As I mentioned in More MARCoNS, I’ve been experimenting for some time with alternative MARCoNS treatments. In this article, I’m going to discuss the methods I’ve tried along with my impression on their efficacy. For some of the more promising approaches, I did before and after testing through Mircrobiology DX and I’ll provide you with that information too. As you’ll see, several of the treatments are, at the very least, supportive when it comes to treating MARCoNS.
December 31, 2016
Sinuses & Nasal Cavity
Before I get into various treatments I have tried, it’s important to get a sense for the physical structure of the sinuses and nasal cavity. This is important because once you understand the series of convoluted interconnected cavities that make up these structures, the importance of using a method that can reach into all these nooks and crannies becomes apparent. I say this because in all likelihood MARCoNS can take hold anywhere within these cavernous structures. Whatever method that is used needs to be able to flow into all of these hidden spaces.
EDTA & Garlic
Garlic is frequently touted as a good anti-fungal and anti-bacterial within the alternative medicine community. Although there are many active compounds in garlic, it’s the allicin that’s produced when the cloves are crushed that is most well known. In the context of knocking out Staphylococcus, articles like Antimicrobial Spectrum of Allium Species – A Review and Effect of Garlic Aqueous Extract on Staphylococcus aureus in Hamburger prove that garlic works.
What’s important to note is the required concentration of garlic. For example, in the hamburger study, they put the equivalent of about 170 cloves of garlic into a 200mL of solution. When as little as 1mL of this liquid was added to a single average hamburger, growth of the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria was “significantly decreased”. That works out to a little less than a clove of garlic for something like your average “quarter-pounder”.
In addition, we know that EDTA knocks out biofilms by removing the iron in the biofilm matrix. Armed with this sort of information, I figured I had a combination worth trying. I’d take the EDTA to break through the biofilm and use the garlic to kill the staph.
In general, my approach was to crush up 1/4 clove of organic garlic that was then mixed with an amount of distilled water and salt that could fill my neti pot. I filtered this solution through cheese cloth to remove the large pieces. To this I added 400mg of EDTA and 6 drops of iodine. I rinsed with this solution several times a day for six weeks. For a period of time, I also drank 2-3 cloves of garlic crushed up in water daily along with breathing an hour or so through an inexpensive face mask containing crushed garlic. Before and after testing with Mircrobiology DX did not show any change. So although I had some mild improvement in sleep and a sense of well-being, I still had large amounts of MARCoNS.
Now if you read More MARCoNS, you may be wondering why I’m recommending EDTA nasal spray when it didn’t work in a neti pot with garlic. There are two reasons. First, Joe Musto, PhD at Microbiology DX said EDTA looks promising. And second, I used a much weaker concentration of EDTA in the neti pot.
Specifically, we know BEG spray contains 1% EDTA. In a neti pot that holds 1/2 cup (237mL), the milligrams of EDTA to make up a 1% (w/v) solution works out to 2,370 mg – see the Weight/Volume Percent Solution Calculator. If there is 800mg of EDTA in a capsule, that’s roughly 3 capsules in each neti pot – 6 times the amount I used. In hindsight, I should have used at least 2,370mg of EDTA, or perhaps a bit more.
Notes: If you decide to try garlic, it must be non-irradiated and should be used 15 minutes after crushing. Garlic that has been irradiated will have a brown center (epicotyl) while non-treated garlic will have a light green core. Although in At Last! Sinus Relief that Works the author recommends using a whole clove, I could not tolerate more than 1/4 of a clove.
Others like Lisa Petrison in What I’ve Learned (So Far) About Getting Set Up for Ozone Therapy, have written extensively about administering ozone. In studies like Effectiveness of Ozone Against Endodontopathogenic Microorganisms in a Root Canal Biofilm Model and Gaseous Ozone for Eradication of MRSA, ozone gas is shown to be effective against pathogens protected by biofilms. In the first study, concentrations of ozone as low as 1 gamma (1 mcg/cc) was found to be effective. Studies like this, the fact that I had some symptom relief using ozonated water in a neti pot, Dr. Neil Nathan and Dave Asprey talking about using ozone to treat sinus issues, the work of Dr. Rowen, and books like Flood Your Body with Oxygen resulted in my deciding to try to use ozone gas to treat MARCoNS.
