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How To Combat Your Colds

How To Combat Your Colds

The humble cold is the most common infectious disease in the U.S. It accounts for more absences from school and work than any other illness. The most common route of infection is not from coughing or sneezing, or walking barefoot in the rain, but from hand-to-hand contact. That is why when you have a cold, washing your hands frequently is so important. The likelihood of you becoming a victim of the cold virus increases however, if you are overtired or physically exhausted as this suppresses your natural immunity.
Children under two generally get 5-10 colds a year, especially if they are in daycare. Older children and young adults get about 3-6 colds per year. After the age of 30 the number starts to decrease to about two per year. Most uncomplicated colds last between eight and nine days, but about 25% last two weeks, and 5-10% last three weeks.
The following are a list of suggestions to assist in combating the common cold:

  1. As long as your temperature remains below 102 F there is no need to lower it. Cold viruses do not reproduce at higher body temperatures. A slight fever should help you get rid of the virus quicker and feel better much sooner.
  2. Chicken soup does help the symptoms. Chicken contains a natural amino acid called cystine. Cystine can thin the mucus in the lungs and make it less sticky so you can expel it more easily. Homemade is the best.
  3. Rest. It is important to rest and take it easy throughout the time you are ill. This time may be longer if you do not allow yourself to recuperate and recover completely. If you exercise regularly, you needn’t stop. However, you should definitely cut back on the intensity until you feel better.
  4. Wash your hands frequently and try to keep them away from your nose and eyes. Use disposable tissues as opposed to cloth handkerchiefs. If you are caring for a child with a cold, WASH YOUR HANDS every time you have to wipe their nose. This will protect you from being infected. In addition to washing the hands you should wash your sinuses as well. There are several ways to keep your nose clean and this will minimize airborne transmission of little critters.
  5. Drink plenty of fluids but avoid dairy products (including cheese and yogurt). Water is the best. Try to drink at least eight to ten glasses a day. This will help the stuffiness and help the secretions loosen. In addition to drinking water, warm a cup with some salt and gargle. Gargling with warm salt water soothes the throat and speeds healing.
  6. Eating refined sugars weakens your immune system and promotes yeast overgrowth. This includes ALL sodas which typically have eight teaspoons of sugar per can. Honey, molasses, maple syrup, date sugar, cane sugar, corn sugar, beet sugar, corn syrup, fructose, lactose, and other refined carbohydrates are known promoters of yeast growth. Reducing or eliminating these in your diet will help your immune system.
  7. Many people will start to drink large amounts of orange juice when they are sick. All the simple sugars (fructose) in the juice will actually make you worse. Try to avoid ALL juices, including organic juices or ones with no sugar added.
  8. Researchers have shown zinc lozenges reduce the severity and duration of cold symptoms, particularly a sore throat. They believe the zinc is directly toxic to the virus and stimulates your body to produce antibodies to destroy the virus. They seem to work for about three out of four colds. You can suck on ONE-QUATER of a zinc lozenge every thirty minutes. Do not chew and quickly swallow the tablets, as they won’t work. If you get nauseous you should stop the zinc immediately, as it is a sign of toxicity.
  9. Extra vitamin C is also helpful. I recommend a blend of mineral ascorbates such as Ultra Potent C that unlike typical ascorbic acid does not cause loose stools at higher doses. You can take 500-2,000 mg every 1-2 hours.
  10. Lauricidin is the monoester of the fatty acid lauric acid. This fatty acid possesses anti-viral activity against virus replication (it prevents their entry into Cell Membranes) and can help in speeding your recovery as well. It is commonly sold under the trade name “Monolaurin”.
  11. Andrographis is an excellent immune booster. At first you use 2 capsules every 2 hours and then decrease over to 2 tabs 3 times a day for about 5 days.
  12. Lastly If you cannot afford to be sick then I can highly recommend doing an IV-Immune drip of concentrated vitamins. Commonly known as a Myers push this drip allows you to take in doses of vitamin C and Magnesium and B-complex and other trace nutrients that simply cannot be done orally. I have witnessed many a cold stop in their tracks when using the immune drips.

