Updated on May 2, 2017
Step 10: TGF beta 1 – Mold – Turmeric
A reader, Rob, wrote in asking about high TGF beta 1 in the context of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) brought on by either mold, Lyme, or some other source of biotoxins. I’d always intended to write an article on the subject but decided to just post my rough notes as I’ve got too many “irons in the fire”. Who knows when I’ll ever get around to doing a well-researched article. Treating high TGF beta 1 is step 10 in Dr. Shoemaker’s Protocol. Although it’s important to sequentially step through Dr. Shoemaker’s protocol, I have to admit that I started taking turmeric pretty early on to help with inflammation.
TGF beta 1 Per Dr. Shoemaker
TGF beta 1 (Transforming Growth Factor beta-1 normal range: <2380 pg/ml) – a polypeptide that causes cells to transform. Per Dr. Shoemaker, use Losartan (Cozaar - blood pressure pill) when TGF beta 1 is high especially if the T-regulatory CD4+CD25++ combo cell levels are less than 18. According to Dr. Shoemaker, most folks with TGF beta 1 less than 5,000 do not tend to be symptomatic. When I saw Dr. Shoemaker, he tested for TGF beta 1 and CD4+CD25++ combo cells - Quest 60336. Note: Two pluses ++ is pronounced “double bright”.
For children, start with 12.5 mg once per day and titrate up to 12.5 mg twice a day. Adults may go up to 50mg twice a day but 25mg twice a day is usually enough. Children receive 0.3-0.35 mg/kg (0.14-0.16 mg/lb) twice daily. Monitor blood pressure to make sure it doesn’t go too low. If blood pressure drops too much, then you must rely on VIP. Treatment should continue until TGF beta 1 is below 5,000 – it may never get into the normal range of below 2,380 in some patients especially until VIP is used.
We know from AGA – Diet – Detox that if a person tests positive for Anti-Gliadin Antibodies (AGA), then they must go gluten free until TGF beta 1 is corrected. Likewise, if TGF beta 1 is excessively high or T-regulatory CD4+CD25++ cells are low, go gluten free. Watch TGF beta 1 when VIP is employed. TGF beta 1 will rise upon VIP therapy when there is an ongoing mold exposure, Lyme is an issue, or an imbalance in T-regulatory CD4+CD25++ cells and TH-17 cells exists.
TGF beta 1 activates genes resulting in an imbalance between T-regulatory CD4+CD25++ cells and TH-17 cells. T-regulatory cells are responsible for preventing autoimmunity – the body attacking itself and this includes food allergies. In some with CIRS, T-regulatory cells are inappropriately converted into pathogenic effector T-cells by TH-17 cells. Unfortunately, excess pathogenic effector T-cells then prompt the creation of even more TGF beta 1 creating a sort of negative feedback loop. This condition is confirmed when T-regulatory CD4+CD25++ cells measured by Quest are less than 18.
Losartan prevents TH-17 cells from converting T-regulatory CD4+CD25++ cells into pathogenic effector T-cells and resultantly lowers TGF beta 1 – pathogenic effector T-cells increase TGF beta 1. Said another way, Losartan corrects the imbalance between T-regulatory cells and TH-17 cells – too few T-regulatory cells and too many TH-17 cells. A TH-17/T-reg cell imbalance is associated with illnesses such as acute coronary syndrome (low heart blood flow and subsequent heart damage) to cirrhosis (liver damage).
In addition to an imbalance in T-regulatory CD4+CD25++ cells and TH-17 cells, other T-regulatory cells called CD4+CD25++127lo/- are also important. These cells are made by the thymus and are responsible for controlling tissue-based autoimmunity and inflammation. When both T-regulatory CD4+CD25++ and CD4+CD25++127lo/- cells are low, patients have mucosal and systemic problems. Mucous membranes line various cavities in the body and surround internal organs. Quest can test for T-regulatory CD4+CD25++ and CD4+CD25++127lo/- cells.
