How to Get Better Night Sleep

How To Get Better Night Sleep (According To Functional Medicine)

JUST ONE MORE click along your episodic TV show on Netflix, that means one less hour of sleep, but that’s nothing a cup of coffee won’t fix tomorrow, right? Not quite. Over time, a deficit of deep sleep could mean way more than just a bit of daze—think weight gain, mood disorders, fatigue, increased stress levels, reduced attention span, and declined cognitive performance.

With the hectic pace of day-to-day life, many people don’t get the recommended amount of sleep each night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults typically need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night in order to function at their best. Getting fewer hours for even a couple of nights in a row can have the same effect as staying awake for 24 hours straight. And, over time, the chronic sleep debt can even contribute to illness.

I want to get real with you about the importance of sleep and share

12 simple tips from functional medicine on

How to Get Better Night Sleep:

  1. Set the right temp. Make the room a comfortable temperature for sleep (not too hot or cold). In general, the suggested bedroom temperature should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep.
  2. Soak the day away. Take a hot bath at night for 20 minutes. You might want to add 2 cups of Epsom salt and 10 drops of lavender essential oil to the bathwater.
  3. Calm your system. Take a daily dose of Magnesium Lactate before bed, which relaxes the nervous system and muscles. Magnesium supports ion signaling across cell membranes; it supports the body’s natural ongoing activities of bone formation and resorption; it helps facilitate muscle contraction and body’s energy production, which is used by the central nervous, neuromuscular, and cardiovascular systems. Raise your hand if you feel you don’t need it tonight!
  4. Supplement thoughtfully. Other supplements and herbs to get sufficient shuteye include calcium, L-theanine (an amino acid from green tea), Kava Forte by MediHerb and Min–Tran.
  5. Ditch the coffee addiction. Avoid or minimize substances that affect sleep, like caffeine, sugar, and alcohol.
  6. Unplug. Avoid any stimulating activities for two hours before bed such as watching TV, using the Internet and answering emails.
  7. Set a bedtime (and a rise time). Go to bed (preferably before 10 or 11 p.m.) and wake up at the same time every day.
  8. Sweat it out. Exercise daily for 30 minutes (but not three hours before bed, which can affect sleep).
  9. Designate a role. Keep computers, TVs and work materials out of the room to strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep.
  10. Cut the lights. Keep your bedroom very dark or use eyeshades.
  11. REST. Keep it quiet. Block out sound if you have a noisy environment by using earplugs.
  12. Daytime Napping. “No day is so bad it can’t be fixed with a nap.”—Carrie Snow.
12 Tips on how to get a better night sleep

One way to combat the effects of sleep deprivation—and repay some sleep debt—is to incorporate daytime napping into your schedule. The length of the nap and type of sleep you get during that nap help determine its potential health benefits. The table below identifies these benefits.

Health Benefits of Nap

If you need extra support with sleep issues, feel free to call our office at (212) 696-4325 and schedule a consultation. We provide a full-spectrum functional medicine evaluation by a Certified Functional Medicine practitioner.


References:

The Institute For Functional Medicine

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD)

Functional Medicine Approach to Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD)

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), which include Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, affect as many as three million Americans, most of whom are diagnosed before age 35. These chronic, life-long conditions can be treated but not cured, so as a result IBD can significantly affect a patient’s quality of life and may have a high financial load. Up until now, traditional medicine has taken a linear view of treatment options by focusing only on addressing and commonly suppressing symptoms, ignoring the impact of the whole person; their mind, body or lifestyle, causing many patients continuing the struggle.

In contrast, the Functional Medicine approach to Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) is the most healing road to optimal health. It focuses on addressing the root cause of the imbalance that is generating the symptoms. To do this, functional medicine doctors rely on many tools and methods, including but not limited to: food plan and balanced nutrition, lifestyle modifications, acupuncture, homeopathy and mindfulness therapy.

Gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, urgency, and painful cramping—these are just some of the many difficult symptoms that come along with inflammatory bowel disease. Inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract can become debilitating if left untreated, but an integrated functional medical approach can help restore the natural balance to a patient’s digestive system. The digestive system is one of the most important and sensitive biological systems in the body, critical to overall health and well-being. Also, we now know that the immune system is very reactive to the environment, so when we look at Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, there is a genetic component in some but the escalation of these diseases worldwide in the last twenty years is not genetically founded, so something about the environment (such as what we are exposed to or consume) plays a fundamental role.

Functional medicine’s approach is like building a house, starting by building a foundation which is a healthy lifestyle, a healthy environment, and a personalized food plan. We need to return to the roots and start to cultivate a healthy inner environment – a strong microbiome that supports the rest of the body. Treating inflammatory diseases of the bowel can be challenging: genes, food, gut microbes and disrupted immune function – all contribute. Functional medicine is really a paradigm shift, progressing from the medications that suppress symptoms or a reactive immune system to addressing the underlying cause of the problem.

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases IBD

In our functional medicine of Healthy Wealthy & Wise Medical PC along with Dr.Elena Klimenko, we address the underlying causes of IBD disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It’s really all about approaching these diseases by looking at the wholeness of the patients and identifying the root causes, which may vary for each patient.

There is so much we can do for patients with IBD, which can be done in parallel with conventional medicine. Healing takes time, but the functional medicine approach is the most certain road for optimal health. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century.


As an experienced functional medicine expert with an integrated combination of Western medicine and traditional Eastern practice, Dr. Elena Klimeko can assess the numerous factors of you that can affect your immune system – potential environmental toxins, lifestyle, stress, diet, medication, allergies, and sleep habits – to uncover the root cause of your IBD diseases. If you would like to get more information or to schedule a consultation, please call her office at 212-696-4325.


References:

https://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/sites/default/files/2019-02/Updated%20IBD%20Factbook.pdf

Natural Health Benefits of Turmeric

The Extraordinary Natural Health Benefits of Turmeric

The benefits of turmeric are numerous, as it’s widely considered one of the most powerful medicinal herbs on earth. It’s also one of the most studied herbs on the planet, as in 12,500 peer-reviewed articles, studies, and clinical trials.

Turmeric has a long history of use, especially in Ayurvedic medicine. It has been used in India for centuries for a vast array of conditions and illnesses, including as an antiseptic for burns and cuts and as a remedy for digestive distress and respiratory issues. But it’s the ability to significantly reduce inflammation that makes turmeric a superstar among herbs.

