Evidence-Based, Simplified Nutrition and Lifestyle Strategies


How VIP Restores the Brain’s Gray Matter Atrophy

Original Publish Date: 6/18/22


I focus on getting to root-cause healing. The truth is that the body will constantly suffer if we don’t get to the root cause of illness. Suffering can be healed with diet and lifestyle, but some disease states need additional support.


CIRS Background

One of those illnesses is chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS).


25% of the population is estimated to have a specific genetic type that does not allow for proper biotoxin removal from the body. This can include mold, Lyme, spider and tick bites, and many other biotoxins.


We have two parts to the immune system: the innate and adaptive immune response.


The innate immune response is non-specific and includes the physical, cellular, and chemical defenses against pathogens. The innate immune response is responsible for preventing the spread and movement of pathogens in the body.


Think general malaise and fever. That’s your innate immune response at work.


The adaptive immune response—also known as the acquired immune or specific immune response—is the second line of defense. The adaptive immune response is specific to the pathogen presented.


The adaptive immune response attacks non-self pathogens but can sometimes make mistakes and attack itself. This can cause autoimmune illnesses in the body, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.


The innate side usually does a hand-off (via antigen presentation) to the more advanced, specific adaptive immune response.


For 25% of the population, the hand-off never happens. The antigen is not presented.


vip nasal spray gray matter cirs


Imagine your innate response is trying to flag the adaptive side to get rid of the mold or other biotoxin and the adaptive side has no idea. 


That’s CIRS in a nutshell.


You get exposed. You never feel the same again. You can never fully heal until you remove the biotoxin from the body. This is not an “I’m going to detox it out of my body,” or “I’m going to carnivore diet it out of my body.” 


And the more your toxic bucket fills, the more you will feel unwell. That’s why the carnivore diet can make you feel better but not well enough. For these CIRS sufferers, histamine is a very real thing. Their bucket is so full that a histamine response can be released just from food. (e.g., fish that is high in histidine can be converted to histamines). 


The answer isn’t to cut down high histamine foods (temporarily, yes). But long term, it’s a bandaid. Find the root cause that’s making your toxin bucket full. 


All whole foods should be tolerable. If not, look deeper. 


Unless you use the correct supports to bind to the biotoxin, 25% of the population cannot remove the biotoxin. 


If you’re part of the 25%, and you’ve been exposed to harmful mold, simply changing the environment is not enough. The mold biotoxin will continue to recirculate in the body. This eventually causes inflammation in the body that causes multi-system, multi-symptom illness.


My carnivore clients will say, “But Judy, my CRP is less than one!”


Well, yes, that’s the adaptive immune response.


hsCRP doesn’t measure the innate immune response.


The same is true about the western sedimentation rate.


To measure inflammation in the innate immune response, you want your provider to measure TGF-b1, MMP-9, and C4a.


Eventually, with all this excess inflammation (as most cortisol receptors are in your brain!), your brain will protect itself by first expanding with the inflammation but eventually shrinking.


Grey matter atrophy can be seen on brain scans such as Neuroquant and Genie.


And with brain shrinkage, many things start going wrong in the body.


One is a decrease in melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) that controls many functions in the body.


Low Levels of MSH Symptoms

  • Problems with sleep patterns and melatonin, leading to disturbed sleep (low MSH causes imbalanced melatonin production and levels)
  • Problems with salt and water balance through interaction with ADH/AVP and serum osmolality, leading to increased thirst and urination, palpitations, and postural orthostatic tachycardia (POTS)
  • Dysregulation of the immune system with increased inflammatory cytokines and increase in autoimmunity
  • Increased pain due to decreased endorphin production
  • Issues with increased gut permeability (leaky gut, SIBO, SIFO, UC)
  • Reduction in androgens/low testosterone
  • Colonization of the nose with MARCoNS
  • Weight gain is unresponsive to changes in diet and exercise (leptin resistance)


The Importance of CIRS Treatment

I share about CIRS because many carnivores are unknowingly suffering from CIRS and while a meat-only carnivore diet will heal a lot, it won’t stop the brain atrophy. 


As the innate immune response can’t reduce the circulating biotoxin and the adaptive immune response has no idea, eventually the body will degrade. You can see it with the inflammatory markers mentioned above, as well as the brain imaging tests. 


Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker has shown in peer-reviewed studies that using cholestyramine or welchol allows the body to remove the biotoxin.


The biotoxin is negatively charged. Cholestyramine is an anion-binding resin that has a positive charge. It’s the perfect size and correct charge to bind to these negatively charged biotoxins.


I know there are many mold advocates online who say to sweat and use natural binders like clay and activated charcoal. While these tools can help remove other toxins, they will not remove the biotoxins.


For one, clays and charcoals are also negatively charged. Negative + negative does not attract. These natural binders have the same charge as the biotoxin. 


Consider the toxic load. If you have CIRS, using these tools may help you feel better as you are detoxing other things (e.g., parasites, heavy metals) but you are not getting to the root cause of removing the biotoxin. 


You can always test yourself by testing those three innate inflammatory markers and MSH. Everything from Dr. Shoemaker is measurable. 


Once you remove the biotoxins (and assuming your environment is safe), your blood markers will improve and you can then eventually use VIP


VIP is a peptide medication to essentially restores grey matter. You can read how this intranasal application of vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) helps to regrow a shrunken brain.


This is why finding the root cause is so absolutely critical. 


I want our community to truly heal and not become bed-bound or have permanent neurological issues. And even though I have to share some difficult truths at times, I will be the bearer of hard news if that will allow us all to get to root-cause healing. 


My interview with Dr. Bruce Hoffman talks about treatment for CIRS and other multi-system, multi-symptom illnesses. In two weeks, the Cutting Against the Grain podcast will share a deep dive into Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome


If you aren’t getting fully better on a meat-only carnivore diet, struggle with autoimmune conditions, have had chronic illness since you were a child (especially gut and candida issues), and have family members with autoimmune or thyroid illness, it’s time to consider CIRS.


Do You Have CIRS?


cirs symptoms


If you fall into 8 of the 13 clusters, you may want to consider CIRS. If your child falls into 6 of the 13 clusters, you may want to consider CIRS. 


Having one symptom in a cluster deems you positive for that cluster. 


If you want to learn more about CIRS, you can work with our NwJ nutritionist team. Here is a free resource and some videos (Dr. Hoffman’s videoDr. Dorninger’s videoDr. Shoemaker’s video, and my CIRS intro video). 


This short documentary explains mold illness pretty well. 


When you work with the NwJ team, we will provide you with client-confidential checklists to make this as easy as possible. Everyone deserves to get to root-cause healing. We hope we can be that support to get you there.


CIRS Support

nwj cirs group


For individuals seeking comprehensive practitioner-led and community support on their mold illness journey, we welcome you to join our exclusive NwJ CIRS Group Support. Join today for access to extensive resources, a like-minded community, and unparalleled care as we journey to root-cause healing together.


In health,


Nutrition with Judy

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