This form of IV therapy is expanding rapidly and can be used much like a menu of ingredients depending on your symptoms and needs. For those on the go this can be a make or break it intervention in that you can literally stop a cold in a day or less.
Below are noted some products / treatments that I have found extremely useful for cold related disorders. Dosing and application is dependent on body size and symptoms.

Diarrhea

Colostrum, Probioplex, I-Flora, Glutamine Blends,

Sinus Infections

Clear Phlegm Pinellia, Gan Mao Ling, J’s Nose Drops, Xlear nasal spray, Laser

Bronchitis, Upper Respiratory Infections

Wei Soup A, B, and LC Balancer, Amazon A-V, Amazon A-F, Tea Tree Oil, Lavender,

Best of Health to You,
Dr. Dave Marquis, DC, DACBN
Oak Park Wellness Clinic 
860 Oak Park Blvd. #202
Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
805-481-3499

Even Your Diet Needs Spring Cleaning

In my daily practice one common issue I attempt to educate and help my patients with is in gaining an understanding of inflammation, what it is, how we experience it and how to minimize our personal inflammatory load. Reason being, inflammation leads to pain and disease two things most of us are motivated to avoid. Systemic inflammation can be considered one large form of toxicity. The longer inflammation stays with us and the higher the levels become the worse we feel, the more toxic we become and bit by bit our ability to function and perform as we once did slips away from us. So understanding inflammation empowers us to take control of our health in a big way.
Our bodies produce inflammatory compounds as a natural by-product of living. These compounds have a useful role as they alert us to danger and when we have injured ourselves as well as playing a role in the healing process. Conversely when these products are produced in higher levels than what is necessary for our body to warn itself and initiate a healing response then we actually injure ourselves with them. We become toxic waste dumps or store houses for excess inflammation and waste.
From Arthritis to Obesity, Irritable Bowel to Multiple Sclerosis most if not all disease have inflammation as a root factor in their activity against us. These inflammatory compounds are produced in large part according to the type and quantity of foods we eat as well as the activities we do or don’t involve ourselves in. In other words to control our inflammatory load is to limit our exposure or intake of foods and compounds that produce inflammation, promote healthy foods, avoid harmful activities and promote healthy activities. For many of us getting back to a state of health may require a period of time to detoxify ones-self and this gradually leads to a restoration of our health and well-being.
Reducing or controlling our exposure to systemic inflammation can only be done once we understand what we are doing to create or perpetuate the problem. Unfortunately most Americans eat what is referred to as the Standard American Diet (SAD) and that acronym is not a joke. Our American diet truly is SAD.
The SAD is the one we are most accustomed to. It contains too many empty (nutrient devoid) calories; too many simple carbohydrates (sugars); too much fat (especially hydrogenated, trans and saturated fats); too much processed food, and too many chemicals (preservatives, colorings, stabilizers and other additives) that have no nutritional value. This diet helps contribute to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and a host of other disorders most if not all of which are related to creating more inflammation throughout the body.
The incidence and severity of these diseases can be minimized – even reversed – by eating more fruits; vegetables; legumes (beans); unprocessed grains; and by drinking more pure water. When a person eats more “good” food, they ingest more vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber. These are the building blocks by which our body repairs itself. These substances are good for the cardiovascular system; the immune system; the neuro-musculoskeletal system; and the gastrointestinal system. Junk food (sodas (including diet sodas); fruit drinks; fried foods; most fast foods; chips; doughnuts; ice cream; cookies; desserts; etc.) and processed meats (hot dogs; pepperoni; salami; sausage; bacon) add empty calories, little fiber, artery-clogging fat, simple sugars, and a host of unwanted chemicals. These foods can contribute to the diseases mentioned above.
There are at least 21 chances a week (seven breakfasts, lunches and dinners) not including snacks to give your body appropriate fuel. I like to have my patients imagine each meal on a plate and divide the plate into 3 sections. The largest section should be all green or colored vegetables. The other two sections should be equally divided and represent roughly equal amounts of a lean protein containing good fats and the other should contain a low glycemic carbohydrate (refer to www.mendosa.com for the glycemic index).
