Dr. Josh Ax is a world-renowned specialist in functional medicine, naturopathy and clinical nutrition. In 2008, he founded Exodus He alth Center in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, which today ranks among the largest private functional medicine practices. His site is among the top ten most popular he althy lifestyle sites in the world with over 6 million monthly visitors. Dr. Ax daily shares with his followers up-to-date information on nutrition, natural remedies and therapies, gives fitness tips and recipes for he althy meals and homemade remedies and cosmetics.
In addition to working with numerous patients, Dr. Ax writes articles and books, appears on popular television shows, lectures and conducts seminars. With his wife, Chelsea, they created the BurstFIT training program, which became known as the fastest and most effective way to burn fat.
During his studies, Josh Ax goes through an ordeal that turns out to be a turning point in both his personal life and career. In 2004, his mother was diagnosed with cancer again, having battled breast cancer ten years earlier after a mastectomy and chemotherapy. When the disease reappears, the young specialist must put all his knowledge into practice, and his mother's life is at stake. He puts together a diet for her to treat her intestinal permeability syndrome and boost her immunity. The healing plan is based on clean, unprocessed foods and highly digestible nutritional supplements – such as probiotics with soil microorganisms, turmeric, medicinal mushrooms, vitamin D3 and frankincense essential oil. Mandatory elements are also stress-reduction practices, most sleep and contact with the dirt in our surrounding nature - gardening, horse riding, outdoor walks. Four months later, Winona Ax's tests amazed the doctors: the indicators were normal, and the tumors had shrunk significantly. The planned courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy were never administered. Today, she continues to enjoy flourishing he alth and energy that she says she has never experienced in her entire life.
The case with his mother reinforces Dr. Ax's conviction that real cures are not found on pharmacy shelves, but in nature, in the vast selection of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, herbs, essential oils, medicinal mushrooms, organic substances such as mummy and bentonite clay and many others. The story of Winona Ax became the calling card of her son's medical practice, which in just a few years established itself as one of the most respected consultants in clinical and sports nutrition.
Thousands of people today are enjoying optimal he alth thanks to Josh Axe's proven healing practices and valuable advice. His accomplishments in the field of sports nutrition and recovery have even attracted the attention of the coaching staff of the US National Swimming Team. He was invited to participate in the preparations for the Olympic Games in London in 2012. Cullen Jones' incredible recovery results caused Dr. Ax to take on the responsible task of preparing the entire team's menu. He caters specifically to the nutrition and competitive fitness of Olympic medalists such as Michael Phelps, Ryan Lockty, Peter Vanderkay and Missy Franklin.
Eat Dirty Philosophy
Eat dirty? You probably shudder with disgust at the thought of it. Don't worry - no one expects you to eat garbage or dirt, or at least not literally!
The "Eat Dirty" philosophy is based on a he althy way of eating and living to fight disease and achieve optimal he alth and high energy levels. The program implies a return to nature and the assimilation of some forgotten old practices – such as the use of essential oils and natural remedies. It excludes modern widespread harmful habits such as the consumption of highly processed and GMO products, the use of medicinal drugs and disinfectants. The overall program aims to address the source of most modern disease – leaky gut syndrome.
Intestinal permeability – the epidemic of the 21st century
More and more experts are supporting the claim that over 2/3 of the population suffers from some form of leaky gut, making it highly likely that you or a family member will fall into that number. Our digestive tract is a vital immune barrier that comes into contact with thousands of microorganisms and digestive byproducts every day. The intestinal mucosa has the difficult task of distinguishing good microorganisms from pathogens, guiding the absorption of valuable substances and monitoring the interaction between the microbial population and the mucosal immune system. In addition, the intestinal mucosa has the role of fighting foreign bodies and thus performs 70% of the work of our immune system. Any prolonged violation of these functions leads not only to intestinal permeability syndrome, but also to accompanying serious gastrointestinal diseases - such as colitis, metabolic syndrome, food intolerances and allergies. Intestinal permeability also leads to serious conditions, including: autoimmune diseases (thyroid disorders, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis), liver dysfunction, chronic fatigue, anxiety and depression.
What is causing this hidden epidemic these days? Each of the factors listed below leads to problems, but when several of them are combined, a real storm is brewing in our gut.
– Degraded quality of food. Overconsumption of foods containing refined sugar, hybrid grains, and other nutrient-deprived processed and GMO products wreaks havoc on the gut.
– The growth of toxic substances in the environment. Environmental toxins, food enhancers and preservatives, and even household cleaners and beauty products have led to the accumulation of a dangerous toxic load in our bodies that impairs gut he alth.
