Next Level Human

Unraveling Autoimmunity with Justin Janoska- Ep. 259

March 29, 2024 Jade Teta Episode 259
Next Level Human
Unraveling Autoimmunity with Justin Janoska- Ep. 259
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Discover the untold story of your body's hidden battles as I, Dr. JT, alongside the brilliant Justin Janoska, unravel the complex tapestry of autoimmunity and functional medicine. This episode promises to offer you a fresh perspective on how traditional medical models and quick-fix functional medicine solutions are often out of sync with the personalized care required to address autoimmune conditions effectively. We'll challenge the status quo, arguing against the oversimplification of treatment protocols and advocating for a deeper understanding of each patient's unique health puzzle.

Our conversation takes a critical turn as we spotlight the pitfalls of conventional symptom management and the sometimes haphazard application of supplements in alternative medicine. With insight into how biases and past experiences can skew treatment plans, we discuss the importance of a comprehensive patient history over a scattergun approach to testing. We're peeling back the layers to reveal the essential factors in addressing issues like weight, memory, and energy that go unspoken in many health discussions. Join us as we push for a more discerning and tailored approach to health care, one that recognizes the individual at the heart of the practice.

Finally, we delve into the intricate relationship between stress, trauma, and autoimmune diseases, considering the broader implications of chronic stress on the HPA axis and gut health. We'll also explore resilience-building techniques and the power of mindset shifts in overcoming health challenges. This episode is not merely a dialogue but an invitation to a transformative journey towards inner healing and well-being. With Justin Janoska's profound insights, prepare to be equipped with the knowledge and strategies to navigate the often overlooked emotional and mental aspects of autoimmunity.

Connect with Justin
Website: www.theautoimmunerevolution.com
Instagram: @justinjanoska
Work with Justin: https://tinyurl.com/JustinJanoska

http://drjade.com/butcherbox

Connect with Next Level Human
Website: www.nextlevelhuman.com
support@nextlevelhuman.com

Connect with Dr. Jade Teta
Website: www.jadeteta.com
Instagram: @jadeteta

Speaker 1:

um? Is that on already recording?

Speaker 2:

yeah, everything's on. Okay, everybody, welcome to today's show. Uh, my name is dr jt, the host of the next level human podcast. I'm back with a regular on the show, justin janoska, who is um, someone who is a co-teacher of mine in my certifications, someone who I work, uh, with on the regular. We have lots and lots of conversations. He's down in Asheville, north Carolina, visiting me. We just got back from my awakening retreat where we both did some work there and we're going to be talking today about autoimmunity and functional medicine and I'll key this up and then we'll kind of get into this, justin.

Speaker 2:

So, part of what is going on in the industry from my perspective and you'll see that Justin and I have overlap in some of our opinions and we also differ in some of our opinions, and you'll see that here in this discussion but from my perspective, one of the things that is problematic in medicine in general is that we tend to get in silos, right. So we have the traditional medicine camp and the alternative medicine camp, and for a long time that's the way that it was right. There was traditional, slash conventional medicine that was mainly focused on diagnostics and drugs and surgery, and diagnostics meaning let's give this condition, a label, and then let's apply whatever surgeries and drugs have been determined to be effective and be determined in quotes, because there's a lot of issues with the way this stuff has been determined in the conventional realm. And that realm the conventional traditional medicine was sort of antagonistic to the alternative, complementary realm, which is a realm that I studied in naturopathic medicine and of course it's a much broader category because it includes things like energy medicine and things like life coaching and health coaching and naturopathic medicine and all the rest. And out of these two disparate camps and out of these two disparate camps there started to emerge a area that tried to integrate the two.

Speaker 2:

That is most popularly known now as functional medicine, and of course this is what Justin and I are going to touch on, that functional medicine also. It's going on, probably increased in popularity about 20 years ago and has steadily grown in popularity since then and has sort of become what the naturopathic, old school naturopathic doctors were also suffers from weaknesses. And so we're going to discuss this through the lens of autoimmunity, which is Justin's area of expertise and is highly prevalent, and I guess what I would say is that one of the things that has begun to happen is that even within functional medicine, the sort of approach has been slowly moving in some ways to a more physiological, in some ways to a more physiological, biochemical, mechanistic type of approach. That leaves out some of what I would consider were the strengths of functional medicine in the first place, which is what I might call root cause medicine.

Speaker 2:

Getting to the underlying issue and I think Justin has some really interesting thoughts on what are the real underlying issues in autoimmunity that are being ignored in all three places conventional medicine, alternative medicine and functional medicine. So I'm going to let you sort of give your take on this, justin. What do you feel like the people who are dealing with autoimmunity are struggling with, and why is it that you think that all three of these areas are largely leaving the autoimmune population without many good treatment options?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So I think that there is a lot that's good. That's good that's happening. I'll admit that and start with that, because there are certainly some helpful things that people are getting that they're not getting from conventional allopathic medicine right. But the issue that I've noticed over the years working with people is that they're still stuck in the mud in a sense, because they're doing all the quote unquote right things and they are addressing the root causes that they have found, and they're doing all the quote unquote right things and they are addressing the root causes that they have found and they're changing their diet and taking all these supplements, they're doing these protocols and whatnot.

