You may have heard the saying, “When the people lead, the leaders will follow.” Never has that saying been more true than when applied to our medical system. Over the last twenty years or so, as people have grown increasingly sick and tired of the treat-but-don’t-cure and cut-burn-and-poison models of cancer care, they are gradually forcing the conventional medical system to change. People have been taking health care into their own hands, supported by natural health practitioners fighting for the right to use safer healing approaches. In short, a paradigm shift is afoot.
Consumers have flocked to modalities such as chiropractic, acupuncture and energy healing, and to natural substances such as bone broth and raw milk, because they are good medicine. These approaches work noninvasively, have no side effects, and are much more affordable than conventional procedures. Underpinning this paradigm shift is the understanding that instead of using pharmaceutical medicine to attack and kill “invaders” in the body, the focus should be on boosting the immune system to allow the body to do what it already knows how to do—heal itself.
Conventional medicine has begun to grasp the role of a healthy gut as the basis of a healthy immune system and good health in general. It is rare to find a person with a health condition who does not have an underlying digestive issue. Even allopathic doctors are prescribing probiotics for their patients, acknowledging the massive importance of beneficial bacteria on health.1 People are also fighting dreaded diseases very effectively with stellar gut-healing nutrition.
Relatively new on the scene, GcMAF has been gaining attention as a tool to boost the body’s immune function while strengthening digestive health. What is GcMAF, and why is it important? GcMAF stands for Gc protein-derived macrophage activating factor. Normal Gc protein, also called vitamin D binding protein (VDBP), is an abundant glycoprotein found in human blood serum as well as in other body fluids and organs.2 Among its key functions, VDBP binds and transports vitamin D and its metabolites.2 The body uses vitamin D in almost three thousand genes, many of which play a crucial role in immune system function.3
When Gc protein converts to its active form—GcMAF—it becomes a signaling protein that instructs the body’s “garbage collectors”—cells called macrophages—to turn on. The macrophages then hunt for and consume foreign viruses, bacteria and damaged tissues. The macrophages are critical to a healthy immune system.
Ordinarily, Gc protein converts to GcMAF with the help of two types of immune system cells—B cells (white blood cells generated in the bone marrow) and T cells (white blood cells produced in the thymus gland). However, researchers have found that certain viruses cause secretion of an enzyme known as alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase (also called nagalase) that completely blocks conversion of Gc protein to GcMAF, preventing the macrophages from doing their clean-up job. With deactivation of the macrophages by nagalase, the body becomes toxic, and the crippled immune system cannot manage. This disengagement of the immune system can leave individuals open to infections of all kinds.
Scientists who study GcMAF strongly suspect that in addition to viruses other aspects of modern life such as stress and toxins may be contributing to high nagalase levels in the bloodstream, thereby weakening the immune system on a wide scale. Some doctors have found excessive levels of nagalase in patients following vaccination, prompting speculation that the viral antigens in vaccines may be triggering release of nagalase.
NAGALASE AND CANCER
Dr. Nobuto Yamamoto discovered GcMAF in 1980 as a professor of microbiology and immunology at Hahnemann University School of Medicine while carrying out immunological research to understand the mechanism of macrophage activation. In 1990, Dr. Yamamoto became a biochemistry research professor at Temple University Medical School, where he studied the tumoricidal capacity of macrophages activated by GcMAF and considered GcMAF’s potential as a cancer therapy.
In 1994, Yamamoto established and the Socrates Institute for Therapeutic Immunology, continuing to study the therapeutic efficacy of GcMAF for cancer as well as for HIV. Since that time, a number of studies have produced results indicating that GcMAF holds promise as an immunotherapy and anticancer agent.4
Nagalase builds up in cancer patients, and its activity “correlates with tumor burden, aggressiveness and clinical disease progression.”5 In fact, investigators have proposed assays of serum nagalase activity as a non-invasive way to evaluate the clinical severity of different cancers.6 In clinical studies involving dozens or hundreds of advanced cancer patients,5 breast cancer patients7 and other cancer patients,8 regular injections of exogenous GcMAF have led to decreased nagalase activity and clinical improvements—without side effects.
