Content provided by
Keesha Ewers PhD, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C
Peter Kan, D.C.
How to Avoid Falling into the Rabbit Hole of Toxic Intolerance
“Illness is not bad. Illness is just a signal for you to be aware that things are changing in your body and you should probably change your behavior or approach so you get a different result.” – Dr. Peter Kan, RAD Summit Series
Another discourse is about to open in the Reverse Autoimmune Diseases (RAD) Summit Series, tackling the topic of intolerance and how people affected by this condition can get out of this situation. The whole topic would revolve about the root causes of autoimmune diseases and its practical solutions. Well-known doctors, Dr. Keesha Ewers and Dr. Peter Kan led the interview with their sharp discussion about the matter.
The following talk would also tackle the four corner pieces of the puzzle that are the root causes of autoimmune disease. One being genetics, one being one’s gut health, another being stress and past trauma. The fourth one being the corner piece that has to do with toxic exposure and one’s body’s ability to rid itself of that toxic burden of multiple chemical sensitivity.
What is down the rabbit hole of this disease?
Dr. Keesha opens the discourse starting with a patient being intolerant to everything and how it just becomes worse to the point of not knowing what to do. Just like being stuck in the rabbit hole. She converses with Dr. Peter Kan, a doctor board-certified in several fields of medicine, and the creator of the neurometabolic integration functional medicine programs, says that the following situation is a very common thing to hear from people with autoimmune disease.
There is a clarification about this medical problem. When one becomes more and more intolerant to the things around them, like being vulnerable to the risks such as environmental chemical exposure, toxicity, or even food, it’s not that you’re exposed to more toxins necessarily. It can vary from people to people and how it is impacting you would revolve about awareness.
Dr. Kan explained at the start of the interview that it is true that our environment is toxic and we have so many things around us that we need to be aware of to reduce exposure. It is possible when you have increasing adverse reactions to food or to chemicals around you, then it’s not the fact that you’re exposed to more chemicals but maybe consider the potential that you’re just becoming intolerant to them.
That intolerance determines your threshold for how well you’re gonna hold up in the presence of ever-increasing environmental exposure.
The corner pieces of the puzzle causing autoimmune disease
Dr. Ewers mentioned at the start of the RAD summit series the pieces of the puzzle which contributes greatly to the cause of autoimmune disease. Listed below are the following factors:
Genetically, some hosts of the disease just don’t tolerate stuff very well. According to Dr. Kan, in opposite situations, some people tolerate it like a champ. There you have hosts who smoke and drink and do drugs, and they’re just fine. And some other host makes everything organic yet, they still get cancer.
It always comes back to epigenetics and what you can do to change your body’s response to it. Understanding your body’s reactions to certain foods or chemical exposures is really important because in the genetic component, people say, their whole life they are doing fine, and now all of a sudden they’re one of the chemically intolerant patients.
In terms of epigenetic, the more exposure to things then you may be gradually ramping up certain gene activity. So then, eventually you get to the point where you do get that epigenetic expression, and now you express disease. Be it having severe symptoms from allergic reactions or, for example, anything that will lead to chemical intolerances.
There’s this understanding that there’s a progression of disease that starts with an imbalance, and at first, starts in an area in the body and then it starts to spread, discussed by Dr. Ewers.
People don’t identify it in Western medicine until you’re at about stage four of six. So you’ve had these little imbalances and significant changes that have gone along that you’ve been able to, kind of, like fatigue, drink coffee, where some of the smaller, quieter symptoms have been happening that you have an imbalance, but you don’t have the current knowledge to recognize the language of the body that’s trying to alert you.
This is where the host starts to lose tolerance to chemicals, then what happens is your threshold to be able to compensate and not have symptoms starts to decrease. The next time the person gets exposed to the same amount of chemicals, their response may be exaggerated. So this may explain why people feel out of their ordinary, such as having high tolerance to certain chemicals like the smell of Clorox or cologne, but now they can’t.
While in terms of food sensitivity, there is a loss of barrier integrity or a loss of tolerance once people start to be intolerant to a whole list of foods. Subjecting to various health problems such as food allergy. The degree of how well you tolerate things in your environment and the things that you eat, anything that you put into your body, basically, either by inhalation or by putting on your skin barrier, or by putting in your mouth, it’s all determined by your barrier integrity.
The Significance of Barrier Integrity
A decrease in barrier integrity will result in problems with one’s tolerance. Remember, all the barriers are kind of connected to each other, not just like in a functional way, but literally, anatomically speaking.
As Dr. Kan elaborates, the most affected areas in this medical issue are your gut barrier, lung barrier, blood-brain barrier, and obviously your skin as it is a barrier as well. According to him, when people have this loss of tolerance, they become more sensitive to various things in the environment and it can become a mystery.
This mystery arises to multiple questions like: “I used to be okay”, “what’s changed?” and etc.
Some people catch these changes through gradual accumulation. This is where it gets to the tipping point where your immune system just throws hands up and now it becomes dysregulated, and a big part of that dysregulation is caused by this loss of barrier function.
An example provided by Dr. Kan: ‘You get chronic exposure to environmental chemicals for decades. It gradually wears off your immune tolerance and damages your barrier. Resulting to the point where your barrier is completely compromised and you get dysregulation.’
Healing Your Barrier
Not all people combat their deteriorating tolerance in a proper way. Dr. Ewers and Dr. Kan shared that some hosts of this medical issue use approaches that are way too harmful which results in more risk and undesirable outcomes.
How you approach your barrier is really essential. In line with what Dr. Ewers said in the discourse: when it comes to healing your barrier, you come into it with this sort of collaborative, compassionate curiosity with your body, instead of a combative one, which poses a greater risk, to regulate your immune response.
Keesha Ewers, PhD, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C
Welcome back to the Reverse Autoimmune Disease Summit Series, everybody. I’m Dr. Keesha Ewers. And of course, here joining me for the fourth iteration of the RAD summit series. This is the autoimmune detox portion of it where we talk about the four corner pieces of the puzzle that are the root causes of autoimmune disease, one being genetics, one being your gut health, another being stress and past trauma. And then, of course, that fourth one being the corner piece that has to do with toxic exposure and your body’s ability to rid itself of that toxic burden. And so I’m really delighted to bring to you today, Dr. Peter Kan, who supports and manages patients with chronic conditions using a comprehensive approach, by merging the exciting advances of functional neurology and functional medicine.
He’s board-certified in integrative medicine, functional medicine, and a board-certified chiropractic neurologist. He’s the creator of the neurometabolic integration functional medicine program that identifies the root cause of autoimmune and other chronic conditions. Over 5,000 patients from across the country have come to seek out his holistic approach that’s changing the lives of those suffering from chronic conditions. Dr. Kan was born in Taiwan and immigrated to the United States at the age of 13 and has a deep appreciation of the Eastern wisdom and Western advances in natural healthcare. He believes in the God-given ability of the body to heal and regulate itself. We’re going to be talking today about how sometimes people with chronic issues, like autoimmunity, can get really lost down the rabbit hole of toxicant intolerance. So welcome to the series, Dr. Kan.