Breast Implant Illness with Danielle Valoras: Rational Wellness Podcast 254
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Danielle Valoras discusses Breast Implant Illness with Dr. Ben Weitz.
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1:40 Brief history of Silicon Gel Implants (from the FDA website).
- Silicone breast implants were introduced in the US in 1962.
- In 1976 the US Congress passed the Medical Device Amendments to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act.
- In the early 1980s concerns arose about the safety of breast implants, esp. silicone gel implants and the FDA published case reports identifying frequent local complications and adverse outcomes and they identified possible cancer and connective tissue disease in some women with breast implants.
- In 1992 the FDA removed all silicone gel-filled breast implants from the market due to safety concerns.
- In 1999, the Institute of Medicine released a report that concluded that while there were lots of local complications and health concerns related to silicone breast implants, like rupture, pain, capsular contraction, and infection, that there was no evidence of systemic health effects such as cancer or autoimmune disease.
- In 2006 the FDA approved silicone breast implants, specifically Allergans and Mentors based on 3-4 year safety reports from the manufacturers, but the FDA also required the manufacturers to conduct 6 post-approval studies for a loner period of time.
- In October 2021 the FDA ordered stronger warnings for breast implants, including a boxed warning in which the risks are reported on the package. Some of the risks that the FDA highlighted in the report include capsular contracture, implant rupture, and possible silicone gel migration into surrounding tissues, systemic breast implant illness with symptoms that may include fatigue, memory loss, rash, brain fog, and joint pain, and breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, abbreviated BIA ALCL.
8:21 Danielle’s personal story is that at age 48 she looked at the research and she chose to get silicone breast implants. Danielle already had an autoimmune disease–Grave’s hyperthyroid and anyone with autoimmune disease should be careful with implantable devices like breast implants. After the implants, Danielle had hair loss, connective tissue issues, she tore both menisci in both of her knees and she had swelling in her ankles. Her symptoms kept getting worse. She had both breast implants removed, including the capsules and she got about 70% better right away. Removing the capsule can be very difficult because the plants are under the pec muscles and the capsule is up against the back wall of the rib cage and scraping them off the back wall risks puncturing the lungs and causing a pneumothorax. But Danielle feels that it is very important to remove the capsule as well as the rest of the implant, esp. since the capsule also contains silicone. Both the silicone and the platinum that is used in the implant are quite dangerous. Danielle discovered that she had very high arsenic levels and her arsenic levels came down after the implants were removed.
14:25 The capsule is the catcher’s mitt. It is the scar tissue that forms around the silicone breast implant. Not only is silicone potentially toxic to the body, but there is also platinum used to make the silicone more gel like and to hold it’s shape and be more solid. We know that the silicone and the palatium can get through the capsule and into the body. The outer shell of the implant and even the outer shell of saline implants is made of silicone, so silicone comes into contact with the body.
18:37 Some of the silicone doesn’t crosslink and some it comes off the shell and into our bodies and it disrupts our methylation system, our hormones, and causes an inflammation cascade. It can reduce your ability to detoxify.
20:23 Breast implants eventually will leak silicone and those who have implants are told that they will eventually need to be replaced. But it is the shell that sheds and biodegrades and leaks into the body. Dr. Edward Fleury from Brazil is a radiologist who has studied silicone induced granulomas that can form within the breast implant capsule. This leads to either a B or T cell response and this can lead to autoimmune disease and it can eventually lead to cancer. The T cell response can result in BIA-ALCL, which is Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma.
Danielle Valoras is a Certified Physician Assistant and the Founder and clinician of NavWell Rx, PLLC, an integrative health practice. Danielle is the originator of the Breast Implant Health Summit and she brings over 20 years of experience in medical research and education to her clients. She specializes in Psycho-Neuro-Endocrine-Immunology, a burgeoning field that investigates the link between the nervous system, the endocrine system, and the immune system in relation to physical health. Danielle’s practice integrates western medicine, functional medicine, trauma response and clinical bodywork therapies. She treats autoimmune issues, CFS/ME, and implantable device-related illnesses such as Breast Implant Illness (BII).
Dr. Ben Weitz is available for Functional Nutrition consultations specializing in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders like IBS/SIBO and Reflux and also specializing in Cardiometabolic Risk Factors like elevated lipids, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure and also weight loss and also athletic performance, as well as sports chiropractic work by calling his Santa Monica office 310-395-3111. Dr. Weitz is also available for video or phone consultations.
Dr. Weitz: Hey, this is Dr. Ben Weitz, host of the Rational Wellness podcast. I talk to the leading health and nutrition experts and researchers in the field to bring you the latest in cutting edge health information. Subscribe to The Rational Wellness podcast for weekly updates, and to learn more, check out my website, drweitz.com. Thanks for joining me, and let’s jump into the podcast.