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric, or Curcuma longa, is a perennial herb in the Zingiberaceae (or ginger) family. Curcuma is native to South India and grows well in hot and humid climates. It is the rhizomes, or root system, of the plant that is most often used.

Turmeric reaches a height of around three feet. Its roots are yellowish-orange in color and have been used in Asia for thousands of years as both food and medicine. Turmeric is often used in curries in Asian cuisine. And it’s added to mustard, which is what contributes to its yellow color.

Where turmeric is grown locally, the roots are often used fresh like ginger root. The leaves are also sometimes used to wrap and cook food in. Besides Asia, turmeric is popular in the Middle East, and South Africa, where it is often added to white rice giving it a nice golden color.

The main active ingredient in turmeric and that which is responsible for its bright yellow color is called curcumin. Curcumin, along with several other active compounds, is responsible for turmeric’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitumor, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.

What are the Health Benefits of Turmeric?

When you talk about the holistic healing effects of turmeric, and specifically curcumin, you have to begin with its potent anti-inflammatory properties.

Chronic inflammation is an immune response from the body when there is no threat or injury present. It’s a condition that has been linked to numerous diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and the 80 or so autoimmune diseases that exist.

The problem with chronic inflammation is that it can exist in the body undetected for years. Then not-so-suddenly, you find yourself in a state of serious disease. Think of chronic inflammation as a foundation on which numerous diseases and conditions can build upon.

This 2004 study examined numerous anti-inflammatory compounds and found curcumin to be one of the strongest, most effective anti-inflammatory compounds on the planet.

Numerous studies on mice have found that curcumin is able to reverse mild cases of Alzheimer’s disease, as this neurological disorder is directly related to chronic inflammation.

If you’re thinking that an anti-inflammatory medication is the best course of action, just remember that a powerful herb like turmeric solves issues at the root level ― functional medicine ― while medications simply mask the symptoms.

Since cancer is one of the most studied diseases on the planet, let’s take a look at how one of the most studied medicinal herbs on the planet interacts with cancer cells.

According to the holistic health practitioner, Dr. Joseph Mercola, curcumin appears to be universally useful for all cancers.

Dr. Mercola goes on to explain how unique this is, as different types of cancer have different types of pathologies, which is why you usually see different types of natural treatments work more effectively for certain types of cancers.

However, this doesn’t appear to be the case when it comes to curcumin, as it affects multiple molecular targets, via multiple pathways. According to Dr. Mercola, “Once it gets into a cell, it affects more than 100 different molecular pathways.”

He goes on to say about the anti-cancer effects of curcumin: “Whether the curcumin molecule causes an increase in activity of a particular molecular target, or decrease/inhibition of activity, studies repeatedly show that the end result is a potent anti-cancer activity.”

Best of all, unlike modern, allopathic treatments for cancer ― chemotherapy and radiation ― healthy cells are not adversely affected, which better enables your body to fight the disease. Again, another benefit of functional medicine ― allowing the body to heal itself. Curcumin is also available in a pharmaceutical form and could be administered intravenously.

Turmeric benefits also include …

• Improved lung health
• Reduced risk of blood clotting
• Improved liver function
• Reduction in depression symptoms
• Cardiovascular protection
• Cancer prevention
• Improved skin health
• Normalization of cholesterol levels
• Rheumatoid arthritis relief
• Treatment for inflammatory bowel disease
• Cystic fibrosis treatment
• Treatment and prevention of autoimmune diseases

What are the Best Ways to Consume Turmeric?

You probably wouldn’t think you could find so many ways to incorporate turmeric into your diet. But actually, it’s quite easy. You can add turmeric to rice dishes, potatoes, sautéed vegetables, stews, meats and fish dishes and if making homemade chicken soup, it gives the broth a wonderful and natural yellow color.

Natural Health pioneer, Dr. Andrew Weil, in this video talks about some of the health benefits and uses of turmeric and even mentions how little you’ll notice a flavor difference when adding a teaspoon of this magical herb to meals. He also talks a little about ginger, since they’re in the same family of herbs. And speaking of ginger …

One issue with turmeric, and in particular curcumin, is that it’s poorly absorbed by the body. However, you can increase the rate of absorption by combining it with fresh ginger and freshly ground pepper.

Dr. Mercola recommends making a microemulsion to make it more bioavailable — Mix 1 tablespoon of raw turmeric powder with two egg yolks and 2 teaspoons of melted coconut oil. We presume that you simply eat that concoction when you’re done mixing it.

As always, start out small, and see how your body reacts. Try adding turmeric to meals in smaller amounts until you feel comfortable adding more.

Remember that turmeric is first and foremost an herb, besides being a type of functional medicine, which means you can increase the dosage as needed. If you’re feeling sick, fatigued, or are experiencing muscle or joint pain, get more turmeric into your diet and see how you respond. The holistic healing effects of this special herb may really surprise you.

If you’re looking to optimize your health and wellness, sign up below, and I’ll send you a FREE copy of my ebook ― How to have Better Health: Functional Medicine 101. It’s full of valuable tips to becoming your healthiest and happiest self.

Stay Healthy Wealthy & Wise,

Elena Klimenko, MD

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=curcumin
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15489888
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1471-4159.2007.04613.x
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/05/04/curcumin-turmeric-benefits.aspx
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QKzD9zVdYM

MAKING SENSE OF LYME DISEASE

Making Sense of Lyme Disease – the Great Imitator

To say that Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose, would be like saying that McDonald’s has sold a few hamburgers over the years. Besides being called the great imitator, it has also been called an “invisible illness” as those who have it can still appear healthy, and so can their bloodwork.

Consider the shocking difference between these two statistics. In 2013, federal health departments reported that there were 27, 203 confirmed cases of Lyme disease. While the CDC that same year reported that there were 300,000 cases of the disease. What may be even more problematic, is that it appears to be on the rise.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne infectious disease in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases. The disease was first identified in Lyme, Connecticut in 1975, which is how Lyme disease got its name.

It’s actually a bacterial disease. The corkscrew shape of the bacteria responsible allows them to burrow into body tissues and even cells, where the bacteria can then hide. This is why different parts of the body can be affected and why those who are infected can exhibit a wide range of symptoms.

What Causes Lyme Disease?

Of the four bacteria responsible for causing Lyme disease, Borrellia burgdorferi and Borrelliamiyamotoiare the two most common in the U.S., while Borrelliagarinii and Borrelliaafzelii are common in Asia and Europe.

