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Book Review: TOXIC-Heal Your Body-by Neil Nathan, MD

Book Review: TOXIC Heal Your Body by Neil Nathan, MD-Victory Belt Publishing Inc. 2018

As a physician treating multi-symptom chronic, complex illness (CCI) caused by environmental illness arising from the cumulative exposure to a wide variety of environmental toxins, I have been finding Neil Nathan’s book, TOXIC, to be a very useful resource for patients and practitioners alike.  It is a valuable message of hope and healing.

Dr. Nathan has been treating this rapidly enlarging group of patients for a handful of years longer than I have, and he has created a tool box and approach to treatment that has proven extraordinarily successful.  Many of my diagnostic and treatment protocols align closely with those of Dr. Nathan; in fact he has been a mentor to me over the past few years.

” In my experience, the two major causes of overwhelming sensitivity are mold toxicity and Lyme disease (with its co-infections).  Neil Nathan, MD

In the introduction of Part 2, he admits that of all the environmental toxins that contribute to chronic illness in his patients, he finds the worst to be indoor mold toxins and infection with Bartonella bacteria.  This is probably surprising to some who might have assumed Borrelia spirochete infection (Lyme disease) to be at the top.

Dr. Nathan makes a clear distinction between the direct toxicity effect of environmental toxins and the sensitivity effect of the body to toxins which he ascribes to the nervous system.  I would include the body’s immune system as a source of this sensitivity effect, as well.

In the midsection of his book (chapters 8-20) Dr. Nathan lays out strategies for “rebooting the system”.  He chose this computer metaphor as an apt comparison of how in CCI it is often necessary to reboot various body systems before a state of wellness can return.

Dr. Nathan clearly explains the role of mast cells (a component of the immune system) in perpetuating many of the chronic symptoms of this complex illness as he explains Mast Cell Activation Syndrome which is getting lots of attention nowadays.

Dr. Nathan helps the reader understand the critical role played by the digestive system in CCI and the intimate connection between the digestive system and the nervous system (gut-brain connection) mediated in part by the important vagus nerve.

“Getting the intestines to work well again is an integral part of treatment, but this outcome may be difficult to achieve until the primary causes of illness have been adequately addressed.” Neil Nathan, MD

Dr. Nathan has had a close academic relationship over the years with Dr. Robert Naviaux.  In chapter 8, he summarizes beautifully the concept of the Cell Danger Response, as developed by Dr. Naviaux and the team of scientists with whom he is associated.  Although the science gets a bit “deep”, I really recommend this to patients and providers as well.

Dr. Nathan reaches upon his 47 years of treating patients with chronic illness to present in a very tender way that this illness is very real and that the prospect of total recovery is absolutely achievable.  I honestly  believe that many folks suffering from illness as well as there family and friends will be able to use his narrative to achieve a deep level of understanding and renewed optimism for the future.

“Because I have seen this process work for hundreds of patients, this is also a book of hope-realistic hope for really, really sensitive and sick patients.” Neil Nathan, MD

In the Afterword Dr. Nathan offers a message that is very close to my heart and one that I know many of my patients will relate to.  I think the best way for me to share this is to offer a direct quote from the author.  “Mother Earth is looking more and more like my chronically ill and sensitive patients.  If I were to apply the paradigm expressed in this book to her, I would immediately find the specific chemical toxins that were making her sick, remove her from those exposures (how I do not know), and detoxify her.  I would find ways to reboot those systems that are not functioning properly so that she could thrive again. … We must come together to do this.  We must reach out, talk with one another, and reestablish real connections to begin this process of neurological rebooting on a planetary level.”

He sprinkles in helpful case studies to illustrate many of his points for emphasis.

Veteran practitioner of environmentally acquired illness and author, Neil Nathan, MD

In my opinion, Dr. Nathan’s book, TOXIC, will prove to be a paradigm changer for those affected by and attempting to treat chronic complex illness.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Is Stress Making You Sick?

Tina’s Story

Tina recently came to see me as a new patient in my clinic.  Tina had always been a worrier and she had battled feeling anxious and having trouble sleeping through the night for years.  These had been manageable problems for her.  Then something happened that changed things for Tina in a big way.  Tina’s young adult son was convicted of a serious crime and he was facing imprisonment at exactly the same time that her husband was laid off from his job of twenty five years.