Speaker 1:

But it definitely has this tone of over simplification, which is the problem, and I think that has a lot to do with, unfortunately, with practitioners and functional medicine doctors who are maybe taking the shortcut route and they are kind of overpromising like, hey, do this for eight weeks, do this for 12 weeks and you'll get better. And, yes, people find improvements. I see that a lot. But what I've noticed is that after they've done that, after multiple, multiple rounds with different doctors, doctors and practitioners, they end up coming to me at some point and they're really, really frustrated and they're disillusioned and they think that they're going to get the same thing again with me, right, and that's a problem, because then your, your distrust, starts to amplify, right?

Speaker 1:

And then what you find is that people sometimes give up altogether or they are so skeptical that they will put little faith in what you're going to give them. And then you could run into that whole idea of well, maybe the belief is of it not working. The nocebo effect is kicking in and that's why they're not getting better. So it has like a snowball effect, right, and I'm not saying that everyone is experiencing this, but it's become really, really prevalent because of this whole cookie cutter. Now, I'm not, I'm not going to say it's always cookie cutter, but there is just this tendency to over-prescribe things, run all these tests and do things in this sort of black or white or A plus B equals C way, this paint-by-numbers process, you might say as well, and people get temporary results, and then they feel good for a while the honeymoon phase, you might say and then they're back to square one in a sense.

Speaker 2:

All right. Well, so that people can follow this discussion, because it can get you know. Whenever practitioners like you and me are having discussions, it can get a little bit heady and esoteric. So why don't we? So that everyone can follow this discussion, why don't we choose a condition to start?

Speaker 2:

Let's take something that you, I know, you work with and I've worked with, and I actually suffer from Hashimoto's. So for those who don't know, hashimoto's is a autoimmune condition of the thyroid gland that causes low thyroid function. So it's a hypothyroid state. It's called Hashimoto's. It is diagnosed in the conventional realm by finding antibodies to the thyroid and also seeing that TSH, thyroid stimulating hormone, is high. Tsh, thyroid stimulating hormone is high and it's oftentimes believed that the autoimmune antibodies are indicative of thyroid destruction and that's what's causing the low thyroid. So, conventional medicine let's go through that first and then you and I can discuss all the different ways that this is done and then we can see how you and I might vary in this treatment.

Speaker 2:

Conventional medicine normally you'll go to see your doctor. They will run blood labs. They will find an elevated TSH, usually above five. That's where they're going to start getting a little bit concerned, and if the symptoms are there as well, these are going to be things like constipation, cold intolerance, thin nails, thinning hair, brain fog, difficulty with your memory, weight gain, fatigue. What they're going to do is they are not even going to run any other tests, they're just going to give you thyroid hormone and for many people that solves a lot of their symptoms, at least for the time being, and they're off and running until they have to come back and see their doctor again because their symptoms come back or they have to adjust their thyroid meds. So that's the conventional realm, I would say.

Speaker 2:

The alternative realm would be something like well, let's change your diet, and you know. The alternative realm is, you know, really tricky, because you know they're basically giving you nutrients. So maybe they'll say you know, let's give you tyrosine, let's give you iodine, let's, let's do those kinds of things to see if we can help. Let's give you zinc, let's try to remove gluten. We can help. Let's give you zinc, let's try to remove gluten, let's try to remove dairy, and see if we can. And maybe we do a gut restoration protocol or something like that and we see if the thyroid fixes itself.

Speaker 2:

The alternative world will normally run extra labs to see if the antibodies are even there, and keep in mind the conventional laboratory. The conventional docs normally won't even do that because their treatment won't change even if they find the diagnosis of Hashimoto's. So they'll just basically say you're hypothyroid, we're not going to go look for the cause. Now, functional medicine docs tend to do a little bit more, and I'm going to let you sort of discuss what the functional medicine doctors do that you approve of and disapprove of, and what you and I might do differently. How would you approach this Hashimoto's client sitting in front of you?

Speaker 1:

Right. So one thing I've noticed over the years is that people will be kind of convinced that that they have, for instance, mold or parasites or something like that, and they almost convinced themselves like this is what they have, even if there is evidence that suggests that there isn't. And like my mom, for example, like she was on a heavy metal protocol for maybe nine months because they found her doctor found some evidence of mercury and a few other metals and, yeah, sure, that could be an issue, right, but that's tricky because just because you have evidence of it doesn't mean it's a problem and she didn't really have the symptoms you might say of that stuff. But again, it's tricky because it overlaps with a lot of other things, right. So she did it and I said how did you feel after that? Do you notice any difference? And she said actually no, not really.

Speaker 1:

And I've actually seen this many times with people and I think this is the real issue, because it gives people a lot of hope and optimism that, okay, I'll fix this issue, it'll solve my problems, that I can finally lose this weight and have memory again and be active and do what I want to do in life. And it doesn't. It doesn't happen right, because we're putting all our eggs in one basket, thinking this is the one thing that I haven't addressed. This must be it right, this oversimplified approach. And then it's like okay, go down the checklist. We dealt with heavy metals, we did that. Okay, next mold, deal with that, and you can pick any sort of root issue. And it's kind of like this for a lot of people.

