Have you been to multiple doctors with no diagnosis?

Have you had years of symptoms with no relief?

With Americans living in an ever-increasing toxic world, autoimmune disease, chronic illness, and unexplained illnesses are at epidemic levels.

More and more Americans can relate to this frustration. Those living with chronic illness often go years without the correct diagnosis. For example, an initial diagnosis of adrenal fatigue may be considered the root cause of your symptoms. You’re relieved there’s finally an answer and you begin treatment. But often, the root goes deeper than we realize.

“When it comes to chronic illnesses, my belief is that we should not fight symptoms, a diagnosis, or a syndrome, but improve the biological terrain and counter the underlying threats.”
~Simon Yu, MD

Top Underlying Threats Most Often Overlooked:

1. Dental Problems — Your mouth is the gatekeeper and first line of defense for your health. Your oral microbiome contains good and bad bacteria that reside not only in your mouth but also your ears, nose, throat, and even in your nasal passages. Root canals leave behind dead teeth often causing infection in the body; mercury found in fillings can cause many chronic conditions; wisdom teeth, if not healed properly, can cause cavitations (a reservoir of infections from viruses and bacteria), and titanium implants — in the mouth or elsewhere — can trigger hyper-sensitivity and create an autoimmune process in the body. Two of my favorite experts: Dr. Louisa Williams and Dr. Stuart Nunnally.

Find an Integrative Dentist at www.IAOMT.org or the International Academy of Biological Dentistry & Medicine www.iabdm.org

2. Parasites — While testing for parasites is a crapshoot (pun intended) there are tests that can give your practitioner an idea of your GI health. But we ALL have them! I believe the most comprehensive test is the GI Map test. (More details in “Lab Testing.”) Check out Dr. Todd Watts, “The Parasite Guy.”

3. Fungal Infections — Systemic fungal infections (yeast overgrowth, Candida) are often overlooked by most doctors. There are many sources for yeast and candida to enter the body and it doesn’t take fungus long to multiply in the gut. If you have leaky gut (which you likely do,) the fungus can enter the bloodstream and travel, affecting every area of the body. Heavy antibiotic use can increase fungus in the body and kill off any good bacteria you have in your gut to fight off the candida and yeast. A comprehensive stool analysis, candida antibodies test, or Organic Acid Test can provide valuable information.

4. Emotional Trauma — Unresolved trauma is an underlying contributor to countless physical illnesses and issues like chronic pain, fatigue, fibromyalgia, hormone imbalance, obesity, diabetes, and dementia. A study by the CDC and Kaiser Permanente even found that over 67% of adults have been exposed to trauma — making trauma a silent epidemic. And that’s likely now much higher due to the COVID pandemic, affecting children as well. Trauma stays in our body as energy, affecting our health, until we uncover it and process it. Healing emotional trauma can be intimidating and overwhelming and involves more than just doing a google search. Here are some resources I found helpful:
Dr. Bradley Nelson, author of “The Emotion Code,” He also has an online program to help you heal from home.
Dr. Aimie Apigian, renowned attachment and trauma specialist.
Dr. Darren Weissman – The Lifeline Technique.

5. Interference Fields — Surgeries, injuries, scars, traumas, and injection sites cause Interference Fields (IF) which are essentially the energetic scar that remains once the tissue heals. An energetic scar will eventually manifest a physical symptom as every injury or trauma leaves behind metabolites in the repair process that eventually block the energy flow of meridians, organs, glands, and/or tissues. Scars can also affect lymph and fascia — bands of connective tissues that surround the muscles and organs in the body (think Saran Wrap) — and send abnormal signals to the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS.)

Bottom line: If you have an IF, you can eat all the best nutrition and not absorb any of it. The same is true for other efforts such as: exercise, massage, chiropractic, medication, and sleep. This is a relatively new discovery with not a lot of treatment options to date. Look into massage, acupuncture, or neural therapy (an injection therapy that breaks down scar tissue and resets those signals going through the ANS).

6. Lyme Disease — The standard treatment by most doctors continues to be testing with the Western blot and/or ELISA, which are notoriously inaccurate. Even if the test does come back positive, many doctors are only allowed to treat with a 30-day cycle of doxycycline antibiotics, and most do not even believe in “chronic Lyme.” Plus, the general belief is that there must be an active bulls-eye rash in order to contract Lyme disease, which is not true.  It’s also important to note, rather than being called a tick-borne disease, it is now considered a vector-borne disease as Lyme and its co-infections (Babesia, Bartonella, Mycoplasma, to name a few) can be caused by bites from spiders, fleas, mosquitoes… even a cat scratch or your mother’s birth canal have been shown to transmit the bacteria.

Lyme disease is often the root cause of or mimics several autoimmune disorders such as RA, MS, Lupus, ADHD, Sjogren’s, Fibromyalgia, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and more. Look for a LLMD (Lyme-Literate MD) for the most accurate testing and treatment. www.lymedisease.org  Another great source: www.rawlsmd.com

7. Mold Exposure/Biotoxin Illness — More than 25% of the population carry the HLA-DR gene that makes it more difficult for them to excrete mycotoxins. Their body is unable to recognize toxins as a foreign invader, so they don’t produce the antibodies needed to remove mycotoxins, which can trigger biotoxin illness from an out-of-control inflammatory response called Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS.) This can cause a multitude of symptoms, often not recognized by doctors as being attributed to mold exposure, including:

• Increased sensitivity to noises, touch, smells, taste/foods
• Sinus/respiratory issues
• Loss of balance, dizziness
• Headaches
• Mood swings
• Heightened sensitivity with all your senses.
• Irregular heartbeat
• Joint pain and/or muscle pain/weakness
• Skin rashes
• Sleep problems
• Vision changes/eye irritation

Studies show that more than 50% of homes (I believe it’s much higher) and more than 85% of commercial buildings in the U.S. have water damage and mold. Even those without the HLA-DR gene can develop biotoxin illness from prolonged mold exposure.

