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In this episode, you will learn about the autoimmune pandemic and how microbes are often at the core of autoimmune conditions.
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About My Guests
My guests for this episode are Dr. Steven Phillips and Dana Parish. Steven Phillips, MD is a renowned Yale-trained physician, international lecturer, and media go-to expert. Well-published in the medical literature, he has treated over 20,000 patients with complex, chronic illness from nearly 20 countries. Dr. Phillips experienced firsthand the nightmare of an undiagnosed, serious infection after nearly dying from his own “mystery illness,” and having to save his own life when 25 doctors could not. Dana Parish developed Lyme-induced heart failure as a result of being improperly diagnosed by some of the “top” doctors in the country—and had her life saved by Dr. Phillips. A chart-topping Sony/ATV singer/songwriter who has written songs for artists like Celine Dion and Idina Menzel, she has become a major voice in the world of chronic illness. Her popular column on Huffington Post has been read by more than one million people globally.
- Is autoimmunity a symptom of an underlying pathogen or a condition of its own?
- Why does modern medicine attempt to use steroids and biolgoics, and what are the potential consequences?
- Why are infections more likely to lead to autoimmunity today?
- Is detoxification important in a healing strategy?
- Are vector-borne microbes the core issue or simply one component of autoimmune conditions?
- What is "Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome"? Is it just another way to invalidate patient experiences?
- How often are people infected with these organisms but not picked up with existing labs?
- What role do Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever (TBRF) Borrelias play?
- Do parasites play a role in chronic, complex illness?
- Do infections serve as triggers for demyelination?
- What are the top triggers for PANS?
- Are vector-borne pathogens sexually transmitted? During a pregnancy?
- Can psychiatric conditions be the result of an underlying infection?
- Can mast cell stabilizers have potential downsides?
- What role do viruses play?
- What are the core issues in ALS?
- What is missing from current treatment strategies for neurodegenerative conditions?
- Does autism have an infectious component?
- How might liposomal oregano oil be helpful in the treatment of vector-borne infections?
- What are some potential concerns with the use of Disulfiram and methylene blue?
- What does "maintenance" look like?
- Might a focus on mental and emotional health benefit patients?
- Does limbic system retraining have a place?
Connect With My Guests
February 9, 2021
Transcript Disclaimer: Transcripts are intended to provide optimized access to information contained in the podcast. They are not a full replacement for the discussion. Timestamps are provided to facilitate finding portions of the conversation. Errors and omissions may be present as the transcript is not created by someone familiar with the topics being discussed. Please Contact Me with any corrections.
[00:00:01.02] Welcome to BetterHealthGuy Blogcasts, empowering your better health. And now, here's Scott, your Better Health Guy.
[00:00:13.21] The content of this show is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any illness or medical condition. Nothing in today's discussion is meant to serve as medical advice or as information to facilitate self-treatment. As always, please discuss any potential health-related decisions with your own personal medical authority.
[00:00:34.08] Scott: Hello everyone, and welcome to episode number 139 of the BetterHealthGuy Blogcasts series. Today's guests are Dr. Steven Phillips and Dana Parish. And the topic of the show is the Autoimmune Pandemic.
Dr. Steven Phillips is a renowned Yale-trained physician, international lecturer, and media, go-to expert. Well-published in the medical literature, he's treated over 20,000 patients with complex chronic illness from nearly 20 countries. Dr. Phillips experienced firsthand the nightmare of an undiagnosed serious infection after nearly dying from his own mystery illness and having to save his own life when 25 doctors could not.
Dana Parish developed Lyme-induced heart failure as a result of being improperly diagnosed by some of the top doctors in the country and had her life saved by Dr. Phillips. A chart-topping Sony ATV singer, songwriter who's written songs for artists like Celine Dion and Idina Menzel, she's become a major voice in the world of chronic illness. Her popular column on Huffington Post has been read by more than one million people globally. And now my interview with Dr. Steven Phillips and Dana Parish.
I think the first time that I learned the word autophagy and learned more about mTOR was from a presentation that Dr. Phillips did at ILADS several years ago in Fort Lauderdale. Now the two of you have authored the book “Chronic: The Hidden Cause of the Autoimmune Pandemic and How to Get Healthy Again”. I'm excited today to dive in with you and learn more about the topic of autoimmunity; thank you so much for both being here today.
[00:02:16.01] Dr. Phillips: Thank you, a pleasure.
[00:02:17.04] Dana P.: Thank you.
[00:02:18.09] Scott: Let's start by talking about your own personal stories. What brought you to doing the work you're doing today, to your passion for helping others to minimize their suffering, and to your collaboration on the book Chronic?
[00:02:29.29] Dr. Phillips: Well, I have had personal experiences with these illnesses. I've had Lyme myself, which wasn't a very serious case, but it was an inkling of what my patients go through. But what really got me focused on being a doctor like I am is my dad's case because he had a life-threatening situation with Lyme and almost needed a heart transplant.
And it was missed by all the big doctors in all the best New York City hospitals for 20 years. And he had a severe heart failure. He had the type of heart failure that Neil Spector had that required a heart transplant, the exact same type.
And I had said to his doctor at the time do you think it could be Lyme? And he basically rolled his eyes, and he wouldn't even test him. Because my dad never had Bell's palsy, or he never had typical, stereotypical arthritis, and he wouldn't evaluate him. I had to do it myself. And the long story short, as I diagnosed him and treat him for Lyme, his heart normalized completely.
He never needed a heart transplant, and now he's 80 years old, and that's the story. And then I was poking along my usual state of health until 2010, and while sleeping, I had spider bites. And a couple of months after the spider bites, I developed the rapidly progressive arthritis down my spine. Then it spread throughout my whole body. My knees became the size of cantaloupes, and my inflammatory markers went sky high.
And I went to 25 doctors, including some of the best, well-known Lyme doctors, infectious disease doctors, rheumatologists, neurologists, orthopedists, everybody. I developed severe anemia. I had fever 102 every night. I lost 50 pounds. I got progressively weaker, and I ended up going on disability for two years. I couldn't walk for almost two years, and I almost died on many occasions. And I couldn't lift my arms against gravity; I needed 24-hour home care. I couldn't turn over in bed, and then I figured it out at the last kind of inning, and I pulled it all together, and kind of orchestrated my care to get myself better.
And that's what happened, that's the story in the book. And it's kind of dramatic that a doctor who does this succumbs to it. But who would think that spider bites would make you sick? They're not tick bites, so we're not really trained to be so aware of them.
[00:04:42.27] Scott: Interestingly. My own exposure to Lyme disease was from a tick bite, but I then had a period of remission that led to a relapse after several spider bites at an outdoor barbecue one day. So I also have that experience of spiders playing a role in the relapse, at least. Dana, how about you? What's your story?
[00:05:02.00] Dana P.: Yes. So in 2014, in the summer, I lived in Manhattan, and I went to my friend's wedding in New Jersey and came back so sick. I was only there for a day or so, and I think I was bitten by a tick in my sleep.
Can't figure out another way it would have happened because I didn't do anything. I stayed at the house where the wedding was and sang and made a speech at the wedding and went back. So I woke up with a really severe crushing head and neck ache, and I thought I had a summer flu. And then, a couple of days later, I saw the bite and the bulls-eye on my shoulder.
Walked over to the urgent care, got three weeks of Doxycycline. I was told I would unequivocally be fine, absolutely not to worry. Don't Google it, that's a really interesting thing to say to a patient who comes in scared about Lyme disease. Don't Google it; you don't want to become one of those crazy Lyme people. Had no idea what that meant; I've never heard of a crazy Lyme person.
So, of course, that peaked my curiosity, and it made me very uncomfortable. And she was wrong. Obviously, she was wrong. So I did take the three weeks of Doxy, and I even felt suspicious enough about her comment to follow up with an infectious disease doctor in that three week period to make sure that I had enough.
And he said honestly, I would have only given you a week or ten days, but since you're a friend of a friend, another physician that I know. Since you're a friend of his, I'm going to give you the; I'd say take the whole three weeks, be safe, go on with your life. Three months later, so I had this latency period. The thing is, most people recover from that initial flu-like illness, whether they take Doxycycline and know it's Lyme or not.
Most people don't even realize that they have Lyme because most people don't see the bite and the bulls-eye. So I had this three month latency period, where I felt okay, maybe not perfect, but okay. And then all hell broke loose, and I got, it started with inflammation of my breast and extreme breast pain, fibrocystic changes.
My internist at the time was very scared when she saw me, I went right over, and she sent me to an oncologist that day. She actually was scared that I had breast cancer. I was very scared, I have a history in my family, and I thought I had inflammatory breast cancer. He ruled out breast cancer, but then I went on to see 12 doctors between October and December when I was in heart failure. And between that period, I had a sudden onset of severe neuropsych issues.
I've never been on a psychiatric med in my life. So one of the only people I know that never took an antidepressant. I had severe crippling depression, anxiety. I got OCD which I never really quite understood. I know lots of people with OCD and have close people in my life with it, but I never really got the fact that no, you can't just stop doing that thing, it's this pathologic need, you just can't stop checking this, checking that.
And I also had suicidal ideation; I constantly kept having intrusive thoughts of wanting to jump out my window. I'm telling you this because I feel like there's such a stigma around this part of brain infection, and people are ashamed to talk about it. I'm not at all. I was innocently minding my business asleep, and I got a tick bite, and I got a bacteria that affected my brain. So what can I tell you? This is one thing that can happen, and I got fibromyalgia-like pain, extreme weakness.
And I had a tremor. And thank God at the last minute, I got into heart failure; I couldn't breathe. I had an echo at Mount Sinai, New York, and they said, your heart is functioning like a 70-year-old man; we don't know why. I kept asking these doctors that I saw why? No answers. Could it be from the tick bite? No. Could it still be from Lyme? No. Why? Because I went to medical school. Okay, that's an unacceptable answer.
