Looking for a Better Way
Updated on August 6, 2017
If you’ve read some of my other material, you know I’ve treated MARCoNS four times. When I say treated, I mean that I used BEG spray on four different occasions. Each time, I did testing from Microbiology DX to confirmed MARCoNS had been eradicated. In as little as five months, I’d start to get symptoms like poor sleep, nightmares, vertigo, and increased irritability. Re-testing would come back positive for MARCoNS albeit with a different set of antibiotics that the staph was resistant to – a different “antibiogram”.
In addition, I and other family members really struggle with BEG spray. In the past, I experienced debilitating fatigue and pain near the end of treatment with BEG spray. When I say debilitating, I mean scarcely being able to get up off the couch to go have a meal. My Mom felt likewise along with having severe headaches. During the latest round of BEG, instead of crushing fatigue and pain, I got seriously depressed and mildly suicidal. Although BEG spray is topically applied, I attribute the bulk of these symptoms to messed up gut flora.
With this in mind, in When Inflammation Becomes Chronic, Dr. Shoemaker commented that if an alternative MARCoNS treatment is shown to be effective confirmed by testing, he’d like to hear about it so they can “write it up”. Having essentially “thrown down the gauntlet” along with the bad side-effects I have with BEG spray and just wanting to help out, I’ve been on a quest to find a better way to treat MARCoNS. For the remainder of this article, I’m going to first cover some interesting new content related to MARCoNS, follow with my current non-BEG remedy, and finish with the numerous alternative MARCoNS treatments I have tried.
As you’ll see, out of the various treatments I’ve tried, iodine seems to be the most promising. Added to this is new information from Joe Musto, PhD at Microbiology DX who is saying EDTA alone looks promising for treating MARCoNS. Well, there’s a lot to cover related to what I’ve tried but before we get into any of those details, let’s look at the latest information on MARCoNS.
The Latest on MARCoNS
The bullet points that follow come from material I pulled from the Second Annual Mold Conference in Phoenix Arizona, the Texas CIRS Virtual Conference, the Third Annual Mold Conference in Irvine California, Dr. Gupta and Caleb Rudd’s Mold Illness Made Simple – CIRS Conference Debrief, the BetterHealthGuy’s CIRS – Cutting Edge in Diagnosis and Treatment Conference notes and YouTube videos like When Inflammation Becomes Chronic. This list is by no means all inclusive. I’ve just jotted down points that I found particularly interesting in light of what I’ve covered in my MARCoNS article and added in some of my own comments.
- Coagulase negative staph (likely MARCoNS) started showing up on heart valves and hips that couldn’t be removed in the 1980’s. Then in the 1990’s at Newcastle University Australia, Dr. Henry Butt and Dr. Tim Roberson studied CFS and bad facial pain. They found coagulase negative staph deep in the nose caused symptoms. MARCoNS in cavitations can cause cardiac arrhythmia, refractory CFS, peripheral neuropathy, facial pain.
- Dr. Shoemaker says that it’s important to get away from mold (passing HERTSMI-2) and to take Cholestyramine (CSM) before treating MARCoNS. This is important as it looks like MARCoNS produce toxins that need to get mopped up. The chances of getting better by treating MARCoNS while still in moldy environments, or without taking binders, is low. This makes total sense. If you’ve got Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) and you’re still being exposed to the highly inflammatory effects of mold biotoxins, either in your environment or because you’re not pulling them out of your gut with binders, then your body is not going to be in any shape to effectively eliminate MARCoNS.
- Per Robin Thompson ND, in the front of the nasal passages there aren’t any cilia. In the back (posterior), cilia sweep mucus down the back of the throat. This fact along with the complex of interconnected sinuses creating lots of places for MARCoNS to hide out partially explains why its hard to kill this staph infection. Initially, it was felt that MARCoNS live at the back of the throat but recently Dr. Ackerley has commented that MARCoNS can show up on one side of the nose and not the other. Consequently, she recommends swabbing both nares for MARCoNS. This makes sense to me and points to MARCoNS hiding out in the sinuses.
Given these facts, Dr. Thompson is recommendings that 15% Mucoadhesive Polymer Gel (MAPG) be added to BEG spray. MAPG is sticky and was recommended to her by Montana Compounding Pharmacy. MAPG helps the antibiotics stay in the nasal cavity longer and slows their breakdown by the body’s enzymes. Based upon Dr. Thomson’s data from six patients, there is a 58% success rate with BEG alone and 100% success using BEG and MAPG after the first round. MAPG is only available to Compounding Pharmacies that are PCCA members.
I’ve used BEG with MAPG and it caused fewer side effects and definitely works better than BEG alone. I think the side-effects are less because not as much BEG gets in the gut. Instead of being totally wiped out with fatigue and pain near the end of treatment with BEG alone, I was able to muddle along albeit with more depression and suicidal ideation. The protocol for BEG is to spray twice into each nostril three times daily for 30 days.
