Recently I interviewed Elizabeth Yarnell, and we chatted about redefining autoimmune conditions and how to address them naturally”. If you would prefer to listen the interview you can access it by Clicking Here.
With me, I have a return guest: Elizabeth Yarnell. Excited to speak with Elizabeth again. We will be talking about her upcoming book. The title of this episode is “Redefining Autoimmune Conditions and How to Address Them Naturally.” While I have read her bio before, I am going to read it again. I think it’s been a year since I interviewed you, so I will read it again for those who haven’t listened to the first interview.
Since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis way back in 1999, Elizabeth Yarnell has been on a mission to redefine MS and autoimmunity naturally. As a traditional naturopath and certified LEAP therapist, she has worked with hundreds of MS and other autoimmune sufferers in her nationwide clinic, using unique, personalized, non-pharmaceutical therapies to empower them to reclaim her health. She is a TEDx speaker; award-winning author, whose cookbook has sold more than 70,000 copies; a patented inventor; and has been featured on CBS, NBC, ABC, and PBS as well as in Good Housekeeping, Health, Martha Stewart Living Radio, and many other outlets.
Her next book, which will be about redefining multiple sclerosis, will come out in March 2023. We will chat more about that later.
Thanks again for joining us, Elizabeth.
Thanks for having me back! I feel so special that I get to do a repeat podcast with you. The first one was so much fun, so informative. I heard from a lot of people afterwards that they learned a lot of good and new information. I assume this one will be the same, so I’m excited.
I got a lot of feedback as well, which is a big reason why I’m having you back. There will be some overlap here, but there will also be some different things that we touch upon.
Why don’t you briefly talk about your background, for those who maybe didn’t listen to the first one? How did you get started doing what you’re doing now? What led up to you writing your future book?
For me, this journey began one night in 1998 when I was working on an article for a newspaper, The Denver Post. I was a freelance journalist. I had been really wrangling this article about cross-country skiing that I had been working on for a couple weeks. I’d gotten it to a place where I thought it was a pretty good draft. I printed it out. As I was brushing my teeth to get ready for bed, I was looking over the pages, and I thought, well, I see three places where I want to make small edits. Other than that, I feel it’s pretty good. I’ll do it in the morning. I went to sleep.
When I woke up the next morning, it was almost like goblins had stolen into my apartment, taken an eraser, and erased huge chunks of my printout. I couldn’t see the words. I couldn’t make out or understand the words that I could see. I wasn’t sure what was going on. In due course, I went to an eye doctor, and he diagnosed me with optic neuritis, or inflammation of the optic nerve. That was impeding my vision and clouding my thinking. Almost immediately after that, I went in for an MRI, and that is where I received a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. That really sent me down this path.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects a million Americans every year. It is a degenerative, autoimmune disease that affects the nervous system. The biggest thing that I learned after my diagnosis was that 80% of MS patients experience significant disability within 10 years of diagnosis. Here I was about to turn 30 years old, learning that by the time I turned 40, I could be in a wheelchair.
That’s really scary. Obviously, that didn’t happen, which is wonderful, not just for you, but just like myself, diagnosed with Graves’ and able to help people with Graves’ and Hashimoto’s, same thing with you. Your experience has helped you help others with MS and other autoimmune conditions.
Speaking of which, as you know, most of my audience consists of people with thyroid or autoimmune thyroid conditions. There is a lot of overlap with different autoimmune conditions. For those who are thinking, “Your story is about MS. What does that have to do with Graves’ or Hashimoto’s?” What you will discuss here really relates to any autoimmune condition. Is that correct?
That is correct. In fact, I like to say the term “autoimmune” is really an oxymoron. If we take it apart and look at the root, “auto” means “self,” and “immune” means “allergic.” Allergic to self. If we really think about this, evolution will say, “Nay, nay, not possible to be allergic to yourself. Your species would die out pretty quickly.”
