My philosophy and 9 Essential Pillars to Advance Health
There is an epidemic of autoimmune, asthma, and allergic disease. One fourth of the population, about 60 million people suffers from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The rates of every modern day chronic disease is fast on the rise, obesity, type II Diabetes, heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disease, gastrointestinal and digestive disease, Alzheimer’s dementia. These problems are increasing at an explosive rate in the population. We are all being affected personally or through someone close to us who is suffering.
We must step back and ask why is this happening to us? If we have the technology that we do in our modern day and are one of the richest nations in the world why are we so sick and in many ways more sick than ever? And why is the current conventional medical care model unable to treat or address these problems and turn a blind eye? Continuing in this way is fueling what I term the medical holocaust in our nation.
Most people don’t know what is happening. We have been raised to think that disease is something you just get, out of the blue, it kind of just falls out of the sky, and then you go to the doctor and he gives you a magic medication that will make it better. This sounds funny however even today this is exactly how disease is perceived and treated by conventional medicine. I must ask at this point do they really think that none of us will wonder if there is more? Perhaps the man who makes the supposed magic potions advertised for disease hopes that we don’t ask. This hidden veiled concept of disease and health that is propagated is what fuels the ongoing tragedy of rise of chronic disease, millions suffering, pharmaceutical industry booming with profit (with the magic potions) and yet we are more sick than ever and have gone so far from health and healing we don’t even know what to look for or what we are missing anymore, which is exactly where they want us.
In fact conventional medical care and treatment has not changed much at all in the past 40 years many with the go to amoxicillin and pain medication, add to that birth control pills, cholesterol and blood pressure drugs and a handful of antidepressants and you have 99.9% of health care right there. It can’t be so simple can it? And for the millions and millions suffering, in ways robbed of a great quality of life, it’s not simple. The tricky part is most people don’t fully understand that this is happening.
Although many people overtly suffer from fatigue, body aches and muscle aches, digestive problems, chronic sinusitis, allergies, anxiety, depression, brain fog, and difficulty concentrating, many more don’t know how bad they are feeling until they actually feel better because they have always been feeling that way for as long as they can remember.
The crucial part to understand is that diseases do not just fall from the sky or pop up out of the blue suddenly. Diseases are in the making decades before they’re recognized. What are the signs that they are in the making? The early signs are your symptoms. Your allergies, digestive complains, aches and pains, fatigue, anxiety, depression, joint pains, brain fog, weight gain, any of these among other symptoms are signs your body is giving that there is disease developing, disease that can actually devastate, torture and kill the person at some point. Sugar coating here would not be a favor but detrimental potentially. That takes us to the ‘but my doctor says all my tests are normal bit’.
Many people are confused further when they recognize that they don’t feel well but when they see their primary care physician or many different conventional specialists for that matter they’re told everything is normal and find themselves with a prescription for antidepressants. I will admit this is confusing. Where does that leave you? You know you don’t feel well or as well as you used to, you know you are having symptoms, any of the above or other, you know that, but your doctor(s) say there’s nothing to worry about, there is nothing there, and what you really need is an anti-depressant, or even drugs that fall in the antipsychotic category.
Let’s shed light on what is happening here. The fact is that the older conventional model of care is designed for acute care. Acute care meaning end stage disease, basically when all hell has already broken loose. Examples of this are cancers at the stage tumors can be visualized, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, lung disease, ulcerative colitis, diseases that have become so big, so large they literally can be seen by the naked eye. That’s when you get the diagnosis. That’s when the colonoscopy, mammogram, stress test, MRI, CT scan will pick it up and your conventional doctor will give you the out of the blue diagnosis. That’s where conventional medicine shines at it’s best, with regards to the diagnosis and regards to surgery, many times this can save lives with interventional cardiology especially and many times the organ that has expressed signs of trouble is simply removed and discarded such as an enlarged uterus with fibroids, an ovary with a cyst, a thyroid that is enlarged, a gallbladder that has stones, basically the problem is to the point that its visualized and the troubled organ discarded. In medical school and residency and shortly after when I still worked in the mainstream conventional model of care as I treated patients in the hospital, ER, urgent care and family medicine clinics I wondered what brings these poor patients to this point of desperate need of acute care, what happened in their health upstream of the disease they’re facing, I knew that there can be more than the care they are receiving and we have to ask the questions why is this happening and what is causing it to happen and then I can really help my patients. Certainly and unfortunately I had seen the effects of the conventional model of care first hand and watched it create and cultivate illness in my own body and I know first hand that following the functional medicine principles will shed light on true underlying processes in illness and help you overcome them and get back to a healthy state. These early questions I pondered and the years of studying contemporary, anti-aging, and functional medicine after my conventional medicine training as well as and my own powerful personal experience and journey with illness and health have resulted in my developing the AdvanceHealth principles of health and healing that have worked for my patients through the years and worked for me. The reason these fundamental principles work is that they take into account the entire biology of a person as a whole, recognizing the interconnectedness of the human body, every cell and organ communicating with the rest, not as isolated separate disconnected systems as looked at in the conventional medicine.
