including those with hyperparathyrodism, granulatomous diseases, or cancer may be hypersensitive to vitamin D? Some doctors knee jerk prescribe vitamin D and for some patients the result can be hypercalcemia, which for some patients can have fatal results. Yes, there are many legitimate studies published about this in peer reviewed medical journals but seeing the Vitamin D Council saying this themselves may be more convincing: http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/vitaminDToxicity.shtml

  • Anonymous

    7/6/2010 11:37:54 PM |

    I do not see the Vitamin D Council advocating large doses of Benicar nor continued use of antibiotics!

  • buy jeans

    11/3/2010 8:41:43 PM |

    I will not write again about Dr. Marshall's theories. No one in the vitamin D field takes him seriously. Personally, I admire anyone willing to swim against the tide and raise alternative theories. I have done the same with influenza and autism.

  • Anonymous

    12/26/2010 9:52:02 AM |

    The only time I went into full remision with my CFS was after two months of rehydration, drinking ca. 2 qts water per day and reducing my coffee consumption two ca. 2 cups.  That is all I took: water. I should like to point out documented success with ricketsial infections with pulsed antibiotic therapy lasting * months.

  • Anonymous

    1/20/2011 5:48:30 PM |

    "An honest medical practitioner would tell their patients that they cannot cure Sarcoidosis, and that the disease is usually fatal within 20 years of diagnosis (according to the NIH). "

    I was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis a couple of years ago. I have pulmonary involvement, and believe I also have muscular/neuro involvement. That said, I expect to live a good long life....God willing FAR more than 20 more years (I am 48 years old).

    I looked into the Marshall Protocol. A lot. I joined many Sarc forums as well as the official MP forums, and lurked there watching the posts.

    My thoughts:

    1) No one aside from TM himself claims to have been FULLY cured. Even their poster child patients have been on benicar/antibiotics for years with no hope of ever getting off. How can this be construed as a cure? I have communicated personally with patients who are on the protocol and who claim to be "better". While some claim that SOME of their symptoms have disappeared, all of them admit to constant "herxing". All of them are still on the antibiotics after THREE OR MORE YEARS, with no hope of ever getting off them.

    2) The moderators are very nazi-like. EVERYTHING is written off as herx. I'm sorry, but the behavior I see on the MP site smacks of cult like behavior. If it acts like a duck, and walks like a duck....

    3) Where is the data? Where are the peer reviews? Don't hold your breath.

    4) I am shocked that folks up here (some claiming to be educated in biomedicine and engineering) are buying off on TM's speculation. If you read his literature (and I have read most of it) he does not back ONE SHRED of it up with definable, quantifiable data. The only "data" he has is in his computer modeling, and the "thousands" of patients who he claims are better (most of them who are still "herxing").

    I have a masters degree in IT, and consider myself a reasonably intelligent person seeking the truth. The MP smacks too much of quackery. I want it to be true. I really do. Walking around with this disease is scary.  Frown

    I believe corticosteroids in fact reduce inflammation (making the patient FEEL better) but in the long run they do more damage than good by lowering the body's immunity. I think the people who do feel better on the MP do so because they are weaned off the steroids and other harmful drugs they are put on. That is all. No other "magic" involved.

    Maybe if I was in really really bad shape (and super desperate) I would consider the MP. Maybe. Until then, I don't think so. I think good diet, good living, and exercise (think Gersen theory) are much better methods for fighting an auto-immune disease than are super long courses of antibiotics, ultra high doses of benicar, or long courses of steroids.

    Just my two cents....

  • Anonymous

    3/11/2011 8:55:40 PM |

    People here write of 'Th1 disease' and 'cell wall deficient bacteria' as if they are scientific fact. Marshall is making this stuff up and selling it as proven.

    Some people get better over time. Many people get better by making dietary changes. Sarc definitely causes Vit D disruption, so avoiding it when you have Sarc might make you better. Antibiotics make people feel better.

    Some rational thoughts:
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=681

  • Anonymous

    3/12/2011 12:50:08 AM |

    You haven't done your homework.  Th1 diseases are diseases that result in increased amounts of Th 1 cells.

    Th1:
    http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/T/Th1_Th2.html

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10579123

    There are numerous published papers on the internet.

    Cell wall deficient bacteria:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8326586

    http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=mincr2Hi81UC&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=cell+wall+deficient+bacteria&ots=Hjwr1vt1jY&sig=jnR18nLAHSZ_OxhriqNkerm8GZk#v=onepage&q=cell%20wall%20deficient%20bacteria&f=false

    http://www.cell.com/immunity/retrieve/pii/S1074761300801193

    http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0140673600041313

  • Anonymous

    3/18/2011 5:34:44 PM |

    I too was following the developments on MP for many years. I thank everyone who commented here. I realize now that I was getting a bit too rosy a picture relying mostly on the info posted on MP site.