OK, so now you have what your plate should look like but how do you put this into practice? I mean who is going to eat half a plate of colored vegetables for breakfast? Well in my experience maybe 1 in 100 people will even give this a try and they typically don’t follow through for more than a week or so. Now for lunch and dinner building the ideal plate is much more achievable for the average American. So instead of making a goal of something that you are likely to fail at lets consider ways to accomplish the ideal plate.
For breakfast, eat a balance of protein (eggs, cheese, turkey, whey, soy, nuts, etc and a high-fiber whole grain (Ezekial bread, Oatmeal, soaked whole grain or legume and finally for the color you can use a variety of fresh fruits or if you want the quick approach you can use a flash dried fruit and vegetable drink such as “Greens First” (my personal favorite!). If you are really in a hurry you could make all this plate in the form of a mixed protein drink. Your particular needs and specific diet will vary depending on your level of activity and weight loss concerns. Add extra nutrient dense calories for high activity needs, and skip them if you need to lose weight.
For lunches and dinners, eat seven vegetable-based meals and seven protein-based meals. So, either for lunch or dinner each day eat a vegetable-based meal, such as a large salad with a small to moderate amount of protein. This should consist of four to five colors of vegetables and one legume (pinto; kidney; black; white; red; garbanzo; navy; lentils; or soy). Use a spoonful or two of olive or canola-oil-based dressing and vinegar. If that is not enough flavors, you can add spices to season to your taste. Other options for your vegetable meal would be a large plate of steamed vegetables (again, shoot for at least five colors such as Trader Joes prepackaged mixed greens mix of chard, bok choy, mustard greens, spinach, and kale) or a bowl of vegetable soup. People who are moderately active may want to add some protein, such as cheese, fish, chicken or turkey.
For the seven animal-protein-based-meals, I prefer fish, chicken or turkey with a nonstarch vegetable side dish. For people with high activity or growth with no weight loss, starches such as pasta, potatoes, and rice may be added.
Fresh fruits are great for snacking; apples and citrus can go anywhere. Eat two to three pieces of fresh fruit per day. Mixed raw nuts also make a great snack. If you are trying to lose weight, limit the nuts to a handful a day and some folks may need to limit that as well until the root inflammation is controlled.
Alcohol, sodas, fruit drinks, and even fruit juices are high in nutrient devoid calories and sugars. When you see or hear the word sugar please think Inflammation, as sugar is a huge fire starter for systemic inflammation. If you have a weight problem, stick to water and use these as an infrequent dessert.
Unfortunately, many people only eat a few healthy meals per week. The goal of this plan is to eat at least 14 healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners each week. Compared to the standard American diet, this plan is higher in mixed fiber, vitamins and minerals and is lower in bad fats, sugars, empty calories and chemicals. It is also high in phytochemicals (plant nutrients) and yields 5-10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
By following this plan you will enable your body to gradually lower its total systemic inflammatory load and therefore your toxicity. Gradual detoxification is generally well tolerated and dietary modification lays at the foundation of this type of Spring-cleaning for the body. Hopefully the process will extend past the Spring-time and become a natural way of eating. By putting healthier food in your body, you will feel better now, and reduce your chances of serious illness later.
Some folks will require more direction than what is noted above. In many cases very specialized detoxification programs need to be implemented. These involve specific organ cleanses that utilize key nutrients and botanicals to assist the body in eliminating waste so that it can begin to absorb and make use of the good foods that we eat. In some cases our body has become so toxic that despite our best efforts at correcting our diet we still feel crummy. For these individuals I still recommend attempting to correct the diet along the lines of what is described above but they should also seek specific counsel from their doctor and nutritionist as to how to get their body to a place where it can make proper use of the foods they are eating. These are the things that we at A Natural Balance specialize in. When you are ready to make a positive change we encourage you to join us to investigate how to find the health you once had.
Best of Health to You,
Dr. Dave Marquis, DC, DACBN
Oak Park Wellness Clinic 
860 Oak Park Blvd. #202
Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
805-481-3499

