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.

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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

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Celebrities with Back Pain

As we consider the many people we know with back pain, this past weekend was particularly disturbing. Jason Dufner, Defending Champion, had to withdraw from the PGA Championship and Tiger Woods should not have continued to play. It has become obvious that the practice of medicine offers no nutritional solution for failed cartilage. This includes all joints that are supported and allowed to flex with cartilage. Very serious is the loss of cartilage in the back between vertebrae. The compression of the vertebral disc causes nerves that serve most areas of the body to become blocked or compromised. Whether it is in the upper back, like Dufner’s, which can affect the arms, torso, and neck or the lower back, like Woods, where the pain and muscle failure is felt in the lower extremities. We take alarm when our own backs and joints ache, but it takes away our love and joy for life when celebrities suffer and our leaders are impaired. I often think of John F. Kennedy and the fact that he was wearing a back brace at the time of his death.

It was particularly alarming to me as I have been a lifelong golfer. I know the pain of not being able to play. I have now overcome this disability, but have not returned to the game. Many of my friends think that I have not returned because of my back, but there are other reasons like writing which are more important. I often ponder if our leaders consider there are more important things than golf – sorry, I digress. Before I discovered the nutritional solution to repair cartilage, my doctor offered to write a letter for seventy percent disability which I turned down. If I decided to pick up the clubs again, I suspect I could return to my current age form. But most likely not the form that I did have when playing three times per week.

I would have thought by now that the nutritional solutions would be common in the practice of medicine. I would like to apologize for not making the solution more public. I have tried to explain the nutritional issues on this blog and it can be found. However, now emphasized is the fact that I need to get on with my second book – The healing of back pain and the nutritional approach for cartilage repair.

I guess finding the solution was not as simple as I thought. It is not just one nutrient, but the interaction of many nutrients. These include, vitamin D, vitamin A, and vitamin B in its many forms, sulfate, magnesium, iodine, and many other micro-minerals. The dose of nutrients is critical for supplementation versus diet. The vitamins cannot be taken in synthetic form and must represent nutrients that are expected by our biological processes. There is also the issue of genetic mutations that can be overcome when taken the vitamins in the correct form. Also toxins should be eliminated from the body, in particular arsenic as it interferes with the methylation cycle.

I have stated before that the solution can be found in the medical literature. However, it will not be found as a double blind control trial. You have to think of the formation of stems cells in the bone marrow, the differentiation into chondrocytes, and the further differentiation into the correct form of cartilage. There does not seem to be anyone that is willing to take on the interaction of nutrients because of the complexity and low economic return to the researchers. There were multiple papers that I read to arrive at the correct nutrients and just got lucky on one nutrient. After supplementing, I grew three inches taller in ten months. That was ten years ago. This freed up the compression on the nerves in my back and eliminated the several diseases that include, degenerative disc disease and sleep apnea and the resulting impairment. I had two back surgeries and prevented more back surgery. I now know that if I had found the correct combination of nutrients earlier in life; I could have avoided all back surgery.

I am sixty three years old and do not take any meds. This is very unusual for my generation as I have discovered through reading and in conversations with my friends. Over sixty years old, 89% of the population takes one or more prescription drugs according to the CDC. This is very sad to me as the US is about 50th in the world in life expectancy. Our country is ravaged with chronic disease. I will continue to take supplements and I don’t eat very healthily. The side effects of the prescription drugs that I did take for pain and resulting depression were alarming. I am sure that if I gave up my fondness for wheat, which I have a severe sensitivity and an addiction, most everyone in my generation would be envious of my health. At one point my doctor said my labs looked like those of a healthy twenty five year old. I have often doubted in my ability to solve complex problems, I should never do that again. After all, the solution to nutritional repair is totally out of my area of formal education, study of engineering, chemistry, fluid flow, heat transfer and combustion – aka “rocket science.” ;>) I have estimated about eight thousand hours of reading and researching over the last twelve years to arrive at the solution. But of course, I was also lead. Keep the faith, with the help of medical professionals I’m publishing soon. – Pandemic Survivor

Time for Action to Help Relieve Pain

I started to write this blog in 2009. That was five years after I had recovered from chronic severe back pain. I had written a non-published book at that time about the experience of healing. The book was about my two back surgeries and how I avoided the advice of doctors for more surgeries. This original book was a flow out of all that I had experienced. Three decades of chronic pain, two failed surgeries, the discovery that I could heal back pain with nutrition and growing three inches taller in ten months as I healed (think about twenty plus discs expanding in height more than one tenth inch to clear all the nerve roots). I have finally gotten over my thinking that the medical profession would move forward and not allow people to continue to suffer with back pain. After all, if an engineer could figure the combination of nutrients to allow cartilage to heal, then certainly someone in medical research could do the same.

