To Reverse Illness, Let’s Understand What It Is.
Fatigue, sleep problems, inflammatory issues, and digestive troubles are springing up, and they’re happening to people at shockingly younger and younger ages.
The markers of aging are arriving earlier than expected for a substantial portion of the population.
To reverse this, is it necessary to become an expert about every facet of the human body?
Must we deeply understand the interactions between nutrients, hormones, and physiology to restore our health?
When I was hyperfocused on smaller variables, my health did not improve so much. But when I looked at the big picture, my health returned. Dramatically.
Yours can, too.
Let’s look at the big picture of illness.
Four Stressors Of Illness
Stress is the fundamental name for any phenomenon that harms the body.
Small, acute stresses are normal and part of healthy living: moderate exercise, daily disappointments & challenges, competitive games, limited fasting, and short illnesses, for example.
In the proper context, acute stressors can even provide some benefit to the body — these are known as “hormetic” benefits.
Stress is only truly manageable by the body when acute: The challenge arises, the body meets the challenge, then we rest and recuperate. When stressors become continuous — or, chronic — the body has little defense.
There are four important “stressors of illness” — that appear to be primary contributors to the onset of disease.
For the time being, we will exclude emotional stress, though it is certainly as important a factor as any when discussing the onset of, and recovery from, disease.
The Four Stressors Of Illness
The world is full of countless pathogens, bombarding us daily from sick people and sick buildings. They are linked to many diseases.
Nutrient deficiency is surprisingly common. It’s caused by poor diet, soil quality, pathogenic infections, and poor gut health.
Toxins abound in the modern world — and we also are exposed to them by pathogens inside the body (these toxins are called “endotoxins”).
Every aspect of modern life has the potential to be disruptive to the circadian rhythm.
Let’s dive into the four stressors of illness, see how they all work together to degrade our health, and learn what we can do about it.
After all, to reverse illness, we’ve got to understand what it is.
Pathogens Are Active
Pathogens bombard our bodies every single day.
The skin is well-suited to repel most pathogens (though microbes do live on the skin), but the mouth, ears, nose, and throat represent excellent opportunities for pathogens to enter the body.
When a pathogen gets inside our body, the immune system should quickly identify it and kill or deactivate it. The pathogen may then disappear or, more likely, go dormant until a more opportune time appears.
A strong immune system can ward off invading pathogens, rendering their infectious capabilities, at best, acute.
When the immune system is compromised (as is commonly the case in chronic illness and aging), pathogens are not readily killed and deactivated. Therefore, various microbial species become resilient, at home in the body.
When this happens, outward signs of infection are often absent, with — instead — elevated markers of inflammation and/or white blood cell counts and, over time, the development of symptoms of chronic illness: fatigue, insomnia, brain fog, and poor digestion.
How do these low-grade chronic infections by these pathogens (mainly: bacteria, fungus, viruses) affect your health?
- Cause nutrient deficiency.
- Cause toxicity.
- Cause inflammation.
- Cause circadian disruption.
It is through these means that pathogens can harm major organs and affect day-to-day quality of life — even in chronic, low-grade infections.
These low-grade infections are usually undetectable by medical tests and direct observation by a doctor.
However, inflammation will almost certainly be high and, again, signs of elevated immune activity can appear in labs, though they likely won’t raise alarms for most doctors — when perhaps they should be.
The Hidden Infection
Harmful pathogens typically “hide” in various microbiomes around the body: The gut, nose, ears, and vagina.
Medical science is taking the first steps to understand the world of the “gut microbiome.”
Being a completely new field, a person with severe dysbiosis will likely test negative for an infection — even though their gut health is wrecked.
Unfortunately, this new field will require much more research to truly understand it and therefore manipulate it with medical precision. At this time, microbiome tests are becoming able to identify the species in your gut — but we don’t really know what to do about those findings, yet. Not from a medical standpoint, at least. What seems best is to treat “general dysbiosis” of the gut — using all tactics available to boost the immune system, including proper circadian rhythm practices, foods, supplements, photobiomodulation, sunlight, and improving one’s environment.