Allergies, Fast and Slow

Allergies come in all varieties. The term allergy often brings to mind the individual with the red dripping nose that can’t stop sneezing. Another allergy that comes to mind is the obvious food allergy where you need to avoid a food that when eaten can cause your body to swell up and in some cases can even restrict your breathing. This type of allergy can be life threatening if not identified and respected.
Well, a whole different line of allergies are those that are less perceptible in an immediate sense but none-the-less affect our lives in a big way. To explain what I mean we need to establish a common language of immune response. First off the guy with the runny itchy nose as well as the life-threatening allergy sufferer are experiencing a reaction mediated by antibodies and their related components that act primarily in an immediate fashion. One of those commonly identified is the IgE antibody. This can be generated in response to a substance in the form of pollen, food particles (like peanuts), dust, latex, or just about anything.
Another line of antibodies such as the IgG family can cause what is termed a delayed hypersensitivity. This is the antibody family that initiates a gradually increasing response over several days after the initial exposure. This type of response might go unnoticed since its symptoms might be sore joints, headache, brain fog, or fatigue. These antibodies might be reacting to the exact same substance mentioned above but it does so in a much slower insidious fashion that steals your health away inch by inch such that over the course of time you actually forget ever being truly healthy!
Someone reading this might say “well I’ve got all those things” and you very well may! Many of us walk around year after year suffering inexplicable symptoms that seem to come and go but never quite leave us completely. Whether it be the urgent need to find a restroom after a meal due to inflamed bowels or chronically sore joints they have stopped us from doing what we love because we always hurt.
It’s strange for some to think that they have been “poisoning” themselves slowly overtime and possibly with foods that would be considered “good for you” in general. This however is the case for many unwitting allergy sufferers.
Symptoms provoked by food sensitivities occur when our immune system begins perceiving foods in the same way it perceives things which are truly harmful – bacteria, viruses, parasites, etc. This mistaken identity leads to the release of toxic chemicals called “mediators”(such as histamine, cytokines, and prostaglandins) from our immune cells. It’s the inflammatory and pain-inducing effect of the mediators that give rise to symptoms making us feel sick. Food sensitivity symptoms are often chronic. This is because the mediators are released every time you eat reactive foods. And it doesn’t matter what drugs we take to try and get better – if we have food sensitivities and don’t figure out which foods we SHOULD be eating, getting better and staying better becomes a long-term losing struggle.
There are a variety of medications both prescription and over the counter as well as botanical that can mask many of these symptoms but for most folks it seems that as time progresses higher dosing is required to achieve relief and this slippery slope never seems to stop.
Fortunately we now have a variety of testing possibilities to specifically identify allergens and the degree to which they are affecting us as well as the ability to design personalized dietary protocols that can allow us to regain our health that was stolen through chronic long term inflammation. Some of the tests allow us to identify the foods or environmental substances that we react to and others show us the degree to which we are reacting to these elements. The bottom line is knowledge is power and the sooner we gain the knowledge of what is adversely affecting us the sooner we can make the changes necessary to regain our health.
If you have concerns in this area give us a call and we will take the time to comprehensively evaluate your particular situation, perform the necessary laboratory testing and provide you with a game plan to get your life back. Don’t let allergies immediate or delayed steal your life away. There are answers out there you may just need to ask a different question.

Get a Grip! – Understanding Anxiety

Get a Grip! – Understanding Anxiety

David M. Marquis, DC, DACBN

Anxiety affects one out of every four Americans. Women have a higher risk and incidence for it, due to developmental, societal, and endocrine factors. Anxiety disorder research in general is progressing but has largely been focused on pharmaceutical intervention which in many cases has proved to be as detrimental as the condition itself. Due to greater understanding of brain plasticity and the ability to facilitate new neural pathways many innovative, non-pharmaceutical-based therapies are now available to actually correct the condition.
Those who suffer with anxiety often feel exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmed. They can’t concentrate due to intense internal focus. Others obsess about specific things. Anxiety is easily detected if someone appears outwardly nervous. However, anxious people might outwardly appear calm but their brain seems to never quiet down and has a sense of constant “noise” in it.
The persistent internal chatter can get so bad that it interrupts their sleep and compromises their quality of life. These people aren’t living in the present, they keep worrying about the future or things from their past.
Anti-anxiety medications are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States. However, medications only relieve symptoms of anxiety, they don’t address the cause. Some causes of anxiety are more obvious than others. Many things we ingest can trigger the response such as stimulants like caffeine, diet pills, energy drinks, or other supplements that are marketed to increase energy. Other times anxiety is due to psychological or emotional stressors, such as having to speak in public or prepare for a major event.
Chronic anxiety however can have lesser-known causes that, if managed, can relieve symptoms and negate the need for medication. The root of anxiety can sometimes beneurologically complex, but other times it can be as simple as making some changes to your diet and lifestyle. Here I have listed a few lesser-known triggers of anxiety.

