I feel like I’m ringing the church bells in the dead of night. “Stealth pathogens are coming! Stealth pathogens are here! This is your warning!”
Stealth pathogens are disease-causing microorganisms that can lie dormant for a long time before causing illness. And because stealth pathogens can go undetected by your immune system, you can be powerless to fight them once active.
What a controversial subject. Stealth pathogens are still not recognized by the conventional medical community, despite the growing body of evidence in favor of their existence and havoc-wreaking tendencies.
This is a key issue where I disagree with allopathic medicine (conventional doctors). It is for reasons like this that I practice functional medicine.
Are stealth pathogens real? YES, stealth pathogens are real. They are triggering chronic autoimmune conditions and overall unwellness in potentially millions of people worldwide.
I will even tell you why some do not recognize stealth pathogens: it is because they do not follow the “A+B=C” format that allopathic medicine tends to expect.
Like most of the conditions that alternative medicine treats best, stealth pathogens refer to numerous microorganisms that can result in multiple negative outcomes throughout the body. This complexity makes discovery and diagnosis difficult for those in the mainstream.
What are stealth pathogens?
Stealth pathogens are any infectious microorganisms that hide from or suppress your immune system. This leads to chronic illness and a general lack of well-being.
When these stealth pathogens evade or trick your immune response, they are dealt with on a case by case basis. With a lack of a “cure all” in every situation, conventional medicine thinkers tend to ignore recent research.
How do stealth pathogens hide? Here are some known methods by which stealth pathogens avoid your immune system:
- Stealth bacteria can form a protective biofilm resistant to immune response and antibacterials.
- Stealth pathogens can hide within other cells, tissue, or organs to avoid identification by your immune system.
- Some stealth pathogens are able to employ molecular mimicry, where they trick your immune system into thinking they are a natural part of your body.
- Many people’s immune systems are simply not strong enough to handle stealth pathogens — such as those who suffer from chronic stress, leaky gut syndrome, or AIDS.
These stealth microbes lead to chronic infections and a whole host of adverse symptoms.
As a side note, stealth pathogens in plants may be somewhat less scientifically controversial. Several studies have candidly talked about pathogens’ ability to hide from plants’ immune capabilities.
Symptoms of Stealth Infection
Depending on the stealth pathogen and co-infections, here are the most common symptoms of stealth pathogens:
- Recurring infections
- Joint pain
- Muscle aches
- Abdominal distress
- Weight gain
- Swollen glands
- Cognitive impairment
- Changes in appetite
- Food intolerance
That is right — stealth pathogens can make you overweight, tired, and weak. Depending on the specific stealth microbe, even worse symptoms may show up.
Common Stealth Pathogens & Diseases They Cause
There are a few stealth pathogens whose names you may recognize. These covertly cause diseases in people with weaker immune systems.
What are the common stealth pathogens?
- Epstein-Barr virus leads to mono (AKA infectious mononucleosis). It is also known as human herpesvirus 4. Epstein-Barr virus is one of the most common stealth pathogens.
- Mycoplasma are bacteria that lead to walking pneumonia. They are very small, and they usually reside in your throat, respiratory tract, or genitourinary tract.
- Candida albicans (candida) is a fungus. At normal levels, there is no problem. But when you have candida overgrowth, it can lead to an infection called candidiasis. Candida is the most common cause of fungal infection in humans.
- Bartonella species pluralis may cause Bartonellosis infections: Carrion’s disease, trench fever, or cat scratch fever. Bartonella seems to be among the most widely accepted of stealth pathogens.
- Lyme disease (caused by the Borrelia species, usually the specific bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi) is a potential stealth pathogen. The conventional medical community still does not recognize chronic Lyme disease as a legitimate disorder although functional practitioners see and treat many patients suffering from this condition.
- Helicobacter (usually Helicobacter pylori or “H. pylori”) is a type of bacteria that lives in your digestive tract. Possibly present in more than half of all humans, Helicobacter infections may trigger peptic ulcers, abdominal pain, nausea, and bloody/black stool.