What is the answer? How can we address these problems that we don’t even know we have? The good news is, there is an answer. The answer is by using contemporary 21st century medicine through the functional medicine model of care. The application of Functional medicine is not simply a treatment or remedy, it is a revolution in the entire way we do medicine, a revolution that unveils the hidden aspects of how we get
disease and how we create, cultivate, and protect our health. It’s a revolution that unveils the truth behind our environment and food and how those industries are fueling disease, and it’s a revolution that ultimately aims to give back control of your body and mind to you rather than to the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry to whom your health is often times just business.
I see miracles happen every day, cure where there was no hope given before. Like Samantha a 31 year old lovely young lady who came to me deeply saddened by her diagnosis of progressive chronic kidney disease and nephropathy spending the past few years of her life in and out of hospitals on numerous medications, immune suppressants, and steroids, that did not help and she sat there teary eyed and swollen from the water retention from her malfunctioning kidneys. She had been told that there is no cure for her problem and she will get worse as a rule and loose complete kidney function and at best the symptoms can temporarily be controlled. Samantha wants a family and children, she is a beautiful woman alive inside and deserves better. Samantha had elevated urine protein levels in the thousands, her serum or blood protein level and albumin were deficient from protein wasting in Nephrotic syndrome, she was swollen, felt anxious, had difficulty concentrating, was lethargic and had terrible digestive complaints. I started treating Samantha in October and by two visits the protein in her urine was cut in half, by February there was zero protein, nor any microscopic protein in Samantha’s urine and the majority of her symptoms completely resolved. She had absolutely no water retention, great energy levels, great concentration and her digestive symptoms improved. She was also off all of her pharmaceutical medications. Samantha told me that her long time nephrologist at UCLA said she must be a witch as what he witnessed is miraculous! Yes it is, and I see miracles like this happen every day in my office by addressing the
AdvanceHealth core principles through Functional Medicine.
Many dear patients come to mind that came in to see me after seeing numerous physicians in numerous specialties and centers, with not much hope left, as they still had no answers and felt ill. I met Susanna when she was at her wits end, in tears, struggling with chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, joint pain, insomnia, depression, anxiety, IBS and weight gain that she could not control or lose unwanted pounds no matter what she did and continued to gain weight. She is the mother of two beautiful children but did not have the energy to care for them how she liked. Today Susanna is a poster of an exemplary super woman, she is feeling great, energy levels are optimal, she has lost all unwanted weight and looks and feels great, she has no pain, no joint pain, and her long standing cholesterol problem is vanished. She body looks better than ever she says and she has achieved an optimal fitness level.
Afsaneh was 36 when she came to me. She had undergone 12 laparoscopic surgeries….yes, you read correctly, 12 surgeries for recurrent ovarian cysts and was seen at reputable medical centers like Cedar Sinai and had seen numerous physicians in numerous specialties. She also suffered from severe PMS, depression and anxiety, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and joint pains.
It’s been 4 years now since we have been working together and Afsaneh never suffered from another cysts since the day she started working with me. She is doing well and has optimal energy and is free of pain. Her periods are regular and her mood is stable.
David is a 34 year old a successful lawyer who is quite health conscious. He suffered from chronic prostatitis for which he had seen numerous urologists and been on medication multiple times without continued improvement. He also suffered from Ulcerative Colitis. After working together we were able to identify the actual cause of David’s recurrent prostatitis and rid him of the symptoms permanently. We also worked on his gut and underlying inflammatory processes and he has been completely symptom free since.