    I think that too much emphasis is made now on vit D issues. Clearly it's disregulated in sarcoidosis and possibly in some other diseases. To me the important aspect of MP is the stress on underlying infections in chronic diseases. Funny that the last I read there, Prof Marshall was weaning his cohort from antibiotics, stressing the role of Benicar alone.

    The lesson I took from MP is underlying infections in chronic disease and a new way of taking antibiotics.

  • Anonymous

    4/9/2011 8:22:57 PM |

    K.Nelson (http://www.microbeworld.org/index.php?option=com_jlibrary&view=article&id=2136) publiced a book this year:
    Metagenomics of the Human Body (http://www.amazon.com/Metagenomics-Human-Body-Karen-Nelson/dp/1441970886).
    One Chapter (12) is written by Amy D. Proal; Paul J. Albert, Trevor G. Marshall."Autoimmun desease and the human meta genome".
    A reason to take Marshall s Theory seriously? Perhaps is theory makes sense but the Marshall Protocol does not. Or both does or doesnt, I dont know. But seeing Nelson accepting a chapter of Marshall is quite.. well I dont know.. quite surprising.. an honour maybe.. hope??

  • Anonymous

    4/10/2011 8:34:53 AM |

    a new book has been published by Karen E. Nelson, Ph.D, this year: Metagenomics of the Human Body.
    Information about her: http://www.microbeworld.org/index.php?option=com_jlibrary&view=article&id=2136

    Chapter 12 has been written by Amy D. Proal; Paul J. Albert, Trevor G. Marshall:Autoimmune desease and the human Metagenome.

    So, waht to think about that? Is this the first sign that Marshall's theory is taken seriously?
    Is Nelson to be taken seriously? Is Marshall's theory right? Woudld this mean his Marshall Protocol makes sense?

  • alexa

    5/9/2011 10:09:27 AM |

    I have come accross MP by accident when trying to find information to do with CFS. I have had CFS for 25 years and have tried many things nothing has worked. In my case I have intolerance to all but 8 foods this now makes me sound like a crank! I would like to think there is something in MP that may give me a chance of a normal life, but why have other doctors not looked more at this theory to prove it? If it was that good surely they would. I am tempted but is there anyone in the UK offering this treatment? People like me are vulnerable many would do almost anything to get well so how do we know what to believe here?

  • Kozak

    6/18/2011 10:52:53 PM |

    Marshal just have found some connection, but don't know the sides of this connection and he don't have any well-grounded explanationtheory.
    He is just near the part of truth.
    The main problem in wrong etiology. All nosologies decribed in Marshalls protocol are not connected to CWD. There is one specific pathogen.
    If you know it -you don't need any magic with any kind of mysterious protocol or  CWD etc.
    You just know the susceptibility and you know the clinical managment -that is all what you need.
    The only thing in what Marshall is right is that antibiotics(but specific ones depend on patient strain) are needed on longterm basis.

  • rewuioerwm

    6/27/2011 6:34:23 AM |

    Blaming the victim is a huge problem with the MP.

    I was on the MP for 2.5 years. I had plenty of motivation and discipline. I failed on the treatment because the symptoms of my disease nearly killed me three times and I needed to be hospitalized in order to survive. I'm not exaggerating here. My doctor actually told my parents, while I was in the ICU, that he had thought this was the end for me. (He said it after they saved me, obviously.)

    I had surgery to regain my health after quitting the MP.  I tried to go through the treatment three or four times before I realized it just wasn't a good plan for me. I did regain my health. This was not a quick fix. Surgery was hell to recover from and took a few years. It took a lot of discipline for me to go through what I did.  

    Sometimes the treatment just doesn't work for everyone. No single treatment will. A hallmark of quack medicine is that its purveyors frequently blame the patient for the failure of the treatment, rather than statistics and normal variability from person to person.

    Also, TM has really no idea how the treatment works. He has assumptions. He does not have evidence that there really are bacteria in macrophages. He does not have evidence that Benicar really does modulate the immune system by way of the Vitamin D receptor, that low dose antibiotics are more effective at killing an infection than high dose antibiotics, or that using Benicar to modulate the immune system via the Vitamin D receptor (if that is even happening) is an effective way to kill a chronic infection he has no proof is even there.

    This is junk science. It COULD potentially be real science if he had the maturity to subject his ideas to scrutiny by peers, collaborate with other researchers, and do some laboratory studies. There are experiments that can be done. TM and the MP are not above the scientific method.