I think that the key to understand about being diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, any of them, is that what it means is you have chronic inflammation. The secret to understanding how to work with these types of conditions is that they are all about inflammation. If we focus on the inflammation rather than where in the body it might be manifesting, the thyroid or the eye or the joints, we have to remember that any condition that ends in “it is” means “inflamed.” I had optic neuritis, inflammation of the optic nerve. You could be diagnosed with gastritis, inflammation of the gastric cavity. You could be diagnosed with appendicitis, inflammation of the appendix. Anything that has to do with inflammation can respond to anti-inflammatory strategies, regardless of where it is manifesting in the body.
I love that you brought up in the beginning, we’re talking about MS. Will somebody with Graves’ or hyperthyroidism or any other thyroid issue benefit from this information? Yeah, it’s all inflammation.
Let’s dive into inflammation. What are some of the factors that cause inflammation, some of the potential triggers?
One of the big things that causes inflammation that I see so often in my clinic is these additives and preservatives and toxins and chemicals that have been added and filtrated in our food supply. I gave a TED Talk about this in 2014 called “Poisons in our Everyday Foods.” Our processed and packaged food industry has become so dependent on adding these artificial flavors, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, not to mention the whole masquerade of “natural flavors” that is going on in our world. All these things are derived from non-food-based sources.
To go back to evolution, we evolved on this planet to eat, thrive, and use the materials into our bodies to create life that evolved on this planet with us: the plants, the animals that eat the plants, they transfer the energy to us. What we did not evolve to deal with were substances that were mined from two miles underneath the earth’s surface, like petroleum. Food dyes and chemicals are petroleum-based. A lot of additives and preservatives, a lot of artificial sweeteners, a lot of pharmaceuticals, based in petroleum. That’s hard for our body to synthesize and process and excrete the toxins afterwards.
Part of being diagnosed and tipping into autoimmunity is that overload of toxins in your body. Everybody has a unique tolerance threshold as to how many toxins they can manage and still maintain a healthy appearance and healthy lifestyle. Once you fill up that toxin bucket inside your body and tip over into autoimmunity, where you’re now having chronic inflammation, which is the body’s defense against what it considers to be foreign invaders, then it takes a lot of sustained effort to bring yourself back below that threshold.
You mentioned tolerance. Everybody is also different. I know your experience with certain food dyes, I forget which food dye. We will get into the foods as well, but the food dye, is it yellow food dye?
Yellow food dye is a big one for me. I call it the limoncello incident.
Elizabeth sent me a manuscript of her future book, and I have been going through and reading about the different incidents that she had with the yellow dye. It explains a lot.
I’ll go back to last year. Elizabeth and I met at a conference last year in Tampa that involved different health care practitioners. I remember they also served meals there. I don’t know if Elizabeth remembers this, but one day, they had these cupcakes, and the cupcakes were gluten free. All these health care practitioners, a lot of them alternative practitioners, were eating the cupcakes. I’ll admit, I had a cupcake, too. I’m not going to lie. Elizabeth was inspecting those cupcakes because the topping, she was like, “I don’t know if it has the dye.” I’m pretty sure you did not have the cupcake. You did refrain. They also had these natural beverages, and I remember you were looking at the bottle and the natural flavors.
I am bringing this up because Elizabeth does walk the talk, like she is not just saying this. I saw her in action at the time, not really knowing the backstory. After reading the manuscript, I realized, “That’s why she was carefully inspecting it. The negative reactions that she has.”
A lot of people, like if I eat things with food dyes, I typically don’t feel bad, which is kind of good and bad. You might think it’s good. For years, I thought it was good. In a way, it’s bad because either way, it’s having a negative effect, maybe not as bad as someone who is having overt symptoms, such as Elizabeth. Sometimes, it’s nice when your body tells you that you’re reacting. Regardless of whether you’re reacting or not, certain foods are bad for you. I’m sorry to go on a rant here. After I was reading your manuscript, I was like, “Wow, that’s why you were super careful compared to everyone else there.”
