I'm here to help, and I'll be glad to personally answer your questions. Please type your first name in the box on the contact form. Please check the box to receive email updates to give me permission to correspond with you by email, and type your question in the message box.
I respond to questions in the order I receive them,
usually within 1-3 business days. My responses are for
general information only, and must not be considered as
advice for specific medical treatment or diagnosis
. For appointments, please call my office at: (757) 631-9799.
Your email address or other information is confidential; I will never share it with anyone, nor will it be used for any form of solicitation. I look forward to your questions!
Donald K. Liebell, D.C., B.C.A.O.
477 Viking Drive Suite 170
Virginia Beach VA 23452
8:30AM - 6:30PM M,W,F
(and by Special Appointment)
The Liebell Clinic: Chronic Pain & Wellness Solutions
The "Fungus Among Us"
is Wreaking Havoc
on Your Sinuses!
“In the past 30 years, there has been a significant increase in the number of recorded fungal infections. This can be attributed to increased public awareness, new immunosuppressive therapies (medications such as cyclosporine that "fool" the body's immune system to prevent organ rejection) and overuse of antibiotics (anti-infectives)...
When the body's immune system is suppressed, fungi find an opportunity to invade the body and a number of side effects occur. Because these organisms do not require light for food production, they can live in a damp and dark environment.
The sinuses, consisting of moist, dark cavities, are a natural home to the invading fungi. When this occurs, fungal sinusitis results. When antibiotic treatment fails to resolve chronic sinusitis, other causes of chronic sinusitis besides bacterial infections may need to be investigated including environmental allergies.”
- The American Academy of Otolaryngology—
Head and Neck Surgery
"This a potential breakthrough that offers great hope for the millions of people who suffer from this problem... We can now begin to treat the cause of the problem instead of the symptoms."
- Dr. Eugene Kern, Mayo Clinic Research Team
"Up to now, the cause of
chronic sinusitis has not been known"
Journal of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
"Medications haven't worked for chronic sinusitis because we didn't know what the cause of the problem was... Finally we are on the trail of a treatment that may actually work."
Dr. Jens Ponikau
- Mayo Clinic ear, nose, and throat specialist
(reported by Science Daily, September 1999)
"Fungus allergy was thought to be involved in less than ten percent of cases...
Our studies indicate that, in fact, fungus is likely the cause of nearly all of these problems. And it is not an allergic reaction, but an immune reaction."
Dr. David Sherris, Mayo Clinic Research Team
Q: “Dr. Liebell, what do you think about
colloidal silver sinus products?”
A: I do not advocate colloidal silver
products for several reasons.
Part of wellness treatment involves elimination of heavy metals from the body. Adding silver is in opposition of this. Even if silver has anti-fungal or anti-viral potential, it still will not strengthen the immune system.
Natural & holistic, whole-person, wellness-based Healthcare - Drug-Free & Non-Surgical Pain Relief
The Shocking Truth
About Chronic Sinusitis
Why Antibiotics Fail...
and What You Can Do About it
By Dr. Donald Liebell
Nearly every time you go to a doctor seeking relief for a sinus infection, you are given a prescription for antibiotics—regardless of what is causing your problem. If you’ve had many sinus infections or have chronic sinusitis (sinus inflammation nearly all the time)… and you’re still being prescribed antibiotics… your doctor may be “barking up the wrong tree!”
It is quite likely that your sinus infections are not from bacteria… they could be from several types of FUNGUS!
A 1999 Mayo Clinic study revealed that an immune system response to FUNGUS is the cause of MOST chronic sinusitis! Up until the time this study was released, the cause was unknown.
Fungi include molds and mildews (as well as yeast and mushrooms). Tens of millions of Americans suffer from chronic sinusitis. noted that fungus ALLERGY was thought to be the cause of fewer than ten percent of cases… but their studies showed that FUNGI are likely the cause of nearly all of these problems. They concluded that it’s not an allergic reaction, but rather an immune reaction.
What’s the difference?
An allergic reaction is when the body reacts abnormally to a substance that is otherwise harmless. It is normal and healthy for one’s immune system to try to fight off a toxic fungus. However chronic sinusitis occurs when the immune system is NOT strong enough to win the ongoing battle with the fungi. The ongoing immune response irritates the sinuses in the process.
Clumped around those fungi in the sinuses, the Mayo researchers discovered inflammatory cells. This means the patients’ immune systems were engaged in battle with irritating the fungi (several species). Common airborne fungi make their way into the mucus lining of the sinuses in most people. The problem arises when these fungi trigger an immune response that damages the sinuses in the process of attacking the fungi.
Despite the 1999 publication of this groundbreaking medical research, prescriptions for antibiotics (completely incapable of killing fungi) have continued to be written by the millions!
If you’re taking antibiotics frequently for recurring sinus infections… this should be a clue that your immune system is not succeeding in fighting the likely true cause of the problem. You should also know that antibiotics suppress immune system function—an undisputed scientific fact.
Antibiotics cannot work against fungi, viruses, and other germs. What’s even worse is that overuse of antibiotics can cause bacteria to become resistant to such treatment.
