The work of Naviaux and others has answered some of the questions as to why some people stay sick while others recover. The cell danger response is a cellular response to threats that keeps an organism in the healing mode at the cellular level and does not allow resolution of inflammation. It’s a way for the body to signal to other systems, organs and cells that healing still needs to occur or that “invaders” are still present. It is like when you have a wound, it swells, gets red and then eventually scars and heals. The process occurs through complex signaling between cells. It is now known that the entire body can act in this way to cause the healing process systemically. It is vital to resolve this response in order to feel vibrant and well and not inflamed, in pain or fatigued!
If you have ever had the flu you know what the cell danger response can feel like. The body and mind shut down to help the cells do their work and get rid of the flu. The process begins. when the cells identify a threat. The mitochondria then cause a release of ATP to the outside of the cell to turn on the cell danger response in nearby cells. Normally, ATP is only found inside the mitochondria inside of cells, unless the cell is ruptured. The ATP, when on the outside of the cell, causes intricate changes through binding to purinergic receptors that create an inflammatory process to make an “oxidative shield” around the cell to kill invaders. Instead of making energy, the mitochondria turn to making a defense shield for the cell. This, of course, can lead to severe debilitating fatigue. It can also include making the cell walls less fluid, or stiff, and more shielding, though incorporating different fatty acids and causing saturation of the phospholipid bilayer of the cell wall. This can contribute to insulin resistance, or diabetes! Genetic switches are activated to increase the inflammatory response through Mtor and AMPK. Many other substances and conditions can trigger this so called cell danger response and leave us feeling horrible despite not even having the flu. Doctors are researching and studying exactly what these substances are and how to resolve this response to allow the cell to begin functioning normally again. Symptoms that you might experience with a prolonged healing response include the following:
- Chronic Fatigue
- Brain fog/poor memory
- Poor exercise tolerance and a decreased ability to recover after exercise
- Chronic pain and inflammation
- Inflammation, edema, swelling
- GI issues
If you have any of these, you may just have an active cell danger response that needs to be completed. This begins by removing the threats. Everyone understands how bacteria, viruses and parasites can trigger the cellular healing response and immune system. New evidence indicates that far more things can trigger our cells to try to protect themselves. These include toxins like mold, heavy metals, plastics, chemicals/fragrances, pesticides in our air and water and even our personal care products! Persons with Implants, metal or synthetic, might also experience prolonged activation of the cell danger response. Eating organic is more important than ever before to prevent exposure to cellular threats such as glyphosate and pesticides. Stress is another trigger and balancing the stress response through balancing the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems are important to signal safety and allow resolution of the response (meditation/yoga/breathwork). Cells can also remember danger chemicals and trigger the process from smaller and smaller amounts of a substance (multiple chemical sensitivity) through cellular memory. If you are continually exposed to the substance then the healing process cannot complete and the cells continue full speed ahead activating T cells and releasing more and more inflammatory substances- which makes you feel sick! Even being under too much stress or getting too much exposure to EMF (through oxidation) can trigger the body to switch into cell danger/healing mode. Over excercising can also contribute to a decreased ability to heal by triggering too much of a stress response. If the mitochondria do not have the necessary nutrients they will trigger the cell danger response, making nutrition vitally important to those experiencing chronic disease issues.
We now know some of the ways in which to resolve this response to allow for our bodies to heal. Detox and Your Health describes some of the basic ways in which to detox to help remove some of the toxins in your body that may be contributing to the prolonged cell danger response. Removing offending substances is crucial to calm the cellular inflammatory response. Calming the release of histamine and preventing mast cell degranulation is important to stabilize the response and allow resolution. Many herbs and foods can help to calm the immune response to threats (some include quercitin, resveratrol, ginger, EPA/DHA, vitamin D).
I am excited to learn more about this fascinating process in healing our body!!
Watch a short video of CDR by Dr. Naviaux here: