Hi, Dr. Jeffrey Mark here. Last week I asked you Are you tired and does your energy level limit your ability to achieve more of your life’s goals? Do you feel a little stressed with Covid, the heat, kids at home during the day, and the wildfires? Have you had to rely on caffeine more these days to just get by?
We reviewed why fatigue is a problem with loss of productivity, injury from car accidents, and overall decrease in the quality of life.
This week I want to focus on the first of three myths about fixing your energy. We will review why its not just about treatments, review the three general categories of causes, and why people still might have ongoing energy problems.
Lets start out with this well accepted axiom: Find the ONE THING to fix that has been keeping you TIED at your current level of energy; FIX that and you can move on to performing at your highest level.
This is a myth that first implies that there is only one unifying cause and secondly the treatment of this cause will result in fixing the whole problem. It is a treatment based philosophy. It is the traditional medical approach. People have adopted this philosphy and search and google the latest strategies on fatigue, stress, and low energy. They look for the newest labs and evaluation, the proven diets, the most popular new devices. People think what’s helped others will surely help them. People search for the one cause that started the problem. When they think they found the cause then the search is for the treatment. People usually will fall into one of three categories for treatments: The first is trying several treatments with the hope that one will work, the second is using one treatment that can work for many different causes of low energy, fatigue, and stress, and the third is trying a treatment strategy that “works for most people” with energy problems.
The new functional treatment plan is to focus on the causes. We need to find the causes (yes often more than one) before employing a treatment plan. We have to think ouside the box and have a broad consideration for every possible cause. Each cause needs a specific treatment plan. All causes need to be addressed in order to have a successful outcome. The causes of low energy, fatigue, and stress come from 3 broad categories: infections, deficiencies, and toxic or inflammatory triggers. Infections are one of the most common cause. There may not be an obvious infection and more obscure chronic infections such as sinusities, Epstein bar Virus, and unseen dental infections may be draining energy away as your immune system is imbalanced. Multiple deficiencies in key nutrients and minerals, hormones, or sleep decrease energy production. Finally, toxic exposures from chemicals, food intolerances, and organ damage from inflammation also affect energy levels. When we find all the causes, we can then address each cause with a specific treatment and then we will see positive results. What I just described is the most efficient way for people to fix their low energy, fatigue, or stress and not waste time on treatments that do not work.
Therefore, if you’re still trying to fix your low energy, fatigue, or stress, it’s possible that you’re focused more on the treatments and not trying to locate the root causes and address each specific cause. If you think your’ve addressed all the causes of your low energy, fatigue, or stress, BUT you still have energy problems then: 1. You have not discovered all the causes or 2. You are taking ineffective treatments or 3. Your body is not ready for the treatments yet. We will discuss this in more depth later.
Next week, we will discuss the second myth, focus on symptoms, labs, and more on infections, deficiencies, and toxicities.
For those who may had some more trouble the past week relaxing and sleeping please feel free to download this handout on insomnia and mindfullness (see the link below in the written blog or go to www.allfunctionalhealth.com/blog).
In regards to updates on COVID19 some interesting findings and articles have reported several cases of Covid-19 reinfection. The first confirmed case of COVID -19 reinfection was widely reported on August 24, 2020 and involved a 33 year old man first infected in late March and then had quote reinfected end quote 4 and a half months later while traveling in Europe. It was found on RNA sequencing of the virus from the 2 infections that they were different so that his second infection was from a slightly mutated variant so technically a second infection but not by the exact same virus. He actually was asymptomatic the second time which was thought to bode well for the body's immune system to provide protection from a second exposure. Other case reports were from Belgium and another from the Netherlands with similar outcomes. But then there was a report from a Nevada where a 25 year old Reno man contracted COVID-19 a second time but his second episode was much worse and he ended up hospitalized although not on a ventilator. This has of course caused concern because he didn't follow the comforting pattern of having some protection by his immune system after his first exposure. It is known from other respiratory viruses like the coronaviruses that initial antibody production may be high, low, or nonexistant. We also know that there are other parts of the immune system at work like white blood cells called T - cells, or T4 helper cells that can induce antibody production or activate other immune defenses and that some of these cells retain memory of past infections so that they can ramp up quickly to similar future infections. If antibodies are made during an infection we know levels go done after the infection and appears to be undectable after 2-4 months in most cases. It is assumed the T-cells with memory of how to deal with the virus either from antibodies or other immune defenses are available for rapid mobilization on a future exposure. This appears to be consistent with the other 3 case reports. But even with the T helper cells we know for example in the flu, immunity can be variable from as short as a few months to as long as 3 years and with new mutations and variations flu shots are given yearly to boost the immmune response. It is hoped that the Nevada case is an exception that he had a variance in his immune system but it's possible that we not only lose protective immunity with the loss of antibodies over time - perhaps 2 to 4 months, but that in some individuals a more vigorous response with a more serious infection could occur on the second exposure. This could also be due to a exposure to a more aggressive mutated form of the virus. More studies need to be done but this may mean that a single vaccine or even multiple vaccines given repeatedly may not be enough. Is is assumed herd immunity from 50-70% of the population would be protective but there may be many cases of reinfections along the way even with vaccines. The top 3 candidates are now in phase 3 human trials.
There may be an alternative. UCSF is working on a antibodies that bind to the spike protein on the coronavirus. This spike protein is like a key that fits into the lock of our ACE2 receptors on the cells of our lungs and respiratory system. With the spike protein, the virus gets access through the cell wall and into factory of our cells allowing the virus to hijack the cell into producing millions of copies of itself to spread to other cells. Binding the spike protein distorts and renders the key useless and the virus doesn't get into the cells and there is no infection. These antibodies can be administered through an inhaler, much like the ones asthmatics use. If we can prevent the spread of the virus through widespread use of these antibodies we can hopefully eliminate enough suscepible human hosts so the virus cannot replicate itself and achieve an artificial herd immunity. Human phase 3 trials may begin this fall. Please the blog on AeroNabs on our website www.allfunctionahealth.com/blog.
If you have comments, questions, or want to learn how functional medicine can help with improving your gut, maintaining brain health, and optimizing immune function call our office at (925) 736-9828 or email email@example.com.
For more information on supplements to boost your immune system click on this link, or call our office at (925) 736-9828, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take Care and Stay Healthy.
Jeffrey Mark, M.D.