Moving on to a Functional Doctor

I said aloha to Hawaii last month and I’m now visiting my amazing sons and delightful Grandson and reconnecting with friends in Utah.  I really love it here in the spring, beautiful wild flowers, majestic mountains, great trails for hiking and biking…but quite sad that I can’t experience it fully like I used to.  It’s been 9 months of fatigue, burning scalp and gums, flu-like symptoms. Enough already!

I’ve completed Susan Blum’s book and haven’t had any success.  But on the positive side I learned a lot and will most likely use what I’ve learned in the future.  I decided that I need help with this and needed to find a functional doctor to put the pieces together for me.  I found this site which has excellent information from ordering your own tests and how to interpret them to thyroid medications and adrenal issues.  They also have a section on how to find a good doctor.  After much searching I found Dr Darren Scott in Layton, UT who is a chiropractor specializing in functional medicine and neurology.  Already he has pin pointed some things just based on my basic blood tests alone….which would never have been revealed or discussed at a regular doctor.  One issue was that I have too much thyroid T3 but it’s not being used by my body and I have an autoimmune disease.  Next step, is to find out which T Helper cells are dominate in my body Th1 or Th2.  He gave me a challenge kit with Th1 stimulators (X-Viromin) and Th2 stimulators (X-FLM).  I will take 2 of Th1 3 x a day for 3 days or stop immediately if I have a negative reaction…then the same with the Th2 pills.  It’s possible that one could make me feel good and one could make me feel bad or I may have no reaction at all.  So, I started this morning…will let you know what happens.

I wanted to understand the testing I’m doing and found this entry on a search that explains it quite well.  So if any of you are have autoimmune issues, thyroid issues or know something’s wrong but don’t know what check this out.  The portion concerning Th1 and Th2 is in bold…the best news for me….the underlying cause of the symptoms of any autoimmune disease is due to an unbalanced immune system. Once the balance is restored, the flared up immune system is calmed down and the autoimmune attack is decreased from a raging fire to that of a single candle flame. He went on to say that the autoimmune response can’t be turned off but it can be calmed down so that you can feel good again.

Here is a transcript from a video by Dr. Geronimo, a doctor who trained under Dr. Kharrazian. Here’s Dr. Geronimo’s website.

“Hello, my name is Dr. Rommel Geronimo. Most of you know that I am a chiropractor in San Diego. Today I want to take a few minutes to talk about clinical nutrition and how it relates to chronic disease. This is my contact information. If you have any questions regarding this mini presentation, email is the best way to contact me.

I want to tell you about a revolutionary way to treat, hypothyroid, RA, MS, SLE, Crohn’s and a host of other chronic diseases. The common denominator with each of these conditions is that they are all autoimmune. What this means is that your own immune system has gone awry and is now attacking your own body. For example, with Hashimoto’s it is attacks your thyroid causing a decrease in thyroid hormones and thus slowing down your metabolism. With RA, your immune system attacks the cartilage inbetween your joints, causing joint pain, inflammation and decreased range of motion. With MS, the immune system attacks the myelin sheath the covers our nerves causing a functional decrease in the peripheral nervous system. Lupus can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, heart and lungs. It is usually associated with a rash on the face shaped like a butterfly. It is also common to have blue fingertips also known as Rayaud’s phenomenon. Crohn’s is an attack the gastrointestinal tract. The common symptoms are diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, blood in the stool, decreased hunger and weight loss. This is just a short list as there are so many more autoimmune conditions. Each one having it’s own specific symptom.

In addition to their own symptoms, each disease will also display signs related to a dysfunctional immune system. The most common symptoms are, fatigue and low energy, irritability, irritable bowel, unexplained body pain and inflammation, and depression. Does this sound like you or anyone you know? The current medical model is to treat each disease, but never really addresses the underlying cause which is the immune system. Let me say that again because this is really important, the current conventional model to treat autoimmune conditions, does not address the immune system!

