- Professor of Biology
- Email: email@example.com
- Office: (434) 982-5494
- Office: 204 PLSB
- B.S., The Johns Hopkins University, 1964
- Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University, 1964
- Postdoctoral Research, The Johns Hopkins University, 1968
Together with my colleague, Mitchell Smith of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), we have taken a systems analysis approach to discover the relationship between a number of inflammatory disease conditions and the consumption of various drugs and/or dietary supplements. A prominent example is eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome ( EMS ) and the consumption of L-tryptophan-containing dietary supplements (LTCDS). The belief that microimpurities found in mass-produced LTCDS caused EMS in individuals consuming such supplements remains widespread in the epidemiological, medical, and nutritional communities, even though no impurity with such toxicity has ever been identified. At least three dozen deaths are attributed to EMS and the ingestion of LTCDS. Our systems analysis of EMS based on Boolean-logic, keyword-based computer searches of peer-reviewed literature disclosed correlations between eosinophilia (elevated circulating eosinophil levels), myalgia (muscle pain), and compromised histamine degradation. Both eosinophilia and myalgia are conditions associated with excessive histamine activity. Our search revealed that consumption of tryptophan supplements leads to enhanced levels of formate and indolyl compounds, several of which impair histamine degradation and thus have the potential to prolong the latent effect of histamine. In light of our findings, the assumption that microimpurities in LTCDS cause EMS is unwarranted.