Understanding Causes of Disease
Although this website is principally about how to navigate the confusing and complex world of Lyme Disease, it’s also about highlighting other possible causes of illness. Lyme is a multisystemic disease and as such you have to approach treatment from a multi systemic point of view. Often people with Lyme disease find out they had a separate underlying problem that they weren’t aware of that made them more susceptible to succumbing to the effects of Lyme and co-infections.
A Drastic Increase in Disease.
Disease is on the rise. It’s not that we’ve got better at diagnosing disease as some people suggest, disease is on the rise because in our society there are things that don’t belong in our environment that are making us ill. We aren’t meant to suffer and be sick and yet there is a rapidly increasing percentage of the population suffering with Lyme Disease, Autoimmune conditions, Learning Disabilities, Cancers and Neurological Diseases. A lot of these are modern diseases and were incredibly rare in times gone by but the toxic compounds in our environment that can trigger these diseases have become more abundant than ever and as a result the population is getting sicker.
An example of this in action can be seen in the Roman Empire. Various reports from that time suggest that many of the wealthiest members of society were plagued by various ailments such as weak limbs, slurred speech, tremors and seizures which lead to early deaths. The cause for these maladies was most likely lead poisoning. The Romans used lead in their water pipes and cooked their food in lead lined pots. Scientists recreating some of the Roman recipes found the amount of lead they were consuming was incredibly toxic and some have theorised that is was lead poisoning that could have contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire.
Nature and your body
Whilst researching for this website and studying the various systems in the body, I have discovered that we are intrinsically linked with nature. We evolved from nature, the same chemical processes found in our body can also be found in nature and we are damaging nature and by proxy ourselves. You may have seen articles about how the bee population is dwindling, about how sea creatures are washing up with plastics in their stomach, the coral reefs are dying, the polar ice caps are melting and sea levels are rising and we may have felt separate from it, I know I have previously. Unfortunately, what’s happening to these ecosystems is also happening to our internal ecosystem, by introducing plastics, pesticides, chemicals, heavy metals, emf and air pollution to the environment, we have upset the balance of nature. Nature is suffering but so are we.
Despite all the antibiotic and pharmaceutical treatments I took for Lyme, nothing worked as effectively for me than approaching treatment from a holistic and natural point of view. By removing the toxins from my body that weren’t derived from nature and therefore chemically toxic to my systems and supplementing with things that nature intended me to have to function normally, I made more progress in 6 months than I did on 2 years of pharmaceutical treatment. I hope that by using this website as a guide you are able to understand a bit more about why your body is so intrinsically linked with nature and also understand that we all have a responsibility to do more to protect the environment and in turn ourselves and the people we care about.
At the root of every disease are Free Radicals, Oxidative Stress and Inflammation.
If you zoom into the human body, through skin, through organs, through cells and through molecules, you will find that the human body consists of 7 octillion atoms and a lot of empty space. We should find stable molecules. However, things that don’t belong in our body, that aren’t derived from nature as our bodies are (things like pesticides, artificial sweeteners, heavy metals, plastics, chemicals from products and pollution from the atmosphere) create free radicals in the body. Free radicals are atoms or molecules that have an unpaired electron.
Electrons need to have a pair and if they aren’t in a pair then they will go and steal an electron from a good and complete atom or molecule. What happens then is the atom or molecule that has just had its electron stolen will go and steal an electron from another complete atom or molecule and this sets off a chain reaction called oxidative stress. Atoms and molecules are constantly bumping into each other, stealing electrons off each other, with the end result being a considerable amount of inflammation in the body. It’s pretty hard to comprehend but that’s what happens with disease at a base level. So how do you stop oxidative stress from happening?
Well, you have to limit your exposure to free radicals. It’s impossible to avoid them completely but being conscious to consume natural non processed food, to be aware of the products you put on and around your body, be aware of household chemicals, be careful in highly polluted areas and limiting your exposure to heavy metals and plastics will help. All these substances are toxic because at the molecular and atomic level, they are missing electrons and they cause a sort of biological rusting within the body. Like when you bite into an apple and leave it exposed in the air, it turns from white to brown, that is oxidation and that is what’s happening inside your body when free radical production is out of balance. I say out of balance because we need a certain amount of free radicals - the liver uses free radicals to help in detoxification, while white blood cells use free radicals to fight bacteria, viruses and destroy damaged cells. As I’ve found in my research about the body and its various systems, everything has an opposite and everything is about balancing.
