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Overworked digestive organs

Virginia was a small, waif-like redhead with a pale complexion and forlorn expression. Her health history, like so many in their latter years, took over two hours to set out in detail. Even as a very young girl she had suffered debilitating migraine attacks, was plagued by numerous sensitivities and allergic reactions and had picked up just about every childhood infection known.

Over the years, numerous practitioners offered diagnostic labels including: hypoglycaemia, hypothyroidism, hypoadrenalism, anorexia, candidiasis, fibromyalgia, heavy metal toxicity and immunodeficiency syndrome.

The frail little woman had experienced a complete physical collapse on several occasions over the past 20 years, each time ending up completely bedridden for almost an entire year. She had settled on a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome as she felt this best described her periods of prostrating and debilitating exhaustion.

Numerous diets had been tried, including both vegetarian and vegan regimes. Vegan meals had helped to ease her chronic joint and muscle pains, though it was evident she was still experiencing a great deal of discomfort.

A parasite cleanse had been tried, with Virginia showing me a number of photos of decidedly unpleasant, unrecognisable, thick, wormy-looking tubular objects that she had passed with her bowel motions at different times.

Biofilms often become entrenched as a result of antibiotic or anti-infection measures.

Virginia had undergone a course of chelation therapy for heavy metal toxicity and found a biocompatible dentist willing to remove all her mercury amalgam fillings. She had also tried a course of colonic irrigations, daily body brushing, organic coffee enemas, and oil pulling.

At our first consultation she presented me with a bulging folder of blood and urine tests, hair analyses, colonoscopies, endoscopies, pap smears and chelation procedures. The list of supplements she had been taking over the years was amazing. She only drank distilled water and, for long periods, had lived on protein, antioxidant and energy formulas.

Virginia’s white cell count had been below par for years, though her haemoglobin and red cell readings were well within normal range. Our own tests revealed a number of additional issues:

  • Fluid, electrolyte and pH equilibrium were out of kilter. Despite a continual exchange of water, electrolytes and soluble materials between our body’s different fluid compartments, the volume in each should remain fairly stable. This was certainly not the case where Virginia was concerned.
  • Regardless of long-term supplementation, her 25 OH D3 level was woeful — well below the lower end of what is regarded as the “normal” range.
  • Sensitivity to cadmium, dioxins and benzopyrene was a major problem.
  • Renal filtration was inadequate.
  • Again, despite heavy supplementation, magnesium deficiency was a major factor.
  • Greatly elevated body levels of TNF-alpha.
  • There were multiple indicators of chronic, systemic biofilm infections.

Virginia was unfamiliar with the damaging potential of biofilms: stubborn, persistent infections that cause widespread havoc in tissues and organs. These chronic saboteurs not only resist detoxification protocols but rob the body of vital nutrients. Biofilms often become entrenched as a result of antibiotic or anti-infection measures.

Only the highly evolved powers of our innate cytokine response can adequately quash the activities of these inflammatory rogues. Probably the most pervasive example of biofilm activity is dental plaque: a buildup composed of over 500 micro-organisms that subject our teeth and gums to high levels of metabolites that result in dental, endodontal and orofacial disease.

In our experience, over half the microbial infections that present in clinical practice are caused by biofilms, including ear, skin, gum, vaginal, lung and bladder inflammation as well as kidney stones.

Inhibited neuromodulation, particularly involving the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and vagus nerve pathways. These pathways play an essential role in mediating macrophage-dependent inflammatory activity. While inflammation is the body’s normal response to infection and injury, the degree of this response is critical. A weakened response can evoke increased susceptibility to infection, while excessive response can lead to quite different forms of debilitation. In Virginia’s case, the immunomodulating circuit, acting as the interface between her brain and immune system, was severely compromised.

Remedial recommendations commenced with a short regime designed to rest Virginia’s digestive organs, thus enabling her immune and elimination responses to gather strength and take priority.

Emphasis was placed on the importance of a high raw-food diet in the initial phase of Virginia’s recovery.

Emphasis was placed on the importance of a high raw-food diet in the initial phase of Virginia’s recovery. The importance of phospholipid integrity was stressed — in particular, phosphatidylethanolamines. These compounds are located in biomembranes which act as separating, or partitioning, barriers that monitor the chemical integrity of substances attempting to pass through into a cell or organelle’s working interior.

Phosphatidylethanolamines in food are susceptible to the Maillard reaction associated with grilled meats, fried foods, baked goods and commercial products. The end result is accelerated membrane lipid peroxidation, oxidative stress and circulatory and vascular disease.

In addition, Virginia was strongly advised to totally and completely avoid chocolate, soy milk, restaurant meals, convenience foods, takeaways and commercial foods in general.

Virginia proved to be a dedicated patient. Four months later, she summarised her progress as follows: “I am so thankful and beyond happy to say I have progressed so much in the last couple of months … slowly regaining strength once again … and returning to things I was simply only able to dream of earlier in the year … I have had many tears of sheer joy!”

Karin Cutter

Karin Cutter

Karin Cutter ran a naturopathic clinic in Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia.

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