Any autoimmune disease would work in this example, bur for the sake of this presentation, I’ll use Hashimoto’s thyroiditis since it is fairly common among women. This is an illustration of an autoimmune attack the thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s is diagnosed as having decreased thyroid hormones resulting in a slow metabolism. Thus, the treatment for it is to put the patient on thyroid hormone replacement therapy or HRT. HRT will definitely increase the thyroid hormones, however the patient may still have symptoms of fatigue, brain fog, poor short term memory, weight gain, and a host of other symptoms. Does anyone know why someone who is already on HRT still experiences symptoms? Anyone,? Anyone? Anyone? Sorry, I’ve always wanted to do that. Anyway, you are correct if you said that the symptoms are due to a flared up immune system.

The immune system is far too complicated to explain in this mini presentation so I’ll just go over the basics. Our immune system consists of white blood cells that patrol our body in the same way that a platoon of Marines patrol their surroundings. You can use any military or police organization in your analogy, but since this is my presentation, I might as well use the Worlds finest fighting force. You would understand if you were part of the few and the proud or know someone who is. Anyway just as the Marines are divided into specialty groups, so is our immune system. Different branches of our immune system are designed to protect us from bacteria, viruses, toxins, parasites, fungi, and carcinogens. A strong immune system defends our body from these foreign invaders and keeps us healthy. In keeping with our Marine analogy, an autoimmune attack can be described as friendly fire because the immune system is now killing off its own.

An autoimmune condition occurs when one branch of the immune system over dominates another branch. This is called an either a Th1 or Th2 dominance. A dominant TH1 response means that the natural killer cells and cytotoxic t cells are responsible for attacking the body, while a TH2 dominance indicates that your bcells and antibodies are mounting the attack. A blood test is needed to find out which branch is dominant. Thus to treat an autoimmune disease, it is critical to find the dominant branch and to balance the seesaw by stimulating the other branch. For example, if a patient’s autoimmune disease was TH1 dominant, treating it would require that we strengthen the Th2 side to balance out the immune system. If the patient were Th2 dominant, we would stimulate the Th1 side to regain balance. It’s a pretty simple solution, but so many people suffer needlessly because the immune system has been ignored, until now.

This is where clinical nutrition and natural medicine comes into play. It is well documented in clinical research that Th1 stimulants are Echinacea, maitake mushrooms and golden seal to name a few. Th2 stimulators are caffeine, green tea, and grape seed extract. So in the example I gave in the previous slide, if a patient with an under functioning thyroid is TH1 dominant, then I would prescribe supplements containing caffeine, green tea, and grape seed extract to stimulate the TH2 side to regain balance. If they were TH2 dominant, then Echinacea, mushrooms, and golden seal would balance out their immune system. Since most people with autoimmune conditions have no idea which branch of their immune system is dominant, they can actually make their condition worse by taking over the counter immune boosters. Lets say for example you were Th1 dominant and you catch a cold. A friend tells you that Echinacea helped them so you take it yourself. Unknowingly you would be flaring up your already dominant Th1 response and cause even more destruction to your thyroid gland. Conversely, if you were Th2 dominant and you read on the internet that green tea, and grape seed extract could boost your immune system you would be flaring up your already dominant Th2 response and fire up an autoimmune attack to your thyroid. This can go on for years and years eventually shrinking your thyroid gland and slowing down your metabolism further. Meanwhile your medical doctor would interpret this as a need to increase the dosage of your thyroid hormones.

The immune system continues to get ignored and it turns into a bad cycle of even more medications to treat your symptoms instead of treating the underlying cause.

By now I hope that you understand that the underlying cause of the symptoms of any autoimmune disease is due to an unbalanced immune system. Once the balance is restored, the flared up immune system is calmed down and the autoimmune attack is decreased from a raging fire to that of a single candle flame. It can never be stopped completely because once the autoimmune gene has turned on. There is no turn off switch. However, as a result of a balanced Th1, Th2 response the patient will experience an increase in their energy, mental clarity, better skin and weight loss. Most importantly they find that they no longer need their medication. With a balanced immune system in addition to dietary and lifestyle modifications, most patients can return to the quality of life they once new before their autoimmune disease developed.

