Gut health–what does it have to do with our immune system? It has EVERYTHING to do with our immune system. Over 70% of our immune system resides in our gut. If our gut is not healthy, it predisposes us to illness. It has been a while since I’ve written about where I am at in my gut healing journey, so I thought I would share.
Let me start by talking about gut health testing. This is not the most glamorous topic of conversation, but a necessary one. About a year ago, I went to my conventional doctor to get a stool test. My intuition was telling me that something was very wrong with my gut and I wanted answers. I continuously got stomach aches, rashes, lost unnecessary weight, and my food allergy list was increasing. At this time, I stubbornly refused to invest in a functional stool test due to the cost (insurance does not cover most of them). My conventional doctor called me and told me that everything came back “normal.” At that very moment, I had flashbacks of the same situation happening back when I was repeatedly told that my thyroid labs were “normal.” I felt angry and defeated once again by Western Medicine. I didn’t feel normal and I knew that something was off. About a month ago, I decided to push aside my financial fears and just go for it. I invested in a functional stool test. The one I used was: Doctor’s Data. (A licensed functional medicine doctor should be able to order it for you). Your primary care doctor has probably never heard of this company and most likely will not be able to help you with this. Functional stool tests provide a more comprehensive analysis and are looking beyond the standard pathogens that most mainstream tests do not have the capability to pick up.
So, what were my results? Enter…..BLASTOCYSTIS HOMINIS, a microscopic parasite that lives in your intestines. Gross, right? Here’s the truth, we ALL have parasites whether we want to admit it or not. Contrary to popular belief, parasites are not just something you pick up traveling to a foreign country. They can be found in our food, water, and air. When you have a strong immune system, you may not show symptoms of them. Those of us exposed to high level of toxins and under high levels of stress are more prone to symptoms. This parasite has also been shown to be a root cause of Leaky gut which predisposes us to autoimmunity. When I received these results, I felt relieved. FINALLY, another missing piece to my healing puzzle. The research has shown this particular parasite is very common in patients with Hashimotos. According to Dr. Izabella Wentz, she states, “This pathogen is notorious for causing multiple food sensitivities.” I’ve found that eradicating a Blastocystis infection in a person with Hashimoto’s often leads to a remission of Hashimoto’s, with an improvement in symptoms, a reduction in food sensitivities, and a reduction in thyroid antibodies.” (click on her name for the full article on the connection between Hashimotos, Blastocystis Hominis, IBS, and hives).
So what I am doing to eradicate this? I am currently taking herbal antimicrobials like Biocidin. I will also be taking Intestinol and rotating every few months to ensure my body does not become immune to them. Antibiotics are typically prescribed from mainstream doctors, but many of them have been clinically shown to be resistant to this particular parasite. Antibiotics can also cause further damage to the gut. Following this, I will be put on a gut repairing protocol (more on this in another post).
What has this experience taught me? TEST… DON’T GUESS! Health is an investment, not an expense. Investing in a functional stool test was something I wish I would have done at the very beginning of my journey. There truly is no price tag for having answers and being able to properly treat exactly what is going on. In the future, I plan on using the GI-MAP test as it is currently one of the most comprehensive tests out there right now. It’s literally like taking a finger print of what’s going on in your gut. I have a feeling there is more to be discovered within mine so I will write about it once I invest in this. You can receive the results yourself with this test, but it is important to work with a functional medicine doctor to help break down the results and start a treatment plan.
When it comes to autoimmunity, there is always more than one factor that goes into healing. This parasite is just ONE of my many root causes that triggered it for me. I am also currently working to detox from mold as mold is another trigger (more on this in another post). I highly recommend working with a functional medicine doctor in your area for testing, treating and diagnosing.