What Is MARCoNS?
When I tell you what MARCoNS stands for you’ll understand why it’s referred to by an acronym. MARCoNS stands for Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococci. What this means in layman’s terms is a staph infection in the nasal cavity that is resistant to antibiotics.
Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone
Melanocyte stimulating hormone, or MSH, is a regulatory hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that modulates the immune system, controls nerve function, and is anti-inflammatory. It is also is involved in the formation of melanin and pigmentation of the skin.
MSH controls production of endorphins and melatonin, which are responsible for restful sleep and pain perception that’s why deficiencies in this hormone lead to chronic pain and Chronic Fatigue syndrome. MSH has many protective benefits on the skin, intestines, lungs, and mucus membranes in the nose.
Because it controls cytokine release, inflammatory effects are multiplied when levels of MSH are low. Cytokines are immune system molecules that regulate immunity and inflammatory responses. MSH also controls ADH, or anti-diuretic hormone so people with low MSH have difficulty holding their urine and staying hydrated.
What Causes MARCoNS?
Low levels of MSH set the stage for MARCoNS to develop, while high levels of this hormone protect the body against antibiotic resistant staph infection. MSH prevents bacterial colonization by protecting the mucous membranes in the nose.
MSH deficiency is caused by the excessive production of inflammatory cytokines, produced by exposure to biotoxins. This is why low levels of MSH are found in people suffering from Biotoxin illness, chronic Lyme disease, and mold exposure because these inflammatory conditions deplete MSH, creating the perfect environment for bacteria to colonize.
In fact, MARCoNS is found deep within the nasal cavities of 80 percent of people with low MSH. It is not typically found in the sinuses of those with fully functioning immune systems. Optimizing immune function is crucial to if you want to limit the chances of contracting a staph infection.
MARCoNS does not start out as an infection, but rather a commensal colonization, later becoming an infection as the bloodstream becomes flooded with chemicals that increase inflammation, and further decrease MSH. These lowered levels then create more inflammation, leading to a vicious inflammatory response cycle.
The percentage of people with low MSH climbs even further with antibiotic use. A negative cycle ensues once MARCoNS has set up shop in the sinuses because its presence further lowers MSH and T-reg cells, while increasing inflammatory cytokines. T-reg cells are immune system modulaters that prevent autoimmune disease by limiting inflammatory flares. This inflammatory cycle leads to extreme exhaustion and Chronic Fatigue syndrome.
Antibiotic and steroid-use provide the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to colonize because they promote yeast overgrowth, irritating the mucus membranes in the nose, encouraging staph to proliferate. By the way, these colonies of yeast can also grow in the mucus membranes of the ears and mouth, as well as in dental cavitations. Steroids weakened immunity, allowing infectious bacteria to grow.
Eliminating sugar from your diet, and following a yeast-detox protocol will protect you from yeast overgrowth, and the resulting infections. Steroids also cause yeast to over grow, keeping bacteria like staph, alive and thriving.
[Read More: S. Boulardii [The Healthy Yeast]
As levels of MSH become lower and lower, due to MARCoNS, more symptoms arise as endorphins decline and cytokine production increases. Endorphins are opioid neuropeptides produced endogenously by the pituitary gland and central nervous system. They promote pleasant feelings of euphoria and contentment, and diminish pain by disrupting pain signals.
Surprisingly, typical symptoms of sinus infections, like a runny nose and facial pain, do not present in MARCoNS, which can not only infect the sinus and nasal passages, but also the bones in the jaw and even the hips. MARCoNS is common in people with chronic sinusitis who have used antibiotics repeatedly.
MARCoNS is extremely difficult to eradicate because it sequesters itself in biofilms, and is resistant to multiple antibiotics, up to six in fact not just one, as in MRSA.
- Mood swings
- Intestinal permeability or leaky gut
- Constipation and diarrhea
- Insomnia, restless sleep, and nightmares
- Hormone imbalances
- Low melatonin and serotonin
- Chronic fatigue
- Low ADH (antidiuretic hormone)
- Debilitating exhaustion
- Body Aches
As MSH levels continue to decrease, the body compensates for the additional stress by raising levels of cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone, or ACTH. This compensatory response allows the person with MARCoNS to still function. This scenario works for a while until the body can’t compensate any longer, causing ACTH and cortisol levels to fall to abnormal levels, leading to adrenal dysfunction, which is associated with fatigue, blood-sugar imbalances, and weakened immunity.
Because ADH levels are reduced in MARCoNS, the person affected can’t hold water in their body, leading to frequent urination, chronic dehydration, fungal overgrowth, depression, allergies, low back pain, and obesity. As you can see, MARCoNS is not your garden variety sinus infection, which is usually fungal in nature.