The bacteria enter the body through the bite of a tick. However, according to Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, one of the top Lyme disease experts, other blood-sucking insects can also spread the disease.

A tick will usually attach itself to areas of the body where it will go unnoticed, like the scalp, groin, and armpits. It must be attached for around 24 hours before the bacteria are transmitted. And it’s usually the immature ticks that are most responsible, as adult ticks are bigger and easier to notice.

Research shows that within the first 15 minutes, as the tick attaches itself to the host, it injects a salivary content with numbing substances, so we don’t feel the invader as it feeds on our blood for hours. Up to 75 percent of a tick’s salivary secretion has a “soup” of pathogens, including Borrelia and other co-infections.

What are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease?

The biggest problem with Lyme disease is that, for your best chances of a complete recovery, early detection is both critical and difficult.

Common symptoms of Lyme disease mirror those of several other conditions including:

• Multiple sclerosis
• Chronic fatigue syndrome
• Arthritis
• Fibromyalgia
• ADHD
• Alzheimer’s disease

symptoms from lyme disease include rash
First Warning Signs

In about half of all Lyme disease cases, the infected person will notice a growing red rash at the site of the bite that can grow up to 12 inches in diameter. The rash isn’t itchy or painful and is usually accompanied by other symptoms that may include:

• Chills
• Fever
• Headaches
• Body aches
• Fatigue

Chronic Symptoms

The longer the disease goes untreated, other signs and symptoms may come and go, such as brain fog, severe fatigue, muscle and joint problems, and an irregular heartbeat. The longer it persists, the more difficult it is to treat. And if left untreated long enough, it can cause problems with many organs and systems in the body, including the heart, digestive system, nervous system, brain, and reproductive system.

How is Lyme Disease Diagnosed?

Blood tests are the most common method to detect Lyme disease. However, it may take a few weeks after infection for detection to be possible.

The tests are looking to confirm the presence of antibodies to the Lyme-causing bacteria. Antibodies are created by the immune system to combat pathogens, but the body needs a certain amount of time to make them.

The CDC recommends a two-step process when attempting to diagnose Lyme disease. The first test is an enzyme immunosorbent assay which checks for any and all antibodies. If results are positive, the second test – an immunoblot test – will check for two specific antibodies that the body produces due to the presence of the Lyme bacteria.

If both tests are positive, the presence of Lyme disease is a practical certainty. But again, problems persist. Proper results of these testing methods rely on the proper functioning of the body’s white blood cells. So, there is still a chance that tests can be negative and Lyme disease present.

There is some good news, though. A brand-new testing method has been developed that can detect Lyme DNA, rather than the antibodies the body produces to combat the Lyme bacteria. This should allow for detection weeks sooner. And since time is the most critical factor in treating Lyme disease, this early detection is a very positive development.

It should be noted that diagnosing and treating Lyme disease can become quite pricey and that a patient will often see five to seven physicians before the disease is even properly diagnosed.

How to Treat Lyme Disease?

Unfortunately, the conventional treatment for Lyme disease – short courses of antibiotics – is often unsuccessful, particularly if the disease has been present for a longer time. For most patients, symptoms continue, and the disease worsens.

A natural health approach may be the better option, as in a rotation of herbal antimicrobials. The advantages are two-fold. There’s no chance of a resistance developing, the way it might with antibiotics. And there are no adverse side effects, such as the disturbance to your delicate microbiome that antibiotics use can cause.

Renowned natural health expert, Dr. Joseph Mercola, recommends taking a functional nutrition approach by using a number of herbs, foods, and other supplements to fight the Lyme infection, including astaxanthin, curcumin, krill oil, probiotics, resveratrol, grapefruit seed extract, and others.

Don’t underestimate the role of diet and functional nutrition when it comes to fighting Lyme disease. Naturopath and author of “The Lyme Diet: Nutritional Strategies for Healing from Lyme Disease”, Dr. Nicola McFadzean, has this to say on the subject:

“The role of nutrition is central not so much in the actual bug-killing, but in the underlying strength and resilience of your health. Immune support, inflammation management, hormone regulation, and detoxification functions can all be vitally influenced by your nutritional intake.”

If you’re concerned that you may have Lyme disease, the first step is to find a functional medicine practitioner who can properly diagnose and treat the disease.  Remember that with Lyme disease, time is critical. As is getting the proper treatment.

Call our office and learn about an affordable way to get care from Lyme-literate practitioners certified in integrative medicine and natural therapies with our Access Membership plan. Call today – (212)-696-HEAL(4325).

References:

http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/33/6/780.full

https://www.healthline.com/health/lyme-disease#symptoms

https://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/arthritis-lyme-disease

https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/index.html

https://www.healthline.com/health/lyme-disease-chronic-persistent

https://www.healthline.com/health/lyme-disease

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140402110029.htm

Your Role in Preventing & Reversing Autoimmune Disease

To most people feeling tired is a result of not getting enough rest. Achy joints or muscles for most will seem as a result of intensive exercises. Symptoms of abdominal pain, constipation, or diarrhea can easily be swept under the rug and blamed on a bad meal.

Nevertheless, the above symptoms are only temporary for most people. Getting enough rest and some time to recover, or cleaning up their diet and those people will be back to their normal condition.

However, if you’re suffering from an autoimmune disease when your body is attacking itself, these symptoms are more severe and debilitating. And they could potentially be festering into another autoimmune disease. About 25% of those with autoimmune diseases have a tendency to develop another autoimmune disease causing more complications.

The Epidemic of Autoimmune Diseases

The epidemic of autoimmune diseases is booming in the 21st century. Why is so many people’s immune system is turning on them and attacking healthy tissue? Many doctors and patients point to genetics – saying that you were bound to get it someday. However, genetic predisposition accounts for only 30-50% of autoimmune diseases, while environmental factors account for the rest, 50-70%.

Environmental factors triggering autoimmune diseases include:

• Gut health
• Toxins
• Diet
• Stress
• Infections.

Toxins, unhealthy diets, and stress are everyday factors in the world we live in. These environmental triggers set off an imbalance in your body including hormonal imbalances, gut dysbiosis, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and neurotransmitter imbalances. These imbalances alter your defense mechanisms leading to more infections and possibly to an autoimmune disease.

