The Enemy Within

stomach acheI'm sure most people can remember the terrifying and just plain gross scene from the original Aliens film where the baby alien explodes out of the man's stomach while he's lying on the table - it's a hard scene to forget. (if you haven't seen it and want to be thoroughly freaked out today, look it up on YouTube).

As far-out and extreme as this scene is, the truth is that we walk around each day as a host to trillions of microorganisms living in our intestines. Luckily for us, there's little chance that one will spontaneously erupt through our abdomen into the outside world, and the reality is that we need many of these microrganisms present in the gut as they modulate immune function and other bodily processes. The challenge comes when certain harmful microorganisms decide to make our bodies their home and in the process cause deleterious effects to our health and the health of our gastrointestinal system. Allow me to introduce you to a few of these foreign invaders.

Pathogenic Prime Suspects

giardia lambliaGiardia lamblia is a flagellated protozoan parasite that colonizes and reproduces in the small intestine, causing giardiasis. Giardia infection results in topographical changes in the gut including:

  • Villous atrophy
  • Blunting of brush border
  • Reduction of surface area for absorption, results in malabsorption
  • Damage to brush border (microvilli) causes:
  • Decrease of lactase enzyme = lactose intolerance
  • Decrease of sucrase enzyme = sucrose intolerance

The infection results in maldigestion, malabsorption & malnutrition. In addition, giardiasis results in small intestinal hypermotility (fast transit of digestive process that causes diarrhea) and food indigestion: colonic dumping syndrome (undigested food particles present in stool).

Entamoeba histolyticaEntamoeba histolytica is considered to be the #2 cause of death worldwide - 2nd only to malaria. Entamoeba histolytica  inhabits the large bowel 5-7 weeks after exposure and invades the enteroplexus –the central nervous system of the large bowel resulting in the following:

  • It damages both the nerve and muscle tissue
  • Inflammatory bowel disease is common
  • It follows a pathogen-mediated course; it can invade the liver and anywhere it wants to go
  • High cholesterol can drive it from the colon to the liver
  • The use of corticosteroids such as prednisone can drive it from the colon to a full-blown systemic infection in 3-5 days

H. pyloriHelicobacter pylori is a bacteria often found living in the lining of the upper gastrointestinal tract, as well as the liver. H. pylori, which infects up to 50% of the human population, is pathogenic to humans as it is strongly associated with peptic ulcers, chronic gastritis, duodenitis, and stomach cancer:

  • H. pylori causes more than 90% of duodenal ulcers and up to 80% of gastric ulcers
  • Approximately one-half to two-thirds of the world's population is infected with H. pylori
  • Infected persons have a 2- to 6-fold increased risk of developing gastric cancer and mucosal-associated-lymphoid type (MALT) lymphoma compared with their uninfected counterparts ~ (CDC)

H. pylori symptoms may include:

  • Heartburn/reflux, Upper abdominal pain, Indigestion, Belching, Gastritis, Duodenal/Peptic Ulcers, Carcinoma, Headaches –especially migraine, Constipation, Nausea, Acne, Halitosis, Undigested food in stool

As you can see, these pathogens can wreak havoc on our bodies - and these are just a few of the species of harmful microorganisms that infect humans. The problem is, as you can see from the variety of symptoms, many people walk around every day with the effects of these pathogens and chalk there symptoms up to being "normal". Common does not mean normal. While many of the subclinical symptoms that these parasites and bacterium can cause may be common in our society, that does not mean that they should go ignored or left untreated. Even more alarming is that you may be walking around popping some Tums or Zantac for your indigestion and heartburn when in reality it's a H. Pylori infection that's the cause. Perhaps you have periodic diarrhea or constipation and chalk it up to something you ate when in reality you're suffering from giardiasis. Over time, infections of this type plague your internal systems  and serve as a chronic stress that fatigues your adrenals, impairs your immune function and can lead to more serious health problems if unchecked.

Eliminate The Enemy

Time to the uproot the invaders. The last thing most people want to think about is the idea that they have a parasite - it just sounds eerie. The reality is that parasites are prevalent and contrary to popular belief, you don't have to be traveling abroad or "drink the water in Mexico" to get one. As you can see from the statistics associated with the pathogens I've outlined above, they are commonplace. Your goal is to identify them and eliminate them especially if you suspect the "normal" symptoms you experience every day may be caused by these creepy critters (good chance they are). It's all about getting to the root cause of what's ailing you - even if what's ailing you doesn't seem like a big deal now, over time, the presence of pathogenic infestations do more and more damage until you experience something that doesn't feel quite "normal". Don't wait until that day comes - eliminate the internal stress on your body and purge yourself of parasites and pathogens now.

With Functional Diagnostic Nutrition, lab kits can be administered to test for the presence of these foreign invaders and provide a specific protocol to eradicate an infection and help heal your gut so that future infections don't occur.

Looking to improve your digestion but not sure where to begin? Consider my new program 4HEALTH - a 4-week, online health program designed to provide you with all the tools you need to improve your digestion, boost your energy, and lose weight that will stay off for good! Visit here for details.

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