Their Role in RA & Other Autoimmune Disorders

The Inflammation Process

Symptoms of pain, swelling, warmth, and redness associated with impact trauma or muscle damage are usually beneficial. Cells of the immune system are attracted to the injured area where they fight any infection, then clear away the debris in preparation for tissue regrowth and repair.

Chemicals such as cytokines and prostaglandins work in concert to control the infection process, and are released in an orderly and self-limiting manner. When the process does not stop at the appropriate time, the immune system continues to fight in an active and destructive state. The constant activity leads to chronic fatigue, a diminished energy level, curtailed oxygen transport, increased interferon activity, and an overworked thyroid leading to exhaustion. Mycoplasma grows best when the thyroid is in hypo state, i.e., when it is minimally active.

Many of the natural chemicals and destructive enzymes generated by the immune system can, over time, cause damage to cartilage. The drugs prescribed to relieve RA pain are in fact trying to inhibit this natural chemical overproduction but they do not remove the root cause of the inflammation.

Autoimmune Reaction

All RA forms have an inflammatory component and show evidence of connective/synovial tissue damage. These are indicators of a process resembling the autoimmune reaction where the body inexplicably attacks its own cells. In RA, the reaction is actually the body’s natural allergic response to an infection in the connective tissues. This battle is the cause of the inflammation, pain, and disfiguring effects of RA since the disease agent is connected to the cell by various forms of comingling of foreign and host DNA. When the disease agent is removed, the attack stops.

The autoimmune theory has become so entrenched in American medical school teaching that other options have not been considered until very recently.[i] With PCR analysis of synovial fluid it is possible to detect the genetic material of the mycoplasmal microorganisms, L-forms, and other agents triggering rheumatoid arthritis and reactive arthritis. Much of the research is originating outside the United States, but American scientists are now starting to explore the possibility of bacterial infection in RA, confirming the findings of Dr. Thomas McPherson Brown.[ii]

Mere fragments of mycoplasma are sufficient to create a powerful antigenic reaction in the joints that causes the body to produce antibodies to counter it. The antibody reaction may be mainly against a “host antigen” carried on the mycoplasmal membrane. It may be a reaction to a hybrid antigenic molecule formed by a comingling of invader surface shape with toxins or food molecule shapes.

Patients with other diagnoses, such as Lyme Disease or Fibromyalgia, who test positive for Mycoplasma or Chlamydia strains or other bacteria and nanobacteria also exhibit RA indicators and symptoms.

Mycoplasma’s Role in Autoimmune Disorders

Mycoplasmas and bacterial L-forms are resident, in vivo parasitic “invaders” that become active from time to time to obtain nutrients, expel wastes, breed, and migrate in and out of the body to form new colonies. These actions precipitate an allergic reaction that appears to be an autoimmune disorder since no external cause for the reaction is detected by routine testing methods. In vitro cultures are slow and usually fail to detect mycoplasmas and L-forms.

Mycoplasmas exhibit cloaking behavior in several ways: cell shape modification, infiltration of T-cells, and mimicry of normal cells.

Mycoplasmas and L-Forms

We carry mycoplasmas and L-forms with us as remnants of childhood infections such as pneumonia, strep throat, bronchitis, rheumatic fever, or other early illnesses. Microorganisms such as mycoplasmas often lie dormant, waiting for conditions to be favorable for propagation. This could explain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), or Gulf War Illness, which seem to strike suddenly. There are possible viral co-factors such as herpes simplex or strep pneumonia that can form deadly combinations.

Chronic pneumonia is a good prototype for what happens when a mycoplasma infection becomes fixed around a certain area. Nodules of granulation material—inflamed tissues that surround the infectious organism for months—produce the characteristic cough of the disease. A similar phenomenon happens around the RA sufferer’s joints.  During the inflammation reaction, the body responds by moving calcium to the site, forming nodules—dry, gritty, calcium hydroxyapatite crystals—that clump around the invading microbes.

The body must be trained to defend itself with minimal help from external agents such as antibiotics. This is the reason for very low antibiotic dosage over a period of weeks or months recommended by Dr. Brown. In parallel, one must take steps to strengthen the immune system through diet, exercise, and other healthy lifestyle changes.

Other contributing factors to poor health can be traced to specific systems: e.g., diabetes to the circulatory system, thyroid problems to the endocrine system, and so forth. Working together with a specialist in these areas will hasten recovery.  In time, it is possible to wean oneself away from antibiotics.

The Puzzle of RA Flare-Ups

One of the enduring puzzles of so-called autoimmune disorders is that they all go through cycles of exacerbation and remission. Hundreds of experiments on animals have proved that mycoplasmas are important cofactors in arthritis and other chronic rheumatic disorders and that the tetracycline family of antibiotics suppresses mycoplasmal infections. Immune system control mechanisms appear to be cyclic in nature due to time lags in other regulatory processes (digestion, sleep cycle, etc.)