Fortunately, you can manage these environmental factors. And possibly you may be able to prevent or even reverse autoimmune diseases and heal your body.

What are Autoimmune Diseases?

There is a broad spectrum of autoimmune diseases consisting of about 80 different disorders. These types of autoimmune diseases can affect any part of your body, leaving you with a variety of different symptoms. However, at the core of all autoimmune diseases, there’s a glitch in your immune system, which leads to an attack on your healthy organs and tissues.

And because of this, a symptom which all autoimmune diseases have in common is some type of inflammation. Whether it be in thyroid, in case of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or in the gut, in case of Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, or in a central nervous system (neuroinflammation) in multiple sclerosis. Wherever it is, the body is inflamed and under attack.

Our immune system is specifically wired to protect us from foreign invaders including parasites, harmful bacteria, and viruses. Due to genetic predisposition and other environmental factors, our immune system may sometimes fail to recognize these foreign invaders. This can lead to a chronic inflammation.

Let’s face it, our immune system is not like our brain or heart where you can point to an exact location or particular parts of the body. Our immune system is an intricate system working with multiple different systems to keep us safe. However, according to a fairly new research, close to 80% of these working systems are related to our gut. That is why gut health has become so important within the autoimmune disease community.

Autoimmune diseases can be tricky to diagnose because of the wide range of symptoms affecting multiple parts of the body. Autoimmune symptoms can easily be mistaken for bothersome symptoms that don’t require immediate attention. But those symptoms could just be the canary in the coal mine alerting you of a weakened immune system.

Signs of a Weak Immune System

Since autoimmune symptoms tend to be somewhat vague, the actual disease might not apparent until years later. For that reason, curing autoimmune diseases can be difficult because, by the time you develop autoimmunity, some organs may be already damaged.

So making yourself more aware of possible signs that your immune system might be developing a glitch is important for your overall health. The following are the signs of a weak immune system:
• Joint or muscle pain, muscle weakness
• Recurrent rashes or hives
• Butterfly-shaped rash across nose and cheeks
• Fatigue or insomnia
• Weight loss or weight gain
• Cold or heat intolerance
• Unexplained fever
• Hair loss
• Hyperactivity and difficulty concentrating
• Abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, or blood or mucus in stool
• Dry eyes, mouth, or skin
• Harden or thickened skin
• Numbness, pain, or color changes in fingers or toes

If you are experiencing any combination of these symptoms, talk to your alternative or integrative medicine doctor because you may have an autoimmune disease.

Most Common Autoimmune Diseases

Although there are 80 different types of autoimmune diseases, the most common autoimmune diseases include:
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Hashimoto’s disease
• Grave’s disease
• Addison’s disease
• Systemic lupus erythematosus
• Celiac, Chron’s, ulcerative colitis
• Type 1 diabetes
• Sjogren’s syndrome
• Alzheimer’s disease
• Multiple sclerosis

If you have a family history of these diseases and multiple environmental factors, which play a role in autoimmunity chances are higher you can develop an autoimmune disease. But with some work with your doctor, you both can work on an integrative approach for your autoimmune disease.

Integrative Approach to Autoimmune Disease

Talk to your integrative medicine doctor today if you experience any of the above signs of a weak immune system. Alternative medicine treatments are essential in reversing autoimmune diseases and healing your body. Because it’s not only about genetics – environmental factors have the strongest influence on your health.

Identifying environmental triggers such as evaluating for toxins, testing gut health, recognizing stress, and evaluating your diet helps to pinpoint what has set off your autoimmune disease.

Request an appointment today with Dr. Elena Klimenko to experience her integrative approach in the healing of autoimmune diseases. This functional medicine doctor uses genetic testing, blood work, advanced stool testing, and many other advanced methods necessary to first uncover the root cause of your disorder, and then heal your body through functional and integrative medicine approaches such as IV therapy, acupuncture, homeopathy, etc. You can also call at (212) 696-4325 to make an appointment with this NYC practice.

References:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3150011/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4290643/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4290643/
https://www.drelenaklimenko.com/detoxification-path-to-greater-health-part-2/
https://www.drelenaklimenko.com/mysterious-symptoms-blame-biotoxins/
https://www.drelenaklimenko.com/mysterious-symptoms-blame-biotoxins/
https://www.drelenaklimenko.com/constipation-relief-part-3-dysbiosis/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2515351/
https://www.drelenaklimenko.com/integrative-medicine-best-of-both-worlds/
https://www.drelenaklimenko.com/pellentesque-ullamcorper-tellus-sed-diam-3/
https://www.drelenaklimenko.com/acupuncture-tcm/

Integrative Medicine: The Best of Both Worlds

Integrative Medicine: The Best of Both Worlds

When it comes to medicine and treatment in the western world conventional doctors have put themselves and their patients into a bubble. Examining the body in only specific areas can cause traditional doctors to miss the big picture in the disease process.

While conventional medicine is great for treating acute care and trauma it has trouble treating and preventing chronic diseases and persistent, undiagnosed symptoms.

Treatments which work for some might not work with others and this is where integrative medicine comes in. By using non-traditional medicine and natural therapies integrative medicine is also able to incorporate state-of-the-art conventional medical treatments and therapies – the best of both worlds!

What is Integrative Medicine?

Integrative medicine is a healing-oriented medicine which takes into account your whole person including mind, body, spirit, and community. It includes all aspects of your lifestyle habits and is patient-focused.

With conventional medicine, also known in today’s world as Western medicine, doctors are mainly focused on certain areas of the body. This traditional type of medicine treats the signs and symptoms of disease through medication and/or surgery.

This practice of medicine focuses on the bigger picture and incorporates an alternative approach as well as a conventional approach. This broad approach of integrative medicine aims to treat the full person – not just the signs and symptoms of the disease.

It is now being recognized as a successful approach to addressing the chronic disease epidemic in our nation.

Types of Integrative Medicine

Integrative medicine uses individualized treatment plans which best suits your needs and wants. With integrative medicine, it gives you empowerment through your own decision making in your treatment and care plan.