In the immune-compromised, infections are rarely of a single pathogen. Instead, multiple “co-infections” exist, each affecting the body simultaneously.
The acronym stands for Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococci. This bacteria is highly pathogenic and resistant to antibiotics because of a powerful biofilm which protects it from potential threats.
This is a newly-discovered kind of infection, typically residing in the nasal passages — although it’s being found in the mouth as well.
Questionable dental practices can lead to persistent, low-grade, hidden infections in and around teeth that can escape the notice of dentists. These infections can send a constant 24/7 drip of metabolic toxicity and pathogenic attackers into the bloodstream and into the digestive system — causing chronic inflammation and dysbiosis.
Pathogenic Toxicity Can Cause Every Component Of Disease
An infection (in the mouth, gut, nose, or elsewhere) supplies your body with a steady stream of “endo”-toxins.
As a result, the body will spend vast resources to detoxify the endotoxins and kill off the hosts. Nutrients will be “used up” rapidly to meet the demands of an overburdened liver. The endotoxins from maldigestion (gut pathogens) and other local, hidden infections can cause rampant, widespread issues.
The body will also ramp up inflammation round-the-clock, and this will cause overall digestion and absorption of nutrients to plummet. Hence, chronic, low-grade infections cause nutrient deficiency for two reasons: both depletion of nutrients for detox, as well as interference with proper digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Nutrient deficiency and toxicity cause inflammation, and all three will eventually affect sleep quality — as the immunocompromised body descends into chronic illness.
A Common Issue
Low nutrient levels are actually common — even in the first world. But when health is suffering, the become a big cause of further issues.
Poor diet can result in nutrient deficiency on its own. Eating lots of refined grains can result in B-Vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Modern industrial farming practices have resulted in falling soil quality — and the mineral quality of our food has suffered in response.
Too much time indoors can result in a Vitamin D deficiency. Food has very, very little Vitamin D.
Eating little vegetables and no organ meats can result in a Vitamin A deficiency. An overburdened liver may have a hard time converting carotenes to Vitamin A, too (genetics can cause this as well).
Poor gut health can result in poor nutrient absorption across the board. Low levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut can lead to deficiency in B-vitamins and other nutrients and compounds such as butyric acid and Vitamin K2.
Last, we’ve already seen the two ways pathogenic infections can bring about nutrient deficiencies.
For most people strugling with illness, most or all of these factors are affecting their nutritional health.
How Does Nutrient Deficiency Cause Disease?
When nutrients are low (due to elevated detoxification requirements or poor absorption), virtually every system in the body suffers: Metabolism drops, energy storage drops, immunity drops, digestion worsens, sleep plummets, and inflammation rises.
The body adapts to fuel and nutrient shortages by slowing the metabolism — to use nutrients less rapidly. This is also known as hypothyroidism.
This is the body’s response to famine or starvation — “starvation mode” — the body will slow down its metabolic (energetic) processes to avoid churning through limited reserves and supply.
When the metabolism is slowed (hypothyroidism) the body will not be able to adapt to normal pathogenic exposure. The body’s defenses against daily pathogenic bombardment will be less effective during nutrient scarcity. In fact, the body will even try to sequester nutrients away from pathogens — to starve them out. Unfortunately this leaves your own body starving for nutrients, too.
In chronic illness, nutritional immunity doesn’t lead to recovery, it means pathogens will survive longer in a weakened body. Pathogens will always opportunistically find a place to call home, if available, and when the immune system is compromised, the body is a ready host.
Chronic nutrient deficiency will also undermine sleep, hormone production, and even mental performance and emotional regulation. This can — over time — lead to a compounding situation where things just aren’t working correctly, pathogens multiply in the body, and medical tests still may not be able to find anything wrong — besides, perhaps, irregular WBC counts.