In the United States, the financial and lobbying power of the pharmaceutical industry has ensured a “lockdown mentality” against many natural treatments, including GcMAF. Thus, persons interested in building up their immune system with GcMAF injections such as those used in various clinical studies might have to travel to Europe at their own expense to obtain these injections.
There is another option, however. In a new twist on old-fashioned yogurt, it is possible to make perfect “top shelf” GcMAF at home without breaking the bank. The supercharged yogurt or kefir (which one should preferably make with raw milk) includes colostrum, several dozen strains of probiotics and either yogurt or kefir culture.
Online companies offer expensive kits9 containing probiotics and cultures (typically costing several hundred dollars or more), as well as recipes and other resources. However the cheapest and most straightforward route is to bypass the kits, obtain the four basic ingredients and make GcMAF at home with good-quality raw milk.
CONSUMING GcMAF YOGURT
For the Gc protein to bind with vitamin D to create GcMAF and activate the macrophage system in the body, it is important to consume a few other nutrients with the yogurt. This will help ensure optimal results. Eat one-half cup of the yogurt first thing in the morning and just before bed.
GcMAF yogurt needs an adequate amount of vitamin D to really “turn on.” Many proponents of GcMAF are recommending doses of D3, anywhere from 2,000-10,000 IU per day. However, vitamin D3 taken on its own can be problematic. Better to take a natural cod liver oil, containing a full range of vitamin D isomers, to provide about 2,000 IU vitamin D daily, along with supporting vitamin A. In addition, eat plenty of pasture-raised egg yolks and spend as much time as you can in the sun. Vitamins A and D require support from vitamin K2 as found in foods like aged cheese, poultry liver and animal fats.
Oleic acid also is crucial for full activation. This can come from one teaspoon of olive oil, avocado oil or high-oleic flax oil.
Finally, amino acids seem to be important for reaping the full benefits of GcMAF yogurt. From my perspective, there is no better protein for supplying amino acids than egg yolks. I combine 1/2 to 1 cup of the GcMAF yogurt, one egg yolk and one teaspoon of high-oleic flax oil in a blender, morning and night. I drink this slightly sour mixture while taking vitamin D. To turn the mixture into more of a super smoothie, add some coconut water, trace minerals and a banana.
For those of us who have known about and consumed raw milk for a long time, making “supercharged” GcMAF yogurt is an easy way to power up the immune system. When using raw milk, it goes without saying that it should come from a trustworthy source and be of the highest quality. I make and consume magic GcMAF yogurt from raw milk daily and know first-hand how fresh and good it can be!
GcMAF YOGURT: FOUR INGREDIENTS
• COLOSTRUM: Many brands are available. Select a lab-quality colostrum that is GMO-free, such as colostrum from New Zealand.
• PROBIOTIC POWDER: Many brands are available, but I recommend the Garden of Life raw probiotic powder, which contains thirty-four probiotic strains and 400 billion CFU (colony forming units). It is hard to find another probiotic powder that packs this much punch.
• YOGURT STARTER CULTURE: Cultures for Health and other similar entities have a variety of yogurt starter cultures available. Because the colostrum and added probiotics already add a lot of flavor, it is preferable to select a yogurt starter culture that has a mild flavor. (Note: If using kefir instead of yogurt, there is no need to keep purchasing yogurt starter culture—see the sidebar on page 39 for insructions giving more details about using kefir.)
• RAW MILK: Using raw milk is very important. The foremost labs and scientists working on GcMAF in Europe report that raw, organic milk produces the strongest results. Fortunately, it is not as difficult to find raw milk in the U.S. as it used to be. The Weston A. Price Foundation’s website realmilk.com is an excellent guide to local sources of raw milk. Also check with the Local Chapter volunteer in your area for a list of raw milk and other food sources (see page 94). When ordering supplies, and particularly the probiotic, it is worth spending extra money for overnight shipping so that the probiotics do not sit out in the heat. Although most companies ship probiotics with an ice pack, the ice pack will last at most for two days. It makes sense to protect this investment. The probiotic and the yogurt starter should go into the refrigerator as soon as they arrive. Powdered colostrum is very stable but does best in a cool, dark place.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING GcMAF YOGURT
1. Let one quart of raw milk sit out in a glass jar with the lid on until it roughly comes to room temperature. Leave about two inches of space at the top to allow for expansion during fermentation.