So at the last minute, a very dear friend said, I said I need a Lyme doctor. They were all laughing at me, Lyme doctors they're just there to take your money; that's absolutely a disgraceful bit of gaslighting. And that actually almost killed me. Thankfully, I saw a video; my friend recommended Dr. Phillips to me, had heard him testify in front of Connecticut to change some laws. He can elaborate more about what that was and said he's brilliant.
This is the only person if I got this, and my family got it, I would see this doctor. And I saw a video of him; I just was, oh my god, he is brilliant, he's going to be the one, now I have to get in. And luckily, he saw me a couple of weeks later on a cancellation, and he saved my life.
And he did go on to educate the cardiologist, who was very open-minded, I think it's important thing to say. Sometimes you can educate certain doctors, and sometimes you can't. But this one was very curious, and Dr. Phillips went on to speak with him a couple of times. And as I recovered, they communicated about it, and I feel like we all were better for that education of him.
[00:10:20.26] Scott: Yes. So you both have had very serious issues with Lyme disease. I think the beauty of it is now, through the book and the work that you're doing, you're able to help so many other people to minimize their suffering.
So at least something positive has come out of your experiences. You talk about the autoimmune pandemic in the book as impacting 23 million Americans. And you say that 23 million Americans are diagnosed, which leads me to think the number is actually probably much higher.
My personal opinion has always been that autoimmune disease is likely triggered by infection or toxicity, and I'm wondering would you agree that autoimmunity is a symptom of an underlying pathogen, more than a condition of its own.
[00:11:03.00] Dr. Phillips: Yes, I mean in a word yes, absolutely. I don't think it's a diagnosis per se. I sort of clarify that the illness that really got me was, we think, Bartonella, not Lyme. I actually failed quite a lot of therapies that would normally help Lyme disease, and my symptoms were really characteristic of a bad case of Bartonella or Brucella.
But so yes, definitely yes, and the question is seed versus soil. These infections have obviously been around for a very long time; why is there a skyrocketing pandemic of autoimmune and chronic illness around the world? Obviously, it's not enough time for genetic drift, for changes in our genetics to be a role. Because so many people focus on genetics when they look at autoimmune conditions, and it really does not explain the majority.
So the majority appears to be of environmental exposure, and then the next question is if there is a major infectious link, which there is so much evidence demonstrating infectious link to autoimmune conditions. Then why now? What is it about the air that we breathe and the water that we drink, and the food that we eat? And whatever medications we're exposed to, what have you that's making more toxic environment. Having us not deal well with these chronic infections.
[00:12:19.12] Scott: Why does modern medicine generally attempt to use immune-suppressing steroids or biologic medications rather than exploring the root causes? And what are some of the potential long-term consequences of a strategy in someone that does have a microbial burden?
[00:12:35.05] Dr. Phillips: I mean, I had a rheumatoid, I had three rheumatologists. I had rheumatologists hold my hand and tell me the Embrel was the cure for me. And I kept asking, what are we treating? And she was like, we as rheumatologists don't focus on cause, we focus on effect. If we can suppress your symptoms for the rest of your life, then we call that a cure. And I said I would call that palliation, let's use the proper word.
And I don't want to suppress my immune system; I was born with this immune system, it's kept me going for a while now. And I just, it's so obvious it was an affection to me. And there's just a very different way of looking at things. I personally don't think that you have any chance of curing a condition, a chronic condition, if you don't know what's causing it. And there are issues with long-term immune suppression; there are issues with long-term antibiotics.
Like in my practice, we focus on antimicrobial. I use the term, not just antibiotics, because I use many drugs that aren't antibiotics. Like people don't know that Fluconazole, an antifungal, has powerful activity against B. burgdorferi, the Lyme bacteria, and moderate activity against Bartonella. And even activity against Leishmania, the parasite that causes Leishmaniasis.
So people put medications in a box, and they think that this herb will just work for this, or this anti-parasitical just work for that or what have you. And there's a broad range of activity against most of them. So I guess the take-home message is that number one, people don't have to be just on antibiotics; people can be on a mix of drugs that can be beneficial for these infections and not wreck their microbiome.
And number two, that the immune-suppressants carry very significant risks to them. There are risks of serious infection, acquisition like tuberculosis, and things like hepatitis B getting worse. But there's also risks of cancers. And the major risk that everybody's just ignoring is the risk of the underlying infection getting worse over time while the symptoms are being suppressed.
I don't know what would have happened to me if I took immune-suppressants. All I know is I'm 97% back; I have a full life. I run around like a crazy person, and I'm happy. And I don't know that I'd be alive if I took things to suppress my immune system when I was so incredibly sick.
[00:14:48.10] Dana P.: You should comment if you can Dr. Phillips on that amazing case out of Harvard, where that person with COVID was on immune suppressants and was sick for months and months and months and died, and it kept mutating and mutating, I think that's important.
[00:15:03.12] Dr. Phillips: Yes. So it definitely brings to light a specific circumstance, like how do immune suppressants play a role now that COVID is out in the environment. It seems that some immune suppressants aren't so dangerous, and others are. And the one that this guy took it didn't do him any favors, and he had recurrent illness.
I think it was something like seven relapses, and he had a grueling illness over like many months; I think it was like six months, and kept getting sick from covert again and then finally died from it; it was horrible. So we know that it's a real risk; everybody knows it. But I think that the risks are minimized by the people who prescribe these medicines.
And I consulted with several, like I said, cell rheumatologists, and they I said what about the risks? And they said, well, people do die on them. That is what one of them did tell me, not the one who held my hand, a different one. She said people do die, but we also make a lot of people feel better. And that was like enough for me. I did not want to take them really, as soon as I said people do die on them, I was like, okay, let me opt for option B.
And when I finally did get better, I went back to the rheumatologist, and I said, look, look at how I help myself. Look, I'm better; I'm fine now. My autoimmune diagnosis, so my diagnoses were spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis, and they went away. I had rheumatoid nodules on my elbows, and I had, like I said, horrible arthritis all over my whole body and all that's gone.
My C reactive protein is a measure of inflammation. Before I got sick, it was 0.5; when I got sick, it went up way over 100, and now it's back to 0.5, and it's been 0.5 for years. So what does that tell you? It tells you that there's hope for people with autoimmune diagnoses, and it doesn't all come in the form of an immune suppressant.
[00:16:56.27] Scott: And it's interesting too because you mentioned the connection to Bartonella in your case. I know that can also create nodules in some people, right? So a lot of it is look, how are we looking at it in terms of the root causes?
You mentioned that the environmental toxicity, the environment, the terrain potentially plays a role in why we're seeing more of these autoimmune conditions in response to pathogens that maybe have been around for a long time. How important is improving the terrain through detoxification as part of an overall healing strategy?
[00:17:27.04] Dr. Phillips: I mean, I think it's very important, the question is what's the best way to do it? I have a mouth full of those amalgam fillings that I keep thinking aren't helping me in any way. And when I was sick, I went to functional medicine doctors as well as regular doctors. I went everywhere.
And I had heavy metals tested, and I was shocked to see that my heavy metals were not high, and they didn't want to chelate me because I want the chelation. I want to just do anything I could do. I think that it's important, and Dana can comment quite a lot about this because it's very much into diet and lifestyle. But I think that it's important to have an anti-inflammatory diet.
I'm a vegetarian; I prefer the vegan type diets for people if they have high risks for cardiovascular disease and whatnot. But Dana, I know likes the, I don't want to speak for her, but like a low inflammatory Paleo type diet.
And I think the most important thing is to find what works for the individual person. Like some patients respond really well to these Paleo diets, and others don't. And it's a bit of trial and error, just like it's trial and error for antibiotics, it's trial and error for the terrain as well like what can help your terrain genetically.
[00:18:39.16] Scott: In reference to what you call Lyme+, or the soup of microbes that can be vector-borne in the book. There are now 476,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year, twice as many as breast cancer, eight times more than HIV.
It's believed that even this number is significantly underestimated. Dana, I'm wondering what your thoughts are on why it's taken so long for the government, for the medical community to wake up to this growing epidemic of Lyme disease? And why our patients still belittled and invalidated for having this condition?
[00:19:13.08] Dana P.: That's a great question. I don't actually think that we're being validated yet, and I don't think that number is still even coming close to the reality of how many people in this country and all over the world. This is a global pandemic. I don't think that everything is being addressed and accounted for. I think treating chronic, so you asked Dr. Phillips and I a couple of minutes ago why I think immune suppressants are the drug of choice.
Consider the amount of money that they make, there's not a lot of money in cures. There was this whole analysis of Harvoni; we do talk about this a bit in our book. I think it was an analyst from JP Morgan, and they concluded for the drug company that actually it is diminishing return. So as you cure disease, there is less profit.
So I think that it is playing an enormous role. I do think at the very top of the food chain, there are many people who do understand that autoimmune diseases and psychiatric diseases, and neurologic diseases are driven by common infections like Lyme and Bartonella and others. There's many more. But I do think those are two primary huge drivers.
And I think that if you can, so, for example, take my case. I did less than a year of antibiotics and antimicrobials, antimicrobials and herbs, and the diet, okay. So I did many things to get better, but I did get better, so I've been well for about five years. It wasn't expensive; most of the drugs that Dr. Phillips gave me, if not all of them, were cheap generic antibiotics and antimicrobials. Ten dollars with a copay for a medium insurance. Medium quality insurance. You know people complain about how expensive it is to treat.
If we had standardized treatments that could actually cure people of these diseases, instead of letting us go on and languish, should become people that have three, four, five autoimmune diseases along with psychiatric problems. We would have a much healthier population and a much less wealthy Merck, that's the reality. And I do hope and pray that these numbers and that COVID will bring the reality of what an infection can do head to toe in a human being into the spotlight in the way it needs to be.
So we stop suppressing immune systems, and we look at the cure. We look at treating the infections so that people's bodies will actually get back into a state of homeostasis. I used to ask Dr. Phillips every single time I saw him, will my body ever normalize and will ever be equal, and I was constantly in the state of disequilibrium. I just constantly felt off-balance, and I didn't know how to achieve that.
So I do hope that the CDC raising those numbers will cause some people to realize how common this is. But I still don't think it's going to help us in terms of treatment and in terms of the real truth of this, which is the chronic illness part.