Toxins also include the more everyday-varieties we often hear about: heavy metals, industrial chemicals in our food supply our sprayed on our new products, VOC’s in new homes, and even mold in sick buildings.
Exposure to environmental chemicals is increasing globally… Toxicants are present at all stages of development, potentially accumulating to cause a lifetime of ill health.
The accumulative nature of toxicity in the body should be alarming.
We simply have no idea how our collective and personal health will fare after decades of daily exposure to the tens of thousands of untested synthetic chemicals present in modern life. What little we do know about our environmental toxin exposure isn’t very promising.
Toxicity doesn’t merely appear in the environment.
One of the most important toxins to address is endotoxin from pathogens living in the gut (or mouth, nose, ear, and vagina). The endotoxins released when these pathogens eat your food is tremendously disruptive to the body’s function — and because the toxins are released whenever YOU eat, it can make your life a living hell.
“The liver is the major source of the acute phase proteins, and it is constantly burdened by toxins absorbed from the bowel; disinfection of the bowel is known to accelerate recovery from stress.”
Ray Peat, PhD
Another quote from Peat, partially in reference to endotoxin:
“When estrogen overlaps with endotoxin (as it tends to do), multiple organ failure is the result.”
Ray Peat, PhD
Toxicity, in all forms, overburdens the organs.
The gut has two main functions:
- Absorb nutrients
- Transport toxins out of the body (via bowel movements)
When the microbiome goes bad, it becomes home to plentiful harmful pathogens. These pathogens release toxins into the blood stream — especially when they digest your food after you eat. These, of course, are called endotoxin.
If there’s any reason to improve your gut health, it’s to reduce the toxic load on your body that pathogens create via endotoxin.
“Disruptions of circadian rhythms have been associated with many diseases, including metabolic disorders and cancer.“
Chronic disruption of the circadian rhythm is a slow-moving disaster for health.
Nearly every aspect of modern life works to undermine our circadian rhythm. Further, an overemphasis on “hours of sleep per night” has distracted from what actually makes for a restorative and optimal night’s sleep.
Syncing The Circadian Clocks
The body is full of circadian clock genes — each organ has clock genes, and they are tied to the brain’s central clock: the SCN (Suprachiasmatic Nucleus).
One of the major keys to restoring health is to get ALL of these clock genes synced up.
When that happens, each organ performs its functions in concert — and the body becomes a free-flowing highway instead of a traffic jam.
It really is this critical — studies have found nearly every single marker of health worsen due to worsened sleep. Even small, temporary shifts in sleep quality can have deep impacts on health markers. It’s no secret that most chronic illness sufferers struggle with sleep and their circadian rhythm.
Poor sleep (and poor circadian rhythm) is no benign symptom — it’s a direct cause of illness and disease. Fixing it at all costs must be priority number one to improve health.
Stressors Cause Each Other
Any stressor experienced, once it becomes chronic, will develop into other stressors of illness.
“In the case of the relationship between malnutrition and infection, a large number of studies have illustrated a bidirectional interaction of malnutrition and infection.”https://www.bmbtrj.org/article.asp?issn=2588-9834;year=2018;volume=2;issue=3;spage=168;epage=172;aulast=Farhadi
“Viruses are well recognized to reprogram host cellular metabolism, and this has the potential to feedback and regulate core clock components. Studies showing that viruses can interact with core [circadian] clock components provide a mechanism for viruses to exploit circadian variation.”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5684296/
“Experimental studies indicate that micronutrients may impact important nerve-signalling chemicals or neurotransmitters of sleep regulation, including serotonin, N-methyl-D-aspartate (NDMA) glutamate and melatonin secretion.”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5675071/
“There is increasing awareness and concern within the scientific and public communities that chemical pollutants can suppress immune processes and thus cause increased development of neoplastic and infections diseases.”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235670/
Liver detoxification ramps up to remove excess toxins from the body — which uses extra nutrients.