Hello, Rational Wellness podcasters. I’m very excited to be talking about a new topic for Rational Wellness, which is breast implant illness. Now, for those of us like me, who are not really familiar with this topic, I decided to look a little bit into the history of breast implant illness. Does it even exist, and what do we know about it? So I decided to take a very conservative route. So pretty much everything I’m going to say now is coming from the FDA.
Now, to be objective, a lot of people feel that the FDA is a bit too chummy with the medical device industry given the fact that a number of members of the FDA have come from this industry and big pharma and have gone back to work in industry after being at the FDA. So just so you know that everything I’m saying now is coming directly from the FDA. So none of this should not be considered as controversial.
So silicone gel breast implants were first introduced in the United States in 1962. In 1976, the US Congress passed the 1976 medical device amendments to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act. Breast implants were considered moderate risk class two. Then in the early 1980s, concerns arose about the safety of breast implants, especially silicone gel implants, and the FDA identified frequent local complications and adverse outcomes and published case reports identifying possible cancer and connective tissue disease in some women with breast implants. At that point, the FDA reclassified breast implants into class three high risk products needing pre-market approval and called the manufacturers to provide data demonstrating safety. In 1992, the FDA removed all silicone gel-filled breast implants from the market due to safety concerns. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine released a report that concluded that while there were lots of local complications and health concerns related to silicone breast implants like rupture, pain, capsular contraction, infection, that there was no evidence of systemic health effects such as cancer or autoimmune disease.
So in 2006, the FDA approved silicone breast implant, specifically Allergans and Mentors based on three to four-year safety reports from the manufacturers, but the FDA also required the manufacturers to conduct six post-approval studies, which would take a longer period of time. In other words, the breast implants are approved, but because there’s a risk, they want the manufacturers to conduct these post-approval longer term studies for safety. Recently, last October of 2021, the FDA ordered stronger warnings for breast implants, including a boxed warning in which the risks were listed on the packaging. Of course, how many women actually see the packaging on their breast implants? Some of the risks that the FDA highlighted in the report include capsular contracture, implant rupture, and possible silicone gel migration into surrounding tissues, systemic breast implant illness with symptoms that may include fatigue, memory loss, rash, brain fog, and joint pain, and breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, abbreviated BIA ALCL.
Interesting, we have the FDA at one point in time saying there’s absolutely no risk of cancer, and now we have a cancer that’s absolutely tied with breast implants. So it just goes to show you how science changes and evolves with changing evidence. So anybody who comes on TV who says, “This is what the science is. This is what the truth is,” needs to be humble and realize that’s based on what evidence is currently available and that evidence could change.
Danielle Valoras is with us today, and she’s a certified physician assistant, and the founder of NavWell Rx PLLC, an integrative health practice. Danielle is the originator of the Breast Implant Health Summit, and she brings over 20 years of experience in medical research and education to her clients. She specializes in psychoneuroendocrine immunology, which is a burgeoning field that investigates the link between the nervous system, the endocrine system, and immune system in relation to physical health, and since we talk a lot about gut health and we talk about the gut-brain-immune connection, this is actually not something that’s unusual for our listeners. Danielle’s practice integrates Western medicine, functional medicine, trauma response, and clinical body work therapies. She treats autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue, and implantable device-related illness such as breast implant illness. Danielle, thank you so much for joining us today.
Danielle: Thank you, Dr. Weitz. It’s a pleasure to join you, and I’ve listened to you for so long that I feel like my education came from here. So I appreciate you very much.
Dr. Weitz: Okay. Well, I thank you for that. So we were talking off air a little bit and you said you’re working with the FDA. Can you tell us a little bit about that? Maybe can you comment about the introduction I just gave because you are much more of an expert at this than I am?
Danielle: Yeah. I would say I am in communication with the FDA versus working with them.
Dr. Weitz: Oh, okay.
Danielle: Just for clarity.
Dr. Weitz: Helping to supply them with some information.
Danielle: Yeah, and hoping to move the dial further with different not disciplinary actions, but the black box warning or fully informed consenting and that type of partnership. There’s not just me, but a group of women behind this movement. As you can see, since actually 2018-2019, we’ve actually made some pretty significant strides, and we hope to have more in the next three to five years as well. My background as a PA since ’99 is one thing, but I’ve also worked in the medical device industry as a field clinical engineer for class three medical devices. So my world merged and I look at the clinical study and the clinical evidence that we don’t really have for the breast implants, and it just pushes me forward to do more.
Dr. Weitz: So perhaps you can tell us about your personal story related to breast implants.