Convinced most of these symptoms come from gut dysbiosis and having heard it can be helpful when using antibiotics, I tried using Saccharomyces Boulardii (yeast killing yeast) while using BEG spray. For me, it made the situation worse. Later, I gave Mood Probiotics a try. Happily, anxiety and depression were reduced somewhat and this is consistent with studies of the particular strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in this probiotic.
- Dr. Ackerley is continuing the work that Dr. Shoemaker started many years ago when he compared MARCoNS nasal cultures with cultures in the socket of extracted teeth and cavitations (necrotic pockets in the jawbone). Out of 13 patients tested in both areas, 8 had MARCoNS in the nasal cavity and jawbone. However, testing positive for MARCoNS in one jawbone area did not mean that all other necrotic bone areas would test positive. From my perspective, this information is just a continuation of Dr. Shoemaker’s initial work that suggested that MARCoNS are going to spread out wherever they can.
Related to this topic, I’ve often wondered about ears as a harbor for MARCoNS. If you look at a diagram, the Eustachian tubes from the ears connect to the sinuses. I will often get mild ear aches treating with BEG spray. Is it an imbalance in bacterium from the BEG spray or MARCoNS? I don’t know but using a few drops of hydrogen peroxide that I let work with my head tipped to the side for a few minutes addresses this issue.
- Per Dr. Ackerley, most are able to clear MARCoNS after having dental issues addressed. 3D dental Cone Scan CAT scans made by Sirona like the Galileos produce clear images that can be used to diagnosis dental infections. I’m hopeful that the cavitation work I have scheduled in January 2017 is going to put an end to getting re-infected. She recounts the story of a physician she was treating for CIRS with severe symptoms such as trigeminal neuroalgia, atrial fibrillation, numb feet, and chronic pain that couldn’t tolerate anything. After getting cavitation work that included using ozone, he began to make a remarkable recovery. Dr. Shoemaker now suggests using ozone along with antibiotics as part of the treatment of dental infections.
In talking with my cavitation doctor, he said that about 50% of the time, patients felt much better after recovery. Dr. Shoemaker has commented that it’s important to take CSM after dental work to soak up the toxins that are released. In other words, infected jawbone can be a big impediment to recovery for some.
By the way, Dr. Shoemaker has commented that gingival disease that then leads to receding gums caused by periodontal disease is related to Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) and gets better with Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP). What’s interesting to note is the importance of knocking out biofilms whether related to MARCoNS, or dental disease as discussed in Periodontitis : An Archetypical Biofilm Disease. By the way, using VIP nasal spray is generally the last step in Dr. Shoemaker’s protocol.
- In the Mold Illness Made Simple Webinar – CIRS and Lyme, Dr. Sonia Rapaport commented that if testing after treating MARCoNS comes back negative, then usually MARCoNS don’t come back. Well, that’s definitely not the case for me and the indication is that dental infections are the culprit. Of course, you can also get re-infected by people you’re close with and dogs. However, in my case, this has been ruled out. Dr. Rapaport did say that if retesting comes back positive, then MARCoNS will be difficult to eradicate and usually the antibiograms will be slightly different each time. She’s only had two cases out of 400-500 patients where reoccurring MARCoNS were identical.
- Dr. Shoemaker is using Mass Spectroscopy to try to figure out if MARCoNS are producing some sort of nasty exotoxin. Given the close proximity to the brain, this seems like a good line of inquiry. Dr. Shoemaker has said that MARCoNS cause brain atrophy. I’m betting MARCoNS do produce some sort of nasty toxin given to how messed up I felt after having an infected root canalled tooth recently removed. A couple months after, I commented to my wife that if my head got any worse that I was going to have a hard time standing upright. The vertigo along with a water-logged and foggy brain was the most intense ever. Slowly it dawned on me that I probably had MARCoNS for the fourth time and testing confirmed this.
It took a while to think of MARCoNS because the head symptoms were really different this time around. I’m betting the fact that the oral surgeon didn’t remove the periodontal ligament along with leaving the tip of one of the infected roots embedded in my jawbone allowed MARCoNS in infiltrate the empty socket and produce even more toxins. Thankfully these infected jawbone sites tend to remain confined. Otherwise, I and many others would be in serious trouble.
- Joe Musto, PhD from Microbiology DX has come up with a biofilm test. This is helpful for those that come back with Coagulase-Negative Staphylococcus (CoNS) that are only resistant to one or no antibiotics. As discussed in the MARCoNS article, Dr. Shoemaker has said that CoNS do not need to be treated unless they are protected by a biofilm. Well, this testing wasn’t really available until now. However, given that Mr. Musto has said that out of 17 CoNS with one or none antibiotic resistance, 16 of them produced biofilms, it’s a pretty safe bet that if you have CoNS, you should treat them.
In addition, Joe Musto has been experimenting with BEG spray alternatives in the lab. He’s said that it looks like EDTA alone may be effective and that EDTA can also knock out molds. We know EDTA breaks up biofilms. Given that BEG spray contains 1% EDTA, if you mix up a single 800mg capsule of EDTA in a 1.5 ounce (44mL) spray bottle filled with saline solution consisting of a canning salt (pure sodium chloride) mixed in distilled water to prevent stinging, this works out to about 1.8% (w/v); close enough – Weight/Volume Percent Solution Calculator. Besides EDTA, Mr. Musto is looking at oregano, curcumin, and artemesinin essential oils along with colloidal silver.
