Asthma, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Arthritis, ADHD, Migraines, Depression, Acne, Eczema…
What do all of these conditions have in common?
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is our body’s natural response to antigens, or “invaders” in our body. When the cells of our immune system recognize something as foreign a.k.a dangerous, they release mediators (more on those later) to attack and destroy the particles.
So, how does our body’s natural defence system contribute to the aforementioned conditions?
The problems start when our body’s inflammatory response becomes chronic and unresolved. When mediators are constantly being released, it results in tissue damage, smooth-muscle contraction, swelling, activated pain receptors, and eventually lowered immunity. Cortisol is a potent anti-inflammatory hormone released by our adrenal glands during the immune response. In normal levels cortisol increases and improves energy, alertness, immune function, joint movement, digestive function, and decreases pain and inflammation. When this hormone is being produced in excess due to inflammation, however, it does just the opposite; causes fatigue, memory problems, sleep problems, lowers immunity, increases inflammation, raises blood pressure, increases weight gain, and much, much more.
All symptoms of the above mentioned conditions are due to the effects of mediator release set-off by constant inflammation, and the subsequent cascade of biochemical responses from our body.
Inflammation is caused by STRESSORs;
Eating overly processed, refined foods devoid of nutrients, ingesting too much sugar, alcohol, caffeine, a lack of healthy fat and protein, and eating foods you’re sensitive or allergic to all negatively affect digestion and absorption, and have damaging effects on the gut, leading to inflammation.
Mental & Emotional Stress
Negative thought patterns, anxiety, working too much, unexpressed/suppressed emotions, emotional conflict, bad relationships, lack of purpose. Interestingly, our brains do not differentiate between mental and physical stress - the same stress response takes place whether we are being chased by a wild animal or sitting in traffic stewing.
Physical & Internal Stress
Overexercising, under exercising, injuries, accidents, imbalanced blood sugar, bacterial overgrowth, parasites, imbalanced gut bacteria, etc.
How does functional testing help to resolve these issues and decrease inflammation?
Functional testing is all about IDENTIFYING and ADDRESSING underlying imbalances to decrease inflammation, bringing the body back into balance. There are many general recommendations I can give for decreasing inflammation, but until we assess exactly what is going on in your unique body, true resolution will never happen. Testing shows you exactly WHY the symptoms are happening, allowing us to balance from the inside out, instead of using bandaid solutions for each individual symptom.
Comprehensive Stool Analysis
Good digestion is vital to a healthy, balanced body. Our intestinal/gut barrier works to selectively absorb nutrients from foods and keep bacteria and toxins from entering our bloodstream. The above mentioned stressors all negatively effect our digestive function and the integrity of our intestinal barrier, causing it to become "leaky", allowing undigested food particles, bacteria, and other pathogens to pass through. To our immune system, these particles are recognized as invaders that must be broken down and cleared from the body - even if it is just an incompletely broken down particle of food, our immune system ramps up and releases mediators (such as cytokines, leukotrines, etc.) to attack the particles. Sound familiar? This is the inflammatory process mentioned above. When our gut barrier is "leaky" and we continue the behaviour that made it that way, the inflammation is constant and leads to more and more problems the longer it continues. The inflammation shows up differently for everyone - for some it is achy joints and for others (yours truly) it's in the skin - inflammation is systemic once it enters the bloodstream, which is why any condition can be correlated to impaired gut permeability (also known as leaky gut).
Running a GI (gastrointestinal) panel allows us to see;
- The degree of inflammation and the level of activity of our gut's immune system (more than 70% of our immune system is located in/around our gut!)
- Levels of good, commensal and dysbiotic gut bacteria - showing whether there is an overgrowth that needs to be addressed
- If there is a yeast overgrowth
- Whether there are parasites
- Markers of digestion and absorption: how well we are digesting fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and how well our pancreas is working to secrete digestive enzymes
- Short chain fatty acids - these are a reflection of how well our good bacteria is functioning
Supporting good digestive function and working to "heal and seal" the gut lining is the first essential step to combatting inflammation and resolution of symptoms. This test comes in a kit where you collect and send off 3 stool samples.
Leap - MRT 150 Food Sensitivity Testing
MRT stands for Mediator Release Test. When our white blood cells are activated by the immune response, they release different mediators to attack and break down foreign matter. When our gut barrier is compromised, we will have food sensitivites. When we are not breaking our food down properly, the undigested pieces irritate the gut lining and leak through into the bloodstream, where, as mentioned, the immune system sees them as dangerous and launches the damaging immune response. This test involves a blood draw that is then sent off. The lab divides the samples into 150 different vials and measures the change in size of white blood cells when exposed to 150 different food samples - the more mediators released, the smaller the white blood cells become and the more reactive you are to that food. *Please note this is a food sensitivity test, not to be confused with a food allergy test - different immune responses happen with a true allergy.
Identifying and removing these reactive foods is the next important step. Combining this with digestive aids and a gut-restoring protocol is key to restoring the health of our intestinal tract and halting systemic inflammation.
Adrenal Hormone Testing
The adrenal glands help to control;
- Blood sugar
- Blood pressure
- Sex hormone balance
- Our threshold for stress
- Mood balance and well-being
- Energy and vitality
The health of our adrenal glands is absolutely fundamental for balancing energy, metabolism, vitality, mental clarity and balanced moods. Our adrenal glands are under the direction of our "master glands" - the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. This test requires several saliva or urine samples collected over a one day period. This reveals our cortisol (the stress hormone) pattern, which can easily become disregulated when stressors are continuous and unresolved. Supporting the HPA (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal) axis through a nutrient-dense diet, supportive supplements and prioritizing self-care and stress management are all part of a rebalacing protocol.
The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of LaLa Dykstra Holistic Nutrition. Please note that LaLa Dykstra Holistic Nutrition is not a dietitian, physician, pharmacist or other licensed healthcare professional. The information on this website is NOT intended as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the care of a qualified health care professional. This content is not intended to diagnose or treat any diseases. Always consult with your primary care physician or licensed healthcare provider for all diagnosis and treatment of any diseases or conditions, for medications or medical advice as well as before changing your health care regimen.