Types of integrative medicine include:

Principles of Integrative Medicine

Andrew Weil, MD played a major role in codifying and establishing the emerging field of integrative medicine. His focus on treating and caring for the whole person integrates scientifically-validated therapies of conventional medicine with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

The principles of integrative medicine include:

  • A strong partnership between patient and doctor through your healing process
  • The appropriate use of conventional and alternative methods to facilitate the body’s innate healing response
  • The consideration of all factors that influence health, wellness, and disease including mind, spirit and community as well as body
  • A philosophy that neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative medicine uncritically
  • Recognition that good medicine be based in good science
  • Inquiry-driven and open to new paradigms
  • The use of natural, less invasive interventions whenever possible
  • The broader concepts of promotion of health and the prevention of illness as well as the treatment of disease.

Integrative Medicine Versus Functional Medicine

Integrative medicine and functional medicine have similarities which overlap each other, but they also have distinct differences in their approach to treatment and care for the patient. Both integrative and functional medicine focus on your whole body rather than just the signs and symptoms of certain diseases.

While integrative medicine is a holistic medicine approach with patient-centered care, it does take into account conventional health care practices to diagnose and treat patients. Integrative medicine looks at your overall health including mind, body, and soul to promote healing and wellbeing.

With functional medicine, it also focuses on your overall health with the patient as its core focal point. But functional medicine incorporates a system-oriented medical approach which aims to identify the underlying root cause of a disease. For this reason, functional medicine will conduct genetic and environmental research on patients to understand the root cause of your disease. And functional medicine does not use traditional medicine therapies with its approach.

These types of approaches can help prevent and reverse many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases through non-traditional and natural treatment. Integrative medicine and functional medicine are both at the forefront of healthcare of the 21st century.

What Are the Benefits of Integrative Medicine?

Integrative medicine offers a wide-range of benefits with its approach to medical conditions. The following are some of the benefits you can experience with integrative medicine:

  • Preventing and reversing chronic diseases
  • Saving money on long-term health expenses
  • Feeling empowerment through personal autonomy of care
  • Treating the whole-self not just the signs and symptoms
  • Receiving respectable care based on your values, beliefs, and preferences
  • Having the choice between more therapeutic options

Integrative Medicine Doctors in New York

Integrative medicine dives deeper than just the surface of conventional medicine. With the healthcare crisis we are dealing with in our economy today, integrative medicine is aimed to prevent disease and illness. I do this through integrative strategies which help you foster the development of healthy lifestyle habits to use throughout your life.

It also helps my patients get back to the basics of their health through alternative therapies while also having the ability to use conventional therapy when needed.

Through integrative medicine’s mind-body-spirit community philosophy you aren’t just another number to me as with traditional doctors – your personalized care is what I value.

I have over 15 years of experience in integrative and functional medicine. My main focus is helping you achieve health and wellness while working with your personal needs, values, and beliefs. If you’re looking for an integrative medicine doctor in the New York City area request an appointment today with Dr. Elena Klimenko or call (212) 696-4325.

I have specialized experience and expertise in complex and chronic conditions include:

  • Acute illnesses
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • ADD, ADHD
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Cancer prevention
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Detoxification and healing
  • Metabolic syndrome, diabetes, pre-diabetes, insulin resistance
  • Digestive disorders (IBD, IBS, GERD/reflux, colitis, and gluten sensitivity)
  • Skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis, and acne)
  • Environmental and food allergies
  • Female disorders (PMS, menopause, perimenopause, infertility, PCOS)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Healthy aging, weight, and metabolism
  • Cardiovascular health (blood pressure and cholesterol)
  • Heavy metal toxicity including mercury
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Parasites and intestinal infections
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Difficulty sleeping and insomnia
  • Testosterone deficiency
  • Thyroid and adrenal disorders
  • Complex chronic diseases
EWG's Guide to Safer Cell Phone Use

EWG’s Guide to Safer Cell Phone Use

Back in 1996, when the Federal Communications Commission set a legal maximum on cell phone radiation, Motorola was touting its tiny $2,000 StarTac, the first clamshell phone and an early adopter of — texting!

Sixteen years later, cell phones — with 6 billion subscriptions worldwide and counting — have revolutionized how we communicate. The technology that powers them has changed just as dramatically. Today’s smartphones vibrate, rock out, show high-def movies, make photos and videos, issue voice commands, check email, go underwater, navigate with global positioning systems and surf the web in 3-D. They sport dual core processors and batteries that let you – or your kid — talk for close to 20 hours. (The StarTac maxed out at just 3 hours.)

Download PDFYet those 16-year-old FCC rules still stand. Are they up to the job of protecting the public from radiation coming out of those multi-tasking marvels and the networks that enable them?

We doubt it.

Studies conducted by numerous scientific teams in several nations have raised troubling questions about possible associations between heavy cell phone use and serious health dangers. The World Health Organization has declared that cell phone radiation may be linked to brain cancer. Ten studies connect cell phone radiation to diminished sperm count and sperm damage. Others raise health concerns such as altered brain metabolism, sleep disturbance and behavioral changes in children.

These studies are not definitive. Much more research is needed. But they raise serious questions that cast doubt on the adequacy of the FCC rules to safeguard public health. The FCC emissions cap allows 20 times more radiation to reach the head than the body as a whole, does not account for risks to children’s developing brains and smaller bodies and considers only short-term cell phone use, not frequent calling patterns over decades.

The FCC’s safety standards for cell phone radiation were based on studies conducted in the 1980s, These studies have long since been rendered obsolete by newer research. Yet for years the FCC refused to update or even review its standards. Instead, the federal agency simply sat on its hands while cell phones became ever more powerful and ubiquitous.

The agency is finally moving to meet the realities of the 21st century and the Information Age. On June 15, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski circulated a proposal to his four fellow commissioners calling for formal review of the 1996 regulations. To advance, his plan must be approved by a majority of the commissioners. If they agree, the FCC could take the long overdue step of modernizing its safety standards. But the pace is likely to be glacial.

Americans need new, more protective cell phone standards that reflect the current science and society’s heavy dependence on mobile communications.

Consumers need — now more than ever — real-world, relevant data on how much radiation their phones emit under various circumstances. The FCC does not require the cell phone industry to disclose these data. One important study showing that certain networks could expose consumers to 30 to 300 times more radiation than other networks was hidden from the public until the information was dated to the point of irrelevancy.

Given this appalling lack of information in the face of a cell phone market where just about anything goes,
the Environmental Working Group is suspending publication of the EWG guide to cell phones until the FCC makes the responsible decision to require cell phone makers to generate and disclose data about device and network emissions under real-world conditions. We strongly believe that as cell phones become more powerful and ubiquitous, it is critical that people have a right to know how much radiation they can expect their cell phones to generate. As things now stand, the FCC’s cell phone safety rules are as obsolete as the StarTac.