Speaker 1:

But I would say parasites and mold and metals are probably the top three that people are spending a lot of energy, and I think parasites and mold are the hot thing these days and there's a lot of discussion around it and yeah for sure it is an issue. It can be an issue, but we can fall into this trap of believing that it's the underlying problem we haven't addressed and then you end up like what my mom experienced. So for me, I think we have to cover as many bases as we can and if I'm looking at this client in front of me, for me I have to look at someone's history and see exactly what their exposures have been and where they've been in their life. I think those things have to come into play here and that will inform what I do test wise, because for me. I'm not somebody who's going to run all the laps. There's so many to choose from. I feel like every week there's a new test coming out Right.

Speaker 1:

And I go down in my head this sort of hierarchy of where do I go first? Do I do, uh, something for um, stool, stool testing? Do I do organic acid testing? Do I do, um, you know, looking for metals, looking for mold, etc. And you know, I find I don't have to do a lot of that because I'm actually paying attention to who is in front of me and not go with my own bias.

Speaker 1:

I think, unfortunately, some people have.

Speaker 1:

They come into this work because they have their own story, their own issue with autoimmune disease, and they had issues with mold, they had issues with this or that, and I've heard this from clients where they kind of been taught that this is the root issue that they have, maybe because their doctor had that thing.

Speaker 1:

So I think there's a lot of that that's still happening, unfortunately. Right, but I would caution that we can't just jump to conclusions, thinking that this is the root issue and this will solve all my problems, because the reality is that you know there's a lot of underlying things and this bucket fills up over the years and there's a lot of potential root issues there and in order for people to get better, you really have to look inside and see what's there, but I would argue that you could have 20 root issues, but maybe there's only two or three that are really the most prominent and need to be addressed, because I have found that when you knock out the big pillars there know pillars there that are causing the biggest autoimmune reactions that is what leads to improvements.

Speaker 2:

Yeah Well, and let me repeat, kind of where we are in this discussion, so far, right. So the conventional docs, they essentially go. They're not interested necessarily in root cause. They're basically like there's a hypothyroid, let's give you thyroid meds. By the way, I'm not even going to say that that's not appropriate for some people. Some people it works for, but it's certainly not getting to the root cause.

Speaker 2:

Then we have the alternative medicine world, which seems to me, you know, being in this world, takes a shotgun approach with lots and lots of different supplements. At its worst it's just green allopathy, where rather than taking the thyroid drug, you're taking lots and lots of different thyroid supplements. And then we get into the issue that Justin's speaking about where, depending on the practitioner, you see, you know, one of the things that I think is not something we like to think about. But a lot of practitioners are biased in their own ways, right, like they have their own bias. Everything is mold, or most of the things they see, or they specialize in mold. So if you go to them, you're going to get a mold protocol, they're going to test for mold, or they're a heavy metal person or detox person. So if you go to them, they're obviously going to do detox testing and detox protocols.

Speaker 2:

Other people are trauma-based people, so, obviously, if you go to them, they're going to put everything through the lens of trauma, and so on and so forth. Now, I guess the thing that we're trying to address here, then, is which of these is root cause. If we talk about root cause and getting down to the bottom, which is what you were referring to, justin, let's go through for you in terms of the big three or four, what are the things that you feel like are the biggest issues for people? And the second question is that how do you actually individualize this?

Speaker 1:

first and foremost, psychological stress is top of the totem pole, because that probably is what got them here in the first place, right, and my mom was a good experience of that, because no one really addressed that with her until I kind of brought it up, right, and I'm not even going to say it's all trauma, because it's not, but just daily stress that you're experiencing today, and this could include past stuff that is carried over into the present day, and this is evident in labs where you see heart rate variability down or you see high abnormal cortisol levels, right, things like that can really just suggest that your body's in survival mode and that's the bottom line. But I think and it's tough because a lot of people don't really see it they're so acclimated to the stress and the way of living that it doesn't feel like a problem anymore. Right, how many times I mean have you? I don't know about you, but I see people who I say how, what symptoms do you have?

Speaker 1:

They might go. I have some fatigue, but it's about it. Do you have hair loss? Do you have dry scab little nails in here? Oh, I have some fatigue, but that's about it. Do you have hair loss? Do you have dry scab little nails sitting here. Oh yeah, I have that and that and that, right? They just forget because they're so used to it. Right, it's their new normal, as we say, right?

Speaker 2:

So stress is a big one. That would be tops on you. What are the other top pillars?

Speaker 1:

And because of that, that causes these downstream issues where nine times out of 10, you're going to see, I see gut dysbiosis, some infection or overgrowth of opportunistic bugs, things that may or may not cause symptoms.