This is where anti-oxidants come in. Anti-oxidants reduce oxidisation and inflammation because at a molecular and atomic level, they enter our bodies with an extra electron or donor electron. We have a certain amount of antioxidants in our body naturally and in an ideal world they sit in perfect balance with the free radicals but this isn’t an ideal world and the toxicity in our environments has meant that free radicals in the body are at an all-time high and antioxidants at an all-time low.
Known Causes of Disease
It’s important to understand what causes disease in the body. A lot of diseases have been given a name and a set of symptoms but with no known cause. I don’t believe that a previously healthy person suddenly one day develops a set of unmanageable symptoms for no reason. We have to find the trigger. However, finding the source can be incredibly complex because in many cases it never turns out to be just one thing and it usually has multiple triggers.
Bacterial, Viral, Parasitic, Protozoa and Fungal
Our bodies are full of tiny microorganisms (billions of them), some of them are over 3.5 million years old and together we have been evolving as one. Most are passive and assist us with digestion and immunity, some are symbiotic which means they receive benefits from us and we receive benefits from them and then there are the microorganisms that aren’t passive. Most of the time our immune system keeps these under control but if we become immune compromised (which can happen very easily with the toxicity of our lifestyles), opportunistic viral, bacterial, parasitic and fungal infections can take advantage of the situation. We’ve all heard of the Herpes Virus, nearly all of us will have a strain of the Herpes Simplex virus (if you’ve ever had a cold sore then you have it) but most of the time our immune systems keeps it in check. However, what happens if you have a weakened immune system? The virus can cause a bevy of symptoms considerably worse than a cold sore. It is the same with EBV - most people know someone who has suffered with glandular fever which is caused by the Epstein Barr Virus. When someone has suffered with a bout of glandular fever and then recovers, we often assume that we are cured. However, it isn’t clear that a viral infection is never cured, it will always be in our system and it can re-emerge at various times over the course of our lives. As we age, our toxin load increases, our immune system is less able to cope with it and it can cause long term chronic illness. There are many who believe that the Epstein Barr Virus could be the root cause of multiple cases of ME. There are also new infections evolving and new strains of previously known infections that NHS doctors don’t have tests for and aren’t familiar with the symptoms, hence misdiagnosis can occur frequently. Below are the different types of infections that can cause serious illness.
The earth is made up of tiny microscopic bacteria (estimated nonillion - which is a lot). Most are friendly but some can mutate and become resistant to antibiotics, such as Lyme disease. They can survive in extreme heat or extreme cold and some can even survive in radioactive waste. Common examples of bacterial infections are UTI’s, STD’s, Food poisoning, Pneumonia and Tuberculosis.
A virus is 100 times smaller than bacteria. Millions of viruses exist but only 5,000 have been identified. Viruses invade your blood cells with what is essentially genetic code and forces the cell to replicate. Either the cell dies and releases new viruses to infect new cells or in the case of Epstein Barr, it can simply change the function of the cell and force it to replicate multiple times, which can cause cancer. Viruses can switch between being in a dormant or in active state multiple times over a course of a person’s life. Examples of viruses are CMV, Hep C, HIV Dengue Fever and Influenza.
There are superficial fungal infections such as Athletes Foot and ring worm and there are systemic fungal infections, which can affect every organ in the body, such as Candida. Most of the time, our good bacteria keep systemic fungal infections in check but if you are immune compromised or have been on a long course of antibiotics which have destroyed a lot of your good bacteria, then Candida can take over and cause severe inflammation. Lyme patients often develop systemic Candida due to being immune compromised and on long courses of antibiotics. Another serious fungal infection comes from Mould. We’ve all had to deal with mould, mostly in the bathroom where there is a lot of moisture but most people don’t realise how detrimental it can be to their health. Mould exposure can trigger allergies, inflammation, oxidative stress and immune dysfunction.
Parasites by definition need to feed off a host in order to survive. Like bacteria some parasites are harmless and live in harmony with human hosts but others such as Malaria and Babesiosis reproduce and invade organs, making hosts incredibly sick. Parasite infections aren’t easy to detect with testing and little is known about them in the U.K. but there could be a high number of the population who have been exposed to parasites. A key sign of parasitic infections could be digestion and bowel problems.