That’s a great thing to notice. One of the things to remember is that you may not notice that things like food dyes are creating small amounts of inflammation in your body, or that you might be reacting to them until you bring down the level of inflammation far enough to where you can feel it and recognize it.
Most people are walking around 50-80% inflamed every day. That’s just how it is for them. They feel fine. They pretty much eat whatever they want. But they are walking around with a pretty high level of inflammation. In fact, I have an inflammation quiz we can talk about later that has questions that might make you look at different ways your body is functioning and recognize that it’s actually due to inflammation, even though it might not affect your daily life in the way that for me eating yellow food dye does, when I can no longer walk when I eat it. Until you bring that level of inflammation in your body down to maybe 10-20%, and then you eat something that jumps it up to 80-90%, now you’re going to notice.
You have to do that work to bring the regular level of inflammation, your baseline level, down far enough to be able to recognize clearly if you are having a reaction to something like food dyes.
Another lesson: You need to be an expert in reading ingredients. In a situation, getting back to Tampa, there were no ingredients because the cupcakes were out. If you don’t know, better to avoid, especially if you’re inclined to have negative reactions to these things. Again, even if not, I probably shouldn’t have had the cupcake, but everyone else was having the cupcake, except Elizabeth. I’m going to have it.
I believe in treats. I also try to err on the side of caution because the results can be pretty devastating for me. I certainly didn’t want to miss out on the last half of the event that we were at because I couldn’t function.
Obviously, eating whole, healthy foods is a way to avoid food dyes. Sounds like you do indulge every now and then. You’re just very careful. If you do purchase something that is not a whole food, you make sure you carefully read the ingredients. We’ll talk more about the MRT, other ways people can know they are reacting to things. You know your body, but you also are very cautious when buying things. I guess we’ll leave it at that.
Let’s talk more about food triggers. It’s not just about the dyes. With your experience, one of the foods you reacted to was lettuce. We spoke about that last year during the last time we interviewed. For some people, that might be surprising because I and a lot of other health care practitioners are focusing on gluten and dairy. Those cupcakes were dairy free, too.
Gluten and dairy free. Corn, soy, some of the more common allergens. Even eggs in some cases. You don’t hear about being allergic or having a sensitivity to healthier foods, like lettuce, broccoli, or avocado. Why don’t you talk a little bit about that? How did you find out that you had a problem with lettuce?
That whole part of my journey really started when my oldest child was born. He was sick from the get-go. He had terrible constipation, even as an infant. He would have this projectile vomiting that would happen, sometimes three times a day. It continued beyond infancy and into his preschool years. He was still vomiting all the time. Finally, by the time he was six, he had fallen off the height and weight charts.
He loved to eat. He was a huge, voracious eater with a really diverse appetite. But every time he would eat, he would just vomit it back up. He is a professional vomiter in our household. I was really concerned about him because between the vomiting and the constipation, this poor child is going to die young. He is not releasing any of the toxins that are supposed to be coming out in your poop. The way that your body processes them.
We took him to the pediatric clinic at Children’s Hospital. We took him to get his DNA mapped. We did abdominal X-rays to see if maybe there was something structural wrong with him. All of those things came up empty-handed. We could not figure out what was going on with this poor kid that he could not really stop vomiting, and he could not poop.
Finally, I took him to a naturopath. This is when I was still just beginning my own studies. She said, “I think this sounds like food sensitivities.” I said, “Well, he doesn’t have hives or anaphylaxis.” She says, “Those are food allergies.” She explained that what she was talking about were food hypersensitivity reactions that caused inflammation in the body.
This was like 2006 or something. I thought she was kind of crazy. I’d never even heard of this. My parents were doctors. Nobody had ever talked about anything like this. We’ve tried going gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free. We have tried all these things, and nothing has worked. It’s been a huge waste of time to restrict his diet that way. Whether or not we take out these things, he is still vomiting all the time, and he is still terribly constipated.
That is when she told me about the Mediator Release Test. This is a single blood draw. It’s only offered by one labin the entire country. They are based out of Florida. Most doctors don’t know about this. Most rheumatologists don’t know about this. Most medical doctors are not familiar with this.
