Dear Stacy and the Well Scent Team,
It is my pleasure and my honor to collaborate with you on this campaign. Well Scent products represent a unique gift to the world that is a byproduct of facing chronic illness.
The blends and formulations of these particular products are the result of a true need and niche. Each is in fact an answer to a question that, I presume, Stacy asked along her journey in treating Lyme disease. How do I move my stagnant lymphatic system (Release – Lymphatic + Detoxification)? How else can I nourish my adrenal glands (Energize)? Where do I find peace amongst the chaos within my body (Pause for Peace)?
Well Scent Holistic Apothecary is a tremendous positive force within the Lyme community. The collective minds and shared stories of Well Scent are nourishing this community. This interview acts as yet another way that Stacy has chosen to support those on a similar journey seeking treatment for Lyme and chronic illness.
The questions that Stacy has posed to me could only come from someone who has experienced first hand, years of intensive treatment. More precisely, someone who has experienced first hand treatment from the world-renowned physician Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt. She and I have been a part of his particular knowledge base for a number of years now, as my two-year clinical residency with Dr. Klinghardt began around the same time Stacy initiated treatment at our Seattle clinic. This dialog is similar to the conversations that Stacy has had with her physicians and that I have with my patients. It is our hope to share with you a bigger picture of what addressing chronic illness looks like. I hope that some of the following topics are familiar to you…and that some are, in fact, unheard of and perhaps even challenge your current paradigm.
Q: Thank you for joining us in our effort to provide hope and valuable insight for those in the Lyme Community striving to learn and heal. How do you begin to address chronic Lyme disease with your patients and what is different about your protocols?
A: Those of us affected by chronic Lyme disease know that Lyme is never just Lyme. The spirochete bacterium is just one organism among many that often wreak havoc on the immune system, nervous system and connective tissue. Chronic Lyme disease is more appropriately called Multi Systemic Infectious Disease Syndrome (MSIDS). As a Lyme literate physician, other practitioners often ask me “How do you treat Lyme?” Rarely are my treatment protocols focused on eradicating Lyme. I “treat Lyme” by identifying and addressing extensive bacterial infection, fungal overgrowth, high viral load, mold biotoxin sensitivity, parasitic infection, heavy metal toxicity, dental and/or tonsillar focal infections and inherent hormone imbalances.
As Stacy knows, the extent of biotoxins mobilized within the body when treating MSIDS can be a limiting factor in how one tolerates treatment. Any aggressive antimicrobial regimen must be accompanied by appropriate detoxification strategies. “Die off” reaction occur when the organs of elimination, especially the gut, the kidneys and the liver, are not supported or functioning optimally. Therefore, organ support and detox strategies are at the core of my treatment protocols for MSIDS. (As you can imagine, the treatment of MSIDS can exceed at least a dozen medications and supplements per day, and hundreds of dollars per month in adjunctive detox therapies). The treatment of MSIDS takes considerable commitment and resourcefulness especially on the behalf of the patient and often the patient’s family.
Q: Thank you for addressing the critical, often overlooked need for detoxification in a protocol for Lyme Disease and chronic infection. What are your top three tips for detoxing the body?
A: What are my top tips for detoxification? The following information is important because stimulating detoxification can cause quite uncomfortable symptoms (fatigue, headaches, rashes, joint pain and muscle aches). Often we think of a “detox” as a time where we pause or refrain from our vices i.e coffee, sugar, alcohol. Periods of fasting, which were inherent in religions and older cultures (consider Ramadan and Passover) have been somewhat lost in our modern society. A “detox” is thus a period where we typically commit to a restricted diet and perhaps a series of cleansing herbs or juices. The interesting thing is…rarely do you feel good while detoxing! Detoxification is a process where toxins are first mobilized from the tissues where the body protectively sequesters them (adipose or fat, bone). Ideally those toxins are then bound and eliminated via regular bowel movements, the urine and the sweat. The skin will take on the burden of toxin elimination when the gut and kidneys are compromised. Skin rashes and reactions (including eczema and psoriasis) are another indicator of toxicity and lymphatic congestion when biotoxins are not being effectively eliminated.
So how do we set the stage for successful detoxification? First, correct or restore the foundational biochemical pathways necessary for the removal of biotoxins. This is best done by working with your naturopathic physician or health care provider and utilizing labs like Spectracell and 23andMe. Consider genetic factors that influence your methylation pathways, as well as the epigenetic factors that dictate which genes are expressed. Specific and targeted nutritional supplementation can be used to correct conditions that cripple the detoxification pathways such as Kryptopyroluria (KPU) and methylation defects. Consider herbs and nutrients that support Phase 1 and Phase 2 detox within the liver, which is the process by which toxins are modified, conjugated and safely removed from the body. And consider amino acids that promote the production of glutathione.
