In Episode #45, Dr. Jill Carnahan interviews Dr. Jennifer Kessmann on the growing concerns around breast implant illness and toxicity. Learn about possible signs and symptoms of breast implant illness even as long as 10 years after implants, the difference between saline and silicone and textured implants and how to make the most empowered choice for you.
Breast Cancer Prevention: https://www.jillcarnahan.com/2014/10/12/11-tips-breast-cancer-prevention/
Dr. Jill Carnahan is Your Functional Medicine Expert® dually board certified in Family Medicine for ten years and in Integrative Holistic Medicine since 2015. She is the Medical Director of Flatiron Functional Medicine, a widely sought-after practice with a broad range of clinical services including functional medical protocols, nutritional consultations, chiropractic therapy, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, and massage therapy. As a survivor of breast cancer, Crohn’s disease, and toxic mold illness she brings a unique perspective to treating patients in the midst of complex and chronic illness. Her clinic specializes in searching for the underlying triggers that contribute to illness through cutting-edge lab testing and tailoring the intervention to specific needs.
Featured in Shape Magazine, Parade, Forbes, MindBodyGreen, First for Women, Townsend Newsletter, and The Huffington Post as well as seen on NBC News and Health segments with Joan Lunden, Dr. Jill is a media must-have. Her YouTube channel and podcast features live interviews with the healthcare world’s most respected names.
A popular inspirational speaker and prolific writer, she shares her knowledge of hope, health, and healing live on stage and through newsletters, articles, books, and social media posts! People relate to Dr. Jill’s science-backed opinions delivered with authenticity, love and humor. She is known for inspiring her audience to thrive even in the midst of difficulties.
Dr. Jill 00:13
Hello everyone! We are live, and it is great to have you join us this afternoon. I am so excited about today. And if any of you follow me on Instagram, or if you don't, please jump on over there. Dr. Jill Carnahan on Instagram. I promoted this one in particular because I know that there are a lot of women out there who need to hear this message. Dr. Jennifer Kessmann and I are so excited to be here to talk to you. I'm going to formally introduce her in just a minute or two.
Dr. Jill 00:43
And just a little housekeeping to begin with: If you like these podcasts and shows, you can go to my website, jillcarnahan.com, for more free information, free blogs, recipes, and all kinds of stuff. You can always visit the retail store, DrJillHealth.com, for products and things. Today we probably won't be talking a lot about products. And then the last thing is that I have a free YouTube channel with lots of content with other physicians, and this will also be live there in a few days. So if you've missed any of the other talks, you can jump on the YouTube channel and watch all of them. They're all free [and have] some great content. I expect today will be no different.
Dr. Jill 01:24
Today I have Dr. Jennifer Kessmann, who reached out to me and mentioned this topic. I was so excited because I have seen patients in clinical practice with breast implant-related illness and toxicity. It's a topic that, like any environmental toxicity, we don't hear a lot about. But I want to just bring awareness to that today because some people have these mysterious symptoms and issues and don't know what they are, and it's actually something in their own body that's affecting their health. As both Dr. Kessmann and I believe, these things are multifactorial, so it's not always like there's one thing. But this can be a really big deal. I've had at least a dozen patients who have had this illness and have recovered after they explanted those. So I am so excited to hear from Dr. Kessmann.
Dr. Jill 02:11
She's actually prepared some slides. So I think today will be one of the best [episodes]—super educational and science-based. I want to introduce her. So let me just tell you a little bit about Dr. Kessman. And we were just talking when we first got on. I said: “I know we've met before. Do you remember when it was?” And we thought it was around 2015 at a functional medicine conference. I think we sat by one another. And [I] just love her energy and what she's bringing. So let me introduce her.
Dr. Jill 02:37
She's a certified functional medicine physician like I am, and she's passionate about finding solutions to health concerns and bringing us all back to optimal health. She graduated magna cum laude from Texas A&M University while studying scientific nutrition. She's currently practicing functional medicine focused on finding root causes to improve health. With over 20 years of experience in traditional medicine as an MD, she began to recognize patterns quickly and find answers to one's health conditions. She's also passionate about lifestyle and its impact on disease. She is just a wealth of knowledge. So thank you so much, Dr. Kessmann, for joining me today.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 03:16
Wow, thank you for that great introduction, Jill! I am so excited to be here. I have followed you for so many years, and you have just been such an icon for me. I really cherish your knowledge and your ability. The way that you can share things is just so beneficial to the whole medical space, functional medicine space, and integrative medicine space. So thank you for that. And I hope that the women who need to be here are here.