The reason is because the company, instead of hiring a sales force to go out and treat doctors for lunches and do junkets to try to get them to encourage them to prescribe their test, and then the doctor would receive the test results back and not understand how to work with the patients because as you know, Dr. Eric, there is not really a lot of nutrition education in medical school. You had to learn this outside of that. Instead of that, they devoted their resources to designing a 40-hour certification course for registered dieticians and other nutrition professionals like myself.
As soon as we tested my son, I now have done a thousand of these tests, just about. His is still the worst I’ve ever seen. Fully 1/3 of the items on the test, he was hypersensitive to. Even though we had taken out all these common culprits, there were still so many other things that were keeping him in this state of constant constipation, constant inflammation. Some of the things we thought were healthiest for him, like broccoli, garlic, and lemon, turned out to be things that were making him constipated.
Once we figured this out, the change was amazing. Within two months of changing his diet, he had grown an inch and a half. He had gained 15 pounds. He was now back on the charts, thank goodness. He started sleeping through the night for the first time in his entire life. He’d always had such terrible acid reflux that it would wake him up constantly through the night. He stopped wetting the bed at six years old. Overnight, it was not a behavioral modification thing; it was an inflammation issue. Inflammation had been pushing against his ureter and prohibiting him from feeling like he had to pee before.
All of these things changed. The biggest, most impactful, for me as a mom, came one day when I was passing by his room, and the door was open. I heard him singing to himself. Now, children don’t sing to themselves when they’re miserable. He had never been happy enough to sing to himself. That’s really when I decided to focus my naturopathic practice around the MRT and this food sensitivity testing as a foundational piece to tracking down inflammatory triggers inside people who are suffering.
Your son is the one that did the MRT initially before you found out that you were reacting to lettuce on MRT, correct?
Yes. Once I discovered how he was reacting, and while going through the certification course, one of the tasks involved going into the Johns Hopkins Medical School websites and watching animations of what actually happens at the cellular level during hypersensitivity reactions. That is when I heard the narrator of this animation start to say that it’s the T cells that make the assessment. You eat the food, and it goes into your stomach. The food is presented by some presenting cells to the T cells, a subset of white blood cells in your immune system.
I literally almost smacked the computer screen and started yelling at it, “Do you understand that T cells are what are implicated in MS?” Any MS doctor will tell you, “MS happens when the T cells go rogue, and they start reacting for no reason against your own body.” That’s why they say you’re allergic to your own body.
I realized at that minute, oh my gosh, the T cells in my body for MS are not reacting for no reason. They are reacting to triggers that we haven’t been looking for. We haven’t been looking in the right places. First of all, no doctor ever asked me how my diet was or how my bowels were functioning. None of that. Of course, I can’t imagine any doctor asking anyone, “Do you eat lettuce? Maybe that’s your problem.”
A lot of practitioners do food sensitivity testing. It seems most do IGG food sensitivity testing. How does MRT differ from IGG?
You’re correct. Most do IGG testing. The way I like to explain this is we just came through this whole COVID vaccine development process. The purpose of the COVID vaccines is to stimulate the creation of the antibodies in your own body, to protect you against exposure to COVID. Now, that’s what antibodies are for. They are there to protect you against exposure. They can only be created after you have once been exposed to something.
The MRT on the other hand doesn’t look for antibody creation. It looks for mediator release. Mediators, the most famous one we all know is histamine. We know that if we have a bee sting or a poison ivy encounter, and we take some Benadryl, which is an antihistamine, we can get relief from the swelling that is so painful with those encounters. Histamine is only one of 80 or more mediators that the bloodstream can release upon exposure to what it deems to be a threat. Every mediator that is released into the blood triggers or causes inflammatory activity.
Now we are going beyond antibodies, which are unreliable markers and really should be protecting us against, say if I have antibodies to mangos, I should be protected when I eat a mango and not experience inflammation. Instead of that, we are going further back, before antibodies even get created because they only get created in hypersensitivity reactions, not all of them. When mediators are released, they always cause inflammation.