In the meantime, EWG recommends that consumers take steps to reduce their exposures to cell phone radiation by holding phones away from their bodies, using earpieces and following and other simple tips in EWG’s updated Guide to Safer Cell Phone Use.

Get more articles like this from the Environmental Working Group.

Legal Disclaimer: EWG’s cell phone database is dynamic, which means that the cell phone ranking numbers may change based on evolving science, new information on SAR radiation exposures, market conditions, or other factors. Please be advised that EWG does not recommend that companies create marketing materials based on the EWG rating system, given that the rankings may change as the database is updated. EWG makes no representations or warranties about any of the products rated on this site. EWG hereby disclaims all warranties with regard to the products on the site, including express, statutory, implied warranties of merchantability, or fitness for a particular purpose.
What is CIRS - Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome

How to Know if You Have Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome?

Illnesses caused by biotoxins are on the rise. Since I’ve begun testing my patients for Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) markers in my practice, I’m surprised at just how prevalent this condition is turning out to be.

Up to 25 percent of the population is thought to have the gene HLA, which makes them more susceptible to biotoxins. Though anyone can be impacted by biotoxins, these people are much more sensitive and therefore more likely to have symptoms strong enough to send them to the doctor.

Part of this apparent uptick in biotoxin illness is also due to the improvement in diagnostics. We are realizing the body’s reaction to mold, Lyme, and other biotoxins are unique in each person, which is partly why strategies for identifying and correcting these problems have remained largely underdeveloped until recently.

If you’ve been struggling with chronic health issues, you may want to consider getting yourself checked for Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome.

What is CIRS?

So what is CIRS? Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome or CIRS is a condition with a wide range of symptoms which are triggered by a biotoxin – usually mold. The term CIRS was coined by Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker to describe when a body’s immune system is out of whack. In some people this could mean the immune system is simply weakened, while in others it’s running rampant.

You can also get CIRS from common chronic sinus infections with MARCONS and tick borne illnesses like Lyme disease ticks, fish that’s been contaminated with ciguatera, and infections from a brown recluse spider bite. Essentially, CIRS is a dysfunctional reaction of the body’s immune system in response to a biotoxin. In my practice, I’ve seen the symptoms range from manageable to debilitating.

The different markers that we can test for, and the differences in how symptoms present, make CIRS a difficult condition to diagnose. Though diagnostics are improving, there still needs to be a cluster of symptoms and an improvement in treatment response for a CIRS diagnosis to be made.

Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for a person with CIRS to go years, even decades, without a proper diagnosis. However, if we can pool our knowledge and spread the word about the differences in this condition, I believe we can make a major difference in awareness and treatment of CIRS. This is part of the reason I’ve begun testing most of my patients for biotoxins and CIRS markers.

Waiting For A Diagnosis Might Not Be The Answer

There are numerous symptoms of CIRS, different biomarkers, and the toxins also differ. This complicates the diagnostic process and is part of the reason CIRS has gone largely ignored by conventional medicine. But just because an illness is complex and not fully understood, it doesn’t mean we should shy away from helping people heal – we just need to adjust our approach accordingly.

Testing and treatment often have to happen side by side when tackling CIRS. Sometimes the response to different treatments actually help in achieving a complete diagnosis. Symptoms, biomarkers, and testing must be used to correctly diagnose CIRS.

Some common symptoms of CIRS include:

  • Cognitive difficulties such as brain fog and trouble concentrating
  • Fatigue and weakness or chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Frequent urination, excessive thirst, dehydration
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Visual insensitivity
  • Post nasal drip and sore throat
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Digestive issues
  • Mood swings
  • Tinnitus
  • Static shocks
  • Vertigo
  • Metallic taste in mouth

If you have some of the symptoms associated with CIRS, you should make an appointment with a doctor who is experienced in dealing with this condition. If you’re in need of a New York certified functional medicine doctor, you can request a consultation here.

Testing for Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome Due to Mold

Some of the biomarkers for the different underlying causes of CIRS overlap, some are different. These are some of the biomarkers seen in mold patients which have been the most common forms of CIRS I’ve found in my practice.

CIRS due to mold exposure has a couple of characteristic markers, including high levels of

  • C4a – An activation protein that can cause inflammation, free radical production, and damage to tissues if too high.
  • TGF–beta1 – A cytokine in the immune system that has both anti– and proinflammatory effects.
  • MMP–9 – An enzyme that helps with tissue repair and is a significant marker of CIRS.
  • ACTH / Cortisol – A hormone that can be elevated and lead to weight gain in CIRS patients.
  • VEGF – A protein that causes blood vessel formation.

CIRS due to mold exposure is characterized by low levels of:

  • MSH – A hormone that is anti-inflammatory and typically low in CIRS patients.
  • ADH – This hormone regulates the amount of water your body removes and is associated with dehydration, frequent urination, and excessive thirst.
  • VIP – A neuroregulatory hormone that is associated with inflammation
  • Visual contrast ability – You can take the VCS test, which is simple and can be done at home.

There are several tests that can help you identify if mold is the cause of your inflammation, and therefore your symptoms. These tests are useful If you suspect you have CIRS, I recommend the following:

  • The Visual Contrast Sensitivity (VCS) test checks for neuroinflammation, which is often caused by mold exposure. The VCS test checks your ability to see differences in colors, a common symptom of CIRS. It’s also only $10 and can be done at home, so it’s a good place to start.
  • There is a Mold CIRS Panel laboratory markers that you can test in the conventional laboratory. This panel tests for MMP9, TGF-beta1, MSH, ADH, and osmolality.

If you believe your symptoms might be caused by chronic inflammatory response syndrome, it’s so important that you make an appointment with a doctor familiar with this condition. I can’t tell you the number of times I‘ve seen patients who have gone from doctor to doctor trying to find the cause of their symptoms.

When CIRS is the suspected culprit of your symptoms, there are a number of things that can be done right away to ease your struggles. Intervention and remedies like eating specialized diets, taking supplements that support natural detoxification, sauna therapy, and mold remediation can help those with CIRS.

If you are in need of a New York functional medicine doctor who is experienced in CIRS, you can request a consultation here. Don’t wait until this condition becomes worse, you can begin the path to relief today.

