The Healthy Melissa's Blog

My journey into the world of Health,Wellness, and Functional Medicine

Category: Functional Medicine

Leaky Brain: The GABA Challenge

“There are a lot of people who have no ‘neurological disease’ but they have functional impairment of the brain and neurodegeneration. This means that the degeneration is there, but they’re not far along enough to be diagnosed as having a disease.” – Dr. Datis Kharrazian, June 2017

We all hear about “Leaky Gut” or the scientific name Increased Intestinal Permeability. But did you know that you can also have Leaky Brain and Leaky Lung? Basically anywhere that you have barriers, such as the Blood Brain Barrier or the tissue in the gut (endothelial tissue) (which is identical to that of the lungs). Inflammation tends to happen simultaneously in both areas. So ‘leaky lung syndrome,’ ‘leaky brain,’ & ‘leaky gut syndrome‘ go hand in hand!

“Leaky Brain happens when the tight junctions and fragility of the blood-brain barrier become compromised and leaky.” -The International Journal of Molecular Science

What can cause a leaky blood brain barrier?

1. Inflammation. Brain on fire = Gut on fire. Leaky gut = Leaky Brain

Credit: Dr. Datis Kharrazian

2. Low antioxidants. Not having a diet high in fruits and vegetables, eating non-nourishing foods.

3. Low Glutathione levels. This is the most powerful antioxidant in your body. Glutathione has many roles in the body, such as participating in liver detoxification, helping to get rid of heavy metals in the body, protecting the blood brain barrier, anti-aging.

4. Eating wheat. Eating wheat/gluten literally destroys your brain tissue. Hundreds of documented studies have show the brain MRIs of white matter lesions in people eating wheat before and then after the healing of those lesions after being gluten free for 4-6 months.

5. Eating wheat!!!!!! *(I can’t stress this enough) Dr. Kharrazian conducted a study in 2013 showing that that the gluten in wheat LOOKS like cerebellar tissue and through “molecular mimicry” causes antibodies to a persons own cerebellum. The cerebellum controls coordination, balance and movement. There is no other food protein more devastating to the brain than gluten.

Quick test to show if you have weak/degenerating cerebellar function:

  1. Try to balance on one foot for a few seconds. First stand on your left foot only. Then stand on your right foot only. Are you easily able to balance? Do you fall to one side?
  2. Stand on each foot with your eyes closed and see if you are still able to balance.
  3. Walk heel to toe with out wavering or falling to one side. If you cannot take 3 steps then you have a cerebellar issue.
  4. Walk heel to toe with your eyes closed. If you cannot take 3 steps with out falling or wavering, you have a cerebellar issue.
  5. Try to coordinate the exact speed and timing of the right and left hands with repeated and alternating supination and pronation.

If you had any issue with doing those tests, you have degeneration of your cerebellum. You must stop eating wheat #1. And you need to strengthen the cerebellum by doing those exercises until you no longer fall over or are imbalanced.This creates neuroplasticity.

And if you still don’t think you should stop eating wheat:

You can try doing The Array 3 from Cyrex Labs, this tests the entire wheat proteome instead of just alpha gliadin (which is the most commonly tested part of wheat to determine if you have a wheat allergy. So if this comes back non reactive, you’re deemed “okay” totally neglecting all the other portions of wheat)

Transglutaminases are antibodies to your OWN tissues. The red circle is Transglutaminase 6, found in the cerebellar tissue. This is showing that every time this person eats wheat they are creating antibodies to their brain tissue. The blue circle is Gluteomorphins, which bind to the opioid receptors in the brain – actually causing you to become addicted to wheat and feel withdrawal symptoms when you stop eating it.

How to tell if you have a leaky blood brain barrier:

You can’t exactly tell if you have leaky brain, because you can’t FEEL it. There are no Nociceptors (pain fibers) in the brain. If you get a head ache, that is a vascular issue. We have to look at the whole picture of what is going on with the gut and also some questionnaires to determine what areas of the brain are degenerating.

One hypothesis that Dr. Datis Kharrazian touched on is the GABA Challenge.

Credit: Datis Kharrazian

GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter within the Central Nervous System (CNS) that reduces excitability in the CNS, and causes us to feel calm. It also plays a role in muscle tone.

  • (Side note: Ataxia is an “idiopathic” condition that is characterized by loss of muscle control, stiffness in muscles, unable to move. Studies have found that wheat can create confusion in the process that creates GABA, and cause antibodies to the enzyme responsible for the synthesis of GABA. ‘GAD 65 antibodies’.)

GABA is a relatively large molecule and should NOT pass through the blood brain barrier. So if you’ve ever taken GABA in pill form and it WORKED, you felt relaxed/sleepy….this means you have a leaky blood brain barrier. Not good!

The GABA Challenge is precisely this:

Credit: Datis Kharrazian

  1. On a night when you have nothing planned, take 1000mg of GABA
  2. Notice any unusual slowing down type feelings, tiredness, lethargy.
  3. Although rare, this response can happen too: feeling wired, excitation, agitation. This is still an indication of a compromised BBB.
  4. Any sort of change is an indication for damage to the BBB.

The protocol for repairing leaky brain is similar to that of repairing leaky gut.

1. Support the brain with nutrition. Absolute most important step is to remove inflammatory foods out of your diet.

2. Activate the vagus nerve with exercises such as singing, stimulating your gag reflex (do while brushing your teeth), and gargling water really violently for 5 minutes ’til you have tears coming out of your eyes and snot flowing!

3. Exercises to increase brain function

4. Take anti-inflammatory supplements and spices or eat them in food form. Resveratrol and Turmeric. These work to dampen inflammation in both gut and brain.