In case you’re interested, Dr. Nathan mentioned that he had weak patients that couldn’t tolerant nasal sprays start with small doses of ozone that they would blow into their nostrils using a syringe with no needle while holding their breath. Dave Asprey speculated about the possibility of sending the tubing from a butterfly needle (with the needle cut off) attached to a syringe filled with ozone deep into the nares to treat MARCoNS. By the way, I tried the later and it cooked the back of my throat giving me sores that lasted about a week. In either case, after reviewing the layout of the nasal cavity and sinuses, it became clear that if gaseous ozone was going to be effective, it would need to reach deep into the nasal cavities and sinuses.
Before I get into how I administered ozone, let’s talk a minute about ozone generators. I own a cold plasma ozone generator that uses a flow regulator similar to this CGA 540 Regulator (0-4 L/min) on an oxygen tank filled with welding oxygen. I get the tank filled at a local welding supply shop. If asked, I tell them that I use the oxygen in my unusually small aluminum tank for purifying water – most welding oxygen tanks are much larger and made of steel.
However, I do not believe you need a medical grade ozone generator like mine to do nasal applications. The purer ozone from medical generators is only needed when ozone is taken internally through insufflations and injection. In contrast, I consider flooding the nasal cavity with ozone similar to topical ozone applications. After all, consider the various pollutants you breathe in on a daily basis. If you’re using an ozone generator that doesn’t use bottled oxygen and consequently produces higher levels of some nitrogen oxides, these are gases that you breathe in on a daily basis anyway. Furthermore, we’re talking about low levels of exposure.
Given this understanding along with the fact that I am always looking for an better way to treat MARCoNS, I purchased and tried an inexpensive Enaly Ozone Generator to see how it compared. Although, I could tell the ozone was less pure, it seemed to work just as well. In other words, the ozone felt the same when I flooded my nasal cavities and caused the same runny nose afterwards.
When it comes to concentration levels, sometimes I ran my medical grade ozone generator at 18 gamma (1/2 L/min) and sometimes I ran it at 8 gamma (3/4 L/min) while treating MARCoNS. Occasionally, I would use concentrations of up to 40 gamma. A concentration of 40 gamma is very strong. Given my experience and from what I’ve read, I do not recommend strong concentrations. For a point of reference, while I could tolerate higher concentrations, my wife had a hard time tolerating concentrations as low as 8 gamma – higher concentrations can cause a strong burning sensation.
In hindsight, given the study mentioned above along with the fact that I temporarily lost some sense of smell for about a week, I plan on using concentrations less than 8 gamma for longer application times should I ever decide to retry nasal ozone. In terms of the Enaly, I ran the Enaly at the lower flow rate setting of 1L/min and used the air dryer that comes with the unit to further reduce the air flow. With this configuration, the Enaly specifications state that the maximum concentration of 500mg/hr is produced. This equates to 500mg/60L= 8.33mg/L = 8.33ug/cc or 8.33 gamma.
My Directions for Ozone Nasal Flooding
- To apply ozone nasally, tip your head back so you’re looking up at the ceiling. Ozone is heavier than air. Insert the tubing about 1/2″ into a nostril and apply approximately 5 seconds of ozone on each side. It’s important to direct the ozone toward the back of the head and not upward toward the olfactory bulbs responsible for your sense of smell.
- Do not breathe during application. During application, you may either hold your breath or exhale slightly out of your mouth. The key idea is to get the ozone to remain in the nasal and sinus cavities. After introducing the ozone, apply a swimmers nose clip with your head still tipped back. After applying the clip, continue on with your day while gently breathing through your mouth. Keep the clip on for 5-10 minutes. This helps keep the ozone in place. When you remove the clip, you may notice a sweet smell.