Resources:

http://www.survivingmold.com/news/2014/12/what-is-cirs/
https://selfhacked.com/blog/dr-ritchie-shoemaker-pioneer-in-cirs-mold-with-guest-host-dana-howell/#Dr_ShoemakersBiotoxin_Discovery
http://www.survivingmold.com/diagnosis/lab-tests
https://www.vcstest.com/

 

Diagnosing CIRS: Your Complete Guide to Testing

Diagnosing CIRS: Your Complete Guide to Testing

CIRS or Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome is really an umbrella term for symptoms with a few different causes. It can be caused by tick borne illnesses, mold exposure, and more. Characterized by extreme exhaustion, weakness, and cognitive difficulties, CIRS is a debilitating condition that’s inherently complex.

The nature of CIRS makes it difficult to diagnose. Sometimes patients go years, even decades before a full diagnosis is made. Fortunately, our understanding of this disease and its diagnostic testing has gotten much better.

I’ve found that because the functional medicine approach examines the body as a whole, it’s better at diagnosing complex conditions such as CIRS. In my article How to Know if You Have Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, I explored:

  • What is Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome?
  • Why waiting for a diagnosis might not be the answer.
  • Testing for mold exposure.

If you need more of an introductory to CIRS, I recommend you start there. In this article, you will find a comprehensive approach to diagnostic testing for CIRS. This is a guide you can use before you see a doctor, to help you determine if you possibly have CIRS – and what testing you can ask your doctor for to achieve a proper diagnosis.

Do You Have CIRS? Testing Before The Doctor’s Office

Before you even make an appointment with your doctor there are a couple things you can do.

First, see how many symptoms you have in the CIRS symptoms clusters below. This system was developed by Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker through the analysis of thousands of patients. People with Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome will have symptoms in eight or more clusters.

For example, if you are experiencing night sweats that counts as a positive result for the entire cluster of symptoms in the red box on the right. Even if you don’t have red eyes, blurred vision, mood swings or ice pick pain, because you’re experiencing night sweats that counts as a positive result for the entire cluster. You only need one symptom in a cluster for it to count. You may have symptoms that aren’t on this chart, but if you have CIRS you’ll have at least eight symptom clusters. You can see how many clusters you have right now.

Diagnosing CIRS: Your Complete Guide to Testing

Next, you can take the Multiple Systemic Infectious Diseases Syndrome (MSIDS) Horowitz questionnaire. This questionnaire allows you to assign 0-3 in severity on a number of symptoms that are commonly associated with CIRS that’s been triggered by Lyme disease. At the end, you’ll have a total score which will tell you how likely it is you have a tick-borne illness.

Finally, you can take a Visual Contrast Sensitivity (VCS) test. This is a simple test that costs $10. It checks your ability to distinguish between very similar colors. Those with CIRS often are unable to differentiate between similar shades due to neuroinflammation.

If any of these tests result in a trip to the doctor’s office, be sure to bring your results with you to your appointment. These tools are excellent resources for beginning your CIRS diagnosis.

Testing for CIRS

Remember, because there are numerous underlying causes of CIRS, there are also various tactics in tackling these diagnostics. You’ll need to go through these with a doctor who’s experienced in chronic conditions. You might not need every single test listed here. Your symptoms will tell your doctor where to start.

Testing should include:

  • Mycotoxin testing – These tests can identify biotoxins in your blood created by mold.
  • Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) genetic test – An estimated 25 percent of the population have a genetic variation that makes their immune system bad at identifying and ridding the body of biotoxins. Sometimes when mold is an issue in a home,  the rest of the family only notices the problem after a person with the HLA gene becomes sick.
  • MARCoNS – Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococci (MARCoNS) live inside the nasal cavity. These can contribute to CIRS and need to be identified and treated.    
  • Mold CIRS Panel of laboratory markers. This panel tests for MMP9, TGF-beta1, MSH, ADH, and osmolality.

The following are biomarkers commonly associated with CIRS and should be tested:

  • Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide (VIP) – Normal range is 23-63 pg/mL. CIRS patients usually have lower levels.
  • Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone (MSH) – Normal range is 35-81 pg/mL. CIRS patients usually have lower levels.
  • Transforming Growth Factor Beta–1 (TGF Beta-1) – Normal range is <2380 pg/ml.
  • C4a – Normal range is 0-2830 ng/ml.
  • Antigliadin (AGA IgA/IgG) – Normal range is 0-19.
  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)/Cortisol – Normal range is ACTH 8-37 pg/mL. Cortisol in the a.m. 4.3-22.4 and p.m. 3.1-16.7 ug/dL. CIRS patients usually have higher levels.
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) – Normal range is 31-86 pg/mL. CIRS patients usually have lower levels.
  • Antidiuretic hormone (ADH)/Osmolality – Normal range is ADH 1-13.3 pg/ml and Osmolality 280-300 mosmol.
  • Matrix Metallopeptidase 9 (MMP-9) – Normal range is 85-332 ng/mL.
  • Leptin – Normal range is 0.5-13.8 ng/mL for men and 1.1-27.5 ng/mL for women.

You should also have an Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI) test done. The ERMI test is a DNA-based test that’s used to identify specific species living in your home. This is beneficial because it helps identify potential mycotoxins that could be making you sick. Furthermore, it will help you know if you should have any mold remediation done in your home. Removing the cause of CIRS (in this case mold) from your life is the number one step in recovering your health.

Finding a Functional Medicine Doctor for CIRS

If you suspect you have Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, it’s important you make an appointment with a functional medicine doctor who has experience in working with CIRS. If you don’t start with a doctor who’s knowledgeable in complex, chronic conditions it could end up costing you a lot more time, money, and energy down the road.

When potential CIRS patients come to me, not only do we begin diagnostics to completely identify the condition, we also start taking steps to alleviate the symptoms. Together we come up with a treatment plan that reduces any exposures, heals any outstanding infections, reduces inflammation, and supports natural detoxification.

As a certified New York functional medicine doctor with CIRS experience, I’ve helped thousands of patients get their life back from chronic, debilitating conditions. If you are struggling with your health, you don’t have to go through this alone – you can request an appointment here or call 212-696-HEAL (4325). When you catch chronic conditions early, the treatment is often easier, faster, and cheaper – don’t wait any longer, start today.

