Maintaining Health for the 21st Century
As we navigate through some of the most challenging times of our century, health has become the concern of millions. Centuries of populations have invested lifetimes dedicated to improving health and well being. Creating health naturally certainly makes sense to revive both quality of life and survival. Today is no exception. Many traditions have used the concepts of detoxification, purification and nutrition to help elevate the health of their people and prevent illness. These strategies are important even today and that is why I love functional medicine!
Creating a path to vibrant health is beneficial to not only protect from disease, but also is a path to well being. Providing optimal nutrients, helping the body to remove toxins and avoiding unnecessary triggers for the immune system keeps us feeling well.
The ancient forms of medicine were also keenly aware of how important stress reduction is for wellness. Stress reduction methods keep our systems working effectively. Attention to these concepts like music, dance and meditation used by ancient traditions to improve health are still important today and now we have scientific evidence to support them.
Cellular Level Health
Cell danger response is both a cause and an outcome of an overreactive immune system. Cell danger response helps create inflammation to help our body heal. When a cells dies, it turns on inflammation in the neighboring cell. This is survival signaling. These signals act on the genome to activate inflammation through a messenger called NFKB. All of this signaling is meant to help improve the chances of its cell neighbor surviving. However, at the same time, the cell danger response may cause runaway inflammation.
One thing that happens during this response is a stiff cell wall, or fibrosis. This is meant to protect the cell from allowing in things like viruses, but also impairs cell to cell communication.
Cell danger response causes immune cells to be summoned to the site through cytokine chemical messengers. More immune cells can turn on more inflammation in a vicious looping cycle until healing occurs and invaders are removed. Problems occur when the inflammation is not triggered by a pathogen, but rather a toxin, like mold, plastic or pesticides.
Cytokine storms are the end result of looping mechanisms brought about by the immune system in distress from overwhelming oxidative stress, infection and cell death. Cytokine storms can be a deadly consequence of an overactive immune system, as is happening with Covid-19. Antioxidants can help with improving oxidative stress, decrease inflammation and even with cytokine storms!
Ancient Health Traditions
Previous generations helped to improve immune health even centuries ago by including plenty of antioxidants in their diets. These ideas and concepts are still important and can be utilized to improve how our internal cellular environments function. Purity with things like hydration, nutrient absorption and improving digestion help to keep our immune system in balance and ready. Removal of mold was known to be so important even in Biblical times to prevent illness.
Keeping your food full of antioxidants and polyphenols is so beneficial. Our bodies do best when receiving all needed nutrients like protein, fiber/carbohydrates and healthy oils and clean hydration. Immune systems function best when activated quickly and briefly when healing is needed. Of course, our immune systems are constantly working to protect us. It is when it is working overtime that we can get into trouble.
Overactive, unbalanced immune systems turn on autoimmunity and decrease our response to fight infections and things like cancer. It is a balancing act. In music I use the analogy of keeping the string tight enough to play well without breaking. Keeping oxidative stress down signals to the immune system that everything is OK, no need to overreact. Cell death and oxidative stress create inflammatory responses that may prevail in unhealthy ways. The immune system can make us feel sick and fatigued. The flu is an example.
Optimal Immune Systems
So you ask, but don’t I want a very powerful immune system? The answer is yes, and no. Of course when you see a potential threat like a virus a bump in the immune system is effective and beneficial to help rid the virus and prevent overwhelming infection. The problem happens when the system is already in a state of high inflammation from other issues such as poor nutrition, toxins, EMF, dehydration other underlying infections or sources of toxicity. Then this bump may create an internal environment that signals more inflammation and possibly autoimmunity and loss of immune tolerance.
Sources of Inflammation
Internal Toxins or Endotoxins
Sources of inflammation include things from both inside our body and outside our body. Internal toxins, or endotoxins, come from the inside of our body and include things like unhealthy bacteria, viruses, parasites and yeasts/molds. Stress can also activate the immune system, both physical and psychological, so keeping stress at a minimum is beneficial.
External Toxins or Exotoxins
External toxins, or exotoxins , come from what we expose ourself to through air, water and food and our skin. Mold is a potent inflammatory agent that can cause underlying immune dysfunction. Air pollution, pesticides, paint, cleaning chemicals and VOC’s are other agents that may activate the immune system in an aberrant way causing dysfunction.
Immune system imbalance
The problem happens because our immune systems are meant to adapt. Adaptation usually helps us. Imbalance of the immune system can result in autoimmunity, multiple chemical sensitivity and a cataclysmic decreased response to potential new invaders. This type of function is not a strong immune system, even though it is working overtime. It’s a balancing act. Having strong natural killer cells and macrophage function is important to recognize and get rid of problematic cells before they are allowed to amplify. If your immune system is too busy doing other things it may not respond appropriately.
Inflamasomes and Covid 19
At the time of this writing, Covid 19 is found to be activating the NLRP3 inflammasome pathway. This pathway creates intense inflammation. Many underlying conditions can also amplify this same pathway and may be why certain populations are more at risk. Genetics may play a role. Down-regulating unnecessary inflammation through healthy diet and detoxification/purification of exposures is important to keep that underlying inflammation in check. That way, presumably, you are starting with less inflammation and a better chance of not overshooting the level of inflammation needed to kill pathogens.
Functional Medicine and Cellular Health
Functional Medicine is a complicated evidence based guide to help create optimal health. It capitalizes on the evidence based aspects of detoxification and nutrition to support cellular function and balanced immune systems. This ultimately helps to revitalize and support all aspects of health because the body systems work together. Our body, minds and immune systems work together. If one is not healthy, the other is likely not healthy!
Contact us to help you learn more at www.drjenniferkesmann.com
817.912.1289 We are offering online appointments and a introductory one hour consult for information! Call us today!
Board Certified Family Medicine Physician, Certified Institute of Functional Medicine Practitioner, American Academy of Environmental Medicine, Expert in nutrition, Concierge medicine offerings as well.
- NLRP3 inflammasome – Heart disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
- NLRP3 inflammasome- asthma https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
- NLRP3 inflammasome- kidney diseases https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
- NLRP3 inflammasome – liver diseases https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
- Inflammasomes – autoimmune disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
pubmed/?term=Autoinflammatory+ diseases%3A+how+to+put+the+ fire+inside+the+body+out%3F
- NIH Covid Info. https://www.nih.gov/coronavirus
- CDC Link to Covid. https://www.coronavirus.gov/