5. Aloe vera – Eating Aloe repairs mucosal lining (remember gut on fire = brain on fire)

6. Take probiotics (not cultured on dairy) – Think of the Gut – Brain axis. They are one.

7. EPA/DHA – DHA is a key part of BBB integrity. Consuming fish or a fish oil (or plant based source of DHA if you’re not into fish). 2-3 months of consuming hydrogenated fatty acids, your cell membranes become more rigid. Switching to high quality oils/fatty acids like EPA/DHA causing the cell membranes to be more fluid and carry nutrients more optimally. This impacts the BBB.

8. Doing brain exercises for memory and cognition:

– Matching card games, memory apps such as Brain Trainer, Vismory, Icue Memory, Memory Boost, Memory Pro, Memory Mice IQ Brain Teaser



The Role of Brain Chemistry and The Physiological Impact by Datis Kharrazian

How To Test Yourself To See If Your Body Is Too Acidic

Hello Everyone! This is an easy, at home test that you can do to determine if your body is overall too acidic or not.

But first, let me explain how the Acid / Base scale works:

The pH scale goes from 0 – 14.

A pH of 7 is considered Neutral. 

Anything less than 7 is acidic

Anything greater than 7 is alkaline/basic

The normal pH of human blood is about 7.4, so it’s not extremely alkaline. Different parts of the body have different pH’s. Stomach acid has the pH of about 2, super acidic so that it can be able to denature your food. We don’t want our bodies to be TOO acidic or TOO alkaline, this can cause death.

What are the dangers of being too acidic?

Dr. Alex Vasquez shared a position paper on urinary alkalization written by emergency room physicians. These doctors worked with suicide patients that had been acutely poisoned or had cases of industrial poisoning. ER physicians found that when urinary pH was 7.5 (alkaline), the body was able to excrete toxins more readily.

When our bodies are too acidic, we have more incidence of:

  1. Lower functioning immune system
  2. Risk of cancers
  3. Overall poorer health
  4. Osteoporosis and Osteopenia

If you put cancer cells in a petri dish containing an alkaline environment, the cancer cells would die. Cancer and illness can only live in an acidic environment.

What causes our bodies to become acidic?

  • Stress. Stress increases the production of stress hormones such as cortisol , Interleukin-6, which can turn on inflammatory cascades in the body. Constant cortisol secretion can cause weight gain, more food sensitivities (because it deteriorates the gut lining), and sleep disorders (more things too).Blood tests show that a chemical called Interleukin-6 sharply increased in the blood of those who are stressed. Previous studies have associated IL-6 with several diseases, including heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, type-2 diabetes and certain cancers. More detrimental is that the increase in IL-6 can be turned on for up to 3 years after a highly stressful and chronic situation.
  • Diet. Not eating enough vegetables and fruits is the #1 contributor to an acidic environment. Eating grains, wheat, sugar (not fruit), processed foods, dairy, very non-nourishing foods can cause the leaching of calcium from bones to buffer the acidic environment and lead to osteoporosis. Especially with dairy! Dairy is highly acidic in the body, and several studies have confirmed that dairy does not prevent bone loss or make your bones strong. It actually does the opposite, and more incidents of osteoporosis is actually seen in countries that consume more dairy. Alcohol is another thing that when overindulged can do a lot of damage.
  • Mood. Studies also show that when you are a more pessimistic person, negative in nature or hold a lot of anger, it causes your body to have a lower functioning immune system. On the contrary, having an attitude of gratitude actually improves the regulatory T-cell function in your immune system.
  • Emotions. If you watch a scary movie and you’re feeling afraid, you will temporarily become acidic. If you see someone get hit by a car, boom acidic. If you are anxiety ridden or thinking so many overwhelming thoughts, you will drop down into acidic. We really don’t realize how powerful our mind is and how it can master us if we do not master it first.

Okay, now that we are all clear on what creates an acidic environment, lets move onto the test!


This is the chart that you will use for the reference ranges.

You will need: 

-pH Strips

         – 1 Tbsp of lemon juice in like 3 oz of water

– A stop watch.

– The chart above.

How it works:

  1. Start by taking 1 strip of the pH paper and placing the yellow side down on top of your tongue, close your mouth for 5 seconds. Make sure the yellow part is fully saturated with your saliva.
  2. Pull the strip out and match the color to the colors on the bottle of the pH strips. This is your starting pH.
  3. Now take the water mixed with 1 tbsp of lemon and drink it. Take another pH strip and place it on top of your tongue again as you did before. This is your pH after you have challenged it with acid. This will temporarily drop your pH down (which is what we want.)
  4. Now, start your stopwatch. You will wait 1 minute from the time you tested your pH after drinking the lemon, and then test your pH again with another strip.
  5. You are going to continue to do this for a total of 5 minutes. Record your pH results each time you do this.
  6. At the end of the test, if you pH is following the red line or above it, you have a good buffering system. Your body is not too acidic! Congratulations! If your pH is not good, and you dropped off after a certain point, you have some opportunities here.

What to do if you are too acidic:

  • First, assess your diet and lifestyle. Are you consuming enough fruits and vegetables? How are you at managing your stress? Do you find ways to relieve your stress? Do you drink lemon/lime water often? Do you smoke cigarettes or over drink? Do you eat too much sugar in the form of processed foods or grains/dairy? Do you live on coffee?
  • These are all pertinent questions that you need to ask yourself. The diet is  first and foremost the biggest thing that can contribute to being too acidic. I can suggest supplements to help you, but if you are unwilling to change any of these factors – it’s not going to work. It’ll be like throwing a bucket of water on a house fire.

If you turned out to be too acidic, don’t freak out! This is just an area that we have an opportunity to improve : )

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it!


Thermography: Detecting breast cancer many years earlier than Mammography

“Thermography measures the temperature of the breast and there is no need for any mechanical pressure or ionizing radiation.” – John Gofman, MD, nuclear physicist, & one of the worlds leading experts on radiation damage.