Regarding the type of EDTA to use, in The Business of Chelation, the author recommends Calcium Disodium EDTA. In addition, in Detox with Oral Chelation, Dr. Gary Gordon says the even though Disodium EDTA can help reduce calcium buildup in the arteries and stimulate bone regrowth. This is a result of calcium being removed from the blood. Nonetheless, he eventually switched to Calcium EDTA because “so few people could understand” the positive net effect of Disodium EDTA. For myself, I’ve concluded that while Calcium and Disodium EDTA is a reasonable choice, I personally don’t have any issues with EDTA containing disodium alone. Besides, we are talking about very small doses for a short period of time.
- Dr. Shoemaker is really concerned about creating monster MARCoNS by combining anti-fungals with BEG spray. Apparently, bacteria and fungi can swap resistances through “horizontal gene transcription”. There is the belief that the Gentamicin resistance that is showing up is a result of using anti-fungals in combination with BEG spray. BEG spray is Bactroban (antibiotic), EDTA (biofilm buster) and Gentamicin (antibiotic). As a matter of fact, places like Woodland Hills Pharmacy produce a BEG-IB Nasal Spray consisting of BEG mixed with Itraconazole (anti-fungal) and Budesonide (steroid).
In 3,000 nasal cultures taken over an eight year period by Dr. Shoemaker, 76 were resistant to Gentamicin. Dr. Musto recently look at 480 cultures done over a two week period in 2016 and found 77 cultures resistant cultures to Gentamicin indicating a possible increase in resistant bacterium. This may explain why Dr. Shoemaker has said that BEG spray hasn’t been as effective lately and why he strongly cautions against using any antifungal with BEG spray.
Dr. Ackerley has commented that when BEG spray is used to knock out MARCoNS that fungal cultures clear up on there own. This was the case for my wife who tested positive for MARCoNS and Monilia Sitophila fungi. When she treated MARCoNS, the fungi went away on their own.
CoNS & MRSA
Recent testing of family members both with and without Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) has resulted in tests showing staph infections consisting of MARCoNS for some members and either MRSA or CoNS for others. In case you didn’t know, MRSA stands for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus and CoNS stands for Coagulase Negative Staphylococci.
Now Dr. Shoemaker has commented that many bacterium found in the nose are “commensal” meaning they don’t cause any trouble. In Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker: Pioneer in CIRS, Mold & Biotoxins; with Guest Host Dana Howell, he commented that you can “disregard the significance of Gram-negative rods whether it’s Pseudomonas or Klebsiella or E. coli, those guys are along for the ride.” Furthermore, Dr. Musto says the 30% of the people have Staphylococcus Aureus in their nasal cavity. In fact, he believes that Staphylococcus Aureus and Coagulase Positive Staph (not to be confused with the Coagulase Negative Staph associated with MARCoNS) may actually be protective against colonization from MARCoNS.
From my perspective, a person really should do their own research and decide for themselves if a given strain of bacteria are troublesome or not. I’m guessing this approach doesn’t come as a surprise to folks with chronic illnesses who have learned the importance of being their own best advocate long ago. Here’s what I found out about CoNS and MRSA. Let’s start with CoNS bacteria.
My wife who’s healthy and has been my mainstay in my struggle to heal from CIRS tested positive for CoNS. We had her tested based upon a conversation with Dr. Ackerley. In that conversation, Dr. Ackerley commented that bed-fellows often get co-infected with MARCoNS. As a result, when those with CIRS are treated for MARCoNS only to remain infected or become re-infected (like myself), it’s often unknowing partners that are the source. This isn’t too surprising given that staph bacteria spreads easily primarily by contact with someone that carries the staph or something they have touched. Although, staph can also be spread through the air – coughing or sneezing.
So the question arose as to whether she should be treated. After all, this is not MARCoNS. In other words, this is a Coagulase Negative Staphylococci that was only resistant to one or no antibiotics. CoNS have to be resistant to two or more antibiotics to be considered MARCoNS. Furthermore, given that she is of good health, she clearly falls into the category of being a “carrier” as opposed to being “infected” with resultantly poor health. CoNS of this type are typically considered to be part of the normal skin flora (commensal) and not a problem. They are not typically treated. Let’s take a closer look.
In MARCoNS – Test Results, I discuss the fact that the reason Dr. Shoemaker treated MARCoNS wasn’t because the person had a staph in their noses. Rather, his concern was that the staph was being protected by a biofilm. It was the biofilm that was of concern. When he was in practice, patients with CoNS only test results were retested using a special “biofilm production assay” to look specifically for biofilms. If a biofilm was present, then they would be treated. If there was no biofilm, the CoNS would be left untreated.