High levels of TGF beta 1 damages the lungs by causing the soft bronchial tube lining in lungs to become thick and stiff (fibroblasts/fibrosis) that then makes it more difficult to breathe. Lung remodeling can lead to asthma like symptoms. Dr. Shoemaker says that 20% of all asthma is caused by mold exposure. This type of “remodeling” also occurs in the heart, liver, central nervous system, and kidney tissue.
At 12:30 in Mold Toxins Making You Fatigued & Sick?, Dr. Keith Berndtson explains how high levels of TGF beta 1 causes the toxin laden and inflamed lungs of those with CIRS to “remodel” – acquire a bit of fibrosis. This fibrosis narrows the arteries making it harder for the heart to push blood through the lungs. The increased back-pressure results in an acquired form of Pulmonary Artery Hypertension (PAH). Happily, this type of PAH is reversible with treatment for CIRS.
Benefits and Means of Lowering TGFB1 and Endothelin
“We conclude that chronic overproduction of TGF beta 1 triggers an accumulation of basement membrane proteins and results in AD-like cerebrovascular amyloidosis and microvascular degeneration.”
High TGF beta 1 also causes hair loss, nasal and vocal cord polyps, restrictive lung disease, skin keratosis, and endometriosis (ovarian cysts) – Transforming Growth Factor-beta 1 and Ovarian Cysts. According to Dr. Shoemaker’s work, fixing TGF beta 1 will help clear up most autoimmune illnesses, lung symptoms, neurological problems, autoimmunity, tremors, seizures, learning disabilities, multiple sclerosis (MS) and transverse myelitis (TM) associated with biotoxin illness. Transverse (across) myelitis (inflammation) is inflammation across of the spinal cord. This inflammation can damage or destroy myelin, the fatty insulating substance that covers the nerves.
TGF beta 1 levels over 5,000 is cause for concern and levels over 10,000 practically guarantee lung, cognitive, tremor, and joint problems. TGF beta 1 causes star-shaped glial cells in the brain called “astrocytes” to release Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein. This protein suppresses neuronal re-growth and reformation of axonal brain connections. Levels over 40,000 are almost always due to improper lab handling – see TGF beta 1 Spike Up below.
Dr. Shoemaker – Physician’s Round Table 2014 (slides 114-116)
TGF beta 1 Spike Up
- A big spike up in TGF beta 1 could be from getting re-exposed after having been treated.
- An unexpected increases in TGF beta 1 could be from bad lab work. I always send the directions below to the lab when I make an appointment and then present another copy when I arrive. When I see the phlebotomist, I ask if she/he has seen the sheet and make a comment about how having to pre-chill the tube and then spin it down twice must be unusual. It’s my way of politely checking that the sheet was actually read. Testing can be through either Quest or LabCorp code 905036 per Dr. Shoemaker’s Physician’s Order Sheet 6-20-2014.
- In the September 2015 presentation (1:48:00) given by Dr. Shoemaker and sponsored by Hopkinton Drug, Dr. Shoemaker remarked in the Question/Answer session that even after doing everything right in addressing mold, that a person could see spikes in TGF beta 1 while taking VIP as a result of Lyme or an imbalance in Treg/Th17 cells.
TGF beta 1 Alternative Treatment
Dave Asprey Notes
In 2012, I had a three phone consultations with Dave Asprey. At that time, Dave talked about curcumin as being the active component of turmeric. Curcumin is a very strong anti-inflammatory and is proven to bring down TGF beta 1 levels. Dave hadn’t tried Losartan (Cozaar – blood pressure pills) because he has low blood pressure. He recommended high dose turmeric (5 or 6 liquid extract pills). He was taking Turmeric FSE 60 Softgel Capsules by NewMark (turmeric rhizome 80 mg supercritical extract and 320 mg hydroethanolic extract) – no longer available. Dave said to be careful to avoid turmeric with “bioperine” which is a black pepper extract. Not only does black pepper have a lot of aflatoxins but it also “raises bio-availability” which means it shuts down liver function.