- Streptococcus is a type of bacteria that leads to strep throat or scarlet fever. Once we hit puberty, 98% of people have developed antibodies that render Streptococcus ineffective (generally after a childhood strep infection). But that estimated 2% are still vulnerable, as well as children.
- Adenovirus can lead to bronchitis, pneumonia, croup, or the common cold. With a strong immune system, an adenovirus infection should clear up within a week. But whether due to leaky gut, stress, or other medical conditions, a weakened immune system may experience further complications.
A primary concern with stealth pathogens is co-infections. When one stealth pathogen activates, it can allow other infectious diseases to strengthen or simply start presenting symptoms.
What conditions might be caused by stealth pathogens?
- Dementia & memory issues
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Digestive diseases
- Irritable bowel syndrome (also known as IBS)
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
- Graves’ disease (autoimmune hyperthyroidism)
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (autoimmune hypothyroidism)
- Other autoimmune diseases
How to Test for Stealth Pathogens
Any diagnosis starts with medical history, and a functional medicine provider tends to put a lot of focus on family history. A comprehensive family medical history will paint a fuller picture of your genetic disposition for you and your practitioner to consider.
Several stealth pathogens can be identified with blood tests.
Since Epstein-Barr is a common stealth pathogen, a holistic physician will likely administer an EBV antibodies test.
To identify if you have any bacterial infections (such as Bartonella, Borrelia, Streptococcus, etc.), your healthcare provider can do a full blood count test or a blood culture test. Full blood count checks to see if your white blood cell count is elevated. A blood culture test tests for bacteria in the bloodstream.
To test for mycoplasmas (the smallest free-living microbe we know of), cultures are taken from either your blood, throat, sputum, or urine. These pesky little bacteria can lay dormant for years and lead to chronic respiratory issues, so it is good to test for it.
Stealth pathogens can hide in biofilms throughout the body, which is one reason blood tests aren’t always the most effective test. Your healthcare provider can walk you through the best tests for the suspected triggering pathogens.
Diagnosis should be individualized for each unique patient — yet another advantage of integrative medicine.
8 Ways to Beat Stealth Infections
Since each stealth pathogen may work with slight differences, treatment can be hard to pin down. But there are several thorough steps we can follow to treat stealth pathogens:
- Strengthen your immune system with probiotics and stress relief.
- Eliminate persistent stealth pathogens with natural antibiotics.
- In certain cases, you need to promote endocrine health: thyroid, adrenal, etc.
- Support your mitochondrial function (AKA energy production) by decreasing toxin exposure (mainly with a healthy diet) and reducing oxidative stress (with antioxidants).
- Break down the stealth pathogens’ protective biofilm so your immune system or antibiotics can dispose of them.
- Reduce inflammation with all-natural anti-inflammatories.
Let me go into detail for some potential stealth pathogen treatments, so you can get the full picture.
Since ancient times, myrrh has been used in treating many diseases. Myrrh is an amazing and all-natural method of treating stealth pathogens.
Below, you will find categories of supplements and nutrients, but myrrh fits into several of these beneficial categories.
Myrrh is an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiparasitic antimicrobial. Myrrh is a minor miracle.
If it was good enough for the wise men to give to Jesus, it is good enough for us.
2. All-Natural Antibiotics
All-natural antibiotics do not kill good bacteria along with the bad — like pharmaceutical antibiotics do. As a bonus, all-natural antibiotics often come with minimal side effects.
What some call “mother nature’s antibiotics” come with almost no downside:
3. Natural Biofilm Disruptors
Many pathogenic microorganisms utilize biofilms to protect themselves from the immune system and antibiotics. Fortunately, there are some effective biofilm disruptors that are also all-natural:
Examples of non-herbal biofilm disruptors are trypsin, rifampicin, apple cider vinegar, colloidal silver, zinc, iron, stevia, and ozone.
4. Ozone Therapy
Ozone therapy is a relatively new and super effective method of eliminating bacterial infections, even stealth pathogens that hide from your immune system and antibiotics.