Speaker 1:

It's not always gut-related symptoms, but it does often contribute to the chief complaints that they have. So fungus and candida are very, very common and that makes sense when you understand that stress often creates this hospitable environment for bugs to overgrow, yeah, right, and it weakens their good commensal bugs and it allows for these opportunistic and pathogenic bugs to proliferate and overgrow. Um, and then blood sugar dysregulation, dysglycemia is like the silent threat there, because no one people are not really aware of how this ties into their cravings and hunger cues and things like that. They may not have type two diabetes, they might be pre-diabetic, but it's kind of like the silent killer in a sense. And it does impact the immune system, right, but we don't really see it and until we look at, you know, the blood labs that show fasting glucose and fasting insulin and and things like that. So I would say those three are the probably the most common that I'll find, not just in hashimoto's but in autoimmune disease across the board. Yeah, Okay.

Speaker 2:

So now we're getting somewhere right. So now, as we're getting to the root cause, if we think of this like a pyramid, it sounds like what you're saying, justin, and I actually would agree with this. Actually, it's a place where I think you and I overlap pretty strongly is that stress tends to be the base of the pyramid. And so if you are dealing with stress, chronic stress, and we'll talk a little bit about what we might call, you know, stuck stress or stuck, you know trauma or stuck struggle or stuck difficulties which I'll get into in just a minute that change the whole way individuals react to stress, in the first place, that that might even go deeper, which we'll get there. But then, of course, if there are stress-related issues in the hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal axes, then we are seeing downstream effects in the gut, because the gut is, you know, basically the second brain. It is the hub of where the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems sort of collide and it definitely shows a lot of, you know, relationship to the parasympathetic, sympathetic balance. And then, of course, that relates to glucose, and so now we're starting to get down to a place that seems like a commonality. Now the thing that I'll say is is interesting because you alluded to a couple of things there that a lot of people are starting with mold. Well, what's making you susceptible to mold?

Speaker 2:

A lot of people are, you know, mentioning toxins. Toxins To what degree is this stress, dysregulation causing you not to be able to get rid of these toxins? Now, I'm not saying that some people's issue isn't toxicity. What I'm saying is that if we just go after toxicity and we don't address the underlying dysfunction in the body's ability to handle, respond, adapt to stress, then we're going to be missing a lot. And this is always at play. Detoxification is sometimes at play. Stress is always at play. Gut dysbiosis is sometimes at play. This is the way that I would see it. So we have this one big rock that you and I are converging on. That seems to be the biggest difference maker.

Speaker 2:

So I guess what we could say now, if you're someone who's dealing with autoimmunity and you've done the detox protocols and you've done all the elimination protocols and you've done the gut restoration protocols and you've done the detox protocols and you've done the gut restoration protocols and you've done the detox protocols and you've taken all the supplements, that perhaps you are missing. Something that is um common to all of these things, which would be stress reactions, and the final thing I'll say here, before I get your thoughts, is that stress stress is such a commonly used term that people don't really know what it means. Also, trauma, because I imagine this is where you're going to go here in a minute, because this is your favorite topic. Trauma also is a term that is loaded with a lot of assumptions that may not actually be the way we want to think about it. So what are your thoughts there? And then take us through sort of the definitions of and how you're looking at stress and trauma, perhaps perhaps different.

Speaker 1:

So the one thing and you alluded to this, rather you said it but you can do all the protocols and that might be necessary, right, for the toxicity you have and whatnot the gut stuff but a lot of times, like you do that and it comes right back. The K-need is a perfect example. People do the protocols for that every week. They feel better, the evidence is showing that it's negative, and then you'll have it right back. The K-need is a perfect example. People do the protocols for that every week. They feel better, the evidence is showing that it's negative, and then you'll have the right back Lecebo or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and it'll come back too, because the consciousness hasn't changed. They're still the same person, they're still the same personality that got them here in the first place. And that brings me to what you just asked about stress versus trauma and those sort of things. And I would say that, yes, it's very difficult to discern what trauma really is, because we have our own definition. It's self-identify, that sort of thing.

Speaker 2:

And I don't. Well, people think trauma is being sexually abused or physically abused or being in a war, and that's not exactly. That certainly is trauma. But there are other, lighter forms of trauma which we probably might want to just call struggle. You know so, there's stress and then there's, let's say, long term stress, which we could maybe call a struggle, and then there's extreme long term stress or extreme intense short stress that we might call trauma.

Speaker 1:

Right, and that's actually what I like to talk about most and educate on, because that's what I see. People are kind of turned off from the word trauma, which is why I don't like the word so much either, like you said. But the strain, the struggle that they have is really from you know again, early adult stuff or childhood developmental stages, and it has a lot to do with what I see is neglect or developmental trauma. Again, they call it that, but these are very subtle things that carry forward into adulthood because of how it shows up in our, as you talk about stuck emotions, repeated patterns and recurrent obstacles and the personality traits that you see born from that. And it isn't inherently a bad thing, right? Okay, you're people, please, are cool, that's fine.