[00:22:30.21] Scott: Yes, I would agree with that. Common diagnoses associated with vector-borne infections that you talk about in the book. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, fibromyalgia, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis. IBS, migraines, heart failure, psychiatric, neurological conditions that we've talked about. Sarcoidosis, Sjogren's syndrome, many others. I'm wondering if you think that these vector-borne microbes are the core issue or root cause of these conditions, or are they simply one component of many.
[00:23:02.27] Dr. Phillips: I think it's going to be varied per patient. A perfect example is what we call Ghana Joe. This really nice, wonderfully smart guy contacted Dana. He's a nurse from Ghana, Africa, and he came down with a multi-system illness, but it was hallmarked by psychiatric features, actually had hallucinations and everything else.
Went to a bunch of doctors, got nowhere. And this kind of highlights the global nature of what's going on and the suffering that's going on, especially in, I guess, third world countries that don't have access to health care. So, so many patients in his country get sick with chronic illness, and they're warehoused in prayer camps because they don't know what to do with them.
They can't diagnose them, and they're just gathered together in these very large camps of many thousands of people. And there's human rights abuses in the camps, and it's just not wonderful. And he had made his way through these prayer camps also, and through his desperate times. But he contacted Dana, and Dana sent him a treatment guideline that was on the internet because he said I think I have Lyme in Africa. Do I know if he has Lyme? I'm not sure.
His condition may actually, it's one of the pluses probably. Some a rose by any other name, and he went to his doctor, there's no stigma about Lyme in Africa. They don't really know that much about it there. And this guy got well; he got more than 99% better treating with simple antimicrobials in Africa. And you have to wonder how many people in those prayer camps have chronic infections driving their illness.
It sounds like too big when you mention all those chronic disease states, like how can infections cause all of them? They say, look, there's a cause for all these things, and I've heard over and over through med school. When they find the cause of one autoimmune condition, they're going to find the cause of all of them. Because they all have underlying features, that the dots are all connected.
And I do think that infection is the primary driver, but like we talked about before, what's wrong with our terrain, and how can we fix it? Detox. I have recommendations for patients, but honestly, detox is not such a, in terms of standard medical practice, it's not a terminology that doctors really use, apart from detoxing from drugs and alcohol.
And we're not trained in med school what to really do or what really works. So people talk about the herbs, like Burbur, Pinella, and Parsley. And they talk about infrared saunas, and they talk about binding agents like the clays and this and that and I'm frankly not sure what works and what doesn't. I've tried them all, for huge Herxheimers.
And I never really noticed differences. I've had patients who swear that one of them works, and one doesn't. It's been so highly variable between patients that I'm not convinced that I have a regimen, a single regimen to say do this; this will help. But we have a range of remedies that we offer patients say look, we're not really sure, there's not much harm in these, it's worth a try, other patients report benefits, and this is what we think you can try.
[00:26:06.15] Scott: More recently, the term chronic Lyme disease has been replaced by many with “Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome” with the suggestion that there's an ongoing immune dysregulation or autoimmunity in absence of persistence of infection.
I've always been of the opinion that there is no complete eradication of Borrelia, Bartonella, Babesia once we acquire them. Where do you stand on the topic of “Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome” which often seems as another way to invalidate patient experiences?
[00:26:37.15] Dr. Phillips: So I think Dana and I both, I know that we both have the same. I'll let Dana answer this one.
[00:26:42.20] Dana P.: Yes, we have the same feelings about this one, very strong opinion about this one. Which is that the term “Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome” should totally be abolished. It is a dead-end path to nowhere. Because it implies that you have been treated accurately, effectively and that no more treatment is needed, and I strongly believe, and Neil Spector believed, and Dr. Phillips believes, semantics inform treatment.
So that phrase on the CDC website is actually what kept me ill so long that I went into heart failure. Because I kept going back to the CDC website, thinking I can trust them. Why wouldn't I? I had no reason not to at that point that I knew of. And they kept talking about this several months after Lyme disease; you have a post-viral syndrome.
That is completely a lie, and I do not think anybody should be using it. And actually, I am sorry that researchers in this field have to use it in order to get their work published. That is something that we've heard multiple times. That is another way to gaslight other doctors who are less informed. Certainly, patients, it is bad for everyone.
And I think it's happening now with COVID, so that's a whole other conversation. But the day our book came out, there was an article. We were very thrilled to see that our book was featured in the New York Times in an article about long COVID, and the writer, he tied these diseases together. ME/CFS and Lyme and long COVID.
And he quoted us in the article, saying that we're afraid that long COVID patients, in the same way, chronic Lyme patients, will be defaulted to this post-infectious diagnosis. We really fear that that's going to be what's going to happen to them. And I think it's a very legitimate concern seeing what we're seeing.
[00:28:42.13] Scott: So extending on the topic of potential eradication, in the book, you talk about Lyme plus, which includes things like Borrelia, Bartonella, Babesia, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, Brucella, which you mentioned, Mycoplasma, Chlamydia, Coxiella, Rickettsia, Francisella tularensis, which is Tularemia, and so many others.
And I'm wondering which of these do you think can be fully eradicated from the body once we acquire them, versus those that become chronic, persistent, potential contributors to autoimmunity and might require longer-term management?
[00:29:17.26] Dr. Phillips: Right. I think that Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, and Rickettsia historically tend to be eradicated from the body more easily. But there are some Rickettsia that I've seen that have been persistent long-term; they recovered them from heart valves that were damaged. And I think that there are unknowns even in the subgroup that has historically been considered not to turn into chronic infection.
And then I look at the Babesia species. Even though they're stubborn, I don't think that they're as stubborn as Borrelia, Bartonella, Tularemia, and Coxiella. Coxiella is, I would say it's probably the most annoying out of all of them. Because on the one hand, the guidance for early Coxiella is to treat with a couple of weeks of Doxy, and then for Coxiella endocarditis, many months to years of antimicrobials. And there's no gray area.
And I've had patients go around and around through infectious disease departments at academic centers with Q fever, thinking how do we treat this. Do we treat it long term? Should we have them on more than your stuff, which we have about two weeks, what's going on? And so it's just a big unknown. And interestingly, they have a post-Coxiella syndrome, that's just to add post-Lyme Syndrome.
And now they're talking about post-COVID syndrome, which I think is such a premature moniker because, like Dana said, there are implications that come with this title. It says that okay, the infection is gone, and we know that with COVID, the virus SARS-CoV-2 can persist in the body of some patients for many months after the acute phase. And is this driving some of these long covered COVID manifestations.
[00:30:59.18] Scott: Yes. And I'm actually going to predict that part of the long-haul COVID ultimately turns out to be the resurgence of Borrelia and Bartonella in people that had prior infections. And so we'll see if that's the case or not. But I've definitely seen some people after having COVID, where their Borrelia and Bartonella issues emerged again. I don't know if you've seen that or.
[00:31:20.22] Dr. Phillips: I have seen that, and that's one of the three things that we talk about in the book. And I don't know if you got the COVID chapter, but it's available for download. But yes, we talk about the three most likely things is number one, injury to blood vessels, which takes a really long time to heal. Number two, persistence of the virus itself.
And number three, reactivating latent infections. And some patients that have a prior doses, by diagnosis of Lyme+, it's kind of easy for them to understand that. But what about the people that were well beforehand. Before COVID came around, I was seeing similar things when people get a bad case of mono or a bad case of Dengue fever.
Then they would come to me with a year plus of illness, and I didn't have to treat them with antivirals for Epstein-Barr to get them better. I would find that they had reactivated other infections like Lyme and company. And treat them for those, and the patients would get better. I've seen that for years and years and years.
[00:32:14.06] Scott: When we look at the various Borrelias, Bartonellas, Babesias that can cause human disease. It seems that many of these species of each organism are still not testable today with the lab assays that are available.
How commonly do you suspect that people are infected with these organisms but have species that will never result in positive tests because the assays simply aren't looking at them?
[00:32:36.24] Dr. Phillips: Very common. I think that we're detecting just a fraction of what's out there. There was a study that was done; I think 2015, 2016 in a big medical journal. And it said that medical science has only discovered .001% of the microbes that exist on the planet. It's a very humbling statistic, and people say, well, how could you know that you've only discovered .001% if 99.99% are not yet discovered.
And they do some really elegant and apparently very accurate math equation, where they can look at the diversity of the microbial life that we have on the planet and extrapolate out to predict how much there should be. And it's just a very humbling situation. Doctors that think that we know everything about chronic infectious diseases are just wrong.
And nobody wants to be wrong, but the facts don't change. So if the facts kind of contradict the theory, the theory should be changed, like you can't change the facts. The facts are that there are many microbes that we don't have tests for. The facts are that even among Borrelia, there are so many new Borrelia being discovered every day. And we can only test for a handful of them, so we are definitely outnumbered.
[00:33:54.27] Scott: Extending then on the Borrelia conversation there, my understanding is that with IGeneX ImmunoBlot, for example, that there's a Lyme Borrelia ImmunoBlot, and there's a Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever Borrelia ImmunoBlot that looks at things like Borrelia miyamoto, hermsii, recurrentis and so on.
And if you're not ordering the Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever Borrelia ImmunoBlot, you may have a completely negative Lyme Borrelia ImmunoBlot that may have these other Borrelias that are leading to your symptoms. So talk to us a little about the emergence of Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever Borrelias in recent years. I believe here in California where Dana, I believe you are as well, and I am, I believe that Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever Borrelia's are even more common now than Lyme Borrelia.
[00:34:41.15] Dr. Phillips: Wow, yes. So in Connecticut, miyamotoi, Borrelia miyamotoi is related to the relapsing fever Borrelias, and it's about 40 percent as common as Lyme Borrelia. And then down south, they have bissettii and lonestari and then in the Midwest they have mayonii. And around the world, they have other iterations on a theme. It's almost comical.
They have a situation in Brazil, where they have an infection, an epidemic of a Lyme-like infection. And I read an article saying unlike the American Lyme disease, we have much more autoimmune disease associated with our spirochete. And it's also, it's harder to cure. And I'm thinking there's just going to be a matter of time before they get sent some "education" to say no; those people just have now post-Brazilian Lyme.