“Chronic sleep loss can cause certain neurotoxic molecules, which normally circulate in the blood, to be transported to the central nervous system and interfere with the function of neurons.”https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140610101316.htm
Is Inflammation A Cause Of Illness?
Inflammation is most likely not the root cause of your health issues. By contrast, inflammation is most likely a symptom of the four stressors of illness.
Chronic Inflammation Does Cause Damage
When inflammation remains high for long periods of time, it causes many other problems, too. Therefore, even though inflammation is only a symptom it will begin to cause other downstream problems over time.
If your body is always inflamed, there’s a cause — and that cause needs to be corrected, rather than merely “fighting inflammation.”
Inflammation Is A Response To… Stressors
Inflammation is meant to be temporary. It responds when tissue has been damaged — to clean away damaged (dead) tissues so healing can occur.
But what if inflammation is always high? Possibly due to chronic low-grade infection?
If there’s inflammation, there’s a cause.
“Inflammatory cytokines are released in response to stress, tissue damage, and infection.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17524614
When chronic inflammation is present, nutrients won’t get absorbed. Inflammation interferes with insulin’s driving of sugar molecules and nutrients into cells. Inflammation essentially can wreak havoc on your body’s ability to absorb all nutrients.
“Independent of the cause and location, inflammation – even when minimal – has clear effects on gastrointestinal morphology and function. These result in altered digestion, absorption and barrier function. There is evidence of reduced villus height and crypt depth, increased permeability, as well as altered sugar and peptide absorption in the small intestine after induction of inflammation in experimental models…”“Even Low-Grade Inflammation Impacts On Small Intestinal Function”
Another quote from the same study:
These quotes are pointing, also, to an increase in intestinal permeability when inflammation is present. High intestinal permeability (leaky gut) allow pathogens from the gut access to the bloodstream — and therefore the rest of the body, where they can wreak more havoc and cause more inflammation.
Chronic inflammation can also result from injuries that aren’t healing properly (due to re-aggravation or infection) as well as any other ongoing stress that isn’t resolved.
How Does Mold Fit Into All This?
First: Mold supplies toxicity.
Mold releases toxic VOC’s (mycotoxins) into the air. These VOC’s are fat-soluble and become stored in our body. They overwhelm the liver and cause inflammation. This causes the digestive process to shut down and — between poor digestion and overburdened liver detox — the body becomes deficient in nutrients. Toxicity and malnutrition disrupt the circadian rhythm, leading to compromised immunity. Ultimately, infection is the next logical step in the. process.
There has long been plenty of evidence throughout the animal kingdom that fungal species can live “inside” their animal hosts — and quite a few common diseases around the world are caused by fungi.
Here’s a passage from an article about how fungi are beginning to deeply threaten the health of indoor pets:
“Spores of these moulds spread aerially. If inhaled by those with weak immune system, they can overcome the body’s defences and start growing inside the nasal passage, sinuses and lungs. The moulds may even spread to the brain and other organs through blood.”https://theconversation.com/brace-yourself-internet-cats-and-dogs-at-risk-from-new-fungus-15498
There also may be a simple reason antifungal drugs seem to help diseases like MS.
- Fungal elements are being discovered in brain tissue of Alzheimer’s disease patients.
- Antibiotics appear to improve cancer patients’ prognosis.
There could very well be a fungal (or other pathogenic) component to many of the “big” diseases. It’s possible a large component of aging is a process of slowly losing the battle to pathogens, toxicity, and nutrient deficiency — rather than mere hardwired genetic programming.
As mold (and sick building syndrome) becomes a larger and larger epidemic, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised if these diseases continue to become more prevalent.
What About EMF?
A Complicated Subject
The simplest way to think about EMF is that it scrambles your body’s internal processes via pulsed electromagnetic signals.