Mycoplasmas are capable of long-term intercellular in vivo survival and slow, intracellular replication, so they may be resident and waiting for some trauma or barometric pressure changes to activate them when the host’s immune system has moderated its operation. Thus the progression of the infection is cyclical, with waves of reemergence followed by withdrawal to less detectable forms.

Therefore, when mycoplasmas act as antigenic substances, triggering internal allergic responses, they release toxins intermittently to a sensitized area, subsiding and then reappearing. Antibodies move through the body via white blood cells and platelets, and it is through this means that RA migrates from shoulder to hand to knee as the antibodies launch counterattacks against local antigens and toxins. The antibodies move on to new battlefields whenever migrating pathogens like mycoplasmas flare up.  This type of ebb and flow explains the types of flare-ups that RA sufferers describe.  

RA Triggers

The apparent causal relationship between changes in the weather and RA pain can be explained. Clinical evidence shows that two environmental factors can cause flare-ups: (1) a sudden drop in barometric pressure and (2) the presence of high humidity in conjunction with this drop. The aches and pains correspond to a sudden release of antigens to a sensitized area, confirming Dr. Brown’s theory that migrating or shape-changing mycoplasmas act as antigenic triggers.  As the microorganisms migrate out of the body they stimulate respiratory distress, thus broadcasting their seeds via effluvia (e.g., sneezing) to other mammalian hosts.

Trauma to joints and tendons may cause structural changes, further reducing oxygen transport and limiting removal of fluids and wastes in the region of the injury. The lack of oxygen in the traumatized area increases pressure and swelling.  The usual treatment is anti-inflammatory drugs. For the COX-2 enzyme to work, the body needs sufficient copper and zinc. Hyaluronidase enzymes are destructive and facilitate bacterial reproduction. Vitamin C thwarts hyaluronidase

Mycoplasma are borderline anaerobes. That is, they are sensitive to changes in barometric pressure. They move about the body in search of more comfortable places to reside. This movement triggers the inflammation response from the immune system. Hyperbaric oxygen treatments force oxygen into compromised cells and tissue, thus allowing the infection-fighting function of white blood cells to proceed.

Aerobic exercise, deep breathing, use of a slant board are recommended. DMSO and other topical salves help improve circulation to the affected areas. Coenzyme Q10 and anti-oxidant vitamins are worthwhile supplements.

Trapped Toxins

When antigens and antibodies clash, the result is destruction of cells and a sudden release of toxins, which are composed of a variety of diverse components—proteolytic enzymes, kinins, kallikreins, histamines, hydrogen peroxide, and other irritants. The result of the struggle is pain and inflammation.

As the mycoplasma antigen migrates to a new area, the antibodies follow it to this new combat zone, leaving the former battlefield to rest and heal, but the toxins released by the antigen-antibody conflict are often trapped in pockets of the bursa and are not promptly expelled through the various elimination organs of the body.

These trapped toxins can create a mass of fluid or scar tissue that can bring pressure to bear upon the joints when blood vessels expand. Gravity assists in trapping toxins in the lower-extremity joints of the knees and feet. Excess weight and ill-fitting shoes, especially high heels, will exacerbate the pressure and pain on these swollen, irritated tissues.

Clearance of bacteria from soft tissues appears to be of low priority importance as a host-defense mechanism during soft-tissue infection. It may be that this is the reason mycoplasmas are able to establish a foothold early and have time to adapt to later assault by antibiotics. 

Neutralizing Harmful Toxins and Enzymes

In those cases where the particular pathogen is unknown or in doubt, it is more effective to target and neutralize the irritants as a first step, without identifying the organism producing them.

Sports doctors treat injured athletes with beneficial enzymes like bromelain and papain.

Other benign ways to expel these accumulated toxins are localized massage, herbs that stimulate circulation and eliminate toxins, increased water intake, and daily low-impact aerobic exercise followed by elevation of the lower legs to above-heart level several times per day using a slant board. The toxins will be loosened and drain into the bloodstream to be eliminated by the kidneys, skin, and lymphatic system.

Topical application of DMSO may also be helpful in reducing pain and swelling, in combination with topical oil of wintergreen.

One aspect of RA allergic flare-up appears to be related to certain toxins, for example, salmonella toxin, where studies have found arthritis-causing genetic marker HLA-B27. In some instances, a defective HLA-B27 gene generates a molecule with a structural weakness causing it to fold up and become useless.

HLA-B27 is found on the surface of white blood cells of about eight percent of the population. More than 50 percent of adults who have rheumatoid arthritis also have the inherited marker HLA-DR4. Having this marker increases one’s risk of developing RA four fold.  Furthermore, research indicates that these genetic markers may predispose individuals to contract arthritis after particular infections, such as gastrointestinal infections, urinary tract infections, or diarrheal food poisoning. The linked cluster of genes, HLA-D4, occurs more frequently in people with RA

Clues might be found in the toxin or enzyme generated by the microbe, e.g., the correlations listed in the IBM Bio-Dictionary Annotation between Mycoplasma pneumonia and the COX-2 enzyme. Some of these destructive enzymes are collagenase, hyaluronidase, and penicillinase.