GAD and anxiety

GAD stands for glutamic acid decarboxylase. This is an enzyme that regulates the brain’s primary calming chemical, called GABA as well as Insulin (which controls sugar). Many people develop an autoimmune reaction to GAD, which means their immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys it. These are the folks that can’t make enough GABA to calm the brain and anxiety escalates. This type of autoimmunity is also associated with OCD, Vertigo, and TIC’s and is identified with specific blood testing and controlled dietarily.

Gluten and anxiety

For many its hard to accept something as innocent as your daily bread or a plate of pasta could cause anxiety, but mounds of research confirm that is the case. Gluten acts as a trigger for inflammation in the brain and creates an autoimmune attack against brain tissue. A gluten-free diet is an important first step, but many people find they also need to eliminate other “cross” reactive foods such as dairy, soy, eggs, and other grains to dampen immune flare-ups and anxiety. An anti-inflammatory autoimmune diet is essential to address brain health.

Blood sugar and anxiety

Chronic health issues secondary to blood sugar imbalance are numerous. The root cause is eating a high-carbohydrate diet. When you consume carbs such as breads, pasta, rice, potatoes, desserts, and soda you send blood sugar and insulin spiking up and then they come crashing down. For many this dietary pattern is a daily event. This creates neurological symptoms, including anxiety, depression, mood swings, irritability, and fatigue. Skipping meals and drinking too much coffee also feeds this cycle. A lower-carb diet with enough healthy proteins and fats can keep energy high and calm anxiety.

Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and anxiety

Five out of every 6 cases of hypothyroidism are autoimmune, meaning the immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid gland. When an autoimmune attack begins it can cause symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, and heart palpitations. In these cases managing the autoimmune aspect of the thyroid condition (which thyroid medications does nothing for) can control the anxiety.

Neural-Feedback and anxiety

The beauty of the brain is that if you have cleared out the fundamental metabolic triggers previously mentioned and still note symptoms then QEEG guided neurofeedback has an extremely high probability of solving the problem. This type of therapy literally creates new and permanent neural pathways in the brain to overcome undesirable patterns and traits.
Helping people learn to calm or quiet themselves is by far the best and most effective solution for anxiety. QEEG guided neurofeedback is the quickest and fastest way to permanently change poor neural pathways and create the ability to regain control of your life. These technologies have been used for decades with solid, proven results. One can learn more about how to decrease anxiety through neurofeedback at www.centralcoastclearmind.com.
Dr. Marquis wrote this article and it was first published in the San Luis Obispo Information Press. It can be seen in its original format here.
Click here for the INFORMATION PRESS home page.

Best of Health to You,
Dr. Dave Marquis, DC, DACBN
Oak Park Wellness Clinic 
860 Oak Park Blvd. #202
Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
805-481-3499

How Inflammation Affects Every Aspect of Your Health

How Inflammation Affects Every Aspect of Your Health

David M. Marquis, DC, DACBN

Inflammation controls our lives. Have you or a loved one dealt with pain, obesity, ADD/ADHD, peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, migraines, thyroid issues, dental issues, or cancer?
If you answered yes to any of these disorders you are dealing with inflammation.
Sadly, most of us are suffering from one or more of these disorders but have no idea how to eliminate inflammation. Most doctors are utilizing pharmaceuticals in lieu of getting to the root cause.
It often seems extremely foreign to most people when they realize the majority of inflammatory diseases start in the gut with an autoimmune reaction which progresses into systemic inflammation. To truly be effective at managing or hopefully overcome a disease it needs to be addressed on all levels. Taking a look at where this process starts is the key.

