Fluoroquinolones degrade both the cellular matrix and collagen, and degradation of both are related to all the symptoms of fluoroquinolone toxicity. Torn tendons, nerve damage, and even memory loss and aging can be linked to cellular matrix and collagen degradation.
One theory as to how fluoroquinolones cause cellular matrix and collagen degradation (and tendon ruptures, and the hundreds of other symptoms of fluoroquinolone toxicity) is by selectively increasing expression of matrix metalloproteinases, or MMPs.
The article, “Clinical implications of matrix metalloproteinases” notes that:
“Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a family of neutral proteinases that are important for normal development, wound healing, and a wide variety of pathological processes, including the spread of metastatic cancer cells, arthritic destruction of joints, atherosclerosis, pulmonary fibrosis, emphysema and neuroinflammation. In the central nervous system (CNS), MMPs have been shown to degrade components of the basal lamina, leading to disruption of the blood brain barrier and to contribute to the neuroinflammatory responses in many neurological diseases.”
Information about the effects of fluoroquinolones on the cellular matrix, collagen, and MMPs can be found in these articles:
- Ciprofloxacin enhances the stimulation of matrix metalloproteinase 3 expression by interleukin-1β in human tendon-derived cells: A potential mechanism of fluoroquinolone-induced tendinopathy
- The effect of ciprofloxacin on tendon, paratenon, and capsular fibroblast metabolism.
- Ciprofloxacin Up-Regulates Tendon Cells to Express Matrix Metalloproteinase-2 with Degradation of Type I Collagen
- Contrasting effects of fluoroquinolone antibiotics on the expression of the collagenases, matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-1 and -13, in human tendon-derived cells.
- Effect of topical fluoroquinolones on the expression of matrix metalloproteinases in the cornea
Though un-doing the damage caused by MMP expression from fluoroquinolones is easier said than done, there are some natural MMP inhibitors that may be helpful.
Chondroitin sulfate inhibits MMPs. Several marine animals contain chondroitin sulfate, and it can be found in shark cartilage, sea cucumbers, as well as marine heparin extracted from shrimp and sea squirt (source). According to the article, Angiogenic inhibitor protein fractions derived from shark cartilage, “Shark cartilage has been proven to have inhibitory effects on the endothelial cell angiogenesis, metastasis, cell adhesion and MMP (matrix metalloprotease) activity.”
A “floxie” friend reported that he had been helped immensely by supplementing shark cartilage. (I honestly have really mixed feelings about suggesting that shark cartilage may be healing because I like sharks, but that’s beside the point, and I don’t want to withhold information from you because I feel uncomfortable about consuming shark byproducts.)
For those who (like me) aren’t comfortable supplementing shark cartilage, some other natural supplements that are MMP inhibitors include (source):
- Soybean Seeds
- Citrus Fruits
- Green Tea
- Black Tea
Those things certainly fall into the “worth a try” category. Unfortunately, I haven’t heard of anyone having dramatically positive results from eating berries or grapes, but they probably won’t hurt you, and are likely worth trying.
It is also worth noting that tetracycline antibiotics including doxycycline (NOT a fluoroquinolone), are also MMP inhibitors. The article, Bactericidal Antibiotics Induce Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Oxidative Damage in Mammalian Cells, notes how tetracycline antibiotics are bacteriostatic, not bactericidal, and how bacteriostatic antibiotics don’t cause the damage that bactericidal antibiotics inflict, and may even mitigate the damage caused by them. Low-dose doxycycline (or another tetracycline antibiotic) may help to inhibit MMPs and therefore mitigate damage and even promote healing. (Ask your doctor before starting this method.)
Though MMP activation is related to connective tissue breakdown, all fluoroquinolone toxicity symptoms, as well as cancer, arthritis, neuroinflammation, and more, to say that they are “bad” is overly simplistic. Everything in biology and health is complex and multifaceted. There are intricate feedback and feed-forward loops in many inputs. There are no easy or simple answers or cures.
With that said, MMP inhibitors may be helpful. Shark cartilage helped my friend, and it, or the other MMP inhibitors noted, may help you.
Though our bodies are complex, and there doesn’t seem to be a “magic bullet” that cures fluoroquinolone toxicity (or any other complex multi-symptom illness), there are things that can help push your body back to a state of health, and MMP inhibiting food and supplements are on that list.