So many patients come to me saying they’re terribly ill but doctors still tell them all labs are normal. Without much help from conventional medicine concerning chronic health, where do people start to learn what actual healing means?
You are Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired
You’ve called your primary care doctor who drew routine labs and proceeded to tell you that you are “normal.” But you don’t feel normal. You’ve tried routine medications, but conventional medicine has not seemed to work for you. You seek a functional doctor’s help, but they seem to spot treat with herbs too, rather than get to the root cause. You tried a detox once but felt horrible the entire week like you’d been hit by a truck. Without anyone to really help, you quit the protocol early and are exasperated with the time and money you have spent without good answers.
Is this you?
So many of my patients have contacted me and said they’ve been gaslighted and scared to death. Many of you are triggered or stuck in the limbo of illness, so you don’t do anything. I understand. The system is not set up to look for health nor to promote it so it seems we are left to figure it out for ourselves. My goal for this article is to set you up with a guide of step by step questions and troubleshooting clues to help you feel confident in getting started on your road to health. If you want to move beyond this blog, please join my subscription plan, Wellness Plus by Dr. Jess, where I’ll teach you to live each week.
Where to Start: Evaluating Drainage Pathways
There are so many ways to drain. Your body is intelligent and has been designed to eliminate toxins in a myriad of ways.
- Brain and glymphatics
- Bile and biliary tree
- Even cycles for women
If one or more of these pathways become stuck, don’t flow properly, or dump the toxins it’s exposed to, you might start to feel sick or chronically fatigued. In my experience, it is normally what is inside the body that does not belong there that causes chronic illness and malabsorption issues.
The majority of my patients feel nearly 50% of the way better if drainage pathways are addressed before ANY detox, kill supplement, or antibiotic.
So let’s go through each drainage pathway individually but briefly here so you can understand the function, how to screen for stagnation, and my favorite ways to open that pathway up.
1. Mitochondria Drainage Pathway
Mitochondria are the little oblong organelles contained in every cell except red blood cells. They make cellular energy, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and have many other functions, including a large role in immunity. There’s just one issue. If you are overrun with pathogens or toxicities, mitochondria cannot do both. So while they focus on immunity, you’ll be dog tired because they’re unable to produce ATP as they should. Mitochondria are damaged by antibiotics, antidepressants, birth control pills, corporate toxicities, radiation, and long-term stealth pathogens.
So what does mitochondrial damage or toxicity feel like?
Like walking through mud while life passes you by. There might be paresthesias or pins and needles on the extremities. Usually, people have extreme fatigue accompanied by a level of brain fog and frustration. It might even be difficult to get off of the couch.
If this is you, here are my go-to remedies:
- MitoRestore from Microbe Formulas
- MitoATP from Cellcore biosciences (use my code: sIUn3TNM)
- coenzyme Q10
- Alpha-lipoic acid
2. The Brain Drain or Glymphatic System
The glymphatic system is a relatively new discovery in medicine, discovered in 2012. Its purpose is to drain toxicities, by-products, and the brain’s own lymphatic sludge, coined glymphatic, during sleep. At night when we are asleep, the aquaporin channels in our brains dilate to let the interstitial fluid exchange with the cerebrospinal fluid, in order to drain toxins. This effect is enhanced when we are in REM and is one of the many ways sleep is of the utmost importance. The glymphatic system drains into the deep cervical lymph nodes in the neck.
If you have autoimmune issues or insomnia, consider these remedies:
- Restful sleep
- Lymphatic compression and drainage
- Standing rather than sitting
- Craniosacral therapy
- Head and neck massage
3. The Lymphatic System
This system consists of the spleen, thymus, adenoids, tonsils, MALT, GALT, bone marrow, Peyer’s patches, lymph nodes, and the appendix. It has been sorely underrated and many organs have been ripped out as they are “unnecessary.”
The lymphatic system not only disposes of the “sewer system of the body,” but it also plays an imperative role in cytokine and hormone communication, disposing of pathogens, maintaining electrolyte balance, emotional regulation, and immune functions.
So how do you know if your fascia is tight or your lymph is stagnant?
Signs of sluggish skin and lymph are cellulite, adhesions, eczema or rashes in general, and edema or swelling. Inability to sweat is one of the most common consequences of hidden pathogens.
Try these remedies:
- Fascia blasting
- Lymph drainage or massage
- Gua sha
- Cold plunges
- LymphActiv By Cellcore Biosciences
4. Bile and Biliary Tree
The biliary tree consists of the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, pancreatic duct, common bile and hepatic ducts, cystic duct, and supporting vessels.
The liver has a plethora of jobs that it’s responsible for but for the purpose of this section, just know the liver helps to regulate blood sugars, make cholesterol, is a master detoxifier, and also helps to make bile. Bile is secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder until we eat a meal. When we eat, bile is secreted into the duodenum or small intestines to help rid the body of waste that is stored in the bile and to help us digest and absorb fats.