The MRT looks at 150 foods and 20 or so chemicals and additives in our food supply and tests those against the whole blood to see which ones incite the blood cells to release those mediators which cause inflammation in the body.
With IGG testing, I know in order for that to be “accurate-” I’m like you. I have been skeptical about IGG testing for years. I can’t say I’ve never done it, but there are practitioners who do it on all their patients. If I do it, before I found out about MRT, it would be usually toward the end of, well, nothing else seems to be helping.
One of the things with IGG food sensitivity testing, you have to be eating the food in order to test for the food. If you have been avoiding any food, whether it’s gluten or eggs, and then you do an IGG test, you would expect it to be negative because your body is not going to be developing the antibodies. With MRT, looking at the mediators, it doesn’t work that way, from what I understand. Even if you were avoiding the foods, you could still do MRT, and it would be accurate.
You are absolutely correct. When we tested my son, he was six years old. He tested red, reactive, to coffee. He had never had coffee. He was six years old. I could be pretty sure about that. That never would have come up on an IGG test because he had never had coffee.
If you are looking to get a Celiac test, same thing. They are going to ask you to start eating bread for the two weeks leading up to that test so that your body is accustomed to seeing it again. How painful would that be if you already know that eating bread causes you problems? Now you are forced to put yourself in misery for two weeks to get a positive test result.
It’s funny because last year, when I interviewed you, we didn’t spend too much time on MRT. We spoke a little bit about it. After the interview, I had a few other people I interviewed who mentioned MRT, which is funny because prior to that, I don’t think I had anybody bring it up. It’s not as well-known as IGG, but it is out there. I have noticed more and more practitioners are using it.
I can’t say I use it on all patients. I probably do need to use it more. Again, maybe this interview will encourage me to have more of my patients use it. You did introduce me to it. Even though I’d heard about it, I never signed up and started using it until speaking with you. I’m grateful for that.
When you do the test, and you test positive—you don’t have to go into great detail about the test—but you could either be red, yellow, or green. If you’re red, you have to avoid the food for a longer period of time. If it’s yellow, you should still avoid it, but not as long. If you’re green, then you’re good to go. Is that a summary of the test?
That is a pretty good summary although that’s a basic approach to working with the MRT. What you learn in the certification course is how to apply the test results and develop and design something called LEAP Dietary Therapy. LEAP: Lifestyle, Eating, and Performance. It is a trademarked name. I didn’t invent it. Very scientifically designed.
This is kind of the polar opposite of an elimination diet. If you were doing the IGG test or the IGE test, and you were to get the test results back, they would say to eliminate the things that turned up. You can eat everything else. You’re fine. Just eliminate these problem foods. That’s not very helpful because maybe now you’re eating foods that are also inflammatory for you but maybe not as inflammatory for you. It’s just really not that effective and not that helpful. I look at it as an antiquated way. 300 years ago, we might put you on an elimination diet. Just stop eating this one thing, and let’s see if that helps. That didn’t help, so stop eating that other thing. Now you are in this years-long cycle of trying to figure out what’s causing you problems.
The MRT speeds this up. With LEAP Dietary Therapy, instead of looking at the test and saying, “A, B, and C turned up high on the test. Avoid those things,” we are going to look at the test results and say, “X, Y, and Z turned up low on the test. You should be focusing on creating a diet out of these items that we know to be non-inflammatory for you.” If it’s implemented correctly, inflammation starts moving out of your body within the first week or two. Symptoms start to decrease so rapidly. The entire LEAP Dietary Therapy is six weeks to get you on the right course because it takes six weeks to move inflammation out of your body. As you finish, you understand how to move forward and keep that inflammation out.
Most importantly, how do you recover when you’ve been accidentally triggered? This happens even to me, as much as I try to be aware and stay away from what I know to be triggers. There are also times where either I was unaware, or I even sometimes, and I tell this to my clients, you just make an informed decision. “Well, I’m going to choose to eat this even though I know it’s going to make me not feel good.” After you get through this LEAP Dietary Therapy, you have an idea of how that’s not going to make you feel good. You can choose. You’re not flying blind anymore.