This is a comparison of my thermography’s done in 2008 and 2016. I’ve been doing thermography scans since I was 17 years old, never once have I had a mammogram. When I posted this photo on my instagram, this post alone got the attention of over 6,000 people. I was astounded at the number of people who had never even heard of thermography! Thermography’s been around for about 30+ years and has thousands of peer reviewed studies, proving its efficacy as a safe and effective screening tool.

Not only is thermography able to detect breast cancer  years earlier than mammography, but it can detect ANY inflammation in the body ANYWHERE. Inflammation is the beginning of disease and imbalance. Once we can identify the area of dysfunction, we can pin point how to heal it through functional medicine.

Mammograms squish and compress your breast, shooting radiation into the breast – which raises the risk of breast cancer by 1% for each mammogram that is had. With thermography, there is no compression or radiation – nothing touches you. It is a digital infrared camera that takes a picture of your body heat.

The reason why I can claim that Thermography IS early detection and ACTUALLY PREVENTATIVE is because cancer is detected when it has only multiplied to about 256 cells. Whereas with Mammography, cancer is detected at over 4 BILLION CANCER CELL. At this point, this is not even preventative. This is just telling you that you have a tumor.

Active breast cancer cells double every 90 days, causing inflammation, which is our body’s physiological response to this abnormal process. Our immune system has failed… from either an acidic environment caused by poor nutrition, too much estrogen, hormonal imbalance, or genetic pre-dispositions that are triggered by our own diet and lifestyles. Abnormal vascularity will begin in the breasts in order to feed, nourish, oxygenate and support the growing tumor. This all takes place at under 300 cancer cells. This is when thermography can see those changes that are taking place.
OR, you could do your typical conventional standardized “gold standard” tests, and wait until you have over 4 BILLION cancer cells in that tumor, when a mammogram will finally see it.

It’s important to realize that a negative mammogram cannot be equated with a clean bill of health. All a negative mammogram can tell you is that IF you do have cancer, it hasn’t grown large enough yet to be detected. This is particularly true for women with dense breast tissue. 49% of women have high breast tissue density, and mammography’s sensitivity for dense breasts is as low as 27 percent—meaning about 75 percent of dense-breasted women are at risk for a cancer being missed if they rely solely on mammography. Even with digital mammography, the sensitivity is still less than 60 percent. ” – Donna Tomey of Thermography First, LLC

Lymphatic Congestion:

Lymphatic congestion before & after lymphatic massage:

If you have tenderness and pain in the armpit area, you may have lymphatic congestion. The lymphatic system runs from your brain to your toes & is like your body’s sewage system. If you are congested, you are not ridding your body of toxins! This system requires movement to get the sewage circulating out of the body. When there is stagnation, there is congestion in the lymph nodes (such as in the groin, under arms and sides of the throat). Often times the tumors that are removed from breasts contain the same chemicals as in deodorants.

  • Chemical deodorants can contribute to congestion by clogging the pores with aluminum and other chemicals that have been linked to cancer. Ditch the chemical deodorant and go for a natural one. I use ‘MOVE’ by HealthJunkieJess @ (It’s not one of those deodorants that puts a pine scent over the sweat.)
  • Dry skin brushing can also help to move the lymphatic system
  • Lymphatic massage is amazing and can really help to clear up congestion within a few sessions. I recommend Fia –
  • Drinking half your body weight in ounces of pure water each day. Water helps your body to flush out toxins more easily.
  • Exercise stimulates the lymphatic system to move all the sewage and excrete it out. It also makes you sweat, which helps to release toxins.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Inflammatory Breast Cancer is the most rare and deadly form of all breast cancers. Unfortunately, it is also still widely unknown of all breast cancers too.

Donna Tomey of Thermography First, LLC allowed me to repost this woman’s case:

“A client of mine last year had a rash on her breast and her doctor told her it was a bug bite that became infected, and gave her months of antibiotics. When it had not gotten any better, she came to me because she did not want to do a mammogram with the ‘infection’. Her breast was deformed from what she thought was the ‘breast infection’. She was already at Stage 4, and didn’t even know it.”

Donna explains that the first signs of IBC are:

  • Thickening or dimpling of the breast
  • Inversion of the nipple
  • A rash or bump on breast that will not go away or seems to be spreading
  • Swelling or change in the size of one or both breasts

There is usually NO palpable tumor with IBC. Can you imagine this woman doing a mammogram? Squeezing and compressing her completely inflammed breast?  IBC spreads and metastasizes like wild fire and will not be touched by doctor unless forced to do chemotherapy first. Thermography is the ONLY imaging modality that can see IBC in its most earliest stages.


Images of a client who had a stroke on the entire right side of her body. You can see the difference in both sides, the right side is clearly colder (blue/black, which in this client indicates nerve damage and peripheral circulatory disorder)

  • Stroke happens when the brain is deprived of blood. What carries the blood to the brain? The carotid artery. The carotid artery is the largest vessel that supplies blood to your brain. If there is inflammation/blockages, it can result in a stroke.
  • Thermography can show you inflammation in the carotid artery years before it becomes a stroke.

Inflammation in the Carotid Artery

This person has a huge risk factor for a stroke because of this inflammation in their carotid artery.

The Importance Of Returning For Your 3 Month Follow Up:

1st scan – ok

3 month follow up – abnormal changes occuring

After detoxing and supplementation, her thermography returning to normal.

This is precisely why you it is vital to return for your 3 month follow up. Because cancer cells double every 90 days! This woman thankfully did her 3 month follow up and was able to catch her abnormal/suspicious activity before it turned into cancer.

Oral Health & Heart Disease Connection:

This patient with a hypothermic asymmetry over the left lower chest has a history of coronary heart disease (CAD) . He also has an abscess at the upper left tooth.

