Tag Archives: HERV-W

Note to self: Epsom salt bath first, keyboard second; Irritability, Schizophrenia, T. gondii, and hormone D

My back was so sore after writing my last post that I took an Epsom salt bath when I was done and my back felt much better and I was less cranky. The research on Epsom salt baths had suggested three to four times per week so I hadn’t taken a bath that morning but I was fairly irritated while writing and my back got more and more cramped while I worked. My take home lesson: take an Epsom salt bath first thing in the morning and the job of editing or other tasks may be more pleasant.

Summary points that I’ve learned the hard way –

  • elevated hormone D can cause severe irritability.
  • elevated Thyroid hormone can cause severe irritability.
  • elevated Parathyroid hormone can cause severe irritability.
  • magnesium deficiency can cause severe irritability.
  • Psychiatric drugs and talk therapy can not correct symptoms that are actually caused by elevated hormone levels or nutrient deficiencies.
  • Even if you arrest the person or commit them to a psychiatric unit and force them to take the psychiatric drugs, they wouldn’t help an underlying physical problem.
  • “US prisons home to 10 times as many mentally ill as in state hospitals,”
    http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/4/8/mental-illness-prison.html

I’ve just been reading a new book about mental illness and infection. There is strong evidence that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may be caused by an intracellular parasite such as Toxoplasma gondii or a retrovirus HERV-W. A boy named Edwin F. Torrey made the study of schizophrenia his life’s work after his sister became ill with the disease. At the time his sister was diagnosed the current theory was that the condition was due to the child having a psychologically ambivalent mother. [3, pages 38-75]

The boy wondered why he didn’t get schizophrenia too, if that could really be the cause. To him it seemed like his sister had gotten a sickness and he went to medical school and kept working on the question of what might have happened to his sister because he didn’t think his mother could possibly have caused it in his sister without affecting him too. He found that the disease does have seasonal patterns which generally suggests an infectious cause. He also found it in historical references surfacing suddenly in the medical literature as a ‘new’ disease around the same time that keeping house cats became popular. [3, pages 38-75]

Toxoplasma gondii is an intracellular parasite that can be spread through cat feces. Pregnant women are advised to avoid cat litter boxes because the parasite can pass to the fetus and can be deadly to the expected infant. It may also be a good idea to advise children under age thirteen to also avoid catboxes because that age group seems to be more associated with getting schizophrenia later in life if they had also had a pet cat during that part of their early childhood. [3, pages 38-75]

Why some people get sick from T. gondii while others don’t may have to do with underlying imbalances or deficiencies in vitamin D or hormone D. The active hormone D has been found helpful in animal studies for fighting the Toxoplasma gondii infection but only when given within an effective range, not at excessive doses. [1, 2]

HERV-W is a retrovirus that we all have within our genetic code but which only becomes active in some people – and levels of the retrovirus activity has been associated with level of schizophrenia symptoms. The research team theorize that an infection with T. gondii might be triggering an activation of the HERV-W retrovirus which then may cause an increase in cytokines and brain inflammation. [3, page 70]

Acceptance of people who have schizophrenia may vary between countries or regions around the world according to studies by the World Health Organization conducted over nearly twenty years. The results “revealed that people with schizophrenia in developing countries were far more likely than those in the United States to marry, hold a job, and maintain their social status. Americans with schizophrenia are far more likely than schizophrenics in the Global South (Africa, Central and Latin America, and most of Asia) to commit suicide, while the latter are more likely to recover.” The difference is believed to be due more to cultural differences between the regions than due to a possible difference in biology. Some psychiatrists consider the WHO studies to be flawed and deny the results. [3, page 42]

— Another summary point – Telling people that their symptoms are psychosomatic, or that they are due to delusions or malingering or lying, when the person is actually reporting physical symptoms, might be psychologically damaging to the person as well as missing an opportunity to use the list of symptoms to do a differential diagnosis and identify and treat the underlying problem.

  1. The Effect of Vitamin D3 Alone & Mixed With IFN-γ on Tachyzoites of Toxoplasma gondii… /mice-excess D3 not helpful

  2.  1,25(OH)2D3 inhibits in vitro & in vivo intracellular growth of apicomplexan parasite T gondii./D3 at < a max dose/

  3. Harriet A. Washington, “Infectious Madness: the Surprising Science of How We “Catch” Mental Illness,” (Little, Brown & Co., 2015, New York)  [Amazon]

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./