Gastro-Intestinal Pathogen Screening
As I’ve continued my learning with FDN, I have found various ways to screen for potential HIDDEN stressors that may be leaving an individual feeling less than optimal. Those “HIDDEN” stressors include things like:
insufficient Energy production
Nervous system disturbances
In last blog in this series about my studies I showed you how we can screen for “leaky gut.” But sometimes the gut issues contributing to the HIDDEN stressors go deeper. In my case in particular, I found that my life stressors which had manifested in the form of GI issues left my immunity compromised and therefore led to me picking up a parasite issue along the way. Had I not be in training with FDN I might have just gone on forever thinking my “IBS” was just stress related, and there was nothing I could do about it. But after taking the BioHealth 401H, I was able to determine that I have parasites, an overgrowth of not-so-healthy bacteria, and that I can DO something to make myself feel better now and over the long-term.
The BioHealth 401H screens for various forms of parasites and bacteria, and even some fungi/yeast that may be contributing to your metabolic chaos. Knowing the health of your gut is critical to understanding the rest of the body’s physiology. However, in Western medicine, gut health and treatment are often ignored; partly because the symptoms and disorders that the patient are exhibiting seem so far removed from a gut disorder. Pathogens are obvious contributors to adrenal dysfunction, maldigestion, malabsorption, toxicity, detoxification issues, elimination, and mucosal barrier problems.
When one’s system is already taxed to the extreme just managing life stress, environmental toxins, etc, it can leave that person (the host) weak and susceptible to infection by pathogens. Going back to the leaky gut we discussed in the previous post: when the tight junctions of the small intestine are weakened allowing unwanted pathogens into the bloodstream, and the body has less ability to properly absorb necessary nutrients, you are left with a weakened host. A weakened host can then suffer from a myriad of consequences related to their gut’s health:
alterations in gut pH, digestion, and absorption
retention of foreign organisms that should be normally rapidly expelled
disruption of mucosal barrier function
toxic conditions from pathogens’ metabolic byproducts
maldigestion and malabsorption leading to their own set of problems
When pathogens take up residence and multiply, you get a buildup of biofilm (a collection of microorganisms that stick together and to the surface of the intestine lining– like slime basically). A toxic condition then results from the byproducts of these invaders. The byproducts, or exudates, are juices or excretions from the pathogens. The exudates increase the oxidative stress levels which further add to liver congestion and dysfunction. All of these dysbioses can manifest as food sensitivities, digestive issues, skin issues, cognitive impairment, sleep disturbances, etc…
Aaaaaaanyway…why would you want to take this test and how do you know if you need to? Well, if you took the original tests that FDN requires upon starting with us (the BH205 and 101), then you would have maybe seen that your hormone production might be a bit low or out of equilibrium. Or maybe you saw that your oxidative stress was high or that you weren’t processing your proteins well. Let’s say we then got you sleeping a bit better, eating cleaner, dialing in your exercise and even got you on a few supplements to take the edge off, but you still weren’t feeling all that great.
It may then be time to dig deeper and see if maybe there’s something more serious going on.
After doing the 3-day stool test and sending in your specimen, your practitioner will review your results with you. (As an aside, I found some good tricks to make the sample taking way less gross!) There are three different types of pathogens that might come up in your screening: parasites, bacteria, and yeast/fungi. Parasites are the first thing we try to get rid of for two reasons, they are easiest to eradicate with much crossover in treatment protocols used for bacteria. The second reason is that yeast and fungi can feed on the exudates of the parasites, so it’s a good idea of cut off their food supply!
I’ll use my case an example, so you can see that pathogens can wreak havoc on even those of us who are in pretty darn good shape. In late 2015 I found myself in one of the most tumultuous and stressful periods of my life. I started having pretty serious GI distress that quickly became a daily issue. After a few months I started getting more serious with some basic gut health and saw marginal results. In fact, my GI issues just became a new way of life for me. I knew that almost every day between 4-7pm I’d need to be alone and not have plans. Seriously. My weight dropped, my vitality and energy were struggling and I didn’t know what to do about it. I just figured once my stress settled down I’d be fine. The problem was, stress only got compounded and exponentially increased to the point where I was sort of giving up.
When I got the results from the first two tests I was not surprised to see that I showed high oxidative stress, maldigestion and absorption, and that my circadian rhythm was all messed up. My mentor encouraged me to do further testing, which I did. The latest results from the BH401H pathogen screen showed that I was indeed carrying a parasite Cryptosporidium Parvum, coupled with an overgrowth of the bacteria H.Pylori. So, I am currently starting an herbal eradication protocol to get rid of the parasites and bacteria. In addition, I’m adding some detoxification strategies such as coffee enemas, dry skin brushing, clean eating of course, no alcohol, and lots of water!!
The key thing with the parasites is that you want to treat them for at least two life cycles, which can be 7-21 days. The problem with some of the Western approaches to this is that taking a single course of antibiotics will only kill the bugs for that many days. I’ll be on the anti-parasitics for at least 40 days to make sure I get any left over eggs. Ew!!! There is some overlap on the bacteria that need killing off too, but I’ll layer in those herbals somewhere around 20-30 days into this process. In addition, I’ll be doing a liver-gallbladder flush mid-cycle to get any bugs that have traveled up North. If you don’t clean out the liver/gallbladder, then you may end up being sick all over again. If you clean them out, the bugs won’t be able to take up residence again.
To be honest, this was all a bit overwhelming to me at the beginning. I’m not one to be very comfortable discussing (let alone engaging with) my, um, poo. But, I also know that I can’t keep on just being sick everyday. So…. I’m a week into this process and feeling okay so far. There can be some flu-like symptoms if you launch into the eradication protocols too quickly; they call this a Herxheimer or a Die-Off reaction. I’ve been lucky so far, and nothing too bad. I’ll retest in a few months to see where things stand, but I’m pretty sure that my gut will tell me
Yours in Health,