Antibiotic Resistant Slime
Although they can be lifesaving and very important at times; inappropriate and overuse of antibiotics can cause significant problems. This is quite a pity, since antibiotics will only be helpful for infection caused by some types of bacteria. Few people seem to know that antibiotics can be utterly useless against something called bacteria biofilms. Biofilms are antibiotic-resistant clumps of bacteria (such as Staphylococci) that form by sticking together in a matrix of slime. According to the Montana State University Center for Biofilm Engineering, “microbial biofilms are naturally tolerant of antibiotic doses up to 1,000 times greater than doses that kill planktonic bacteria.
“How Can Doctors Continue to Treat Chronic Sinusitis with Antibiotics?”
Molds have been known to cause illness since biblical times. Unfortunately, traditional pharmaceutical or “Western” medicine has not been able to address fungal problems very effectively or safely. Pharmaceutical companies have not developed safe enough medicines, as they have for bacterial infections (antibiotics).
This is no surprise, because fungal cells are nothing like bacteria cells. In fact, fungal cells are similar to human cells on the molecular level. As a result of these similarities in biochemistry, antifungal drugs can be deadly to human cells too. This makes such medications high risk for very serious and possibly deadly side effects. Antifungal drugs pose the risks of liver damage, allergic reactions, or hormone imbalance.
“So What Does Conventional Western Medicine Do for Fungal Sinus Infections?”
The answer is NOTHING.
Has your doctor told you that if you keep getting sinus infections that it is probably because it is an immune system problem due to fungus? Have you been told to seek out treatments that naturally boost immune system function against fungi?
Have you heard any public service announcements alerting you to the dangers of molds and mildews… or that suggest you ask your doctor if your sinusitis or “sinus headaches” could have something to do with fungi?
A big part of it is that it is too dangerous (and likely ineffective) to prescribe antifungal medicine for sinusitis or sinus headaches. In presenting their findings at a 2004 medical conference, the Mayo Clinic researchers professed their interest in the development of a safe anti-fungal medicine. It was stated: "We hope this study will lead to the first treatment aimed at the root cause of chronic sinusitis, rather than a treatment just to mask the symptoms,"
The Mayo study was published in 1999. Have you seen advertisements for an anti-fungal sinusitis drug yet?
The Mayo Clinic sold the rights to an experimental drug to Accentia Biopharmaceuticals. In 2006 they were granted “fast track” status to get FDA approval for their anti-fungal drug, SinuNase. Their business venture bit the dust in 2008, as late stage clinical trials showed SinuNase to be no more effective than a placebo. Accentia’s stock plummeted like a rock overnight, and they were delisted from the NASDAQ… sealing the doom of anti-fungal sinusitis medication.
I have been unable to find any information about further pharmaceutical research. Is it possible that without an obvious “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow” for pharmaceutical companies, that fungal diagnosis has been pushed to the “back burner” of medicine? In my opinion, the general public is woefully lacking education about fungi and their affect on human health.
Perhaps the pharmaceutical companies have conceded that any medicine powerful enough to kill nasal fungal infection is way too dangerous. And since they are still raking in profits from symptomatic relief drugs and antibiotics… nothing will be changed.
At least one good thing was learned from Accentia’s drug development research: corroboration of the Mayo Clinic’s findings—virtually 100% of the cases of chronic sinusitis were due to inflammation from fungal, not bacterial causes. An independent Austrian research group confirmed the same fungal findings as well.
Chronic sinusitis can affect anyone. There are various factors that make you more susceptible to sinus infections. Those who are afflicted with bronchial asthma are at greater risk. A body of published medical research has clearly associated fungi with asthma. Published research studies—reported in mainstream medical and environmental science journals confirm mold as a major a in both children and adults.
There’s actually no mystery here… not some wild conspiracy theory, or unproven claim: The scientific community agrees that exposure to dampness and mold significantly increases our risks of developing illness, particularly those of the respiratory system.
According to the journal, Indoor Air (2007; 17:226-235), “approximately 4.6 million cases of asthma in the USA result from exposure to dampness and mold, and that the economic cost of this health impact is approximately $3.5 billion annually.”
Many other published studies arrive at the same conclusion that wheezing, coughing, and asthma are consistently linked to mold exposure. During their first year of life, children spend most of their time indoors, compounding their fungal exposure. Unfortunately, parents are too frequently told that their child’s asthma is genetic. While there can be a hereditary component—fungi are a much more causative agent of disease. Other studies have confirmed that adults can develop asthma as a result of working in a damp and moldy building. According to the authors in the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (September 2004, Vol 14, #3: 261-274)—Adverse Health Effects of Indoor Molds:
“Exposure to high levels of indoor mold can cause injury to and dysfunction of multiple organs and systems, including respiratory, hematological, immunological, and neurological systems.”
A 2003 study published in the Archives of Environmental Health (July, Vol. 58 Issue 7 p390-398) drew the consistent conclusion that mold was responsible for many cases of asthma, as well as dizziness, memory problems, and other illness:
“Inhaled mycotoxins [poisons from fungus] liberated from indoor mold growth, caused brain impairment and neurological symptoms.”