So one pertinent question was whether the CoNS inhabiting my wife’s sinuses were hiding under a biofilm. Unfortunately, the biofilm production assay used by Dr. Shoemaker and the Microbiology DX biofilm testing was not available at that time. What we did know is that along with the CoNS, they also found Brevundimonas Diminuta – also called Pseudomonas Diminuta.
Following my own advice, I began to do some research. Brevundimonas Diminuta (a.k.a. Pseudomonas Diminuta) is a gram-negative bacteria that is known to frequently form biofilms. Furthermore, some speculate that Pseudomonas aeruginosa along with Staphylococcus aureus cause an over exuberant inflammatory response. Granted, the species of Pseudomonas mentioned in the article is different from that in my wife’s sinuses and Staphylococcus aureus refers to MRSA infections, but it’s not hard for me to imagine that the Pseudomonas genus in general has similar capacities to upset the immune system. After all, they’re somehow able to take up long-term residence in the sinuses without being eradicated by the immune system.
Recapping, here’s what I was able to find out. CoNS protected by biofilms are a problem and spread easily. We’re not sure if the CoNS inhabiting my wife’s sinuses are protected by a biofilm but it was quite likely especially since they’re hanging out with another biofilm forming bacteria, Pseudomonas. Furthermore, there is some suggestion that Pseudomonas can over-amp the immune response producing inflammation. Given my CIRS impaired immune system, we decided to treat her CoNS using various natural remedies. This didn’t sound like a bug that would be good for my health.
Moving on, let’s look at MRSA. My brother, who also has CIRS, had a recent nasal swab that came back positive for MRSA. This isn’t too surprising given how easily its spread and the fact that it is commonly contracted at hospitals. He recently had surgery done on his shoulder. The CDC estimates 33% of people have some species of staph in their noses and 2% of all people harbor MRSA.
Unlike MARCoNS that are resistant to a wide range of antibiotics, MRSA staph is resistant to beta-lactam antibiotics only. Beta-lactam antibiotics include penicillins (methicillin, dicloxacillin, nafcillin, oxacillin, etc.) and the cephalosporins. And unlike CoNS that do not produce the protein enzyme called coagulase, Staphylococcus aureus generally does (although some strains are coagulase negative and therefore qualify as both MRSA and MARCoNS). So while MRSA is a different strain of Staphylococcus compared to MARCoNS, it definitely qualifies for being resistant to two or more antibiotics. Let’s look deeper.
Just like with CoNS, let’s start by looking at biofilms. MRSA likes to form biofilms. Reports vary on just how prevalent biofilm protected MRSA is but in Prevalence of Biofilm Formation Among MRSA Isolated From Nasal Carriers, out of 810 patients that visited this hospital for various reasons, roughly 36% harbored Staphylococcus aureus and about 25% of those (9% of the total) were also Methicillin resistant – MRSA. All of those with MRSA also had biofilms of varying strengths. In other words, given these reports and the previous comments of biofilms and CoNS, it seems clear that there is a fair amount of biofilm forming MRSA in the population.
In addition, MRSA is no trifling bacteria. Those that transition from being symptom-free “carriers” or “colonized” to becoming “infected” can be hard hit. What often starts out as a small rash or cough can quickly become a life-threatening infection since MRSA is drug resistance. Nonetheless, MRSA is typically left untreated unless the person is symptomatic, works in a hospital setting, is in contact with babies, or has an impaired immune system. Hmmm, I’d say that CIRS definitely qualifies someone as having an impaired immune system.
So putting this all together, we know that MRSA can be nasty, is resistant to multiple antibiotics, often likes to form biofilms, and should be treated in those with impaired immune systems regardless of whether they’re symptomatic or not. In addition, in Staph Infections Carry Long-Term Risks, they found that 25% of patients that acquired MRSA became infected within a year. Their symptoms ranged from pneumonia to blood diseases that sometimes resulted in death. So on top of being nasty and forming biofilms, MRSA frequently shifts from simply being commensal to a full-blown infection.
While statistically we don’t know whether treating MRSA in those with CIRS will result in an improvement in symptoms like treating MARCoNS, it definitely will reduce the risks of a debilitating infection. Furthermore, the University of Chicago recently discovered that the reason Staphylococcus aureus could remain indefinitely in sinuses was because it could “hijack the primary human immune defense mechanism and use it to destroy white blood cells”. Those with CIRS need all the macrophage (white blood cells) they can get to clean up inflammatory damage from CIRS. Similarly, in Immune Evasion by Staphylococci, staph aureus is shown to suppress the antibody response resulting in a diminished immune response. This information could explain why those with MARCoNS often would have lower C4a and TGF-beta1 inflammatory values than others with CIRS.
All and all, my advice to my brother with CIRS was to treat the MRSA in his nose. In case you’re interested, the pharmaceutical approach is to daily swab two percent mupirocin ointment (Bactroban) in the nose along with soaking in a tub filled one-quarter full with lukewarm water and 1/2 cup of regular Clorox bleach (sodium hypochlorite) for 5-30 minutes. This is done for five days and clears MRSA two-thirds of the time. For myself, a little antibiotic ointment in my nose doesn’t sound too bad but soaking in bleach seems harsh – alternatively, see using garlic in bathwater. Regardless of whether you’re dealing with MRSA or CoNS, given how easily staph is spread, it’s really important keep items clean that are frequently touched.
