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Everyone wants to find the most efficient path to health, wellness, and longevity. This overwhelming demand creates an abundance of products and protocols claiming to be the best. One of the hottest buzzwords amongst these products is the detox. And while a true detox/cleanse can not be overlooked as an intricate tool to utilize during the construction or renovation of our health, there exists a separate targeted approach that is just as, if not more important when it comes to creating an internal environment that facilitates the ability to thrive.
What we are talking about is fortifying the site where the bulk of our immune system resides.
We are talking about ensuring that maximum potential is achieved when it comes to reaping the benefits of the foods we consume via absorption of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals; and conversely minimizing the risk for nutritional deficiencies and infection.
We are talking about rebuilding the major barrier systems of our body that protect us from exposure and subsequent damage to our respiratory system, digestive tract, skin, and brain.
We are talking about optimizing and balancing the immune response and not ending up as a statistic representing the alarming growing number of seemingly idiopathic auto-immune conditions sweeping the country.
We are talking about setting the stage to grab control of glucose and insulin levels, weight and minimizing the stress response from within.
The foundation for health that we’re talking about is an optimally functioning GI (gastrointestinal) or digestive tract. Healing and sealing any intestinal permeability or a leaky gut is absolutely essential when looking to address a countless number of issues. Improving function on this level often times leads to an attenuation or outright termination of seemingly disconnected signs or symptoms. When we recognize, respect and comprehend the complex interwoven matrix that is our bodies, this holistic approach becomes not only understandable but mandatory for attaining true health from the inside out.
For a number or reasons (diet [food sensitivities or high sugar/carb], antibiotics, chlorinated water, excessive use of NSAIDs, etc.) our intestinal wall can begin to falter. This is problematic due to the fact that the majority of our immune system resides there and because it serves as a major barrier system in our bodies.
It’s relation to the three other major barrier systems (blood brain barrier, lungs, and skin) becomes blatantly obvious when gut dysfunction leads to mental fog, fatigue and forgetfulness, respiratory infections and asthma, or psoriasis and eczema, respectfully. Further strengthening of the relationship is seen when correction of the gut dysfunction leads to a change in many of the aforementioned conditions.
This is where full acknowledgement and respect must be paid to the holistic nature of our bodies. When one of these barrier systems is effected, damaged or dysfunctional, the effects can be seen amongst the others. Never is this so obvious as when healing and sealing the intestines, coupled with an elimination diet leads to massive improvements or outright resolution of what appears to be unrelated issues.
If a leaky gut is left unaddressed, undigested food particles and other organisms that would otherwise be refused access, freely enter into our bloodstream. This causes the immune system to do it’s job and launch an attack on the unwanted visitors.
The problem occurs as the immune system is called upon to perform this search and seizure so frequently that it becomes hypersensitive and begins to attack our own tissues, some of which have a similar molecular structure to the unwanted invaders. This can manifest as allergies, asthma, rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome (Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis), hypothyroidism; even MS depending on the tissue attacked.
The longer the door is open and an attack persists, the more tissues that can suffer as condition after condition can begin to mount. It is for these handful reasons, and countless more that fortifying the gut by way of clearing, replacing and rebuilding is at the core; the foundation of attaining optimal health.
More than 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates appeared to be onto something when he stated, “all disease begins in the gut.” In a relatively short time, the changes I’ve witnessed personally and clinically have been nothing short of game changing for all involved.
The knowledge and path to practical implementation exists and is waiting.
As always, we’re ready when you are.
In keeping with the theme of our last post, we will delve into the puzzling and agonizing world of autoimmunity and how it relates to functional medicine. The first couple of eye opening paragraphs below were scribed by Dr. Datis Kharrazian and could make a substantial difference in quality of life.
“Autoimmunity has become a growing epidemic and many individuals seeking care in the healthcare system are suffering from autoimmunity. Autoimmunity is basically the loss of self tolerance, or the inability for the immune system to recognize self-tissue from foreign or pathogenic organisms, leading to an attack upon oneself.”
(I’d be remiss here if I didn’t briefly touch on one of the reasons why our trusty immune system may turn on us and it comes down to what we knowingly put in our bodies. When the food we eat leads to issues within our gut, lending to leaky gut or intestinal permeability, one of our main barrier systems of our bodies becomes compromised and foreign and undigested particles are allowed entry.
Our immune system sees this and does it’s job and attacks. Problem solved.
The issue arises when the presence of unwanted invaders persists and the immune system must continually attack. This puts the immune system on hyperactive defense mode and eventually, due to the similarity in structure between certain tissues and certain foods, the up regulated immune system begins to also attack our own tissues.
This can lead to the start of rheumatoid osteoarthritis as the immune system attacks the joints and breaks down cartilage, or diabetes 1 as the pancreas is attacked (studies now illustrating the similarity in structure of the beta cells of the pancreas and the casein proteins found in milk), MS as the protective covering of our central nervous system, myelin is broken down, or hypothyroidism (Hashimotto’s) as the thyroid is attacked (similar protein structure between thyroid tissue and gluten).
While diet is a major player in the development or facilitation of an autoimmune reaction, the list of catalysts goes well beyond that including many other environmental toxins.)
“The loss of self-tolerance and the development of autoimmunity is a major reason why many individuals notice a rapid decline in their health and seek consultation with a healthcare professional. Unfortunately, autoimmunity leads to a destructive process to various tissues over several years, and early autoimmunity may be easily overlooked in the current healthcare model.
In the current system, autoimmune disease is not diagnosed until the tissue has already been destroyed. In other words, an individual may have cartilage antibodies for several years and suffer significant pain, but they will probably not be diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis until they have severe joint deformity.
Another person may have subtle autoimmunity to myelin and present with diverse neurological symptoms, but they will not be diagnosed because their MRI does not show enough destruction to be sensitive to MRI findings. It is now clear that the antibodies to tissues appear years before total destruction is obvious, and during these years, individuals suffer from symptoms associated with the destructive process.”
In the all too common scenario like the one above, a person suffering from the early stages of autoimmunity seeks consultation and since they do not have total tissue destruction, they are not diagnosed with any conditions. At this point many individuals end up seeking alternative medicine, as conventional models offer them very little support in the early stages.
Functional medicine looks at autoimmunity through a different lens, classifying it into three stages.
1) Silent Autoimmunity: antibodies present, but no symptoms.
2) Autoimmune Reaction: antibodies AND symptoms present, BUT not enough tissue destroyed to be diagnosed as an autoimmune disease.
3) Autoimmune Disease: antibodies present, symptoms may or may not be present, enough tissue destruction to diagnose.
So what can you do with all this empowering information? Well, speak with a healthcare professional who goes beyond the black and white and looks at things from a functional perspective. A review of history and symptoms will be done along with an exam. Appropriate blood work can be ordered and analyzed and if need be tests looking for specific antibodies can also be obtained.
With this information the appropriate nutritional, dietary and lifestyle modifications can be made in order to potentially delay progression or keep symptoms quiet by lessening inflammation, controlling the immune system and addressing any other systems specific to the individual.
Want to know more?
Have some specific questions?
Call us anytime (321-848-0987) to explore the liberating possibilities.