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What's a Cytokine?

Why Should I Care?

July 15, 2008


Cytokines are precursors to our immune cells and act as markers that create inflammation when released to "mark" a suspicious food or compound. For every antibody in your system you also have previously developed cytokines but you have numerous cytokines for which your body has not yet developed antibodies. Subsequently identifying these critters gives you a wonderful overview of virtually everything that you are reacting to that is casuing inflammation that you did not even know was causing prolems

I have seen excessive antibody load affect peoples weight, GI tract, pain levels and cognition. They can affect us on every level conceivable.

There is more and more evidence that cytokines are largely responsible for every aspect of so-called sickness behavior. Everything from IBS to Fibromyalgia and Migraines, as well as Asthma and Obesity is tied to cytokine production.

It appears that part of the job of a cytokine is to shut the brain down, so that we are not wasting precious metabolic resources and instead we go to sleep or at least rest and conserve our energies to fight off an invader. This can equate to pain, inflammation, and or brain fog causing us to be so dysfunctional that we have to medicate ourselves so we can "check-out" and go to sleep. The signaling that these molecules do is centrally directed at the brain and central nervous system but not only there as you will see these critters affect every tissue of the body.
Cytokines appear to play a key role in both pain and depression, additionally they are apparent culprits involved in the mysterious and poorly understood disorders like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and even IBS involves dysregulation of intricate control loops that link the brain and autonomic nervous system to the immune and endocrine systems. All these disorders show measurable changes of cytokine function typically in the inflammatory direction.

The scope and range of cytokine affects is huge, and we are just beginning to get our brains around this concept and apply it clinically. So for those of us who do not suffer from some of the listed ailments that have obvious cytokine involvement don't turn off your brains yet because there is more and more evidence that disruption of cytokine regulation may play a role in a host of diseases of aging, including Alzheimer's disease, where pro-inflammatory cytokines are increasingly linked to the progression of the disease.

This last statement indicates a need for all of us to understand our own cytokine load and what triggers their release. To accomplish this there are some very specialized blood tests available that my next segment will tell more about. Please, read on....

Case of the Month
"Allergies can be a road block to losing weight".

I have had so many interesting cases in the past few months I thought I would share some of the ones that stand out most in my mind in each newsletter.

I have been doing allergy testing for many years but about a year ago I started asking a different question in regards to allergies and that is what is creating inflammation in the people who test negative for typical food and environmental allergies?
You see, many patients would take the blood test for IgG, IgE antibodies and show relatively few true allergies and yet they were suffering miserably from various ailments as varied as headaches, joint pain, GI disturbances such as IBS, or even just a "foggy brain".

Standard blood labs would often come back virtually "normal" for these patients and the frustration would continue. Well, when I found out that we could measure another blood value that gave us objective information as to what the body was getting irritated by I jumped to evaluate it and see if it could solve some of the mystery.

I have been very pleased to observe that in the majority of patients who have taken this test and strictly implemented the recommendations that followed the results they have had positive and life changing experiences.

This months case is one of those patients. Some time back I had an individual present who desired to lose some weight. This person had an impeccable diet of nutrient dense foods and a caloric intake that was less than the amount burned through daily exercise and this patient exercised 5-6 days a week without fail. Blood labs were normal so endocrine dysfunction was not a player in this individuals inability to lose weight.

In looking at the situation I suggested we do a "cytokine" panel to evaluate hidden sources of inflammation in the patients diet. The results were quite surprising and the degree of success was even more profound. After discovering that numerous foods which are generally considered "healthy" were in fact causing inflammation this patient took the next step to modify their diet and began immediately to reap the benefits.

30 days into the program I spoke with the patient who excitedly informed me that they had lost more than 20 pounds in the first 30 days. Remarkable how by simply removing sources of inflammation in the body we can begin to allow our system to better regulate itself.

Ask yourself, what might my sources of hidden inflammation be preventing me from enjoying? The answers will most likely surprise you. Contact our office for more information on MRT testing.

You can also click here for a brief slide presentation detailing the MRT testing concept.

Best of Health to You,

Dr. Dave Marquis, DC, DACBN
Oak Park Wellness Clinic
860 Oak Park Blvd. #202
Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

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