- Repeat this process several times and several times during the week. You can also do it at night if you’re up long enough to allow for the inevitable drainage to clear – nasal staph is tenacious and really needs consistent treatment to kill. Do not take antioxidant supplements like vitamin C and glutathione around the times of ozone treatment as they will tend to neutralize the oxidative ozone therapy.
- Use an Enaly generator at the 1L/min setting with the air dryer cartridge installed. Let the generator warm up for a few minutes. According to my calculations, this is about 8 gamma. Note: There is a larger toggle power switch on the side of the Enaly and a second round push-button switch on the face of the unit. Both need to be on for the unit to work.
Ozone Nasal Flooding Cautions
- There is a risk of losing your sense of smell, damaging the mucosal lining, rupturing the nasal cavity with excess pressure, and probably lots of other scary risks. Also, given that the Enaly generator uses room air, the ozone is not medical grade. Proceed at your own discretion! I’m not a medical professional. This is just my rough guess as a retired building contractor as to what might be helpful.
- I would recommend that you establish a baseline sense of smell. Find several foods and such that you can smell and record the strength of their smell based upon distance before starting treatment with ozone. During the course of treatment, continually recheck your sense of smell is intact.
- It is important that you stop applying ozone in any given session immediately at the first sign of pressure, strong burning (ozone oxidizes), or other unusual sensations. Expect your nose to run for an hour or two about 15 minutes after application. Finally, do not breathe in ozone or direct ozone at your eyes. If you breathe in ozone, expect to cough strongly for 15 minutes or longer. You may try to take some vitamin C (antioxidant) to help neutralize the ozone and diminish coughing.
Note: The application time is based upon Volumetric Evaluation of the Paranasal Sinuses and Estimation of Nasal Cavity and Conchae Volumes. From these articles, I concluded that the minimum total volume of nasal cavities and sinuses is about 80mL (40 mL per side). At a flow rate of 1/4 L/min, it would take 10 seconds to fill the cavities on one side and about 3 seconds at the Enaly 1 L/min flow rate. When I used the Enaly, I applied ozone equally on both sides for about 20 seconds without pinching the opposite nostril closed.
After experimenting with ozone and coming up with my own protocol, I found the video below. Apparently, injecting ozone into the nose is a well known treatment for chronic sinus issues in Germany. Basically, you fill a syringe with 10-20cc of 10 gamma ozone, fill your lungs with air, rapidly inject the ozone, hold your breath as long as possible, and then exhale through your nose. Both sides are treated in succession 2-3 times daily for 3-4 days weekly. It’s nice to see that I was on the right track. Note: To fill syringes, you’ll need bottled oxygen with its higher pressure and a leur lock so you can attach the syringe.
Rapidly Inject 10-20cc of 10 Gamma Ozone
After about a month of using ozone, I retested with Mircrobiology DX and although I still had MARCoNS, the amount changed from “large” to “small”. Although, Dr. Shoemaker has commented that the amount found is not accurate, it was consistent with the significantly improved sleep and energy levels I experienced. Later, I used BEG spray at half the dosage along with ozone and that time additional testing showed I’d knocked out MARCoNS. All in all, I suspect that with enough experimentation, a person could find a successful dosage.
UV Light Irradiation
After researching and building a Light Tube, I wondered if it would be possible to use light to kill MARCoNS. It didn’t take long to find numerous studies like the ones listed below showing that light, particularly blue light in the shorter wavelengths of around 470nm, has been shown to knock out various bacteria including the biofilm forming MRSA. Finding this information wasn’t surprising and I liked that fact that the light wasn’t down in the UV range at 400nm and less. As such, the light would be very safe to use.
- In Vitro Studies of Bactericidal Effects of 405-nm and 470-nm Blue Light
- 808-nm Light Therapy to Treat MRSA in Rats
- Blue 405-nm and 470-nm Light Kills Staphy Aureus and Pseudomonas
- Blue 470-nm light kills MRSA in vitro
- Enhanced Germicidal Effects of Pulsed UV-LED On Biofilms
- Pulsed Light for the Destruction of Microbial Biofilms
- Phototherapeutical Method For The Treatment Of Disorders Of The Nasal Mucosa
In addition to studies, I also found two devices that were being used to treat nasal issues. One is called a “Rhino Light” and the other “UV Specific”. The Rhino Light is a medical device that uses 5% UVB, 25% UVA and 70% visible light applied for 2-3 minutes three times a week for up to four weeks to treat allergic rhinitis. In studies like these, the Rhinolight significantly reduced symptoms such as itching, runny nose, and sneezing.