Almost overnight, Tina began to experience a dramatic increase in anxiety, a sense of hopelessness and marked increase in her insomnia.  She suddenly would experience a sense of panic.  She began to notice a host of new gastrointestinal complaints including diarrhea, heartburn, loss of appetite and bloating after eating certain foods.  She started noticing trouble remembering names and finding words.  She could not stay focused and was always forgetting why she had come in to a room looking for something.  She noticed that her muscles and joints ached almost all the time and she began to experience frequent headaches.  She had an overwhelming sense of fatigue and felt like she could not get out of bed on some days.  It seemed like she would cry over anything.  Tina told me that she wanted her life back.

Prescription medicines are often not the answer to chronic, complex illness

I see folks like Tina in my practice of chronic, complex illness due to environmental toxins almost every day.  Often patients like Tina are told that there is nothing wrong with them other than they are under too much stress.  This is not the case.  Usually the basic blood tests and xrays don’t show much, if any, abnormality.  Indeed life stress is often the straw that breaks the camel’s back when a person, like Tina, is struggling with disease due to progressive, on-going exposure to environmental toxins such as viruses, germs, molds, toxic chemicals like pesticides, toxic metals like mercury, and toxic electromagnetic energy from wifi’s and other electronic devices.

Reversing Chronic Fatigue Requires Addressing Three Areas

I have learned that to help someone like Tina return to her former state of wellness, I must help her address three things.  First, we must try to identify ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS that she is suffering from in order to stop exposure and eliminate them from her body.  Second, we must identify why she manifests an increased sensitivity to the toxins.  This is called her BIOTERRAIN.  An individual’s bioterrain is what makes that individual act like a canary in the coal mine. The third thing that has to happen to return an individual like Tina to a state of wellness involves correcting an impairment of the body’s stress center known as the LIMBIC SYSTEM.

Correcting the limbic system is the subject of this blog post.

The Limbic System is the Motherboard of Our Brain’s Computer

The limbic system is that part of the brain that controls our sympathetic nervous system (FIGHT, FLIGHT, FEAR, FREEZE) and our parasympathetic nervous system (REST, DIGEST, REGENERATE, REPAIR).  It is made up in part by the hippocampus, hypothalamus and the paired amygdalas.  The limbic system is interconnected with the smell brain or rhinencephalon and is wired to almost all of the other systems of the body including the immune system, endocrine/hormone system/digestive system, energy system and higher brain systems emotions and problem solving.  It is like the motherboard of our brain’s computer.  The limbic system is especially susceptible to injury or impairment by environmental toxins and infections.  In Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome or CIRS as described by Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, injury to the limbic system accounts for much of the pathology that he describes in his protocol.  Limbic system injury also explains much of the pathology described by Dr. Richard Horowitz in Multiple Systemic Infectious Disease Syndrome or MSIDS.

In centuries past when the world was not a toxic place as it is today, the limbic system would respond to THREAT with fight, flight, fear and freeze such as a fire, an attack by a wild animal-something obvious.  The sense of panic caused a response that helped the individual survive that threat.  The limbic system would then return fairly quickly to a state of rest, digest, repair, regenerate.  Unfortunately, the situation today is that the limbic system gets stuck in a setting of perpetual threat (fight, flight, fear, freeze).  This is also called SYMPATHETIC OVERDRIVE.  When this happens the limbic system generates false signals that cause real and measurable changes of the various systems under its control.  The immune system is off, the hormones are off, digestion is off, mitochondrial energy production is off, and your higher brain functions are off.  In short the whole body is in a state of disease.

Although I have known for years that stressful life events would trigger real disease, I used to think, naively, that elimination of the stress would allow the limbic system to return to a state of normalcy.  I now understand that except in rare circumstances, this is not the case.  I now understand that although it is important to 1. identify and remove the environmental toxins and 2. reverse the person’s increased sensitivity to toxins, it usually requires resetting or reprogramming the limbic system to completely clear the symptoms.  This process is fairly easy to learn but requires much repitition to accomplish.