  • Anonymous

    7/30/2011 5:45:46 AM |

    I read the entire blog.  I have a sick wife.  She has CFS, fibro, Osteo, hypothyroid, adrenal fatigue, no pancreatic enzymes, I have read everything I can get my hands on, both sides of every argument.  I was very convinced that MP would work.  Unfortunately my wife will not try it because of people saying it's dangerous.  I watch her get worse every year.  That's dangerous.  The mainstream drugs she takes for these things are dangerous.  I ended up here after reading Mercola's site.  i am ashamed of the way he "debunked" the MP.  I was shocked at the fact that he hasn't updated his statements to current times.  I have only been researching MP for a few months but I've read about the things that cause TH1 disease for years.

    What I see as a failure that should be owned by everyone who has posted here:

    1.  No mention of the IOM report (NY academy of Sciences) from late 2010 looking at all the research done on D and the "epidemic" of D deficiency.

    2. People attempting to and for the most part getting away with implying that cell wall deficient forms (L-Form bacteria) are a theory or a myth.  These people must still put their lost teeth under their pillow.  Please spare me.

    3. Failure to mention the International congresses on Autoimmune disease of which Marshall is a part.

    4.  People who constantly take the position that there is no proof of.......   Like this is something new and that it itself is a valid refuting of anything.

    5.  Anyone citing the Vitamin D council.  Let's get the Big Foot society to prove bigfoot is a fraud.  Not in their interest.  Saying Marshall is full of crap and citing them is ridiculous, an oxymoron may be.  

    6.  Failure to mention that human breast milk is deficient in Secosteroid D (and calcium for that matter), when it is the perfect food.  Please don't tell me that is only because the mother(s) they tested was/were deficient.  Not the case or the Vitamin D council wouldn't say they are confused by it.

    7.  Failure to mention certain antibiotics cause L-form bacteria by simply killing the cell wall.

    I think that's plenty.  I won't provide sources because the people who deserve this info will search and find it.  I don't have the energy to try and convince someone who doesn't want to or has chosen not to.  Unfortunately saying D is bad is like being a cheer leader for big Pharma.  But name another steroid we consume "just cuz".  The deck is stacked against MP and those who believe in it.  Sorry it doesn't work for everyone.  In 30 years my grandson will likely read about Marshall like I have about Royal Raymond Rife and Virginia Livingston and think, just as I have, "what a waste" and wonder why we still pretend things are only treatable.  All of you staunch supporters of the "No proof it works" should do your homework and look at the history of the AMA, ACS, CDC, and how they have behaved over the years.  The situation, with so many sick with AI disease works out pretty well for them.

  • JayZee

    7/30/2011 6:18:36 PM |

    I'm paraphrasing from the book "Parasite Rex" page 121':  in an effort to kill/treat toxoplasma in AIDS victims parasitologist  Dr. Roos found that clindamycin kills toxoplasma and plasmodium (malaria) -  when it shouldn't -  clindamycin kills bacteria's protein building ribosomes but toxoplasma is not a bacteria, it has a nucleus - it has mitochondria.> Fast forward a page and toxoplasma  and plasmodium (malaria)have an orphaned circle of DNA.To get some insight into this DNA Dr. Roos compared these orphaned genes to other genes in toxoplasma and other microbes and the closest match he found was not inside toxoplasma's nucleus or mitochondria.** It was the chloroplast in plants, those solar-powered factories that make plants on the laboratory shelves grow...."They look for all the world like a green plant" says Roos.

    I've been following the MP for 5 years now and am still a big fan and of Amy Proal too.I can appreciate Dr. Davis and forgive him at the same time, look how far he has come in his cardiology practice to understand the ignorance of his colleagues ( a big risk to take in fascist medicine) and his investigation of wheat science and correcting our diet.I believe we are all looking at the same thing just from a different angle and there is room for all of the science and everyone has a voice... including Trevor and Amy.

  • Henk Poley

    10/2/2011 4:28:58 PM |

    Isn't the only reason you can/should lower your 25(OH)D levels during the "Marshall Protocol" because high dose Olmesartan is a 1,25(OH)D replacement? It is a replacement therapy.

    I still do wonder though what are the modes of action of pathogens that block or down regulate VDR, that is subverted by Olmesartan? Also, if it's sufficiently 1,25(OH)D like to replace all the actions of that hormone throughout the body.