Danielle: Yeah. My personal story is I was 48. I lost 40 pounds. I was in the best shape of my life, and I saw myself in the mirror and I thought, “If there’s ever a time to get breast implants, now would be the time,” and so I did. I mean, I did some research. I looked at the FDA approval. There were no warnings. I looked at the 2006 SSED, which is the Summary of Safety and Effectiveness Data that goes along with it. This was part of what I had done for my full-time day job as a class three field clinical engineer for cardiology. So I thought I had it all together. Then I chose a physician, a plastic surgeon to put them in. I put them in and literally, for me, it was like three to four months later, things just started to happen, and it correlated with the time I was studying functional medicine, and timeline and history is everything, and it pretty much-
Dr. Weitz: By the way, did you get to see the label on a box?
Danielle: No. That was before the label existed, but what did exist, so I have a thyroid disorder called Grave’s disease that’s been treated. So anyone with … Say?
Dr. Weitz: Hyperthyroid.
Danielle: Yes. So anyone with an autoimmune condition should be very careful with implantable devices, especially breast implants or even asthma, right? That’s in the labeling in very small italicized print on the manufacturer’s website, but you don’t know which implant you’re going to receive. It may be one company over another. So that was never brought up in my informed consent. In theory, I should never have been implanted because of the autoimmune issue that I had, and I was. Looking back, from hair loss to connective tissue issues, I tore both meniscus in each knee and swelling and the ankles. I should send you pictures so you can see, and the hair loss, and the fatigue, and the acne. It looked like autoimmune issues, but my antibodies at the time actually were normal, at least the ones we were measuring for.
Dr. Weitz: Now, when you say you shouldn’t have had the implants because of autoimmune disease, does the FDA currently recognize that breast implants may cause autoimmune disease or exacerbate autoimmune disease?
Danielle: I would say that they say autoimmune disease or history of is a risk factor, and breast implants should not be placed in that population.
Dr. Weitz: Okay. So they’re recognizing that there’s a relationship with autoimmune disease.
Danielle: Yeah. A correlation might be a more politically correct word. Well, I mean, I don’t want to necessarily speak for the FDA, but there is and they made the manufacturers list that on their websites as well. Actually, relatively recently, they now have to go through a pretty decent informed consent for everyone who will get breast implants, and if they fail to do so, then it’s against regulation and, hopefully, folks would be held accountable for that, but yeah. That’s a mouthful.
Dr. Weitz: So can you comment about why breast implants were taken off the market and then approved? Oh, wait. Go ahead and finish your story. Yeah, yeah. Are you finished with your story?
Danielle: Basically. So at the end of the day, my symptoms just kept getting more and worse, and we thought it was physical, the weight of the implants, the brachial plexus right here, the lymphatic system, all of the above, and then I removed them, removed the capsule as well, and I’d say I got about 70% better right away in that was-
Dr. Weitz: Is that a significant factor removing the capsule? Is that not always done?
Danielle: It is not always done. In my experience, self-experience as well as with clients, when they remove all the capsule, there’s a greater or a less inflammatory response, especially if there’s silicone in the capsule.
Dr. Weitz: Why would they not remove the whole thing? Why would they not remove the capsule?
Danielle: Well, if you think about it, and I wish I had a model, for under the muscle, you’ve got the ribcage like this and you’ve got the pec minor, and then you’ve got pec major here. So they’ll cut the pec major to make place for this implant, whatever size it is. Usually, that pec major has to be cut, and that sits right on your ribcage. So you’ve got ribs, intercostal space, ribs, ribs, intercostal space, and what’s right behind there are the lungs or maybe even pericardium, depending on which way they are displaced near the sternum. So to scrape that off the back wall risks a pneumothorax, risks puncture, and it could be dangerous, especially if the plastic surgeon is not versed into getting the capsule off, right? There are plenty of experienced explanters out there that can do the whole thing.
I know we’re digressing a little bit, but this brings up a great opportunity to talk about the capsule, which is the scar tissue, which is the catcher’s mitt for whatever is in the device, in this case, a breast implant or whatever’s in the shell and whatever comes out of that from off gassing to silicone, to platinum, to whatever’s in that catcher’s mitt. That catcher’s mitt gets formed, and sometimes we don’t make a very good catcher’s mitt. There’s that theory, and then sometimes we make what they call a baker stage four, which is very, very thick and a robust catcher’s mitt, right? So there’s so much in that surgery to remove it, and sometimes it can actually get up to the brachial plexus and way up to the collar bone. So there’s some delicacy in there, but that tissue being the catcher’s mitt, to remove that I feel is imperative because it is the catcher’s mitt. Right now, all I know to do is focus on silicone, silicone and platinum, because I know that it can get through the capsule into the body. There’s enough literature on that to support that, but there are beliefs that maybe that’s not advantageous to remove for the person, but I do think that it’s important, and that’ll be an arm wrestle for the next three to five years.