Like when people come to these conclusions on their own, like a common-sense conclusion. If you presented the information to your plumber or your electrician and said, look, I had this patient; he or she had symptoms 1 through 15. They got treated, symptoms 1-15 went away. And then came back 1-14 three months later, that electrician or plumber would say wow, looks like they have a recurrence of the illness. But a doctor would say no, they have post whatever syndrome.
[00:36:07.24] Dana P.: It's ridiculous when you say it like that. I guess it's shocking.
[00:36:12.10] Scott: Parasites are another area of medicine where testing seems to be inadequate; very few doctors consider parasites as potential causes of these chronic conditions. I've definitely talked to many people over the years that see worms exiting their bodies on a daily basis.
They're also discounted by the medical community, further invalidated. How do you like to test for the potential of parasites? And how much of a factor do you think parasites are in chronic complex illnesses?
[00:36:39.10] Dr. Phillips: I think they're a very large, and it was an eye-opening experience writing the book. Because I wasn't aware of them as much before writing the book with Dana as I am now, but when they do studies of these infections in a mouse, it doesn't represent real-world conditions.
Because the mouse is running through the field, and they get three bacterial infections, a bunch of viruses, and some parasitic infections. Meanwhile, in the lab, they're just injecting them with the Babesia, or they're injecting them with Lyme or Bartonella. And how does a parasitic infection interact with a bacterial infection?
So in places in the world where there are lots of bad parasitic infections like Africa, they've done studies looking at the interaction of hardcore parasitic infections with difficult to treat bacterial infections like Tuberculosis. And there's a lot of data showing that because of the immunosuppressive influence of parasitic infections, it can make bacterial infections harder to recover from. So I tell my patients, even if these parasitic infections that we find aren't making you sick, it's still is beneficial to get rid of them. And you say well, what about the theory of too much hygiene? Where we get some allergic diseases because of our lack of parasites.
Some people are thinking about that; I don't know if you're aware. But some doctors are saying because we have such a clean situation in the United States, that we have more allergic diseases. That may be true, that may be true, so it's a fine line. But if I have a patient with parasitic illness that's suffering from chronic bacterial illness, I'd want to try to eradicate those parasites if I could.
The way that I test is I do a parasitic panel in everybody, it's just a regular blood test panel for things like Toxoplasmosis and Toxicara and Strongyloides and an array of others. And it's shockingly common, I do test at standard labs like Quest and Labcorp, and you would be absolutely fall off your chair, it's one out of five.
One out of five people is coming back with these infections. I myself test positive, which is spread by dogs and cats from cleaning up after them. And people think they just can do stool tests and find them, and this isn't the case for a lot of the parasites. So a lot of the parasites, humans are dead-end hosts.
So for Toxicara, when people, let's say, clean up after a dog, and if you're a little kid growing up with a dog, and you're eight years old, you really wash your hands like a surgeon after the dog goes to bathroom on the rug, probably not. Then you have a French fry, and whatever eggs are in there, that's what hatch into little baby worms they swim around.
And the weird thing about this one and many of them actually, is that they don't grow into adult worms. So they never replicate in the human. They never lay any eggs, there's nothing to be found in stool tests for many of these parasites. But they are invasive, and they can suppress immune response, and they can cause disease on their own.
And people think there's this overly hyper-focused thing, I'm just going to do stool tests and find an egg there, and it's not the case. So Toxicara is a perfect example because it's not transmissible human to human or human to anything else. And it's actually relatively easy to treat.
[00:39:49.16] Scott: And it's interesting because my understanding is that parasites shift the immune system more to TH2, where with Lyme and a lot of these other Lyme plus related infections that we're talking about.
We really need the TH1 side of the immune system to deal with these intracellular pathogens. So dealing with the parasites then can lead to more TH1 support from the immune system that we need in these conditions, right?
[00:40:14.05] Dr. Phillips: That's exactly right. I mean, we have a section on that in the book as well, and it's just another way. The terminology changes over time; they used to talk a lot quite a bit about TH1 and TH2 when I was younger and starting out, and now, everyone use the terminology like mast cell activation.
These are all spectrum events, they're all in the same kind of linear path. And they lead to the development of allergies. Like when people have a massage reaction with killing of certain parasites, they develop allergic-type reactions, isn't it odd?
And in some animal studies like for example, I remember at a study of treating a horse with ceftriaxone, IV ceftriaxone for Lyme, and the horses were getting an inordinate amount of anaphylaxis during the Herxheimers. And you see this blurring of the line between what the immune system can do when it's highly activated; some of these things have allergic overtones.
[00:41:13.15] Scott: Talk to us about the possibility that demyelination, which is seen in many neurological diseases, particularly MS. Might that be the body's imprecise response to organisms like Borrelia? How commonly would we suspect that an underlying infectious trigger is playing a role in demyelination?
[00:41:30.29] Dr. Phillips: Very commonly. I don't talk about this publicly so much because there was a time that more than half my practice was multiple sclerosis patients. But I used to give lectures on it. And the data dates back over 100 years when I first started finding evidence of spirochetes in the brains and spinal fluid of MS patients.
And they've done a number of studies where they inject the spinal fluid and brain tissue from MS patients into baby animals. And the baby animals got MS and other neurologic conditions. And in some cases, they isolated spirochetes from those animals. And myelin, which is the lining around these nerves that get destroyed during MS, is actually very similar to the immune system. It looks just the same as flagellum. So when there's an immune response against spirochetal flagellum, it can cross-react with myelin and produce anti-myelin antibodies, which is seen with Lyme.
And every one of the diagnostic features of MS, whether it's brain, or spinal cord, lesions, optic-neuritis, oligoclonal bands in the spinal fluid, high IgG synthesis rates, evoked potentials; there's not a single differentiating feature like all of this has been published to occur with Lyme. And there are articles saying that wow, Lyme can mimic MS.
But if it mimics MS, then it's causing MS in that person. And then the question that follows is what is the percentage in which an infections at play. I can tell you from the experience I've had with treating relapsing or remitting MS patients, we get the large majority of them better, significantly better like life-changing better.
In terms of primary progressive MS, we don't like to accept them in the office because most of them are very difficult to treat. And I've gotten some better, but it's more on than lines of 15%. And they tend to flare up and not improve very much.
[00:43:24.25] Scott: It's interesting the connection that you made there between the myelin and flagella. Because we know on the blot tests, band 41, which shows up for lots of people, we know that many people's immune system has seen something that looks like flagella. And thus, you're saying that also that immune response could be then playing a role in terms of some of the demyelination.
[00:43:44.13] Dr. Phillips: Yes. So the question is, when so many people have 41 showing up, is that cross-reacting with other spirochetes that are non-Lyme spirochetes. Is it crossing with spirochetes that are people that can cause gingivitis and gum disease?
This is a big question mark; nobody really knows. But I can tell you that for the relapsing fever spirochetes, sometimes you do see cross-reactions on the ELISA but not the Western blot. Like I've had quite a lot of miyamotoi patients that have had positive Lyme ELISAs and just completely negative Western blots or just band 41.
[00:44:16.24] Scott: We have known about PANDAS or pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with streptococcus. The connection there to strep is pretty clear but, now we have PANS or pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome. Very similar condition without a specific trigger. What would you consider some of the top triggers for PANS?
[00:44:39.18] Dr. Phillips: I would consider the top trigger Bartonella, it's from what I've seen. I mean like numbers one, two, and three. People a lot of times think that Lyme triggers this, and I think it's mainly a Bartonella situation.
But luckily, most Bartonella cases respond to many of the antibiotics that work for Lyme anyway, my case did not, and my case was exceptionally difficult to treat. I actually failed about a year and a half of antibiotics, and doctors put me on many months of IV antibiotics that also failed. Three different IV antibiotics, I was Rocephin, Vancomycin, Tigecycline; all of it failed.
And I remember when the rheumatologist was like, what makes you keep doing this? Why are you doing this to yourself? Because the antibiotics are flaring me up, it's like I'm having a Herxheimer that I don't get the other side of. And she's like Steve, that's called not working. And it was just like oversimplification of the process.
And I said no, I don't agree. I think it's just I'm missing a piece of this puzzle. And so anyway, so PANS is sometimes, unfortunately, similar in terms of what I just expressed, and my difficulty is getting better. Because sometimes, some brittle PANS cases will flare up terribly with antimicrobials. And they all vary, just like we're all different individuals.
But I have seen some cases where it's been very difficult to treat PANS that the kids flare up with absolutely anything. And you have to have a really diligent judicious way of approaching it, and it's a tough one to treat sometimes. I think it's one of the most challenging of the conditions sometimes.
[00:46:19.09] Scott: You mentioned earlier that some of these Lyme+ organisms can come from other vectors besides ticks. I'm wondering if you can comment about the potential for vector-borne pathogens in terms of sexual transmission, in terms of transmission during pregnancy. What are some of the potential ways that we acquire these microbes?
[00:46:38.15] Dr. Phillips: Well, the transmission during pregnancy it's astounding to me that the other infections included in our Lyme+ kind of label. They're almost all of them are recognized and accepted to pass into the through the placenta. And Lyme, which has the most evidence out of all of them, is the one that they're kind of fighting about.
So trans-placental is very much an under-recognized source of infection. I've definitely seen it. The problem is that they're not studying it, and if they don't study, it's like you don't find what you don't seek, and they don't really have the best strategies.
Like we don't know how to protect the babies from transmission, we don't know definitively antibiotics help actually. I'd like to think that they do, but we just really don't know that they do. There's not good evidence. What I've seen clinically is the moms who take antimicrobials, and really it's not antimicrobial, it's just antibiotics, it's like there's only a couple that are approved for pregnancy: beta-lactams and Zithromax.
But the moms who take these antibiotics, they tend not to have the postpartum flare. So many patients who have persistent symptoms, who become pregnant, they feel much better during pregnancy because pregnancy is an immune-suppressed state.