I struggled after healing that first two years with why the medical guideline changes for healing failed cartilage had not already occurred. I had met twice with my congressman about the possibility of Congressional hearings to allow the experts to speak on things they had found on nutritional deficiency and chronic disease. We had talked about a meeting with Senator Burr to see if we could make it happen. Then, I discovered Secretary Michael Levitt’s Principles for Health and Human Services. With “Markets before Mandates” five positions above “Value Life”, I knew the economy is more important to the US Government than any life of an individual or many individuals. I knew that only a grass roots effort would cause change. I was happy to see Carole Baggerly turn her anger into action with the founding GrassrootsHealth. If you did not watch her in my last post then do that now! Presentation to Direct-MS Canada.

I have finally gotten over my emotions enough to act. I took an online course in creative writing, a daunting task for an engineer. I have reduced that first two hundred page book into about one hundred fifty pages and plan to e-publish within a week or so. It is about my life of pain, the discovery of healing, the healing, social acceptance, and my struggle to understand what was happening in government and our institutions. I only tout vitamin D3 in this book, but understand that it is the combination of many nutrients that allows cartilage to heal. Also, I wanted to wait because of the possibility that I was a unique case.   But after ten years of enjoying good health, it is now time to act.

I am about seventy percent through writing a how to book on healing back pain(still working on finding a publisher). This book will include a section on how to manage pain, the nutrients required for healing, and how to work with your doctor as you use nutrients to heal. To accomplish this task, I have persuaded a couple of medical professionals to coauthor, Molly Schneider, PharmD, and Caitlin Gerrald, PA-C.  Also, my primary care physician has agreed to write a preface supporting my claims of healing. We will also have a chapter for physicians. Here we will try to describe the physiological mechanisms as we best understand them to get physicians to understand the multiple levels of DNA/RNA action and needed nutrition to support them. We will also help physicians avoid the pit falls like just supplementing vitamin D versus checking the blood serum level of 25(OH)D.  Also supplementing with vitamin D3 versus vitamin D2. We will also do the same with other nutrients that are on the market as mimics or analogs of natural supplements. I am asking several of the people that have tried the supplements to be interviewed for this book and to discuss their outcomes. Hopefully, I will be able to release this book within six months to a year.

How significant is the need for a method to heal back pain? Consider Dr. Mercola’s recent article of “How to Avoid the Number One Cause of Disability”

My doctor, after the second surgery, offered to write me a letter for seventy percent disability. I declined at the time because through faith I believed there was a solution. It turned out to be both medical, environmental, and nutritional. Everyone who has suffered with back pain should at least try the nutrients before attempting the surgery route. Dr. Mercola makes this statement in the summary: “I strongly recommend avoiding surgery until or unless you’ve exhausted other treatment options, which include chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, exercise, and most importantly, K-Laser treatment.”

I would here like to apologize to all the people in the world suffering from chronic pain for not releasing these two books earlier.  Also for not disclosing all the needed nutrients in a timely manner. Unfortunately, there is more than physical disability in suffering with chronic pain. It totally distorts your outlook and mood from decades of pain and drugs. Every time I would hear of another person dying from chronic disease from apparent nutritional deficiency, I would allow anger to raise its ugly head instead of using it for action of love, peace, and joy. Here is a video of a recent Toastmasters speech in which I describe an event with one of my neighbors.

“Pulled from the Abyss Again”

I would like to thank my wife for her help in this effort and all the pain and suffering she has had to witness without a flinch.  – Jill W. Pegram, MT(ASCP)SC

Emotional Recovery from Pain

Pain stabs you in the emotions as well as the physical body.  When suffering long periods of chronic pain, emotions are on edge at best.  At worst, you are the vilest person in the universe.  Care should be taken when suffering chronic pain to not allow your emotions to overcome you.  The anxiety, anger, and other associated emotions will make the pain worse.

What happens if you don’t collapse the motions and allow them to take over?  I think that Dr. Joe Dispenza, “What the Bleep” fame, describes it best with what he calls a shortened refractory period.  An emotional refractory period is the time it takes to free yourself of an emotion.  If you don’t shorten the refractory period for anger as an example, others may say you are in an angry mood.  If you allow the anger to continue, they will say you have a temperament.  If you continue in anger, it becomes a personality trait and you are off to anger management. 

