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.
Thank You for the post, and this may explain why my nails are as thin as paper unlike before being floxed?
Lisa – thank you for your update. FYI – I ordered from Easy Immune Health, quite a large order, and it has not yet arrived. It was a 2-day order, and it is 5 days since then. Is there a way to contact them by phone?
Interesting. I don’t eat soy products, but I do eat plenty citrus, berries & grapes, drink a few cups of black tea daily with turmeric (so getting some curcumin) and both before & for the 1st year after being floxed I was taking a joint supplement with chondroitin in it. I do feel like I have had a good recovery, of course not healed. I’m 23 mos out now, almost normal, which I never thought I would be since I was older at the time time of floxing, 66 yrs. My RA type symptoms (blood tests don’t show I have it) are better now than before floxing 🙂
Hi Lisa, I was poisoned about 3 months ago but unfortunately I haven’t noticed any improvements in my symptoms which are many, I have done some investigating only to find some abnormalities in my blood work being low ferretin, high iron, and high calcium I’m confused by all of this but I still beleive things will improve. Also is it ok to continue testosterone therapy as my levels are low but I’ve been afraid to take it since I read steroids makes floxie poisoning worse. Any ideas? Thanks
It may be wise to have annual PET scans for cancer.
I was floxed 15 years ago on Cipro
And have suffered with nerve and connective tissue disabilities ever since. I am 40 years old now and have just been diagnosed with an extremely rare adrenal gland tumor.
1 in a million. Fluoroquinolones are in fact chemotherapy drugs that can cause cancer later on.
This tumor has apparently been growing for several years now.
Maybe a screening would have caught it earlier before it turned aggressive and caused rapid weight loss and illness.
Anything suspicious of cancer must not be brushed off by doctors who are not used seeing extraordinary cases like us and do not understand that we have a higher risk of developing cancers when the normal population would present with benign abnormalities.
Feel the same way about shark cartilage…but may be compelled, emphasis may be.