EDTA-Iodine-Silver Nasal Spray
As noted at the beginning of this article, I personally found the use of iodine most effective out of the numerous treatment methods I’ve tried over the years. What’s interesting to note is that way back when I wrote MARCoNS, I talked about how Dave Asprey used iodine, colloidal silver, and xylitol nasal spray to clear his MARCoNS. So here I am years later, essentially returning to the same approach albeit with a few important caveats and the addition of EDTA spray.
My current best approach is to alternate between iodine and colloidal silver sprays 30 minutes after using EDTA spray. The EDTA busts up the biofilms thereby making way for the iodine and silver to kill the staph. Although, it should be noted that colloidal silver breaks biofilms and iodine breaks up biofilms too.
In terms of application, I like using the combination of EDTA followed by first iodine and then EDTA followed by silver three or more times daily. I use two sprays each side for every application. In terms of EDTA, I’ve already discussed how to make up a 1.5% EDTA solution above in the section The Latest on MARCoNS.
When it comes to colloidal silver, I use Sovereign Silver straight up in a separate spray bottle; I don’t buffer the silver solution. I use Sovereign Silver that is made by Argentyn 23 and is recommended by Dr. Neil Nathan author of Mold & Mycotoxins: Current Evaluation and Treatment 2016.
I’ve heard that the type of silver is important. In Antibiofilm Efficacy of Silver Nanoparticles Against Biofilm, the suggestion is that smaller nano particles are better because of the increased surface area. Now although most colloidal silver is nano sized, meaning between 1-100 nanometers, Soverign Silver particles are super small at 0.8nm.
For those concerned with taking excessive amounts of silver, using the Silver Safety Pyramid we see that a 150 pound person can take 2.4 teaspoons (11.8mL) of Sovereign Silver with 10 ppm daily for the rest of their life without issue. In comparison, two sprays each nostril three times daily with a typical 0.1mL spray bottle works out to 1.2mL. In other words, you’d be taking in about 10% of the level considered safe for daily lifetime use for a short period of time. Given the well known anti-microbial properties of colloidal silver along with the devastating impact of MARCoNS, personally this is an easy choice for me.
With those two sprays out of the way, let’s move on to first looking at how I was re-introduced to iodine followed by discussing how I mix up a saline solution containing iodine and the results I’ve seen. Although it may seem odd, I’m going to begin this discussion on iodine for treating MARCoNS by looking at the bacteria Klebsiella oxytoca. The reason for this is that for a time Microbiology DX testing showing I was infected with both MARCoNS and Klebsiella oxytoca. I treated these two bacteria with BEG spray at half the dosage along with ozone for about six weeks. Re-testing showed that the MARCoNS had been cleared but that “large amounts” of Klebsiella oxytoca remained.
This surprised me. I thought for sure the Klebsiella oxytoca would be knocked out too. Granted the K. oxytoca I had was also producing Extended spectrum ß-lactamases (ESBLs) enzymes, but I thought for sure BEG spray with MAPG, to help it stay in place, along with strong doses of ozone would knock out just about anything. Nope.
Digging into the situation, it turns out various strains of bacteria produce ESBLs enzymes. These enzymes confer an increased resistance to antibiotics. In addition, even if ESBLs aren’t present, some K. oxytoca strains produce biofilms. Alright, it looked like the K. oxytoca I had was pretty tough but should I even be concerned? Maybe K. oxytoca was just “going along for the ride”.
Wise Geek says that Klebsiella oxytoca is a rod-shaped, gram-negative bacteria that is very similar to Klebsiella pneumonia. Both of these strains of Klebsiella normally are part of a healthy gut flora. The issue is when they spread elsewhere, they can cause life threatening illnesses. For example, both species can hang out in the nose without causing symptom. However, at some point in time, they can then enter into the lungs and cause really bad pneumonia. The CDC says that “ Klebsiella oxytoca is an opportunistic pathogen that causes primarily hospital-acquired infections, most often involving immunocompromised patients …“.
Alright, with this information, I decided to try and knock these bugs out. After doing a little digging, I ran across a report of how ESBLs producing K. pneumoniae had been knocked out in a hospital setting. Granted the study was on K. pneumoniae, but from the discussion above, Klebsiella pneumonia is very similar to Klebsiella oxytoca. What really peaked my interest was that after a couple of failed attempts to rid hospitol patients of this bacteria in their nasal cavities, they eventually had success with good old, 10% Povidone Iodine. This iodine is available over-the-counter at any drug store for a couple of dollars.
