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Can you be "too clean"?

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I'm not sure if I posted this in the right subforum, apologies.

A small group of people and I, all who have auto-immune, were talking about this the other day.

It seems like the more things we cut out of our lives, the more sensitive we get.

For example... as an adult I was able to tolerate dairy for years, then I stopped for a couple of years and now I can't tolerate it at all. Same with gluten. Same with anything "toxic".

It seems like the average person is pretty good at handling a moderate toxic burden in their lifestyle from unhealthy sources because the intake is constant and their body has no choice but to adapt. Yet in my case and others, as soon as I decided to clean up my lifestyle, my body became ZERO tolerance. I can't even handle smelling certain chemicals now, let alone eating them. It's like I am becoming a boy in the bubble.

So I'm wondering... is the body actually meant to have routine environmental challenges, in order to keep it strong and robust? is it possible to get TOO CLEAN, to the point that the body can't tolerate anything and becomes hypersensitive?

I have often wondered if my avoidance lifestyle is making me weaker, less robust, less able to cope with challenges that every day people cope with. I was walking by a car the other day that had an exhaust problem, and the exhaust from the car triggered a migraine 20 minutes later. I never used to be this ridiculously sensitive. It's getting to the point that being in public spaces is even a challenge.

Is it a use it or lose it kind of situation?

I hope my point and my question are articulated clearly.

Just a side note... I'm homozygous for SOD2 and MTRR. So I do have some natural phase II detoxing problems. But throughout my whole life I have been able to tolerate various toxins, UNTIL I eliminated them from my life -- now the tolerance is zero.
 

Dechi

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I don’t know but I’m the same. I don’t tolerate milk nor gluten anymore.
 

Runner5

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I think I spend 90% of my sick time feeling guilty that somehow I caused my illness because (insert xyz reason). If I hadn't been a soda addict most of my life, if I didn't drink out of plastic bottles, if I had never used whey protein shakes, if I had avoided meat intake, if I had avoided sugar, if I had never used chlorine cleaners, if I had just been a little smarter about everything....

The Internet seems to conveniently provide many, many, many articles to that effect as well.

The downside for me is I don't really feel like I deserve medical care. I feel like I was stupid most of my life, took everything for granted, didn't take care of myself - and now other people have to pay for me to get rehabbed? What's the point of that? It's my fault - I should fix it.

I'm not entirely sure that's very helpful though and might be an offshoot of actual depression and isolation.
 
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^ Just wanted to say that I feel your pain and despair. I go though it too.

My inspiration for this thread did not come from the internet, just some introspection and the conversation I had with some other AI people who have wondered the same thing.

If you take away everything that challenges the body, is that going to make it less resilient?
 

Judee

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I think the same thing has happened in my family too--less able to add things back in once we tested for them by eliminating them for a while.

Yes, we do seem more reactive but in other ways we are healthier. We have a lot less full blown colds or flu like other people we know. Lots less sinus infections. Lots less skin breakouts. Even without increasing the nutrient side of things like adding in a bunch of vitamins, things started to heal (not CFS unfortunately:grumpy:).

For example: There were years when my mom had constant cracks at the side of her lips. She and her brother both had horrible swayback and for her that just completely went away. I used to get migraines at least 2x per month. Now that I know the trigger foods and avoid them I still get headaches but hardly ever like those. When I used to get sick it was like 6 weeks with the cold, 2 weeks without and then 6 weeks with again. :aghhh:

I wish we could "have our cake and eat it too" in this case but I don't want to ever get sick like I used to. Having the CFS and OI, etc is enough. So there was a trade off but I still think it was a good one.
 

percyval577

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You can be too clean, for sure. Our immunesystem has developed within "dirty" enviroments.
With much phantasy - may be it will be proven some day?? - some autoimmunereaction might be part of normal "dirty" life, and only now in "clean" life they would elevate and become a problem.

I was recently told, in an indonesian trial some kids were cleaned from infections. Immediatly they developed asthma and other stuff.


As our me/cfs immunesystem might be (I think it is) especially sensitive, being "dirty" seemed to be a problem.
True, we tend to get worse, but we can improve as well. The problem might be located in a very specific perception that has been modulated. When I first took 50mg Doxycycline it was great. But never again. Same vice versa I think with stressors.