If you think of the human body as a biological computer as I do, then DNA is our programme. It carries instructions as to how our body operates, it’s our unique code and serial number. DNA is stored in the nuclei of our cells but just like anything else in our body it can get damaged and the instructions as to how our bodies should operate can mutate and the processes responsible for that instruction malfunction. Sometimes this can be passed down from your parents (we know for instance about certain genetic diseases and cancers that can be passed down). There’s also a gene called the MTHFR gene that is mutated in an estimated 40% of the world’s population and I’d hazard a guess that at least 39% of them aren’t aware that they carry this mutated gene. This gene is responsible for nearly every chemical process in our body and could leave someone chronically ill if they are an unwitting carrier. There are also specific genes that have been linked to people who develop over exaggerated immune responses or allergies. Also, infectious diseases such as Lyme and Epstein Barr and toxicity overloads from plastics, stress, heavy metals, chemicals, pesticides and environmental pollution can damage your DNA. You could be born with completely normal unmutated DNA but due to the evolution of our toxic environments your DNA can get damaged and the instruction manual for your body can go haywire.
Heavy Metal Build Up
There are various heavy metals that enter our bodies and if a larger than manageable quantity accumulates in your system, it can trigger serious illness such as cancers, autoimmune conditions and neurological disorders. Below is the list of the most common heavy metals that we are exposed to.
Lead in high doses is lethal - just ask the Romans. Symptoms of lead poisoning can include learning, memory and concentration difficulties, high blood pressure, joint and muscle pain, headaches, abdominal pain, lower sperm count, miscarriages or premature births in women and organ failure.
Although we generally steer away from using lead nowadays it wasn’t until the 1970’s that we truly understood the significance of lead poisoning, so lead was still being used in water pipes and in paint before then. So, if (like me) your house was built before the 1970’s, there’s a small chance that the pipe connecting your house to the mains could be lead based and that the old paint in your house could be lead based paint. People also face exposure to lead in air, in the ground through contaminated soil, through industrial chemicals and also some older children’s toys might also be coated with lead-based paint. The exposure of lead today is minuscule in comparison to the amount that the Romans were exposed to , however over time, lead can build up in your system reaching toxic levels and that’s when it becomes a problem.
It’s not only lead we have to be wary of, mercury or rather the toxic form called methylmercury can accumulate in our bodies and cause toxicity and disease. For me this was a particular problem - various dentist visits and amalgam root canals and fillings had created a build-up of mercury vapour being released from my fillings and into my nerves. Also, a love of fish which can also contain toxic mercury depending on the source had contributed to a higher than average mercury level in my body.
Arsenic is one of the most common heavy metal toxins that we accumulate in our bodies today. One of the primary sources for arsenic is in our drinking water. In 2016 several areas in Cornwall were found to have high levels of arsenic in their water supply and although most utility companies treat their water, some supplies in more remote locations could contain dangerous levels of arsenic. Food poses another risk for arsenic contamination when crops are grown in arsenic contaminated soil. Before the 1980’s, we were using pesticides and herbicides that contained arsenic. These are no longer licensed but yet traces of arsenic still remain in the soil.
Aluminium they put it in our deodorants and vaccines, surely that can’t be toxic? Unfortunately, over time aluminium can build up in your system and can trigger many symptoms often associated with autoimmune conditions. In fact, in our younger years aluminium gets stored in our bones and as we age and our bones start to become more brittle the aluminium leaks back in our systems triggering diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia. In studies aluminium has been shown to reduce nervous system activity and block certain enzymes. What’s more when aluminium combines with fluoride in your body which we find in our water supply and toothpaste it creates a potent neurotoxin. Other sources of aluminium are table salt, aluminium cans and aluminium cooking equipment.
Is a toxic heavy metal often found in batteries. Many foods contain cadmium because it can be in soil and water, it’s also used in plastics, metal plating and textile manufacturing. We are being exposed to cadmium every day and our bodies aren’t able to detoxify all of it. Smokers will have a higher amount of cadmium then none smokers.
Small amounts of these substances are tolerable but our body is unable to process these toxins and remove them naturally so overtime there’s a gradual build-up of heavy metal toxicity in the body.
The pesticide industry is worth about £58 billion worldwide and £627 million in the U.K. There’s a lot of money at stake for big businesses and governments despite strong evidence that pesticides are destroying the environment, killing wildlife and making people very sick. Firstly, there’s the dwindling bee population whose destruction has been linked to pesticide use and who’s pollenating skills are imperative to our existence and to every fruit, vegetable and flower we know and love. The use of pesticides isn’t just contained to our country fields and crops. Pesticides have been found in the drinking water of 1/8th of UK households this usually due to the chemicals running off the fields during rainy periods and into local drinking water supplies. Areas were pesticide use is higher than normal have been linked to various illnesses in humans including learning and developmental difficulties in children, Parkinson’s, ADHD, Cancer, Depression and Anxiety. Wherever possible I try to stick to organic fruit and veg.
