You’ve been treating your “adrenal fatigue” for years. But if you stop your adaptogens, DHEA or other adrenal supplements, you fall apart.
You’ve been addressing your leaky gut for a year, but if you stop your probiotics, glutamine, aloe vera, etc., your stomach begins to hurt and you get diarrhea.
You gave up gluten, but your thyroid antibodies remain elevated.
You can’t seem to warm up despite taking thyroid medication.
Your cortisol and DHEA won’t balance, despite correcting your sleep hygiene/circadian cycle.
You exercise several days per week, but the more you exercise, the fatter you get.
You don’t have the energy to play with your children any more.
You eat an Epi-Paleo diet, but you still have a tendency toward high blood sugar.
What do all of these things have in common?
When we consider toxicity in the body, often we consider environmental toxins, i.e. endocrine-disrupting chemicals, heavy metals and other pollutants. But the total body burden of pathogens that act as internal stressors is equally, if not more, significant to high cortisol and conditions like leaky gut, adrenal fatigue, every hormone dysfunction known to man (PCOS, endometriosis, fatigue, weight gain, infertility, impotence, lack of sex drive, moodiness, estrogen dominance and more) and autoimmune disease (fibromyalgia, hashimotos, type 1 diabetes, Addison’s disease, cancer, lupus, cushing’s syndrome, etc.).
Since most of us did not arrive in this world with our present level of functional medicine knowledge, there was likely a period, or periods, of time where we weren’t optimal — from an immune, hormonal and digestive perspective. This means there were likely opportunistic periods in our lives where these ‘stealth pathogens’ became active and began their assault on our bodies.
These pathogens are common, often-overlooked contributors to leaky gut (which dominoes into a whole host of hormone and immune issues), and by not addressing them, we derail all other attempts we might make to become optimal. Said another way, optimal is not possible until we eradicate these pathogens. Anecdotally, I’d suggest that 95% of people have them.
We are all exposed to viruses. Whether that virus becomes active or not depends on our immune function, hormonal status, digestive health, circadian sleep cycle, our glutathione levels, and much, much more. Common infectious culprits include Epstein-Barr virus, Cytomegalovirus, HHV-6, Coxsackie B virus, Parvovirus, mycoplasma, Lyme and Candida Albicans. As I’ve mentioned during the Heal Your Hormones Bootcamp, testing your IGG and IGM antibodies to the above pathogens can help to shed some light on whether you are experiencing any immune stressors.
How do we Overcome Internal Stressors?
We obviously need to optimize digestive health, hormonal health, etc. But how do we optimize immune function? Many people think that when they have an issue with a pathogen, they need to ‘boost’ their immune system. This is incorrect and could potentially lead to adverse outcomes if treated improperly.
An over-active immune system is just as problematic as an under-active immune system. Blindly stimulating the immune system can lead to assault on our tissues—be it our thyroid, joints, brain, DNA, etc. So, how can we determine if our immune system is over or under-active?
The following is a list beneficial immune tests:
- CD4/CD8=T-helper cells/T-suppressor cells
- CD56=natural killer cells
- ESR=erythryocyte sedimentation rate
- CD-57: a specific type of immune cell that is often low in those dealing with a Lyme infection
- RA factor
- SLE panel for lupus antibodies
- Cytokine panel: Pharmasan Labs offers a stimulated cytokine panel that is very comprehensive
Addressing a high pathogen load requires a multi-faceted approach, including ensuring optimal levels of vitamins A and D; optimal DHEA, cortisol and thyroid levels; and eradicating any dysbiosis in the gut.
Still Experiencing Active Infections?
If you’ve done all of the above and are still experiencing active infections, there are a number of integrative treatments that can help eradicate pathogens.
GcMAF is a very promising treatment for a number of immune disorders. It serves as an immune ‘rebuilder’ that aids the body in addressing its pathogen load, not by killing itself but allowing our immune cells to do their jobs. Pathogens such as HHV-6, Lyme, HIV and others inhibit our immune responses by increasing the level of a molecule called nagalase. Nagalase effectively renders our macrophages weak and inactive against these stealth microbes. GcMAF works by lowering the nagalase level, allowing the immune system to then do what nature intended and eradicate the pathogen.
I know, I know. You’re saying, “You can’t kill a virus because it was never alive to begin with.” That’s true, but you can prevent the viral DNA from being expressed.
GcMAF is typically given by injection 1x/week for 8 weeks. Depending on your situation, you may benefit from numerous rounds or you may only require one round (8 shots). While nagalase may indicate one’s potential benefit from GcMAF, testing your natural killer cells using the CD-56 test also serve as biomarker that indicates possible benefits.
Another effective integrative treatment for a high pathogen load includes optimizing levels of glutathione and vitamin C. Glutathione can be taken in the liposomal form or transdermally. Glutathione fortifies our immune systems and serves as a natural anti-viral. While our bodies produce glutathione naturally though methylation, if the genes MTHFR, GSTM1 or GSTM3 are present in our bodies, it may hinder our natural production.
IV glutathione treatments (available by prescription) can bolster blood levels, help with detoxification, and improve overall healing. In addition, glutathione is crucial in preventing auto-immune disorders. Deficiencies of glutathione precede every major known disorder and chronic disease.
Vitamin C can also be taken in a liposomal format and/or given as an IV drip in doses of up to 100 grams daily. This treatment was pioneered by Dr. Tom Levy, M.D., J.D. To learn more, read Dr. Levy’s book, “Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins.”
Numerous anti-microbials—both prescription and natural—can effectively lower your body’s pathogen burden, including:
The duration and dosing of these nutraceuticals will depend on the number of pathogens present and the immune status of the individual. As a general rule, addressing viruses is a months-long project and not the typical 10-14 day course length associated with antibiotics. I can’t over-emphasize the importance of balancing the immune system along with taking any type of killing agent. If the only angle one takes is to kill the various pathogens, the microbes will likely return once the anti-microbial is discontinued. Rotating nutraceuticals, meds, etc. can prevent the development of resistance by the microbes.
In addition, nutraceuticals that contain multiple nutrients working synergistically are preferable over mega doses of single nutrients, in many cases.
DHEA & Thyroid Hormones
Optimal levels of thyroid hormone and DHEA serve critical immune functions. Thyroid hormone ensures optimal levels of T and B cells, two major immune players. Additionally, as body temperature decreases (as through hypothyroidism), immune function drops considerably. DHEA works to ensure optimal numbers of natural killer cells and that they remain active. So it’s important to note that simply knowing the number of different immune cells may not provide the full picture of immune health. You need to know the activity of those cells to fill in the rest of the blanks, and unfortunately, to my knowledge, while testing the activity of all of the immune cells is not available, the number and the activity of the natural killer cells can be tested through Pharmasan Labs.
Learn more about eliminating pathogens and optimizing your hormones in the Heal Your Hormones Bootcamp featuring Dr. Tim Jackson.
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