So here I go.  I’ll let you know how the test works out for me.



11 responses to “Moving on to a Functional Doctor

  1. How did the th1-2 challenge go?

    • Honestly, I felt so bad at the time I didn’t notice any measurable difference to be able to tell if I was more sensitive to TH1 or 2. I don’t think The Functional Doctor who was helping me was very qualified unfortunately.

  2. Hi, my nutritionist has recommended I try X-Viromin but after reading up a little I am hesitant to try it because of the severe anxiety/depression I have anyway. I have Hashis, gut dysbiosis and gut Candida overgrowth. How did you get on with yours please?

    • To be honest I felt so exhausted all the time I didn’t notice a difference so was unable to truly tell which dominance I had. As time went on I realized the functional doctor I chose was not as experienced as I thought. You may want to ask yours if they can to a blood test to distinguish if you are TH2 or TH2 dominant. I’m somewhat functional now but still struggle with my energy. For myself, I decided that supplements and doctors are not helping. I’m doing more simple things to recover…flat rests and/meditations 3 – 4 times a day, eat healthy meals often (meals with healthy snacks in between), yoga, listen to my body and try to catch the warning signs before I go into a flare, then very slowly start increasing activity as my body allows. Just know that life happens and you will have setbacks, but it’s normal and temporary and over time (sometimes 1 – 2 years) you will improve. Keep on keepin on.😊

  3. thanks for your reply. How do you know when you are having a flare?

    • Hi, Jennie! Having a flare is basically when you’re unable to do the things you normally do and by normal I mean CFS normal because when you have CFS there are already things you can’t normally do. There are signs your body gives you that you’re overdoing it and headed for a flare or full blown crash, if you completely ignore the signs, where you could be very sick in bed for weeks or months. Think of the signs like a traffic light. Pay attention to the signs your body gives you for yellow and try to catch it at that point and rest…if you let it go to red, when your body is screaming at you to stop then the consequences are flares and crashes and that sucks. The signs may be different for everyone, but some are headache, achy muscles, trouble concentrating…one sign is increased cortisol (so you actually feel hyped up) but it’s a false sense and you crash later or the next day. I have a weird neurological thing…my scalp has a pins and needles feeling or my digestion isn’t right. You need to figure out what your signs are and what is triggering this increase in symptoms. Stay on a regular schedule of rests and meditations and you can avoid a lot of this. Eat healthy, drink lots of water. After a time you can start testing yourself in very small doses and very slowly start building back up. It’s so easy to be terrified of doing anything for fear of the dreaded crash. You need to get past this fear, which is normal, and keep moving and eventually, if done extremely slow, you will gain functionality and start improving.

      • Hi Katherine

        I wish I knew the signs, I am up and down like a yo-yo, I have classic depression symptoms whereby I feel rubbish from waking for most of the day and then towards the evening onwards I feel completely well. Just had my thyroid tested again and my antibodies are still high but the lowest they have been in two years but I feel crap. I stopped taking my t3 for a month as my nutritionist said she thought it might be driving my anxiety (as she has thyroid problems as well) and just took my T4 as normal. My TSH has been suppressed for a long time but it’s now 3.86 and well over the 1 or under that it should be. I didn’t find the 15mcg T3 I was on of any real benefit. I have had more better days since stopping it but now my TSH is at the level it is I feel fatigued and crap again. I don’t convert well which is why I started to trial the T3 a few months ago.