Ozone and its metabolites are poison to pathogens. The infectious pathogens are almost instantly neutralized. Ozone prevents pathogens from entering your cells.
Because pathogens need to permeate your cells to do damage, ozone therapy tends to neutralize bacterial infections instantaneously.
There are many other uses for ozone therapy: anti-inflammatory, pro-mitochondria, increased energy, and improved blood flow.
5. Natural Immune Boosters
Make sure your immune system is as strong as it can be.
You need proper levels of these nutrients to support immune health:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin E
Immune-boosting supplements include echinacea, elderberry, ginger, and probiotics.
6. Probiotics For Your Gut
Whether it is antibiotic overuse or a medical condition — the good bacteria in your gut need to be restored in order for your immune system to work properly.
Many suggest that stealth pathogens only succeed in bodies where the immune system is weakened. Let me briefly explain how probiotics strengthen your immune system.
Leaky gut syndrome describes a dire situation when an imbalance of good bacteria in your gut causes the lining of your intestines to weaken. These tight junction proteins in your intestinal lining are supposed to allow nutrients to pass from your intestines into your bloodstream.
When you have an imbalance in your gut flora — the good bacteria that make up your gut microbiome — tight junction proteins allow toxins and other xenobiotics into your system.
Since a huge portion of your immune system is in your gut (70-80%), leaky gut syndrome leads to all sorts of immune dysfunction and autoimmune diseases.
This is why probiotics (good bacteria) are so beneficial. They reintroduce and are a place holder of good bacteria into your microbiome, thus restoring your tight junction proteins and restoring your immune system.
You can get probiotics in a dietary supplement form or from these sources:
- Yogurt “with live cultures”
- Sauerkraut — need to be unpasteurized, with live cultures
- Pickles — need to be unpasteurized, with live cultures
- Aged cheeses
7. Dietary Changes
This one is pretty straightforward.
Avoid any food allergens. If you do not know if you have a food allergy, go on an elimination diet for a few weeks, slowly reintroducing foods to determine if you experience unwellness with any potential ingredient.
Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Inflammatory foods include gluten, dairy, and sugar. While cutting those foods from your diet, add in natural anti-inflammatories, such as garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, leafy greens, fatty fish, green tea, frankincense, and turmeric.
Steer clear of processed foods. Most anything that is packaged can be processed — adding unnatural preservative chemicals and offering little besides empty calories. A general rule of thumb is to stick to the edges of the grocery store and avoid the aisles. Go fresh! While you’re at it, go organic, too.
Excess alcohol or caffeine is the enemy. Too much alcohol exhibits adverse effects on your immune system. Too much caffeine can not only contribute to insomnia (and therefore increased stress), but the United States FDA also determined that caffeine is an unsafe additive to alcohol.
8. Stress Relief
Stress is a major factor in weakening your immune system and allowing stealth pathogens to wreak their havoc. Chronic stress results in chronic inflammation, which leads to all kinds of disorders: clogged arteries, frailty in general, and immune wear and tear.
Relieve your stress, and your immune response will get stronger — eventually, strong enough to fight those stealth pathogens.
Both lifestyle changes and herbal medicine can help to relieve your stress and strengthen your immune system to find and eliminate stealth pathogens.
A full night’s sleep is a major factor in stress management. That means seven to eight hours for most people.
To get even better sleep, try turning off technology an hour before bedtime. Blue light emissions from your TV and phone trick your mind into thinking the sun is out, making sleep more elusive.
Going outside and being around green locations has been shown to reduce stress.
Meditation, yoga, massage, and acupuncture are other common methods of decreasing stress.
Stealth pathogens have the potential to sneak their way into any of our systems.
With a weakened immune system due to stress, leaky gut syndrome, or another medical condition, stealth pathogens can work their evil, and we develop autoimmune conditions, or chronic illness, or simply a general lack of well-being.
Hopefully, the treatment options discussed here — myrrh, probiotics, natural biofilm disruptors and antibiotics, stress management, etc. — can lead to some relief from the source and symptoms of stealth pathogens.
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