Speaker 1:

It may not be a problem. You may be really busy, you might be a workaholic, you might be looking to control your environment, because that's how you find safety and security, right, because you didn't have it early on, that'll make sense. But when it becomes this sort of incessant thing, that's repetitive and see how it kind of really comes down like an avalanche on your body. And I think my speculation is that and there's some literature to suggest this I think that this accumulates over the years and all of a sudden your body can't handle it. The allostatic load has just accumulated too much and then you burn out and then the immune system goes haywire much, and then you burn out and then the immune system gets goes haywire. So that is the problem, because if we don't address that stuff and you're still the same person, that guy is here, yet you're doing all the protocols you can see how you're kind of washing each up, you washing both of the thing, uh, washing the protocols out in a sense.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that makes sense yeah, and let's unpack this a little bit, because I think we're getting to, and you and I may not actually have any disagreement in this conversation. All it seems seems that we're diverging in the same direction. But I also want the listener to be educated in what we're talking about, and so part of part of where we are in this discussion now is let's let's take stress. So that might be, like you know, just the typical. You know, you got a difficult time at work, or you're under stress, you're going through a difficult time with your significant other, or you're having some financial difficulty Right, we might call that stress. But now let's imagine that that difficulty with your significant other, or that work stress or financial stress starts to become more and more. You might call that strain, right, and let's just say it starts going on for a long period of time, we might call that struggle. Now, of course, we might have an extreme thing that happens an accident, trauma, grief, like something like that that we would call trauma. Now, when this happens in our childhood development, our adolescent development or in our young adulthood, and it's usually these three areas, because during these times we don't necessarily have the accumulated wisdom, so our immune systems and our nervous systems and our psychological systems can become primed a particular way.

Speaker 2:

So, for example, let's say, when you're young, as Justin was alluding to, you have primary needs for safety and security, and let's just say that because your parents are doing their best or undergoing a lot of stress themselves are not there for you. For example, I have a small example in my world that my parents were amazing, but they had four kids. They were driving us to and fro, practice, football, basketball, et cetera, and one day I inadvertently got left at my baseball field for a couple hours and I was all alone sitting there waiting for my parents to come pick me up and I was just a young kid, maybe seven or eight years old. Now, I'm sure when my parents got home my mom said to my dad, did you get Jade? And he said to my mom no, I thought you were getting them, and they both jumped in the car and rushed to get me. Now I can understand that as an adult and we can say, oh, my parents definitely had safety and security. They cared about me, except my little seven-year-old or eight-year-old Jade.

Speaker 2:

They could not register or logic that, so that trauma, slash, struggle, slash, strain, slash, stress can get stuck in your nervous system. Now imagine that happening again and again, or imagine an extreme example of that happening. And then we get stuck in threat mode or striving mode, and let me just explain that before I let Justin jump in here. So what ends up happening is our nervous systems can get stuck in a constant state of threat survival or a constant state of striving hypervigilance and when we're in threat and striving, we're using up resources and our immune system becomes oriented in a particular direction and we can never get to rest and recovery and recuperation. So an example of this might be Justin and I both use this example quite a bit If you're out on the plains of Africa and you see a lion approaching you, you go into threat mode and you will stay in threat mode getting ready to fight or flee until that lion disappears.

Speaker 2:

However, even when that lion disappears, if you're still on the plains of Africa and they can come back, you will be in striving mode, hypervigilance, looking for that lion to come back. That's also using an awful lot of resources. It is not until you get in a car or get inside a shelter in the house, where there's no chance of the lion getting you, that you can rest, recover and relax, and that's what the immune system needs, that's what the nervous system needs. It needs safeness, and most people who are dealing with autoimmunity and I'm going to ask Justin this question, I would argue are not able to get out of threat and striving mode, to get to safeness mode. And until they get out of threat and striving mode into safeness mode, no amount of protocols are going to entirely fix their issues. So how do you think that I've addressed that and what would you add or what would you want to explain more?

Speaker 1:

That's exactly it and that became apparent when I saw this over and over again with people.

Speaker 1:

They're doing all the things and yet they're not there Because they're, like you said, their limbic system is still activated or their body's still in survival mode and you can't heal a control anodomy disease if you're in survival mode, the problem is that our conscious brain goes I can't see that. I'm fine, I have a busy life, but I didn't't sleep well and that's my biggest issue. But you know these, these are very trivial things or there may be, they're not the the, the real concern, it's actually stuff carried over from the past and then we're trying to cope with that still, which is analogous to the lion is off the plains of Africa, but our body's still in hypervigilant mode. We're still sensing that there is a threat around the corner. And that's what's happening for a lot of people now who, because it's reflecting into their personality traits and, yes, it may not be a problem inherently, but because it's been going on for so many years, it's just adding more fuel to the immune system that's already out of whack and that's where we get stuck.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's pretty profound when you begin to think of how would someone know. I'll let you go first and then I'll give you my thing. But how would someone know? Because you alluded to this, the conscious mind, logically doesn't see it this way. But the unconscious mind, and the unconscious body right, is stuck in these states. How would we know that we're stuck in these states? What would the body tell us or what would be going on to let us know that we are stuck?

Speaker 1:

It's tricky because I think for me it's two different angles. You can look at biomarkers and you can, because some people need to see that on paper and they need to see the truth that they're in survival mode or they're under stress, right? So, like the things I said earlier about cortisol dysregulation really are really common heart rate variability. Heart rate variability is is often going to change and another subtle things that you can pick out from you know traditional Right.

Speaker 2:

And could we say, Justin, that even having an autoimmune diagnosis, would you say that even that is a sign that this is going on? Yeah exactly right.