Q: This is such important information. Clearly, the liver and the intestinal tract play a huge role in the detoxification process and overcoming biotoxin-related illness. How do you feel about the statement that “all disease begins in the gut”?
A: The gut is at the foundation of health and of detoxification. If you are not having at least one bowel movement per day, you are likely recirculating biotoxins as opposed to properly eliminating them via bile and in the stool. Constipation is the nemesis of proper detoxification. If tending towards constipation, it is imperative to explore underlying food sensitivities that may be contributing to constipation and gastrointestinal (GI) inflammation. (For further information, visit www.glutensummit.com). What is referred to as Leaky Gut Syndrome, is the inflammation of the lining of the gut that causes a loss of the tight junctions between enterocytes or cells of the small intestine. This allows proteins into the blood stream that are not fully digested into single amino acids. These proteins in the blood form immunocomplexes and perpetuate food sensitivities. This process is taxing to the immune system.
Chronic GI inflammation contributes greatly reduced immune function and further food and chemical sensitivities. The majority of the immune system is embedded in the GI tract in what is called GALT: gut associated immune tissue. Gut function and immune function quite literal go hand in hand.
Q: Do you primarily treat these digestive issues through diet and nutritional intervention?
A: Often, my patients are already incredibly aware of their food sensitivities and eat very clean, whole foods diets. Usually by the time they come to see me, they have been gluten free, dairy free and sugar free for quite some time. When digestive complaints persists despite dietary and nutritional interventions, I recommend considering these two alternative routes of treatment: 1) intravenous (IV) nutrients and 2) rectal applications.
Yes. Rectal applications. While this may not be, well, sexy…let’s explore this particular idea. The rectum, the distal end of the digestive tract, is the other end of the tube that starts in your mouth. The tissue of the rectum is highly absorbent. Substances that are taken rectally (think topically hormonal creams, suppositories and enemas) are absorbed into the hepatic portal veins and carried directly to the liver. This is a way to bypass the entire (and likely inflamed) upper GI tract and directly cleanse the liver and blood.
Herbs and antimicrobial medications that are not well tolerated orally are often hugely successful when taken rectally. Coffee enemas are perhaps the most cleansing treatment for the liver and gallbladder and can be done on a regular basis from the comfort of home (for supplies and instructions visit www.seekinghealth.com). Consider the following rectal applications with your naturopathic physician or health care provider: EDTA suppositories for the chelation of lead and mercury; Chlorine dioxide enemas for the treatment of parasites; Artemisinin suppositories or enemas for the treatment of protozoa; And sodium borate enemas or suppositories for systemic antifungal support.
Q: These all sound like great, comprehensive treatment strategies that have the potential to cover all necessary bases and obstacles. But what would you tell a patient who doesn’t have the resources to finance each of the components?
A: Cost is certainly a limiting factor in the treatment of chronic illness. This is why home detox strategies, such as enemas, are such an important component to any treatment regimen. IVs including the nutrient and immune supportive Meyer’s Cocktails, Phospholipids and UBIs play a vital role in the treatment of chronic illness. Similar to rectal applications, IV’s are an effective way to bypass the GI tract by administering supportive substances directly into the bloodstream. They are, however, expensive; often over a hundred dollars per IV drip. While IVs are well worth the allocation of treatment funds, they are cost prohibitive for many.
I would advise a patient with limited resources to incorporate less expensive home detox strategies into their daily regimen, in addition to a few of the more costly supportive treatments such as IVs, colonics and Lymphatic Massage. Consider regular Epsom salt baths in order to raise serum magnesium levels (an important co-factor for your detox pathways) and to relax smooth and skeletal muscle. Consider Castor Oil Packs (especially Well Scent’s Free Your Chi application) to decrease inflammation within the abdomen and promote detoxification within the liver. And consider infra-red sauna, especially if your mouth is amalgam free. Sauna therapy is another low cost way to maintain health and promote the removal of heavy metals through the skin as opposed to the kidneys.
The most effective detox strategies are the ones that are actually available and attainable to incorporate into your daily or weekly regimen. If you live in the world that I live in, you are constantly exposed in chemicals, metals and radiation beyond that which is actually reasonable. We bio-accumulate toxins with each passing decade of our lives. The ability of the body to cope with tremendous toxic exposure may very well be the delineating factor between those who are healthy and those who are susceptible to chronic disease.
Q: That is so true; thank you for bringing up the toxins that we are exposed to on a day-to-day basis. How great of a role do you feel a patient’s environmental exposures play in their ability to heal?