Asthma sufferers may be more likely to have an immune system that is weakened towards fighting off fungal irritation and infection. The same can be the case for those who are allergic to dust and pollen, or various chemicals, and cigarette smoke.
According to the journal, Clinical and Experimental Allergy (August 2013, Fungal rhinosinusitis: what every allergist should know), the “immunocompetence of the patient is of great importance, as invasive fungal rhinosinusitis is uncommon in immunocompetent patients.”
In other words, you’ve got to build a stronger immune system to ward off fungal chronic sinusitis! All the antibiotics, steroids, “sinus headache” medications, decongestants, and other drugs cannot and will not boost your immune system to get the job done. Humidifiers may make you feel better. Taking measures to eliminate mold, and mildew problems in your home or workplace are a great idea. But they will not boost your immune system, or address weaknesses in your body.
According to the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (2009), nearly 30 million Americans are diagnosed with sinusitis, with nearly 12 million diagnosed as chronic. Nearly $6 billion is spent in annual health care costs related to sinus infection treatment!
1999 was a long time ago. The Mayo Clinic published their research... and the way doctors treat patients with chronic sinusitis has not changed. Isn’t it time to accept that “mainstream” (conventional Western/pharmaceutical-based) medicine has dropped the ball on chronic sinusitis?
$6,000,000,000 per year in costs… on sinus infections?
It is frightening to know about this obscene amount of hard-earned money that Americans are spending on sinusitis.
“Can’t anything be done beyond pharmaceutical management?”
Yes... but it is not a “quick fix.” In my practice, I use a comprehensive system of homeopathic-based treatment, combined with a specialized acupuncture approach, which is geared towards boosting the immune system. Homeopathy is not the same as herbal medicine (covered in detail in another article on this website). While it is by no means a direct treatment for chronic sinusitis; patients have had considerable success in naturally recovering… inexpensively.
There are various approaches used worldwide, which can strengthen and boost your body’s natural ability to fight off germs, including fungi. This in turn can help your body eliminate fungal toxins (mycotoxins). In the case of fungal chronic sinusitis, countless patients never get diagnosed by their medical physician. Sadly, many physicians don’t accept the findings and treatment of the holistic specialists. Remember that very few drugs have been created to treat fungal infections because of the risks of side effects. This makes natural approaches critical.
Holistic physicians around the world have reported that homeopathic medicines are particularly helpful in boosting your body's ability to fight fungus. I emphatically agree, based on personal experience, using specialized homeopathic protocols for my patients and my own family. In my practice, my goal is to address all possible causes of chronic pain and possible related illnesses.
Utilizing Bio-energetic testing for the suggestion of fungal toxins (and other toxins) is an important part of holistic health evaluation. I recommend that everyone ask their family medical doctors about the possibility of the presence of fungi. Health care is a TEAM effort. When different types of doctors cooperate with each other, and respect the knowledge, skills and philosophies of their colleagues, a better health care system will be the result.
Did you notice from the Mayo Clinic quote that they actually admitted that all these years, conventional medical treatments have NEVER addressed the CAUSE of chronic sinusitis? Yet, drug-free, holistic treatments are typically scrutinized and criticized, and labeled “alternative medicine.” In other words, anything outside the realm of drugs designed to bomb bacteria (or as is actually the case, fungi) into submission… is not “real” medical care.
This is laughable, considering the body of work put out by conventional Western medicine regarding chronic sinusitis. The public has been given billions of dollars worth of drugs to kill bacteria, when fungi or viruses were the cause. Research published a long time ago by the Mayo Clinic—one of the most respected American medical institutions, has essentially been ignored.
Hasn’t mainstream medicine been given enough of a chance? Isn’t it time for another branch of health care to be given a reasonable chance?
“Is Alternative Medicine the Answer?”
The scientific research clearly reveals that the answer to chronic sinusitis, as well as recurring infections lies in the strength of the human immune system. Therefore, it stands to reason that a WELLNESS approach that boosts the immune system would be effective. And that is precisely what many of my patients have happily discovered.
However, I no longer accept the term, “alternative medicine” for my procedures. Natural health care, wellness care, holistic health care, etc… these are fine. Catering to people who have realized that naturally boosting one’s health is the pathway they wish to take is my domain. I have spent over 20 years treating people with numerous chronic problems. I am proud to have acquired the knowledge, skills, technology, and experience to deliver comprehensive, safe, natural, and effective treatment, which does not involve any pharmaceutical medications at all.
With regards to chronic sinusitis, the difference is that I do NOT treat fungal (or any other type) infections; I treat the PERSON—to boost the immune system. The great news is that when one’s immune system gets stronger, it can fight off the causes of problems, naturally.
I cannot and will never promise or guarantee any patient that I can make their chronic sinusitis go away. No doctor should make such a claim. I will simply suggest that my whole-body, wellness-based approach to chronic pain and illness has resulted in patients naturally overcoming their sinus woes… without drugs… and certainly without antibiotics.
-Dr. Donald Liebell
The Liebell Clinic: 477 Viking Drive Virginia Beach, VA 23452 (757) 631-9799 www.LiebellClinic.com