The other device called “UV Specific” is made by an inventor, JP Grund, who suffered from chronic sinus infections. Tired of taking antibiotics, Mr. Grund built a simple LED light that he claims operates in the safe UV-A range. On his site, Mr. Grund claims that he noticed improvement with as little as 15 seconds of applying the light to his infected sinuses. With repeated applications, his infection and polyps went away along with recovering his long-lost sense of smell. Mr. Grund says that purchasers of his device have claimed relief from sinus and ear infections, nasal polyps, joint pain, wounds, hemorrhoids, sore throat, and others. Given the information from the studies along with the claimed results from these two devices resulted in my first buying a UV Specific light and then building my own LED device.
When the UV Specific arrived, I made two observations. First, the device itself consisted of a single LED in line with a 33 ohm resistor attached to a 9 volt battery. Second, they used 2-wire lamp cord soldered to the LED and attached to a plastic box that held the battery, resistor, and switch.
Even though for legal reasons Mr. Grund can not say that it’s OK for his device to come into contact with skin, I knew it was safe to use nasally. After sterilizing the light and cord with alcohol, I proceeded to send the light toward the back of my throat through my nose just like doing a MARCoNS swab. Unfortunately, the cord and the connection of the cord to the LED were too large and rough. As such, I set about designing and building my own LED light using the UV Specific as a model.
I’m not going to go into all the details, but one of the questions that came up was whether there was an LED that could provide the energy required to kill MARCoNS. From the studies, we see that light either in the UV-A range, or up in the infrared range, can kill MRSA and break up biofilms. Furthermore, when this light is pulsed, it’s even more effective and the minimum killing energy appears to be around 10 J/cm^2 = 10,000 mW-sec/cm^2.
With this information, I began looking at LED specifications. A couple of days later and I came to the conclusion that it was nearly impossible to calculate the power output of an LED by looking at the specifications. The output of the LED, the distance, the temperature, the light angle (viewing angle), and the like all affect the amount of power the LED imparts to a surface.
As a result, I used a circuitous method for estimating the output of a small LED by measuring the output of a white LED and making some approximations. I began by purchasing a Dr.Meter LX1010B 100,000 Light Meter and I measured the output of a white 3mm LED at 1/4″ and 1/2” distances. The output was 13,000 LUX at 1/4″ and 15,000 LUX at 1/2″. Next, using 1 LUX equals 0.0001464 milliWatts (mW), I converted these measurements to 1.9mW at 1/4″ and 2.2mW at 1/2″.
Furthermore, in reading over the specs for the LUX meter, I learned that the meter does not measure in the UV range. As such, the meter wasn’t measuring the full output of the white LED. To adjust for this, I used the graph to the right and estimated that the output from the missing 470nm blue spectrum was roughly 1/2 of the rest of the output at longer wavelengths. Using this information, I divided the measured output of the 3mm white LED by 2 to come up with (2.2/2)= 1.1mW for the unmeasured UV spectrum. The total estimated output of the white LED is (2.2+1.1)= 3.3mW at 1/2″.
Given that a blue LED has similar output specifications as the white LED I measured, I estimated the output of the 470nm blue LEDs at 3.3mW too. With my estimate in hand, I then calculated the amount of time required to apply 10 Joules of energy using a blue 470nm LED with a 3.3mW power source to be (10/.0033)/60= 51 minutes. Wow, this was a lot longer than the short application times for the UV Specific and Rhino Light devices.
Note: This is a very rough estimate. However, given that a LUX meter that measures in the UV range costs many hundreds of dollars, it was the best that I could do.