– High stress levels. Emotional stress does real damage to the gut and weakens the immune system.
– The War on Germs. Because of our addiction to disinfecting our hands and our homes, administering broad-spectrum antibiotics to innocuous complaints, and over-processing our food, we have disrupted our natural microbial balance.
– The excessive use of medicines. Today, non-narcotic analgesics and other pain relievers are taken in record quantities, and antibiotics are prescribed on the most trivial occasions. All of these synthetic medications have harmed our gut by compromising the mucus barrier, damaging the intestinal villi, and killing immeasurably more good bacteria.
Easy and enjoyable ways to eat dirty
Yet what exactly does "dirty" eating and lifestyle entail. To get a clearer idea, here are some suggestions:
Consume fermented foods and foods rich in probiotics (kefir, yogurt, and sauerkraut).
Fermentation doesn't just preserve food - it makes it easier for the body to digest. In the fermentation process, beneficial substances and probiotics are formed, which nourish the intestinal mucosa and maintain a he althy balance of bacteria. In sauerkraut, the vitamin C content increases 20 times compared to the same amount of fresh cabbage. If they are made from raw milk from grazing animals, yogurt and kefir restore and maintain intestinal microflora and strengthen immunity. The reason many people today are lactose intolerant (or allergic to dairy products) is that pasteurization kills beneficial probiotics and enzymes. In addition, the animals receive large doses of hormones and antibiotics that pass into their milk.
Take raw honey and bee pollen
Consumption of raw honey and bee pollen significantly reduces inflammation, improves immune function and strengthens the liver. Moderate doses gradually immunize us naturally, thus adapting the body to the local environment. Eat locally produced honey year-round, and when allergy season rolls around, you'll have already exposed yourself to allergens in a he althy way and your immune system will be much less likely to go into overdrive. Honey is also an excellent source of prebiotics, which nourish the good microorganisms in the gut.
Get a dog as a pet
Children who have a cat or a dog in their home have 48% and 50% fewer cases of allergies, respectively. The animal has contact with the dirt and brings various microbes into the house. The child is exposed to them in microdoses, which accumulate over time and help the colonization of good microorganisms in the intestines.
Swim in the sea
You have probably heard or know from personal experience that a cut seems to heal faster in contact with sea water. This is partly due to the s alt in it, but the good microbes and bacteriophages in it also have merit.
Get out into nature often
Even just walking barefoot on the ground can positively affect your he alth in several surprising ways. When you walk on grass, dirt or sand, your feet come into direct contact with the earth's surface and billions of bacteria and other good microbes. The connection between our skin and the earth's surface can help stabilize our internal bioelectrical environment, regulating the normal functioning of the body's systems. This leads to better sleep, increased energy and reduced inflammation.
Literally eat dirty
Soil microorganisms help plants grow by protecting them from disease and fungal and bacterial infections. In humans, soil microorganisms support gut he alth and regulate the immune response. In the scientific literature, there are over 800 studies proving their beneficial effect on allergies, asthma, ulcerative colitis, gastrointestinal problems, nutritional malabsorption, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, bacterial, fungal and viral infections. Don't miss the benefits of using bentonite clay and mumiyo (shilajite).
Sometimes old habits die hard - even with people who should have more knowledge about nutrition. Ahead of the 2012 London Olympics, I was tasked with helping our best swimmers reach peak form in a sport where the difference between gold and silver is sometimes the length of a fingernail. For example, Michael Phelps won his seventh medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics by just one hundredth of a second in the 100m butterfly.
One of the swimmers I worked with was Cullen Jones who competed in the 50m and 150m freestyle events. At the time, he was recovering from a shoulder injury sustained while lifting weights. One day we were talking by the pool and I asked him what he eats when he works out.
Cullen thought for a moment.
– Well our nutritionist makes me drink Nesquik chocolate milk after every workout.
Chocolate milk? I would later learn that this was common practice, but for the moment I decided not to show my shock and encouraged him to continue telling me. He shared that he usually eats peanut butter and jam sandwiches and drinks chocolate milk (a favorite food for many athletes) throughout the day while training. In his free time, he would grab something from McDonald's and Burger King.
Okay, let's ride her one at a time, I thought. First, I wanted to wean Cullen off chocolate milk, which is a mixture of homogenized, pasteurized milk, lots of white sugar, and refined cocoa. Since he wasn't having the success everyone had hoped for, the team's nutritionist let me try something new. I met with Cullen again and told him I'd like him to start eating a smoothie made with he althy ingredients like coconut milk, blueberries and bio protein powder for breakfast. He accepted the offer enthusiastically.