A: I feel that one’s immediate environment plays a crucial role in ones ability to heal from chronic illness. Often, a major obstacle such as mold, toxin exposure or electrosmog in the home or work environment can slow down or prevent forward progress in recovering from chronic illness. Each of us should closely examine our homes and seek to preserve our living space as a toxin free environment.
First, ensure that your home is mold free and that there are no signs of water damage. Pathogenic species of mold within your home can be identified through a simple EMRI or HERTSMI-2 test (ordered from mycometrics.com). Individuals that are environmentally or chemically sensitive or who have had prior mold exposures and are sensitized to mold, must first and foremost remove themselves from any ongoing exposure. Mold biotoxins ignite and perpetuate an inflammatory cascade that can prevent forward progress in the treatment of chronic illness.
Minimize exposure within the home to heavy metals and solvents. This can best be done by installing a reverse osmosis water filter on your kitchen tap (and ideally adding back trace minerals and electrolytes to your drinking water). Consider shower filter heads, as they are inexpensive (www.freedrinkingwater.com) and prevent the absorption of chemicals and solvents through your open pours while bathing. Avoid aluminum containing cookware and body care products. And purchase skin, make-up and household cleaning products wisely (www.ewg.org).
Be aware of sources of electoromagnetic field (EMF) radiation in your home and the impact of wireless technologies. If you are not familiar with the adverse effects of EMFs, consider reading the book Wireless Radiation Rescue by Kerry Crofton as a starting point for protecting yourself and your family. Microwave radiation, produced in significant amount by cell phone towers, smart meters and wireless routes, has the ability to denature proteins and disrupt cellular function within the human body. Interestingly, the two biggest culprits within the home are 900 MHz cordless phones and baby monitors (eek!). Both emit EMF radiation continuously, as they are in constant communication with a base station. There are simple and inexpensive ways that you can minimize EMF exposure within your home. You do not have to give up your cell phone, iPad or favorite gadget. But do consider your cumulative lifetime exposure and be willing to make compromises to minimize obvious exposures and protect your health. If you have a wireless router in the home, turn it off at night. Never set up a wireless router near to where you sleep or to where you do ongoing work (i.e. your office desk). The physiological damage due to an EMF emitting device is directly proportional to the distance of your body from that device. Therefore, do not sleep with your smart phone on your nightstand nor use is as your alarm clock (buy a battery operated alarm clock!). In fact, do not sleep with electronics in the bedroom at all. Arrange your bedroom as an EMF free environment, or what is called a ‘sleeping sanctuary’. The 8-10 hours per night spent in a sheltered environment from electromagnetic fields is a significant way to reduce the total body burden of EMFs over time.
If you are recovering from a chronic illness, or are the parent of an autistic child, consider eliminating Wifi within the home and instead, install broadband. If the concept of EMF radiation and dirty electricity is foreign to you, consider contacting a building biologist to do a home inspection to provide you with objective numbers. You will find that any home in immediate proximity to cell phone towers, power lines and smart meters is not safe, nor conducive to healing.
Look beyond US research when considering the health implications of EMFs. Throughout Europe there are effective movements to remove WiFi from elementary schools. We are far behind the international community in acknowledging the adverse health impacts of microwave radiation. These include sleep disorders, cognitive issues such as the ability to concentrate, focus and retain information, headaches, heart palpitations, anxiety and depression. I highly recommend the documentary “Take Back Your Power” recently nominated for the 2013 Aware Guide Transformational Film of the Year award, as well as the website of Dr. Magda Havas (www.magdahavas.com) for up-to-date science based research on electromagnetic fields.
Q: You have truly given us so much invaluable information today. You’ve highlighted what we believe may be all of the pieces to the complex puzzle that we call “health”. The Lyme Community is so fortunate to have you. Your wisdom, kindness, and benevolent guidance is appreciated greatly. Is there anything you’d like to say to the community, in closing?
In the treatment of chronic Lyme disease and MSIDS, the following proverb has proven to be true: necessity is the mother of invention. I have taken this opportunity to discus some of the concepts that I feel are most valuable to the Lyme community. They are ideas that are just as valuable to healthy individuals, however, it is simply not human nature to go to these lengths unless plagued with poor health. The experience of being chronically ill changes the lens through which you view the world. Suddenly, an enema is not such a big deal.
Those of us that have been affected by Lyme disease know that the manifestation of Lyme is different for each of us. Similarly the solutions to regaining and maintaining health are unique and depend on our individual biochemistry, environment and traumas. Identifying these elements is part of the detective work that I do with my patients on a daily basis. It is process that requires dedication, observation, time and energy, and I see tremendous successes.
I believe that everybody in the Lyme community is in their own right a healer, educator and mentor.
Dr. Alena Zweben ND
Market Place Naturopathic