I had my own issues after several decades of illness and chronic pain.  It took a long time, but I finally got there through prayer.  After I discovered what was happening with allopathic medicine, I became very angry.  How could an engineer figure out what supplements to take without a medical professional or dietician urging a recommended approach that would work?  I was in severe pain from degenerative disc disease and was about to die from central sleep apnea that had been improperly diagnosed as obstructive sleep apnea.  It was so bad that I would find myself holding my breath when fully awake.  Of course, the proper supplements allowed me to recover from all the diseases.  You can just imagine the negative emotions during this period that had to be overcome.

Whatever method you use, prayer or meditation, the feeling of the emotion is unavoidable.  The triggers in the environment will set it off when you least expect it. The key is to collapse the emotion as quickly as possible.  I found that when anger set off, I would first try to move into the thought of love, joy, and peace.  This typically led to forgiveness.  From there, I would allow the anger emotion to further collapse into sadness which I held for as brief a period as possible.  I would then translate the sadness into empathy and passion for all the hurting people.  This in turn would stimulate me to act.  To do more research or to write.  Obviously the writing of this blog was very helpful.  The other side of this process is to hold the positive emotions, love, joy, peace, hope, faith, and optimism, as long as possible.

This does not happen overnight, but can happen very quickly practice.  As you continue to practice, you will find your refractory period continue to shorten.  The key is to make the feeling of a negative emotion just a brief stimulus to turn into a positive emotion and action.  Do not act on negative emotions which you can see from this blog I have done many times.  This was not helpful as who wants to read an angry writer.  If you have to talk about it, do it with a professional, your minister, or a close friend.  Don’t wear out your friend.

You may want to borrow from the emerging field of neuroscience and set a trigger for positive emotions.  It may be a bell, a snap of the fingers, a closing of the eyes while turning the head slowly from side to side or moving your eyes from side to side, slowly rubbing your palms with the tips of your fingers, a word that you say softly to yourself, or any other trigger that is convenient to you.  Obviously, you don’t want to appear ridiculous when around others.  Mark Robert Waldman describes the states of being with the following hierarchy: Reality, (perceptual) instinctual, habitual, (subjective) intentional, creative, (spiritual) self-reflective, transformational.  As you release your trigger, you can go up this ladder very quickly from brief prayer/meditation to awareness or mindfulness and a new reality.

Whatever your emotion, whatever you goal, whatever your illness, seek love, joy, and peace first – Dr. Alex Lloyd.  Pray and meditate that you will be filled with truth and light. The pain is unavoidable, but don’t make yourself and everyone around you miserable.  In Spirit and truth – Pandemic Survivor

Pain Reduction with Vitamin D3

Pain is a horrible terrible monster that can take your life away both emotionally and financially from your inability to work.  It can destroy relationships and leave you desolate without friends.  My back is filled with searing pain and my friends have deserted me, David complains in Psalm 38; the NIV is the best for this understanding.  Pain is not new.  It is the result of evil in its many different forms whether physical or spiritual. 

Vitamin D3 has shown significant properties in its ability to moderate physical pain levels.  I did a post several years ago about a pharmacist that used vitamin D to reduce a patient’s pain meds by fifty percent.  I am sure we do not understand the mechanisms at work to relieve pain with vitamin D, but should we care?  The answer of course is no unless you are trying to develop an analog that you can patent and sell for large amounts of money.

It is particularly important that you supplement with magnesium when supplementing with vitamin D3 or spending time in the sun for that matter.  Your body’s biological processes tend to increase when you increase your serum level of vitamin D.  If you don’t supplement with magnesium you could see some serious side effects like heart arrhythmias and muscle cramps.  Magnesium is responsible as an ion for the production and use of over 350 enzymes in the body.

Multiple papers have been published recently from many different studies confirming the significant effect of vitamin D3 on pain.  I suspect that it works at many different levels to control pain in all states of disease.  I know it was a paper from Saudi Arabia in 2003 that really got me going on vitamin D to relieve the issues in my back.  That paper’s conclusion was that 95% of the people in the study had reduced back pain.  Yes, that’s right, ninety five percent.

Serum vitamin D or 25(OH)D normal levels have been 20ng/ml to 100ng/ml since the 1970’s at least.  The Endocrine Society suggests a minimum of 30ng/ml when treating disease.  I believe the best level is 60 to 80 ng/ml.  As different people respond differently to vitamin D, it is not how much you take, but where you maintain your serum level.  The effect most likely will not be immediate, but long term there is nothing safer or more effective for pain.

I cannot help you with your spiritual pain except to tell you to put love, peace, and joy first in all that you do and to pray often.  I suspect this will help your physical pain as well. – Pandemic Survivor

Nutrients for Back Pain

As you know from My Story, I ‘grew’ out of back pain by taking nutrients that allowed the vertebral disc to heal.  Now modern medicine says that this is not possible, but let us explore these two brief stories from people that I know that helped me get to the understanding of the nutrients that I took.

