Rational Wellness Podcast 025: Galectin-3 and Modified Citrus Pectin with Dr. Isaac Eliaz
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Dr. Ben Weitz interviews Dr. Isaac Eliaz, who discusses Galectin-3, an inflammatory protein measured in the blood, that increases risk of nearly every chronic disease, including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, chronic kidney disease, and heart failure.
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3:15 Dr. Eliaz explains that inflammation is the driving force for nearly every chronic disease. Inflammation is like an orchestra playing together and the conductor of the orchestra is Gallectin-3. Dr. Eliaz noted while many have not heard of Gallectin-3, there are over 3000 published studies on Gallectin-3 and at least one new study is being published on it every day. Gallectin 3 is a carbohydrate binding protein known as a lectin. It creates a lattice formation (see the diagram below) and different inflammatory compounds and growth factors sit on this structure and this creates a coating that helps to promote, inflammation, fibrosis, and cancer growth.
4:53 I asked what is the relationship between Galectin-3 and other inflammatory markers like CRP, the Interleukens, and TNF alpha? Dr. Eliaz explained that when you look at the diagram you see that stress or injury leads to Interleuken 6 and 8 and to TNF alpha, which lead to inflammation and then tissue injury and to fibrosis. Similarly you will see the pathway through TGF beta to fibroblast and myofibroblasts and fibrosis. What starts all of this is the secretion of Galectin-3, which results from a trauma or even from emotional stress. Galectin-3 will stimulate the macrophage to turn into an inflammatory macrophage, which is where IL6, IL8, and TNF alpha come from. When we regulate Galectin-3, we regulate all of the inflammatory cascade, the extracellular matrix damage cascade, and the fibrotic cascade, which all lead to dysfunction. But it’s important to know that inside the cell, Galectin-3 has a very different role. Intracellularly Galectin-3 contributes to embryogenesis, to differentiation of tissues, and to normalization of tissues. It is only extracellularly that Galectin-3 becomes this dangerous compound that stimulates inflammation and this wide variety of diseases.
7:19 I asked if Galectin-3 is inhibited by anti-inflammatories, like NSAIDs or cortisone, or therapeutic modalities like ultrasound? None of these directly affect Galectin-3. If we change our lifestyle, we eat better, sleep better, exercise more, and relax, our inflammation will decrease and our Galectin-3 will decline. But Galectin-3 must be inhibited very specifically. When you look at a diagram of Galectin-3 you will see that it has a handle, which is the antibody part, and it has what appears like a hole for a key, which is a carbohydrate recognition domain. When the inflammatory compounds come into this hole or socket and a single Galectin-3 turns into a pentomere. And the pentomeres attach to each other and you get this coating that will surround the immune cells and stop the excretion of cytokines that will allow the cancer cells to hide from the immune system and will propagate inflammation and fibrosis and kidney damage and congestive heart failure. There are certain medical conditions where the outcome depends upon the level of Galectin=3 in the blood.
9:08 I told Dr. Eliaz that conditions affected by Galectin-3, like chronic kidney disease and aortic stenosis, are chronic diseases that are incurable and while these patients are often managed with drugs, they tend to go downhill fairly rapidly. Is this something that could actually be affected by inhibiting Gallectin-3? Dr. Eliaz said that he has developed the only commercially available Galectin-3 blocker and it is a natural product that is a modification of pectin, which is a long chain of carbohydrates from citrus. Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) is actually a generic name and the specific pectin in my product is Pectasol-C and this is the modified citrus pectin that all the research has been done with. There are close to 40 published papers on this product. If you look at the 10 published studies specifically on its effects on inflammation and fibrosis, you will see that MCP reverses these conditions in rats. We are now in the latest stages of studying patients with hypertension, a double blind study at Harvard, who have been given MCP for four years to patients who have Galectin-3 above 17.8 and it is finishing in February. We are studying to see if giving MCP changes the tendency of such patients to move into congestive heart failure. For patients with congestive heart failure if their Galectin-3 is under 17.8 their one year all cause mortality is 12.5%. If you are over 25.9, your all cause mortality in one year is 37%. This is because Galectin-3 contributes to heart failure with the loss of ejection fraction. The heart not only gets enlarged, but it gets stiffer and stiffer. This is also what contributes to chronic kidney failure patients progressing faster and then they go down hill faster into dialysis.
12:52 Dr. Eliaz explains that this is also the mechanism that contributes to cancer progressing faster and he said that he had just presented an abstract on a study on prostate cancer at the most important oncology conference. It showed that patients whose prostate was taken out and there is no PSA and then the PSA starts coming back, which means it is coming directly from the cancer. Then it looked at PSA doubling time–how fast PSA is going up. 80% of those patients who took MCP slowed down or halted their PSA doubling time. There is now increasing interest in Dr. Eliaz’s research from Harvard, the NIH, etc. Dr. Eliaz said that in alternative medicine at first they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then they say that it is self-evident. So now Galectin-3 and blocking Galectin-3 is self-evident and if Modified Citrus Pectin were a drug, it would be a billion dollar drug. You should take 5 g/day of MCP for prevention and up to 10-15 g/day for cancer.
15:00 I reiterated my amazement that we are talking about possibly improving conditions that are considered incurable, like atherosclerosis. You can give patients statins and other drugs which can slow down the progression, but none of these drugs reverse atherosclerosis. When you are talking about congestive heart failure, you manage this condition with drugs but none of the drugs reverses the condition. Metastatic prostate cancer, there is no cure for that. This is very exciting that we may have a way to reverse some of these chronic processes. Dr. Eliaz explained that they have double blind studies that will be published soon on metastatic prostate cancer, on hypertension and congestive heart failure, and a trial on osteoarthritis. Dr. Eliaz also said that he is doing research in his clinic with phoresis to remove Galectin-3 directly from the blood.