It might be even as simple as saying, “Am I going to choose the chicken or the steak at this meal?” You understand which one will keep you in an uninflamed place, and which one might trigger inflammation in your body.
With those foods that you react to, the ones that show up positive, most of them, would you be able to reintroduce in the future? I don’t know if you can eat lettuce now, or if it’s a food that you have to permanently avoid.
You know, that’s a good question. I haven’t challenged myself on lettuce because I can eat arugula, spinach, kale. I just can’t eat anything that’s called lettuce, like red leaf lettuce, iceberg lettuce, Romaine lettuce. At that same test, when lettuce turned up reactive for me, also avocado turned up reactive for me. That was very surprising because I always advocate avocado as one of the best foods for people with MS and other nervous system conditions because it has very healthy fats in it. It’s also one of the first foods I fed my babies when they moved to solid foods because I think avocadoes are so wonderful.
As it turned out, avocadoes were definitely inflammatory for me. When I would have avocado and lettuce together in a salad, double whammy, that would throw me out of commission for days.
But that test was maybe 2012. Every couple of years, I would challenge myself on avocado because I missed it so much. For the first couple of years, I would react and react and react. Now, 10 years later, I’m fine eating avocadoes. They don’t cause any inflammation for me.
Interesting. For a few years, you weren’t able to eat them. It just took a certain amount of time for you to get below that threshold with regards to the avocado then?
A lot of that has to do with that toxin threshold. Also, the immune system’s memory, how long it might take for that memory to clear those T cells to forget that they were offended by avocadoes and to be able to accept them again. That’s all part of the healing journey and part of the process that I teach and people learn after taking the MRT.
I do want to touch a little bit on parasites, but I didn’t know if there was anything else you wanted to mention about MRT.
I think I’m good with the MRT. Let’s move to parasites.
Parasites are something else you focus on. Why are parasites a problem for everybody?
Unfortunately, it is super easy to pick up a parasite in this world. We don’t have to have had foreign travel although if you have, that could be a clue. You can get them from eating sushi, playing with your dog, swimming in a lake or a river or even a public pool. Every summer, I watch on the news as they find Giardia in water parks around the country. You can get them from eating vegetables that haven’t been washed well or well enough, produce, things like that. You can get them from cleaning out your kitty litter box. In 2018, there were a dozen McDonald’s around the country that they found cyclospora in the salads. In the ‘90s, the entire town of Milwaukee was infected with Cryptosporidium through their municipal water supply. It’s just really easy to pick up parasites.
Those same T cells are the sentries in our body’s immune system. They go through the whole body looking for foreign invaders. Most foreign invaders in the human body, up until the last couple hundred years maybe, have been virus or bacteria, or maybe mold, too. That could be one. Now, there are just so many things that the T cells can find to react to. One of them is parasites because parasites are foreign invaders.
Typically, when the T cells find those foreign invaders, they trigger that inflammatory process and start sending inflammation and heat and antibodies. Those work pretty well against bacteria and viruses but not at all against parasites. If you have parasites living in your body—let’s be clear, the goal of the parasite is to find a host, move in, and reproduce forever more—the T cells see foreign invaders, and they sound the alarm constantly in this vicious cycle. They send out the inflammatory cascade, and the inflammation goes. But the parasites don’t care at all about that, so they’re still there. Then the T cells come back and say, “The foreign invaders are still there. We need to send out more inflammation.” You just end up in this vicious cycle.
The longer I work in my clinic, the more and more convinced I am that hidden parasitic infection is at the root of most, if not all, chronic inflammatory conditions.
You take an herbal approach when it comes to parasites.
