Note: This article originally appeared on ProHealth.com on January 6, 2017.
Reprinted from Raj Patel MD's chapter in my 2016 book, New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Reveal Healing Strategies that Work
In this section of New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment, Raj Patel, MD, shares about Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP) treatment, which he considers to be a key step in recovery from mold illness. This excerpt represents only an overview of VIP. For more information, we highly recommend consulting the works of Ritchie Shoemaker, MD: www.SurvivingMold.com. To read Dr. Patel’s entire chapter on mold and Lyme disease treatment, see: www.NewLymeTreatments.com.
Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP) Treatment: The Key to 100% Recovery
A major part of my treatment program is designed to repair the damage in the body that has been caused by Lyme infections and mold. Typically, I find that patients’ immune systems have become severely compromised by infections and other factors, and that they also have a lot of endocrine damage that needs be repaired, even after the Lyme infections are gone.
I have found that Lyme disease patients who have been chronically ill for more than a few years never tend to recover completely by just treating the infections. Even after all of the microbes have been eradicated, they typically only return to 70% functionality, at best.
The last 30% of healing doesn’t happen until the damage that has been left behind by the chronic infections and accompanying inflammation has been addressed. Such people will typically still have Leaky Gut Syndrome and food intolerances, as well as persistent signs of endocrine, or hormonal dysfunction, as evidenced by chronically low levels of MSH, melatonin, testosterone, and adrenal hormones. These deficiencies can leave patients feeling like they still don't have the energy reserves that they used to, to handle normal, everyday stressors.
To bring patients to 100% wellness, I will have them do Dr. Shoemaker's protocol for repairing hypothalamic damage with Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP). This, when combined with other modalities like addressing food intolerances (using low dose allergen desensitization or another similar other treatment modality to remove allergies) can help significantly to heal the remaining 30% of the body so that patients can return to 100% functionality.
Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker has outlined an 11-step program to help patients that are sick from mold exposure to recover so that they are not as reactive to moldy environments. This program can be found on his website: Survivingmold.com and in his books Surviving Mold: Life in An Era of Dangerous Buildings and Mold Warriors.
Certain aspects of this program can help people with Lyme disease, as well, whether or not they also have mold toxicity. This is because both mold and Lyme disease are what are called “biotoxin illnesses”. In my experience, the overwhelming majority of chronic Lyme disease patients have a genetic predisposition that keeps their immune system from recognizing Lyme biotoxins, and creating antibodies that will bind and eliminate them from the body. These proteins cause inflammation and damage, and particularly affect the hypothalamus in the brain. When the function of the hypothalamus becomes compromised, then it leaves behind a damaged endocrine system. Dr. Shoemaker’s 11-step treatment protocol is designed to not only eliminate mycotoxins, but also restore the body’s hypothalamic function, and thereby improve endocrine and immune function.
For the final step in the biotoxin illness treatment program, Dr. Shoemaker recommends vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), a neuro-regulatory hormone that is produced primarily by the hypothalamus. VIP helps to repair the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. When this happens, the body starts to produce adrenal hormones normally. People can also see their testosterone levels rise to normal; their vitamin D metabolism improves, and the lining of their gut starts healing. VIP also helps in raising melatonin levels. It has far-reaching effects and turns on hundreds of gene systems involved in repair and restoration.
For Dr. Shoemaker’s protocol, VIP is compounded as a nasal spray. When patients are done with the Lyme disease and the bugs are gone, I will then take them through Dr. Shoemaker’s 11-step program. With VIP therapy, they then start to see improvements in all of their symptoms; their energy improves, they sleep better and they start gaining the energy reserve back that they used to have—it really is quite remarkable.
VIP works for everyone but the difficult part is getting a patient prepared to be able to take it in. This is because patients need to make sure that all of their Lyme-related and other infections are completely gone before they can take the VIP. Otherwise, they will not get the full benefit of VIP and may even get worse during treatment as a result of ongoing inflammation.
Usually the last infections to leave the body are chronic viruses. The level of activity of these chronic viruses must also be reduced. I have found that once patients are infection-free, they do extremely well on VIP therapy. The hard point is just getting them to reach that point.
The length of VIP therapy varies from person to person. Many people come into my clinic and believe that their Lyme infections are gone, but 9 times out of 10, I find they still have very low levels of infection that must first be treated. So in these situations, in which patients still have some level of low-grade infection, I will typically have them combine bio-magnetism therapy (described later in this chapter) with herbal remedies to eliminate any residual infections. Once this is accomplished, they can then start the VIP treatment.
As with other treatments, I start my patients out on a low dosage of VIP and ramp up on that dosage slowly. Typically, most people will need treatment for 3 to 6 months, and during that time, the VIP will reset the HPA axis. It is quite remarkable; after the treatment, people will find that they no longer need to take adrenal support or supplemental hormones anymore, and they can start eating a normal diet. VIP in conjunction with the Restore™ product works very well for healing the gut, but both are best done near the end of the treatment process.
To find practitioners that understand VIP and Dr. Shoemaker’s 11 step treatment process, I recommend visiting the SurvivingMold.com website. I have found the 11-step protocol to be hugely effective. In my own battle with Lyme, I found that even after I had eliminated all of the infections, I still had issues with fatigue and intestinal inflammation, but after I went on the VIP, I was able to more completely regain my health.