Limbic System Retraining is not Difficult but Requires Repitition

There are a number of ways to accomplish this.  Some call it STRESS MANAGEMENT.   The term I like to use is LIMBIC SYSTEM RETRAINING.

Some of the most successful programs that I have found to accomplish limbic system retraining are Lindsay Mitchell’s Vital-Side program ( https://vital-side.com ),  Annie Hopper’s Dynamic Neural Retraining ( https://retrainingthebrain.com ) and Ashtok Gupta’s Amygdala Retraining ( https://www.guptaprogramme.com ).  These are not the only systems or ways to reset an impaired limbic system but simply methods that have worked for my patients frequently in the past.  Other systems that may be beneficial are HeartMath, Emotional Freedom Technique/tapping, NeuroBio Feedback and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing/ EMDR.  There are a number of other techniques that may also help.

To learn more about how you can recover from chronic, complex illness, I welcome the opportunity to work with you and my team of healers at Texas Integrative Medicine in Austin, Texas.

Aboutdr_tyler Wally Taylor MD

Dr. Taylor practices integrative medicine at Texas Integrative Medicine in Austin, Texas.  After obtaining a degree in Zoology from the University of Texas in Austin and obtaining a general medical doctorate degree from University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas he completed a general medical internship and residency training in head and neck surgery ENT and allergy.  After 20 years service in the US Army Medical Corps and practice in Colorado and Texas he founded Texas Integrative where he now offers a functional/holistic approach to disease which treats the entire individual instead of each separate symptom.  He has taken this integrative approach to chronic illness for the past 25 years.  His special interests are chronic, complex illness due to environmental toxin exposures such as mold, germs and chemicals.  He has found more satisfying results using this Systems BioIndividualized approach.  He is board certified by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.  His motto is Health and Wellness from Head to Toe”.   www.texasintegrative.com     office phone-512-800-5309.  

 

Announcing OxySauna Detox Treatments

New 21st Century treatments combine three proven modalities to clear body toxins and lower counts of harmful germs into a quick and affordable treatment session.

With the move of Texas Integrative Medicine to our new, larger clinical facility in Rollingwood, West Austin, we are very pleased to announce that we now offer OxySauna treatments in our clinic to the public.  OxySauna, a name coined by clinic founder, Wally Taylor MD, combines full spectrum infrared sauna with delivery of large amounts of oxygen simultaneously.  Treatments that last up to 40 minutes are available in packages at the clinic.

OxySauna treatments combine full-spectrum infrared sauna with oxygen to maximize detoxification and improve immune function.

The treatments combine sauna detox utilizing the Therasage Thera360 individual sauna with non-rebreathe oxygen technology to deliver oxygen to the tissues and cells.  This sauna provides both near- and far-infrared wavelengths of light featuring Therasage’s proprietary exclusive Natural Earth Element Full Spectrum Infrared heating panels, with Tourmaline gem stones, to generate an abundance of negative ions,  and bathe your body from every angle in gentle full spectrum Infrared frequencies and negative ions, with no exposure to harmful EMF’s. (https://therasage.com/products/thera360-portable-sauna?variant=36294711244)

Studies demonstrate that near-infrared photons interact with the cytochrome C receptors in your mitochondria to liberate nitric oxide which opens blood vessels and has been shown to kill bacteria and viruses (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3442839/).  Far-infrared photons excite water molecules in the body to heat the body from the inside out.  Studies demonstrate that elevating the core body temperature is useful to eliminate harmful germs and toxins and helps explain why sauna heat therapy has been used for centuries as a healing modality.

Combining the benefits of full-spectrum sauna with enhanced oxygen delivery may substantially increase the beneficial effects.  Oxygen is necessary to effectively kill bad germs in white blood cells (http://mbio.asm.org/content/2/5/e00141-11.full).  Many anaerobic bacteria cannot survive in an environment of increased oxygen (obligate anaerobes).  Increased delivery of oxygen to tissues has been shown scientifically to increase ATP production by your mitochondria.  This ATP is necessary to power your systems of immunity and detoxification.

