They go by many different names -- invisible, hidden, or stealth infections, all denoting something worrisome. But let's take the mystery out of this topic, and give you an action plan to get your health back.
First, let's remember that the latest science is clear: Most if not all symptoms are caused by inflammation. So to get your life back, you must find the cause of the inflammation.
With chronic illness, diagnoses are simply labels that doctors place on certain groups of symptoms, so they can prescribe a pill. Most of the time, that prescription only helps the symptoms, but often doesn't treat the cause. And, that prescription causes other symptoms on top of the ones you already have.
So whether or not you've already been given a label such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, CIRS, Fibromyalgia, or any autoimmune condition isn't what's important, and in Functional Medicine we don't want people to "diagnosis shop" (run from doctor to doctor until you get a diagnosis). You don't need to allow your condition to progress to a point where it can be detected on old-school conventional testing before you get to the root cause, and fix it. As soon as you have the symptoms, it's time to determine the root cause and remove it.
And, if you are experiencing chronic symptoms that you know don't feel normal to you, there's a reason. Don't allow anyone, no matter how many degrees they have, to tell you "it's all in your head" and give you a prescription for an anti-depressant. That's the sign of an arrogant individual who hasn't kept up with the latest medical advances, and therefore doesn't have the skills to find the root cause of your issue. Run away. Fast.
And run to a Functional Medicine practitioner. Someone who is trained to be a medical detective, and who uses the newest testing and treatment protocols designed specifically for your individual genetics and biochemistry.
That being said, let's get back to discussing some of the most prevalent causes of chronic symptoms and autoimmune disease: Invisible infections.
The most common we see are:
Molds & Mycotoxin exposure
Epstein Barr Virus (EBV)
Human Herpes Virus (HHV-6)
Parvovirus (Parvo B19)
Borrelia Burgdorferi (Lyme Disease) and it's coinfections (Babesia, Bartonella, Ehrlichia, Mycoplasma, Anaplasma, and Tularemia.
Regardless of what you have been told by conventional or even well-meaning integrative physicians (or what you may have read on Dr. Google), the science is clear. We now have very effective treatments for these infections, and you if you have one, you can get your health and your life back.
The first step is to work with a Functional Medicine practitioner. We understand how the body as a whole became susceptible to allowing these pathogens to take hold and cause problems in the first place.
So let's talk about this. Because removing these pathogens is not simply a matter of giving a treatment and wala, you're cured.
The truth is, most of us have already been exposed to these pathogens. When the immune system is functioning normally, these pathogens are taken care of quite naturally and are kept in their proper place. In other words, they are present, but they aren't a problem.
However, in western culture -- with our toxic exposures, poor food quality, and stressful lifestyles -- we have damaged our gut microbiomes and therefore, we have compromised immune systems.
In Functional Medicine, we start treatment by giving the body what it needs to function optimally, so you have the best chance to heal using the natural mechanisms your body was created with.
Yes, that's right. Your body knows how to heal itself, given what it needs to function optimally.
It's well established science now that the gut microbiome controls most aspects of your health and disease -- it's literally the driver of your car.
The gut microbiome is directly linked to your immune system functioning. Unhealthy gut = unhealthy immune system.
Your gut microbiome health controls whether or not you develop cancer, heart disease, diabetes, thyroid issues, obesity, mental illness, sleep disorders, autoimmune disease, and just about all other chronic conditions, including invisible infections.
So, it is simply logical that if you want your car to drive down the path of health and disease prevention for life, you need to focus first and foremost on your gut health.
Changing your diet to a non-toxic, anti-inflammatory one is the first step to help the gut to function correctly again.
Then you must specifically test your gut to find out exactly what is going on in there, and fix it. Using a qualified Functional Medicine practitioner in this process will save you time, money and suffering, so stay away from Dr. Google and stick to the professionals for this.
Finally, you must maintain the fix by living a healthy lifestyle that keeps those bugs in your gut happy and balanced.
Functional Medicine gives your body the best chance at true healing, so you do not continue to have relapses and recurrent problems with invisible infections, or any other causative agents of chronic symptoms. In other words, simply treating the Lyme or other invisible infection without attention to the gut and immune function, causes people to believe they will "always" have the disease. You may always have the organism present in your body, but it doesn't have to rear it's ugly head if your gut and immune system are functioning optimally.
When you get your gut functioning better, your immune system can start to get rid of those nasty invisible infections on it's own. But once an invisible infection or other causative agent has thrown off your health to a significant degree, most people need a treatment plan specifically designed for their personal genetic and biochemical needs, in order to help the gut and the immune system to do it's job -- and get you healthy again.
To keep learning more, join Heal Autoimmune Disease Now on Facebook to get your questions answered.
And remember, you can get better, and get your life back!
Love and Blessings,
Autoimmune Disease Research Scientist / Functional Nutritionist