And then, as the immune system is spooling up around the time of childbirth, the symptoms can just really flare out of control. And I'm suspicious to some cases of postpartum depression, and postpartum autoimmune conditions may actually be the immune system spooling up against microbes that were either quiescent beforehand, or in the case of somebody's already been diagnosed with these things, it's just a known entity.
[00:48:25.23] Scott: Yes, that's really interesting. Because I know in the book, you talk about a pretty big list of things that could potentially be transmitted during pregnancy. Not just Borrelia, but Bartonella, Babesia, Coxiella, Brucella, Tularemia. I don't think that people really think about all of those things, and that's a really interesting connection that you made as well.
Is some of the postpartum depression, because the body's then starting to have an immune response related to those microbes? What are your thoughts on sexual transmission of Lyme+ organisms?
[00:48:55.17] Dr. Phillips: So I think that the data that I've seen. There's this very powerful data in animal studies, that's for sure. And you have to wonder, why isn't there equally powerful data in human studies? There is some data, though.
Some of it's not published, and some of it is published, it's very suggestive. But I think that it can definitely occur; the question is, how often does it occur? I'm not sure. I tell my patients that, I say look, syphilis becomes progressively less contagious over time. Even untreated syphilis, after about four years, becomes less and less contagious. Ironically, you would think it would be more contagious, but it's less. And treated syphilis becomes non-contagious quickly.
So I'm hoping that Lyme follows in this suit that becomes less contagious with treatment. Again, in an understudied area, there are certain hot potatoes in this field, and trans-placental transmission is a hot potato, and so is sexual transmission.
Everybody wants to blame the tick, and maybe the poor little tick is not the only thing to blame, and we should be looking and asking these very real questions. But there's just not enough data in the field to give concrete answers. My personal belief is that it can occur.
[00:50:06.19] Scott: Dana, let's talk a little bit about these vector-borne microbes and how often they might be involved in psychiatric conditions. Do you think that some psychiatric conditions have a biological microbial origin? And can they be improved or resolved with antimicrobial strategies?
[00:50:24.06] Dana P.: Yes, I'm living proof. I mean, I can tell you as somebody who lived through having really good mental health, thank you, dad. My dad is just steady Eddie.
[00:50:36.28] Dr. Phillips: I guess you won't thank your mom in this one.
[00:50:39.27] Dana P.: No, everybody who's watching this would know I'd be lying if I thanked my mom. I love her so much, she's a crazy Jewish mother. But my dad is steady Eddie, I think Steve's dad we have a very similar family dynamic, and Steve's dad is also pretty steady Eddie. My dad is a CPA in New Jersey, and like that's my, and never, no mental health, nothing, no temper, nothing.
I went from being completely steady to being completely out of my mind. So I watched it happen; I knew it was an organic process. I really didn't have anything traumatic. I was at the height of my career in the height of my life when this happened; I didn't mention that before. But I had just signed this huge deal with Sony music; I was exploding with joy.
I was living in New York; I was literally living my dream life, no exaggeration. I felt so incredibly fortunate to be where I was, and then boom, and one of the worst things that happened to me was the psychiatric stuff. Because you really lose control of your thoughts and of your entire self. I really thought I just had a pervasive sense of doom and death.
I really felt death was looming over me. And I couldn't stop it. So as I recovered from Lyme, and also Bartonella, I should have said that earlier. Is that Dr. Phillips when I went to him? Yes, I was in heart failure, and my Lyme was very under-treated with those three weeks of doxy? But I also had Bartonella, so I also think that plays a big role in psychiatric diseases, as you talked before about PANS. I agree that Bartonella is a huge driver of psych illnesses.
And if you look at the work of Ed Breitschwerdt and others, you'll see lots of interesting cases about that. But I recovered very quickly with my neuropsych stuff, recovered really quickly on antibiotics. And I could feel the layers of my anxiety going away. My suicidal ideation, also I was hallucinating every night before bed. I saw this rolling scroll of melting monstrous faces, and I couldn't make it stop.
It was only when I was about to go to sleep, and only when my eyes were closed. It was not at any other time of the day; it was completely bizarre. I was really embarrassed about it; I felt that if I told Dr. Phillips my first appointment, that he would write me off like the other dozen doctors and think I was just a crazy person.
So I sheepishly told him in my second appointment, because it went away. So he had treated me for like, let's just say, six months and that symptom had fallen off, and I said well, one of the things that went away is this, I didn't want to, and I started telling him, and he finished my sentence. Like I was seeing melting, he's like monstrous faces, I hear it all the time.
And he would hear about the same exact hallucination. So I think it's playing a huge role; I hear it all the time. And one really important thing to say is earlier in my life, I had had episodes of anxiety that were just very strange, and again not related to anything going on in my life that I could tell. And they would wax and wade. Never took any drugs for it, never did anything for it. But I did find it very strange and unnerving; all of that went away.
So my whole prior life, before this case of Lyme, I had other symptoms too. I had a bladder condition called interstitial cystitis. I think it's really important to mention that because it is the most excruciating, horrific pain I've ever had in my life. I used to say to my parents; I'd rather break my arm or my leg than go through this.
And I really was incredibly incapacitated by it; it would wax and wane. So again, relapse and remitting. From the time I was five years old, well, guess what's gone now? I hope for good. I haven't had anything in five years. It flared when I started treating my Lyme under Dr. Phillips's care.
It was better for a couple of years before that generally, so I didn't even mention it during my intake because I didn't think it was relevant. It flared; I called him, oh my gosh, what did I do to myself? I'm taking these medications, and now my bladder hurts again. And he said congratulations, I think we're going to get rid of your interstitial cystitis, and he was right.
So I do think that that's another main thing that we need to address, especially for women seem to tend to have it more than men. I hear from tons of women, and it's excruciating. And I do think that there's hope for you to get better if you find that you have Lyme or Bartonella to treat it and see what happens.
[00:55:16.20] Scott: It's interesting that when you start treating a lot of these things, some of the psychiatric symptoms will flare. I remember when I was treating Bartonella, personally waking up in the middle of the night having violent, gruesome nightmarish dreams and just sitting there saying it's the treatment, it's the treatment, it's the treatment to kind of get through the night.
And fortunately, those passed as well, but it's really interesting. You mentioned earlier the topic of mast cells and that they can also be important in the clearance of certain microbes, parasites particularly. You talk about that in the book. Do you think there's any potential downside to mast cell stabilizers in treatment protocols?
[00:55:55.08] Dr. Phillips: I do. Actually, I asked this very question to an infectious doctor that's a friend of Dana and myself, and she's like, that's such an interesting question. Nobody has asked that question. People don't talk about it, like when people have a bad Mazzotti reaction, which is the analog for Herxheimer treating a parasitic infection, they recommend antihistamines, and you would think that this is the last thing that they should be giving for a parasitic infection.
I don't think that it's standard to think along these lines. But I agree with your question; I've had this very same thought. What I tell my patients is this, we all want quality of life; if we can't document a parasitic infection, keep in mind that long-term bacterial infections can also shift the immune response toward TH2.
And so I always say it's a long-term bacterial infection the body can't clear or a parasitic infection of any duration. So if we can't find a parasitic infection, there could be a benefit to these mast cell stabilizers and tilting back toward TH1 if we're just dealing with a bacterial infection. But if we find one, it's a potential concern, and I wouldn't take them on the long term. Maybe just short term treatment.
[00:57:09.02] Scott: That's really interesting, because essentially what we're saying is that in some cases, the mast cell stabilizers are somewhat synonymous to the steroid and biologic conversation, right? They're making us feel better.
But if you have these infections that need the TH2 side of the immune system to manage or get rid of them, that you might actually be kind of fighting against yourself in that scenario.
Once the immune system is dysregulated or suppressed by things like Babesia and parasites or mold exposure from water-damaged buildings, and we have these latent viruses like EBV, herpes, zoster, many others that can become active in the body. How much of a role do they play in illness? In autoimmunity? And how much of a priority needs to be given to treating viruses?
[00:57:53.17] Dr. Phillips: To start with the mold, I don't think mold is the primary cause of much of the multisystem illness that I see. But I definitely see it kind of cause relapses. I've had; I can't even count how many patients that I've supposedly, who seemingly gotten well, and they've been well for years.
They come back and say what brings you back and say, I got a job in New York City in a really old building from 1800s, it's kind of moldy, etc. And ever since then, my illness return. And I do think; I now equate mold exposure. It's bad for us; it's like any stressor in life. I've seen people come back with stories where they went through a divorce and the stress of going through the divorce or stress of a death in the family. Or if they've taken prednisone for poison ivy or anything that's immune suppressive. And I look at mold kind of along that same lens.
So I think of it as a stressor; I think of it as something to avoid. The thing that I also want to impress upon people that the mold remediation industry is not regulated. I've seen people spend and plunk down 20, $25,000 trying to get mold out of the house. And I just don't want people to be fearful of something that can be gotten rid of without, and I don't want predatory pricing in the mold industry, is what I'm saying.
So I myself had a leak in the basement; it was like a mold farm when I went down there. And I got a mold company to come in, and I felt like I was victimized; it was like ten grand. The mold smell came back after one day, and then I ended up getting a fogger from Home Depot, and I got some of these mold enzymes. I just had a regular contractor come in and just take down, just all the sheetrock down there and replace it.
And spray it a bunch of times. It was fine, and they did a better job than the mold remediation company did. So just a little word of warning that I've seen some problems. And in terms of the viral aspects, Epstein-Barr and HHV-6 and cytomegalovirus and the litany goes on and on all these herpetic viruses never go away.
And to treat them aggressively, we only really have pretty toxic antivirals. So I'm a big fan of monolaurin, a supplement that has helped me so incredibly and helps the majority of my patients. And it has activity against all of the envelope viruses, and all the herpes viruses are enveloped.
So I've had many patients who've had recurring cold sores or recurrent genital, herpetic lesions who've gotten them completely under control just with monolaurin. So I've never ceased to be impressed with monolaurin. And in terms of using things like the Valtrexes, I'm totally fine with it because I consider them relatively non-toxic.