Dr. Jill 03:45
Oh, I'm sure they are, and we'll share it with those who aren't. And thank you for that beautiful [and] kind introduction. You know what's funny? I love putting out the content and [have] been doing that for a long time in this space. It still surprises me and touches me deeply when my colleagues—whom I respect and who are doing the same thing on the front lines—[like] you tell me that it's mattered in their life. It touches me deeply. So it gives me the excitement to keep going and keep putting out content. That means a lot, Jennifer, so thank you very, very much.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 04:13
[inaudible] amazing. Absolutely. I can't say more about that. I'm going to go ahead and share my screen.
Dr. Jill 04:21
Yes. And before you do, let's jump in just for a second here. I would love to talk about your story.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 04:31
Do you want me to stop the share then?
Dr. Jill 04:31
No, just for a second, because I think people want to see you and just [know] how you got into functional medicine [and] how you got interested.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 04:37
Oh, sure. Well, my background was in nutrition. I think that's been a lifelong passion. I also had this passion for the environment and supporting the environment. I think, really, when you think about it, they go together, right? The environment supports health, and then it all flows together. So I did traditional medicine until about 2008, and that's when I really started seeing: “No, this nutrition is super important.” I got back on that bandwagon, went to Andrew Wells conferences, and got certified in integrative medicine. Then my journey into functional medicine, which was sort of, “Oh my goodness, this is just where it's at!”
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 05:24
And then I had my own issues in 2015, and it was just fortuitous that those two came together at the same time. I was able to use functional medicine to help myself, which, when you actually go through it, really makes a big difference in how you understand it and how it impacts your view of medicine in general. You can't go back after that.
Dr. Jill 05:46
I found the lectures and stuff might be 25% of what we learned, but the experience—that is a whole other level because you understand these little nuances of what it's like to not be able to get out of bed. The things that our patients are telling us—it's like, “Oh, yes, I remember how that felt.” And when you actually experience it, it really takes it to a whole other level, not only [in terms] of understanding but even compassion. I'm sure you have a lot of compassion for your patients of all types, because whenever we've had those experiences, it really, really changes how we view it, right?
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 06:16
You really hear them, and you want to help them because you know you were on the other side. So it's just something that, at this point, is a gift. But at the time, it was not something that I cherished for sure.
Dr. Jill 06:32
Oh, I say that so often, right? Like now, it's the best thing that ever happened, but I remember that my cancer was not fun. I was bald. All kinds of things.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 06:42
I know; I can't imagine.
Dr. Jill 06:44
Well, yes, let's jump in. Let's go ahead and share your slides. I can't wait to hear this. So, I'll make sure that works. Awesome.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 06:54
Is it up?
Dr. Jill 06:54
Perfect, yes. Awesome. Yes, we can see it great. So, go ahead.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 07:00
So I guess the question is: Is it implant illness? When I see a patient and get their intake forms—we have this scoring system called the MSQ—and I look at the MSQ, I'm like, “Oh, I think she has implants.” And sure enough, most of the time, that's the case. There are other illnesses that can cause those high MSQ scores of 90 to 100, but implant illness really can trigger a lot of symptoms. When I experienced breast implant illness, it didn't exist. It wasn't being talked about, and nobody in the medical field really knew anything about it. I went to my physicians, and they were like, “Jennifer, I have no idea what's going on with you.” And I was like, ‘Gosh!' So I had to kind of figure it out.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 07:56
Luckily, along the way, I met other practitioners who had some background in this and were able to help me navigate how to get better. So now I'm passionate about trying to help other people get better with whatever illness they're experiencing because implant illness is very similar to many other things that cause profound oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 08:23
But when I talk about the root cause of breast implant illness, I really have to say: Why are we doing this? Why are we getting breast implants? And should we look at ourselves… I love the way Sophia Loren says that nothing makes a woman more beautiful than her belief that she is. And also, just this process of being able to choose…
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 08:50
There's a movement right now called Going Flat. And there was a study that just got published in UCLA and they're offering this to women—the plastic surgeons and them. They had about 900 women, and 74% said they were great with that decision and very happy about it. So I think we need to think about: What are our options?—putting all of these things into our basket of possibilities and letting women make the decision for themselves. I don't know how you feel about that but…
Dr. Jill 09:24
I love that, Dr. Kessmann, because really it's about empowering women to make the best choices for them. And what is true about women [is that] we're born with this great intuition, so we kind of know. And there's no wrong… We are not here to shame any choices that you choose, but if you can touch base with your own heart, soul, and intuition—whether you have implants and are getting them removed or whether you're trying to decide whether or not to do them, whether you've never had implants or any of these choices—we just want to be here to empower you with more information to make the best choice for yourself.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 09:55
That is so true. I also want to say that I'm presenting this information, and I know women have breast implants, but I also want to say that there are women who don't get ill. I don't want anyone to have fear. I don't want to create fear in anyone. So, to be aware is really the purpose of this talk.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 10:18
Anyway. This was a trip I took to one of the blue zones in the world in Nosara, Costa Rica. The people there are just so beautiful, and they eat the healthiest food. It's a natural beauty that's coming from them being joyful. And I think joyfulness and happiness come from good health. So anything that's taking away from your health is taking away from your internal beauty, happiness, and joy. I see you post about that all the time, so I know you're all on board with all of that.