In brief, the hospital staff first tried Gentamicin and Povidone Iodine ointments followed by gargling with hexetidine to no effect. This isn’t surprising; those treatments are not going to get into the interconnected sinus passage ways. However, testing showed that a simple solution of “1.25% w/v povidone–iodine complex in phosphate buffer, pH 7.2” cleared the Klebsiella pneumonia in a week. Just to be sure, they continued using the 0.3mL spray, two times a day for an additional two weeks – three weeks total. Furthermore, there were no noted side-effects. Sweet!
Before I get into how to mix up the solution, it’s really important to discuss risks. First, there is a small percentage of the population that is hypersensitive to iodine. For these people, it can cause a severe rash when applied to the skin. I’d hate to find out what would happen if this group inhale iodine as a nasal spray knowing that when these folks are mistakenly given iodine in the form of an x-ray contrast dye, they can die. In other words, be really careful to make sure you’re not allergic! At a minimum, apply a small amount to your skin and see what happens before moving forward.
In addition, it should be noted that Povidone Iodine (PVP-I) is a complex produced by reacting iodine with the polymer povidone. Essentially, povidone acts as a sticking agent. Furthermore, the PVP-I that I used contained surfactants like Nonoxynol-9. Given that PVP-I is meant to be topically applied, this all makes sense as the surfactant Nonoxynol-9 helps disperse the solution while the povidone polymers prevent the iodine from being absorbed. It doesn’t hurt that Nonoxynol-9 also kills many different types of microbes. Update: In all likelihood, the PVP-I in the study did not contain Nonoxynol-9 – see comment below.
So you might be thinking like I did upon learning of the additives in PVP-I that a pure form of iodine like Lugols would be a better choice. The trouble is that Lugols is readily absorbed. If the iodine is quickly absorbed, I doubt that it’s going to do as good of a job knocking out microbes living on the surface of sinus cavities. Besides, the study used PVP-I. Perhaps there is there some added benefit that PVP-I provides.
Having decided to stick with PVP-I, I set about figuring out how to mix up a solution. I purchased the hospital report. The report stated that “1.25% w/v povidone–iodine complex in phosphate buffer, pH 7.2” was used. Immediately, I had two questions. What does the ratio w/v mean and what is a phosphate buffer?
In terms of the w/v ratio, it turns out that Povidone-iodine is a combination of povidone-iodine, iodine, and iodide. The w/v ratio represents the weight of solute (iodine) compared to the total volume of solution. For example, a 1.25% w/v available iodine solution is prepared by dissolving 1.25 gram of iodine in water to create a final solution with a volume of 100ml. With this information and knowing that my spray bottle delivers 0.1mL per spray, I calculated that the combination of povidone-iodine, iodine, and iodide in a single spray of a 1.25% solution using 10% PVP-I.
A single 0.1mL spray of 1.25% PVP-I solution works out to (1.25/100)*0.1= 0.00125g= 1.25mg of the combination of povidone-iodine, iodine, and iodide. Although the dosage used to clear hospital patients was 0.3mL taken twice daily, I’m using two sprays each side three times daily. This calculates out to a total daily dosage of (2*3*1.25)= 7.5mg.
This doesn’t mean that all of this is iodine/iodide; some is povidone. Also, not all of the iodine/iodide is absorbed. In fact, Dr. Abraham found that only 12% of iodine applied to the skin gets absorbed. I’m guessing that the povidone polymer may make the amount absorbed even less.
The reason I looked into this is that I wanted to get a rough idea as to how much iodine I was taking in to make sure I was being safe – especially if I should decide to use it for longer periods. For example, as a prophylactic at times when I know I’m going to be exposed to biotoxins. In Iodine – Bringing Back the Universal Medicine, Dr. Abraham recommends a 14-15mg maintenance dosage of iodine. With what’s been discussed, the bottom line is that the amount of actual iodine/iodide that will be absorbed from the spray should be quite safe.
Iodine: The Tale of the Shrinking Violet by Geoffrey T. Bouc, M.D
Moving on, the other question that needed to be addressed was what is a “phosphate buffer with a pH 7.2”. WikiPedia says that Phosphate-Buffered Saline (PBS) is water with disodium hydrogen phosphate and sodium chloride added to change the pH. Sometimes they also use potassium chloride and potassium di-hydrogen phosphate. In the case of a nasal spray, its basically pure water with salts added to keep your nose from stinging. It’s important to buffer water with salt as stinging means you may be damaging the mucous lining of the nose.
As I looked into this question, I found that you can buy about two cups of Phosphate Buffered Saline, PBS (1X) with a pH of 7.4 for about $30 including shipping. That’s nice albeit expensive buffered water. For myself, I’ve used pH strips to confirm that if you take a cup of distilled water with a pH of 6 and mix in 1/8 to 1/4 of a teaspoon of baking soda, the pH will be buffered to about 7.5 (make sure to let the water sit for a time after adding in the baking soda before testing). Also, there doesn’t appear to be any issues such as neutralizing of the iodine when iodine is mixed in baking soda buffered water. The only issue I’ve seen with this combination is that the iodine settles to the bottom of the solution over time so you have to make sure to shake the bottle before each use.