But to go toward the Valganciclovirs and things like that, I get more concerned because I think of those as toxic drugs. And I do have to comment, though, that herpes simplex seems to be a major player in the development of dementia. And it's a real problem, and people do not give it the respect that it deserves. There was a study that I think we quote in the book; I'm not sure we quoted the book actually.
Where people who got just simple herpes sores in their middle age, when they were treated with just even a short course of an antiviral like Valtrex, had a remarkedly reduced rate of dementia later on. And just in this past year, they did a cell culture model of the brain and showed how herpes actually causes Alzheimer's type changes.
And before this, there were always the associations, and they never had a causal model, and they actually do have a causal model now. And that came out after the writing of the books, I don't think that one's referenced, but we reference everything else.
They're actually finding the resources of Harvard, they're calling it the brain biome. They're finding so many infections in the brain that are just in normal people, and the infections that predominate in Alzheimer's patients are spirochetes and herpes simplex.
[01:01:54.11] Scott: It's actually interesting that you bring that up with the connection between the Valtrex and later development of dementia.
I just was listening to a lecture yesterday with Dr. Kat Toups, and she was talking about similarly that Acyclovir can prevent or minimize the potential for future dementias and so it's interesting. Would you say when you mentioned monolaurin, is Lauricidin similar enough, or do you prefer actual monolaurin?
[01:02:20.20] Dr. Phillips: They're identical. I think Lauricidin is just a name brand.
[01:02:23.12] Scott: Got it.
[01:02:23.28] Dr. Phillips: I've tried them all. I've tried personally, so monolaurin was recommended by my brother, who didn't know anything about medicine, and he's like, I have a good feeling about this. And I took it, and it did what years of antibiotics couldn't do.
It fully got rid of my afternoon flares. I used to get these horrible flares in the afternoons into the evenings and feel like I had the flu every day. And when I was at my sickest, it was much worse than that. But the antibiotics never fully resolved it, and monolaurin was the only thing that did.
[01:02:53.26] Scott: Yes, I agree. It's a good tool. I want to come back just for a moment, Dana, to the interstitial cystitis conversation, that's not uncommon in people with Lyme disease. Do we know what some of the organisms or contributors are that are seen in that condition?
[01:03:08.05] Dana P.: I know that Lyme is one of them. And in fact, there was a doctor in New Jersey, he wrote like a 20 page paper about all the things that Lyme could do. He died, but he was one of the early Lyme doctors, and I think he was an internal medicine doctor. But he talks about interstitial cystitis. I think he wrote this in the 90s, and it was really devastating to me because I had suffered with this, as I mentioned before, since I was a little girl.
I was told that it was idiopathic, which means there is no known cause. I was given cortisone injections into my bladder for a solid year; every week, they were brutal. They put my interstitial cystitis into a remission. However, a year later, it came back raging, raging total suicide level pain. Excruciating pain. So I do think Lyme is definitely one; I know Lyme loves collagen, there's a lot of collagen in the bladder.
[01:04:05.14] Dr. Phillips: Well, there's a type of collagen in the bladder that B. burgdorferi just loves. And when they do their biopsy animals and autopsy on these animals, the places that they go to right away are the bladder, the base of the aorta, and the little parts of the ear. And they're reproducibly; you can find the most spirochetes.
And so in terms of, there are interstitial cystitis experts out there who do these broth cultures, and they do find sometimes more routine bacteria that are in biofilms and take a while to grow. But I think Dana's example of having a long-term condition that then sort of just incidentally resolved when she was treated for Lyme and Bartonella is an example of what I see with patients forever.
I've seen this; I've had patients come in with years of migraine or years of IBS, or many other conditions. And just six months of what they think is something related to vector-borne illness, and I treat them, and their years-long condition that was chronic beforehand miraculously goes away. And in my case, I had something similar. I was a healthy kid, I was really athletic and did well in school and would never consider myself a sick kid in any way.
When I was 19, I got evaluated from my heart murmur, and the cardiologist, who was a Park Avenue cardiologist that my dad dragged me to see, because like the best, diagnosed me with severe degeneration of my mitral valve. And so I probably need mitral valve repair surgery when I'm 50. So that's a nice thing for a 19-year-old tennis person; I was like actively playing tennis at the time to hear. And I just went about my business and try not to think about it.
And then when I got Lyme some year's later, like I said, it wasn't a disabling. My Lyme was not disabling, it was something I could live with, and I could run five miles with it. But it did come back a lot of times and required long-term antibiotics.
And during the treatments, because I had heart palpitations part of my symptoms, I had serial echocardiograms to follow my heart every six months to a year, and my valve started healing. And my valve went from severely damaged to perfectly normal. And now I'm 55, and not only have I never had my projected heart valve repair, my valve is fine. So similar to Dana's interstitial cystitis story.
[01:06:30.17] Dana P.: I was treated with antibiotics my whole life for my IC, and nobody could ever really culture any bacteria most of the time, but they kept treating me because it kept helping. And it helped keep me again in remission.
So you have to ask yourself why? Why did I feel better when I took that antibiotic, and then I would relapse every three, six months from the time I was five years old? It's kind of crazy, and they never really got the job done until I saw Steve.
[01:06:57.25] Scott: ALS is a complicated and often frightening condition; many pathogens have been discussed, including some of the vector-borne pathogens, retroviruses, and others toxins like BMAA from blue-green algae has been implicated.
What do you speculate is at the root of ALS? And is the condition becoming more treatable as greater understanding emerges?
[01:07:19.13] Dr. Phillips: I'd love it for greater understanding to be emerging. I don't know that that's happening enough to be pessimistic. My experience with ALS is that we've gotten about 15% of the patients better, we don't actively treat it in the office anymore because I get very much attached to my patients, and I hate the sound overly self-centered.
But I was going home hysterical crying every day from treating ALS patients. Because to have 15% get better, which is great. I mean, I know of ALS patients who are still living and well after I treated them, and of course, is very heartwarming. But I couldn't watch my patients, who I've grown so fond of, just passed away. So stop treating it.
But I think that there are definite question marks about why in the majority of patients, antimicrobials aren't doing the job. And you say what is it? What's going on? Is it not just an infection? Is it an infection plus? You mentioned BMAA. I have a list of what I call; we call cognitive supplements in the office, and L-serine is on the list.
And for the listeners that don't know, and aren't familiar with BMAA, is that in Guam, they have a very high rate of this a neurodegenerative condition, which is a mixture of ALS and Parkinson's and maybe a little bit of Alzheimer's mixed in. And they linked it to eating bats, and the fruit bats eat the seeds of this tree, and then the roots of the tree is a cyanobacteria.
And the cyanobacteria has this toxin. And they've done animal studies since then showing that this toxin produces the exact same changes in the brains of these people in Guam. And since they stopped eating the bats as much, the rates of this illness have gone down like crazy. And then they've tied outbreaks of neurogenic conditions throughout the world and looked at blooms of blue-green algae, and they found geographical kind of coherence.
And L-serine displaces BMAA from its binding sites and reduces it's toxicity. So it's one of the things that we recommend certainly for neurogenic conditions and ALS in particular, and also on the list is they've done several studies using lithium and shown to stabilize the progression of ALS. And that's been controversial; their doctors are saying let's not use this anymore, and let's stop researching this, and everything else.
But there was one study where the patients did extraordinarily well, and then a second study where they didn't do as well when they complained combined with standard ALS treatments. And in a presentation that I've given, I think it was a part of that autophagy talk that you had seen. I think I mentioned that when you combine it with these other treatments, the lithium fails to work mechanistically. So ALS is still a puzzle; I think that this is a perfect example we have to pull out all the stops and look for toxic exposures on top of just infections.
There was a landmark study out of I believe Stony Brook from many years ago showing that patients with Lyme should be patients with ALS had five times the rate of Lyme serve positivity than the control group. And when they treated the patients, one-third of them got better. So considering it's a uniformly fatal disease, one-third improving is pretty good.
[01:10:33.24] Scott: Yes. You talk in the book about how antimicrobials can often stop the progression of things like ALS and Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's. Not necessarily reverse it.
What do you think are some of the missing components from current treatment strategies to more consistently be able to reverse some of these neurodegenerative conditions?
[01:10:53.03] Dr. Phillips: It's possible that we have to focus on therapies to regenerate nerves that are damaged because there's some plasticity to the brain. There's more than they initially thought, but it's. Still, it's not like a liver; it grows back.
So I do think that's important, and you say how can you go about doing that? I mean, there are chemicals that stimulate the growth of nerves. And like for example, Lion's mane has two different chemicals within it that stimulate the grow back, the regrowth of nerves.
And I think that there's things like trans-cranial magnetic stimulation that could be potentially beneficial certainly for motor symptoms of Parkinson's. I think there are something like, last time I checked; it was like 16 studies showing, it was beneficial for the motor symptoms with Parkinson's. And that's a therapy that's historically known for depression.
And it's thought to do what electroshock does, electro convulsive therapy, without the trauma of electro compulsive therapy. And it's supposed to induce regrowth of neurons as well.
[01:11:53.15] Scott: One of the quotes in the book that I found particularly powerful was “Every primary autoimmune condition is just a secondary one whose cause has yet to be determined”. How close do you think we are to being able to more consistently identify the causes?
[01:12:10.09] Dr. Phillips: I think they were very close if doctors would just open their eyes. I mean, there are at least 12 randomized controlled trials showing that rheumatoid arthritis responds to antibiotics and not the placebo. And when I bring this up to doctors, particularly rheumatologists, they say it's the anti-inflammatory effects of the antibiotics.
And then I say what? Look at this subset of them, they're using antibiotics that don't have an anti-inflammatory effect. Then they say, well, it's an unknown kind of response, we don't know. And I say what about in these several studies, which shows that when you add it on to the standard therapy, people who fail standard therapy actually get better with the antibiotics.
When they're failing methotrexate and steroids, the antibiotics are working; how about that? And they don't really have an answer. So I think that when the data points in one direction, they either try to discredit the data or when the data is too strong, like in the form of randomized controlled trials, they just ignore the data. It's just a blank stare.
