The Functional Medicine Approach to Biotoxin Illness
What are biotoxins? Biotoxins are toxic substances that come from living organisms. But even though they come from nature, biotoxins are poisonous to humans – especially in large quantities.
The human body has intricate systems to dispose of biotoxins. These systems either metabolize or detoxify the toxins to remove them from the body and maintain health. However, sometimes biotoxins overwhelm those systems and cause biotoxin illness.
Some common examples of biotoxin illness are Lyme Disease, Lyme-associated co-infections, and mold toxicity. Lyme disease – caused by a bacteria called Borrelia Burgdorferi – releases biotoxins that can result in pain, achiness, joint pain, flu-like symptoms, fatigue, and brain fog.
Lyme is one of the country’s fastest-growing infectious diseases, with about half a million people diagnosed in 2018. While many successfully treat their Lyme symptoms, some struggle with chronic Lyme disease for many years before regaining their health.
Functional medicine treats the underlying root cause, not the symptoms. We determine the “total body burden” of toxins and bugs. Only a small percentage of people with exposure to Lyme are chronically ill. Our job is to look at the patient’s internal terrain to discover the “why” the infection has remained chronic.
Keep reading to learn more about how Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine uses the functional medicine approach to treat Lyme and biotoxin illness, including my personal experience with Lyme and biotoxin illness that inspires my work to this day!
Lyme and Biotoxin Illness: My Personal Journey
My journey with Lyme and biotoxin illness started when my son, Kai, was eight-years-old. My incredibly active, happy, thrill-seeking, and fearless son went from running around and playing soccer to limping and moving cautiously. He ended up in bed for six months in horrific pain, unable to finish his third-grade year or his soccer season.
I was sick too, but like most mothers, I was more focused on my son’s health than my own. Soon, we found out that he had CDC-positive Lyme disease. On the recommendation of my son’s Lyme doctor, we also tested him for mold, and the results were through the roof.
We then tested our home and found out the entire house had three feet of water in the crawl space beneath it. The water was under the vapor barrier and had been there since the Boulder flood in 2013 – which was right about when Kai and I began to show symptoms. We had the house evaluated and the levels of toxic molds were extraordinarily high.
Lyme Disease and Mold
Back in 2014, the link between Lyme and mold was beginning to come to light. I learned that mold exposure creates significant immune dysfunction.
Mold can also allow dormant infections to reactivate. These infections quickly start to replicate and can wreak havoc in the system. My son got so sick with Lyme disease because of the massive mold exposure in our home.
After we started a mold protocol and moved out of the house, Kai and I slowly recovered. It took time and patience, but Kai is now 17 years old, playing Varsity soccer and snowboarding on the weekends. He is happy, healthy, and thriving – and I am infinitely grateful.
The whole experience led to my deep curiosity about why some people get chronically ill with infections while other people clear them without a problem.
In the years since my son’s Lyme diagnosis, my passion for using the functional medicine approach to biotoxin illness has grown exponentially. I experienced firsthand how this approach can take someone from being drastically and dramatically ill to vibrantly healthy and happy.
Is There a Cure For Lyme Disease?
The functional medicine approach starts by finding the root of the problem. In my son’s case, mold exposure triggered his Lyme symptoms. If we had not tested for mold, he might still be sick.
For patients with Lyme disease, your journey back to vibrant health begins with your diagnosis. We recommend testing through Igenix and other specialty labs, as Lyme tests through regular labs have a high false negative rate.
Gratefully, the functional medicine approach doesn’t stop at the diagnosis. Instead, it tries to figure out what made you ill in the first place.
A little detective work helps to reveal what is making your illness chronic. We explore the “total body burden” of bugs and toxins and work on the body’s terrain to make it inhospitable to these chronic infections.
A few well-known triggers make your system more susceptible to Lyme, its co-infections, chronic reactivation of viruses, etc. Those triggers can tip the balance in your system, allowing the bugs to reactivate or remain chronic. Mold toxicity, high heavy metal loads, gut dysfunction, and chronic sleep deprivation are some examples.
Common Triggers for Lyme Disease
Mold exposure is a surprisingly common trigger when it comes to Lyme, it’s coinfections, and the chronic reactivation of viruses. Mold weakens the body’s immune system making it more susceptible to infections like Lyme.
Thankfully, mold is treatable. A good, targeted mold detoxification protocol can work wonders! Often, this is all that’s needed to restore health.
Other triggers that tip the balance include:
- Heavy metals
- High environmental toxin loads
- Gut dysfunction (70% of your immune system lives in your gut)
- Unknown food allergies
- Parasitic infections
- Chronic sleep deprivation
- Yeast overgrowth
Is Lyme disease permanent? Functional medicine works to clear the terrain so that you can get rid of toxins and return to health. Once the trigger is identified, the functional medicine treatment is straightforward. Remove the trigger, detoxify the body, and rebuild the systems weakened by your illness.
Why Visit Boulder Holistic
The functional medicine approach does not only apply to Lyme and biotoxin illness. It identifies and treats the underlying problem, digging deep into what is causing your illness. Then it systematically detoxes and rebuilds your systems so that you come out the other side stronger and better informed about how to care for your body.
Want to see what functional medicine can do for you? Contact our office to schedule your initial consultation today!