Where Does Inflammation Begin?

Your gut is made of an incredibly large and intricate semi-permeable lining. The surface area of your gut can cover two tennis courts when stretched out flat.
Its degree of permeability fluctuates in response to a variety of chemically mediated conditions. For example when your cortisol is elevated due to the stress of an argument or your thyroid hormone levels fluctuate due to burning the midnight oil your intestinal lining becomes more permeable in real time.
Then you sit down to eat and partially undigested food, toxins, viruses, yeast, and bacteria have the opportunity to pass through the intestine and access the bloodstream, this is known as leaky gut syndrome, or LGS.
When the intestinal lining is repeatedly damaged due to reoccurring leaky gut syndrome, damaged cells called microvilli become unable to do their job properly. They become unable to process and utilize the nutrients and enzymes that are vital to proper digestion. Eventually, digestion is impaired and absorption of nutrients is negatively affected. As more exposure occurs, your body initiates an attack on these foreign invaders. It responds with inflammation, allergic reactions, and other symptoms we relate to a variety of diseases.
So you might ask, what’s the harm of inflammation and ongoing allergic reactions?
It may sound relatively harmless, but this situation can and often does lead to numerous serious and debilitating diseases. Since your immune system can become overburdened, these inflammatory triggers are cycled continuously through your blood where they affect nerves, organs, connective tissues, joints, and muscles. You can probably begin to see how diseases develop.

Inflammation Triggers the Symptoms of Disease

The presence of inflammation is what makes most disease perceptible to an individual. It can and often does occur for years before it exists at levels sufficient to be apparent or clinically significant. How long it has been smoldering really determines the degree of severity of a disease and often the prognosis assuming the inflammation can be controlled. One could also argue that without inflammation most disease would not even exist. Take a look at this list of diseases and their relationship with inflammation:

Disease Mechanism
Allergy 4 Immune Mediated Types + Sensitivities, all of which cause inflammation
Alzheimer’s Chronic inflammation destroys brain cells
Anemia Inflammatory cytokines attack erythropoietin production
Ankylosing Spondylitis Inflammatory cytokines induce autoimmune reactions against joint surfaces
Asthma Inflammatory cytokines induce autoimmune reactions against airway lining
Autism Inflammatory cytokines induce autoimmune reactions in the brain arresting right hemisphere development
Arthritis Inflammatory cytokines destroy joint cartilage and synovial fluid
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Chronic inflammation causes excessive muscle tension shortening tendons in the forearm and wrist compressing the nerves.
Celiac Chronic immune mediated inflammation damages intestinal lining
Crohn’s Disease Chronic immune mediated inflammation damages intestinal lining
Congestive heart failure Chronic inflammation contributes to heart muscle wasting
Eczema Chronic inflammation of the gut and liver with poor detoxification and often antibodies against Transglutaminase-3.
Fibromyalgia Inflamed connective tissue often food allergy related and exacerbated by secondary nutritional and neurological imbalances.
Fibrosis Inflammatory cytokines attack traumatized tissue
Gall Bladder Disease Inflammation of the bile duct or excess cholesterol produced in response to gut inflammation
GERD Inflammation of the esophagus and digestive tract nearly always food sensitivity and pH driven
Guillain-Barre Autoimmune attack of the nervous system often triggered by autoimmune response to external stressors such as vaccinations.
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Autoimmune reaction originating in the gut triggered by antibodies against thyroid enzymes and proteins
Heart attack Chronic inflammation contributes to coronary atherosclerosis
Kidney failure Inflammatory cytokines restrict circulation and damage nephrons and tubules in the kidneys
Lupus Inflammatory cytokines induce an autoimmune attack against connective tissue
Multiple Sclerosis Inflammatory cytokines induce autoimmune reactions against myelin
Neuropathy Inflammatory cytokines induce autoimmune reactions against myelin and vascular and connective tissues which irritate nerves.
Pancreatitis Inflammatory cytokines induce pancreatic cell injury
Psoriasis Chronic inflammation of the gut and liver with poor detoxification
Polymyalgia Rheumatica Inflammatory cytokines induce autoimmune reactions against muscles and connective tissue
Rheumatoid Arthritis Inflammatory cytokines induce autoimmune reactions against joints
Scleroderma Inflammatory cytokines induce an autoimmune attack against connective tissue
Stroke Chronic inflammation promoted thromboembolic events
Surgical complications Inflammatory cytokines (often pre-dating the surgery) slow or prevent healing

