I read an interesting article in my inbox recently from the eCommerce and lifestyle site goop (founded by Gwenyth Paltrow) about a theory of the Epstein-Barr virus by a medical doctor who linked the virus with Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Thyroid Disorders, Tinnitus, Meniere's Disease, Autoimmune Disease and other "medically mysterious illnesses." Then the article detailed case histories in which the people affected had to endure several stages of this virus that often "hid" itself in the body and organs.
The dramatisation of the case histories read a bit like a horror novel. There was a stage 1, then stage 2, and the virus was "dormant" until reactivated etc. and became increasingly pathogenic and seemed to make a culprit out of a virus that probably actually had little to do with the suffering patients.
The interesting thing about viruses is that they are a major driver of human evolution. Shared viruses could have affected hominid species diversity both by promoting divergence and by weeding out less resistant host populations, while viruses carried by humans and other animals migrating out of Africa may have contributed to declines in other populations. It is also through the study of bacteria and viruses that current genetics research was able to develop CRISPR/ Cas9 technology in gene editing.
However, back to the goop article, I always think it is interesting how certain doctors are always attempting to make extrapolations behind every "mysterious" disease. After all, the only certainty that many mainstream doctors are sure of is death, and often when people miraculously survive and do just fine without medical treatment, it's always a mystery to them. This is of course, not a negative view of all doctors, but we have to remember that doctors have a specific sort of training and that due to their busy nature of their practices, many often do not have sufficient time to conduct or be up-to-date on the latest scientific research. As a consequence, medical doctors are often limited by instructions and guidelines they receive from the producers of pharmaceutical medications, although many doctors have broken away from mainstream practice.
But are viruses solely responsible for illnesses? Or are viruses the byproducts of illnesses? Certainly in mainstream media, the former is what we have been taught. We were mainly taught to believe in the highly publicised 1861 Germ Theory that we credit to Louis Pasteur and have been subject to decades long fearmongering campaign in media and advertising to be afraid of all bacteria and viruses. Pasteur believed that bacteria and viruses were pathogens that infect the body, and that everyone was at risk if they were exposed. The interesting thing however, is that bacteria and viruses are also present in the bodies of healthy individuals.
Louis Pasteur had a long-standing rivalry with the fellow researcher and scientist Antoine Béchamp, who advocated that, in fact, all living things possess micro-organisms, and through the exposure to toxins, and lack of nutrition, do the micro-organisms develop into bacteria and viruses as a response to the exposure to toxins, in order to rid itself of the toxins and the malfunctioning cells. Therefore, in Béchamp's Cellular Theory, bacteria and viruses play a role in the immunogenic responses, and part of the cycle of the way the body heals itself.
Although, it was Pasteur's Germ Theory that had been accepted by the society of the 19th century, recent research is proving that Antoine Béchamp is actually the one who had the right idea. Béchamp was able to scientifically prove that the diseased, acidic, low-oxygen cellular environment that is caused by a nutrient deficient diet created bacteria and viruses as the chemical by-products and pleomorphic micro-organisms upon malfunctioning cell metabolism and dead tissue that actually produces the disease state.
What this means is that bacteria and viruses are part of the cycle to kill off the dead, malfunctioning cells. This year's 2016 Nobel Prize in Medicine went to a Japanese cell biologist, Yoshinori Ohsumi, for his discoveries in autophagy some 30 years before, which is a process that removes long-lived proteins, and organelles that have become obsolete or damaged. It is an evolutionary process in which cells can recycle part of its own content by literally eating the dead cells. There is a bacteria-autophagy interplay in the immune response, and although certain bacteria have been shown to evolve and inhibit the signalling pathways that lead to autophagy, bacteria have also been used to eradicate tumours and become vectors for gene therapy of cancer. When certain types of bacteria are injected into a tumour, it signals autophagy to the tumour region.
Recently, researchers at MIT even programmed e.coli to destroy tumour cells although the brunt of this work was initiated by the surgeon and cancer researcher William Coley in the late 1800s, who had successfully treated cancer patients by injecting them with bacteria.
Another important discovery in the last few years is that geneticists and other researchers have discovered that bactericidal antibiotics induce mitochondrial dysfunction. Tetracycline antibiotics, in particular, such as doxycycline, induce genetic changes in human DNA via transcription of genetic expression. In human cell lines, commonly used concentrations of doxycycline change gene expression patterns and concomitantly shift metabolism towards a more glycolytic phenotype, evidenced by increased lactate secretion and reduced oxygen consumption. Quinolones, aminoglycosides, and β-lactams antibiotics similarly cause mutagenic effects in cells.
What does this mean? It means that antibiotics damage the cells in your body by preventing cells to optimally utilise energy and also creates dysfunction in the mitochondria to fight off normal disease states as antibiotics block the autophagy mechanism of cells.
People often cite that antibiotics are the greatest and most fortuitous discovery of the 20th century by citing some anecdote about how it was able to "cure" bacterial diseases such as syphilis that was the cause of death of so many notable literary giants in the late 19th century, such as Frederich Nietzsche and perhaps even Napoleon, although much of this is conjecture. But here, I assert that the discovery of niacin (vitamin B3) and vitamin C were actually probably more important than antibiotics. In many research studies, niacin has been found to be more effective than antibiotics in the treatment of bacterial disease states. This is because niacin is essential for the body to convert carbohydrates, fat and alcohol into energy. Niacin also boosts the ability of the immune system and has a positive effect on genomic stability, cell division and differentiation and apoptosis, therefore regulating the body's natural immune system, and eradicating disease states within the body, whereas antibiotics have been found to eventually lead to paradoxical, detrimental effects, such as "anti-biotic resistance." But more importantly, antibiotics change human DNA to limit its ability to fight diseases by inducing unwanted gene expression.
It is much more likely that widespread antibiotic usage has lead to a change in people's mitochondrial function that has lead to many secondary disease states that medical doctors have previously not been able to explain such as Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Thyroid Disorders, Tinnitus, Meniere's Disease, Autoimmune Disease, and other "medically mysterious illnesses" that the goop article attributes solely to the Epstein-Barr Virus.
We are now at a time when research can explain why antibiotics make people ill and also let go of old ways of thinking in which people have been heavily reliant on widespread antibiotics usage, just as in previous generations, treatment with mercury was considered the norm, leading to the deaths of many people from what they diagnosed as "consumption" in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The question is how many people have been negatively affected by prolonged or even intermittent antibiotic usage? The goop article attempts to make sense of mysterious diseases that medical doctors can't explain, but in recent years, scientists have discovered the extent of the damage that antibiotic usage causes in human cells.
In addition, we have also discovered that viruses are actually an integral part of human evolution, and that bacteria is not really the bad guy we thought of after all. In this emerging, revitalised biotech era, it appears that we are revisiting Antoine Béchamp's Cellular Theory and moving away from the Louis Pasteur Germ Theory of diseases, and that antibiotics are not really the greatest medical discovery of the 20th century after all.
By Sierra Choi
Disclaimer: This post is not intended to diagnose nor treat any diseases and for educational purposes only.