Sandi came to me with the devastating diagnosis of ALS from UCLA, a progressive neurological disease that leads to complete immobility and death. She suffered neurological symptoms, numbness and tingling, fatigue, fibromyalgia. Well it is now almost 5 years later and even after discovering that Sandi had been exposed to Tick borne infections and suffered from symptoms of Lyme disease, after treatment she is completely free of any and all neurological complains, is active, has no pain and great energy.
When it comes to our symptoms, early in the disease process, where no actual organ damage is seen on standard testing, conventional routine blood work ordered by most physicians, is almost always very superficial and comes out ‘normal’ for the most part. Although you may see a long list of numbers on the page most of the time conventional physicians are only familiar with a handful of tests that are ordered over and over again. These include a cbc, cmp, and basic lipid panel, that mainly look for organ damage to kidney and liver as well as blood count and basic lipid panels that is not reflective of true lipoprotein status as more advance markers and cardiovascular profiles actually identify.
For this reason most of the time you may be told that everything looks good in these superficial tests that look for end organ damage until one day it doesn’t and that’s when it’s too late at times. In order to identify the reasons why you are feeling fatigue, or pain, or having disturbed sleep, or joint pain, or anxiety, depression a deeper look is needed and more sophisticated testing. This is the kind of investigation that is done through
Functional medicine and here we can identify the underlying causes of your symptoms, stop them and reverse any underlying cellular disease processes that are in the making, before they progress to serious damage that can be detrimental for your health, quality of life and life expectancy.
When these concepts are explained to patients, almost invariably everyone says that makes a whole lot of sense and in some ways is quite a logical and simple concept to grasp. The next question I get asked is, wait a minute, how come nobody ever told me this? How come my other doctors don’t know this?
The fundamental problem is that these foundational principles of health and disease are not taught in medical school. Unfortunately standard education in medical school is driven by symptom only treatment with pharmaceuticals. The good news is that today several medical schools have started incorporating Functional medicine into their curriculum, thereby we will get better educated physicians.
Another problem is that research that is published takes on average about 70 years for the average doctor to implement it into practice. So although contemporary medicine research and principle are founded on very current scientific research unless a physician actively studies it, searches for it or pays out of pocket to attend conferences to learn it, they wont learn it till it finally trickles down unfortunately half a century or more later.
Therefore most physicians end up practicing out dated medicine particularly when it comes to chronic disease care.
The 9 Essential Pillars to Advance Health
There are 9 Core principles that drive health, healing and disease, The 8 Essentials to AdvanceHealth and these are the core principles that I address and use in my patients to AdvanceHealth and healing. I address each one of these core areas and their interplay with each patient to address both their symptoms and disease from the core and make sure to support the body in the ways needed to prevent future disease.
I wish I could tell you that health and healing is as easy as taking a few synthetic pharmaceutical drugs or undergoing the latest fad expensive treatment advertised as alternative therapy but the truth is that the only way to arrive at true health and rid your body of disease is to do the work it and address the root causes and core principles of health. The great news is once you do that you will get better, and stay better in every respect when it comes to your long-term health and well-being takes and we are here to partner with you in that rewarding process.
The 9 Essential Pillars to Advance Health
First, we must understand that everything in our environment interacts with our cells and our genes to create health or disease, especially our diet and nutrition.
The air we breathe, water we drink, our lifestyle, the microorganisms we come into contact with, any emotional trauma that we encounter, environmental toxins all affect our health from a cellular level and affect our genes.
Second, we must understand that our digestive system is the gateway to our health and the gateway to almost all disease.
Our digestive or gastrointestinal system is the core of our health. We must understand how and why barriers in this integral part of our health can break down, and how to repair it to avoid and heal chronic disease.
Third, we must understand how toxins from our environment and disturbances in our physiological detoxification systems or waste management systems that can result from nutrient deficiencies or genetic glitches can lead to chronic health problems and how to identify these problems and optimize our detoxification system.
Fourth we must understand that our immune system is the guardian of our health, and how most of us have hidden inflammation and immune dysregulation in our body, we must identify sources of inflammation and imbalance, control inflammation and modulate the immune system to a healthy balance as inflammation fuels disease and kills and immune dysregulation lets it happen.