So how do you know if your bile is stuck or stagnant?
This is quite common. Thick, sludgy bile is the cause of gallstones which is the number one reason people must have their gallbladders removed. The liver and bile work in conjunction so a sluggish biliary tree often includes the liver too! Symptoms of stagnant bile movement include nausea with bitters or digestive enzymes, itchy or hivey skin, seeing undigested food in your stool, having incomplete bowel movements or evacuation, right upper quadrant pain that refers to the scapulas, nausea, bloating, digestive issues, or heartburn. Jaundice can ensue if it’s severe.
If this is you, here are my go-to remedies:
- Bitters or bitter herbs prior to meals
- Digestive enzymes prior to meals
- Chew each bite 20-30 times prior to swallowing
- Do not eat when upset, driving, watching TV
- TUDCA or tauroursodeocholic acid, which has been shown in research to dissolve gallstones
- Bile acids like taurine, choline, methionine
- Castor oil packs on the right upper quadrant of the abdomen (only if no gallstones have been confirmed on ultrasound)
- Liver detoxing in combination with working to improve bile flow
The liver, as mentioned, is the master detoxifier. It is a triangular-shaped organ in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen that wraps around the flank.
Nearly every patient I see has liver stagnation. In fact, experts estimate that nearly 25% of the population has non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) from pesticides and high fructose corn syrup.
The liver can regenerate, but most of us need a break. The liver’s multiple jobs include:
- Making cholesterol which makes all the sex hormones
- Breaking down glycogen to glucose to sustain your blood sugar when you are fasting.
- Breaking down and detoxifying xenobiotics, medications, plastics, endocrine disruptors, and even deep emotions
- Helping to detox estrogen
- Synthesizing glutathione, the master antioxidant
- Makes blood clotting factors
- Making bile
So how do you know if your liver is struggling?
Again, this is quite common and goes hand in hand with diseased bile. Welcome to America, where one out of three people have stagnant and diseased livers holding onto toxins and stuffed emotions. I had a patient tell me that the first time she got in her sauna to sweat she had symptoms of Wellbutrin toxicity, which was a medication she’d been on for years! A large residual had been stored in this large internal organ!
The liver is often the target of stored negative emotions that we choose to stuff rather than feel our way through. I have had patients tell me they felt “broken” all month on a liver cleanse.
Some have emotional outbursts. The liver is known to hold anger, frustration, and envy.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver’s meridian is connected to the sinus cavities and eyes as well as the reproductive system. It is true that I can often see symptoms of liver toxicity in these areas. In fact, cleansing the liver has the potential to lighten one’s eye color.
Look for symptoms of frustration with yourself or directed towards others, dull eyes, sinus problems, cycle issues for women, poor digestion, itchy skin, inability to tolerate caffeine or alcohol well, inability to fast or skip meals without wanting to kill someone.
If this is you, here are my go-to remedies:
- TUDCA (helps thin the bile and supports the liver)
- Liver Sauce by Quicksilver Scientific
- Castor oil packs on the right upper quadrant of the abdomen
- Coffee enemas or distilled water enemas
- Root vegetables like burdock root, carrots, beets, dandelion
- Bitter herbs
- Working on stress, uncomfortable emotions, and frustration that you cannot control
The bowels consist of the stomach, the small and large intestine. Obviously, this is a vital organ as it breaks down our food for absorption, contains the majority of our immune system, and helps to regulate hormones. If this pathway is sluggish, the whole drainage pathway pyramid becomes backed up and the body will suffer. Constipation is not normal and everyone should be going 2-3 times per day with brown, well-formed stools. Peristalsis propels our food forward through the contraction of smooth muscle.
Constipation or diarrhea indicates a dysfunctional bowel pathway; loose stools with ragged edges indicate inflammation. Often, this pathway will be the one that becomes blocked the easiest during detox and I find myself troubleshooting this one with many of my patients.
How do I know if my bowel pathway is stagnant?
My guess is that most of you already know if you have problems here. Aim for at least 1-2 bowel movements per day bare minimum. No ragged edges, loose, inflammatory stool, rabbit pellets, or incomplete evacuation. Mood disorders like anxiety and depression can also indicate inflammation of the neurenteric plexus and microbiome.
If this is you, here are my go-to remedies:
- Professional colonics
- Coffee or distilled water enemas at home
- Castor oil packs on the whole abdomen
- Bowel mover by Cellcore Biosciences
- Intestinal mover by Microbe Formulas
- Psyllium husk or fiber
- Magnesium (glycinate is best absorbed)
- Other herbs that can be helpful: triphala, slippery elm, marshmallow root, aloe
- Exercise or movement
- Staying hydrated
7. Lungs and Bronchiole Tree
The lungs consist of the left upper and lower lobe and the right upper, middle, and lower lobes, trachea, diaphragm, chest wall muscles, and blood vessels. We often forget that toxins can enter us through respiration just like through the gut. Indoor air pollution is one of the greatest threats to health and is 90% more toxic than the outdoor air in some cases. When you inhale, air enters the lungs, and oxygen from the air moves from your lungs to your blood through a process called diffusion. At the same time, carbon dioxide, a waste gas, moves from your blood to the lungs, and is exhaled. This gas exchange is essential to life.