Switching from chocolate milk to he althy smoothies combined with my prescribed physical therapy exercises, chiropractic and deep tissue massage helped his shoulder recover quickly.
When they saw the excellent results, the coaches asked me to start working with other athletes on the team - Michael Phelps, Ryan Lockty, Peter Vanderkay and Missy Franklin. I happily agreed.
Competitive swimming requires extreme physical effort and Michael was famous for claiming to burn 12,000 calories a day, but that was hardly the he althiest 12,000 calories in the world. Ryan admitted that he is addicted to "junk food" and eats an entire bag of chips before diving into the pool, and after his morning workout he goes straight to McDonald's for three Egg McMuffins, hash browns and a chicken sandwich!
I had Ryan eat organic scrambled eggs, oatmeal, and fresh fruit for breakfast, and eat salads and he althy protein-filled tortillas for lunch and dinner. After winning two gold, two silver and one bronze medals in London, Ryan told the media that since the 2008 Summer Games, he had improved his eating habits significantly."We paid more attention to our nutrition," he said on behalf of the US swim team. "I don't know if it contributed to higher scores, but it certainly had a huge impact on our recovery."
One day, Jennifer came to my clinic holding her five-year-old son Blake by the hand. The young mother appeared to be anxious and exhausted. She had consulted several doctors in search of a way to cure the rashes on her son's hands and face.
– Let me look, I said and helped Blake take off his t-shirt. Poor boy! His upper body was inflamed as well as his arms. The skin was swollen and red.
It appears that Blake was suffering from acute dermatitis - an inflammation of the skin. His condition was so severe that the rashes could blister or form a painful crust that would peel off.
“It's constantly itching,” Jennifer said. - The doctors who examined him want to start treatment with steroids and antibiotics. That seems pretty extreme to me for a little boy.
Prescribing a corticosteroid cream is the standard solution that most doctors would resort to in this situation, and a classic example of how modern medicine treats the symptoms without addressing the underlying cause of the disease. After a thorough examination and discussion of Blake's he alth history, I concluded that the boy was suffering from inflammation caused by allergic reactions to food and toxins he was exposed to at home.
I told his mom that I think he has food intolerances - most likely to gluten and casein, as well as allergic reactions to shampoo, laundry detergent, and maybe even bedding. However, it took some research to confirm my suspicions.
We did IgG and IgE immunoglobulin tests for food intolerances and allergies and blood and skin tests to help me find the specific cause of the immune response. The results weren't surprising: Blake had sensitivities to cow's milk, gluten, strawberries, egg whites and nuts, as well as allergies to several environmental substances. As with many other children, Blake's hypersensitivity to multiple foods and environmental factors was the outward manifestation of leaky gut syndrome.
To start the treatment and to relieve the child's condition, I recommended that Jennifer give him a good gut food that includes:
– fruit for breakfast – eg pear or blueberries;
– he althy fats – from avocado, ghee (refined butter) and coconut oil, while removing the partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, soybean and canola oil and margarine often found in highly processed foods;
– clean protein in the form of organic grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, wild-caught fish like salmon, and collagen protein powder to add to smoothies;
– steamed vegetables – such as carrots, cauliflower and squash.
I assumed Blake's food allergies were just the tip of the iceberg as far as his inflammations were concerned. I asked Jennifer to ditch the cleaners and start using essential oils to clean the floor, kitchen counters, and bathroom. I also recommended that she replace her laundry detergent, shower gel, and toothpaste with homemade natural products-such as vinegar, baking soda, coconut oil, peppermint, lemon, and frankincense essential oils, castile soap, and bentonite clay.
Three weeks later, Blake and his mother returned for a follow-up. The dermatitis on the body and the eczema on the boy's face were gone.
“I can't believe his condition improved so quickly,” Jennifer said. – This is such a relief!
We discussed that they should continue this way to achieve a full cure because if Blake were to re-expose himself to foods he had been sensitized to or come into contact with household chemicals – like the antibacterial substance triclosan, this could have triggered the same overactive immune responses. The intestinal lining would continue to strengthen, but since his body had already produced the antibodies against the foods and chemicals in question, contact with them could cause a relapse of the symptoms.
Leaky gut had put Blake at lifelong risk of inflammatory overreactions and a predisposition to autoimmune diseases. His case is a great example of the autoimmunity issues affecting not only our nation, but people around the world. I hope this will motivate us to attack the leaky gut epidemic head on.