We need inflammation! It's a vital process that our body goes through to mount a response to a perceived invader, be that a pathogen (bacteria, virus or yeast), damage to a cell (such as when we experience a cut or broken limb) or a toxin.
When the alarm system is initiated, an array of communicator molecules stimulate the innate immune system to go to work. The innate immune system is essentially our first line of defense; present within our barrier structures (the skin, gut, and respiratory membranes). As all these structures are "open" to the environment, they induce what we term as "tolerance" to "normal" stimuli, so the immune system doesn't overact unnecessarily.
On the other hand, if a genuine invader or injury is encountered or sustained, our innate immunity provides a rapid and non-specific response. In short, it contains and reduces the effect whilst calling into action the "big-guns" of the immune system—the adaptive immunity which is more targeted and measured. To use a cops and robbers analogy; the innate immune system can be likened to the policeman on the beat doing his rounds; the adaptive immunity is when the chief inspector is called in to work more specifically on the case.
Inflammation becomes a problem when:
When this happens, your body is fighting something—an infection, a toxin, an allergen, a food or the stress response—and it redirects its attack on your joints, your muscle, your thyroid, your gut, your skin, or sometimes your whole body.
3 environmental factors that act as triggers in autoimmunity
In my clinic, I seek to help clients with symptoms of autoimmunity - which can include joint pain, weight gain, brain fog, gut imbalances, mood disorders and fatigue identify their root cause(s) - find the trigger causing their immune system to betray them.
Locating the causes of hidden inflammation
Functional medicine teaches that immune imbalance, while often resulting from a genetic predisposition, will generally arise in the context of one or more of the following triggers: the habitual consumption of a pro-inflammatory diet; food allergies and intolerances; microbial infections; hormonal imbalances; nutritional insufficiencies; and xenobiotic exposure. A functional approach is a really powerful model at both identifying and assisting in reducing these triggers and mediating factors.
The gut is invariably an excellent place to start. The digestive tract is home to trillions of bacteria and represents the site of greatest density of our innate immunity receptors in the body. These receptors play a key role in priming the immune system and in the management and maintenance of our immune response. Their inappropriate activation leads to altered innate immunity and hyper-stimulation, which, in layman's terms, is a runaway inflammatory response.
By listening carefully to a person's story and sometimes performing some specific functional tests, I can work to uncover the causes of inflammation rather than simply providing solutions for the symptoms.
The whole picture
Identifying root causes to achieve your optimal health and wellbeing.
I use the functional medicine model to assess your health. This means seeking to identify interactions between different systems in the body through comprehensive case history taking your presenting signs and symptoms and diagnostics that include blood chemistries, Cyrex tests, Lifecode Gx Nutrigenomic panels, gut microbiome analysis and others. The goal is to identify and address the triggers and underlying causes of your health problems rather than simply focusing on symptoms.
Details of working with me 1:1 can be found here.