First it was a friend that was somewhat of an athlete.  After a surgery on his knee to removed damaged cartilage, he spent enormous amounts of time in the sun with his shirt off.  Against his doctors advice he continued to run.  It is important to keep up exercise for cartilage health as this is the only way that fluids move in and out of the cartilage to provide nutrients.  Cartilage is not feed directly by the blood system.  After a year he went back to the doctor and had his knee imaged as a follow up to the surgery.  The cartilage had grown back.

Second, I knew a lady that had back pain.  She said that after the summer in her garden that her back pain had gone and that she had grown an inch in height.  Again, significant height variation that is more than the normal from hydration is an indication of the health of vertebral disc.

The only thing that was in common with these two healings was sunshine and exercise.  The sunshine provided the vitamin D and the exercise allowed nutrient flow to the cartilage.

Nutrients that I took:

Vitamin C 1000 mg/d

Multivitamin

Magnesium as glycinate 800 mg/d

Vitamin D3 – enough to keep my serum 25(OH)D3 above 50 ng/ml for me at 203 lbs this was about 10,000 IU/d  in the winter and in the summer I only took 5000 IU/d

Vitamin A – from fish liver oil 5000 IU/d

Zinc – 25 mg/d

Boron – 3 mg/d

Calcium – 500 mg

Sulfur – MSM 1000mg/d and glucosamine sulfate 1500 mg/d

I could not really walk so I had purchased an inverter about three years prior.  I am not promoting the Hang-Up brand but this is the one that I used and it worked very well.  I would not really hang upside down but would rock 45 degrees back and then forward and this would work my spine like an accordion to pump fluids in and out.  I did this twice each day for 10 to 15 minutes.

Now from looking at these vitamins it is hard to imagine that is all that I did.  Let me tell you when you are in pain and the back is screaming at you the vitamin D does wonders.  Of course I was under the care of doctor during this time and he told me not to take the vitamin D3 in such large amounts that it would make my organs turn to ‘stone’.  He checked my serum calcium and my 25(OH)D and was satisfied that I was not doing anything harmful to myself.

There was not anything on the net about improving back pain with vitamin D at that time.  However, now Dr. Gerry Schwalfenberg, University of Alberta, has published case studies on using Vitamin D. Improvement of Chronic Back Pain or Failed Back Surgery with Vitamin D Repletion: A Case Series Gerry Schwalfenberg, MD From the Department of Family Medicine, University of Alberta, Canada

In his case studies, he does not use as much vitamin D as I did.  I do think that you should try to maintain your serum 25(OH)D level above 50 ng/ml as I stated above.

The pain got much better for about a 4 month period.  It then started to hurt up and down my back, but the places where the bulges existed got much better.  What was going on with my back as the disc healed was that the nerve roots were trying to find new homes as the disc increased in height.  I could exercise the part of my spine that was hurting and it would get better the next day.  After the first three months I was able to go to the gym.  I had a very kind trainer that would help me exercise without putting any compression on my spine. Within 10 months I was able to do 125 lb dead lifts and the pain in my back was gone.  I had grown back to my original height of 6 ft after six months and at the end of 10 months I was two inches taller than I had ever been.  I am sure because I was kept out of the sun as a child because of my heat stroke that my DNA had never fully expressed itself.

I think that it is very important for cellular differentiation that you get both Vitamin A and Vitamin D.  I got the largest growth spurt when I was taking both.  Also please note that I was not using beta-carotene but vitamin A from fish liver oil.  There has been much comment about not taking this preformed vitamin A.  We always ate liver every other week when I was growing up and I never had any problems.  Liver about the size of your hand has 100,000 IU of vitamin A.  I say eat as the endogenous people did – like the wolf where the internal organs are consumed first.  If you like liver then you have it made.

Again, do this only in the care of a doctor in particular if you have injuries in your cervical disc.  I had stenosis so bad at C3-C4 and since this is where the nerve for the lung originates the surgeon was really concerned I would just stop breathing.  I had severe sleep apnea (central) from this but after the pain was gone the doctor would not operate.  The sleep apnea took almost two years to resolve but it finally got there.  I have no more poping or snapping in my neck at all and can move it in any direction at will.

Sounds simple, it is simple.  I still do not understand why no doctor ever asked to take my vitamin D level when DDD is so similar to rickets.  I am truly sadden by the number of people that are still out there hurting when the solution is so simple.  There is hope for your pain so be of good cheer.  I know that it hurts and my prayers are for you.

Go nekkid into the sun!           – Pandemic Survivor