Lipid Membrane Repair In Chronic Floxing
Unraveling long term chronic floxing is challenging, to say the least. Once the FQ molecule metabolizes it becomes a crapshoot, a rabbit hole, a personalized Rubik’s cube so to speak. Despite this, there are still some overarching commonalities; one of these commonalities, and arguably at the top of the list, is cell integrity. Please read my disclaimer regarding information provided on this website.
Cell integrity is one of those things that I wish I was privy to when I was first floxed, as it is a foundational issue that other things are built upon and can explain why for some people certain supplements fail to work or stay working.
I think that for many, the core of chronic floxing is acquired cellular damage, and more specifically mitochondrial damage, and even more specific mitochondrial membrane damage from oxidative stress. We have dozens of FB groups all focusing on various subset symptoms, which is fine, but if you look at each pathology or subset of symptoms they ALL can be generally traced back to compromised cellular integrity which results in innumerable downstream issues.
Unfortunately, until we can replace the dysfunctional/diseased structures such as the mitochondria (which is on the horizon), all we are left with is band aids. The good news now is that some band aids can be quite effective.
In chronic floxing, I believe the cell and substructures such as mitochondrial membrane become damaged and leaky. This acquired cellular damage, although a normal part of aging to a certain extent, is accelerated in chronic floxing (1). We are all poster children for peroxidation of cellular and mitochondrial lipids then subsequent damage to proteins and DNA. Damage to mitochondrial membrane lipids causes the greatest loss of mitochondrial function, then a subsequent pathological process.
So, as a foundational issue we have the mito membrane and I believe that lipid replacement therapy should be looked at as probable first step in any therapy to ‘shore up’, maintain, and in some cases repair cellular integrity. Without a functioning mitochondrial membrane many attempts at various types of therapies eventually fail, are hampered, or produce mediocre results.
Cell wall repair, or the idea of it, is nothing new but, in my opinion, many alternative healers focus on the wrong type of lipid nutritional supplementation or they attempt to get it from natural food sources. Although meritorious, there are problems with that line of thought. I believe that once a tipping point is reached, a person cannot get adequate non-oxidized lipids incorporated from traditional sources, including food.
The good news there is now higher quality LRT compounds available that hold promise for cell membrane maintenance. Differing from traditional lipid nutritional supplementation, LRT replacement lipids are protected from oxidation and damage during storage, ingestion and digestion. Although it is important to note that LRT cannot ‘cure’ a pathological genomic process or halt ROS, nor is it the next greatest discovery of the floxy world, it has the possibility of circumventing the ROS membrane damage and restoring mitochondrial and other cellular membrane functions via delivery of replacement lipids in their unoxidized, undamaged states.
I have received enough positive reports from chronic floxies using higher dose oral phospholipids/ glycolipids compounds from a product call NT Factor (I have no connection to the product whatsoever). It has been suspected for quite some time that the lipid membrane needed repairing but most of the treatments that alternative practitioners were recommending were not helping many chronic floxies. Some naturopaths were recommending things such as high dose phosphatidylcholine alone and despite the fact that phosphatidylcholine comprises a large percentage of the lipid membrane there still seemed to be something missing.
Evidently, a missing factor is a balanced blend of the all the lipids that make up the mitochondrial membrane. The reason for this is because each lipid serves a different purpose in the functioning of the membrane influencing a specific function(s) of the mitochondrion. Additionally, the source is critical as well, finding that by using just food for the source or most off the shelf supplements the lipids were oxidized before getting to the target, therefore defeating the purpose or diminishing the result it some individuals.
In addition to providing a protective barrier around the cell and the intracellular organelles, the lipid membrane has many essential functions:
- transporting nutrients into the cell
- transporting metabolic wastes out of the cell
- preventing unwanted materials in the extracellular milieu from entering the cell
- preventing loss of needed metabolites
- maintaining the proper ionic composition, pH (≈7.2), and osmotic pressure of the cytosol
- provides cell to cell communication
- provides hormone sensitivity and utilization
- support the many enzymatic reactions that occur along their surfaces
The phospholipids and glycolipids used for membrane repair are:
- Phosphatidic acid (PA)
- Phosphatidyl-choline (PC)
- Phosphatidyl-ethanolamine (PE)
- Phosphatidyl-inositol (PI)
- Phosphatidyl-serine (PS)
- Digalactosyldiacylglyceride (DGDG)
- Monoglactosyldiacylglyceride (MGDG)
A few very important notes regarding therapy with NT Factor:
First, it is important to look for NT Factor with NO additional additives. While there is only one company that holds the patent on the product, they sell the base formula to other companies that add proprietary combinations of other supplements to the NT Factor. It is however available in pure form, which is the only form that I am receiving positive reports on.
Second, NT Factor is derived from soy and because of that it is important that I mention a few things to clear up some misconceptions and Internet hearsay. While it is true that soy is generally not good for various reasons, we must look at this logically to understand why they are using soy. Other substances like sunflower do have phospholipids and ingesting them will provide your body access to them, however NT factor is the only compound with the correct combination of membrane compatible lipids in the right percentage. That is a critical point. Evidently it needs to be administered in the right percentages that mimic mitochondrial membrane percentages for the membrane repair to work. This correct ratio is the most easily achieved when extracted from soy.