Dr. Weitz: Is it better not to have the implant under the muscle? Can it be over the muscle?
Danielle: It can be over the muscle, and the capsule that forms is still a catcher’s mitt, and you’re still you’re still right here in a very innervated and lymphatic-rich area that you still have the consequences, but you don’t have the cut pec major, right?
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Dr. Weitz: I heard you say in another interview that you ended up having very high arsenic levels and somehow this catcher’s mitt capsule affects why you had these high arsenic levels.
Danielle: No. This is just a theory of mine. The implant definitely has metals, right? I mean, it’s listed, but the-
Dr. Weitz: Right. Platinum is very common, right? Platinum is used in the-
Danielle: In the crosslinking. Oh, yeah.
Dr. Weitz: Why is platinum put in?
Danielle: Because it makes the silicone more solid. It makes it more gel-like. It makes the shell, right? Oh, there’s so much to say. So there’s-
Dr. Weitz: Right. It’s like making your paint, put the lead in the paint to give it real good textures.
Danielle: Yeah. Yeah. Oh, I didn’t even go there, but absolutely. So you do this and some of the silicone doesn’t crosslink and you never have a perfect crosslink. So maybe instead of this, I feel like I’m doing an example of leaky gut right now, but instead of this, you actually get something like this, right? Then what comes off the shell is silicone, and plus or minus platinum, right? So for me, I think the implants cause is our methylation system to disrupt, and I think that’s why I had high arsenic because as soon as it was removed, my arsenics went down. My arsenic level went down, right? Within two weeks, it was normal, but before, it was quite high. So I-
Dr. Weitz: So your body’s detoxification capabilities to remove the normal amount of arsenic that unfortunately is contained in our food wasn’t filtered out.
Danielle: That’s my belief. It just happened so fast that if it was something that was stuck in my system, it would’ve been deposited, and it was the fastest chelation if it was just from the breast implants, I think, but I do think it’s an endocrine disruptor, a methylation disruptor, and an inflammation cascade, right? So depending, and I don’t even know that it depends on your genetics. I mean, it does. There’s some risk factors there, but I think that this is enough of a toxic load, especially over time for some that it will cause expression of the different genetics that we have.
Dr. Weitz: We know that the silicone is eventually going to leak, right? Isn’t it the case that virtually every woman, if they have the breast implants for a long enough period of time, they’re going to have leakage, right?
Danielle: Well, if I can, let’s back up just a minute because the shell is silicone of saline implants, of silicone implants.
Dr. Weitz: Okay. So if you don’t get the shell out, you automatically have silicone that’s coming into contact with your other tissues.
Danielle: Well, the shell of the implant and then the capsule, for sure. So every implant out there is made of silicone and people think, “Oh, I have saline.” It’s made of silicone, the outer lane.
Dr. Weitz: So you’re saying the saline breast implants have a silicone on the outside.
Danielle: Yes, a silicone-platinum crosslinking to hold everything together and in.
Dr. Weitz: Oh, wow!
Danielle: We’re finding evidence that it’s the shell that sheds. It’s the shell that biodegrades. It’s the shell that is the initial insult.
Dr. Weitz: Okay. So even forgetting about leakage of the silicone gel, the shell is shedding silicone into your body.
Danielle: Yes, and there’s something that Dr. Eduardo Fleury from São Paulo, Brazil, he’s a radiologist, MD, PhD, and he studies silicone-induced granulomas within the breast implant capsule. So whether it’s saline or silicone, you can see the silicone granuloma. So look up his research. It’s really wonderful.
Dr. Weitz: What is a silicone granuloma?
Danielle: It is basically silicone that’s gotten out of the shell of the implant and your body’s responding to it and your body is wonderful, right? So it attacks it, and-
Dr. Weitz: The immune system response.
Danielle: Yes, and I think specifically for most, it’s a T cell response. There are some B cell response to the breast implant that causes a different type of cancer, but T cell is BII, which is breast implant illness, and T cell response is BIA-ALCL, which is the lymphoma caused specifically by the breast implant. So it’s a granuloma, the immune responses. The immune makes a response and there’s attack to it. Then you’re dealing with this inflammatory cascade from the get-go. Now, you have a catcher’s mitt, which is the capsule that your body formed around it, which three to four months, you should have some scar tissue in place, but also, when you have that inflammation, biofilm forms, and that changes your normal flora, and there’s a whole other podcast we can do on that, but it causes a cascade that the body has to handle, and can your body handle that inflammatory response? Does it have enough? Chronically over time, toxicity in my world breeds deficiency, and sure, we can replace the deficiency or we can try, but it’s always going to be a load. It’s always going to be a load. If that was our only load other than glyphosate, other than all the leaky gut and the different things, maybe we would be able to handle it better, but-
Dr. Weitz: Do we have a good test for silicone?