Resources:

http://www.lymeactionnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/MSIDS.pdf
https://www.vcstest.com/
http://www.survivingmold.com/diagnosis/lab-tests

Mysterious Symptoms? Biotoxins Could Be to Blame

Mysterious Symptoms? Biotoxins Could Be to Blame

If you’ve been struggling with mysterious symptoms and having a hard time pinpointing the root cause of seemingly unrelated health issues, you should consider biotoxins. Biotoxins can come from insect bites, mold growing in your home, and many other sources. I’ve noticed an increasing number of biotoxin-related illnesses in my practice, especially in younger individuals and I believe this rise is happening across the country.

You see, biotoxins cause widespread chronic inflammation, which in turn causes symptoms throughout the body’s systems. This can cause nonspecific symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue, general malaise, vertigo, and headaches. Symptoms such as these can be confusing, even for your doctor, which is how biotoxin illness has largely gone mis– and underdiagnosed.

One biotoxin illness, chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS), up until recently wasn’t taken very seriously (unfortunately, it still isn’t taken seriously by some medical professionals). As a result, many patients end up defeatedly going from doctor’s office to doctor’s office, at a loss for what’s happening to their body. We now know CIRS is a very real condition, and it is caused by biotoxins. CIRS is considered a subtype of biotoxin illness.

So how do you know if you’ve been exposed to a biotoxin? What are some of the signs, and what can you do? Let’s take closer look at what biotoxins are and how they affect your health.

What are biotoxins?

Biotoxins are a group of substances that are toxic to humans and biological in nature. They can be made by plants, bacteria, fungi or animals. Biotoxins are usually a defense mechanism for the creator, though not always.

Biotoxins have a wide range of negative effects on the human body, targeting different systems – such as neurotoxins, which impact the nervous system and cytotoxins, which impact individual cells.

The two biotoxins I’ve seen impacting my patients most in the past decade, are:

  1. Mold biotoxins  – mycotoxins
  2. Biotoxins created by the tick borne microbes, like Lyme disease causing microbe – Borrelia Burgdorferi

Mycotoxins and Lyme biotoxins are both proving to be a silent crisis and the medical community is only just now realizing how bad they are.

Why are these biotoxin-related illnesses on the rise?

Both mold related illnesses and Lyme disease are on the rise in America. With mold, it’s mostly due to the fact that we now build our houses out of paper and wood, which when combined with moisture is a perfect breeding ground for mold. An estimated 50 percent of American homes now contain toxic mold and an estimated 80 percent of all CIRS cases are caused by water damaged homes.

And when it comes to Lyme disease, it’s thought that the rise is due to many factors. One of which is  climate change and the elimination of predators of carriers (mostly rodents), due to deforestation and habitat damage. Lyme disease is most prevalent in New England, and I’ve personally seen a significant increase in my own patients who hardly leave urban area of New York City.

Effects of biotoxins

Once you are exposed to a biotoxin, the immune system flags the invader and works to have it broken down and removed. If someone is exposed repeatedly or in sufficient levels (living in a moldy home, for example), the biotoxin can’t fully be removed and sets off a series of inflammatory responses throughout the body.

It’s much like digging a hole in sand. If the there’s too much, can be impossible to get very far as sand continuously fills the hole while you’re digging. With your body, if you don’t remove the assaulting toxin it wears your immune systems down.

Then there are some individuals who have genetic predisposition to CIRS that is HLA gene determined. These individuals are much more sensitive to this whole process because their immune system doesn’t properly ‘flag’ the invading biotoxin or have harder time to remove them from the body.  In this case, the biotoxins are free to wreak havoc throughout the body because they are never fully removed.

This sets off a cascade of inflammatory events. Firstly, through binding to receptors throughout the body. Then, the body begins to recognize the biotoxin, which causes a cyclical upregulation of numerous inflammation causing pathways.

Essentially, biotoxins cause a vicious cycle of inflammation that requires intervention, especially if you have the HLA-DR gene. An estimated 25 percent of the population has this genetic mutation, which makes it difficult for your body to rid itself of toxins.

How do you know if you’ve been exposed to biotoxins?

When you’ve been exposed to a biotoxin, your symptoms could be acute or chronic depending on the biotoxin, potency, length of exposure, your genetic status, and more. One thing is certain though – you want to address it earlier rather than later. The longer you go untreated (especially if you’re still being exposed to the toxin), the more complex your symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment will become.

Symptoms of biotoxin illness include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Sinus problems
  • Memory difficulties
  • Headaches
  • Numbness
  • Muscle cramping
  • Metallic taste
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Nerve pain
  • Light sensitivity
  • Weight gain
  • Night sweats
  • Excessive thirst
  • Gastrointestinal related issues
  • The inability to distinguish between subtle differences in color

If you suspect you’ve been exposed to biotoxins you can request an appointment here. If you’re not in the New York area, I recommend finding a functional medicine doctor who has experience in biotoxin illnesses.

Biotoxin related medical conditions

Biotoxins themselves can cause medical conditions and their inflammatory hijacking of the immune system can cause serious illnesses. Biotoxin related medical conditions include:

  • Chronic inflammatory response syndrome
  • Lyme disease
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Alzheimer’s disease

It’s quite possible we are only beginning to fully realize how harmful biotoxins are. Only recently a subset of Alzheimer’s disease was identified as being caused by mycotoxins.

The Visual Contrast Sensitivity test is a good place to start

The Visual Contrast Sensitivity (VCS) test checks your ability to differentiate details, which is an indicator of neuroinflammation. A major cause of neuroinflammation is exposure to biotoxins – Mold and Lyme are some of the most common. There are other causes of neuroinflammation besides biotoxins, this is just one common cause.

The VCS test is a good place to start if you think you’ve been exposed to biotoxins because you can do it at home, it only takes 10 minutes, and it’s only $10.  If you test positive for neuroinflammation, you should request an appointment immediately. In 2015, over 95 percent of all new Lyme disease cases occurred in only 14 states – New York was one of those states.

When you’ve been exposed to biotoxins, it’s important to seek out a doctor experienced in these illnesses because they are confusing and frequently misdiagnosed. I regularly have patients who come see me that have been searching for the cause of their mysterious illness for years. If you have been struggling with mysterious symptoms, I urge you to check for biotoxin exposure.

Resources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3153206/
http://www.survivingmold.com/docs/Berndtson_essay_2_CIRS.pdf
http://time.com/3959736/lyme-disease/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/gene/3122
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4789584/
https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/stats/index.html