There is a story by Cechov: In a theater it happend to one to sneeze upon another ones bald head. He looked at the sneeze and finally he said to the other one: "It happend to me to sneeze, and now on your head there is ... I am so sorry. It was not my intention, it only happend to me. If I could reverse it I would. It will not ... " "Is all right." The other one - having removed it now - only wanted to continue to watch the theater. Considering the shortness of the answere the man who had sneezed still felt great sorrow. Finally ...
 
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Sushi

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So I'm wondering... is the body actually meant to have routine environmental challenges, in order to keep it strong and robust? is it possible to get TOO CLEAN, to the point that the body can't tolerate anything and becomes hypersensitive?
You can be too clean, for sure. Our immunesystem has developed within "dirty" enviroments.
With much phantasy - may be it will be proven some day?? - some autoimmunereaction might be part of normal "dirty" life, and only now in "clean" life they elevate and become a problem.
Recently I attended a support group facilitated by my Electrophysiologist. Her topic was the microbiome and how it affects the health of other systems. One comment I won't forget: she said that a step towards health would be to get a "dirty dog" and the play with it!

Of course this comment wasn't directed to our health community but to a large group of patients with heart issues but it did strike me. I used to travel frequently to India and before the first few trips I really cleaned up my diet thinking that I would be more resilient in the face of environmental and dietary pollutions and pathogens, but it didn't work at all--I was too sensitive. In subsequent trips I didn't do this and fared much better.

I'm not saying that cleaning up our diet isn't helpful but, from experience I think that eliminating too many types of foods can make us increasingly sensitive.
 

percyval577

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... I'm not saying that cleaning up our diet isn't helpful but, from experience I think that eliminating too many types of foods can make us increasingly sensitive.
I agree. Somehow related: When I was in my later teens I wanted to eat apples as they are considered to be healthy. But I used to get an allergical reaction from it. Finally I thought, you should get your body used to it, hopefully this allergic will calm down. And indeed, this is what had happend after about two weeks.

On the other hand, this didn´t work with my allergic rhinits (of course).


btw: Here I had good luck with urtica, very effective for allergic rhinits, but this plant is not found in america. I have tried urtica for improving me/cfs as well guessing any interdependencies, but without any effect. (It´s a nice taste though, and it even feels somehow healthy.)
 

Critterina

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Hi everyone,

I totally sympathize with situation of living a more and more restricted life and becoming more and more reactive to what is left. I want to share my perspective, which is based on what I learned from the Dynamic Neural Retraining System by Annie Hopper. I did the DVDs and 5 weeks of practice; then I walked into a tree, hard, and hurt my brain enough that I couldn't continue. But I'd seen enough results in the first 3 days of practice, that I couldn't deny it helped.

My first comment is that you all are right, it is not your imagination. You really are getting more sensitive. I was there and am still there to some extent.

Think of it this way: our brains help us to survive as a species by alerting us to danger. When something goes wrong, we alert to the wrong thing - cat dander, tree pollen, laundry detergent, mold, and whatever is on your list. As time goes on and we clean our houses, diets, and lives, our ever-vigilant brain detects smaller and smaller amounts, sets off the alarm, and our bodies try to eliminate the invading threat in ever-more unhelpful ways, such as immune response and inflammation.

The first step on the way out of this situation is to redefine the illness. The cat dander is not the enemy. The laundry detergent is not the problem. It's my reaction to it that is inappropriate because my brain made a mistake, and I have reinforced it by how I think about it and by how I attribute importance to my physical reaction. Self-talk actually does influence how and what your brain responds to. I have trained my brain to detect smaller and smaller amounts of these things. But it's not my fault; I didn't know what I was doing. Now I have to train my brain to react differently. So, it's not all in my imagination, but it is all in my head. I have to change what is in my head, but brains are plastic, so it can be done.

Of course, this is not an easy thing to do, which is why I think that buying her DVDs and learning her technique, modifying it to suit my situation, and practicing it, is worth the $300 or so that she asks. But know that the practice takes effort, and I couldn't do it with a concussion - I'd break down in tears when I tried. And not everyone has that kind of money, or has people who they can ask for that big a present.

The DNRS program also doesn't address certain problems - like lactose intolerance, which is a genetic inability to digest a specific sugar. I don't know what that means for my histamine intolerance, which is at least a lowered ability to digest diamines that has a genetic basis in my genome. But it's one thing to not digest something and another thing to have the stuff inside my head swell up, my lungs fill with green, and my feet break out.

