Discovery of the Century—Healing Cartilage

Cartilage damage is the number one problem that creates pain in the aging population.  Cartilage compresses, nerves compress, and pain and chronic disease is the result. Unfortunately, it has also become a problem with the not so aged.  If you are a reader of this blog, you know of the back and nerve pain that I suffered for three decades.  I even wrote a book about the recovery, Healed from Chronic Pain.  I have been in the process of writing a second book about how to repair cartilage and felt that something was missing.  The missing environmental factor is the SUN.


I started to supplement with vitamin D3 November 4, 2004.  I had shrunk an inch from degenerative disc disease over the years.  When I combined the supplements that I had researched, my cartilage repaired.  Not only did my cartilage repair, but also my health overall returned.  I had always assumed that getting vitamin D3 from whatever source was one of the keys.  That is, keeping my serum vitamin D (25(OH)D) above 60 ng/ml.  However, I noticed at times that my cartilage had not rehydrated to keep me at my new height.  During the year of recovery, I had grown back to my original height in the first seven months.  During the next three months, I grew to my genetic height of–-an inch and one half taller than I had ever been.

It took me several years to find one key necessary for cartilage repair.  During the year of repair, I had supplemented with methyl folate, as I had read that it crossed the blood brain barrier.  I knew that my brain had shrunk from over a decade of chronic severe pain.  I thought the methyl folate would help my brain repair.  I now realize that the methylation cycle, with methyl folate and its cofactors, were necessary to stimulate stem cell growth.  Only fifty percent of the population can convert folic acid, a manmade molecule, to folate required to drive the methylation cycle.  Thanks to Dr. Ben Lynch, I now understand how important the methylation cycle is to health because of its role in genetic expression. (Note: betaine or trimethyl glycine will allow the methylation cycle to work without folate.  The human body is so smart in usually having two pathways.  Both folate and betaine are in spinach; Popeye was so shrewd!)

The other key that I did not understand, at the time, was sulfate.  Sulfate is critical to health, and here. If you think of all the healing remedies that were about soaking in mineral baths, sulfate and magnesium ( and here) were always key factors. I supplemented with large amounts of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine sulfate during the year of healing.  I now realize that these molecules are so large that you most likely do not absorb them.  However, I think the sulfate from the molecules is absorbed.  This is especially true if you have a higher vitamin D3 level as vitamin D controls the transport of sulfur through dermal layers.  I now use MSM as a sulfur supplement as well as eat cruciferous and allium vegetables.  Both vegetable groups are high in sulfur, especially the garlic, onions, and leeks.

The “event” happened this past fall to bring to light the last missing component that is necessary for cartilage repair and hydration.  I had oral surgery in October for a granuloma that had developed over long amount of time per the surgeon.  I had noticed an issue with the tooth that I had a root canal done in the ‘90s.  The surgeon said there was an opening in the root crest that was allowing bacteria to destroy the bone.  In any case, this prevented me from doing my normal routine of using a tanning bed in October.  By the first of November, I started to get a nerve rash on both legs.  I had experienced this before and knew that it was coming from compression of my disc.  I measured my height, and sure enough I had shrunk. I recovered my height in two times of tanning in one week.  The nerve rash disappeared and the severe itching stopped.

The three months that I grew to taller than I had ever been was during the summer.  I spent at least thirty minutes with the midday summer sun on my back.  It has now become obvious to me that the sun is critical in three ways.  The formation of vitamin D sulfate, formation of cholesterol sulfate (Dr. Stephanie Seneff and here), and improved formation of the exclusion zone (Dr. Gerald Pollack) at the cell membranes. I will not pretend to understand the biology involved, but know that this helps to hydrate and repair cartilage.

Through the grace of God in my medically untrained ways of thinking about how to reduce pain and repair cartilage, I stumbled on the significance of vitamins and minerals and environment.  Cartilage repair is complex and that is the reason that medical science has misdirected us, I hope.  I think specialization has kept us from putting it all together.  Vitamins and minerals that I was taking when my cartilage healed–-all the vitamins as supplements and mineral complexes. The source of the manufacture and the dose of the vitamins and mineral supplements is critical.  With modern processed foods, I would have to eat about 8,000 calories per day to get an adequate amount.