  • Thousands upon thousands of studies have linked oral disease to systemic disease. Inflammation is a well known disease causing force, and gum disease and other oral diseases produce chronic low-grade inflammation in your body. According to Dr. Gery Curatola, a biological dentist:

“This inflammation has very, very deleterious effects on just about every major organ system – from Alzheimer’s to stroke, heart disease, and diabetes,” Dr. Curatola explains.

  • Gum disease can raise your risk of a fatal heart attack up to 10 times. According to Dr. Curatola, if you get a heart attack related to periodontal or gum disease, nine times out of 10, it will actually kill you.

Autoimmune/Immune Dysfunction:

The green circle just below the neck signals a good, balanced functioning immune system.

The blue/cool spot below the neck signals an immune imbalance or weakened immune system. Through blood work you would be able to tell exactly what it is.

Diabetic Neuropathy/Nerve Dysfunction:

Two different people with diabetes and diabetic nerve pain. The white and red spots are the most inflammed.


Ending Thoughts:

  1. Mammograms are NOT early detection, nor are they prevention. They are detection once you have a tumor. How many women do you know who gets their mammograms faithfully every year and then have the nasty surprise of  being diagnosed with breast cancer? How many women get their mammograms and it misses their cancer?
  2. Thermography sees the physiological process of cancer….inflammation, vascular changes, pattern changes, blood vessel development – which precede and support active tumor growth.
  3. Ditch the chemical deodorant !

To Find A Local Thermographer In Your Area: go to

If you are in South Florida: I recommend Donna Tomey @

Leaky Gut: How to test for it & How to heal it

Increased Intestinal Permeability, or “Leaky Gut,” is the name for when the tight junctions in your gut lining break apart and allow all kinds of food particles and antigens to cross through, that are normally too big to cross through your gut lining.

Why You Should Care About This:

In hundreds of peer reviewed studies, Leaky Gut has been linked to Cancer, Chronic Systemic Inflammation on a cellular level, Crohn’s Disease, development of Auto-Immune Diseases, Bowel and Intestinal Diseases, Parkinson’s Disease, Constipation, Food Sensitivities/Allergies, SIBO, Acid Reflux, Bloating…the list goes on.

Over 70 million people in the United States have Gut/Digestion issues. These can range from:

-Bloating after you eat a meal (No, bloating is not normal. You’re never supposed to feel bloated after you eat food.)
-Constipation (or alternating between diarrhea and constipation)
-Not going to the bathroom every day – yes you should go every single day.
-Ulcers or Gastritis
-Acid reflux / laryngopharyngeal reflux / GERD (all the same root cause)
-Excessive Belching after a meal
-Excessive Gas after you eat
-Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
-Food Sensitivites/Allergies
-Candida overgrowth or yeast infections

A lot of these gut issues that plague 70 million Americans seem to be similar to the issues that having Leaky Gut can cause. *BING* Lightbulb moment.

How The Immune System Works:

Oral tolerance is the state of local and systemic immune unresponsiveness to the foods you eat. Simply put, Oral Tolerance is like the super power your immune system has. This super power is to not react negatively react to what foods you put in your mouth.

When you have “lost” oral tolerance, this means that your immune system is severely dysregulated and you’re reacting to everything you’re eating. This can be evidenced by how many foods you react to on a food sensitivity test. If you react to almost everything, then the test is no longer a measure of what you can and can’t eat – it is a measure of oral tolerance.

Regulatory T Cells are the cells that determine what foods you are going to react to or not. When these guys become dysregulated, they begin reacting to almost everything that you eat and this contributes to leaky gut, creates more allergies, auto-immune issues, rashes, asthma, and over all lowered immune function against viruses and bacteria.

What Can Trigger An Immune Response To A Food?

For your immune system to not react to a food/antigen, it must be broken down to less than 5,000 Daltons. (A Dalton is a specific kind of measurement, such as an inch or millimeter that we use to describe distance. A Dalton is a measurement of a particle size.)
So, your food must be broken down by Hydrochloric acid that is in your stomach, and it must be broken down less than 5,000 Daltons. If it is not broken down that small, your immune system will send out cells that tag this food you just ate as a foreign invader. And then other cells come out and destroy this invader – which creates a cascade of inflammation and immune activation. This also creates a memory for any time in the future that you eat this specific food, your immune system will go out and attack it again. While your immune system is busy fighting off these foods, this leaves an opening for viruses and bacteria to sneak through the gates and wreak havoc. Your immune system is so busy with the food that it doesn’t see the viruses and bacteria as quickly. Boom, you get sick. You get cold sores often, you have a weaker functioning immune system.


How Can I Find Out If I Have Leaky Gut?

Above is a sample of a person’s leaky gut test, Green is negative. Yellow and Red mean Positive for antibodies and confirm that you have leaky gut. – This Lab tests for antibodies to different parts of your intestinal barrier as well as the bacterial endotoxin that is only present IF you have leaky gut. If you have any of the follow markers present, it indicates the breakdown of a healthy intestinal barrier, which allow the penetration of large antigenic molecules to travel where they should not be.

A little more detail on the anatomy of your gut lining: The gut is comprised of “The Actomyosin Network” which is a complex protein that regulates intestinal barrier function by maintaining the plasticity of tight junctions.
Zonulin is a protein that regulates the permeability of the intestines.
Occludin is part of the main component of proteins that holds together the tight junctions of your gut lining.
The zonulin and occuludin are supposed to allow the tight junctions of your gut lining to open and close to allow things to pass through. But the problem is when the tight junctions are broken open and remain open constantly.
Lipopolysaccharides are large molecules found in gram-negative bacteria. These are endotoxins, and they can elicit a strong immune response. If these are present in your leaky gut test, this means that these endotoxins have infiltrated through the gut barrier and are now circulating in your body.

What If I Do This Test & I Have Leaky Gut?

Congratulations! You have identified the areas where you are “leaking” and now can pin point how to heal!