2. Put 1 tablespoon of colostrum and 1 teaspoon of probiotic powder into a pan with 1/2 cup of milk. Lightly warm and whisk the mixture until smooth. The minor heating helps eliminate lumps. (Mixing without heating may be preferable, but it is difficult to get rid of the lumps without slight heating.)
3. Once the mixture is creamy, pour it into the jar with the remainder of the raw, room-temperature milk and stir thoroughly.
4. Sprinkle the yogurt starter over the top of the milk-colostrum-probiotic mixture. In warmer rooms or climates, simply let the yogurt starter sit on top rather than stirring it in. (This is because the colostrum and extra probiotics already give the mixture so much “octane” that stirring in the starter tends to prompt overly rapid fermentation.) In cooler rooms or climates, it may work better to mix the starter into the mixture.
5. If mixing the ingredients at night, the mixture typically will achieve a creamy yogurt-like consistency by morning. To retain this texture, refrigerate the jar right away. Otherwise, it will continue to ferment into more of a cheese-like texture. The latter does not pose a problem for consumption, but a creamy consistency generally tastes much nicer.
6. It is also possible to use live kefir instead of yogurt starter. When combining the initial ingredients, substitute 2-3 tablespoons of freshly made kefir (but not the kefir “grains”) in lieu of the yogurt starter.
7. Although the proportions of colostrum, probiotic and starter included in the recipe are intended for one quart of raw milk, I have found that holding those proportions steady while using twice as much milk (one-half gallon) still produces a very effective yogurt. Individuals with critical health issues should probably stick with the more concentrated one-quart recipe, but those who are consuming the yogurt simply to support digestive health and the immune system can use one half-gallon of milk, cutting the other ingredient costs in half.
1. Wilkins T, Sequoia J. Probiotics for gastrointestinal conditions: a summary of the evidence. Am Fam Physician 2017;96(3): 170-178.
2. Delanghe JR, Speeckaert R, Speeckaert MM. Behind the scenes of vitamin D binding protein: more than vitamin D binding. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab 2015;29(5): 773-786.
3. Chun RF, Liu PT, Modlin RL, Adams JS, Hewison M. Impact of vitamin D on immune function: lessons learned from genome-wide analysis. Front Physiol 2014;5: 151.
4. Gregory KJ, Zhao B, Bielenberg DR, et al. Vitamin D binding protein-macrophage activating factor directly inhibits proliferation, migration, and uPAR expression of prostate cancer cells. PLoS One 2010;5(10):e13428.
5. Thyer L, Ward E, Smith R, et al. GC protein-derived macrophage-activating factor decreases alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase levels in advanced cancer patients. Oncoimmunology 2013;2(8): e25769.
6. Greco M, Mitri MD, Chiriacò F, Leo G, Brienza E, Maffia M. Serum proteomic profile of cutaneous malignant melanoma and relation to cancer progression: association to tumor derived alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase activity. Cancer Lett 2009;283(2): 222-229.
7. Thyer L, Ward E, Smith R, et al. A novel role for a major component of the vitamin D axis: vitamin D binding protein-derived macrophage activating factor induces human breast cancer cell apoptosis through stimulation of macrophages. Nutrients 2013;5(7): 2577-2589.
8. Inui T, Kuchiike D, Kubo K, et al. Clinical experience of integrative cancer immunotherapy with GcMAF. Anticancer Res 2013;33(7): 2917-2919.
9. See for example, https://naturalsolutions.nz/, http://www.marsvenus.com/p/gcmaf-bravoprobiotic-yogurt and https://secure.jotform.us/form/40475359804157.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2017.