The production of biofilm further complicates the picture, causing Staph Coagulase Negative to become resistant to multiple antibiotics. Biofilms are mucilaginous protective coverings, encasing bacteria, yeast, and fungi, protecting them from antibiotic penetration. This slimy matrix is produced from the micro-organisms themselves.
How MARCoNS Unfolds
This is how MARCoNS unfolds:
Existing inflammatory conditions, such as mold exposure, Biotoxin illness and Lyme lead to low levels of MSH = MARCoNS then colonizes in the nasal passages = this leads to a staph infection = inflammation is activated = biofilms and biotoxins are produced = symptoms appear = MSH declines further = inflammation increases = the cycle continues causing adrenal fatigue and weakened immunity.
HLA-DR Genetic Testing
Genetic testing can detect if an immune defect is present, preventing the excretion of mold, Lyme, and other bacterial toxins, leading to low MSH. This genetic susceptibility is a risk factor for MSH deficiency, with an increased likelihood of acquiring MARCoNS.
Diagnosis requires a deep nasal swab – up to four inches – that is cultured for a specific amount of time as MARCoNS is slow growing. This swab can be done by your doctor or by yourself at home. Keep in mind, if the swab is not cultured for a sufficient amount of time, it will come back negative.
If your results are positive, you’ll be given information about which antibiotics will be effective against the infection and which ones are resistant.
Ritchie Shoemaker is the expert on Biotoxin illness and MARCoNS. He says that before treating a nasal staph infection, two steps must first be completed. The first is to make sure your environment is not moldy. Treating MARCoNS won’t be effective if you’re constantly being exposed to biotoxins.
Step two is to take cholestyramine, which is a binder, that attaches to mold toxins. Binders prevent the toxins from slipping through the intestinal wall, making their way into the bloodstream where they exert their negative effects. Treatment for MARCoNS can then be initiated.
BEG nasal spray eradicates the colonization of biofilm-forming MARCoNS in the nasal passages. It contains two antibiotics – Bactroban and Gentamicin, along with EDTA, a calcium chelator. Hence, the acronym. BEG is sprayed twice into each nostril, three times a day, for six weeks. Rifampin is an antibiotic that is sprayed into each nostril once a day.
Low MSH can also be caused by benzodiazepine drugs, including alprazolam, diazapam, and lorazepan, to mention just a few. If you’ve been on any of these drugs, and have low MSH, protocols for MARCoNS obviously won’t work.
Xlear Sinus Spray
As previously mentioned, MARCoNs is difficult to treat because of the biofilm communities its shrouds itself in. A nasal spray containing xylitol, called Xlear, is effective at breaking up these biofilms encasing the bacteria. Xlear also improves sinus flow, is anti-bacterial, hydrates the sinuses, and reduces any unwanted side effects from BEG spray, such as stinging.
Xlear can be used up to four times daily, in the first week before starting BEG, to reduce any uncomfortable burning. Once the spray is started, it can be alternated with Xlear three times a day, with a two-hour wait time before each administration. Using Xlear in conjunction with BEG spray improves the chances of treatment success.
Interestingly, dogs nasal passages can be infected with MARCoNS, which can then be passed on to their owners. Dogs can be tested and treated using the same protocols as humans. If a person has MARCoNS, but is having difficulty clearing it, it could be that their dog is infected or their environment is moldy. Thankfully, cats don’t get MARCoNS.
Natural options for MARCoNS include:
1. Pico silver: This product boosts the immune system, protecting the body from infections. It can be used as a nasal spray and mouthwash. This is one supplement I always have on hand, especially during cold and flu season.
2. Magnesium: This mineral is a safe alternative to EDTA, a chemical chelator used to dissolve biofilms. Biofilms are partly made partly from yeast and calcium. Magnesium dissolves calcium, detoxifies yeast toxins, and is a cofactor for the enzyme alpha-MSH, making it a must when dealing with MARCoNS.
ReMag is the best magnesium out there, and although, it will cost you more than inferior products, you’ll get more bang for your buck because of the superior absorbability.
3. Coptis: This plant-based anti-microbial contains powerful compounds that are effective at fighting antibiotic-resistant bacteria. One of my favorite supplements, berberine, gives it its yellow hue. Coptis is helpful in treating IBS, neuronal degeneration, and even cancer by blocking its growth.
MARCoNS is serious condition that can be difficult to treat. Biotoxin illness, cancer, and other inflammatory conditions can lower MSH, allowing MARCoNS to colonize and infect the nasal passages, leading to a cycle of inflammation and miserable symptoms.
Your best bet at protecting yourself from staph infections is to optimize your immune function by leading a healthy lifestyle.
Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with MARCoNS? Let me know in the comments:)