Armed with this information, I ordered hardware to build a battery box that contained a switch to various resistors that would allow for overdriving the LED. I fitted the box with a socket that would allow me to jack in various white and blue LEDs that pulsed or ran continuously. In addition, I cleaned up and slimmed down the wiring to the LED compared to the UV Specific.
Specifically, I used two small gauge door bell wires that I encapsulated in adhesive shrink tubing. I also first used a dremil sanding drum to remove the sharp shoulders off the LED and then a buffing wheel and grit to polish the LED and smooth the edge of the shrink tubing. With these changes, I could feed the light all the way to the back of my throat albeit with some amount of discomfort.
In the dark and with the LED just inside my nose, the intensity was strong enough to light my nose like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. I used both blue and white LED lights that flashed and remained on continuously for several weeks while watching a movie. I estimate that the average application time per side was about 15 minutes.
Unfortunately, there was little to no noticeable symptom relief. I suspect this has to do with the fact that MARCoNS in all probability occupy spaces that the light doesn’t get to. Furthermore, not only does the power output drop off exponentially with distance but UV light can not penetrate skin. Given the convoluted surfaces inside the nose, it’s nearly impossible to get enough energy onto all the surfaces. My conclusion is that while strong light sources may help treat rhinitis and kill infections, so long as the light source can get close enough, it is ineffective at knocking out MARCoNS.
As anyone who has done some reading within alternative medicine knows, essential oils can be used as very powerful remedies. When it comes to bacteria, and even mold, an essential oil that is often cited is tea tree oil. From studies like the ones below, we learn that a 1% (v/v) concentration of tea tree oil knocks out Staph aureus regardless of whether it was protected by a biofilm or not and that it can inhibit and break up biofilms.
Tea Tree Oil Studies
- Tea Tree Oil Treatment of MRSA – treats MRSA skin infections
- Is Tea Tree Oil Effective at Eradicating MRSA Colonization? – works 41% of the time
- Effects of Tea Tree Oil on S. Aureus in Biofilms and Stationary Growth – 1% kills S. Aureus in biofilms
- Antibiofilm Activity of Herbs and Medicinal Plants Against Listeria Biofilms – breaks up mature biofilms
Nonetheless, I eventually decided to try Cassia (Cinnamon Bark) oil to treat my MARCoNS. Based upon studies like the ones below and depending on the bacterial strain, between 0.02% and 1% Cassia oil kills bacteria within biofilms and breaks down the biofilms. In particular, “Effects of Tea Tree Oil on S. aureus in Biofilms” really drew me in. Concerned about higher concentrations causing burning when used as a nasal spray, I liked the fact that concentrations as low as 0.02% worked against biofilm protected S. aureus. In comparison, tea tree oil required concentrations up to 25 times as strong. Note: In effect, S. aureus protected by a biofilm is really anti-biotic resistant MRSA. In addition, Cassia works well against molds too.
A noteworthy point brought up in one of the studies was that especially weak concentrations can actually promote biofilm growth. We saw this same effect with iodine as I discussed in EDTA-Iodine-Silver Nasal Spray. I suspect this is true for any anti-biofilm agent wherein the biofilms grow stronger to resist non-lethal doses. Furthermore, it’s important to understand as you read through studies that there is a big difference from simply inhibiting the growth of biofilms and actually breaking up existing biofilms.
Cinnamon Bark Studies
- Selected Essential Oils Eradicate Pseudomonas spp. and S. aureus Biofilms – 0.2% knocks out bacteria in biofilms
- Effect of Cinnamon Oil on S. epidermidis Biofilms – 1% works well but below 0.05% promotes biofilms
- Cinnamon Bark Oil Inhibits Biofilm Formation And Toxin Production – 0.01% inhibits biofilm formation
- Effect of Essential Oils on Attached Candida Albicans Cultures – 0.02% breaks down biofilms
- Essential Oils as Anti-Fungal Agents – knocks out over 35 molds
Knowing that two tablespoons plus one teaspoon is roughly 500 drops (a little less than a one-ounce spray bottle) and using the Weight/Volume Percent Solution Calculator, adding a single drop of Cassia oil makes a 0.2% (v/v) solution. For myself, I used Aura Cacia, Cassia Bark, Cinnamomum aromaticum as specified in the study. I diluted the oil with extra-virgin olive oil. Shake before each use.