Alternatively, you could use canning salt to buffer the distilled water. Canning salt is different from other salts as its pure sodium chloride. Noted above, Phosphate Buffered Saline contains sodium chloride so there should be no issues with reactions between the iodine and the canning salt.
By the way, it’s important to always use distilled water when mixing up nasal sprays. Distilled water has had minerals and impurities removed that would otherwise neutralize the iodine. It’s also cleaner than tap water. However, it does tend to be acidic so you really do need to buffer it.
In terms of my own experience, initially I buffered my distilled water with pre-mixed ActiveSinus saline packets. My thinking was that one buffering salt was just as good as another. However, after using the iodine spray for several weeks, testing showed that I had not knocked out the Klebsiella oxytoca. It turns out that ActiveSinus primary ingredient is sea salt along with some sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). Sea salt is roughly 14% minerals with the rest being sodium chloride (salt). As such, I suspect the reason why I didn’t have good success the first time had to do with the minerals neutralizing the iodine.
Alright, that was a lot to cover for folks with foggy brains. Sorry about that but I want you to have all the details so you can do your own checking. So we’re finally at a place where we can calculate how to mix up a 1.25% solution using 10% PVP-I and our baking soda buffered distilled water.
Personally, I use 1 ounce amber colored Snoot spray bottles to protect the silver and iodine from sunlight. Knowing there are 590 drops (29.6mL) in a 1 ounce bottle and that a 0.05mL drop of 10% PVP-I contains 5mg of iodine, this works out to about 84 drops of 10% PVP-I in each 1 ounce spray bottle. [(1.25/100)=((0.005*drops)/(29.6 + 0.05drops))] In case you want to mix up less, it takes 14 drops of 10% PVP-I in a teaspoon of buffered distilled water to make a 1.25% solution. That’s it.
Update May 5, 2017
However, before I wrap up this section, I want to bring up two other points. First, if you decide to treat MARCoNS, you need to really commit. In Effect of Different Iodine Formulations, they concluded that “that iodine at sub-bactericidal concentrations demonstrates molecular and enzymatic effects that are highly associated with biofilm formation“. In other words, if you don’t use enough iodine, the biofilms actually get worse! When I write about essential oils, you’ll see that this same effect has been observed. You need to “put the hammer down” and don’t let up when treating MARCoNS.
And secondly, after having failed to clear Klebsiella oxytoca the first time around with iodine nasal spray, I decided to use a nebulizer instead of a spray bottle. My thinking was that the fine mist produced by a nebulizer would reach more deeply into the sinuses. To allow misting in through the nose, I adapted the mouthpiece using a short section of clear 5/8″ I.D. vinyl tubing into which I fitted two 1/4″ I.D. silicon tubes. I round the edges of the silicone tubing using the sanding drum on a Dremil tool. This adaptation worked great.
I’m not sure if it was the finer mist produced by the nebulizer or the fact that I was mixing up a 1.25% solution just before using it (the iodine didn’t have time to be neutralized by the minerals in the sea salt that I was mistakenly using at the time) but the second time around I was able to clear K. oxytoca with the iodine solution alone. Furthermore, my wife was able to knock out MARCoNS just using iodine spray. Granted she doesn’t have CIRS so clearing MARCoNS may have been easier for her than those that do. Still, these are noteworthy data points.
Having been re-infected for a fourth time with MARCoNS, I’ve moved on from using iodine spray only to using the combination of EDTA, colloidal silver, and iodine nasal sprays. I have enough experience treating this infection to be able to tell you its working well. My plan is to treat for at least 6 weeks before re-testing. I’m not experiencing any negative side effects and I don’t want to rush. I have to say that not having bad side effects is truly amazing. I’ll let you know how it turns out in the follow-up articel that I plan to write to this article wherein I’ll cover more of what I’ve learned about treating MARCoNS using garlic, ozone, UV light, essential oils, Lactoferrin, Manuka honey, and nasal probiotics.
My MARCoNS Remedy
This is my current best guess as to how to knock out MARCoNS without using BEG antibiotic nasal spray. Using iodine spray alone, my wife knocked out her MARCoNS and I knocked out a Klebsiella oxytoca infection that remained after using BEG to eradicate MARCoNS. The addition of EDTA and silver should make the remedy even more potent. The EDTA helps break up the biofilms thereby making way for the iodine and silver to kill MARCoNS. It’s important to keep up with the protocol and re-test after 6 weeks or longer. For more details on why these sprays were selected along with the dosage, please read the entire article.
Update May 5, 2017
See the Nebulized Iodine Video for a better way of administering PVP-Iodine.
Make three separate nasal spray bottles with EDTA, Povidone Iodine, and Sovereign Silver solutions in each. To administer, alternate between iodine and colloidal silver sprays 30 minutes after first using the EDTA spray. In other words, spray EDTA twice into each nostril with the head tipped down while aiming toward the back of the head and inhaling – don’t spray up toward the olfactory bulb. Then wait 30 minutes before following with the two sprays of iodine into each nostril. An hour or so later, re-administer the EDTA and then follow in 30 minutes with silver. Repeat this pattern one or two more times during the day. If you wake up at night, try administering EDTA and iodine; although, I get a sinus headache from the post nasal drip that follows so stopped administering at night.