Critical supplements for cartilage repair: Vitamins A (used cod live oil), B (methyl folate and its cofactors), C, D3, and possibly E; magnesium, zinc, iodine, selenium, manganese, calcium, and sulfate; and environmental exposure to UV light and infrared light. Proteins from bone and skin are also critical (gelatin-simple explanation).  The dosage is key to this combination.  Too much or too little of any of these items will trip you up.  Through trial and error, I have arrived at the correct combination.  I will now begin the rewrite of my book about how to heal cartilage. I have had many people to try my formula with great success.  The ones that regularly exposed themselves to the sun were the most successful.  –Pandemic Survivor

©2017 Mark Pegram


Vitamin D and the Itch Response

I know some of you are confused by the last couple of post.  It is not straight forward when dealing with pain.  One thing that you should be aware of is that itching is pain.  This is a medical fact as I was reminded by my sister-in-law a retired nurse anesthetist.  It may be only the beginning of pain but pain none the less.  The human body is a system that requires biological action like taking in food and oxygen and elimination of waste products.  Also health is determined by the spirit or mood or emotional response or whatever you want to call it.  In modern medicine, it is called the placebo effect.  A person responds to the care he is given in either a positive or negative manner.  This includes the person’s care for their own well being.  Failure of any of the system requirements can lead to illness.

Perhaps you have never considered what happens on a neuron as the signal passes along from the central nervous system, CNS, to various parts of the body.  It is a chemical/electrical action.  First stimulus causes the neuron to fire.  When this happens, gates in the neuron’s axon open and allow sodium to flow into the axon and potassium to flow out.  The gates open by a voltage response that is above minus 50 millivolts.  The voltage as the gates open goes positive along the length of the axon as the signal travels along to about positive 30 millivolts.  After the signal has passed, sodium/potassium pumps take the sodium out of the neuron and the potassium back into the neuron until a resting voltage of about minus 70 millivolts is achieved.  When this signal hits the synapse, a voltage gated calcium channel opens and allows calcium to flow in and trigger the release of a neurotransmitter, most commonly acetyl choline.  This stimulates the next neuron and the signal continues along the nerve length.  If this is confusing for you, I would suggest that you watch this flash animation that is produce by Harvard.  It shows the nerve action signaling in the body and how the action potential works.

As an aside, this small electrical requirement to operate the sodium/potassium gates for your cells is the reason that it only takes ten millivolts from an outside source to stop your heart when the path of current flow is directly across your heart.

It has been estimated that fifty percent of the energy that is produced by your body is used to keep ions on the correct side of cell walls.  Without a balance of the calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium, failure of your CNS and cell function is inevitable.  All of your brain and nerves are made of these types of cells.  This includes the heart.  The heart is made of over sixty-five percent neurons.  Thinking with the heart is most likely a reality, because these cells are the same thing that is in the brain.  Not mentioned in my description of the nerve signal above is magnesium.  The function of magnesium is extensive, but it is the ion of choice for ATP to ADP, or the cellular energy chemicals.  The balance of calcium and magnesium in the mitochondrial bodies where energy is converted is crucial.  This required balance of magnesium with calcium in the heart is primarily responsible for heart rhythms.  Obviously, the balance of sodium and potassium is also crucial.  Any imbalance will result in muscle cramps and pain.

So how does vitamin D come into play with this chemical/electrical dance that is occurring in your cellular signaling pathways?  The vitamin D acts to increase the activity of biological systems as it is one of the primary hormones in your body.  It increases the immune response to pathogens as well as stimulating other cellular activities.   If you are mineral deficient as your body gears up for health, it lets you know in the form of either a tired feeling or perhaps even a rash.  I remember growing up; I was so vitamin D deficient that anytime that I went in the sun in the early spring, I would break out in a bright red raised rash.  My mom would be frightened that something was seriously wrong and encouraged me to stay out of the sun.  This was a mistake. The solution was to spend more time in the sun or not to become deficient in the winter.

The other action that occurs with vitamin D in combination with other nutrients is cartilage enlarges as it fills with fluid, primarily water.  Vitamin D does not act alone on cartilage.  The other nutrients must be available in sufficient amounts.  This increases the cushioning effect by the cartilage for all of your joints.  Now imagine in your back where you have thirty three vertebrae with nerves coming out at every junction, going to various parts of the body.  As the cartilage gets thicker, it will cause a pulling and stretching of the nerves.  I like to think this is the nerves finding their new ‘home state.’  In my case, each cartilage increased about a tenth of an inch over a ten month period.  With the thirty plus disc, this caused me to increase in physical height by three inches.  As the nerves found their new home state, there was considerable pain including a significant amount of itching.  Now that my spine has healed all of that pain has disappeared.  It did not happen quickly.  I estimate that there was healing of the bone and cartilage that went on for five years.  The only issue that I have now is where the operation occurred on L4-L5.  The cartilage was so damaged, that it was not able to repair.  It is just gone. When the nerve gets pinched at this location, then I can have some pain in my left leg, itching, rashes, and even lesions.