If you want to disperse the oil in water, the recommendation is use salt to soak up the oil and then dissolve the salt in water. If successful, there should be no sign of oil on top of the water. When I tried this, the oil never completely dispersed in the water even after grinding canning salt free of impurities in a mortar-and-pastel. The oil was dispersed more upon the surface but it’s uncertain if any actually went into solution – see picture. Maybe I needed more salt?
I wish I had been successful using water because when olive oil oil is used to dilute the cassia oil, the oil mixture comes out as a solid stream from the spray bottle – doesn’t get atomized. By the way, when it comes to buying oils, in MRSA Secrets Revealed, Michelle Moore recommends only using “Essential Oils Botanically and Biochemically Defined” (E.O.B.B.D.) organic, premium grade essential oils. Cheaper oils simply don’t work.
Before I used the cassia oil as a spray, I swabbed a small area inside my nose to test for burning. Cassia oil is very strong. Both my wife and I had no problems with a 0.2% concentration. In fact, I could tolerate up to a 1% concentration, albeit with some mild discomfort that went away in about a minute. However, a 1% concentration had my wife jumping up and down as she repeatedly called out “too strong, too strong” followed by blowing her nose. Please be careful.
When it came down to using cassia oil, I decided at the time that because I couldn’t tolerate the higher 2% concentration noted in one study, along with the fact that the time to achieve near 100% kill rates was 24 hours, that essential oils probably won’t work against MARCoNS. Upon reflection, I’m no longer as sure this is an accurate assessment. Lower concentrations still kill bacteria and break up biofilms just not as well. If the oil is used over a period of days or weeks, as opposed to 24 hours in the studies, I suspect the kill rates would be quite good. Also, if the spray is used a few times during the day and once at night, my impression is that some degree of the oil will always be in place.
Xylitol & Lactoferrin
The last MARCoNS treatment I want to talk about is the use of biofilm busters Xylitol and Lactoferrin. In We Can Heal That and Interview with Dr Randall Wolcott, Bacterial Biofilm Wound Specialist, Dr. Wolcott discusses his use of a combination of Xylitol and Lactoferrin along with wound cleaning, antibiotics, and hyperbaric chamber (HBOT) to routinely heal wounds in diabetics that would otherwise be considered untreatable. Furthermore, I have read an industry study where the ability of Xylitol and Lactoferrin to break up Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms was evaluated. In gist, Xylitol was about twice as effective as Lactoferrin and Lactoferrin was about as good as many antibiotics.
From this information along with Topical Intranasal Composition Usable in Nasal Obstructions, we can also get a sense for what constitutes an effective concentration. In the case of Xylitol, 5% (w/v) looks promising. In the case of Lactoferrin, between 0.02% and 3% seems beneficial.
When it comes down to it, using a Xylitol spray like Xlear while treating MARCoNS not only helps sooth the nasal mucosa but also has the potential to break up biofilms and knock out bacteria. Furthermore, the use of Lactoferrin in a nasal spray to chelate the iron out of biofilms and consequently break them down should also be helpful. Glanbia’s Bioferrin available in Life Extension Lactoferrin goes through a patented process that results in much lower levels of mycotoxins. Using the Weight/Volume Percent Solution Calculator, one 300mg capsule of Lactoferrin in a one ounce spray bottle makes a 1% (w/v) concentration.
I always learn a lot when I write these articles. It forces me to go back over my notes, re-read material, and re-evaluate my positions. I often gain additional insight. In terms of this article, I believe ozone, essential oils, Xylitol, and Lactoferrin all look promising when it comes to treating MARCoNS. Certainly they appear to be helpful as adjunct therapies that would allow using lower doses of BEG spray and may even work as stand alone solutions. If you have success treating MARCoNS with an alternative method, please make the effort to write in so others may benefit.