Danielle: We do not. The best test is an MRI. It’s a breast MRI with or without contrast. I would say with contrast gives you the higher yield to see if you have that silicone-induced granuloma. It’s not quite for silicone, but we have blood tests that you can look for silicone, but the molecules in which they’re testing for isn’t necessarily the breast implant. Now, if you have a frank rupture, maybe this would capture that. We do have silicone sensitivity tests that we can do, but in my patient population, I’ve never seen anyone positive with the sensitivities for silicone. For other things that are in the breast implants like when you do the environmental toxins and stuff, you can see those all high, but silicone never registers for these people, and they are very sick.
Dr. Weitz: What about urine? Same?
Danielle: Same, same, right. You can test. We see people doing a lot of heavy metal testing. Those will be disrupted because I think of the methylation more than what is in. What is in the implants causes this cascade of disruption. I don’t know that what you’re measuring is because of the breast implant like mercury is for fillings. So there are tests that I use to help get methylation in the Krebs cycle, really, in the mitochondria are more robust and that’s an organic acid test for me. I tend to use Great Plains because they show the oxalates. Vibrant Health also shows oxalates. What I find actually is that we are more deficient, significantly deficient in B6 and B1, and adding those over the folate and the B12, move the dial more better, different while you are opening up the drainage pathways. That’s key. Get things moving.
Dr. Weitz: Now, you’re talking about treatment for patients with breast implant illness.
Danielle: Yeah. Yeah. I think there might be a little bit more to say about the capsule, making sure the capsule’s removed and then the silicone granuloma. So testing for illness, Dr. Tervaert-
Dr. Weitz: Now, let’s continue to talk about how breast implants cause illness. How do breast implants lead to autoimmune disease? What is the immune system reacting to that’s causing cross-reactivity?
Danielle: That’s a great question, and if I knew that specifically, it would be or I could retire, but what I know is that there is reaction-
Dr. Weitz: Calling Dr. Vojdani, we need your help.
Danielle: Yup. Silicone and platinum seem to be the biggest foes and the two components of the breast implants that we know cause a certain cascade, right? So the cross-reactivity, I don’t know. I’m sure there’s more and I hope he does call.
Dr. Weitz: No. We do know that breast implants cause cancer, this specific form of cancer, anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
Danielle: Yeah, and that’s a T cell cascade, specifically to the silicone. What you’ll find interesting in the literature by Fleury and Susan Turner is if you look at their work and you extrapolate the T cell, what you’ll see in Fleury’s work is he finds the silicone-induced granuloma before BIA, BIA-ALCL, before the lymphoma, and also before the BII, right? So what we don’t know is what causes the T cells to proliferate to make lymphoma and what causes the T cells to stay in a certain way for BII, right? Now, they’re going to say that the literature is based on textured implants for the lymphoma, but you see the same granuloma and on MRI before, and with BIA-ALCL and BII.
Dr. Weitz: When you say BII, for everybody, she’s talking about breast implant illness versus the breast implant associated cancer.
Danielle: Lymphoma, and let’s be specific. That’s just one of them associated with the textured implants, but there’s sarcomas, melanomas. There’s many other cancers that are linked to the breast implant.
Dr. Weitz: What are some of the other common cancers that are linked with breast implants?
Danielle: Melanoma and sarcoma.
Dr. Weitz: Okay. Sarcoma of bones or soft tissues or what?
Danielle: You see the granuloma and the biopsy shows that it’s a sarcoma-related tissue. That’s in the literature, for me, right? It’s within the breast implant capsule and you can see … Oh, so remember how we were talking about the shell?
Dr. Weitz: Right.
Danielle: So once you have these openings, things can get out as well as in. So I think that’s where the irritation and the granulomas begin, and how it deforms I don’t know.
Dr. Weitz: Okay. Okay. So go ahead. So sarcomas, and what other kinds of cancer?
Danielle: I’ve read on melanoma. My patients haven’t had the sarcoma or melanoma.
Dr. Weitz: Okay. I heard you talk about some of the gastrointestinal symptoms related to breast implant illness and how this can be a cause of leaky gut. I personally treat a lot of patients with IBS and SIBO and leaky gut. I wonder if this could be one of the reasons we don’t consider for patients who don’t improve as much as we had hoped.