As far as my discussion of Morgellons syndrome, I was horrified at the lack of competence by the doctors involved as well as the CDC.  There was no pathogen found, so as far as the CDC was concerned, it was all from the persons mental condition.  I believe this syndrome is an effect of spinal degeneration or other locations that are the origins of the nerve pathways.  This mechanical pinching will result in various symptoms including itching. I was horrified as one patient was described as having the lesions spreading up his arm with no known cause.  Eventually his arms became paralyzed and he died.  It is my belief that this person had spinal stenosis in his cervical disc and the nerves were so compressed he was having multiple symptoms.  I suspect he died because the cervical discs are also the origin for vital functions like breathing.  It is sad to think of the diagnosis delivered to persons that are suffering from a mechanical failure of the nerves.  I now wonder at how many cases of misdiagnosis are made for shingles.  As it usually occurs in people over fifty, I suspect many of these cases are ‘trapped’ nerves and not a reoccurrence of the chicken pox virus.  If your doctor says shingles, asked him to run a test for the presence of the virus.  If there is no virus, then you most likely have a pinched nerve.

Your take from this?  Exercise, eat lots of greens for potassium, supplement with magnesium because our soils are deplete, eat enough garlic, onions, and egg yellows to get an adequate amount of sulfur, go into the sun on a regular basis in the summer and supplement with vitamin D in the winter, and pray every day to sustain your spirit.  At all cost protect your ‘heart’ as it is the well spring of life.  – Pandemic Survivor

Nerve Impingement in Back Results in Dermal Lesion on Toe

Last post, I described how nerve impingement in my back lead to dermal stress that included numbness, uncontrollable itching, crawling sensation in the skin, lesions, and a disturbed mental state from not knowing the cause.  If I had addressed the symptoms with a physician, he most likely would have passed it off as a mental illness.  I can hear the words now, “if you would just stop scratching the skin, it will stop itching and heal.”   Most physicians have not been exposed to this type of trauma, and as the deficiency in vitamin D becomes worse in the general population, I would expect to see more of this type of dermal stress.  I remember well the last time I addressed the rash on my leg with my neurosurgeon and suggested that it was caused by the nerve impingement in my back.  He just looked at me in disbelief.

As many of you know who are regular readers, my spine healed except for the disc between L4-L5.  I had two surgeries performed at this location.  The disc has all but dissolved or disappeared according to the MRI’s that I had done.  Even though there is no disc, the vitamin D and other nutrients and exercises that I do control the pain well enough that I do not need a spinal fusion at this point.  I do not have pain in my back and I am willing to put up with some numbness that moves about on the left leg and foot.  The nerve impingement on L4-L5 left changes as the two vertebrae move trapping the nerve.  Depending where on the left nerve root the impingement occurs, results in different locations of numbness on my leg and foot.  Because there is no support at this location, sometimes the nerve on L5-S1 becomes involved as well.  This happened this past week. If you will observe the foot on this dermatome, you can see the dermal nerve pathway between L5 continues through the fourth toe of the foot.

This past week there was an uncontrollable itching in this area of my left foot and numbness that was felt through the center of my foot between the toes and the ball of my foot.  It also felt like there was something crawling under my skin on this foot.  The fourth toe was particularly irritated.  After two days the lesion showed here appeared on my fourth toe.  Please note the angular position of the small toe is a result of a stress fracture that I received in college that was not properly set.  Upon closer examination, you can see the dermal nerve fiber that is in stress that caused the wild sensations in my toe and the lesion.  I have drawn arrows pointing out the dermal nerve.

Location of Lesion


Dermal Nerve Fiber

Dermal nerves are not normally this easy to see.  They typically ‘hide’ under the dermal layers.  Because the nerve was stressed it is easier to see.  These photos were taken two days after the initial irritation began.  I was traveling and not able to decompress the lumbar region in my back to relieve the nerve stress.  After two more days I was able to decompress on my inversion table and the lesion looked as shown here. The itching, numbness, and crawling skin stopped shortly after the first decompression attempt. You can see from the photograph the lesion has turned into a normal looking wound that is in the process of scabbing over to heal.  Also please note that the dermal nerve has disappeared as it is no longer in stress.