Why Inflammation Must Be Addressed at its Root

The fact that your immune system drives the inflammatory process in disease is well established. Unfortunately Western medicine offers little in the way of actual answers as to managing or overcoming the Autoimmune process. The typical approach to therapy is generally to suppress the immune response with Immune suppressive agents or sometimes steroids. Both approaches are designed to reduce inflammation but neither stops the underlying disease processes or allows for damaged tissues to regenerate.
Unless you turn off the actual cause of fire (inflammation), all you have done is postponed the inevitable and potentially destroyed more of the building (your body) in the process, by allowing the fire to smolder in a subclinical fashion.
Every day on TV you can see professional athletes and others acting as spokespeople for Methotrexate, Orencia, Enbrel, Humira, Remicade, and other drugs which largely are designed to mask inflammation or suppress the immune response. None of these drugs actually have the capacity to correct the underlying condition and yet the imagery the ads leave the viewer with is that you will have your life back.
The Link Between Gut Dysfunction and Inflammatory Diseases
The term inflammation rarely elicits a truly accurate image in the mind of someone unless they are experiencing it. Then it begins to make sense because of the pain and dysfunction associated with inflammation. The ability to be inflamed is absolutely necessary for normal repair processes to occur. It is when the regulation of inflammation is not tempered or controlled that we begin to have a problem with inflammation.
It has been shown that many of the inflammatory diseases we suffer from are gut mediated but not presenting as gut issues. Dr. Maios Hadjivassiliou of the United Kingdom, a world authority on gluten sensitivity, has reported in The Lancet, that “gluten sensitivity can be primarily and at times, exclusively a neurological disease.” This means that people show gluten sensitivity by having problems with brain function despite having no gastrointestinal problems whatsoever. Dr. Hadjivassiliou indicates that the antibodies that a person has when they are gluten sensitive can be directly and uniquely toxic to the brain. For this there are specialty tests that have been developed.
Another author, published in a recent issue of Pediatrics, stated, “This study suggests that the variability of neurologic disorders that occur in celiac disease is broader than previously reported and includes softer and more common neurologic disorders including chronic headache, developmental delay, hypotonia and learning disorders or ADHD.” Clearly we have to broaden our evaluation criteria and perhaps definition of disease when a patient presents with complaints that do not fit into a typical clinical box.

How to Evaluate Inflammatory Diseases

Since inflammation is commonly mediated by the gut it is a logical starting point in the evaluation process of any patient. There are seven common areas that should be considered when looking at causative factors for gastrointestinal dysfunction that create the environment for chronic inflammation. They are listed below along with key triggers within the category of evaluation:

  • Diet: Alcohol, Gluten, Casein, Processed Foods, Sugar, Fast Food
  • Medications: Corticosteroids, Antibiotics, Antacids, Xenobiotics
  • Infections: Such as H-Pylori, Yeast or Bacterial Overgrowth, Viral or Parasite Infection
  • Stress: Increased Cortisol, Increased Catecholamines
  • Hormonal: Thyroid, Progesterone, Estradiol, Testosterone
  • Neurological: Brain Trauma, Stroke, Neuro-degeneration
  • Metabolic: Glycosylated End Products (inflammatory end products of sugar metabolism), Intestinal Inflammation, Autoimmune