I do. Myself personally, I have done the pharmaceutical approach, too. In 1998, my then-fiancé and I did a two-week horseback trip across the Eastern Tibetan Plateau. When we came back into Chengdu, China, we had a huge feast at a five-star restaurant. We will all meet there at 6pm. It was such a great celebratory atmosphere. By midnight, 12 out of 15 of us were worshipping the porcelain gods. That is a very clear indication that something was wrong.
For people who are listening, you might have had an experience similar to this. You might have called it food poisoning. You might have called it a 24-hour flu bug, or something didn’t agree with you. That could be the genesis of your infection. It’s called the acute phase of parasitic infection.
When I came back from Asia and submitted my stool sample to my GI doctor, it made its way to the CDC. They actually picked up the phone and called me and said, “Where have you been? We have identified five parasites in your stool.” But that is unusual, as you probably know. Parasite testing is notorious for false negatives.
At that time, this was 1998, I didn’t know anything about the natural health world. The doctor put me on Flagyl, which is a very potent antiparasitic. Still one of the first line antiparasitic pharmaceutical medications that we have. First of all, antibiotics don’t work against parasites.
Flagyl wipes out every bit of flora and fauna in your system. One GI doc said to me, “Using Flagyl to kill Giardia is like using a shotgun to hit a mosquito. You might hit it, but you’re going to have a lot of collateral damage from all that buckshot that is going everywhere else, too.” That’s kind of what Flagyl does. It leaves you this empty shell that you now have to rebuild your whole microbiome from the inside out and recover from it. And you might have gotten the adult parasites, but you probably didn’t get the eggs. Some parasites lay 2,000 eggs a day. You might not have gotten the larvae, which are teenage parasites.
Yes, I prefer an herbal approach. I have a formulation or a protocol that I have developed that is a 30-day protocol that is very effective and super gentle. I use it with babies when their moms find worms in their diapers. I have done it myself six or seven times. I did it most recently at the beginning of the pandemic when I felt like I was having inflammation that was out of control. My kids have done it. It is just very gentle, very well tolerated. Most people don’t feel anything while they go through it unless they are in a fairly recent infection, and then they might feel remarkably different within the first week.
Since parasites are so widespread, when someone follows the protocol, there is a chance they could always get reinfected, I imagine. I don’t know if you personally do cleans every so often, like follow your protocol a few times a year. Do you just base it on symptoms? I think the approach you take with all clients is you treat them as parasites. How do you know if six months later the parasites haven’t come back? Or do you just do something from a preventative standpoint?
If you treat for parasites, and that person gets better, then you should have a pretty clear causality. Oh, well, I gave you the parasite protocol, and you got better. You probably had a parasite. Then they start going downhill again after a certain point. Usually, I will say six months, sometimes a year or two years or three years even. That is when I recommend, they do another parasite protocol.
Some people have to do more than just the 30-day protocol. I have a client right now who is in the Bahamas, still seeing parasite eggs coming out in her stool. Sometimes, I add in another protocol. When we added in this other protocol, she started seeing more worms come out, even though she’d already been doing parasite protocols for at that point three months, something like that. There are so many kinds of parasites, and some are harder to evict than others. The 30-day protocol I like to start with is a very gentle way to start.
I know some practitioners, before having someone follow a parasite protocol, they will do things like support lymphatics, so they will almost have a pre-protocol before parasites. Do you find that to be necessary, or do you just put them on the herbs?
I usually just put them on the herbs because for a lot of people, it is enough to have to remember to take the herbs and follow the dosing calendar three times a day for 30 days. If I were to add in more things that they had to do, they might throw the whole towel in and feel too overwhelmed. Overwhelm is a big part of it. You can do other things, like you can do hydro colon therapy or colonics, but you don’t have to. It will work itself through your body pretty efficiently, whatever needs to come out.
Obviously, you’re still doing what you’re doing because it works. Different practitioners have different methods, so I wanted to ask because I have been asked that, too. There are four-month protocols out there involving parasites. The first month or two are really preparing the person for the parasite protocol. When I spoke with you last year, I got the impression you didn’t do that. A lot of practitioners just jump into the parasites. I wanted to see what you do. It sounds like that’s pretty much what you do.