Fifth we must understand how our hormones and brain chemistry influence nearly every aspect of our health, why they get out of balance, and how to get them back in balance.
Sixth we must understand what factors play a role in our cardio-metabolic health and how to prevent and reverse metabolic and heart disease and how these diseases are caused by toxins, infections, poor nutrition, genes, and their interplay.
Lastly we must understand the importance of energy–that we are energetic beings, both in the sense of our cellular energy and our energetic interaction with everything in our surrounding, people, the planet and the universe ultimately. We must understand that our mitochondria are the energy powerhouses of our cells, how they function to create energy, how the energy production process can be disturbed and what factors cause those disturbances and how to correct them so we can make more energy.
And finally, we must understand how the mind interacts with the body and how the body interacts with the mind to influence and affect each of our other systems and understand that these are not separate systems. They are part of a web of function and physiology that is at the root of both health and disease.
This revolutionary new way of thinking about health and disease will guide you toward something many people have given up on, the actual experience of wellbeing and achieving AdvanceHealth.
Digestion and Assimilation
Gastrointestinal disorders have become increasingly common in the United States. Today more than 70 million people suffer some form of gastrointestinal (GI) disorder.
Our gastrointestinal system is literally the gateway to our health, the way in which all nutrients enter the body to get assimilated to make energy and the pay in which toxins and waste exit the body. Clearly any dysfunction in our GI tract compromises our health.
The relationship between gastrointestinal dysfunction and chronic disease is multifaceted, compelling, and complex. Most chronic disease has its roots in gastrointestinal dysfunction. When the normal integrity of the GI tract is compromised, resulting in leaky gut, this can result in distant systemic complaints even in the absence of obvious GI symptoms.
Today on the cutting edge if modern science its been studied and proven that the core of our immune system lies in our GI tract as well as much of it’s integrity. Recent Fascinating research by Dr. Faisano has isolated the molecule responsible for leaky gut named Zonulin and it is clear that the GI tract has a central role in most chronic and systemic disease. From intestinal pathogens and allergens, to intestinal permeability and imbalances in colonic bacteria, gut dysfunction compromises your health and diminishes vitality.
For this reason this is the place Dr. Rashel usually starts treatment in the healing process, restoring gut integrity and health.
Detoxification and Biotransformation
In our modern times in the 21st century two things have become increasingly clear, first, we are exposed to both more and more complex array of toxins in our air, water, and food than ever in history and Second, science has recognized that an our individual ability to detoxify or bio-transform (the process to get rid of toxins out of our body) and excrete toxic substances is critically important to overall health.
In recent years we have learned a great deal about how toxins affect our body, where they come from, and we can improve our ability to detoxify in a toxic world. The concept that toxins accumulate in the body and are the cause of many health problems has long been a fundamental principle of healthcare systems traditionally around the world. Understanding, diagnosing and addressing toxicity and taking steps to improve biotransformation and detoxification are essential to the successful treatment of most health ailments and diseases and a critical piece in any integrative approach to your health and wellbeing.
There is persuasive research based evidence that even low-level toxic exposures contribute to the development of a variety of chronic health conditions, including fatigue, endocrine disruption and hormonal abnormalities such as female hormone imbalance, male testosterone deficiency, thyroid dysfunction, infertility, and many chronic degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s.
Dr. Rashel recognizes and addresses toxic exposure and burden in her patients and implements appropriate safe detoxification treatment plans as part of her integrative approach to treating her patients. Bottom line: Toxins in your environment cause disease and to cure disease we need to identify and detoxify the toxin. Pharmaceutical drugs, that are themselves toxins, are not the treatment if you are aiming for cure.
Immune Defense and Repair
More than 23 million Americans suffer from autoimmune diseases. Over 100 different diseases have been classified as autoimmune in nature. Conventional medicine views these diseases as separate entities however the Functional Medicine approach uses a broader perspective. Current research reveals that all of the autoimmune diseases share the same underlying mechanisms. It is clear that environmental factors have important parts to play in the underlying etiology that drives these disease processes fueling the fire.