Speaker 1:

You know. So I think that's critical for us to see. But you know, a lot of times I think what I found is that people need an outside perspective, a second kind of eyes, if you will, to point it out to them, because they're so, they're so used to thinking and believing that this is their new normal and there's nothing wrong with it, so that that is something that can happen for some people or not. But I think it's having interaction with somebody to point out to you that hey, like this is the way you're, you're acting and behaving in a certain way. That makes sense, given what happened and what's going on. But it's actually teaching your body that there's still danger around the corner and it doesn't help at all. And and again, the whole theme with autoimmune disease is getting the is. It's really hinging off of the nervous system. If it's completely dysregulated, there is nothing else that's going to resolve it and improve your symptoms.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and this is one of the reasons why, by the way, for those of you who are following this conversation, that a new term over the last 20 years has emerged psychoneuroimmunology essentially is what Justin is saying. We use that term psychoneuroimmunology because what we know is that the way our psychology goes impacts the way the nervous system functions, which impacts the immune system, which is just, is basically a simpler way of saying threat, striving, or, you know, safety or safeness, and so I would say the same thing. I would say that if you are dealing with autoimmunity, it's a sign that this is likely going on on some level. Now, whether it's the cause or a major contributing factor would remain to be seen, because we certainly can't discount the fact that there are certain things you know. Mercury, for example, you know being poisoned by mercury or something like that, can induce some of these things, certainly infections. We know that certain infections with certain viruses, some of these things, certainly infections. We know that certain infections with certain viruses CMV, ebv, you know may be playing a role now, covid, you know, being another one but also some other signs that Justin didn't mention that I'll just make you aware of is the type A personality, the person who has to do every diet, the overexerciser, the hypervigilant person in any area of their life may be a sign Again, it's not the end-all, be-all, but it may be a sign that this is going on. Certainly I know in my work with autoimmunity if I have someone who's a quote striver type A personality, I have got to do everything I can to get them out of that hypervigilant state if I'm going to help.

Speaker 2:

The other modalities supplements, gut protocols, things like that actually work. And it's important, I think, for people to understand that a gut protocol, which is meant to help balance the gut nervous system it is the second brain in a sense is not going to work if we can't balance the first nervous system, the brain, right. And so we have to kind of keep this in mind. And of course you know, if you are somebody who has capital T traumas in your life that you have not fully integrated, this might be an issue. And I can point out a couple, at least two cases I know from my clinical world that got world where they essentially reverted their you know we won't say cure because it's a bad word but they essentially went into remission with their autoimmune conditions after going through some trauma work and so I certainly am a big believer in this.

Speaker 2:

Is there anything else that people you alluded to repeated patterns, recurring obstacles stuck emotions, anything else? So now we have some biomarkers HRV, you know, we have, you know, other things like cortisol dysregulation. We have sort of signs and symptoms. We have autoimmune markers. We have the sort of striving type of psychological stuff and history of you know sort of big traumas. Is there anything else you could think of for people to be aware of? Before we get into some of your treatment options, and you know, some of what I might say are treatment options?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean, on a stool test, there is a biomarker called secretory IGA, and that is almost always non-existent, and a lot of the clients I see, um, if I run that test, which is, you know, quite often, and again, it's just, it's a sign of stress, it doesn't matter where it comes from, it just means that your body's perceiving that um, and and that's again, I think, again um helpful for people to understand, and so they can believe that their body is not in a safe place. What I would say, though, um, is that what I my, my speculation, is that this stress that we've been living in for, in this pool of sweat, of stress and stress hormones for so long, is really the foundation of, like, the house you're, you're building in that. What I believe is that and again, it's not always this way, but I think that what's happening is that we have laid the groundwork for an autoimmune condition to develop, and then we get hit with this and sold after another, and it's the environment that obviously has a big role in this, but that just adds to the whole burden in general. Right, so you can pick in all the birds out of the bucket, right, and you're still left with some remnants of water, if you might say, which is still this stress that we're talking about, and and how we have to change the personality, or change our identity right or, um, dissolve and discharge these emotions, these things we're carrying.

Speaker 1:

And it's tough because people want tangible things to do, they want to have control over this and that which is actually speaking to the point of what I'm trying to say, right, uh, and it's tough for people to get their head around it. I think, or or maybe you choose to do it because it's not, it's intangible, it's not something I can actually control, it's you have to do inner work and things that are a little bit more vague and ambiguous, and I think that's unfortunately just a turnoff for some people, that they're afraid of going to that world because they're not sure what's going to come up. So that's, I think, part of the reason why some people are having a hard time getting results.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and let me give everyone listening a little bit of an analogy or metaphor here that will help you decipher some of what Justin and I are talking about. So Justin mentioned the term allostatic load. You know lots of different insults from the environment, but the question is, if that's the case, if it's all just environmental stuff and it's all gut stuff, how come so many people don't get autoimmune conditions and or other things? And the way that, the best way I think to think about this is think of a bucket and think of that bucket being filled with water, right, and so think about and when the bucket begins to overflow, that's when autoimmune conditions, let's say, kick in. So when you have lots of stress, especially childhood stress, strain and struggle or trauma, what's happening is you're essentially starting with a much smaller bucket. Now add in the stress of daily life that adds some water in, add in the shitty foods and processed foods that put some water in, add in the toxins in the environment, add in the allergens in the air, add in all these things and all of a sudden your bucket starts overflowing. Now obviously, we need to do two things. We would like to decrease the amount of water going into the bucket, but we'd also love to have a giant bucket, because the bigger the bucket, the more resilience we have, and that becomes where stress management comes in.