Much of the science of the beneficial role of increased oxygen for the body was worked out by German physiologist, Manfred Von Ardenne, and published in his work Oxygen Multistep Therapy published by Thieme publishers. (https://www.thieme.com/books-main/complementary-medicine/product/1272-oxygen-multistep-therapy).  This treatment modality has been recently popularized in the EWOT treatments (Exercise with Oxygen Treatments) that have become quite popular for training and longevity which are also available at the Texas Integrative Medicine clinic facility.

From the LiveO2 website which is the leading manufacturer of EWOT systems in the United States (https://liveo2.com/ewot/)

“EWOT (exercise with oxygen therapy) is a method of breathing higher levels of oxygen during exercise in order to increase the amount of oxygen in your blood plasma. If done correctly EWOT can produce many desired effects in as little as 15 minutes a few times a week.

When you deliver and utilize more oxygen to your cells you:

  • Increase the energetic status and efficiency of your entire body
  • Experience improvement in tissue and organ function
  • Stimulate your immune system, reducing the probability of future illness
  • Reduce inflammation in the body, starting with the vascular system and joints
  • Produce the energy of youth, creating short-term health and longevity.
  • These benefits are just a few of the many positive results that come from EWOT.”

The full-spectrum sauna plays a similar role as the exercise in EWOT yet offers some distinct advantages over the exercise.

Treatments can be purchased singly or in packages.  It is best to experience a series of treatments (two or three per week) over a period of weeks.  For a limited time Texas Integrative is offering 50% off your first treatment session. Call 512-800-5309 to schedule your OxySauna treatment session today.

Announcing New Location and New Team Members

Texas Integrative Medicine is moving to 3006 Bee Cave Rd Suite A-300 in Austin, Texas 78746

I am very excited to announce some changes coming to Texas Integrative Medicine.  On this February 1, 2018, our clinic will be moving to 3006 Bee Cave Rd Suite A-300 in Austin to the WestLake Hills part of West Austin.  We have simply outgrown the space we were using in Central Austin.  As a result of the fact that many of the folks who come to see us are very sensitive to a wide variety of chemicals, molds and electro-magnetic effects, I have taken special measures to reduce these factors in the new clinic to the greatest extent possible and we will function as a scent-free clinic.

At the same time, I am very pleased to announce that Becky Andrews ND, LAc and Kylie Bentley RD/LD, CLT will join the Texas Integrative team to bring their special areas of expertise to address the root causes of chronic disease, premature aging, weight gain and loss of optimum health and wellness.

I have found that to successfully assist folks to identify and overcome their blocks to wellness, a holistic team approach is by far the best way to identify root causes to their problems.  By using good “detective work” we can identify the environmental and genetic factors that make you so incredibly sensitive to toxins making you act like “a canary in the coalmine”.

Becky Andrews ND, LAc

Dr. Becky Andrews

Dr. Becky Andrews

Dr. Becky, as she likes to be called, has over 23 years experience as a healer treating chronic persistent illness.  She earned both her Naturopathic and Acupuncture degrees at the prestigious Bastyr University.  After graduating she maintained a busy practice in Seattle, WA for eight years, offering adult primary care, environmental medicine, physical medicine, acupuncture, massage, women’s health, weight loss, injection therapies for pain, IV nutrient and chelation therapies, herbal medicine, diet, nutrient therapy and more.  Prior to attending Bastyr University she completed a bachelors degree in psychology from the University of Kentucky.  Later she received massage training at the Boulder College of Massage Therapy. Naturopathic doctors are not yet licensed in the state of Texas, so she now offers her knowledge and expertise as a health “coach”, “consultant” or “detective”.  Becky currently serves as an adjunct faculty member at AOMA School of Integrative Medicine in Austin.  She moved to Austin in late 2011 to work as the Education Coordinator for the American Botanical Council.  She has studied herbal medicine with master herbalists in Boulder, CO, Seattle, WA and the Amazon basin, Peru.
When I asked Becky to describe her philosophy of care she said:

“I blend Eastern, Western, traditional, and contemporary healing philosophies into a truly individualized approach for each client. I collaborate heavily with other practitioners (both conventional and alternative) in an effort to assure that my clients have the best tools for healing.
I believe that my role as a healer is to empower  clients in their unique journey toward the optimal health of their body, mind and spirit. I find this is best achieved by collaborating as an equal partner in the healing process, identifying the obstacles to health, and supporting the innate ability of each person to heal themselves.
Symptoms of disease are our body’s way of communicating that something is out of balance. Imbalance can be anything from nutrient deficiencies and toxic burden to improper diet choices and non-productive thought habits. One other thing I feel pretty sure of, is that illness and disease are rarely, if ever, due to a deficiency in a prescription drug. That is not to say that prescription drugs and surgery do not have a place in healing, on the contrary, I am a big fan of conventional medicine. Conventional medicine saves lives. Too often, however, conventional medicine fails to facilitate a return to balance and true health.
I value the genuine connection I have with my clients. It is important to me that my clients feel empowered and respected as individuals, but also challenged to move forward in their journey toward optimal health.”

Dr. Becky currently serves on the leadership team for the Texas Association of Naturopathic Doctors.

Kylie Bentley RD/LD, CLT

Kylie Bentley, RD/LD,CLT

Kylie Bentley, RD/LD,CLT

Kylie Bentley is a registered, licensed dietitian nutritionist and Certified LEAP Therapist (CLT) with over twelve years of experience helping individuals find a personalized path for better health. The specialized skill set that Kylie offers is unlike any other dietitian or nutritionist, combining integrative and functional nutrition with the expertise of a grocery store dietitian, unparalleled passion and desire to help which serves to provide her clients a unique, highly educational experience.

Kylie, who has been offering dietary solutions for chronically ill individuals for 14 years, earned a B.S. in Nutrition from the University of Texas at Austin and went on to complete an internship at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas in order to become a Registered Dietitian. From her internship, Kylie went straight into integrative functional nutrition counseling for a functional medicine MD. There she attained certification as a Lifestyle Eating and Performance Therapist (LEAP) for food sensitivities and established a solid foundation of experience counseling clients and knowledge in integrative and functional medicine.  She continued to work alongside various functional medicine providers for several years and maintained a private practice where she saw clients for a variety of concerns ranging from weight loss and food sensitivities to autoimmune conditions, fatigue, mood and acne.

While practicing on her own, Kylie ventured down another non-traditional dietetic path; supermarket dietetics. She has over seven years combined experience at the corporate level working for the largest grocer in Texas, H-E-B, and Whole Foods, one of the world’s largest retailers of natural and organic foods. At H-E-B, Kylie developed and taught nutrition education content company wide.  She also served as the in-store nutrition expert for both customers and employees, taught cooking classes, led grocery store tours, developed recipes and provided community outreach.  At Whole Foods, Kylie manages product specifications, provides nutritional guidance for new products, ensures each product meets strict quality standards and complies with government labeling regulations.

Kylie has presented for various groups, including The American Heart Association, Austin Registered Dietitians Alliance and appeared on several news stations. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Austin Registered Dietitians Alliance, Nutrition Entrepreneurs, Food & Culinary Professionals and Dietitians in Functional Medicine.

Texas Integrative Medicine’s vision is to establish a team of leading experts in the field of “root cause” integrative medicine and uses collaboration to solve each client’s unique health and wellness issues.

Solutions for Chronic Fatigue, Pain, Headache, Weight Loss, Autoimmune Disease, Irritable Bowel, Brain Fog, Depression and Anxiety

With the addition of Becky and Kylie to my own 40 years as a healer including 25 of those years as a functional medicine specialist, Texas Integrative Medicine now offers a combined 78 years of experience in treating the root causes of chronic, persistent illness in a holistic, natural way.  Some of the environmental toxins that we identify frequently contributing to persistent illness include stealth infection (viruses, parasites, Lyme and Coinfections, etc.), mold toxins, toxic man-made chemicals (drugs, pesticides, plastics, solvents, etc.), emf and dirty electricity, toxic metals (lead, mercury,aluminum).  Together we can partner with you to determine your underlying reasons for illness.  We will then travel with you down a path that will lead toward return to wellness and true health.

Please call 512-800-5309 to schedule your consultation to begin your path to optimum health that will allow you to enjoy all the wonderful possibilities in life that are waiting for you!

We look forward to helping you achieve the Perfect You!