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It all starts with fatigue. Then comes the fever and upper respiratory symptoms. The chest x-ray shows it’s walking pneumonia, so you’re prescribed a course of antibiotics. It isn’t long before your digestion is upset, but you figure it’s just the antibiotics. Then the joint pains start, and they only get more painful and more inflamed until eventually you’re diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis – an autoimmune condition.
What started as a simple cold led to pneumonia, then spread downstream to your digestive system, and finally settled into your joints and led to an autoimmune disease. This is the typical story told by someone infected with mycoplasma, a stealth parasitic bacterial infection that hides in vulnerable tissues in the body then hijacks the immune system to create the conditions it needs to thrive – at the cost of your health.
If you’ve ever been bitten by a mosquito, biting fly, tick, or flea, then chances are you’ve been exposed to mycoplasma. What is mycoplasma? Mycoplasma is the smallest and stealthiest of all known bacteria, and is a major culprit in the development of chronic and autoimmune diseases. Most people – including doctors – have limited knowledge of just how much it’s responsible for the chronic degenerative diseases we seem to have no long term answers for.
Mycoplasma is different from all other bacteria because of its size – 4000 of them could fit inside one of your red blood cells – and its lack of a protective cell wall, which allows it to change its shape and slip inside your cells. Because it lacks a cell wall and lives inside your cells, it is resistant to most antibiotics.
Mycoplasma is parasitic and can’t live without a host cell, but it’s highly adaptable and can jump from host to host and adapt to its new environment easily. This means it is transmitted from plants (contaminated foods), animals (bites and airborne droplets), and other people (sexual contact, sharing foods, airborne droplets).
Mycoplasma needs your vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fats, and carbohydrates to survive. It gains access by manipulating your immune system into generating inflammation. Once that inflammation starts breaking down your tissues, mycoplasma invades and gets the nutrients it needs to survive.
While different strains of mycoplasma have different tissues they prefer, they all can live inside of any tissue or organ in your body. Favorite sites include lungs, blood cells, brain, nasal passages, sinuses, intestinal lining, genitals, and the synovial lining of joints. If you have healthy cells with strong membranes, mycoplasma will have a difficult time getting into those cells and will migrate to another area where cells may not be as impenetrable.
When your immune system is healthy, mycoplasma is contained and becomes part of your microbiome. This can turn it into an opportunistic infection that turns chronic whenever the immune system is suppressed for any reason. It can travel anywhere through blood cells and infect any area of the body, creating symptoms entirely different from the initial infection. It can also travel with other stealth infections like Lyme, going along for the ride and reaping the nutrient benefits.
Because mycoplasma stimulates our own immune system to work against us by creating inflammation that damages our cells, it is linked to many autoimmune diseases and even cancers. It lives inside of our cells and tricks the immune system so it doesn’t see those cells as abnormal. All the time it’s living there it’s attacking mitochondria and making you tired, while ramping up inflammation that creates the autoimmune symptoms. Your body knows something is wrong but can’t find it, so your immune system starts attacking healthy cells in its confusion.
Mycoplasma can start out as pneumonia or a genital infection, but once it gains access to your body it travels to where it has a consistent source of the nutrients it needs to live on. One of mycoplasma’s preferred places to live is in the lining of your joints, so it comes as no surprise that 90 percent of rheumatoid arthritis patients have tested positive for it in their synovial fluid in affected joints. And since it likes to settle in the lining of your intestines, several studies have found mycoplasma as a culprit in Crohn’s Disease.
There’s another way it causes autoimmunity. Mycoplasma cells are so similar to our own nerve cells that when our bodies mount an immune response to the bacteria, we also attack our own nerve cells in the process. It also feeds off the fats in the myelin sheath that insulate our nerve tissue. Studies as far back as 1979 have associated mycoplasma with multiple sclerosis, and it has also been linked to other neurodegenerative diseases like ALS and Parkinson’s Disease.
Since stealth infections like mycoplasma are resistant to most antibiotics and know where to hide from your immune system, there is no “magic pill” that eradicates them. You have to stay one step ahead and outsmart them. Once under control, you should see an increase in your energy levels and a decrease in autoimmune symptoms. Here are 3 ways you can defend yourself from this hidden invader:
1. Strengthen Your Cell Membranes. Mycoplasma is a parasite as well as a bacteria, so it needs to invade your cells to live. It relies on a weak cell membrane that makes it easy for it to gain access. Your diet is the key to making healthy cells.
Your cell membrane is made primarily of fats, cholesterol, and proteins. The fats you eat either make or break your cellular health. Your body can’t tell the difference between trans fats and healthy cholesterol, so if you eat deep-fried foods and packaged foods known to contain trans fats, then your body will make cell membranes using those trans fats instead of the protective cholesterol it should be using, and the result is a cell that’s vulnerable to infection and disease.
Your cell membranes also need the right Omega 6 fats. These fats are found in nuts, seeds, and their oils, with hempseed oil being the best source, according to Ann Louise Gittleman’s bestselling book, Radical Metabolism. If you are deficient in these healthy Omega 6 fats – NOT the unhealthy processed canola and soybean oil sources – then not only will you make weak cell membranes, but you will have inflammation that also weakens the tissues and makes them prone to infection and invasion by mycoplasma.
2. Manage Your Microbiome. Even a healthy immune system will allow mycoplasma to stay as part of the microbiome, which may allow it to become opportunistic and strike when the immune system is weak. Studies show diversity in the microbiome is the key to lowering inflammation, managing your weight, and staying healthy, but that diversity needs to center around healthy strains of bacteria, not freeloading parasites looking to feed off of your health and create autoimmune diseases when the opportunity arises.
A healthy microbiome starts with a good colon cleanse, one that contains gentle but effective herbs that clean out unwanted hitchhikers, while repopulating with health-promoting probiotics. A diet rich in vegetables that contain the fiber that feeds these probiotic populations is key to continuing the health and strength of your microbiome.
3. Boost Your Immunity. A strong immune system not only wards off potential invaders, but is also less susceptible to being hijacked and manipulated by stealth infections like mycoplasma. Vitamin C is a tried and true ally in the fight against infections and is currently being studied to use in the fight against sepsis, which is the deadliest of infections. Not only does it shore up immunity, but it also strengthens collagen, which is the “glue” that holds your cells together. When this important connective tissue is strong, it keeps infections and diseases – even cancer – from spreading to other cells.
Your diet also plays a key role in boosting your immunity. Vegetables and fruits rich in antioxidants and essential nutrients, nuts and seeds rich in essential Omega-6 anti-inflammatory fats, grass-fed meats and eggs full of amino acids and high in essential Omega-3 fats, and wild-caught fish rich in essential fats, not only strengthen you at the cellular level to build health from the ground up, but they also reduce the inflammation associated with autoimmune diseases that allows stealth infections to spread.