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Proposed Cure for Anthrax


Alpha Lipoic Acid
DMSO
 + Supporting Antioxidant System

David W. Gregg, Ph.D.
188 Calle La Montana
Moraga, CA 94556
Phone/Fax (925) 284-5434

Send e-mail to David Gregg at dwgregg@krysalis.net



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This paper is for information only. It represents the observations, views and opinions of the author, but is not a recommendation for treatment. Anyone reading it should consult his/her physician before considering treatment.


Like so many, I have been very concerned about the anthrax threat to our nation. I thus decided to try to use my special area of nutritional/biochemical knowledge to see if I could identify something that could help. Much to my surprise, I very quickly identified a place to start. I remembered that alpha lipoic acid had been demonstrated to be extremely effective at curing "incurable" mushroom poisoning. I first learned about this a couple of years ago at a medical conference where the first person in the U.S. to demonstrate this gave a presentation on alpha lipoic acid. Years before, he had been working as a resident at a hospital and was assigned a patient who had consumed a very poisonous mushroom and he remembered reading about a report by a Czech doctor who had discovered lipoic acid was effective for treating such mushroom poisoning. He ended up being very successful in the treatment. This has more recently been written up in considerably more detail the book "The Antioxidant Miracle" by Packer & Coleman (Pg. 41). I thought this was quite exciting since it was a demonstration of a common dietary supplement, known for its antioxidant properties, reversing the known lethal effects of such a naturally occurring poison, as lethal as anthrax, where there was no other treatment. Would the same treatment work for anthrax, and work as well?

Upon researching what is known about the poison mechanisms of the mushroom and that of anthrax it appears that the mechanisms are quite different. However, upon taking a close look at the anthrax mechanism, it appears that the same basic approach should be effective there also with the mode of attack being different. I will explain that here, focusing solely on the anthrax toxic mechanism.

Anthrax Toxic Mechanism and the Point of Attack: 

A review of the anthrax toxic mechanism is described in a review article: "Anthrax" by Terry C. Dixon et al., The New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 341, No. 11 (September 9, 1999) pp 815-826. I will make no attempt to summarize all the steps presented because only the first few are relevant to what I am proposing here.
Briefly: When the anthrax spores enter the body through the skin, intestine, or lungs they are attacked and engulfed by macrophages, one aspect of the immune system. However, instead of the macrophages destroying the anthrax, the spores incubate releasing the active anthrax bacilli inside the macrophages. The anthrax bacilli increase in numbers until they reach a point where they induce an "oxidative burst" releasing not only the anthrax bacilli, but also large amounts of highly oxidative molecules such as the superoxide anion. At this point a complex set of events take place, described in the article referenced above, resulting in death. The focus of this proposed approach is to stop the oxidative burst and thus stop the lethal sequence at the very beginning.

At this point I would like to reference another article: "Role of macrophage oxidative burst in the action of anthrax lethal toxin" by Hanna, et. al. Mol. Med. 1994 Nov; 1(1): 7-18
This excellent paper reports that when the macrophages oxidative burst is disabled the macrophages become totally resistant to the toxin. This was evidenced by testing macrophages from a person with a genetic defect disabling the oxidative mechanism. This is powerful evidence that if the sequence can be stopped here, the lethal sequence will not follow. They also tested the effect of a particular, moderate, antioxidant formulation and found it had a moderate inhibiting effect.

Proposed Cure Mechanism:

I am proposing that the oxidative burst that releases not only the anthrax bacilli but also the highly oxidative species requires the buildup of the oxidative species in the infected macrophages in order to take place. If these oxidative species are neutralized/reduced while still inside the infected macrophages, the oxidative burst will not take place and the lethal sequence will be stopped. The moderate inhibiting effect discovered with a moderate antioxidant formulation (reported in the paper cited above) supports this. What is needed is a truly powerful antioxidant approach that dramatically lowers the concentration of the oxidative species in the infected macrophages.

The Powerful Antioxidant Complex:

Antioxidant overview:

The single primary source of oxidants in the body is the oxygen in the air you breathe. This provides the initial source of oxygen that gets converted into a variety of oxidation species, some beneficial and some damaging. The single final reducing agent and thus the single final antioxidant is the food you eat. The food reacts with and thus reduces the oxygen and thus oxidative species producing carbon dioxide and water and the energy necessary for life in the process. This process is called aerobic metabolism. All the so-called antioxidants are simply ingredients that facilitate this process. The more it is facilitated the more rapidly oxidative species (that may be damaging) are reduced and converted into carbon dioxide and water. Thus, antioxidants are molecules that stimulate aerobic metabolism.