Since I did, to a great extent, tolerate dietary histamines most of my life, I think it's worth a try. I figure my gut must have had the bacteria that could break down histamines, and restoring that might be part of the solution. But the other part is that my brain should not react when there are histamines in my gut, and I think the neuroplasticity efforts will help in that regard.

Meanwhile, I can once again visit my friends who have cats, pet them, let them sit on my lap. I do still wash my hands after, but I no longer come armed with nasal spray and pills, sit on a towel in my car, put my clothes and the towel in the washing machine as I come in the back door, and head for the shower. Perfume is
usually
OK; I can even wear it myself sometimes. The carpet at my yoga class does not cause my nasal passages to swell closed within 5 minutes, or even by the end of class.

So, I would definitely encourage everyone to make an effort to change their self-talk about the things they react to. If you want to do more, with or without Annie Hopper's program, that's up to you.

Best of health to you all,
Critterina
 
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Mind over matter is part of it, but that can only take you so far. Even if mind started it, it can become its own thing that requires physical interventions.

I think humans are born sensitive, then we get dulled and atrophied by modern human life, and then some of us revert that. The result is that we start realizing just how contaminated our world is.

Still, there are a lot of people - arguably most - who have much higher tolerance for "toxins" and chemicals than I do. And I used to be like them, but now I'm not.

I just wonder... if I move to the middle of nowhere, or somewhere more "clean", will I just develop sensitivity to that place? Is the problem the modern world or my body?
 
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Critterina- Sorry about your concussion.

I plan to start the dynamic neural retraining program.

Originally diagnosed with fibromyalgia then cfs. Two years ago discovered reactivity to mold and detoxed with cholestyramine . Moved —-Nov 2017-have all possessions in storage but I still have to sleep in a tent or outside on the porch .
If I sleep indoors for more than a few nights I wake up with symptoms way increased and can barely function.
My reactivity will not go down . My next step is to get an rv. Living outside through the winter and summer is tough. I have been sleeping outside since November of 2017.

My oldest son was suspended from school after he had a severe reaction to something in the gym and ran out of school. He felt suicidal but was fine after leaving the school. This reaction is described in Lisa Peterson’s book about mold avoidance. It is bizarre .

I would have an emotional meltdown if exposed to a “ Moldy “ environment and my old possessions. Then I would walk outside rinse my hair off with water and be perfectly calm within seconds.

I have always been happy go lucky and am not a worrier. I would have scoffed at this but it makes sense that these crazy emotional reactions to Tiny amounts of “ mold” or whatever it is could be damage to the limbic system. I can never smell any of this stuff. My first sign is I just will burst into tears. If I wait too long I get very agitated.

My son and I are going to do this coarse together. My husband was not affected by the mold ( that we know of) but has been depressed for over a year. I am going to try to get him to do this coarse also. I know it is going to seem like total bs . I will let you know what progress we make.
There is a money back guarantee I believe after 6 months. I will let you know how we are doing with this.
 

panckage

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When I was reading up about food intolerances it was one thing that was mentioned: be careful about making your diet too limited as you can become intolerant to the foods you leave out

Personally I don't think I've experienced that but I'm literally intolerant to everything and eat every food item I know I am OK with on a regular basis :p
 

Sidny

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I do not think neural retraining works on mold toxicity. Mycotoxins have a known mechanism of cytotoxicity that doesn’t involve a “stress response”.
Probably not if it’s chronic exposure but if the detox was effective and the current environment is mold free I don’t see why something that’s said to be helpful for healing the brain or stimulating neurogenisis couldn’t be helpful.
 

fredam7

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@SueJohnPat do you have an update?
I have this exact same reaction but it's too hard to believe, but I'm experiencing it .

I don't think it's being to clean , I think it's that our bodies have broken down and everything is a problem . I too had no chemical or food sensitivities but now it's everything, everything is a problem . Maybe we do have CIRS.

I had high antibodies to multiple molds but everything else that was tested , was negative . Strangely, the dr said he didn't think it had anything to do with all my health issues . Uh, ok, I raised the issue of mold and there came the blood work results .