Inflammation and Autoimmune Disease

The truth of the situation is that FOOD MATTERS. That’s right, it’s not just a movie (which by the way you should all watch!). Hyper-permeability of the gut, regardless of whether you can feel it or not is often a significant cause of an extremely long and ever growing list of conditions. The inflammatory cascade that takes place by any inflammatory trigger (diet, medications, infections, stress, hormonal, neurological, or metabolic) can break down the intestinal permeability and allows for the leaky gut mechanism to initiate.
Due to the variety of triggers, it is often possible to reduce an individual’s immune reactivity but not cure it if leaky gut is not the primary trigger for the inflammatory process. There are multiple models of autoimmunity although it is becoming more well accepted that once you develop autoimmunity you will have increased Intestinal Permeability also.
Autoimmunity can be put into remission and this can have profound improved life consequences but it can also be turned on again if life circumstances change. It is considered “Incurable”. You may be able to change the expression of it but to think that you are going to be able to take a boat load of supplements and change your diet and cure the condition you are generally going to be let down.
Waxing and waning responses are par for autoimmunity. When stress picks up despite dietary intake a person will be expected to flare up. This inflammation is initiated by increased levels of iNOS (inducible nitric oxide) which causes an immediate increase in intestinal permeability much like elevated cortisol levels from stress. Once this occurs serum protein particles leak through and become extremely reactive. Gluten is an extremely common serum protein in a situation of increased permeability simply due to the commonality of daily exposure.
If you take on too many projects, eat poorly, have limited or poor sleep patterns, then you can bet that intestinal permeability will increase and food will start to leak through.
Your immune system will then begin to recognize these proteins as other similar proteins like cerebellum, thyroid, etc… When that occurs you will experience symptoms that generally are far removed from what someone would consider to be food related since they are not felt in the gut. Instead you experience brain fog, pain, fatigue, poor sleep, anxiety, or endocrine dysfunction. When antibodies combine with our structural proteins, specific genes are turned on in a special type of immune cell in the body. Inflammatory chemicals are created called cytokines, which are strongly damaging to brain function. In fact, elevated cytokines are seen in such devastating conditions as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and even autism.
You see, autoimmune disease is not clinically diagnosed until you have tissue destruction. For some neurodegenerative conditions, you need up to 70 percent demyelination (nerve damage) before it will show on an MRI. You cannot afford to wait for that type of advanced destruction before taking action. If you are symptomatic in any way and show to have antibodies or test positive on any of the tests listed above, you have Autoimmune Reactivity and that is enough to take action and make life changes to potentially stop the process from continuing. Inflammation can be a great friend in this sense. Look at it as an early warning sign and take action before it turns into a fire that rages out of control from one body tissue to another.

Recap & Treatment

Inflammation is rampant. In fact 1 in 12 women and 1 in 24 men are dealing with full blown autoimmune mediated inflammation. The number of undiagnosed people is going to be much higher. People with inflammation in the early phases of autoimmunity will often claim no dietary involvement. This is an inaccurate assumption however because the autoimmunity is often triggered by factors not strictly related to diet and the diet can become a secondary trigger later in the development of the condition. If you are dealing with inflammation then get a comprehensive evaluation to look at what is perpetuating your personal fire.

  • Lifestyle: Remove adverse mechanisms (Stress, Over-exercising, Poor Sleep, Blood Sugar Dysregulation, Poor Social Behaviors.) Lifestyle factors are huge, the stress response triggers immune marker IL6 which turns on the immune pathway TH17 which is the fast track to Autoimmunity.
  • Lifestyle: Restore beneficial mechanisms: Create conditions of love & appreciation, keep positive attitudes, maintain proper exercise (training to a maximum heart range; i.e. Peak Fitness exercises), have adequate sleep, restore blood sugar balance, and facilitate healthy social interactions. All these things promote natural systemic opioids which pushes the immune pathway TH3 which reduces Autoimmunity.
  • Dietary Support: Stabilize blood sugar, remove food Autoimmune triggers, and promote intestinal integrity with proper flora and nitric oxide and glutathione pathways. Include fermented foods and supplement appropriately as may be needed.

Remember, a wide array of health problems, including but not limited to chronic pain, obesity, ADD/ADHD, peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, migraines, thyroid issues, dental issues, and cancer are all rooted in inflammation, which must be properly addressed if you wish to be healed.
This article was written by Dr. Marquis for Dr. Mercola and was published on www.mercola.com in March of 2013. To see the original article please click here.

Best of Health to You,
Dr. Dave Marquis, DC, DACBN
Oak Park Wellness Clinic 
860 Oak Park Blvd. #202
Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
805-481-3499