  • do

    10/13/2011 10:57:24 PM |

    I think the marshall protocoll is like a sect. I have someone in my family who is on the protocoll for almost three years now and it is totally ridiculous.Before they prescribed this protocoll he was searching for years for absurd physical complaints and at that time no doctor or hospital found something. In the past there where emotional problems. I thought a that time and now that these complaints are psycho-somatic. He thougt he had a auto immume disease, other diseases and so much more. He went to several hospitals and a few times he was hospitalized and they took test after test and they never found something. This where all heavy tests, bloodtests, kidney test, tests for auto immume diseases..... He also had a total body scan. He had for himself whole theories about what kind of sickness he had at that time and sought doctors who beleved in his theories. They found only a few things  but we have al higher risks at surtain diseases. A psychiatrist was needed a few doctors told at that time. After that he was looking for a diagnose in the alternative medicine till he found someone who was working with the marshall protocoll. Sinds than there is a theory but no one knows the name of his disease and he is now obsessed! with avoidance of vitamine D. The only explanation for his complaints had to do whit a heliobacterie he got in his childhood. He has never told someone what the name is of his disease because what he has is no auto immume disease, lime......... Otherwise he should have told it to someone just to make sure that he is right and that he is really sick after all these years. In his eyes he is getting better and better after the exact time the doctor tells him that after certain periods it is getting better. Ik hope this idiot protocoll will stop in the next few years. There are now scientific studies on this and I think that it is just a placebo effect. I hope that the negative stories al will come above and mayby it is time to set up a website with all the negative stories! instaed of the website with all the positive stories. I think it is dangerous and anyone should get far away from this!

  • Sam

    12/12/2011 5:34:05 PM |

    Even a placebo will cure up to 25%-50% of participants in many drugs trials. Knowing the many unknowns on all the diseases it suppose to treat and the cult like mentality of desperate sick people, having testimonial mean nothing. That why the double blind ended scientific method is so needed for validating any therapy.

  • Henk Poley

    1/30/2012 6:17:47 AM |

    Just replying here that Olmesartan cannot properly replace 1,25(OH)D or the related metabolism products in the body, Marshall is a charlatan.

  • Chris

    12/14/2012 10:16:39 PM |

    The simplest measure of whether the MP protocol works would be evidence of the serum measures that Are outlined on the website:

    "laboratory tests – Various tests are expected to come in range:
    return of ACE, CRP, triglycerides, ALP to low end of normal
    increase in % lymphocytes, back into the normal range
    1,25-D at 25-35pg/ml measured over a six-month interval
    signs of inflammation resolution on CT and MRI imaging"

    Pre and post testing would be a good way to see if this works over the short, medium and long term. If the protocol really works, then this should prove it. My feeling from reading the site is that there is little information about the ending of the protocol i.e. when one might expect to be off it. In all the testimonies I read, not one indicated that they were off the protocol and now better. At best, I would say the lack of published evidence (self-report or otherwise) suggests that there is no end to the protocol unless you are one of the people who 'didn't see it through'. I am conscious the medical profession can sometimes be slow to accept innovation, but the MP has been around for a long time, so if the protocol really worked then there would be evidence, and more readily accepted by practitioners. Please Professor Marshall - if it really works, then publish the results. Sick people need more than just hope, they need some evidence too! I can't risk damaging my health more by adopting a protocol that could make me worse in the long run.

  • peter

    2/24/2014 3:22:20 PM |

    I have CFS/ME/FM, hypothyroidism & other chronic illnesses, I joined their group & forum etc, applied for & attempted to do the MP about 5 to 6 years back. I bought the sunglasses, photocopied dozens of pages of info & gave all the relevant info to my GP & my Immunologist etc. I was told by the MP people to but the information books,, DVD's etc. I sent my payment of nearly $400.00 to their company. I never received anything at all from them. I sent dozens of emails to the company & to the so called nurse in Australia for months & months & was totally ignored. The other people in the group on the forums doing the MP did not have a clue about anything medically or anything else it seemed, lots had dropped out, some said they had not seen any improvement, some said they had seen some improvement after a couple of years etc etc, but anyone could say that because they were all anonymous.   They seemed like a bunch of people who were just sucked in by the scam. I posted my concerns on the forums about not receiving the information products & my posts were quickly deleted, usually within 24 hours.

    In my opinion it is a complete SCAM SCAM SCAM !!!!!!! Being an Australian I had no way of taking legal action against Marshall or his company because they are based in the USA & he lives in the
    USA. So basically I was completely ripped off cold.
    I have had much better success treating my health problems with LOTS of vitamin D & other natural treatments & following the advice of Dr Tent.

    My advice to anyone considering the MP, DON'T DO IT OR EVEN TRY IT ! IT WILL DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH & YOU WILL GET COMPLETELY RIPPED OF LIKE i DID & NEVER GET A CENT OF YOUR MONEY BACK !!!. IT IS A SCAM !!! IT IS A SCAM !!! IT IS A BIG BIG BIG SCAM !!!!!!!

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