[01:13:05.22] Scott: You talk about the concept of a pathobiont about symbionts, about immune tolerance, immune integration within our microbiome. Do we need to kill every last microbe to regain health from these autoimmune conditions? And how can we create harmony and coexist with the bugs that live within us?
[01:13:25.06] Dr. Phillips: So not only do I think do we not have to kill every last bug, I don't know that it's possible with our current technology to do so. And in terms of pathobiont, that's kind of a hybrid term between something that's pathologic and a symbiont.
People think of the microbiome as just happy bacteria that have our best interests in heart, and really it's not the case. Under certain circumstances and conditions, they provide a very essential benefit for us. And under other conditions, they're trying to kill us.
So the immune system has to walk this very fine line of preventing these bacteria in our microbiome from overreaching, from over-extending, and over grabbing our resources. But also to let the good ones live, like not eradicating them totally. So it's a feedback loop. So people think that antibiotics are the things that really wreck the microbiome, and guess what? They do. They can definitely have an effect on microbiome.
So to be super judicious in how we treat with antibiotics. However, what they don't realize is that when there's immune derangements, there's microbiome impacts. I've had countless patients come to see me before they're diagnosed, that they go through the roots of various doctors and get nowhere, and eventually end up with a naturopath or a functional medicine doctor, who maps out their microbiome.
And these are people before they've even been treated, and then microbiome is devastated. And they're like, how could this have happened to me? I didn't take a single antibiotic. And they don't realize that the immune system affects the microbiome, and the microbiome affects the immune system, is this big feedback loop it goes round and round and round.
And you can put a kink in the wheel, at any part of it. If you are not careful about the antibiotics that we use. Like in my practice, we have almost no C-diff colitis. We've had a couple of cases in the last eight years since I've been back in practice, and it's because when I was sick, all I did was I was in bed for two years. So all I did was read and read and read and figure out things that I had time to figure out.
And I used to have a case of C. diff like once a month before that, and now in eight years, to have like two or three cases is a huge difference. So we focused on a regimen that's very easy on the microbiome, we're really careful about that, and it's paid off. So I don't think that people have to think that an antimicrobial regimen is going to wreck them, and I also think that people have to realize just how bad these infections can be on the GI tract.
I have literally seen patients come in that have had multiple GI surgeries that have had pieces of their colon taken out again before treatment. I've had patients come to see me as new patients without any treatment history on feeding tubes. And I've had patients who tell me they've vomited for five years, like every day for five years they vomit.
Not intentionally, because of just projectile vomiting, and they can't figure out how the patient was diagnosed with every inflammatory bowel disease known to man and in every aspect of IBS. So I do think that there's a miss kind of like people sometimes think that it's very like a one-way street, the antibiotics are just the enemy, that the microbiome is just our friends. We have to realize this is a nuanced situation, and that's what I think there.
[01:16:49.00] Scott: With so many conditions having an association to pathogens, how do you view the autism epidemic? Do pathogens possibly transmitted during pregnancy have the potential to lead to autism? And is autism in a child really that different from an adult with chronic Lyme disease or an older adult with Alzheimer's, for example?
[01:17:07.17] Dr. Phillips: Oh, I think it's different than things like Alzheimer's and neurodegenerative, that I think. But I think that it's not that different from like I don't think regressive autism is that different from pans. It shares a lot of the features.
You'll see a lot of the same psychiatric conditions popping up. And also, the autistic kids react to antimicrobials; I don't treat children, but I have parents of kids who have autism, and they tell me the troubles that they're going through. And it's a big topic. And to answer your question, do I think the microbes may play a role in autism? Yes.
I've seen through my patients, through what they're telling me about what their kids have gone through. I've seen that some of their kids get well with therapy, and I've seen some of their kids react like I see the pans kids reacting. Where small amounts of antibiotics just set them off, and they get markedly worse, and the Herxheimers are like Herxheimers from hell.
And they don't recover well. Like what I had when I had these Herxheimers, and they went on and on and on for months. I went back to my doctors, and they were saying congratulations, you're having a Herxheimer, keep going. And four months into regimen x, whatever that regimen was, I had to put my foot down and say how long am I supposed to go through a Herxheimer?
I mean, how could it be killing and killing and killing it? Like so the whole topic of, like just the label of Herxheimer is kind of a misnomer. It's not really a die-off, it's some combination of some bacterial killing and some shedding.
And the blebs that are shed products also inflame the immune system. So what if you have a situation where it's really resistant to killing ages bleb? And you just shed and shed and shed? And these people can have exacerbated symptoms for a long time.
[01:18:56.01] Scott: In our last several minutes together, I want to talk a little bit about some of the treatment options that you talk about in the book. Liposomal oregano oil, you mentioned being helpful against Borrelia, Bartonella, and Brucella.
What's your observation been with liposomal oregano oil? And is this the Doctor-inspired Formulas product that you're using through Hopkinton drug or something else?
[01:19:16.10] Dr. Phillips: No, that's the product that we use. The only ones that have a liposomal oregano that I'm aware of, the oregano is so hard on the GI tract it's like drinking battery acid. And the liposomal version is much lower dose, so number one it's more tolerable.
But liposomes have a great pharmacodynamics situation, where they'll actually deliver their contents to white blood cells. They're microscopic little bits of whatever chemicals being entrapped in the liposome. And they look like bacteria to the immune system, so the white blood cells start eating them and end up being a drug delivery system for their contents.
So Bartonella replicates within red cells and white cells, and the lining of blood vessels called endothelium. And both endothelium and white cells will eat up the liposomes. They're both phagocytic cells. So you're getting to two of the three reservoirs right there.
[01:20:07.14] Scott: Disulfiram has been relatively new in the Lyme conversation. It's been available, though, for about 70 years. It seems to help with Borrelia, maybe Babesia, not so much for Bartonella from what I've heard today. What's your patient's clinical response to Disulfiram been?
[01:20:24.06] Dr. Phillips: I haven't used Disulfiram because I can't in good conscience prescribe a medicine that I'm scared to take myself. I can't, there's like no way. I'm like, here's your Disulfiram, I'm scared to take it, but you'll be fine. No, I couldn't possibly. So I haven't given it. And the reason I'm scared of it is because of its neurotoxicity.
People probably know this, but there have been cases published where young people develop permanent brain damage from Disulfiram. And, of course, they're rare cases. But my question is, what happens when Disulfiram sticks around to the brain and it acts as a copper sink because it chelates copper.
And if it changes the oxidative status in the brain, will it potentiate, or will it somehow stir on the development of neurodegenerative illness? Because they're finding that things like amyloid and things like alpha-synuclein. They have like almost like prion-like qualities. And once the one domino falls, it can affect another domino as well.
And so it may be a combination of it. Like, I hate to say infectious trigger because it sounds like one and done. People always say, like infectious triggers for autoimmune disease, and I'm saying that the infections are still there. If you think of them as like a terrorist army with sleeper cells, and they're just low levels sticking around driving the autoimmune process.
But I think that neurodegenerative; there may be a separate and equal process going on. Because, like I said, there can be a prion-like quality to amyloid and alpha-synuclein. And again, just to explain terminology, amyloid is the average protein associated with Alzheimer's, and alpha-synuclein, the average protein associated with Parkinson's and Parkinson's plus syndromes.
And both of them are actually shown to be antimicrobial peptides, just a really important topic. Like people say, why should the brain cells make amyloid if it's so destructive? Turns out that mice they did this study in Harvard came out in 2016 where they gave the mice that couldn't make amyloid, genetically unable to make amyloid, they gave them I think was Salmonella in their brains, and they died right away.
And the ones that made amyloid, the amyloid trapped the Salmonella, and the mice survived. So amyloid is definitely an antimicrobial peptide.
And a similar thing happens from alpha-synuclein, where rodents that are given a viral infection of the brain will die if they're genetically unable to make alpha-synuclein. And the ones that make alpha-synuclein they survive.
So evolution doesn't care about people or animals once we're old enough to have babies. Mother Nature's like screw you, you had your babies, and so what? It's protective in youth, that's all we care about. And in fact, if it's detrimental in old age, that's it's not going to change the evolutionary trail.
[01:23:12.02] Scott: Methylene blue seems to be another emerging therapy that can be helpful for Borrelia and Bartonella. Are you seeing clinical improvements with methylene blue? And do you think it'll continue to be used in the vector-borne illness arena?
[01:23:24.10] Dr. Phillips: I don't use that either, and the reason that I don't use methylene blue because I had suspicion. Because virtually all tissue dyes are carcinogens, and then I looked into it, methylene blue is carcinogenic in rodents.
So I have a tendency not to adopt early therapy, new therapies that can be harmful. Like I have a very low threshold to adopting therapies even if there's not so much published evidence when they're very safe medicines. Like I use quite a bit of Alinia, and it's all anecdotal. I have a personal communication from a highly esteemed researcher that Alina killed persistent forms of B. burgdorferi in vitro really powerfully.
And it's not published anywhere, it's just my little private communication. But before that, if I didn't have that in my email records, I would still use it based on the anecdotal evidence. Like I'm not against that, I'm not against weak evidence for medicines that are safe. But I would need really strong evidence for medicines that I consider to be toxic. And I'm scared of the Disulfiram and methylene blue.
[01:24:30.25] Scott: In the book, as people are working through their protocols, you talk about the power of pulsing. I'm curious what maintenance eventually looks like for your vector-borne illness patients. Once people are feeling better, do you keep them on some type of antimicrobial maintenance program to minimize the chances of a relapse?
[01:24:49.00] Dr. Phillips: For many of my MS patients, I do. I would say most of my MS patients, I do. For other patients, most my patients go off antibiotics and not relapse. At least not in the short term. So I don't have good records for the patients that come in more than seven years later because we used to shred the charts after seven years before we had digital charts.
But I can say that about 20% of the patients have to, every so often, come back, like every year or two. But when we do the pulsing and people are responding well, we gradually just increase the time between the pulses. So instead of two weeks on two weeks off, it'll be two weeks on four, two weeks on six. And then between six and eight weeks is like kind of a tough time for patients, so we just increased by one. We go two weeks on, seven weeks off, and eight weeks off, and then we start by two weeks again.