Danielle: If anyone has an implantable device and they have GI issues that we try and we try, I think we need to dig further. The question should be for every patient, “Do you have an implantable device?” Some people don’t consider IUDs as an implantable device, right? Some patients don’t remember they have a dental implant or they’ve ever had a root canal or things like that, but they definitely are inflammatory, and if that person doesn’t have enough reserve to handle inflammation, total inflammation, it’s hard to move the dial.
Dr. Weitz: So, unfortunately, though, it sounds like from what I’ve heard and read so far that if somebody like me is working with a patient with gut problems and we suspect that there might be a breast implant related factor, there’s not one definitive test I can do to say, “Yes, we know your breast implant is part of the problem.”
Danielle: Correct, but I think as practitioners we should be knowing what is in the person’s body, in their history, right?
Dr. Weitz: Yeah, no, I mean, we’ll have to decipher from history and suspect that possibility.
Danielle: There’s something called the Bradford Hill criteria, and there’s a Dr. Jan Tervaert out of Canada who just published a paper on how he diagnoses breast implant illness and the evidence for it. If someone comes to me with breast implants or they just come to me because they’re tired and we take a full history, I now for the past four years have been asking, “Do you have an implantable device? Do you have breast implants? Do you have a penal implant? Do you have dental implants? Let’s go down the list. Do you have a pacemaker? Do you have a fake hip, fake knees?” We’d go through it all. There’s some of those that are things you can do about, and there’s some that like a pacemaker would be really hard to remove, right? So at least we know that if you have a mesh, oh, that’s a whole other conversation, that inflammatory cascade is very similar to breast implant cascade as well. If we’re going for the low hanging fruit at first, we’re going to decrease inflammation, oxidative stress, all of that, and work with the gut, right?
Dr. Weitz: So you find that these meshes, which are, say, for example, common in hernia surgeries and some of these other surgeries where-
Dr. Weitz: Pelvic surgeries, yeah.
Danielle: Yeah. They also can cause, well, let’s just call it an inflammatory cascade for now, and it’s so embedded in the tissue just like some of the breast implants and the capsules are embedded into the tissue, and the granulomas that occur with them are of concern, right? Some of these procedures are elective. So we are now putting devices in people that cause inflammation, and our first job is to do no harm. So yeah, my brain just went in five different directions on what else do I want to say about meshes, but meshes can cause the same issues, for sure.
Dr. Weitz: Meshes don’t have Silicon, right? They’re just made from plastic of some type.
Danielle: They are made of … What are they made of?
Dr. Weitz: Polycarbonate or something like that, I believe, some of them.
Danielle: Yeah, and I think they’re-
Dr. Weitz: I mean, I had one put in for a hernia in 2000.
Danielle: What are your symptom? No, just kidding. No, but if you can, again, toxicity breeds deficiency. So I have women who come to me who have all the signs and symptoms and even have SIGBIC on MRI, and they’re not ready to remove them. They may never be ready to remove them.
Dr. Weitz: SIGBIC is silicone-induced granuloma breast implant capsule.
Danielle: Yes. So sorry.
Dr. Weitz: That’s okay.
Danielle: They want to keep them. “Okay. So let’s empower you. Let’s be totally informed, and let’s see what we can do to help you have vitality in life,” right?
Dr. Weitz: So let’s go over how you could treat from a functional medicine or integrative perspective a patient who comes to you with some illness related to breast implants or even other implants.
Danielle: Yeah. Number one is ask what they have inside their body, right? We ask them the supplements. Some of the women who come I can’t tell that they have implants, but they’ve had them in for 20 years, right? So if they’ve had a breast implant set or second set in for 20 years or over seven to 10, we’re having the conversation that they don’t last a lifetime, and there’s something to be considered for changing them out or at least getting imaging to see if they’re ruptured, right? So I start there. So then if they get the imaging and they don’t have SIGBIC, let’s say their implants have been in for three years but they’re still feeling crummy and they don’t have SIGBIC, then it’s an informed conversation of we don’t see the granuloma yet. By the time we see the granuloma, we know that silicone is outside of the implant, into the capsule, and potentially has migrated through the body. Then as we know, your body may or may not create antibodies to this and you don’t know where this cascade of silicone will land, right? Then we’ll take another MRI in a year or in two years and we’ll follow it that way.
Now, if they have SIGBIC, the conversation is, “You have inflammation in your body. The breast implant is leaking. We know this because of the SIGBIC, and now what do you want to do about it? Do you want to go for explant? How do you want to have vitality?” So we’ll do an organic acid test. We’ll sometimes do a DUTCH test and a stool test and see what we’re dealing with. We’ll do the Lyme and the EBV.
Dr. Weitz: Okay. What sorts of things might you find on those tests and what will that tell you, and then what do you do about it?
