Recap on what we know for treating Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

In my earlier post, DANGER: Antioxidants and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, I cited a study on humans with MCS which indicated that clinical experience found that the following should NOT be taken:

  • alpha lipoic acid (ALA),
  • N-acetylcysteine (NAC)
  • selenium
  • ascorbic acid(Vitamin C)
  • thiol (sulfur derivatives) agents.

In a post from 2013, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: Model of What it is, and treatment experience, I cited a study that found additional items to be ineffectual:

  • Cholestyramine therapy, sauna bathing, and fasting have all been attempted and have proven unsuccessful (AAP 1999). In fact, PCBs stored in fat can be mobilized by the patients crash dieting.”[CDC]

My model is that the chemical signatures are misread as an attack by an infection and thus the body shifts quickly into fight mode. Restricting access of the suspected infection to move in the body, i.e. reducing the flow of blood until antibodies can respond — typically hypoperfusion.

Recent Literature

A recent study with brain scans found that MCS triggers resulted in “previously observed significant activations in the prefrontal cortex (PFC)”[2013] and “activations were specifically strong in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC)” [2015]

“The results of our study suggest that cortical activity in subjects with MCS differs from that in healthy individuals during olfactory stimulation… with an increase in glucose consumption in ..[some areas of the brain] and a reduction in glucose metabolism in ..in ..[other areas of the brain] .” [2015]

“After chemical challenge, cases showed hypoperfusion[reduced oxygen delivery] in the olfactory, right and left hippocampus, right parahippocampus, right amygdala, right thalamus, right and left Rolandic and right temporal cortex regions(p<or=0.01). By contrast, controls showed hyperperfusion[increased oxygen delivery] in the cingulus, right parahippocampus, left thalamus and some cortex regions (p<or=0.01). The clustered deactivation pattern in cases was stronger than in controls (p=0.012) and the clustered activation pattern in controls was higher than in cases (p=0.012). In comparison to controls, cases presented poorer quality of life and neurocognitive function at baseline, and neurocognitive worsening after chemical exposure. Chemical exposure caused neurocognitive impairment, and SPECT brain dysfunction particularly in odor-processing areas, thereby suggesting a neurogenic origin of MCS.” [2009]

“Activation was defined as a significant increase in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) during smelling of the respective odorant compared to smelling of odorless air.” [2007]

” The MCS subjects activated odor-processing brain regions less than controls, despite the reported, and physiologically indicated (decreased RR interval) distress. In parallel, they showed an odorant-related increase in activation of the anterior cingulate cortex and cuneus-precuneus. Notably, the baseline rCBF was normal. Thus, the abnormal patterns were observed only in response to odor signals. Subjects with MCS process odors differently from controls, however, without signs of neuronal sensitization. One possible explanation for the observed pattern of activation in MCS is a top-down regulation of odor-response via cingulate cortex.” [2007]

I should point out that this study was done with more inaccurate older equipment as well as PET showing low abnormality rates for CFS while SPECT scan shows high abnormality rates. IMHO – the study was poorly done with the conclusions being incorrect.

  • “This first systematic PET study in MCS patients revealed no hint of neurotoxic or neuroimmunological brain changes of functional significance.” [2002]

Note that hypoperfusion[reduced oxygen delivery] will cause brain fog and neurological issues.Parts of the brain are starving for oxygen and unable to function properly.

Not discounted suggestions

While saunas (classic saunas) have been reported ineffectual, infrared sauna (Waon theraphy) has have positive results for symptom reduction in CFS:

From a blogger on the web:”Several MCS experts, as well as patients, have found that dry sauna can be of benefit although thus far, there is no explanation of why this is so. In the past, we have written that sauna therapy is based on an ancient therapy called Waon therapy and past studies of this technique suggest it may increase the expression of Nrf2 and HO-1 and possibly influence the expression of PGC-1a.” [2010]

“One of the safest methods of overall detoxification recommended by qualified physicians is a sauna.  Dr. William Rea offers a sauna room for treatment at his clinic, the Environmental Health Center, in Dallas. ” [MSC-America.org]

From PubMed:

“Perceived fatigue significantly decreased after therapy, although no significant reductions were observed during therapy. In addition, a negative mood, including anxiety, depression and fatigue, and the performance status significantly improved after therapy. However, the levels of pain and vigor did not change significantly. No patients reported any adverse effects during the therapy.” [2015]

From a blogger on the web:”Several MCS experts, as well as patients, have found that dry sauna can be of benefit although thus far, there is no explanation of why this is so. In the past, we have written that sauna therapy is based on an ancient therapy called Waon therapy and past studies of this technique suggest it may increase the expression of Nrf2 and HO-1 and possibly influence the expression of PGC-1a.” [2010]

At the antioxidant level (which taking supplements was found to be counter productive above):

“It was shown that the effect of high temperatures promotes the development of oxidative stress that is followed by the formation of adaptive reactions in the form of activation of antioxidant protection, enhancement of non-specific responses of the cells, increase of stability and restoration of structural homeostasis of erythrocyte membranes.” [2013]

‘”indicating that FIR reduced inflammation.”[2012]

  • A study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis showed a reduction in pain, stiffness, and fatigue during infrared sauna therapy [30].
  • “During the period of FIR therapy, the symptoms of eye itching, nasal itching, nasal stuffiness, rhinorrhea, and sneezing were all significantly improved. Smell impairment was improved after the last treatment.”

Hypoperfusion

Treating hypoperfusion is often done with fibrinolytic agents (serrapetase, nattokinease, lumbrokinease, bromelain), platelet agents (aspirin, willow bark), and vascular dilators (regular flushing niacin). These could cause symptom relief.

If a person is hyper coagulated (thick blood), then the exposure could (speculation) just push them over the edge. If this model is correct, then hyper coagulation testing and correction would be logical to investigate. Unfortunately, Dave Berg has retired.

Olestra Chips

This has not been tested in the lab. I do know people who claim that it quickly reduces the severity of a MCS episode.

Bottom Line

There is so little research on MCS, what I would love to see are:

  • Microbiome study and MCS
  • Formal study of Olestra
  • Coagulation defects and MCS

At the moment, Infrared saunas are the best treatment in town. We have one, it was on sale at Costco for $800 and was a Christmas present to help with health.