You probably don’t have enough VIP. 98% of people with CFS don’t. The MCS crowd hasn’t yet been testing, but when you learn what this neuropeptide does, you’ll probably surmise that low levels play a big role in that syndrome as well.
I’ve been thinking of going to Dr. Rea for allergy testing and environmental evaluation since I’m only about 3 hours from
It’s too soon to know the answer. But I inform myself about VIP as I seek to understand my body and the way to restore it to optimal health.
In Ritchie Shoemaker’s 2011 IACFS paper, “Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) lowers C4a and TGF beta-1, corrects refractory symptoms and normalizes abnormal biomarkers in patients with CFS”, the role of VIP is elaborated in detail.
He wrote: “VIP raises cAMP; lowers pulmonary artery (PASP) responses to exercise, blocks peripheral innate immune activation; reduces apoptosis of glial cells undergoing oxidative stress; raises VEGF; restores circadian rhythm; regulates response to olfactory stimuli in the suprachiasmatic nucleus; regulates dendritic calls; regulates Th17 function in autoimmunity; enhances IL-10 production; and modulates innate immunity.”
Let’s put that into lay person’s terms.
1. Raises cAMP, short for cyclic Adenosine Mono Phosphate. This molecule is one step away from ATP, the energy molecule, the one that mitochondria make in great abundance when they work properly. All of us with fatiguing illnesses have low ATP, some from mitochondria damage, as Dr. Sarah Myhill has shown, some from interference in the citric acid cycle due to heavy metals (especially mercury and aluminum), some from poor metabolism of sugars that feed the citric acid cycle with pyruvate, some from a deficiency of oxygen transport into the mitochondria, etc. From Wikipedia we read, “cAMP is… used for … transferring the effects of hormones like glucagon and adrenaline , which cannot pass through the cell membrane. It is involved in the activation of protein kinases and regulates the effects of adrenaline and glucagon. It also regulates the passage of calcium ions through ion channels .” If you, like me, have issues with sugar metabolism (but not diabetes) and with adrenaline, you probably have low cAMP and would benefit from raising it. In addition, cAMP affects cognitive function (not a big surprise since those brain cells of ours need to work properly. By researchers have found a specific relationship between low cAMP and the cognitive deficits in age-related illnesses and ADHD.
2. PASP (pulmonary artery response to exercise) may contribute to our exercise intolerance. Shoemaker found that patients on VIP could tolerate more exercise. It still remains to be seen if raising VIP eliminates the phenomenon Drs Snell and VanNess documented at Pacific Fatigue Lab, results unique to CFS in which repeating a sstress test within 24 hours showed markedly reduced capacity to produce energy and metabolize oxygen. http://aboutmecfs.org.violet.arvixe.com/News/PRJan09Pacific.aspx It would also be valuable to know if the changes in receptor activity in CFS patients during exercise, documented by Drs. Kathleen and Alan Light, ceases to operate after normalization of VIP levels. http://www.research1st.com/2011/06/02/exercise-challenge-reveals-potential-cfs-biomarkers/
3. Peripheral innate immune activation makes us itch, swell from bugbites and scratches, get extreme reactions to poison ivy. When I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia, the rheumatologist scratched me and looked at the red welt which formed; from that peripheral response, he labeled me with FMS.
From a study of 1682 patients meeting the criteria for CFS, 98% had low VIP. In comparison, fewer than 10% of controls have low VIP. The range for VIP that Shoemaker uses is 23-63 pg/ml. Shoemaker is working with VIP replacement, as a patented hormone replacement has been produced by Hopkinton Drug. A talk he gave to other physicians used to be available at http://www.hcam.tv/videos/specials-and-unique-programs . It can still be accessed as streaming video on Shoemaker’s site at http://www.survivingmold.com/legal-resources/video
Excited? You bet. But beware of the fact that taking VIP right away doesn’t do any good. As Shoemaker states repeatedly in his book, Surviving Mold, it’s crucial to eliminate environmental mold toxins, detoxify the mycotoxins in the body, and lower inflammation before you take VIP. It might also be helpful to first balance some of the upstream regulatory hormones, such as ADH and cortisol.
After reading, I had to see what my own VIP levels was. I was tested on March 11, 2011 for the first time, and my result, 23.5 pg/ml puts me in the low normal. I don’t know from his IACFS paper whether this would be considered part of the 98% of low CFS patients or the 2% that is normal, but I suspect I would be considered normal, although barely. Did my levels drop after 3 months of intermittent exposures to the toxic particles in my house that got stirred up as we cleaned and moved things?
In the meantime, I’m not getting too far on the Shoemaker protocol. Cholestyramine is step 3of a 12 step protocol, but I had to put it on hold. I definitely feel better without it. There are other ways to detoxify biotoxins. Perhaps following part of Rea's protocol (sauna, avoidance, desensitization) will work better for me. But first I'll be meeting Dr. Janette Hope and trying CSM one more time.