The #1 thing that you should do if you have leaky gut or any sort of GI/Neurological issues is……..GET OFF OF GLUTEN AND DAIRY. (See my previous post on how gluten & dairy can contribute to neurological disorders.)

The University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Research stated that “No one can properly digest gluten. We do not have the enzymes to break it down,”  “It all depends upon how well our intestinal walls close after we ingest it and how our immune system reacts to it.” His concern is that the gluten protein, which is abundant in the endosperm of barley, rye, and wheat kernels, is setting off an aberrant immune response.”

#1 It is vitally important you clean up your diet when you are trying to heal leaky gut. When you eat foods that you are sensitive to, the tight junctions of your gut lining break apart within 5 minutes after exposure. Stick to it, and don’t cheat, because you’re just cheating yourself out of health.

#2 Probiotics are essential to maintain a healthy gut microbiome. Everyone should be taking a probiotic – Ideally it should be one that is not cultured on Dairy. Kombucha is another source of probiotics, and any other fermented veggies.

#3 Prebiotics are the food for the probiotics.

#4 Aloe Vera. Aloe is extremely healing to your gut lining. It works instantly if you have a bout of acid reflux or gastritis. *Side note*: Acid reflux is caused because you do not have enough stomach acid to digest your foods – so your food is putrifying to digest itself. You actually need to take digestive enzymes, drink ACVinegar, Drink celery juice in the morning on an empty stomach to help rebuild your HCL. The stomach has an extremely acidic pH of 1-3. If you have reflux, your stomach is too alkaline.

I recommend Stockton Aloe 1 because it is organic, taken off of the leaf by hand instead of machine processed. When aloe is processed by machine it gets the skin in the mix and that is what can cause diarrhea.

#5 Collagen / Bone broth – Collagen hydrolysate is amazing for repairing mucosal linings, ligaments, tendons, hair, skin , nails. Also, bone broth is like liquid collagen. I recommend My Organic Juice to order the bone broth from. MOJ has the highest quality bones out there, grass fed and grass finished.

#6 Have an Attitude of Gratitude  Feeling happy, having a feeling of gratitude can increase regulatory T cell function. The opposite effect happens for depressed people.

#7 Vagal Nerve stimulation – In the brain, the Vagus Nerve helps control anxiety and depression. In the gut, it increases stomach acidity, digestive juices and  gut flow/motility.

Gargling with water for 5 minutes every day. The vagus nerve activates the in the back of the throat that allows you to gargle. Gargling contracts these muscles, which activates the vaguest nerve and stimulates the GI tract.

Stimulating your gag reflex with a tongue depressor. Start at the tip of your tongue and slowly inch the tongue depressor back towards your throat to facilitate a gag response.

#8 Vary Your Diet – Make sure you rotate your foods, meaning you do not eat the same thing every day. For example: if you eat eggs on Monday, you do not eat them again for 4 days later. Doing this will decrease your future development of more food sensitivities and allow your immune system to regulate its response to certain foods.

#9 Have Optimal Vitamin D Levels – In conventional medicine, the recommended vitamin D range is 20-50. In functional medicine, the range you want to be at for vitamin D is 70-80. Every cell in your body has receptors for vitamin D. Studies have shown that just by having adequate vitamin D levels you cut your risk for all kind of cancers by more than 50%. If you have an auto immune disease some functional medicine doctors could even recommend pushing your vitamin D levels a little greater than 80. Studies have also shown that having optimal levels of vitamin D make it easier for your body to shed fat. (Take 5,000 IUs per day, its a no brainer.)


Other Tests To Consider If You’re Just Not Convinced:

Array 3 – Wheat/Gluten Proteome Reactivity & Autoimmunity

  • This test all 23 proteins that the wheat protein is comprised of. Most doctors only test 3-4 of these to see if a person has antibodies or a sensitivity to wheat/gluten. If those come back negative, “you’re fine.” This is the true way to test for a gluten sensitivity.

Array 4 – Gluten-Associated Cross-Reactive Foods and Foods Sensitivity

  • This tests all the foods and grains that commonly cross react with gluten. Meaning, they look similar to gluten to your immune system.

Array 10 – Multiple Food Immune Reactivity Screen

  • This is the ultimate food sensitivity test. Almost all other food sensitivity tests out there test only raw food proteins. Aristo Vojdani, the most incredibly brilliant immunologist who developed this lab, has found that when foods are cooked, it changes the structure of food. He discovered that people can react to cooked and raw foods differently. This tests for sensitivity to the following foods cooked and raw: Dairy, Eggs, Grains, Beans, Nuts, Seeds, Fruits, Veggies, Fish, Seafood, Meats, Meat Glue, Herbs, Spices, Gums, Brewed Beverages and Additives.

You should check out their website and read about it for more information:


All of the supplements for healing leaky gut are available at Dr. Jack’s Wellness Center!

Are You Toxic? What Contributes To Faulty Liver Detoxification & What You Can Do About It

Human liver

Detoxification is a constantly active process that takes place in the GI tract, lungs, kidneys, skin and blood brain barrier. But 95% of the detoxification system happens within the liver.

Your liver is an organ that has the job of breaking toxins down into smaller molecules through 3 phases of detoxification, which allows your body to safely excrete them out  via urine, feces, and sweat.