A few common autoimmune diseases are Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ulcerative Colitis, Hashimoto’s Thyroid Disease, Grave’s, Lupus, Ulcerative Colitis, Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer, Psoriasis, Eczema, Sjogren’s, IGA nephropathy.
In Conventional medicine if you suffer from these maladies you are labeled with the disease name, ‘diagnosed’, told treatment is limited or given hope when at best conventional doctors and rheumatologists can offer immune suppressants and steroids to suffocate the immune system that only minimally and at its best temporarily may slow the process and unfortunately results in multiple very serious side effects including serious infections that may cause death.
After all however, we do need our immune system and suppressing it is not a good idea, very simply put it’s worthy to remember that it is our immune system that at every second fights for us in face of insults from the environment, infections, and cancer cells that a healthy immune system routinely kills and wards off. Although there is a genetic component to some autoimmune disease meaning that individuals may have a genetic predisposition toward certain disease processes, it s environmental triggers that set those genes off. It is environmental factors—and the interactions of our genes with our environment that does play a significant role in the disease process.
Despite this understanding, less attention has been focused on determining these important causal factors. At Advance Health Functional Medicine Dr. Rashel recognizes that immune imbalance, while can involve a genetic predisposition, will generally arise in the context of certain controllable factors including consumption of a pro-inflammatory diet, food intolerances and food allergies, microbial and viral infections, exposure to synthetic pharmaceuticals, hormonal imbalances, nutritional insufficiencies, and xenobiotic exposure (xenobiotics being chemical compounds foreign to the human body which can include drugs, pharmaceuticals, environmental toxins).
Dr. Rashel’s treatment approach to autoimmune maladies focuses on identifying the root causes and triggers that are fueling the inflammatory fire that is triggering the immune system, chronic inflammation and all systemic influences on the immune system thereby treating the problems from the root cause without weakening the immune system as in conventional medicine but rather
Cardio-Metabolic Cellular Transport
We are living in exciting and promising times as over the past decade convincing evidence has accumulated regarding the true underlying factors driving heart disease.
However we are also living in confusing times as all the new research surfaces many and most conventional physicians are not yet aware and familiar with the current research, this is not new in the dogma of medicine as studies have shown that on average it takes about 70 years for the average physician to get up to date and utilize current research in practice.
Over the past decade convincing evidence has accumulated and contemporary functional medicine practitioners know that conquering heart disease is not simply a matter of driving serum cholesterol to lower and lower levels, this is in fact comical when we pay attention to biochemistry and physiology. In fact, half the people who have a heart attack have normal cholesterol.
Newer research has thrown into question the primacy of elevated LDL cholesterol as the primary driver of heart disease. It appears that cholesterol, while an important signpost, is but one of a variety of markers that indicate cardiovascular risk. It’s is critical to pay attention to all the underlying driving factors that trigger and drive heart disease. You do not want to fall victim to the transitional era we are living in and as always we advocate that you take control of your health and wellbeing and assure that you benefit from the new understanding of the early diagnosis and underlying treatment of cardio-metabolic disease which includes obesity, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, even dementia. Dr. Rashel uses a
Functional medicine approach to addressing and treating and the early diagnosis of the underlying triggers and driving factors of cardio metabolic disease which include looking at the numerous other metabolic markers that can signal or be risk factors for heart disease besides LDL and addressing core imbalances that may have a hand in fueling abdominal obesity, and high blood pressure, like infections and blood sugar and insulin dysregulation, nutritional deficiencies, thereby addressing the root cause preventing and reversing heart disease and cultivating greater overall health and well being.
Hormonal and Neurotransmitter Communication
Hormones are the messengers in our body that govern virtually every single aspect of our health from reproduction to sexuality, to youthfulness, sleep, blood sugar metabolism, to energy.
When hormones are deficient or out of balance you may suffer from fatigue, weight gain, depression, anxiety, erectile dysfunction, low libido, menstrual irregularities, menopausal symptoms, hair loss, insomnia or just may feel like you’ve lost your vigor, vitality and zest for life.
In recent years bio-identical hormone replacement therapy has helped improve the quality of life especially for menopausal, peri- menopausal women and men in andropause. Thyroid dysfunction, low thyroid hormones can also be treated by combinations of thyroid replacement.