        I get the awful fatigue, depression, anxiety, muscle aches, brain fog. I have gut dysbiosis and candida overgrowth issues as well which cause those symptoms and as I am post meno I am on hrt as well. I am a complex case and really don’t know what to do anymore. I was suicidal this time last year

  4. I know where you’re coming from, Jennie. I also reached a point that I thought I just couldn’t live with the exhaustion and pain anymore. But, I remembered when I got better in the past and it was from focusing on the positive in my life and what things I do have control over…things I do that help my body (eating healthy food, drinking enough water, meditation, flat rests, Epsom salt baths, sitting in nature, trying to get enough sleep even if that means taking Rx, reaching out to supportive people, but also helping others). I know it seems like there isn’t any positive things right now…and I’m totally not saying depression is the cause of your illness or that it’s “in your head”…I know it is not. But mindset can help anyone in any situation. Try beginning and ending everyday visualizing a passion of yours…where you want to be. Mine is mountain biking. I pull up utubes of people mountain biking and picture myself doing it.
    So, first, it sounds like your walking too much. The whole trick with getting “unstuck” from this cycle of ups and downs is first to rest enough to get to a baseline where you can have some structure in your day. Every hour lay flat, eyes closed, in a quiet place and rest for 10 min. I use utube body scan meditations because sometimes I feel I can’t quiet my mind…which is normal. Then eat regular meals adding a healthy snack between meals like some fruit and nuts. Then make sure you’re drinking plenty of water (at least 8 (8 oz glasses) a day. After you’ve got a schedule down and feel a little better then you start movement…but start with things that aren’t standing s lot…exercise bike, gentle stretching, yoga…and start slow…really slow…I’m talking 1 min of walking every day or every other day for 2 – 3 weeks…then add one minute. This is how to get better. You’re going to backslide, but don’t worry about that…just pick up, rest up and start again. You can do this. Some people say getting better from CFS is harder than having it….but so worth it. I’m up to 4 min on the exercise bike and can go out of the house more often. I’d say I’m about 45% functional, but expect to be 70% or better in the next year and 200% within the next 2 years maybe sooner. It’s a slow process. Please let me know if you have any questions.

  5. Sorry about saying you’re walking too much…i misread waking as walking…ha, ha…that’s what happens when I don’t use my glasses. Feeling better in the evenings is very common when having CFS. Has something to do with your adrenal and cortisol output. The best thing you can do is get on a regular schedule and routine. Get up at the same time every day go to bed no later than 10:00….and of course healthy food and snacks, plenty of water, regular flat rests and/or meditations. Schedule days in your week where all you do is rest. If you have an appt rest extra before, rest in your car after the appt and when you get home. It won’t always be this way, but these extra plans will make a difference over time.

  6. my sleeping habits are very bad to be honest. I have always been a night owl but the last couple of years I haven’t been sleeping until after 2am and not rising until around 11 or 12 because I fear the day with all these symptoms. Most nights I nod off quickly but tend to wake up throughout the night for whatever reason, mainly for a toilet visit because of the amount of water I drink. My nutritionist said my sleeping habits are adding to my problems. Would you agree?

  7. Yes, definitely … sleep is the most important thing. I know it’s challenging, believe me I truly understand, but this is something you really have to work on….getting a regular schedule of going to bed and getting up at the same time. You should try to be in bed by 10:00 PM and get up by 8:00 a.m. It’s good to get some sun on your face first thing in the morning to help adjust your circadian rhythm so your body can start repairing itself.. Between 10 PM and 2 AM is when your body gets rid of the toxins built up from the day. Dont worry if you’re not sleeping between that time but you need to at least be laying down and resting….eyes closed, no t.v., phone or computer. You could have some nice relaxing music or a Utube on sleep visualization/meditation or even a book that you can listen to if you absolutely can’t sleep. The important thing is that you are resting during the right times. So, start winding down early for the evening, take an Epsom salt and lavender bath, listen to some nice music, and be in bed by 10 PM. Another really good thing you can do for yourself first thing in the morning is drink a big glass of warm (not hot) Lemon water… you can add a little organic raw honey . This will help get rid of the toxins in your body and rehydrate your body from the night without water. You can do this. Start trusting your body and yourself that you know what it needs and what you need to do. Work on the most important relationship in your life…YOU.😀❤️

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