The liver is hard at work anytime you:

  1. Rub lotions with petroleum/petrolatum/parabens/chemicals on your skin
  2. Eat conventional (non-organic) foods that contain pesticides
  3. Use plastic water bottles or containers (especially bad if you microwave them, or drink from them after they’ve been in the car.)
  4. Drive in a car (dashboards off gas Bromine which is a known thyroid disruptor)
  5. Swim in a chlorinated pool
  6. Put unsafe chemical laden makeup on your face (MAC is one of the worst!)
  7. Breathe polluted air (ex: China has the top deadliest polluted air)
  8. Take any medications (acetaminophen, tylenol, synthetic estrogens, anti-psychotics, pain killers, blood glucose regulators, statin drugs)
  9. Eat farm raised meats with antibiotics as opposed to grass-fed, wild, free range meats that are not given antibiotics.
  10. Drink polluted water
  11. Drink caffeine, alcohol
  12. Exposed to mold toxins, paint, solvents, dyes, perfumes, pain thinners, water-repellents, flame retardants, commercial detergents,
  13. Consume high fructose corn syrup
  14. Internally we also produce endotoxins: neurotransmitters, excess hormones, homocysteine, bacterial endotoxins  (LPS – affiliated with leaky gut).
  15.  Prolonged fasting or in a state of starvation. Toxins are stored in fat cells, so when you lose fat, all of those toxins come out at once. This is a heavy burden for the liver. If you release a load of toxins and not eating antioxidants via fruits and veggies, your liver suffers.

If we aren’t able to get rid of all these toxins that we are exposed to on a daily basis we are left with chronic illness. Each year, 2,000 new chemicals are introduced for use in everyday items including: foods, personal care products, prescription drugs, household cleaners, pesticides and lawn care products. That’s astounding isn’t it?

Bisphenol-A is one of the most common xenbiotics and known endocrine disruptors. It can mimic the effects of estrogen, it’s linked to cancer, liver inflammation, disrupts thyroid function and can cause fertility issues. BPA is a commercial plasticizer that is readily absorbed via the skin and intestinal cells. Roughly 8 billion pounds are produced every year (lining of canned foods, plastic water bottles, plastic containers) and more than 90% in the USA have measurable BPA levels in their body.


In Phase 1 of Liver Detox–Transformation phase: The goal is to break the toxin down  into a compound that is more water soluble so it can be excreted easier. But sometimes after that toxin is broken down,  it can be turned into something even more toxic than what it started out as.

In order for Phase 1 to work, you must have adequate levels of:

  • Riboflavin, Niacin, B6, B12, Folate, Glutathione, flavonoids, phospholipids and Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs). Without these, your liver will not be able to break down toxins right out of the gate.

A negative by product of Phase 1 detox is Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). These ROS damage cell membranes, DNA and can lead to cancer if they are not checked. Essentially, ROS are like a kid who will just keep eating  a bunch of candy without adult supervision. The kid will keep going without stopping until something really bad happens and he gets sick. Luckily, there is an antioxidant defense system that puts a stop to those nasty ROS.

In order for this antioxidant defense system to function optimally it needs the following nutrients:

  • Zinc, Manganese, Selenium, Copper. You can take a supplement but the best way to get all of these nutrients are from the right foods (which we will get to.)

In Phase 2 of Liver detox–Conjugation Phase: the goal here is to add another substance to the toxin (cysteine, glycine or sulphur) in order to reduce the reactivity of that super toxic intermediate metabolite that just came out of the Phase 1, so it can be eliminated from the body. There are about 6 processes that go on within Phase 2, but what you need to know is that

For Phase 2 to work properly it needs:

  • Glycine, Taurine, L-Glutamine, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), Cysteine and methionine. All of these are amino acids.

Phase 3 of Liver Detox —Transport phase: The main goal of this phase is to act as a barrier system against toxins from entering, as well as moving toxins in and out of the cells. These transporters are present in the liver, intestines, kidneys, and brain.

What Affects Our Ability To Detox?

  • Age: The older a person gets, the less ability they have to properly detox. I believe this is because we have done more damage to our bodies as an older person as opposed to a young child who is new to life.
  • Gender: Pre-menopausal women have more Phase 1 enzymes to efficiently detox vs. Menopausal women.
  • Genes: Genetic mutations are extremely common in liver detox pathways.
  • Diet: Charbroiled meats affect liver function. Not eating enough antioxidant filled fruits and vegetables
  • Environment: Firefighters/construction workers, careers that place you around paint, solvents, metal fumes. Home surroundings: pesticides, cleaning chemicals. Personal habits: Smoking, drinking, etc.
  • Medications: SSRI’s, antibiotisc, H2 blockers, inhibit phase 2 enzymes.

Manifestations of Detoxification Imbalances:

  1. Parkinson’s Disease
  2. Fibromyalgia
  3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  4. Multiple drug sensitivities
  5. Multiple chemical sensitivities
  6. Cancer
  7. Gilbert’s Syndrome
  8. Encephalopathy
  9. Pancreatitis
  10. Alzheimer’s Disease
  11. Hormonal Imbalance

What You Can Do:

  • Exercising & Weight loss: Exercise is so amazing for every system of the body. But do NOT lose weight too fast. Remember, xenobiotics and toxins are all stored in adipose tissue. If you lose more than 2lb/week, you will be overloading your body with toxins.
  • Drink half your body weight in ounces of pure water each day. Water allows your body to flush out toxins more readily.
  • Sweat it out: Infrared saunas & dry heat saunas help to eliminate toxins.
  • Protein: Low protein diets are associated with lower detox capacity. High Protein diets can overburden the detox system by excessive production of ammonia. So which type of protein should you choose?
    •  Animal proteins that are wild/free range/clean/not raised with hormones or antibiotics are rich in sulfur amino acids which are important for Phase 2 detox.
    • Plant proteins higher in methionine: sunflower seeds, Non-GMO oats, cashews, almonds. Plant proteins are rich in ellagic acid & fiber, which protects the liver and eliminates toxins. Fiber traps toxins and promotes elimination.
    • Plant proteins are also alkalizing, which promotes higher clearance of toxins in the liver.
    • Carbs to Eliminate: Gluten/Wheat as this causes leaky gut.
    • Non-starch Carbs: Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, kale, chicory root, bitter greens, beetroot, onions, garlic, all increase activity of Phase 1 enzymes. These also prevent against estrogen dependent cancers.
    • Fat: Eliminate trans fat, hydrogenated oils. Increase vitamin E, plant oils and fish oils, sardines, salmon, cod fish, olive oil.
    • Herbs: Turmeric (curcumin), Anise, caraway, celery seeds, cilantro, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, parsley, mint, all increase Glutathione levels which is the most powerful antioxidant in your body. Ginger increases antioxidant capacity
    • Herbs: Milk thistle, paprika, saffron, green tea, Garlic and Onions – all amazing for liver detoxing.