Speaker 2:

And there's a couple of things actually in the research that's really. I've actually been preparing for a talk I'm giving at the Personal Lifestyle Medicine Institute on what is the major resilience from this stress strain? What is the major resilience from this stress strain, struggle, trauma, what are the factors? And two that come up are agency meaning. How likely are we to be able to do something and get a result from it and feel like we have the answers? Especially agency as a child and adolescence. Do we feel like we have control over our lives and purpose? Do we feel like our life has meaning?

Speaker 2:

These are two hidden forms of things that actually increase our bucket size. And then, of course, things like reducing stress load through mindfulness and those kinds of things meditation, mindfulness, rest, recovery, relaxation, all the stuff you think about. Time in nature, grounding in nature, massage, all of these things. They also increase the bucket. Now, notice that I didn't say anything about taking a supplement. I didn't say anything about a protocol or a drug or anything like that. Those things typically don't increase the size of the bucket, although they may decrease the water, and so what else do you want to add to that in terms of things that may increase their bucket size and also decrease their water?

Speaker 1:

load. One of my favorite things to say to people is the three S's silence, silence, solitude and stillness, which you kind of just mentioned, but that that is a helpful reminder for people to kind of step away from all this. Honestly, I think the best thing you can do is to not fixate on your protocols and try to uh, make sure you're doing it right all the time and obsessing about it and being neurotic and unfortunately it happens for people and then guess what? The stress of doing the healthy things to help yourself is making it worse or keeping you stuck right, so it becomes one nasty vicious cycle.

Speaker 1:

The other thing I would say is that, while removing things is obviously, you know, from the bucket is important to do.

Speaker 1:

It's there's been such a huge emphasis on that and that's the problem. That's only half the equation. We need to build resiliency in the way you described it, and that can obviously include the things you talked about the most meaning and purpose and relationships and connecting with people, finding your passions and doing things that used to do that brought you joy and made you feel alive. Like that's the huge advocate for and I emphasize that a lot with people, because they don't think that way. They haven't thought about that, and when they start engaging in that, it's like amazing what happens as far as how their symptoms almost, um, go away completely, or it's they. They're making this, taking a step in the right direction while simultaneously doing the protocol related things, but we're not putting all our eggs in that one basket, and that's really the key for me is like okay, let's do those things, but let's check that box and move on and focus on the things that are not related to this disease, and that shift in perception and where you're placing your awareness is really critical.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, which I think brings us to the final thing I want to cover with you is things that I think you all listening will be surprised. That are treatment options. If you talk to some of the things that Justin and I are doing, there are things that are not really mentioned anywhere else in the functional medicine world. For example, journaling techniques, breath work, different meditation techniques. Of course there's mindfulness meditation, there's visualization meditation, there's parts integration work, which I know Justin does a lot with dealing with your inner child and the emotions that come along with that inner child. The child is a part of you, but also each of those emotions that that child engages with is a part of you, your adolescent self and its child.

Speaker 2:

And there's work, meditation work, journaling work, art therapy all of these things and they seem bizarre to people at first, until you realize that these are the ways that the subconscious mind works. The subconscious mind doesn't think in logic and language, it works in symbol, it works in metaphor and art and breath work and visualization techniques, and these kinds of things get into the unconscious mind whereas logic does not Talk. Therapy actually does not. These are where tools like EMDR come in and other tools that help the unconscious mind reprogram itself to raise the bucket to help the psycho neuro immunological system, and so I know you do a lot with this, with the people you work with. Let's just talk briefly about that and then we can wrap up the discussion.

Speaker 1:

So, for me, we have to address the personality, the psychology, the physiology, like those are the three domains in my head and for for me, I don't have a bias towards any of these. It's not all this or all that, it could be any of it. I'm completely curious and open book till now, like all options are on the table, right, if you have to do medicine and hrt or uh pharmaceuticals, whatever you have to do, and and so forth, great, do that, but for but. For me it's about okay, like what's actually in that bucket, right, and what I find, though, is that I have to start with the nervous system and the emotions and the emotional distress, or the behaviors and the coping strategies that people are not often aware of. That is the first place I'm going to go, because that takes time to unravel and change that right. Neuroplasticity, rewiring the brain, is it's not going to happen overnight.

Speaker 1:

So we start with that, and that's an ongoing process that takes time, because that's honestly the hardest part. The easy stuff is taking your supplements and changing your diet and exercising and those sort of things, relatively speaking, right. So that is where I'm going to go, but then it's yeah, it is an art, it is an explorative process as to what is actually the biggest thing that you're dealing with. Is it a virus, is it mold, is it this chemical and whatnot. But I would argue that actually, you know, the goal is not to remove and get rid of everything, and we may not even find everything, because we don't have all the diagnostic labs to do that and to find everything. Right, no test is perfect, right.

