What are the contributing factors to the gut inflammation we’re seeing and what are the contributing factors to the secretory IgA being low? Why does this happen?
So first things first is we have to do an adequate history. How did we get here? That’s like the first question that everyone needs to be asking themselves and their functional medicine doctor needs to be kind of reviewing with them. So a lot of people there’s usually a history portion that reveals this. So when I come in and I do a history, I do a timeline history. I try to figure out how the person got here.
So there’s 2 scenarios. There’s either the person got this position where they’re sick and not feeling well acutely, i.e. I was in Mexico. I ate some bad food and now I’m sick. Or most of the time, there is a chronic insidious bit to it where there has been some stress—emotional stress, physical stress, chemical stress, bad foods, poor digestion, and then the kind of stress has been going in a downward pattern, health symptoms have been getting worse over time and then boom! They get sick acutely but it’s not really acutely. There has been a downhill, kinda spiral the whole time. So number one, there is totally acute, feeling great, now they’re not. Number two, it’s this chronic downward decline. Boom! They get sick! And I’d say number three is it’s just chronic and there’s no timeline. There is no event at all. It is just a gentle downward slope. So 3 ways that kind of health symptoms unfold. One, very acute. Two, a downward decline, followed by an acute episode and it could be a couple of acute episodes by the way. It may not be one and a lot of times there could be autoimmune flare involved in there and number three, it’s just a gentle downward decline with no acute episode.
So those are the big three scenarios. So we have to really look at, “Hey, when was the last time you remember yourself feeling good? Walk me to the timeline over the last 10, 15 years, when did things start to go sideways? Was it when you were eating some bad foods, some gluten? Was it when your diet was poor? Was it when stress or sleep was poor? Was it when you started going through menopause of having some hormonal issues? Was it when you had a thyroid flare? What was going on when all these stuff happened? And those are the important questions because we have to connect the dots to the root cause so when we ask questions about symptoms that are downstream, we are actually looking upstream to the root cause that cause these symptoms to manifest. So there’s a different mindset most clinicians and doctors are looking at. “Hey, what medication can we do to cover up that symptom or even what supplement or nutrient or herb can we use to cover up that symptom?” But we’re actually—we may be looking at that, too, but we’re also looking upstream as well.
A couple other triggering factors. Divorce is huge. So any issues with marriage, whether someone just had a bad marriage and needs the divorce but they haven’t yet. They did get a divorce like I had a woman last week who developed Hashimoto’s. She developed thyroid antibodies after her divorce. She had bloodwork done before. She had no antibodies. She went through crazy stressful divorce, fighting over who gets the kids and all that and then boom! You look at the labs and then there are the antibodies that showed up. It’s sort of a response to the major stress. Ideally, when you deal with marital stress, ideally you are on top of it and you’re seeing a counselor to help because it’s always easier to mend it than to walk away. In some situations you can, some you can’t but we always recommend getting some kinda counselor there to help on that side of the fence. And then of course, you know, death of a loved one is gonna be a big one. Even things like moving and a lot of times, moving may be tied to a promotion or a good thing but believe me, it’s very stressful. We look at what’s called a social adjustment questionnaire. Moving, death of a loved one, death of child is even more, you know, affairs, divorce, anything on the relationship side is really big. So those are gonna be important things you wanna look at from an emotional stress standpoint because those can be a big thing and they put stress on the adrenal glands.
So, hey, we just wanna make sure that we’re addressing it. We’re processing it. We’re seeing a counselor or seeing therapist, someone to work on it. Maybe there’s subconscious stress. Maybe we’re working on EFT or NLP or EMDR techniques to deal with the PTSD from that trauma. So we have things like that, right? And then of course, like in your timeline history, we’re also gonna be looking at was there a leak in your house? Was there any mold exposure? Things like that because that’s a big environment pull. Hey, do you feel better when you leave your house for a week, you know? Barring the fact that you may be on vacation and stress is lower, if you just leave your house for a week, do you feel better? So we like to have those kind of timelines because that can set you up for a whole bunch of gut issues.
So when we talk about gut testing, it’s never just the gut myopathy. We’re trying to connect the gut to underlying stressors that have been accumulating for years if not decades that got you to this position to begin with.