Balancing Body Chemistry with Functional Medicine and Clinical Nutrition to Enhance Immunity and Heal Chronic Disease
Living in our modern world makes us vulnerable to an onslaught of toxic chemical stressors, which can lead to imbalance and illness. These toxic factors range from pollution of the air, water, and soil, to the drugs, chemical additives, and preservatives we knowingly ingest. Harmful chemical changes can occur in our bodies because of our nutritionally deficient diets, and even because of our frenetic lifestyles. The end result is a departure from normal biochemistry, and often, the development of various diseases.
One of the more common patterns of illness we see happens when the normal function of our intestines is disturbed. Our intestines are critical for our ongoing health because, in addition to being responsible for assimilating nutrients from the food we eat, our intestines are teeming with bacteria, and have the difficult task of keeping the bacteria and other toxic agents out of our bloodstreams while letting the nutrients in. The amount of bacteria in our intestines is greater than the number of cells that make up our bodies. Because this complex microbial universe exists just a thin membrane away from our circulating blood, the majority of the immune system activity in our bodies occurs in the intestinal lining.
The intestinal microbes, when they are the right ones, help to keep us healthy. However, when they are the wrong ones, they create serious negative health consequences. These microorganisms are very sensitive to their chemical surroundings, and anything that changes the chemical environment of the intestine can potentially kill off the good bacteria and allow the overgrowth of harmful species. This seems to be the origin of many types of chronic, degenerative disease.
Many commonly occurring situations can alter intestinal chemistry and lead to a disturbance in intestinal microorganism populations, which we call intestinal dysbiosis. Inappropriate diet, chronic emotional tension, toxic chemical exposure, and, especially, drugs such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and hormones, among several other factors, can suppress the normally occurring helpful bacteria and promote the overgrowth of pathogenic microorganisms that make us sick in a variety of ways.
The harmful microorganisms can irritate the intestinal lining, making it porous, and enabling the microorganisms, the poisons they excrete, partially digested food, and other waste material to enter our bloodstreams. Under normal circumstances the liver detoxifies anything that inappropriately slips into the bloodstream, but with intestinal dysbiosis, the liver’s detoxification ability can be overwhelmed, and things can get through the liver and enter our general circulation, causing problems. Once inside our bodies, these chemical irritants can initiate abnormal immune system responses, such as allergies and autoimmune diseases. Furthermore, the stress on the liver can create other problems.
The cascade of dysfunction stemming from intestinal dysbiosis has been implicated in a wide variety of health problems. These include allergies, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, hypoglycemia and other blood sugar balance problems, migraines and other headaches, asthma, sinusitis and other persistent respiratory problems, ADHD and other behavioral problems, as well as many other illnesses. In addition, the so-called leaky gut, which is caused by the dysbiosis, can cause a variety of digestive disturbances, such as constipation, diarrhea, flatulence and bloating, heartburn, reflux, colitis, etc.
Intestinal dysbiosis can be thought of as a kind of internal pollution, which adds to the dangers of our exposure to non-natural compounds in the environment, and, sadly, in the food we eat. The combination of all this chemical stress can contribute to many diseases.
We use the innovative reflex techniques of Applied Kinesiology and the state-of-the-art laboratory methods of Functional Medicine to help us diagnose body chemistry imbalances. Then we use dietary improvement, nutritional supplements, detoxification strategies, and lifestyle modification to heal them. Rebalancing your body chemistry with these methods can often help normalize your physiological functions, and help you reverse the ravages of chronic degenerative illness.