Superfoods & A Daily Detox Regimen:

  1. Probiotic – Absolutely everyone should be taking a probiotic everyday.
  2. Fiber: Non-GMO Oats, Flax meal, Chia seeds
  3. Chlorella & Spirulina
  4. Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, turnips, rutabaga, mustard greens, cauliflower
  5. Green tea
  6. Spice: Rosemary, garlic, curry, ginger
  7. Raspberries & Strawberries
  8. Dark Chocolate – at least 70%,
  9. Milk thistle
  10. NAC – This amino acid is the precursor to Glutathione, an extremely important antioxidant. Take 500-3,000 mg/day.
  11. Alpha-lipoic acid
  12. Vitamin D. You should have your levels checked. For optimal health they should be between 70-80.
  13.  Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Take a high quality fish oil every day, not one from a drug store. 1-3 g/day

Of course the goal is to always try and get these nutrients from food. But unfortunately our food quality is not what it used to be so that is where high quality supplements come in to bridge that gap. As always though, TEST, don’t GUESS.

Remember, the body is amazing and it can heal anything!   For a more individualized detox plan, you should consult with a functional medicine practitioner.

Never give up or lose sight of your goals ~










Pictures by:


Grant, D. M. (1991). Detoxification Pathways in the Liver. Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease, 421-430. doi:10.1007/978-94-011-9749-6_2

Hodges, R. E., & Minich, D. M. (2015). Modulation of Metabolic Detoxification Pathways Using Foods and Food-Derived Components: A Scientific Review with Clinical Application. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, 2015, 1-23. doi:10.1155/2015/760689



Diabetes Of The Brain: Are You At Risk?

Cog Impairmenet

How would you feel if I looked into a crystal ball and told you that you were definitely going to develop Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia? You would forget your loved ones, you’d forget who YOU are, and you would have your license taken away, your right to be independent, and have to resort to taking a bunch of medication every day to slow down your dying brain, all of this while you lay in a hospital bed? Not a great fortune to be told, right?

How would you feel if I told you that you have complete control of that by stopping the amount of sugar you are consuming every day?

Alzheimer’s Disease is being classified as Diabetes of The Brain or Diabetes Type 3. Did you realize that?

Your pancreas is an organ that puts out a hormone called Insulin. Every time you eat sugar, whether it be a banana, mango, bread, alcohol, pasta, piece of candy – WHATEVER, your pancreas secretes insulin to grab the sugar and store it away in your liver for energy, in your muscles – and then as FAT if you are not using the sugar.

What insulin also does is it patrols the tau protein and plaque in your brain. Insulin degrades these plaque/proteins that build up in the brain. When you are constantly eating sugar everyday, not exercising to burn off the excess sugar, the proteins and plaque go unchecked! They build and build and then BOOM your memory suffers, and you develop Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

Alz Brain

One teaspoon of sugar is equivalent to 4 grams. This is a good piece of information to keep in mind when you’re purchasing pre-packaged foods or drinks/teas/juices. If you’re eating a ton of sugar every single day, if you are a gluten junkie, if you’re eating tons of bread, pasta, cereals, rice every single day – look into that crystal ball my friend. What ever you do now echos in eternity. Just like whatever you eat now, will echo in your life as an older adult.

I was at a seminar on Brain Chemistry in February this year, and the speaker told me the average onset of Alzheimers Disease he sees in his clinic is 51 years old. So in 25 years, I could be suffering from full blown Alzheimer’s? That’s insane! That means that whatever I do right now is going to determine me getting that disease in 25 years.

What you can do:

downloadExercise: burn the excess sugar off. Sugar is inflammatory. High intensity Interval Training such as “Tabata Exercises” are the best exercise that oxygenates the brain and most efficiently helps the body in 4 minutes (who doesn’t have 4 minutes?).


Eat lots of fruits and vegetables (berries and apples are the lower glycemic ones).
Blueberries & black berries are amazing for improving cognitive function

-Take Acetyl L-Carnitine to support mitochondrial health, brain function and protects neuronal function.





dl202028Take Anti-inflammatory agents: such as Curcumin, Reseveratrol every day – your brain is inflammed if you have an form of cognitive impairment or neurological degeneration. The ideal curcumin to take is one that crosses the blood brain barrier. Curcumin and Resveratrol quell inflammation on a cellular level by inhibiting the inflammatory cascade caused by NF-kB. Once this becomes turned on, it is a self feeding loop of                 inflammation, but with those two anti-inflammatory agents, it is dampened.


omegapure-900-ec-90c_083115EPA/DHA – Those with cognitive impairment supplemented with Omega 3 Fatty Acids and demonstrated less neuronal loss and improved cognitive function.

-Do something different every day, don’t stop doing math problems, drive a different way home, learn an instrument, do cross word puzzles, create new pathways in the brain to keep your mind sharp.

Most importantly: stop eating wheat/gluten and dairy. These two foods have been proven in a multitude of studies to alter your brain and gut. The proteins from wheat and dairy cross react with the cerebellum (the part of the brain responsible for coordination and balance).


You should always speak with your functional medicine practitioner or PCP before beginning any supplements to ensure that they do not interact with any medications that you are on.

-Have a healthy day-

The Mold Gene: HLA-DRB1


I am a strong believer in epi-genetics.