Danielle: Oh, you see a toxic load usually, and you’ll see methylation issues. If anyone doesn’t see a low B6, I would like to see that because I haven’t seen that yet. You’ll see low B6. You’ll probably see oxalates. You’ll definitely see candida. You’ll see, going down the list, plus or minus. A lot of these people-
Dr. Weitz: Why would you see candida?
Danielle: For me, I think people want me to say metals, but the methylation disruption and the inflammation, now, it’s a very overwhelmed body. It’s a great environment for it to grow. Now, this is organic acid, right? So this is in the urine even. Sometimes you see mold. You see mycotoxins for some of them. I see that a lot with specifically saline. I’m going down the organic acid test.
Dr. Weitz: Why do we get mycotoxins with saline breast implants?
Danielle: Yeah. That’s a great question because it’s not necessarily, “Is it being introduced? Is it inside? Is it introduced during the surgery? Is it inside the implant? Is it in the body?” We don’t know it. In some places it grows. I don’t have the answer. I wish I did, but I don’t, but you do see it, right? Sometimes maybe that’s where it lands because they’ve had mold exposure before, right? Some of these women have been exposed to Lyme. There are co-infections, and a lot of people have EBV or mono, and that gets reactivated, right? So a lot of the functional med.
In the beginning, I was just treating that and treating that and not considering the implantable device, and didn’t really make much headway with that. Oh, there’s so much to say. The people who I see have mold and have that sensitivity like a mast cell, a histamine response, they can’t eat too much, they can’t take supplements, their nervous system is just off the charts, those are the tough ones. I need more practitioners to share are their stories how they help these patients. I don’t see those patients being able to not explant.
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Dr. Weitz: Is there a way to detox silicone or some of the other things associated with breast implants? Is there a silicone detox program?
Danielle: Open up all the drainage pathways. Keep it moving. Heat.
Dr. Weitz: How do you like to open up drainage pathways?
Danielle: Lymphatic drainage massage. I use something also, to instruct the patients to use something like block therapy. So in my practice, I do osteopathic manipulation. So we’ll do visceral. We’ll keep that moving, flush the liver, and manually do that, do heat with sauna, make sure you’re able to sweat, breathwork, all the drainage pathways, breath, liver, kidneys, urine, feces.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah. Some doctors talk about using herbal bitters to get bile flow. Some doctors talk about there’s this-
Danielle: [inaudible 00:43:03]
Dr. Weitz: Exactly.
Danielle: It’s all of it. Most everyone under this chronic stress for some length of time have decreased HCL. There’s things like if they have edema, that HCL is going to really or some other kinds of enzymes that could really help that patient. Opening it up from the mouth to the stomach, to the liver, the bile duct. The gallbladder is usually a mess when you look at their organic acid, most of them, but I think this is true for many of our chronic, well, autoimmune patients is their amino acids are so low and either they’re not taking them in or they don’t have enough of what it takes to break it down, right? So you just start with the basics. Open it all up and that tends to help.
Dr. Weitz: Okay. What else can we do to help patients with breast implant illness besides detox?
Danielle: Yeah. So the nervous system and listen to the patient. Create a safe space for that patient because by the time they found a functional medicine practitioner, they’ve probably been to at least five to 10 others, right? They’ve been to the ER so many times. So just to listen and to create that safe space for them, I think that provides so much healing. Replace the deficiencies. I tend to start mitochondrial Krebs cycle first, and that seems to move the dial quite well.
Dr. Weitz: What does that mean practically? Exactly which-
Danielle: B6, B1. I don’t do B complexes because you need so much more than what that can offer, right? I mean, the magnesium, the electrolytes, these people are adrenal fatigues so you go that route as well. I’m assuming people who are listening know how to beef up their adrenals, take away the stress. Breathwork is amazing. The rest is the full functional medicine profile.
Initially, explant has proven to decrease the symptoms. For me, I call it nutrient-riching and opening up the drainage pathways. That moves the dial the most. You just had Todd Watts on not too long ago. When I added the Cell Core products to these women, we’re actually going to do a clinical study, a feasibility coming up, the carbon technology just shifted things to faster.
Now, the people that have very high sensitivities or mast cell got to go really slow, but following their opening up the drainage pathways, addressing viruses, addressing parasites and different things has really impacted the health of the BII population quite well.
I’d like to say I had it really good before, but I added this and it’s even better. So I’m going to start a HOPE clinical trial, and it’s called How to Optimize Post Explant. We’ll be doing 20 women. It will start in 2022. I think we’ll be doing it at two plastic surgeons offices who explant so we can track everything that we know to track today and we’ll see the people who have not improved at the three month marker, they will see if they meet the inclusion/exclusion criteria, and those who have explanted before and end of a year.