Aerobic metabolism takes place in the mitochondria in the cells. For discussion, I like to divide aerobic metabolism into three basic segments, 1) Oxygen transport to the mitochondria, 2) The Citric acid (Krebs) Cycle, and 3) Respiratory Chain. Each of these steps has sub-steps. They all act in sequence and thus they must all be operating for aerobic metabolism to take place. Thus, they must all be operating for a powerful antioxidant formulation to be maximally effective.

The Alpha Lipoic Acid Example:

Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is well known for its antioxidant properties. It is thoroughly discussed in the book "The Antioxidant Miracle" by Packer & Coleman. However, this book points out that it is most effective when used in a complex comprising of ALA, vitamin C, vitamin E and Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). This combination has been found particularly effective as discussed in the book. I will present my explanation as to why in the context of stimulating aerobic metabolism (not explained in the book). The ALA stimulates the production of glutathione (described in the book). Both have the property of having stable oxidized and reduced states and can penetrate cell walls. They can be oxidized by oxidative species and then reduced again by a reduced species. Once oxidized they can be reduced by vitamin C which also has a stable oxidized and reduced state. This regenerates the reduced ALA. The vitamin C is soluble in the aqueous phase of the cell, the cytoplasm, and diffuses freely there. It diffuses to the cell wall. Vitamin E is soluble in the cell wall and also has a stable oxidized and reduced state. The oxidized vitamin C oxidizes the vitamin E in the cell wall, regenerating the reduced vitamin C. The oxidized vitamin E can then pass this on to vitamin C on the other side of the cell wall. Eventually, the oxidized vitamin C reaches the inner membrane of the mitochondria where it delivers its oxidation potential to CoQ10 dissolved in that membrane. This is where the final stage of aerobic metabolism takes place and the CoQ10 us reduced by a process that produces useful biochemical energy in the Respiratory Chain stage of aerobic metabolism. Without this sequence, the oxidized ALA would not be regenerated and it would be ineffective as an antioxidant. However, it should be noted that this complex only the oxygen transport stage of aerobic metabolism. Apparently it was sufficient to cure mushroom poisoning adding only ALA and employing the individual's reserve of the other components.

As applied to anthrax. The reduced ALA will hopefully penetrate the membranes of the infected macrophages, become oxidized, and the oxidized version transported out to be regenerated by vitamin C which triggers the rest of the regeneration sequence. As the cycle is repeated many times the oxidation species in the infected macrophages are eliminated or held to a concentration where the oxidative burst does not take place. Thus, anthrax toxicity is arrested.

The DMSO Example:

In one of my web pages (www.krysalis.net/dmso.htm) I describe how DMSO forms equilibrium with MSM, its oxidized state and the two together form a powerful oxygen transport system. Basically, DMSO has one oxygen atom and MSM has two. As the solution (in the blood) circulates to the lungs, which have a high oxidation potential, the equilibrium shifts to a higher concentration of MSM. As the oxidized equilibrium circulates to the cells where metabolism takes place, oxygen from some of the MSM is delivered to the inner membrane of the mitochondria and used for aerobic metabolism. This shifts the equilibrium back to more DMSO, the reduced state. The solution (in the blood) circulates back to the lungs and the process is repeated. We thus have created an oxygen transport system that can actually exceed the oxygen transport capacity of hemoglobin. (I should mention the recognized expert for both DMSO and MSM, Stanley Jacob, upon discovering this web page was kind enough to call me and congratulate me on the new significant insight as to the mechanism of DMSO and MSM.) This works not just on the macro scale transporting oxygen to cells from the lungs, but can also work on the micro scale transporting oxygen potential in and out of any individual cell. One of the particularly attractive features of this approach is that DMSO is well known for its ability to pass through any membrane, and diffuse rapidly because of its small size. The infected macrophages could not prevent its entry or MSM's exit. DMSO (the DMSO-MSM equilibrium) thus can serve as an "oxidation potential buffer" holding the oxidation potential of the macrophages down, close to that of their surroundings. This would then limit the ability of the macrophages to produce highly oxidative species and thus inhibit its ability to go through an oxidative burst, thus stopping the progression of the disease at that stage. If this is effective, and it should be, it should arrest the lethal progression of anthrax. Can enough be use safely to achieve this? In Dr. Jacob's book "The Miracle of MSM" he discusses both DMSO and MSM. One of the points he makes is the very low toxicity of both. The only thing lower appears to be water. Thus, very high doses of DMSO could be considered an emergency treatment for anthrax. I would use DMSO instead of MSM because even if either will produce the other, you want to start with the reduced species.

