Symptoms of a Toxic Terrain
At Apogee Wellness, we deeply empathize with our athlete patients. We consider ourselves life-long athletes, but our journey to thriving as athletes did not occur during our successful high school years or even the years running for D-1 college teams.
During those years, we found ourselves with a slew of symptoms, stress fractures, and even a diagnosis of Hashimoto's thyroiditis at the tender age of 19. How could this be? We were exceptional athletes with exceptional coaches and access to healthy food!
However, all the healthy, nutrient-dense food within our reach, recovery tools, and physical therapy could not improve our experience up to that point. Why??
The relentless pursuit of why led us down the path to becoming functional doctors. We tirelessly pursue the “why” for our patients as well, which frequently points us to our patients’ terrain.
Last week, we discussed how our body works like a biodome similar to the cult classic movie, Bio-Dome (grossly overselling the term “classic” here). Everything within your body works naturally in harmony with one another to maintain an efficient, mutually beneficial homeostasis. That is until invaders find their way into this perfect system and disrupt the harmonious symphony.
While we athletes may think we are literally immune to such toxic burdens due to our “healthy” body and lifestyle, our belief in that statement is more delusional than Bert Kreisher believing he can make it to the Olympics in high jump. He’s funny, but that’s a joke!
Athletes do not live in a bubble, so they too get exposed to contaminated water, food, cleaning products, heavy metals, toxic cosmetics, parasites, bacteria, fungi - you get the picture. On top of that, athlete’s bodies experience more stress than the average person due to intense training. As a result, an athlete's system enters into a fight or flight response frequently, sending energy and other resources to extremities leaving the organs responsible for detox, rest, and recovery vulnerable to the disruptive jerks that threaten to raid the terrain.
Commonly, athletes believe that just eating “clean” will solve all their problems and prevent a toxic terrain. Unfortunately, our food’s nutritional value contains only a small fraction of the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids historically found in our food. In addition, our overall toxic burden far exceeds what our ancestors were exposed to in their lifetime. Therefore, we all struggle to get enough vitamins, minerals, and amino acids in our diet to sustain an acceptable homeostasis no matter how perfect of a diet.
Endurance athletes, now, we are a different breed of human. We put the “endure” in endurance, for God’s sake! We are tough ol’ mothers! You feel me?
Unfortunately, we also can put the “fart” in fartlek… Raise your hand if you’ve ever found yourself sprinting into a field to relieve a sudden onset of diarrhea and contemplating dragging your bum on the ground like a dog with worms.
Our community of athletes find this behavior acceptable, normal, and a rite of passage. However, these events should not be ignored. Athletes often ignore a plethora of aches, pains, plateaus, and bouts of fatigue.
The body subtly sends smoke signals alerting its distress. Instead of trying to read the smoke signals, we roll on because we are the civilian SEAL team member of one. We trained for this!
When the smoke signals ignite into flames, no one is more shocked at the structure fire than an endurance athlete. The perception of an endurance athlete’s acceptable level of tolerance coupled with the lack of accurate information available to athletes puts the athlete in a difficult situation.
Suddenly, the athlete feels like they are trying to conquer a high-level difficulty escape room in a building that just caught fire and all the outside hint-givers fled. Unfortunately, in today’s limited conventional medicine world, it’s hard to find a qualified arson investigator to determine how this fire actually started let alone how to treat and prevent it.
Being your own investigator certainly helps. The following describes the symptoms associated with the nasty B’s we see in our office most regularly that wreak havoc in the terrain of our athletes.
Babesia, Malaria’s ugly cousin, is the dirty rotten B that often shows up as low back pain in our athletes. Symptoms of babesia include autoimmune issues and kidney dysfunction.
Your kidneys balance the body’s fluids, filter blood - aiding in the body’s detox function, and secretes a hormone that produces red blood cells, so the proper functioning of this vital organ is crucial to your performance, homeostasis, and overall health.