Figures by Kings College London suggest that an average of 60,000 people die in the U.K. each year due to air pollution and that doesn’t include the amount that end up hospitalised or with chronic long-term disease due to exposure. The two worst culprits for causing death and disease after long term and persistent exposure are No2 which is mainly emitted from lorry’s, buses and diesel cars. The other is PM 2.5 which is tiny invisible toxic particles in the air. Most of these particles are created in the atmosphere due to complex reactions in chemicals from industrial sites, power plants and traffic pollution. Once we inhale these tiny particles they can get deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream. Again, long term exposure to either PM 2.5 or No2 can lead to a toxic build up that can result in chronic disease or death.
We’ve all heard that our mobile phones could be affecting our health, we take it for granted because we can’t physically see the frequencies that they emit that they aren’t detrimental but again long-term persistent exposure can cause serious illness. The earth produces a certain amount of natural emf but the amount we are exposed to today is colossal in comparison to what we have evolved to cope with. Wireless communication towers and devices, smart meters, power lines, even your household appliances are emitting EMF frequencies. Symptoms of long-term exposure are headaches, digestive issues, fatigue, concentration issues, nausea, dizziness and heart palpitations. A new emerging EMF danger is smart meters which have been shown to cause serious damage to blood cells even after a couple of minutes of exposure. In a recent study healthy blood cells were shown to have had their cell walls broken after 2 minutes of exposure to a smart meter at a foot distance. You can see the results of the smart meters effect on the blood cells here.
I used to love a can of diet cola that was until I found out about the sweetener they use in diet sodas, aspartame, which is a known neurotoxin. A neurotoxin is a substance that destroys or poisons nerve tissue particularly in the brain area. Excessive consumption can lead to all kind of health problems including neurological diseases. Aspartame effects the neurotransmitters in the brain which causes them to produce an excessive amount of glutamate our hormone responsible for our excited feelings, in excess amounts it can lead to extreme anxiety and brain cell death. Aspartame also contains methanol, a type of wood alcohol and it’s extremely poisonous.
Another sweetener sucralose found in Splenda is sugar bonded with chlorine making it a toxic combination among many other symptoms it can prevent nutrient absorption and reduce the amount of good bacteria in your intestine by up to 50%.
Personal care Products
In our daily routines we use various products to maintain health and a healthy outward appearance but some of these products contain chemicals that are toxic to us. The amount of toxins in these products are relatively small but as I have explained toxins that our liver can’t expel on its own build up in our system and trigger disease when the amount becomes unmanageable. One thing that can be toxic to us and yet we are exposed to daily in our personal care routine is fluoride which is found in our toothpaste and in drinking water in large parts of the U.K. The decision to put fluoride in the drinking water some 60 years ago was done because it was supposed to help in the fight against dental decay. There have been numerous studies in recent years that have found that water fluoridation doesn’t impact teeth health at all and in some cases, it actually increased the risk of dental disease. What’s more fluoride is known to calcify a gland in our brain called the pineal gland which is responsible for releasing melatonin that controls our sleep cycles, so fluoride could literally be giving you sleepless nights. Fluoride is also known to reduce the function of the thyroid gland which controls many functions in your body. Another thing we need to be wary of is what’s in the personal products that we use, what’s in our shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, body washes, make up, moisturisers. We’ve all heard about beauty products that supposedly will take 10 years of the surface of your skin but what if it’s creating free radicals deep within the body and causing internal rusting which many do. The skin is the largest organ in the body and a lot of what we put on the surface of the skin tends to penetrate and enter the bloodstream and then it gets pumped around the body, entering the major organs and disrupting our various systems. Again, in small doses these things are harmless but with long term use this can be another trigger of disease.
Some of the most potent forms of toxin exposure come from the chemicals we find in our homes. Things like oven cleaners, air fresheners and multi surface sprays can contain seriously dangerous levels of toxins. Some Air fresheners for instance tend to contain Phthalates aka plastics which are known endocrine disrupters and can cause infertility in men and women.
