This is a common pattern: we kill off the SIBO, parasites, candida or chronic virus and we feel great! Our symptoms feel better for a month, two months, maybe even six months or a year. And then, slowly but surely, we notice that the symptoms start creeping back. Before we know it, we are back where we were, and testing positive for all those chronic infections again.
What is going on here? The problem is that we are treating the surface issue without addressing the deeper roots of the imbalance. In a linear model, it may seem obvious. We have a bacterial overgrowth, so we just need to kill the bacteria, right? We have parasites causing us problems, so just kill the parasites, right? But the issue is more nuanced than that.
Western culture is the culture of conquerors. You hear this in our medical language. “I’m going to fight this infection”, “I’m going to battle this cancer”. We see this both in conventional medicine, that tends to be very “anti biotic” happy, but also in functional and naturopathic medicine, which tends to be very quick to use strong anti microbial herbs and other treatments to “kill” any overgrowth as a first line of defense. I believe this attitude automatically sets us up seeing something inside our body as an enemy. It is not accurate, and certainly not beneficial for our healing. These infections and overgrowths are not happening in isolation. We need to start isolating these issues as a single problem and instead look at the holistic nature of these imbalances.
Overgrowth is a symptom. It is not a root cause. While there is a time and place for using anti microbial treatments, especially more gentle natural ones, we need to understand the deeper issues in the body that are manifesting with overgrowth and chronic infection as a symptom.
Ultimately, underneath the overgrowth, are profound nutrient deficiencies, toxicity, and nervous system dysregulation. These all funnel into an unfortunate feedback loop that can cause systemic microbiome imbalance and unpleasant symptoms.
These kill protocols, are then addressing the first layer of symptoms from deeper dysregulation in the body: the parasites, candida and bacterial overgrowth are not the root of the problem. Regulating the nervous system, detoxifying gently over time, and focusing on replenishing deficient nutrients are the ultimate keys to health which will allow the microbiome to rebalance natural and these overgrowths to resolve themselves.
Over and over again I see that when we get people on an immune supportive diet refeeding key nutrients, implement gentle detoxification strategies, and focus on getting the nervous system regulated: the body starts releasing these infections all on its own! Yes, there are times when anti microbial support is appropriate, but it should not be a first line strategy. By getting at the foundations, the body usually can resolve things by itself.
So what is the true root cause of microbial overgrowth and gut dysbiosis? While these issues are in reality, endlessly complex, we can zoom out and look at the big picture- which ultimately is massive toxic exposure and chronic nervous system dysregulation. We live in an astoundingly toxic world today compared to our ancestors, and that is combined with nearly constant nervous system overstimulation and stress. When you zoom out and look at the issues this way, you can recognize that if you do not stop the onslaught of constant toxic overload, and get yourself out of a state of chronic fight or flight, no amount of anti microbials in the world is going to solve your chronic illness.
The true solutions:
-Start with a gut rebalancing diet that is going to properly nourish your immune system, detoxification system, and nervous system, and doesn’t actively feed microbial overgrowth!
-Start with daily nervous system retraining practices: TRE, yoga, meditation, prayer, emotion code, tapping, limbic retraining- any and all of these practices are essential components to any healing protocol.
-Detoxify your life! Start “living like a hippie” and get rid of as many sources of excess toxicity in your life as possible. Audit your cleaning agents, hygiene products, cookware, and even clothing.
-Start using gentle, supportive practices for your detoxification pathways such as castor oil, epsom salt soaks, coffee enemas, lymphatic massage, and infra red sauna. These are excellent methods to support your body to release any toxins it has been holding onto.