Wound After Spinal Decompression

I do believe that this is exactly the same thing that has been described as Morgellons Disease or Syndrome.  It amazes me that the neurologists have not been able to make the connection between the nerve involvement in the back or point of nerve origin and the dermal eruptions along mapped nerve pathways.  The thing that has stumped the physicians that were examining the dermal lesions in Morgellons Syndrome, are the fibers that appeared.  The fibers have been tested and were found to not be of any known fabric.  It should be easy to test the fibers to see if they are consistent with a myelinated nerve fiber.  The stressed nerves fibers that I have seen in the past will become black as they die.  It has been reported in Morgellons that the fibers had other appearances and may be the result of the degree of myelination of the fiber.

I have noticed that some relief can be obtained from the itching by increasing the amount of potassium intake. After more potassium, the feeling in the concerned areas is more like numbness and pain than the itching crawling sensations.  I suspect his is due to the firing along the nerve axons with the potassium and sodium gates and pumps and the availability of potassium.

Ah, the difficulty of being a physician in an insurance and government controlled health paradigm.  If it is not written in the medical literature, then physicians will not make the leap necessary to make a correct diagnosis to prevent personal attacks on their credibility and liability exposure.  I have often wondered if it was just incompetence.  I now believe this failure to diagnose is more about personal safety and protection of the doctor and the fact that most are over worked.

Stress will kill you.  Whether it is caused by nerve compression or mental anguish – find relief!  – Pandemic Survivor


Itchy Legs and Feet – Vitamin D Cause or Solution?

One of the things that I discovered during my years of pain was the cause of itchy legs.  The itchy legs would drive me crazy to say the least.  The first episode of this was a year before my first back surgery in the winter of 1997.  I was on a long road trip into the Shenandoah Valley and it was very cold and snowing.  I ran the heat on high most of the way to the valley which took me approximately four hours.  My right leg started itching and it was close to the heater discharge, so I assumed that the heat was irritating the skin.  The irritation on my leg persisted into the late spring.  My doctor thought as I that it was just itchy dermatitis.  We treated it with topical steroids and it seemed somewhat to respond but not heal.

In the spring of 2003 before my second back surgery, my legs became inflamed and erupted with little red bumps that broke open after twenty four hours.  This was kind of scary because the steroids did not seem to help it that much.  I had the problem on both legs from the tops of my feet to above my knees.  What was really frightening was that it started around my ankles and took about six weeks to go all the way up my legs.  I remember my oldest brother coming to see me and he said that it looked like infections on diabetic’s legs that would not heal.  The legs continued to be inflamed until I had back surgery and it just went away.  I assumed that it had something to do with all the antibiotics that I took after the surgery.

After my vertebral disc healed, I told everyone that I knew about how I had grown three inches taller in less than a year.  It was shocking and amazing to see the expressions on their faces as they were used to looking me in the eyes, but my eye level had changed.  The first response was always, how much did I take and what type of vitamin D.  Then later on I would see them and they would respond about how much their legs were itching and they had cut back on their vitamin D and it stopped.  I also continued to have the problem off and on until two years ago when they started to itch and I correlated the itch to a compressed nerve in my back.  I did a round on my inversion table and it was like magic.  The itching stopped.  What was even more amazing was one of the bumps was as large as half a golf ball.  After hanging, it completely returned to normal in about thirty minutes.

I came to the conclusion that nerves that are compressed will give you a severe case of dermal inflammation that has many symptoms.  I recently found a disease that has not been identified as a disease because the CDC can find no pathogens that are the cause – Morgellons Disease.  It seems the foundation no longer exist out of frustration I suspect.  I know exactly how they feel.  The funds were donated to Oklahoma State University.


  • Physical
    • Sponanteously Erupting Skin lesions
    • Sensation of crawling, biting on and under the skin
    • Appearance of blue, black or red fibers and granules beneath and/or extruding from the skin
    • Fatigue
  • Mental
    • Short-term memory loss
    • Attention Deficit, Bipolar or Obsessive-Compulsive disorders
    • Impaired thought processing (brain fog)
    • Depression and feelings of isolation

Yes, I had all of those including what I thought were fibers that I had rubbed into the openings from fabrics.  The fibers I observed were black.  I now believe these to be nerves that have died.  It is no wonder they could find no pathogens.

Have you had itchy legs that could be associated with nerve compression or that you thought happened because you were taking vitamin D?  – Pandemic Survivor

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