And by time people get to 14 weeks off without having some relapses symptoms, they're generally doing pretty well. But I have some patients where we're just giving them two pulses per year, and we're having that type of maintenance situation. And then many patients that aren't requiring anything, and if they have five percent of their symptoms, they're just saying they're just going to call me if they get worse.
[01:26:08.20] Scott: We talked about detoxification about the terrain. How important is emotional work, trauma work in treating these conditions in the book you mentioned? Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, the importance of finding safety in the body. Talk to us about the importance of this arena and some of the tools that you found, either Dana personally or Dr. Phillips in your patient population being helpful.
[01:26:32.17] Dana P.: Well, for me, EMDR is a heroic, quick, strange treatment for trauma. I mean, I did it, and I'm living proof. I did read Bessel van der Kolk's brilliant book “The Body Keeps the Score”. It's been a best seller for years and years.
And I think that the data showed, I mean, I think he did this study is like six to eight treatments, and you're a lot better. They use it for war victims and people that have gone through insane traumas. For me, it really brought the charge down from thinking that I was going to die all the time and being re-traumatized every time I had to go to see another doctor.
And I would say that it helped really just resolve my general symptoms, actually in tandem with my treatment. And I should also say that there are other therapies for trauma that work very well. It's not the only one, it's just my personal experience, and we talked about several of them in the book.
We want people to know that they have options, and they don't have to go on forever. That's the thing; I was under the impression that I was going to have to be on these treatments for, be under the care of a therapist for years, and that absolutely was not the case, in my case.
[01:27:53.18] Dr. Phillips: I'm a huge fan of the EMDR, I think I recommend it almost every day. It's hard to go through these illnesses without getting some scars. When I came back to practice, people would ask me about my illness. And when I was getting sick, I didn't really know what it was, and I just told everyone I had a bad back.
And when I came back to practice, I tried to tell my patients; I started crying; it wasn't a good look. So I stopped trying to talk about it, and I realized how damaged I was, and I did the EMDR, and it fixed me in literally one session, I'm not exaggerating.
And the next day, I started telling my patients about my illness, and I was blown away about how rapidly it worked. And I haven't shut up about it ever since, so I'm just a huge fan of EMDR. An EMDR for, because we didn't explain the abbreviation is, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprogramming. And the essence is that it has, I guess, the two sides of the brain speak to each other. Because when we have these triggers, it's all emotional.
And our intellectual side of our minds is not communicating to our emotional side, and somehow it integrates these two sides of our consciousness, and everything kind of like fits now in the filing cabinet where it's supposed to be, and it doesn't provide this horrible like existential threat.
I have patients who I put the blood pressure cuff on them, and their heart rate goes up to 120 because of their past experiences with other doctors. And it's really hard to come back from that without trauma therapy, that they've been really burned.
[01:29:25.10] Scott: The impact of the limbic system, the amygdala, has also become better understood in recent years with tools like Annie Hopper's DNRS and Ashok Gupta's The Gupta Program. Are those tools that you find helpful in your patient population?
[01:29:38.14] Dr. Phillips: I do. I've had patients, some of my most difficult to treat pots patients, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardic Syndrome, have done phenomenally well on DNRS. I've seen it work for patients with recurring migraines, which is surprising to me because you wouldn't think that it would be working for that, but I've seen that as well.
And it's a big commitment, though, and when I first saw it, it didn't make sense to me at the time. I like to suspend disbelief and be neutral about things that I don't consider risky, and I don't consider this to be at all risky. I just thought it was a big-time commitment, and you buy some videos and try it.
But when I first looked at it, I just didn't feel like it was going to be successful, and then it was, and I guess the proof is in the pudding. So I watched a number of patients get better, and I do recommend it.
[01:30:26.27] Scott: So many people seem to unnecessarily suffer with these vector-borne infections and the induction of autoimmunity. What can you say to offer those struggling now with hope?
[01:30:36.06] Dr. Phillips: Well listen, I came back from, no exaggeration to say that I came back from near death. I wasn't just disabled from my job; I was disabled from every aspect of life. To see yourself as you would be in a nursing home at 80 years plus years old, and not being able to lift your arms against gravity or get to the bathroom on your own.
I came back from that to a full life. So if people think that it's hopeless, I have news it's not hopeless. It's very hopeful, it just sucks, and there's a big difference between hopeless and sucks. But that's a very fine line. And people have to recognize that they should be on the hopeful side of that fine line and not give in to the hopelessness that's so engulfing with these illnesses.
[01:31:18.25] Scott: How can people learn more about your book? I know you mentioned the chapter that's available on COVID as well. Is there a particular place where they can find those resources?
[01:31:26.29] Dana P.: Yes, for right now, because this book was actually the first printing happened in the middle of the COVID pandemic, and we couldn't go back and reprint, and then we were asked to write this subsequent chapter.
So this chapter was easily inserted into the eBook, so for Kindle or other ways, you can read it like that. It's also going to be in the audiobook in the coming days, it's already been recorded, it's going to be spliced in. And in terms of people who bought the hard copy and did not receive it in there, you can absolutely go and download it right now for free at TheChronicBook.com.
And then, very soon, we will update that information, and we will give you to our publisher's website, and you can also download it there for free. So there's nobody that cannot read that chapter that got the book. So people are a little bit worried about it, it's absolutely not true. We also have partnered with survivor core, which is the largest group of long COVID patients and COVID patients doing incredible work.
And we are the first book that has been released for their new book club. So you can also join us there, and we will be coming back to answer questions in a couple weeks about the book for those who have read it. And we're super excited about that.
[01:32:37.22] Dr. Phillips: I'll be answering questions on probably Dr. Been Medical as part of their book club, and we're going to be doing it on our own Facebook channel as part of a followers book club. And I also want to mention that this is inherently, this is kind of innovative medicine, and it's kind of, these things lend themselves to controversy, and yet somehow we've gotten endorsement by mainstream medicine.
The book, the front jacket covers, is endorsed by Sanjay Gupta. We have Dr. George Church from Harvard who's known as the father of the human genome. We have other Harvard scientists. We have Dr. David Perlmutter who's author of the Grain Brain; we have other noted authors. And I think it's, I hope that this is a sign that medicine is taking notice of these very important chronic and autoimmune conditions.
[01:33:24.13] Scott: Yes. Dr. Rich Horowitz's books, I think at one time, those were really a bridge in the Lyme community to kind of get broader understanding of these conditions. I'm hoping that your book and anticipating that your book will do the same to bring more awareness of the underlying root causes of autoimmunity.
So that hopefully, when people years from now go to their traditional doctor, that they actually get solutions rather than Band-Aids. My last question is the same for every guest, and I'd love for both of you to respond to this. And that is what are some of the key things you do on a daily basis in support of your own health?
[01:33:57.12] Dana P.: Me personally, I really try, and I've made it a practice to eliminate negativity from my life. And negative people. When something gives me like that feeling in my gut, that kind of turns my stomach, and I know everybody listening, I'm sure you understand what this is like. I just now where I used to kind of tolerate it and accept it, I don't anymore; I've learned to say no. And I have learned to rest when I need rest.
So right now, our book came out last week. As you know, it was an incredibly intense week and a wonderful week, but extremely exhausting. So right now, other than this today, this is my only task of the day was to show up for you and to be here. And after this, I'm going to rest the rest of the day. Because tomorrow and the next day, the next days are going to be like this.
So I think for people to just give themselves permission to rest when they need it. I'm going to try to eat really cleanly. I'm going to try to not eat the; somebody sent me a dozen cupcakes. I'm going to try not to eat one today. I mean, I'm really going to try to clean up my diet and just take really good care of myself, and not pick up the phone, not answer phone calls. Those kinds of things are so helpful for me.
[01:35:13.16] Dr. Phillips: Everything that Dana said, plus I draw in the support system of my office staff, who I love, they're so amazing. And I have, seriously I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful office staff. I mean, they helped me so much.
And it's very stressful to have one of the largest practices of this kind in the country, and the phone doesn't stop ringing. And so I used to do everything myself. And for many years, I was just a solo guy. Now I have two nurse practitioners, and we have great admin, and there's a naturopath in the office, and I rely on them. So I think that we all need support systems, and that's my professional support system, and then I also choose to exercise every day.
Like I don't go a day without going for a brisk walk, or going on the bike, or going on a treadmill or lifting some weights or something at home. I'm not going to gym now with COVID. But I try to keep active, and I'm a vegetarian; I've been a vegetarian for many years. But you could be like a dirty vegetarian or clean vegetarian.
And they're vegetarian, Twinkies are vegetarian, I could have cupcakes and Twinkies all day long. But I don't, and I cut my pasta servings in half, and I add more broccoli. And just little choices that we make can have big net outcomes when you're dealing with this fine line between disease and health.
[01:36:32.17] Scott: 100% agree. It's such an honor to have you both here today, the book “Chronic: The Hidden Cause of the Autoimmune Pandemic and How to Get Healthy Again”. I loved reading it; so much of it just reinforced a lot of the thoughts that I had from prior conversations, my own experience.
And yet, I also learned a tremendous amount of new information from the book. And so I urge people to go out to get the book, and just thank you guys for how your personal journey is now helping to minimize the suffering of others.
I do think that it's going to make a big impact on the vector-borne illness world, and thank you so much for your passion, your generosity, and spending time with us today. And just appreciate you both and honor you both so much.
[01:37:13.22] Dr. Phillips: Thank you so much, it's my pleasure, it was our pleasure.
[01:37:17.09] Dana P.: Thank you so much for the fabulous interview, thank you for your thoughtful questions.
[01:37:21.27] To learn more about today's guests, visit ThecCronicBook.com, that's ThecCronicBook.com ThecCronicBook.com.
[01:37:31.14] Thanks for listening to today's episode. If you're enjoying the show, please leave a positive rating or review as doing so will help the show reach a broader audience. To follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or MeWe, you can find me there as better health guy.
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