Dr. Jill 10:53
I love that. And I love that because I've gone on my journey from feeling like I wasn't enough, and I had my own insecurities. As I've embraced who I am and am showing up in the world, my little tagline now is: “I don't give a fig Newton what people think.” It's not like I don't care—I'm still compassionate. But what happened before was that I was doing things based on what I thought people wanted of me. Now it's like I'm showing up as my true, authentic self without apology. And that's beautiful, I think.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 11:22
I love that! I so love that and I'm working on that.
Dr. Jill 11:26
We're all on the journey.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 11:31
But along this journey, I've had the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing women. I went to the FDA last year for the hearing on breast implants, where we met some of the people who were leading the movement back in the 90s, [including] Sybil Goldberg. I love to give her a lot of credit. Jamee Cook and Raleen—they've just been amazing in this movement and getting this information to be on the main stage, which is, I think, exactly what we need.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 12:02
When I was learning about implant illness, I went to Facebook. That's where I learned a lot about it. These women are amazing. The bottom group there is out of Canada. It has over 130,000 members now. I mean, it's just unbelievable. About 300,000 women are getting implants every year in the United States. A third of those are for reconstructive purposes, but 70% are for cosmetic purposes. The upper group is Breast Implant Victim Advocacy. Jamee is great about posting all of the latest articles that come out on ALCL and breast implant illness. So you can find out even more information from those sites. She keeps it very evidence-based.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 12:49
I think that another thing that got us on the main stage is something called breast implant-associated ALCL. Only about 993 cases as of January 4th have been reported in the world. Relatively speaking, that's not a huge number. But when you know 10 people who have had it, it's a huge number. Mainly, the textured implants are leading to this. Being educated, even if you're choosing to do implants, as to what may have the least risk—this is something that has been powerful in this movement.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 12:49
Breast implant illness—this is just one of the slides that are very commonly presented on the internet. There are so many symptoms! I think that's kind of classic for the presentation and to put that in your mind—when someone has so many things going on. A lot of them kind of fall in line with mast cell activation syndrome. Rita Kappel has done a lot of research on mast cell activation syndrome and breast implant illness. She has followed these women who have had the gel bleed into their bodies for years and then developed these symptoms, tracking them and finding that they resolve upon explant, like you have seen.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 14:19
Anyway, I was involved in that Delphi expert consensus panel trying to create an ICD-10 code, if you will, for breast implant illness and criteria that you can use to hopefully put this on the radar. This is going to be published, I think, this year. But anyway, the 20 symptoms that came out first were similar to the ones that I presented on the slide before. But brain fog and fatigue are probably the most reported things, and then, anxiety, depression, joint pain, and rashes. I think [about] how to tease this apart from other things like hypothyroidism, for instance, or other autoimmune diseases. Certainly, people have autoimmune diseases that don't have breast implants and have other sources for all of this stuff. And it's just hard to determine: How do you know if it's the implants?
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 15:18
For me, I started getting this rash on my chest. It was nothing that I'd ever seen in my 20 years of medicine. It was so itchy and everything. That's when I really started thinking about: Could it be these implants that I have? Certainly, the Facebook groups have tons of pictures of this rash—after the fact, after I ex-planted and became more aware of this as being an issue. But the panel met on several occasions, and these were the top five symptoms that ended up being the criteria that they were going to move forward with.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 15:57
And I should mention the brain fog. These women have intense brain fog. I'm not talking about [something] like “Where are my keys?” or “my phone.” It's like they can't figure out the way to get home from the store. They forget all kinds of things. There's been a couple of times when I've shipped things to patients because they've given me the wrong address. And I just think it's profound when you see something like that to think about breast implants or implant illness/disease. Gosh, I love your input, so just jump in any time, Jill.