The dysfunction of the kidneys will lead to a cascade of symptoms. Given the kidney’s role in RBC production, athletes will find their body doesn’t recover well and starts to adapt to a low oxygen environment becoming more acidic. Often, our patients with Babesia develop anemia and a B-12, copper, choline, folate, and betaine deficiencies. In addition, the waste byproduct of Babesia causes lymphatic congestion resulting in body pains.
The sneaky B, Borrelia, has a street name of “The Great Imitator.” Borrelia, a spirochete bacterium, burrows into tissues, muscles and discs with its corkscrew shape.
I don’t know about you, but Borrelia just took my appreciation of wine bottle openers down a couple notches.
The big bad B, Borrelia, causes Lyme disease, which mimics a number of diseases, so doctors often overlook Borrelia as the root cause of a myriad of symptoms. Lyme disease is commonly misdiagnosed as Lupus. Both Lyme and Lupus symptoms include fever, skin conditions, joint pain, and fatigue.
Borrelia toxicity symptoms we see in our athletes include the following:
Other misdiagnosis of Borrelia includes:
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Again, The Great Imitator is not the greatest form of flattery when it comes to Borrelia. You want to work with a practitioner that is skilled at unearthing and identifying this elusive B.
Borrelia’s best friends called co-infections include another destructive B, Bartonella. Bartonella is like Alan in The Hangover movie. Because of him, you’re missing a tooth and can’t remember what you did the previous night.
Bartonella penetrates the cell wall unlike other vector-borne bacteria. In doing so, Bartonella changes the behavior of the cells. The cells will actually protect the bacteria at this point by creating a protective cyst.
So, this little B invades your house and talks your body into providing an entourage! The nerve! Literally, the nerve!
Cysts from Bartonella wreak havoc on your organs such as your reproductive organs and liver. Other conditions such as varicose veins, endocarditis, lymphedema, and neuroretinitis.
Common symptoms of Bartonella include the following:
Streaked rash that resembles stretch marks from pregnancy
Swollen glands around the head, neck, and arms
Less common symptoms include:
Anemia or low platelets
Bone pain mainly in the back, neck, and shoulders
Cognitive, psychological, and neurological symptoms
Difficulty swallowing and excessive thirst
New or persistent dry cough
Pain along the bra strap line
Small skin bumps
The three B’s discussed here form the tip of the iceberg. We frequently clear heavy metal toxicity, parasites, environmental toxins and more from our athletes. The symptoms and conditions range from similar symptoms listed above to bloating, leaky gut, IBS, bad breath, bad body odor, etc.
Have you ever patronized your favorite grocery store right after a run and wondered why everyone there smelled like a hobo? Only to eventually realize, you were the source of said smell? Yeah, that’s a tough realization. It’s also an alarming sign of a toxic terrain.
The key to any imbalance in your terrain is first admitting you have a problem. As stated above, endurance athletes inherently endure. They tape up and ship out every day. Whatever they deal with, it’s nothing that a handful of ibuprofen and an ice bath can’t mask.
Unfortunately, that mask prevents you from reaching your potential. That mask hides problems that do not simply disappear - they spread and morph into debilitating, chronic problems.
Those debilitating, chronic problems have their own byproduct called emotions. Emotions are energy forms that may block your body’s ability to heal, create added stress, and manifest into additional physical problems.
At Apogee Wellness, we use techniques that detect the shifty, sly troublemakers that plague our athletes and use noninvasive, herb-formulated supplements to disarm and bounce these unwanted toxins right out of their bodies.
In addition, we facilitate the emotional healing needed to promote wellness. We further connect our patients with resources that bring about healing on all levels.
We know the pain, both physically and emotionally that comes from toxic terrains. We were the athletes that felt deflated, defeated, helpless and hopeless. We hope that our pain is your gain, and you all benefit from our experiences to thrive as life-long athletes and humans on this earth.
Contact us today to start your Apogee Wellness journey!