This post is about a little-known “health killer” that most people don’t even know about: endotoxins. To do this, we first clarify what these endotoxins actually are. Because these endotoxins are related to specific bacteria, one might think that:
a) the immune system will take action against it, or
b) simply “killing” the bacteria (antibiotics), or
c) Acts directly against end toxins.
It’s not that easy. Because one thing is very often overlooked: billions of bacteria in our intestines. And that’s where diet comes into play.
This post isn’t “light fare,” but it’s worth it.
But now to the question:
What are endotoxins anyway?
Endotoxins are toxic substances (toxic to our body) found in the outer cell membrane of certain gram-negative bacteria.
Today the word “Endotoxin‘ often synonymous with ‘Lipopolysaccharid“ (LPS) used.
The LPS are relatively large molecules composed of a lipid and a polysaccharide, which are ultimately bacterial toxins.
The composition of LPS consists of three parts: the O antigen, the core oligosaccharide and lipid A.
Endotoxins (as well as mycotoxins) play an important role in the development of chronic degenerative diseases. The question immediately arises, where do these endotoxins come from?
Typically, these endotoxins can be found on the outer layers of the membrane of gram-negative bacteria. This contradicts the meaning of the word “endotoxin” in a way, where one would assume the substance inside the bacteria. This form of toxins also exists, but often have nothing to do with LPS.
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The LPS producing bacteria reside in the gut. When absorbing complex carbohydrates in food, by our digestive system not can be broken down, these carbohydrates serve as food for these bacteria and allow them to grow and multiply.
When these bacteria die, LPS is released, which can lead to a number of negative consequences, such as leaky gut syndrome, allergic reactions, and in severe cases even organ damage and sepsis. Such “bad cases” all end up in a clinic.
LPS has a number of functions in bacteria:
They ensure the structural integrity of the bacteria and protect the cell membrane from a range of attacks by certain chemicals (usually from competing bacteria). LPS is the most abundant antigen on the cell surfaces of most gram-negative bacteria. For example, they make up over 80% of the outer membrane of E. Coli and Salmonella.
I discussed an assessment of the danger of LPS in E. Coli in the context of the EHEC hysteria in 2011:
The endotoxins also catalyze a series of metabolic reactions that convert tryptophan to serotonin in the gastrointestinal tract. Serotonin is referred to as the “happiness hormone”, which gives reason to believe that a lot of serotonin must mean a lot of happiness.
Accordingly, conventional medicine tries to increase the concentration of serotonin in patients with depression (the opposite of happiness, so to speak). And the problem is supposed to be solved. Unfortunately, there are only a few problems with this theory, as I tried to show in another post:
But: High levels of serotonin not only do not solve the problem, but come with their own health problems. Because high concentrations of serotonin impair the metabolism. To be more precise, they hinder the organism’s ability to generate sufficient amounts of energy (ATP) in the mitochondria, which ultimately leads to tiredness, listlessness, etc. And the lowered metabolic rate ultimately leads to (usually unwanted) weight gain.
While endotoxins are typically associated with gram-negative bacteria, mycotoxins are produced by microfungi and yeast (a form of unicellular fungi). A well-known form is Candida Albicans.
Mycotoxins, such as those found in mould, contain volatile organic compounds (VOC), among other things, and thus emit a mostly unpleasant odor that, on its own, can make someone sick. It is not for nothing that mold formation in buildings means that good ventilation is required in order to:
a) to prevent the formation of mold and
b) eliminate the volatile compounds emanating from the mould.
The toxic reservoir within us
It sounds almost grotesque, but we carry the “evil” within us, in our intestines.
“Death is in the gut” said Hippocrates. And we will always take care of this “disaster” as long as we give it nutrients.
This is compounded when there are dietary or environmental changes in the activity of certain genes (epigenetic factors). This can initiate production of enzymes and proteins, such as amylases and cellulases, that are able to convert these dietary components into building blocks for toxins/mycotoxins.
This would give you an internal “combustion engine” that would ensure the constant build up of toxins, with the toxins produced causing some kind of positive feedback to produce more toxins. The consequences are usually inflammatory processes that become chronic over time and are therefore the basis for the well-known and most common degenerative chronic diseases.
If this vicious circle of toxin production and the resulting increase in production is not broken, there is a significantly increased risk of damage to health.
But how do you break this vicious circle? How can I turn off my genes that seem to support this production?
The first step to breaking the vicious circle is to “afforest” the gut bacterial landscape (intestinal environment) with beneficial bacteria, such as bifidobacteria and lactobacteria, but also beneficial forms of yeast, such as Saccharomyces boulardii.
Saccharomyces boulardii is usually prescribed by well-informed doctors to patients who need to take antibiotics. The reason: Saccharomyces is not damaged or destroyed by antibiotics.
Intermittent use of activated charcoal, healing clay, zeolite and chlorella is a successful recipe for removing endotoxins from the body. For the sake of completeness, I would like to mention cholestyramine, a prescription drug for lowering serum cholesterol.
In severe cases it may even be necessary to have antibiotics used to “sterilize” the intestines, but this is a rare exception; In any case, I very rarely (every few years) hear that patients have “gone through” this.
The first important step in changing the bacterial landscape in the gut is to deprive the harmful bacteria of “food”. And those, as mentioned earlier, are complex carbohydrates and starches to avoid.
The strategies for eliminating mycotoxins are very similar. However, most mycotoxins enter our organism with food. This is because these toxins are created through storage and transportation. In general, around 10% of food is contaminated with it when it is delivered. By the time it reaches the warehouses of supermarkets, etc., the level of contamination has already risen to 25%. In order to avoid these toxins here, it is advisable to use products from local producers.
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Serotonin = toxic?
The dosage makes the poison, as is the case with serotonin. Excessively high serotonin concentrations can trigger serotonin syndrome, which in the worst case can even be fatal.
Symptoms in mild cases include high blood pressure and a fast heart rate, usually without a fever. Symptoms in moderate cases include high body temperature, restlessness, increased reflexes, tremors, sweating, dilated pupils, and diarrhea. In severe cases, the body temperature can rise to over 41°C. Complications can include seizures and severe muscle breakdown.
Serotonin syndrome is usually caused by taking two or more serotonergic medications or drugs. These include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI), tricyclic antidepressants (TCA), amphetamines, pethidine (meperidine), tramadol, dextromethorphan, buspirone, L-tryptophan, 5 -Hydroxytryptophan, St. John’s Wort, triptans, ecstasy (MDMA), metoclopramide or cocaine. The symptoms mentioned occur in about 15% of SSRI overdoses as a predictable consequence of excess serotonin in the central nervous system.
So if endotoxins intervene in addition to drug therapy for depression, based on an increase in serotonin levels, then the probability of this interaction between drug and endotoxins and the resulting side effects is significantly increased.
Under these conditions, foods rich in tryptophan should also be reduced, since tryptophan can be “converted” to serotonin. More on that in my post:
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This post was created on September 3rd, 2023.