Yes, I think we have toxin overload . It's the environment. I loved gasoline , candles and scented lotion , I can't breathe around any of it and turn "drunk". There is some oxygen component as well that I can't figure out . Maybe we need to go in chambers , I don't know

But I think we have plenty challenging our immune systems just living in this highly toxic environment, eliminating the stuff that we can , is probably a positive
 

debored13

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Probably not if it’s chronic exposure but if the detox was effective and the current environment is mold free I don’t see why something that’s said to be helpful for healing the brain or stimulating neurogenisis couldn’t be helpful.
It’s basicallu just a very very overhyped form of cbt based on the idea that mold reactions are stress reactions. If this was promoted for a peanut allergy people would be up in arms. If someone is out of their moldy environment and wants to heal psychologically to not overreact about a legitimately traumatic thing (being sensitive to toxins) , there are so many psychological techniques they could use that are probably superior, that don’t resemble brainwashing, that cultivate relaxed awareness, and don’t require paying some snake oil salesman or saleswoman a ton of money.
 

Moof

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This whole subject makes makes me a bit depressed, to be honest! There's no such thing as a 'clean' diet; when you look at it objectively, the idea's absurd.

Same goes for these 'toxins' we're always being told about. It's a marketing exercise. It's more sophisticated than those we've become immune to, but that's the whole point: we don't take enough notice of older-style advertising any more, so new strategies are required. Why would people bother trying to promote ideas that simply don't stand up to any level of scrutiny if they had no financial interest in them? They make money, often from other advertising, publishing, and food supplements, from 'advising' us how to 'cleanse' ourselves.

The way that people with chronic illnesses are being exploited really concerns me, and I feel we should be angrier about it than we are. I realise my opinions aren't always popular, but I'm just trying to avoid colluding with marketeers whose job it is to manipulate us.

I do understand that trying to 'cleanse' their bodies can be important because it makes people feel better, but it's important to acknowledge at the same time that it's not always harmless – physically, psychologically, or financially. Eating healthily is a good idea, as long as it really is a healthy, varied diet. Humans evolved as omnivores, and palaeontologists will tell you that the 'paleo diet' is by and large another internet hype arising from a marketing strategy.

On the positive side, it's possible that some tolerance might be rebuilt, slowly and during a phase of relatively good health. It might be a pain in the bum (literally!) and take quite a while, but it could be worth trying? I've had two intolerances that developed very suddenly; I've never cut either food out completely, though, and the milk intolerance has now disappeared again. Potatoes are still a challenge, but I'm hoping I'll get past this eventually too.
 

debored13

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The way that people with chronic illnesses are being exploited really concerns me, and I feel we should be angrier about it than we are. I realise my opinions aren't always popular, but I'm just trying to avoid colluding with marketeers whose job it is to manipulate us.
It really depends on the substance. For example, the idea that toxic mold could contribute to ME/CFS is very plausible, and people who are sensitive may just be like canaries for widespread environmental trends that will eventually affect everyone. MCAS is also a legit medical phenomen. Many toxin cleanse things are bullshit, but some of the binders people use to get rid of mold toxins that may be stored in the fat are generic pharmaceuticals that may not be that expensive. I agree about avoiding snake oil.

But the people that seem to be talking about mold avoidance aren’t selling any kind of cure. In fact they are saying that most of the snake oil doesn’t work. And that researchers should look into the history of how sick buildings were involved in the outbreaks of this illness. Avoidance isn’t even a “cure” for these people as there sensitivity never abates, yet some go from bedridden to mountain climbing. Again, without paying for some kind of snake oil cleanse, just by avoiding toxins.

The paleo diet is also sort of a meme but I think that there’s good evidence that certain grains are inflammatory and also relatively novel in human history and that novelty sometimes means things haven’t been as safety tested. It’s a simplified heuristic and not always right. For example I really disagree with the paleo people about carbs being bad or especially about fruit and dairy being bad. But avoiding industrial seed oils and grains does have some good science behind it. Look at Paul jaminets work, or Stephan guyenets, or Chris masterjohns.
 

Moof

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Just dashing out, @debored13, so no time to answer properly... but I'm absolutely not saying that things that are actually toxic (e.g. some types of mould) aren't a problem, and I have MCAS myself, so I know what it's like. It's just that some of the 'toxins' and 'unclean' foods aren't even always defined clearly, let alone known to be harmful. It's more about manipulating people into a mindset, so they begin to invent their own theories about 'toxicity'. I'll admit it's extremely clever, but I'm also convinced it can do real harm in some cases.