17:26 Dr. Eliaz explained that he started this journey with modified citrus pectin in 1995. In 1971 he was 12 years old and a native of Israel and his mother and he went to see the Ruth and Leo Cohen, who were both PhDs in organic chemistry and pioneers in citrus farming. Ruth told him that one day they will find a cure for cancer from the peel of citrus fruits. 24 years later when the first lectins were discovered and published the first study, Dr. Eliaz called Ruth and told her and asked for her help in the research. Dr. Eliaz said thatModified Citrus pectin was just one of the supplements he would recommend but now he feels it is the most important supplement to recommend given the research. He finds how it helps Lyme patients and so many patients improve. When you block Galectin-3 in the blood, you are definitely contributing to your longevity and reducing your risk of chronic diseases.
19:42 I asked Dr. Eliaz if he has gotten pushback from big Pharma? I mentioned that I just read about a new drug that reduces CRP to prevent heart disease and it only costs $200,000 per year. Dr. Eliaz responded, “It could have cost $250,000.” Dr. Eliaz explained that on one level he is getting pushback from big pharma and on another level he is getting collaboration. Dr. Eliaz said that hopefully he is getting to the tipping point where he has so many studies. No one will be able to say that Modified Citrus Pectin is not validated by research.
21:54 I asked if Dr. Eliaz feels there is enough data now to recommend to give a strong recommendation to a cardiologist or other MD managing a patient with chronic kidney disease that MCP should be part of the treatment program? Dr. Eliaz said that he feels that they are getting close to that point. For doctors who think out of the box, it is happening right now. But it will take more published research for it to be the standard of care. He explained that cardiologists are interested in this concept and the study on hypertension and congestive heart failure from Harvard was initiated by Harvard cardiologists. Dr. Eliaz explained that all of us have some inflammation, so all of us should be taking modified citrus pectin. And it pulls out heavy metals, which many of us have, as well. And we understand how it pulls out the heavy metals–we know the mechanism. Dr. Eliaz explains that we understand how MCP will enhance the immune system. We understand how it will prevent atherosclerotic plaque and fibrosis. We understand how it will create an anti-angiogenesis anti-cancer effect through affecting VEGF. It is highly researched and scientific and yet it is very natural and comes from the peel of a citrus fruit.
25:12 I asked what dosage he recommends for MCP? Dr. Eliaz said that you should check your Galectin-3 levels through a lab test. If you don’t check your Galectin-3 levels and you are healthy, just take 5 gm per day. If your Galectin-3 level is over 14 and you are healthy, go to 10 gm per day. If it is over 17.8 and you are healthy, go to 15 gm per day. If you have fibrotic or cardiovascular disease or if you have cancer, then you need to take a little more. So if you have a fibrotic disease and you are over 12, then take 10 gm per day. If you have active cancer then you should take 15 gm per day and for two years after your cancer is gone and then go down.
27.18 I then asked that since Modified Citrus Pectin increases B cells and T cells and natural killer cells, but what about for autoimmune diseases, where the immune system is too revved up? Dr. Eliaz said that most patients with autoimmune diseases have elevated levels of Galectin-3 and taking MCP is definitely beneficial for autoimmune diseases. Asked if MCP increases T regulatory cells? It does since it increases all T cells and allows them to function better. In Lyme disease, MCP plays another important role. The biofilm that often surrounds the bacteria is made out of Galectin-3. Gallectin-3 has been shown to block the ability of antibiotics to fight infection.
30.17 I then asked about whether MCP could be helpful for Irritable Bowel Disease which is usually caused by Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth? This condition can be difficult to treat and one of the reasons may be due to biofilms. Could Modified Citrus Pectin be helpful as part of a nutritional protocol along with antimicrobials? Dr. Eliaz said that when you treat SIBO you break down the biofilms and these are negatively charged and there are heavy metals and oxidized lipids sitting there. Modified Citrus Pectin can not only help to break up the biofilms but it can bind to these heavy metals, as well as binding to the biotoxins and the mold toxins. This is why the Lyme patients do so much better with MCP as part of their protocol. I asked if MCP can be used in place of clay or other natural binding agents? Dr. Eliaz said you could or you could combine them. It can be used with alginate or seaweed or with chlorella or even with pharmaceutical chelating agents like DMSA. Dr. Eliaz also explained that they have published papers showing that MCP does not deplete the body of essential minerals.
Dr. Isaac Eliaz can be reached through his web site http://www.dreliaz.org/ or through his clinic’s web site: http://www.amitabhaclinic.com/ Dr. Eliaz’s Modified Citrus Pectin is available through Clinical Synergy http://www.clinicalsynergyformulas.com/ or Econugenics https://www.econugenics.com/ and more information is available from http://www.modifiedcitruspectin.org Patients can call 1-800-308-5518 to find out about ordering modified citrus pectin.
Here are some links to a few of the studies mentioned above:
- Galectin-3: A modifiable risk factor in heart failure. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10557-014-6520-2
- Modified citrus pectin (MCP) increases the prostate-specific antigen doubling time in men with prostate cancer: a phase II pilot study. https://www.nature.com/pcan/journal/v6/n4/full/4500679a.html
- Role for Galectin‐3 in Calcific Aortic Valve Stenosis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5210369/
Dr. Ben Weitz is available for private Functional Nutrition consultations as well as for chiropractic care. We can help you to find out your Galectin-3 levels. Call 310-395-3111 or email email@example.com
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