Personal note: I’m including more info on mold here because I believe many are suffering and don’t know it — that was true in my situation — and it’s still relatively ‘undiscovered’ in the Western medicine world. I was able to live with minimal mold exposure for a period of time but when my body was overexposed, combined with intense prolonged stress, it triggered the genetic response. Before I was diagnosed, I had become super sensitive to light (especially the sun or strobe lights), I was also more sensitive to things touching my skin — even some clothing bothered me — smells became an issue triggering headaches (especially anything chemical like cleaning/laundry products) and I often noticed a metallic taste in my mouth. Other symptoms included sudden dizziness, terrible brain fog, claw-like cramping in my hands, ice-pic pain/tingling, hot flashes, extreme mood swings, and digestion issues. This is biotoxin illness.

What’s the Difference Between Mycotoxins and Biotoxins?

Mycotoxins are toxic chemical substances/carcinogens most often produced by mold in water damaged homes/buildings. They suppress the immune system, cause cell death, and break the blood-brain barrier. Mycotoxin exposure, especially in those with the HLA-DR gene can cause symptoms with your skin and immune, digestive, respiratory, and neurological systems. Mycotoxins are a type of biotoxin.

Most importantly, if you are living and/or working in a water-damaged building, you are breathing mycotoxins so it would be ideal to REMOVE YOURSELF IMMEDIATELY FROM THAT ENVIRONMENT. No amount of intervention will help you regain your health if you are continually exposed. If moving is not possible at the moment, look into a quality air purifier. I like Air Doctor and Intellipure. Also, binders like G.I. Detox or activated charcoal  — use code KathyHart20 for 20% off — and check into remediation from certified experts.

Biotoxins can be acquired from the air, water, food or from insect bites and are a mix of mold toxins, bacterial toxins (including the bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, that causes Lyme disease, and chemical toxins from a water-damaged building. Biotoxins generally have a specific affinity for fat cells because they can “stick” to them, making it particularly difficult to remove these toxins. Depending on the type of toxin present, toxin binders such as Bentonite clay, NAC, Charcoal, Zeolite, Chlorella, Cholestyramine, and/or Welchol may be used to facilitate the removal of these toxins from the fat cells. Juicing, colonics, glutathione, and infrared saunas may also help to remove these toxins more quickly.

Great resources: survivingmold.com;  drcrista.com; betterhealthguy.com

8. Breast Implant Illness — This is almost always overlooked as a potential cause for your symptoms. Each woman is unique and many have no issues at all but there are some who have experienced symptoms soon after having their breast implants inserted and others did not until years later.

I knew my body would never heal completely until I removed these foreign objects from my body. My main symptom was a pain in my left breast (that I ignored for a few years — yeah, years) while I worked on other potential sources of my symptoms. After leaving a moldy environment, doing the protocol to remove the mycotoxins/mold from my body, and removing my mercury fillings, the explant surgery was next. But I put it off as long as I could, mostly because my doctor told me I would be left with NO boobs. Vanity aside, I was very happy when I had the implants removed because mold was found in the valve of the left implant.  And, I actually felt quite free and relieved without them!

Symptoms of breast implant illness vary greatly. Here is a short list of symptoms:

• Insomnia/Ongoing Fatigue – having virtually no energy all day long.
• Cognitive issues like forgetfulness, brain fog, loss of memory, difficulty concentrating.
• Imbalance in hormones – menstrual cycle irregularities; early menopause; weight gain or weight loss; losing hair; low sex drive; thyroid and/or adrenal issues.
• Changes in the breast shape, size or color, redness, discharge, swelling, rash, or pain could indicate a leaking implant.
• Weakened immune system – sudden food allergies and intolerance, dizziness, migraines, easily catch common illnesses such as flu or cold.
• Mental health issues which can be caused by lack of sleep, hormone imbalances, continually feeling weak and sick can cause anxiety, depression, mood swings.
• Autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, Grave’s disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, multiple sclerosis, etc.
• Digestive system issues including IBS, leaky gut.
• Skin problems including Eczema, rashes, or allergic reactions.
• Heart palpitations, panic attacks, shortness of breath.

Great resource: www.dianekazer.com

So, that’s a pretty long list of underlying issues. But in my experience, if you check into these, you will more than likely discover that the root cause of your health issues is due to one, or a combination of these underlying issues.

So, NOW what?! Deep breath. And get some testing done.  Your best bet is to find a functional medicine practitioner or Naturopathic doctor familiar with which labs are best based on your symptoms.


Biological Terrain:

Chronic illness is the imbalance of many things. One of the first places to look is the gut. And it’s important to note that a healthy gut is not just determined by the food we eat but also by sleep, exercise, socialization, how we handle stress, and our toxic load. Hippocrates said 2500 years ago, “All disease starts in the gut,” and with about 70% of your immune system housed in your gut, those with gut issues (most of us) are more susceptible to mental health issues and autoimmune conditions.

Biological terrain is our internal environment — specifically our gut — and most of us are dealing with leaky gut! What is leaky gut?

The easiest description is this — our gut is like a hose. This ‘hose’ develops holes allowing food particles to leak into the blood stream (where they don’t belong) causing damage. Our body now sees that food (even healthy food) as a foreign substance so when we eat it again, we have a negative reaction. So, while it’s obviously beneficial to eat healthy food, the condition of our gut determines how our body handles that food.

Again, finding a Naturopathic doctor or functional medicine practitioner should be a good start to heal your gut!