Allergic reactions

An allergic response, whether to an internal or external substance, is really a stimulation of the immune system to develop a specific antibody, immunoglobulin E (IgE). The IgE antibodies attach themselves to mast cells to prepare to ward off the invaders. As the offending substance (e.g., ragweed pollen) enters the body, it bumps against these primed mast cells and sets off their histamine chemicals. Destructive H2O2 is also released.

Mycoplasmas’ behavior is cyclic in nature. They often persist in metabolically inactive states where a few are released from cells, followed by more active states where many are released. Whatever the trigger, over a period of months or years the body creates fixed-tissue antibodies that are poised and ready to react to the released toxins whenever and wherever they appear. The body thus learns to react to mycoplasmas in the same way it learns to react to a substance like poison ivy. Antibody reactions alone cannot suppress mycoplasmal infections. This may be why efforts to develop vaccines against mycoplasmas have not been successful.

Over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines such as chlorophineramine maleate have been shown to reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis attacks by mitigating joint pain.  However, one should not rush to swallow antihistamines at the first sign of sneezing. Instead, one should find ways to avoid allergens from animals, dust mites, molds, grasses, detergents, and foods by identifying the circumstances under which allergies strike, then removing the offending agent. The process may be as simple as cleaning furnace filters or installing electrostatic air cleaners in the home or office to keep dust levels to a minimum.

Food allergies are especially important. Reactions can be delayed as long as 72 hours. Testing can be a worthwhile investment. RA symptoms can result from Candida overgrowth. Bacteria thrive in a sugary environment. Diabetics are at risk to developing infections, and people with bacterial infections are at risk for diabetes.

Thyroid Health is Vital

Many of these symptoms apply to MS in particular, but some are experienced in a wide variety of autoimmune disorders. They are the classic set of symptoms for thyroid dysfunction, which has been shown to be linked to mycoplasma infection.

One of two types of antibodies—thyroperoxidase or thyroglobulin—is found in nearly all patients with hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) and in approximately 50 percent of those with hyperthyroidism (Grave’s Disease).

According to the Thyroid Society, twenty million Americans have some form of thyroid dysfunction but many are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. The thyroid gland controls the body’s metabolism by producing hormones that regulate energy, control heart rate and body weight, and determine how the body uses nutrients. Thyroid test results, therefore, can be a valuable indicator of nutritional balance and efficient use of hormones. An endocrinologist should be consulted.

Since disease often begins when the immune system is dysfunctional or weakened, a nutritional analysis should be a starting point.

Tests for Microbial Infection

The principal tests helpful in diagnosing microbial infections are: Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), Tetracycline (as a probe), Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR), Interferons, Rheumatoid Factor (R-factor), Neutrophil Testing, Joint Scan, Genetic Markers, Antibody tests.[iii]

All laboratory test results must of course be interpreted in the context of the patient’s overall health. Other factors influencing test results may be drugs the patient is taking, foods ingested before the test, how strictly the patient followed pretest instructions (e.g., fasting), and variations in laboratory procedures and techniques.

Some fundamental questions arise concerning the reliability of any diagnostic test involving organic samples, which may be collected exactly according to procedure at the doctor’s office, but may suffer damage in transit to the lab. Sensitivity to time, temperature, humidity, altitude, and other factors may influence test results by altering the sample before the lab technician begins to examine it. False positives or out-of-range values may result. Several tests may be required to obtain an average. Internet resources can help interpret test results and augment the physician’s assessment.

Many CFS and Fibromyalgia patients have a systemic cytomeglovirus infection. Dr. Garth Nicolson recommends testing for this infection in any instance of autoimmune illness.

We are what we assimilate – correct nutrition is VITAL
  • Large doses of Vitamin C (3-5 grams) daily will thwart destructive enzymes like hyaluronidase that destroy connective tissue.  Please check with your DBM Physician before proceeding – we prefer Vitamin C from natural sources
  • Gentle aerobic exercise daily will oxygenate cells and flush toxins from the body.  
  • If you have access to a slant board – use it for ten minutes twice a day
  • Drink 6-8 glasses of pure clean water daily
  • The correct nutrition is ESSENTIAL for a healthy body.

Article Source: Dr. Poehlmann – author of Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Infection Connection.

DBM COMMENTWe do NOT make use of antibiotics in our programs.  Regular doses of IMMUNOClean, along with other protocols used by DBM in order to resolve RA’s root cause has been very successful.This program requires attention to exercise, diet and other lifestyle changes – all of which take dedication and hard work.  BUT is your health not worth it?