Epi-genetics is the scientifically proven theory that your genes do not determine your health, but your environment is what determines whether a disease causing gene will express itself. Example: Because your mom had breast cancer, it does not mean that you are destined to breast cancer. If you eat no fruits and vegetables, live a high stress life style, use all plastic containers and drink from plastic water bottles, and don’t ever exercise – then you will be switching on your predisposition to breast cancer.

Environmental Factors Are:

  1. Development in utero and childhood
  2. Internal dialogue/thoughts you think on a daily basis
  3. What foods you eat
  4. Environmental chemicals that you are exposed to
  5. Drugs and medications that you take
  6. Methylation has been strongly linked to being able to activate or repress a gene. Methylation is part of phase 2 of liver detox where you utilize B vitamins and Folate to pull toxins out of your body so that you can excrete them. If you have a genetic weakness (such as the MTHFR) in that pathway of methylation, then you need to be taking methylated B vitamins to assist your body in detoxification and energy production.

Genetics are like the loaded gun, and the environment is what pulls the trigger. If you maintain a healthy environment , the trigger never gets pulled.


What Is The HLA-BRB1 Gene?

The HLA-DRB1 gene provides instructions for making a protein that plays an important role in how the immune system functions. The HLA-DRB1 gene is part of a family of genes called the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) complex. The HLA complex helps the immune system distinguish the body’s own proteins from proteins made by foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria.

In approximately 24% of the population, there is a mutation in this gene that causes even the smallest exposure to a biotoxin to wreak absolute havoc on a person’s immune system. These people cannot handle the environmental exposure to mold and they switch on the faulty gene & express symptoms rather quickly.

What This Means For You:

There are multiple kinds of variations in this gene, and based on which one you have it can express itself in the following ways:

  • Mild susceptibility to extreme susceptibility to being sick from mold exposure
  • More likelihood of contracting Chronic Lyme Disease/inability to fight it off
  • Susceptibility of being sick from ingesting Dinoflagellates (fish)
  • MARCoNS (A nasty nasal infection/sinusitis)
  • Low MSH
  • Developing Multiple Sclerosis
  • Developing Chronic Fatigue
  • Developing Chronic Fatigue from Lyme vaccine Lymerix – It will cause an inflammatory immune response in certain genotypes. In another genotype is worked well.
  • There are MAJOR contraindications from the Gardasil Vaccine for cervical cancers and should be avoided based on what variation of this gene you have.

If you already have one or more of these conditions, you definitely need to do the genetic test to find out what is going on inside your body on a cellular level and then take further steps to rid your body of these toxins and boost your immune system.

How To Test If You Have The Genetic Mutation In This Gene:

It is a simple blood test that you can have your doctor do. A lot of times doctors will say you don’t need it or they will not do it because they adhere to what the insurance companies deem appropriate to test for, which is wrong! Your doctor works for YOU. If you want a test done, you should be able to have it done. Individual insurances will vary so it’s best to call them and ask them if that is something you can do through insurance. If you do not have insurance or do not want to use insurance you can always go through Professional Co-op. They offer significantly discounted prices for lab testing. Life-Extension is another lab that does this test, but Professional Co-op is less expensive. Functional Medicine Practitioners will more than likely do this test for you.

What You Can Do To Detox Mold & Biotoxins From Your Body:


Activated Charcoal – This acts as a sponge and soaks up everything, allowing you to excrete toxins out through the bowels. In one study that looked at subjects who were fed deoxynivalenol (which is a mycotoxin that occurs in grains) and then given activated charcoal. The results were that after ingestion of charcoal there was no mycotoxin that could be detected in the blood.


NAC-60c_042115N-Acetyl Cysteine & Glutathione – NAC is an amino acid that converts into the master antioxidant Glutathione. Glutathione has a short half life, so if you can do both at the same time it will increase the circulation in your body longer. This combo is very useful in binding heavy metals, candida, toxins and detoxing the liver. In one case study of a woman who accidentally ingested toxic mushroom, she was treated with activated charcoal, NAC and after only 10 days she was healed and had no organ complications.


Chlorella – This is a green algae that has been shown to cleanse your intestines, bind to mold toxins and heavy metals and eliminate them through the bowels. It also cleanses the liver and the blood. Clean blood assures that metabolic waste will get carried away from your tissues. Chlorella also allows your body to process more oxygen (which lowers cancer risk). Studies conducted in Japan have evidenced that chlorella may also help reduce body fat, and help with weight related diabetes, lower cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Another 3 year study conducted with 350 people who worked in a metal facility, were given chlorella to remove very toxic heavy metals: Mercury, Antimony, Lead, Cadmium and Arsenic. The results showed those who took chlorella had removed ALL heavy metal completely. –Note: Chlorella contains iron, so it is important for men to have their iron and ferritin levels checked. Women have their periods so it usually is not an issue for them


Cilantro – Cilantro is a green herb that also has a detoxification effect. It works with mold toxins and heavy metals.

As Dr. Mercola states, “You should always start any detox with chlorella gradually, taking just a small amount at first to see how your body tolerates this powerful detoxification tool. Some people also report benefits from beginning a detoxification by first eating small amounts of cilantro for a few days. Cilantro also promotes a detoxification response in your body, but at a less intense level — which may help your body ease into a smoother detoxification response from chlorella.”

waterrrExercise  & Drink Water – Toxins normally are sequestered in body fat. One of the best ways to remove stored toxins is to exercise! But also be sure to drink plenty of water. When you lose weight and don’t drink enough water, it will cause your toxins to flood the body because now there is less space for them to be stored, and more toxins all at once. It is VERY important that you drink at least half your body weight in ounces of pure water every day (and especially if you are detoxing).

All supplements and testing mentioned here are available at Dr. Jack’s Wellness Center.



Pictures Courtesy of:

Chlorella Powder

Powered by WordPress & Theme by YOU DREAM WE CODE STUDIOS