You do have innate defenses like sneezing and coughing to remove unwanted toxins from the bronchioles and to protect your lungs. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the lungs hold grief and sorrow. Often, my patients will get sick each year around the same time as a trauma that is still unresolved in their lives.
So how do you know if your respiratory tract is suffering?
You might get recurrent pneumonia, upper respiratory infections, asthma attacks, or bronchitis. You might wheeze often, never feel like you get a satisfactory breath, or have a continuous cough. Exercise intolerance is common. You may even have cyanotic or blueish colored lips or fingers/toes if the oxygen exchange is poor. You will likely have issues with cellulite or lymph movement since breath is what moves the diaphragm, the heralding muscle of the lymphatic system.
If this is you, try these go-to remedies:
- Neti pot (helps more of the nasal passages and sinuses)
- Breathwork specifically Wim Hof breathing
- Tending to unresolved trauma
- Aromatherapy or steam therapy
- Herbs like eucalyptus, peppermint, lungwort, plantain leaf, lobelia, oregano, and Osha root.
- Cupping on the lungs/back
- Chest percussion
- CBD can dilate bronchioles
- Look into a great HEPA + with carbon or charcoal filter
- Hydroxygen by Cellcore Biosciences or Biomolecular Oxygen by Microbe Formulas (you can nebulize it!)
8. Kidneys and Hydration
The urinary system consists of both kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The kidneys are very complex organs that work in an extremely tight range of electrolytes and pHs. Kidneys are located below the rib cage, on the flank, on each side of your spine. They filter a lot of blood, about half a cup every minute, while removing waste products through the urine. The bladder stores the urine. The minerals involved in kidney filtration are sodium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium.
The kidneys also indirectly modulate blood pressure, make red blood cells, and help keep your bones strong and healthy. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the kidneys hold worry and anxiety or fear.
How can I tell if my urinary system is stressed or dysfunctional?
If the urinary system is stressed, you may have electrolyte imbalances, frequent or even drastically reduced urination, dehydration, dark urine, bubbly urine (indicates protein), issues with vertigo, passing out, edema, continual fatigue, or blood pressure issues.
If so, try my go-to remedies:
- LOTS of Kangen, or structured hydrogen water
- Celery juice
- Switch from iodized salt to Himalayan or Celtic salt
- Add potassium to fresh-squeezed juices (ask your practitioner for details)
- Marshmallow root, nettles tea, ginger tea, dandelion
- Lemon juice and apple cider vinegar each morning
- Watermelon, pomegranates, and kidney beans (shaped like a kidney)
- Limit factory-farmed meats and pesticide-laden food which cause chronic kidney disease and cancer
- Lean more towards a diet of leafy green vegetables and fruit and less processed sugar, dairy, and red meat.
- Kidney and Liver Support by Cellcore Biosciences
- CT Minerals by Cellcore or Bioactive Carbon Minerals by Microbe Formulas
8. Cycles for Women
As women, we bleed each month or moon cycle. This also can be considered a detox for us, and often one that comes with emotional reactions too! I have even had parasites come out in women’s monthly cycles — sorry, if that’s too much information.
- Look for a revamped version of Hormone Master dropping early next year.
- For testing, consider the DUTCH test which is the superior hormone and cortisol test
Although many people still need practitioner help or further expert help, I am hoping that this is a great starting guide. Healing journeys are daunting but understanding what your body is telling you shouldn’t be. Anytime you get stuck, be sure to bookmark and come back to this piece, so you can review these drainage pathway questions and my favorite ways to unstick them. Many of these suggestions are much more powerful than you might expect, so go slow and at your own pace. Honor your body as it is never wrong — it is only speaking to you; communicating with you and trying to tell you where the problem is and why it might be stuck. Without proper health education, we all have been a bit lost, no?
If you loved this information, please know that this is just the tip of the iceberg of the content in Wellness Plus by Dr. Jess, launching soon.
*This article is syndicated from Dr. Jess M.D. and was first published on November 25th 2020. You can hear more from Dr. Jess on her episode with us on THE FULLEST Podcast.
Dr. Jess is a former hospitalist, internal medicine based medical doctor, and a certified Gerson Practitioner. She is an expert in the areas of stealth infections, environmental toxicity, regenerative medicine, ozone, and cannabis. Her passion lies in uncovering the mystery behind the chronic illness, whether that be stealth infections, heavy metals, stress/trauma, or other environmental toxicities. You can find her at Dr Jess MD or on Instagram @dr.jess.md.