Buffering Distilled Water
EDTA and iodine need to be mixed with buffered distilled water. In a cup of distilled water, mix in between 1/8 to 1/4 of a teaspoon of baking soda. The goal is to create sprays with a pH of about 7.2 when tested with pH strips.
Mix up one 800mg capsule of Calcium Disodium EDTA in 1 ounce Snoot spray bottle filled with buffered distilled water to make a 2.7% (w/v) solution – Weight/Volume Percent Solution Calculator. Shake before using. Note: BEG spray contains 1% EDTA.
Add 84 drops of 10% Povidone Iodine to a 1 ounce amber colored Snoot spray bottle filled with buffered distilled water. This solution is much stronger than has been recommended in the past – a few drops in a neti pot. Weak solutions may actually strengthen biofilms. If the iodine spray stings, cut back to tolerable levels. Shake before using.
Colloidal Silver Spray
Fill an amber colored spray bottle with pure Soverign Silver.
Colloidal Silver & MARCoNS – Sean
A well informed reader, Sean, recently provided me with this alternative approach to treating MARCoNS using colloidal silver alone. What follows are his notes.
How to Eradicate MARCoNS without Antibiotics
Dr. Joseph Musto, director of Microbiology DX, has demonstrated in vitro (in the lab) that colloidal silver can effectively eradicate any form of MARCoNS regardless of the antibiotic resistance or the density of the biofilm. The silver simply needs to come in contact with the MARCoNS which is where the challenge exists. The sinus is a very complicated series of five unique three dimensional spaces. After communication with Dr. Musto I conducted my own experiments in vivo (on myself). The following protocol is what I found to be most effective for eradicating MARCoNS safely without the side effects associated with EDTA and antibiotics (BEG spray).
(starting with Soverign is primarily to get a free spray bottle. After finishing the small bottle you can refill it with Silvercillin. But you can also start with silvercillin in your own spray bottle)
- Insert spray nozzle into left nostril keeping the head level
- Spray 5 times while inhaling gently
- Slightly change the angle of the nozzle for each spray to broadcast the silver as widely as possible
- Repeat the same procedure on the right side
- Make sure to keep the silver from running down back of throat or out your nose
- This takes careful balance and some strategic sniffing
- Then slowly drop to the ground on all fours
- Let your head fall forward so that its inverted (top of head pointed to the ground)
- Let the silver drain upwards to coat the upper surface of all sinus cavities
- If you do it correctly you will feel a slight burn above your eyes
- After 30 seconds raise your head 90 degrees so your eyes are facing the ground
- Rotate your head to the right 90 degrees so you left ear is facing the ground
- After 30 seconds rotate the head to the left 180 degrees so your right ear is facing the ground
- The goal is to coat the upper, left and right sinus cavity surfaces with silver
- After 30 seconds return to normal standing position
- Let the silver drain to coat all lower surfaces of the sinus
- Try to keep your head level and not blow your nose for at least 5 minutes (longer if possible)
- It takes some strategic sniffling to keep from dripping and its hard to fight the instinct to expel
- When ready to expel draw air through the nose to drain silver into the mouth and spit it out
- Do not swallow it
- In the first few days a surprising amount of biofilm will come out
- Repeat this process 3x per day
- The duration will depend on how thorough you are
- You will observe a clear and progressive decline in biofilm over the first 20 days
- You should be clear of MARCoNS within 30 days
- I personally went 60 days just to be certain but had no biofilm release in the last 30 days
- I waited one full month before retest
*this process is equally effective for mold in the sinus
My first swab from Microbiology DX cultured MARCoNS (large amount) and two species of mold.
My second swab from Microbiology DX cultured absolutely nothing.
I experienced no herx or intensification of symptoms.
One of the most important factors in clearing MARCoNS is avoiding re-exposure. Assume all of your family, friends and pets have MARCoNS. Make sure to avoid mouth contact with anyone. Don’t share cups, utensils, toothbrushes or anything that could transfer MARCoNS back to you. It’s ideal to test and treat any kissing partners at the same time as yourself.
Additionally it’s important to be mindful of all your own oral interactions. Make sure to thoroughly clean / sterilize your toothbrush, mouth-guard, dentures, sleep apnea mask, nasal vents or dilators, sports mouth-guard, or anything that enters or gets close to your mouth / nose. This includes the spray device administering the silver. Wipe the nozzle down with rubbing alcohol after each use.
Do this and you should easily eradicate MARCoNS. If you do not then the source of the infection is likely not in the sinus. It could be in a root canal tooth, dental implant or a dental cavitation all of which will require different treatment.
Post Your Results
If you have success with my remedy or some other, make sure to post the news below! This is especially true if you have done nasal swabs before and after proving eradication of MARCoNS. If I get a few people that have success, we can send this data to Dr. Shoemaker. Now that’d be cool.