Third, so far, I have had no reported adverse reactions directly related to the NT Factor from those who have shared their experiences with me. I believe the reason for this is that the lipids are extracted from soy and then rebound together to match membrane composition. There are no soy proteins left in the product and so the potential for interactions is very low, if at all. I believe that reactions to soy products reported by floxies have to do with soy proteins.
Having said that, over the years there have been several floxies and some in the CFS community as well who reported negative effects from either choline or lipid metabolism, including myself. I was able to correct some of my lipid issues via a lengthy process (but that is something for another article). So, keeping this in mind, I would never say never about any supplement and how it affects floxies.
The membrane percentages in the NT Factor were developed on Professor Garth Nicholson’s thirty years of research into lipid physiology and then adjusted based on preclinical and clinical studies over the last several years.
Dr. Michael Ash, who uses NT Factor extensively, says this about adverse reactions regarding NT Factor,
“I would say, 99.9% of the time no. On a rare occasion in a patient who is diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disorders, such as, Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis has to be managed with lower starting doses. When I start to repair them I always begin with healing their gastrointestinal tract (GIT) because it is through the GIT that I predominately administer my treatments. If I supplement with a high dose of glycophospholipids they may actually experience a detox reaction through the sudden input of proper cellular function symptoms of which may include fatigue, nausea or diarrhea.
So, with wisdom, although I must reiterate this is extremely rare, when commencing treatment with the most unwell of my gastrointestinal patients, I have learned to proceed with glycophospholipid supplementation a little slower.
But, I would like to largely leave you with the idea that I have no toxic responses. No symptom induction from glycophospholipid is harmful and in my experience just a few patients have needed more care on dosing regimen. I will, based on my experience in research and clinical settings insist that the glycophospholipids be maintained, just reduce the dose.(2)”
Here are some reports that I have received from chronic floxies:
Mary, (Chronic FQAD, 8 years, Cipro),“I have been using NT Factor for several months now and it has improved my fatigue about 30%.”
Jayleen, (Chronic FQAD, 10 plus years, Avelox), “I did not have any improvement in fatigue but something else happened. Supplements that originally did not work for me, started working, and some other supplements I was able to reduce the dosage.”
Wayne, (Chronic FQAD, 6 years,Levaquin), “NT Factor helps me with my fatigue. It took a couple of months before I noticed the difference. Even the smallest amount of soy causes me aches and pains, if NT Factor is made from soy, I can’t tell it.”
Nancy, (Chronic FQAD, 5 years, Levaquin), “NT Factor works for me but it is expensive. It needs to be used within a couple of months of opening or it oxidizes and looses its effectiveness. I shop around and find the best prices I can, sometimes buying a short sale with an upcoming expiration date. Since I use it right away it is not an issue and it saves me money, sometimes as much as 25-30 percent. Regular prices have dropped quite a bit since it first came out.”
Mike, (Chronic FQAD, 3 years, Unknown) “NT Factor seem to cause upper respiratory problems. I’m allergic to soy, but the reaction I got was not typical of my soy ingestion symptoms, so I can’t tell if it was coincidental.”
Hypothetically I can think of several ways that NT Factor could cause unpleasant symptoms despite the fact that it is touted as benign. Anything that has the potential for ‘turning on’ dysfunctional mitochondrial machinery, has the potential to cause unpleasant symptoms. Starting machinery without having all the necessary factors can cause a deficiency in some other area to become more pronounced. Let’s look at the analogy of a car to understand it better:
Your car requires all sorts of lubrication and fluids to operate. Everything from wiper fluid, antifreeze, power steering fluid, bearing grease, transmission fluids, and oil all need to be at the proper levels. If you are driving your car at 20 mph, a deficiency in some of these fluids will not be as noticeable as if you were driving at 80 or 100 mph. Depending on the fluid type, location and amount, a shortage could prove to be an inconvenience or detrimental when operating a high speeds. As a chronically floxed person, your engine is probably running at 10 or 20 mph, so anything that has the potential to ‘rev-it-up’ has the ability to make other deficiencies become apparent.
Also, again I think it is important to note, that this is not THE solution for floxing, however I am always on the lookout for things that could be of help to those that are suffering chronically from FQAD. Sometimes, improving functioning by as little as 10 or 20% can help tremendously. Like I mentioned above, I believe that for some, NT Factor could be a critical first step that other steps are then built upon. Since NT Factor is somewhat of a Band-Aid, I suspect it is something that would probably need to be taken continually if it helped.
For me, this is something that I wish I would have known about or was available years ago. Some things I tried probably failed to ‘stick’ because I did not keep the cell membranes constantly nourished with the lipids they need. The ROS keeps coming back and undermining the cells, so it is akin to building a house on a foundation of sand.
If you are a chronic floxy then NT Factor might be something that could help you. Please research it and discuss it with your trusted medical professional to see if it would be a good choice for you.