I should point out that the primary use of DMSO is as a commercial solvent. A friend of mine with a janitorial supply business purchases it in 55 gal. drums. Thus, there is already enough available nation-wide to handle a broad ranging medical emergency. This does have some impurities and is not pharmaceutical grade. I and millions of others have been using it for years with no negative effects due to impurities that I have been able to detect. In the event of an abrupt national emergency it is the only supply that will be able to meet the demand, equally abruptly. Unfortunately, the FDA's unfounded fear of DMSO has greatly limited its availability in retail stores. However, in the US it is still available in many health food stores (with warnings on the label - not for human use) It is also available at feed stores because it is commonly used to treat animals (for sore joints). In this respect we are still better off than Canada, Japan and all countries in Europe where the unfounded fear of the US FDA has resulted in a total ban on its sale. I would suggest that every household add a bottle to their medicine cabinet in the event of a sudden national anthrax emergency. It may have some impurities that present some risk, but the risk of the impurities has to be far less than the risk of untreated anthrax.

The Full Antioxidant Complex:

If this theory is correct, then the ultimate solution would be to analyze each step of aerobic metabolism, identify the nutrients that promote that step and combine them all in a single treatment/formulation. I have already taken a first cut at this as presented in my proposed treatment approach to cancer:  see my Health Note at www.krysalis.net/cancer.htm

Conclusion

The primary treatment for anthrax is and should remain antibiotics. This proposed antioxidant approach should be used to support/enhance that treatment. I would expect its primary initial application would be for patients in the late stage of the disease where antibiotics tend to be ineffective. This antioxidant treatment will quickly arrest the exponential growth of the production of the anthrax virus and allow the antibiotics to catch up and take control.

If it is to be effective, an intense antioxidant treatment must be evaluated. The exact treatment dosages have to be determined. However, an aggressive approach is demanded, not only by individual patients, but also by our national emergency. If this theory is correct, the antioxidant treatment will slow the development of the anthrax in a person and give the antibiotics more time to attack it. It has an added feature over antibiotics in that it should take effect very rapidly, a matter of an hour or less, even a matter of minutes in the case of skin anthrax, applying DMSO topically. This could be extremely important in the later stages of the disease when it is moving very rapidly. It could also play a critical role if a mutant version of anthrax that is highly resistant to antibiotics shows up.

Following the logic of the theory, I would expect that even though this will control the toxicity of the anthrax toxins and slow the development of the disease, it does not have an identified mechanism for killing the anthrax bacilli. It will still require the antibiotics to attack the anthrax bacilli. However, it still could end up being a cure on its own if it slows the progression of the disease to the point where some other aspect of the immune system can deal with the slower rate of production of the bacilli.

Given our present national urgency, which I believe to be underestimated, not overestimated, it is critical that this approach be perfected quickly so it can become another tool in our defense against anthrax. It has the characteristic of being very nontoxic so evaluation with human patients could happen quickly if the national emergency develops quickly. All the required ingredients are already widely available, in mass production so the response could be very rapid.

Antibiotic Dilutional Studies: Antibiotic dilutional studies are presently planned with the purpose of identifying the lowest possible doses that are still effective. This is to see how far the present antibiotic supplies can be stretched in the event of a major outbreak of anthrax. Consistent with what has been presented here, I would urge that these studies include the use of the proposed antioxidants, especially DMSO (in high doses), to see if they would greatly reduce the amount of antibiotics required and thus greatly expand the number of people that can be protected with the presently available supplies.

My Greatest Concern

We have seen the disaster that can be created by just one letter. What if we are facing a thousand or more letters, disguised in any number of ways, all mailed at once. It could easily saturate the availability of antibiotics and treatment facilities. One of the treatment versions presented here addresses that abrupt worst nightmare, the use of DMSO. It is available widely in the US as a commercial solvent in quantities that would easily overwhelm any medical need. The ability to apply it would be limited only by the ability to communicate the information contained on this web page (and allowing people access to it).
Unfortunately, this is not an available protection in Canada, Japan or all of Europe, all of which have laws preventing the sale of DMSO.

My Dream

Urgently needed animal experiments will demonstrate my predicted efficacy of this proposed treatment resulting in anthrax no longer being a significant terrorist threat.

Health Notes

Anemia | Antioxidants | Autism | Cancer | Chronic Fatigue & Fibromyalgia
DMSO | Rheumatoid Arthritis | Homosexuality | Eternal Life | Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Crohn's Disease | Crohn's Disease Testimonials

Home Page


David W. Gregg, Ph.D.
188 Calle La Montana
Moraga, CA 94556
Phone/Fax (925) 284-5434

Send e-mail to David Gregg at dwgregg@krysalis.net