A little reminder to keep loving on your virus fighting machine.
Last week we talked about the basics. What are you eating? And how stressed out are you, really? Creating a life that allows you to answer these two questions both truthfully and in an immune system honoring manner might be a challenging task. But it is definitely a battle worth fighting.
This week we are going to talk about things that are slightly more technical. So let’s have at it. The three things we are covering this week are: 1. The danger of environmental toxins, 2. Food sensitivities, and 3. Infectious agents that ultimately wreak havoc on your immune system.
1. Regarding environmental toxins – toxins / pollutants can come from household cleaning products, the water we drink, beauty products, lawn care products, and even our jobs. In Bangladesh – water is known for high arsenic content. Many people get physical sores on their bodies that are mistaken for leprosy. This results in social isolation for a lifetime. This is an extreme example – but here in States – we are not free of pollutants. We may not have physical sores on our skin, but many people are suffering and with dis-ease without a known cause. To understand, if a toxic burden is wearing your system down you will have to get in touch with your functional medicine provider.
The good news is there are solutions; your body is designed to get rid of toxins. Sometimes it just needs a little help. In short, remember that toxins of all varieties destroy the immune system and lead to dozens of symptoms from estrogen dominance to asthma and even neurodegeneration. Brainstorm ways to reduce your toxic exposure.
2. Next up – food sensitivities. First I need you to imagine a tennis court. This is a decent sized surface area. If you spread out all the surface area of the inside lining of your gut, this area is larger than a tennis court. Right underneath your tennis court sized gut lining lies approximately 70% of your immune system. Every time you eat a food that you are sensitive to – your immune system is exposed to an allergen which causes it to ramp up inflammation. Inflammation train wrecks your body, and wears out your immune system. Understanding your food sensitivities and minimizing exposure is KEY to success. If you are concerned that you are setting off the alarm bells in your immune system by the food you eat, bring this up to your functional medicine provider.
3. Finally – bad bacteria. We primarily think of them as an issue in the digestive system. But parasites and harmful bacteria can find their way into any crevice of your body. Toxic / bad bacteria are alive and like all living things, they produce things. Unfortunately, they often produce things called endotoxins. These endotoxins communicate with your immune system which lies directly on the other side of the digestive tract. Keep that tennis court image from above fresh in your mind. Toxic producing bacteria living in a gut with a surface area larger than a tennis court that is lined by your immune system sending information (endotoxins) out that trigger panic for your immune system. Scary, right? As you might have guessed, this also leads to inflammation. 🙂 Once again, there are solutions! – talk to someone who can help.
Well this week’s message may have been alarming. Instead, let it serve as a catalyst for good conversation and motivation to start with the basics (from last week), book an appointment with a provider if you need, and tune into Jenni’s blog next week. Just to keep us smiling, don’t forget that laughter boosts the immune system. Don’t dismiss the power of the small things that can turn our days and our systems around.
Mikayla Todd, FNP
Adult Functional Medicine Practitioner