By Melissa Hohaia, Naturopath
How a hidden infection could be affecting your health
With winter looming around the corner, we start dreading the ‘winter bugs’ that give us cold and flu symptoms. A runny nose, sore throat, cough, and body aches are just a few symptoms that we expect when we have fallen victim to the bacteria and viruses looming on every shopping trolley and door knob. However, these bugs may be the least of our worries! As we learn more and more about the less well-known ‘stealth’ pathogens that can go lurking undetected in our bodies for years – resulting in fatigue, pain, inflammation, digestive disorders, and reduced mental function (just to name a few)…
Every single one of us is housing a multitude of various pathogenic bugs, but not all of them are the type that will give you a temporary infection and acute symptoms. Some of them are sneakier – they live with cell walls that are deficient in shape, form, and structure, which means that they are capable of considerable growth and changing shape.
Stealth pathogens require a host (that’s you!) to survive and thrive. They are specifically talented at scavenging nutrients from host cells and leaving the host in a nutrient depleted state. As nutrients are depleted, then these host cells can begin to malfunction, or even change their normal function, causing a flow on effect to other cells (especially within the immune and endocrine systems). Stealth pathogens can even cause RNA and DNA mutation, which has been linked to the development of certain cancers. Another talent that these bugs have is the ability to evade detection and supress the host’s immune system so that it can continue to live freely without being detected. They do this by living in the host cells (especially white blood cells). Once they are inside a white blood cell, they hitch a ride throughout the body and even cross the blood/brain barrier – which means that they can then wreak havoc in the central nervous system and spinal fluid.
The most common stealth pathogens that humans tend to harbor are – Epstein-Bar Virus (commonly responsible for Chronic Fatigue but now being linked to other autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto Thyroiditis), Mycoplasma (a weird cell-wall deficient bacteria responsible for a variety of different diseases involving GI tract infections, upper respiratory problems, joint issues and nerve damage), Borelia (responsible for Lyme’s Disease), and Bartonella (results in bartonellosis, commonly known as ‘cat scratch fever’). It has been shown that stealth type bacterial infections can also play a causal role in illnesses such as Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Arthritis, and Autism. I like to think of stealth pathogens like living splinters – a persistent annoyance that causes the host’s immune system to wage war, but the enemy has the ability to take cover and is very patient while it waits in the trenches for any opportunity to attack!
Through our lives, we are all exposed to these pathogens at some point and if our immune system stays robust, the viruses and bacteria will be relatively unsuccessful at creating problems. These little organisms prey on the weak, and once they have made themselves at home they can prove quite challenging to get rid of. Unfortunately, ‘standard’ western medicine approaches (with antibiotic therapy) are not successful and can, in some cases, make the situation worse.
Fortunately, Natural Medicine is able to come to the rescue!
As professionally qualified Natural Medicine Practitioners, we have a range of artillery and tested approaches to help decimate any stealth pathogen infection. The beauty of what we do is to tap into the ancient properties of traditional remedies, which have the ability to work much deeper than any antibiotic therapy. We are able to also support the body’s own innate healing ability so that it can begin to detect and fight the raging war inside.
So, this winter, keep your immune system strong and prevent any infection from becoming the start of a bigger issue – I am here to help you do this. If you feel like you may be hosting some stealth pathogens – contact me today to help you win the war on the bugs so that you can begin living a ‘bug-controlled’ life!