However we must not cease to ask what is the root cause of the imbalance in the hormones and aim to address and treat the root causes of these imbalances. Although hormone replacement therapy can provide relief from the symptoms of hormone imbalance and some advertise that hormones are the fountain of youth, we must use them very cautiously as there may be risks and replacing the hormones does not address the underlying cause of why they were imbalanced or why the symptoms were so severe as in the case of menopause. Although it may be difficult and confusing at times to try to decipher what is the best way to address and treat your symptoms, especially when you don’t feel well, I encourage you to always aim to address the root cause.
As conventional doctors may ignore how you are feeling completely and some contemporary doctors may advertise that everything your feeling from your weight to your energy can be fixed if they give you hormones whether it be thyroid or female hormones or male hormones.
You may see advertisements that encourage you to think what you are feeling has nothing to do with you per se it’s just your hormones, or your thyroid.
Actually all hormones imbalance including thyroid dysfunction has underlying triggers, meaning if you are hypothyroid or have imbalanced female hormones or even if your menopausal symptoms are severe or you are gaining weight, yes your hormones are probably involved but it is incorrect to say your hormones are the cause as your hormone imbalance has underlying causes that are critical and crucial for your health and well being to address like nutritional deficiencies, toxins such as heavy metals, xenobiotics, stress emotional or physical, infections, lifestyle which are always involved and the underlying reasons for the imbalance and if ignored and not treated can go on to create bigger and bigger health problems.
Dr. Rashel’s approach always includes first and foremost listening to and hearing her patients. When necessary Bio-identical hormones and hormone replacement therapy do have a role to improve quality of life however looking upstream to decipher the root cause of the imbalances is an integral part of our treatment approach including identifying nutritional deficiencies, toxic body burden, dietary modifications, identifying emotional and physical stressors, appropriate lifestyle management, nutraceutical supplementation to optimize function which many times address and treat the symptoms successfully without added potential risk.
WEnergy is neither created nor destroyed, one of the fundamental
Newtonian principles of physics that is at the core of each and every one of our cells, governs us and our world.
Energy drives ALL biologic activity, from individual atoms and molecules, to cellular physiology, through organ-system and whole-person functioning, and ultimately to the biosphere. The energy spectrum is comprised not only of light, electricity, radiation, sound, movement, heat, and transformation, but also, for us humans, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and healing energy. Although clinicians don’t normally think of their patients as suffering from energy dysregulation, every time you suffer with headaches, fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, brain fog, or neurodegenerative conditions, chronic pain, this is a decline in optimal mitochondrial function (the energy powerhouse of each of your cells) and cellular vitality is part of the picture.
The science of mitochondrial function and dysfunction literally runs our physiological energy state and must be addressed as part of any treatment plan to address health and disease.
The health of Mitochondria and our cellular energy can be negatively affected by toxins wether environmental, infectious or emotional as well as by nutrient deficiency and other factors.
Emotional, Mental and Spiritual Connection
We are energy beings and all aspects of our health are continuously affected by our energetic state. Our energetic state is governed by our thought processes and perceptual patterns, our emotional states and emotional regulation, and our spiritual beliefs such as of our meaning and purpose in life and our relationship with our universe and something greater than ourselves.
Our emotional, mental and spiritual state and beliefs can positively or negatively affect all other essential pillars and our cellular functioning. For example stress, negativity and lower emotional states such as anger and sadness can impact our gut health as our gut health can impact our emotional status.
Our cellular processes are also affected by our psychological and spiritual awareness and history of emotional trauma and for optimal health and energy those must be addressed as well. Therefore we can not have a true state of health without addressing the emotional, mental and spiritual factors in our life.
Finding meaning and purpose in our lives and a connection to something greater is an important factor that positively affects well being as is compassion for ourselves and others.
Compassion and connection between you and your physician and the therapeutic relationship can also be an integral part of healing. Dr. Rashel uses Functional treatment modalities to affect energy dysfunction through the use of clinical nutrition, dietary modifications, and nutraceuticals, trauma identification, as well as reference for therapeutic modalities such as Emotional Freedom Technique, Neurobiofeedback, and Matrix Reimprinting.
Chronic Infection Status
What’s Really Going on?
Throughout most of human history we have been at war with bacteria and microbes.