So we’ll get this population that wasn’t all the way helped and they still have symptoms post-explant, and we’ll see if we can move the dial with what we’re talking about here and, hopefully, give other practitioners, “Okay. I’m going to do it this way,” at least a correlation if we can.
Dr. Weitz: Okay, cool. So you said you would use some products from Cell Core that help to detox and clear out parasites and you found this really helpful.
Danielle: Yeah, and even their phased approach, right. I think that it makes sense to open up the exit door before yelling, “Fire,” right? Otherwise, you think about that for estrogen, right? You give dim, dim, dim all day long, and you don’t have any amino acids and the different things, and you’re not going to have what you need to succeed in that. So doing the same approach I think will work in implantable devices for the women. So the problem with silicone on the periodic table is that it’s right underneath carbon. So I think one of the things that Cell Core has is it’s carbon technology. So silicone will bind to a carbon site, and how do we release it? Well, the only way you can release it is to fold it. How do you fold it? Maybe heat it, change its oxidative state. We don’t know this information. I wish I could say, “Oh, take an inositol and that’ll do it,” but it doesn’t, right? So you need to unbind it in many of the cases, and then you need to make sure carbon binds with that while you’re pushing the silicone along. So that’s why moving lymphatic, breathwork, exercise, sauna, you’re heating it, we’re doing everything we can to change our own oxidative state. I don’t know necessarily how to impact that bound silicone and change its oxidative state, but I can heat it with sauna. I can do some red light therapy. I can manipulate it, but there’s not full data on that. That’s just what I’ve clinically found that works.
Dr. Weitz: Great.
Danielle: It’s suffocating.
Dr. Weitz: No, it’s great. A lot of stuff to think about, and it’s hopeful that we’re getting more information about some of the health effects of these silicone and saline breast implants, and that there are some strategies that are helping women with these and potentially similar problems with other people who have other sorts of implantable devices, including mesh.
Danielle: Yeah. Yeah. That’s going to be interesting cascade, for sure.
Dr. Weitz: Have you had hernia patients with-
Danielle: Yeah. Yeah. More like fatigue and dampen symptoms. By the time breast implant, people have autoimmune. It’s been. We went through the whole autoimmune trajectory. I mean, you’re not diabetic today, but you weren’t yesterday, right? So there’s this behind here.
Dr. Weitz: There’s this long, long, long pathway. Yeah.
Danielle: I don’t know that mesh leaks like the shell of the implant. So I think it causes irritation and inflammation and depending on how you build the scar tissue, but it doesn’t have the same structure as a breast implant shell does. So while it does cause issues, I don’t know that it will impact. I think it would impact less, but we don’t know.
Dr. Weitz: Then of course, we have an individual response. You have four people in a house with mold and one of them gets really sick and one of them gets mild symptoms and the other two never have any symptoms.
Danielle: Yeah. One of the things we’re going to look at in the HOPE clinical study is we’ll do a full DNA panel and we’ll see if there’s, I mean, everyone talks about, “Oh, I’m MTHFR.” What about GST? What about all these other things? I think we’re going to find correlations there. So for people with mesh, I would look at the same thing and see, and then at the end of the day, all we have is choice to optimize, and there are some things like pacemakers and they had polyurethane leads and silicone leads and platinum tips or platinum iridium tips, right? So we’re not going to remove them, but how do you optimize that patient, but knowing what this can cause may help. Is it inflammatory? Is it oxidative? Is it that? That I think is Functional Medicine 102, right?
Dr. Weitz: Great. So any final thoughts for our listeners and viewers as we wrap this up?
Danielle: Yeah. If there are practitioners out there that see breast implant illness or related complications from PTs, functional medicine, we host every other year a breast implant health summit. This year will be October 20, 2022. I’m looking for more practitioners to speak what they do because it takes a collaborative team to, if we can heal these people more better, different, faster, that’s the goal. So if people would like to either have more information on the breast implant health summit or present at the breast implant health summit, then please connect to me through the breastimplanthealthsummit.com and that would be a great way to connect.
Dr. Weitz: Excellent. Thank you, Danielle.
Danielle: Thank you very much.
Dr. Weitz: Thank you for making it all the way through this episode of the Rational Wellness podcast. If you enjoyed this podcast, please go to Apple podcasts and give us a five-star ratings and review. That way, more people will be able to find this Rational Wellness podcast when they’re searching for health podcasts. I wanted to let everybody know that I do now have a few openings for new nutritional consultations for patients at my Santa Monica Weitz Sports Chiropractic and Nutrition Clinic. So if you’re interested, please call my office, 310-395-3111 and sign up for one of the few remaining slots for a comprehensive nutritional consultation with Dr. Ben Weitz. Thank you and see you next week.
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