Pat Sullivan says that he takes 500mg of BCM Curcumin (800mg curcumin longa 25:1 extract) twice daily. Curcumin is the active component in turmeric. Curcumin is a very strong anti-inflammatory and is proven to bring down TGFB1 levels dramatically as well as many other Shoemaker markers. Pat also takes 50mg of losartan 30mg of pioglitazone daily. Both are strong anti-inflammatory drugs. Last time I checked, they could be purchased from online without a prescription. I haven’t tried them because of very good results with turmeric.
Turmeric Products Worth Considering
- I’m taking New Chapter Turmeric Force now to good effect. It is the closest product I could find to Turmeric FSE recommended by Dave Asprey in 2012 phone consultations. I’ve brought down TGF beta 1 from around 5,000 to normal using turmeric along with taking CSM and fish oil, treating MARCoNS, and following the Bulletproof Diet.
- Curcu-Gel Ultra 650 mg BCM-95 Enhanced Absorption Bio-Curcumin Complex – BCM Curcumin 650mg – contains soy. In the 2015 podcast Dr. John Salerno: Holistic Medicine, Heavy Metals & Allergies at 39 minutes, Dave commented that he initially was taking one tablespoon of turmeric and now takes 6-8 capsules of turmeric containing BCM essential oils of turmeric. BCM makes the turmeric more bioavailable.
- Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum on The Cutting Edge of Health and Wellness likes CuraMed curcumin because it contains BCM95 making the curcumin 7 times more available – contains soy at less than 5 parts per million. In What Can Be Done to Treat Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, Curamed 750mg is recommended.
- For a GMO-free, Soy-free, and Bioperine-free BCM curcumin take a look at Life Extension Super Bio-curcumin as mentioned in the review Nine Leading Curcumin Supplements.
- In 2015, Dr. Ackerley recommended Thorne Research Meriva-500 curcumin. It contains Curcumin Phytosome – Curcuma longa extract (root) and Phosphatidylcholine complex.
Making Turmeric Capsules
I’ve experimented with making my own capsules from organic turmeric. Below are my dosage calculations and the products I used to make capsules.
- Curcumin is one of several curcuminoids, which are polyphonic compounds, present in turmeric. Turmeric contains approximately 2 percent curcumin by weight.
- Each FSE turmeric capsule contains (rhizome) 80 mg supercritical extract and 320 mg hydroethanolic extract (min. 22mg curcuminoids).
- Given that a single FSE gelatin capsule contains 22mg curcuminoids. This works out to (22/0.02)= 1100mg of turmeric powder.
- A size 0 capsule has a volume of 0.68cc and tumeric powder weighs 0.64g/cc (0.64g/ml). This works out to 435.2 milligrams of turmeric powder in every size 0 capsule.
- The equivalent of one FSE capsule (1100mg of turmeric powder) is (1100/435.2)= 2.53 size 0 capsules of organic turmeric powder.
- There are 60 capsules in a bottle of FSE with a cost of $30. The cost for 1000 gelatin capsules is $11 and one pound (16 ounces) of Indus Organic Turmeric powder is $17.
- From the above, we know that 60 FSE capsules equals (2.53×60)= 152 size 0 capsules of turmeric powder. Since there are 454 grams in one pound, this works out to (454/0.4352)= 1043 size 0 capsules filled with turmeric powder.
- Each size 0 capsule of turmeric powder costs (1700/1043)+(1100/1000)= 1.63+1.1= 2.73 cents. The cost for the equivalent number of size 0 turmeric capsules equal to a bottle of 60 FSE capsules is (152×2.73)= $4.14. Since a bottle of FSE costs $30, you save $25.86 by making your own capsules!
- The dosage of 2.5 size 0 capsules (equal to one FSE capsule) containing a little over a gram of turmeric is consistent with other sources recommending between 1-2 grams of turmeric powder daily. Personally, I’ll take up to 6 FSE capsules (15 turmeric capsules) per day when I take a mold hit.
- Indus Organic Turmeric Powder
- Empty Gelatin Capsules 0 Size -1000
- Capsule Filler Machine For Size “0”