Plastic or Phthalates as they are chemically known are one of the biggest dangers, not just to marine and animal life but also to mankind. In fact, EPA studies have found Phthalates to be on average 10,000 to 1,000,000 times higher in our bodies than any other toxins. Plastics are not just in our water bottles and microwave dinners they have been found in our everyday products such as shampoo’s, makeup, medications and detergents. Plastic can disintegrate and enter our bodies very easily. Did you ever think about what happens when you put a microwave meal in the microwave and heat it, the plastic gets hot as well as the food, doesn’t it? Ever left a plastic water bottle in the sunshine and then taken a swig of warm water? We take it for granted that it’s just water or food we are consuming but you are more than likely consuming tiny particles of plastic as well. Inside the body plastics have been found to behave like fake hormones, they can bind to oestrogen receptors in the body and cause infertility in women, they also disrupt thyroid and testosterone function. They damage the chemistry of fatty acids which are essential to brain health and for memory and recall. Plastics can also cause a zinc deficiency which could trigger diseases such as cancer, diabetes, depression and accelerate the ageing process. They’ve been found to damage the pancreas, decrease our ability to detoxify, cause high cholesterol but also stop cholesterol from forming happy neurotransmitters such as serotonin. They also inhibit the body’s ability to produce catalase which devours hydrogen peroxide from cancer producing cells. Low levels of catalase in the body is often cited as a reason for cancers that seem to be cured but then reoccur at a later date. Despite all these health problems as a result of plastic exposure, our society is so dependent on it and there’s no sign of stopping production in favour of a biodegradable, natural alternative that could not only save lives but also the whole planet. Our only option is to opt out of using plastic as much as is humanly possible.
Diet and Nutritional Deficiencies
It goes without saying that diet plays a key part in disease. If you live on fast, fried, processed food your body will be in a considerably worse condition then someone who lives on fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables contain nutrients that we absolutely need to function. They contain complete healthy molecules and atoms and they are needed in many chemical processes within our bodies. If you aren’t getting the proper nutrient rich diet then not all of the chemical processes our body needs to carry out in order to function properly will happen, you can’t make a recipe if you don’t have all the ingredients and the same applies to the chemical reactions with in the human body and so a lack of the right ingredients can make a person feel extremely unwell.
Emotions and Stress
We take it for granted that our emotions and our physical health are two separate things but our feelings are intrinsically linked to our well-being. During periods of high emotional stress our body responds by over producing certain hormones and chemicals such as cortisol and adrenaline. A quick and dramatic increase in these hormones is usually associated with our flight or fight response mechanism, it’s the mechanism our Neanderthal relatives used to flee danger and imminent death. In today’s age this response is being triggered in high pressured situations such as exams, interviews, board room meetings and relationship breakdowns. This response which was originally only supposed to be triggered in dangerous life threatening situations, is being triggered frequently in everyday life with some people constantly living with low grade stress. When this happens our digestion, growth, reproduction and immune systems are suppressed or put on hold allowing opportunistic infections to take over.
Mental and emotional well being is a hugely important part of our health and should be treated with a as much significance as physical illness.
This is a controversial one but there is some evidence to suggest that some vaccines can cause illness. The reason might be that previously immune compromised children might not be able to deal with the small doses of disease that are being injected into their bodies and instead of training their immune systems how to fight the infection, the infections actually becomes entrenched in their bodies effecting their development and causing long term illness. This could be because the child was previously ill with something prior to the injection that had compromised their immunity at the time of vaccination or that they were born with compromised immunity due to inherited toxicity or unknown genetic mutations from their parents. Some researchers also believe that certain vaccines might contain a naturally occurring enzyme called Nagalase which although is essential to our bodies, in too high quantities it’s been rumoured to inhibit the production of an essential protein that the immune system absolutely needs to function called GCMAF. Thus, some doctors have suggested that Nagalase in the body in too high quantities can cause Autism and Cancer.
As a sickly society many of us are living on medications for multiple health conditions. A lot of them are what I call band aid medications that plug up a leak in our system for a certain amount of time but eventually the band aid loses its integrity and it’s not as effective as it once was. What’s more is a lot of medications have chemicals that increase the production of free radicals in the body that means there’s more electron stealing molecules and atoms banging around your body. Prescription medications can also can have multiple side effects, for instance steroids which are a commonly used as an anti-inflammatory can also suppress your immune system. There’s anecdotal evidence to suggest that some cases of Lyme disease and other infectious diseases were triggered after patients received steroids. If your immune system is suppressed a previously dormant infection can activate and take advantage of the situation. Steroid injections are not advised for people with chronic infections though obviously they have made a huge difference in the lives of people with severe allergies. There’s also some prescription anticholinergic drugs such as ibuprofen, allergy, sea sickness and sleep medications that have been shown to cause dementia if used long term. Obviously, a lot of these medications are of huge benefit to society and have improved the quality and duration of people’s lives but like anything they need to be used carefully and with balance. If your body is already a toxic mess then these medications won’t be able to do what they are supposed to do effectively and will just add to the toxicity.