It is what I do. Just recently, I had a consultation with a 16-year-old girl who has been suffering from debilitating migraines and nausea and constipation, all kinds of systemic issues. It was affecting her, keeping her out of school, missing a lot of work. She was very distressed.
When we started speaking, and I mentioned that I would want her to begin with the parasite protocol, her mother remembered that when she was eight or nine, she had been on the beach in Mexico. When they came back, they had noticed a red line moving up her leg. It kept moving up, up, up her leg. They took her to many doctors who didn’t know what it was and thought itwas just a rash or something. Then they found a doctor who said, “This is a parasite.” They had put her on a pharmaceutical; probably anti-worming would be my guess. Maybe Ivermectin. It resolved that particular trail that was moving up her leg.
As we know, there are probably eggs still in there. Now, 10 years later, she is having really debilitating symptoms. I believe that the origin is that Strongyloides infection that she received.
It’s amazing how healthier foods, let alone foods we know are inflammatory and things like food dyes. It’s also sad because most conventional medical doctors will just completely dismiss this. If someone were to ask to do a parasite test, unless they are having diarrhea and the traditional parasite symptoms, but obviously people don’t have to have diarrhea and gastrointestinal symptoms to have parasites, but most of them will dismiss that. Same thing with MRT. Most of them probably have never even heard of that. Fascinating.
If someone is interested in MRT, or they found this conversation fascinating with regards to parasites, where can they learn more about you? Also, I want to briefly talk about your upcoming book.
I am on all of the socials. Please don’t DM me there because it might be months before I actually see that DM. If you are interested in learning more about this, the best place to go is my website, ElizabethYarnell.com. You can get on my newsletter. You can start following me on the socials because I do post on the socials; I just don’t always get the DMs very easily.
Anyone who is listening, if this is resonating with you, and you want to explore further, at the bottom of every page of my website, there is a link to schedule a complementary naturopathic health assessment with me. Happy to do that with anyone.
Lots and lots of information out there. I have been doing a mad circuit of podcasts and summits lately. If you get on my email list, you will start to learn about all of that stuff as well.
Can you take a minute or two and talk about your future book? What can people expect?
Yes, I’m so excited about this book. In 2011 or 2012, I spoke with my literary agent because you can see my first book is up on the wall behind me, Glorious One Pot Meals. That’s my cookbook. I was speaking with her, and I said, “I’m ready to write another book. I want to write it on inflammation.” She said, “Nobody wants to read about inflammation. They want another cookbook.” I didn’t want to write another cookbook.
Here I am, 12 years later or so, and I have finally written my book on inflammation. It will be coming out to coincide with MS Awareness Month, which is March 2023. I am super excited about this book.
As you mentioned at the top of the show, Eric, even though my focus is on MS, my history is with MS, inflammation is the common root of most if not all chronic disease. If we focus on the inflammation, that is what I talk about in the book. That is where I want to point and shine the light on. Inflammation is the common root of all of this. Even though the inflammation may manifest differently in different conditions, it has inflammation at the bottom. There are triggers, and we need to be looking in the right places to identify those triggers in order to reduce inflammation and eliminate the symptoms.
By the time this episode is live, the book will be out. Thank you so much, Elizabeth. Again, this was a great second interview. Like I said at the top of the hour, I expected there to be some overlap, but I also wanted to ask you some follow-up questions, which I did. The first call was more on parasites and a little bit on MRT. This was the reverse, where we focused more on MRT and did a little bit on parasites. Thank you for getting together. Also really looking forward to your book.
Me, too. I wish I could announce the title and have everyone look for it, but I have changed the title, I don’t even know, 30 times so far. I don’t even want to venture an idea of what the title will end up being.
You’ll come up with it soon because it will be out in a few months.
The clock is ticking!
Good luck with that. I’m sure it will be a great title when it’s out. Like I said, I look forward to reading it. I know a lot of listeners will look forward to reading it as well.
Thank you for having me on. I really appreciate it.