Today this no longer holds true, a new view and understanding of the human body has emerged. We now know that humans and microbes are co-evolved systems for their mutual benefit.
Metaphors like, the only good bug is a dead bug, are no longer appropriate. Another longstanding view has been that microbes are germs and one can ask how can we benefit from them if they are germs? In fact, most of the microbes we come in contact with are not germs, they are in actuality beneficial microbes that aid many aspects of our physiology including digestion of our diet, like vegetables, that we could not digest without microbial enzymes, provide energy for our metabolism, make essential vitamins, and act as a first line of defense against potential pathogens, or germs.
Humans receive their first inoculum of microbes from their mother during natural childbirth that in many ways sets the stage for health or can be a so called first strike if the child could not benefit from this important passage through the birth canal due to Cesarean Section. Our immune systems depend on these early inoculations to develop appropriately, and distinguish themselves from future microbe encounters.
Each region of our body has its own set of microbes.
It’s thought that what we eat, combined with our hormones, bodily fluids, skin oils, genetic makeup, where we live, and many other factors, contribute to the colonization and growth of these microbes. Bathing, washing your hair, washing your hands, and brushing your teeth remove some microbes, but they eventually grow back. And it’s thought that each of us has our own personal group of microbial species and strains (meaning microbial subspecies) that make our bodies their only homes. In other words, each of us supports a unique group of microbes that are ours and ours alone. How do you feel about having your own “personal” microbes?
Routine practices, including the use of antibiotics, may alter the human microbiome by reducing non-targeted bacteria and creating antibiotic resistant strains.
It’s fundamental to understand that we are essentially made up, not only of our own cells and genes, but each of us have bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa whose cells and genes and make up our biology.
In fact it’s the diversity of the bacteria that live in and on the human body, that we are inoculated with first through the vaginal canal of a normal healthy delivery at birth, that makes up our microbiome and dictates most of our health or lack there off.
The Human Microbiome Project established that there are over 10,000 different species of different organisms meaning over 100 Trillion individual bugs that share our bodies.
It is these bacteria that play an integral role in maintaining our immune system, contributing to the digestion of our food, and acting as first line of defense against potential pathogens. Many of these species are known pathogens that certainly can and do cause illness if and when the circumstances permit. Their main role in a healthy state is their integral role for the health of our bodies and most importantly our immune system.
In fact many or most diseases including most chronic infections that potentially contribute to feeling ill are the result of disturbed and reduction in microbiomes. Unfortunately this reduction is directly caused by ‘medical’ interventions, starting before birth continuing through birth and thereafter throughout childhood and adulthood that damage and limit the diversity of these microorganisms living within us, on us and around us.
When our immune system gets weakened from chronic stress, emotional or physical and or wrong food intake, pharmaceutical drugs like antibiotics, birth control pills, antacids, steroids, there is a reduction in number and diversity of our microbiome and we are at an increased risk of infection with fungi, bacteria and viruses.
Candida, Epstein Barr, CMV, Herpes, H Pylori, and Lyme Disease are some great examples. For example, not everyone infected with the bacteria that can cause Lyme Disease has symptoms or develops the sequelae that some patients suffer from known as Lyme Disease Many people are completely asymptomatic and live normal lives. In those who are severely symptomatic we must always ask what else can be going on and address all aspects of their health.
Lyme disease is a classic example of a condition that can result in aggressive and lengthy series of medical interventions that severely damage and destroy the microbiome. The overuse of antibiotics, antivirals, anti-fungals obviously have tremendous further negative impact from systemic depletion and causes autoimmune and allergic conditions and other health ailments seen in the later stages of Lyme disease.
One of the best ways to approach chronic infections is to address them just as we address any of the other 8 pillars of health and disease outlined in The Philosophy to AdvanceHealth. They are seldom the sole cause of why one is not feeling well and approaching them in this way almost never leads to long term success or overall health and well being. That’s why I address chronic infections as part of the overall health status along with addressing all other factors that if not addressed appropriately make it harder and maybe impossible to rid the body of chronic infections. Once all aspects are addressed we use targeted formulas and treatment plans particularly to help eradicate and lower antibody levels of chronic infections and in this approach we always see long-term beneficial outcomes in all aspects of health and well-being.