It’s similar to the way a strobe light can greatly harm some people (“Flicker Vertigo” — which occurs when a strobe light flashes at 1Hz to 20Hz, which is in the frequency range of brain waves).
Wireless pulses are much more rapid than a strobe light, and they pulse in the frequency range that cellular processes occur, causing serious issues with their function over time. In other words, we don’t consciously think 100,000x times per second, but our cellular processes are happening at that speed.
The body’s nervous system and cells communicate via extremely low-intensity electrical signals. Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that rapid electromagnetic pulses impact the function of our cells and nervous system.
EMFs can penetrate all the way into and through our tissues — thereby potentially affecting every cell in our body.
EMFs come in various types (wireless pulses, magnetic fields, and electric fields), but these all negatively impact the body by sneakily interrupting or interfering with the body’s processes.
The greatest harm from EMFs is to people who already have weakened health status.
Therefore, EMF can be a major source of the factors that cause disease. It’s important that people take at least modest steps to reduce EMF exposure.
As the 4G network grows and 5G networks go live around the world, it’s important to understand what these technologies are doing, how they behave, and what you can do about it.
How Do We Improve?
Remove the bad, add the good.
Address The Four Stressors
Of the four stressors, rank each in order of how much they hold you back. Then, pick one to address.
Is your circadian rhythm clearly weak? Start here!
Is your gut health struggling? If so, it’s causing toxicity, harming sleep, compromising your immunity, and causing nutrient deficiency. Start here!
As you strengthen one area, your knowledge will grow and you can improve the other stressors, as well.
Add Good Habits
To improve your health, you’ll have to add good habits into your life.
What are those good habits?
- Getting daily sunlight and additional infrared light.
- Cleaning up sick buildings (or getting out of them).
- Caring for our digestive health.
- Eating meals at the proper times.
- Caring for our circadian rhythm.
- Moving a little bit every day.
- Addressing nutrient deficiencies safely and wisely.
When we understand the stressors and add these good habits, it’s incredible what we can achieve for our health, no matter the severity of the situation.
The Big Picture
One Step At A Time
We don’t change our life all at once.
When we take one step at a time, we can begin to build a truly restorative life.
One that includes healthy light habits, sleep habits, digestive health, food choices, and environmental health.
Light boosts immunity, improves digestion, breaks down toxins in the bloodstream, and is #1 factor in sleep quality.
Light also improves mood, brain chemistry, and thyroid health.
Sleep is the backbone of immunity and gut health, the frontlines of improving nutrient absorption, the realm of autophagy (a partner of detox).
Melatonin is anti-cancer and restorative to the gut.
Gut health affects pathogenic load (70% of the immune system is in the gut), nutrient absorption, toxicity (waste is removed via the gut), & sleep (if your gut is poor, sleep will likely suffer).
Mold can cause pathogenic fungal infection in the gut, nose, and mouth (and possibly elsewhere around the body).
Mold impairs nutrient absorption (worsened gut health), produces toxic byproducts (mycotoxins and other VOCs) in buildings.
Food matters for:
- Immunity against pathogens
- Nutrients provided to the body
- Exposure to endo- & exo-toxins
- Sleep quality. Food must be well-digested.
Nutrient balance affects:
- Immunity (minerals & fat-soluble vitamins, Vitamin C)
- Optimal detoxification
- Sleep quality (via vitamins & minerals)
The thyroid does have an indirect effect on:
- Nutrient levels
- Sleep (especially)
This is because the rate of metabolism controls how much energy is available for all biological functions. Less energy means weakness, system-wide.
Here’s how your location can affect you:
- Immunity. Through exposure to toxins & pathogens.
- Nutrient levels. Via poor gut health
- Toxicity. Through exposure to, pollution, environmental toxins or endotoxin from worse gut health.
- Heavy mold or EMF exposure can seriously impair sleep in some people.