Speaker 1:

So for me, I just go OK, maybe a 15 root issues, hypothetically speaking, but maybe we only have to get rid of like two or three. Let's find out what that is, let's find out what the biggest things are, and what I find is that people make huge uh strides in their progress without having to do a million things. So my whole philosophy is less is more, it's the path of least resistance and how to make this easier for you, and at some points it kind of feels weird because clients will say well, I feel like I haven't done anything, I feel like um, because it's so contrary to what they're used to doing. But that's the paradox when you let go of trying to get somewhere and figuring it all out, you actually give the body the respite and the things it needs to heal.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and the truth of the matter is you are doing lots of different tools. They're not. They're just not the things that people are used to, and I would often I would argue that people of a striving nervous system want all the things they are striving. They're lookers, they're trying to. You know they are. Part of their physiology is geared towards finding the latest, greatest thing. They're hyper vigilant in a different way. They're not looking for the lion, they're looking for the next thing that might solve their problem, because the underlying problem is a safety and security issue, and they don't realize that that in itself, that need to find and search and strive and fix is actually part of the symptom picture that's driving the process in the first place. So I know that when I look at individuals and I see this incessant need in their history to go from one thing to the next thing, to the next thing, to the next thing, to me it's oftentimes a sign that we need to step back and deal with the nervous system issues. And so, as we wrap this up, I'm just going to sum up sort of my take on this and then let you give any final thoughts. I think what we said here is we started this discussion with this idea that conventional medicine, which really does a good job for what it's meant to do, it's really just about diagnosis and symptom management. It doesn't get to the root cause. Of course, functional medicine is sort of that go between between the old school alternative green allopathy just giving something green, a diet, a supplement versus a drug, and then functional medicine sits in the middle. But also, I think what Justin and I were pointing out is that functional medicine can still get caught up in this mechanistic realm and be missing perhaps the most important element, that is, being driven by a dysfunctional psychoneuroimmunology, so that the autoimmune condition is coming from this dysregulated nervous system, which is coming from stress, which is coming from strain, which is coming from struggle and, yes, coming from the big T traumas as well. For many people not all but because this is such an underlying issue and such a big issue for people with autoimmunity, the first step would be make sure you get a very big bucket so you can be resilient. This is where things like agency and purpose come in. This is where things like rest, relaxation, recovery come in. This is where things like you know, understanding your striving physiology and working to deprogram that through things like visualization, meditation and massage and time in nature and just slowing down. I really liked your thing, justin, where it's solitude and silence and stillness. I think that really sums up a lot of what needs to happen in this space. And then, of course, there are things that you might need to do Eliminating persistent organic pollutants, dealing with mercury toxicity, restoring gut function which, by the way, won't get restored if you don't balance out the nervous system and so this is to me why this is so important.

Speaker 2:

And the final thing I'll say here is a lot of these tools and techniques are a little bit esoteric for now. They're not commonplace, but practitioners like Justin and myself I'm certainly teaching on these things now because I'm not in the clinic as much as Justin is. Like, if you want help with your autoimmune condition, I'm teaching other doctors about this work, but I'm not in the clinic as much as Justin is. Like. If you want help with your autoimmune condition, I'm teaching other doctors about this work, but I'm not really seeing clients, so you would want to see Justin for that. But we are using a lot of these techniques and teaching on a lot of these techniques, and so hopefully this gives you if you're suffering from an autoimmune condition gives you a place to go and, of course, if you need help with that, justin is. He does see patients and he is somebody or clients, he is someone that you may want to avail yourself of, and so I hope this has been useful for all of you. Justin, what else do you want to add?

Speaker 1:

I would just say that if you are someone who has been let down a lot and you feel kind of disheartened and you feel like you've done all the things and you don't know what to do next, I mean, there is hope, and I want to tell you that because this is a lifestyle driven issue, right, it's not about genetics this is completely controllable, but you have to get the right pieces in order. About genetics, this is completely controllable, but you have to get the right pieces in order. And it's more about all that and and doing it in the right sequence, and all in a very specific and unique way, which is an art. That's why there is no such thing as a hashimoto's protocol. There's only the j protocol. Right, and we have to just appreciate that, because I know we want fast results, we want to get things done, we want to make it happen as soon as possible. I'm telling you, the more you can let go of trying to make it happen and being attached to it, the easier and quicker it will, ironically, come to you.

Speaker 2:

The final thing I would say here, too, is that that's when, by the way, if you're on drugs, if you're on these protocols, if you're on supplements, when you start taking care of this, those things start working and, in many cases, you may be able to get off them. So anyway, bro, thank you for hanging out, thank you, as always, yeah, for you all who are listening. I hope you enjoyed the podcast and we will see you at the next episode.

Autoimmunity and Functional Medicine Discussion
Root Causes and Individualized Health
Stress, Trauma, and Autoimmunity
Understanding Trauma and Autoimmunity Impact
Building Resilience and Inner Healing
Letting Go for Faster Results