Dr. Jill 16:34
This is great.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 16:36
Okay. This is kind of a classic rash—the chest rash. It's sort of a diffuse redness with some splotchiness, maybe. You can get any kind of rash, though, [such as] urticaria. People can just have diffuse itching and have no rash, or they can have a fine, papular rash. But for a lot of these women, their rashes resolve after explantation.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 16:36
This woman has done a lot of work. She's been on Business Insider, if you want to see more about her story. She was focused on that [platform] on two occasions, and it's just unbelievable. The top left is her before implants. This is when she started getting sick. And this is kind of the peak of her illness. And I don't know if you can see, but she's got a disconjugate gaze.
Dr. Jill 17:27
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 17:28
It's affecting something in her eyes, her cranial nerves, and that resolved. This is her plastic surgery follow-up appointment. She's only at three months, I think, post-op. She's not a patient of mine, but she really reached out to me and said, “Share my stuff because I want people to learn about this.”
Dr. Jill 17:51
That's so profound to see those photos because anyone can tell the differences.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 17:58
Yes, and these are all over. [There are] just hundreds and hundreds of patients for whom you see this similar scenario happen. I call it the face of implant illness. It's sort of classic. This woman had implants that were saline and then one of them molded, which is another thing that can happen, mainly in the saline implants. This is post-up day one and post-op day six. You can see the changes in her inflammatory state really remarkably.
Dr. Jill 18:31
Unbelievable! That's so profound.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 18:35
And this woman also went on the news and was [like]: “Yes, sure. Share whatever you can that can help other women.” And Liza, you can see her story also, but she was back in the time when breast implant illness didn't exist and nobody had heard of it. But [she] demanded that her implants get taken out. And this is her post-operatively. So, [these are] just remarkable changes. Talia is here in the metroplex, and I met her while doing a CBS interview for the news on implant illness years ago. This is her with sort of a malar rash—sort of a dermatomyositis look. But this is her on Facebook now. She says that all of her symptoms have almost completely gone away. So [there are] just remarkable stories like that. And knowing these women, I know that this has really happened because I saw it happening.
Dr. Jill 19:38
And, Dr. Kessmann, I was going to mention, and here you are with the slide: I'm assuming a lot of these women have more risk of autoimmunity—which could also resolve—and then, like you said, the mast cell activation, some of the histamine prostaglandin kind of reactions. So probably most of what we're seeing in those photos was either that auto-inflammatory kind of autoimmune cytokine stuff or could be related to mast cell [activation syndrome]. Does that sound fair to what you're seeing?
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 20:03
Yes, sure. Yes, yes. It's sort of like a mixture of different autoimmune diseases sometimes. And they may not have a positive test, a positive A&A, or a positive scleroderma. And it seems like it takes a long time for these women to become ill, so they may have the implants for 10-plus years. And the studies that have been done on implants for six years long. So, of course, that didn't show a lot of these things that take 10 years to develop.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 20:34
But some of the work has been done by Professor Dr. Shoenfeld. I don't know if you saw him. He came to, I think, the autoimmune IFM in 2018. He did his ASIA story. But he did a lot of the work on what's called ASIA—which sort of encompasses breast implant illness—Gulf War syndrome and a lot of other toxic diseases that activate the mast cells into a cytokine storm picture. And then, of course, there's Aristo Vogdani, which I know you know about. He's done work with antibodies to silicone.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 21:18
There was a study that came out last year from MD Anderson and Mark Clemens, who do a lot of the work with the ALCL. That study did have some associations with some autoimmune diseases, although retrospectively. They weren't really looking for autoimmune disease. They were looking more at other issues. But as a side note, they found a higher incidence of rheumatoid arthritis, a higher incidence of Sjogren's [syndrome], and a higher incidence of scleroderma in those patients. There are a lot of studies. A lot of them are coming from other countries.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 21:58
But the FDA did this year or last year now—gosh, it's already January 21. But in September of last year, they came out with some warnings on their website regarding breast implants. And that's really why I feel comfortable speaking about this today, because it was so controversial that this didn't exist. And now, at least the FDA has come out and said that this illness is here and we need to be aware of it. And we, as the group, wanted informed consent. We wanted women to be able to make this decision on their own, so they recommended putting a black box warning on the implants so that women could see this. So you can go and look. They have an ingredient list on their website now. They also have the informed consent that they're recommending.
Dr. Jill 22:59
This is amazing already. I know you've been an advocate, but that's tremendous to have that warning because it's not like we're saying everybody should not do this but just to be informed and make an educated choice. If you're at high risk of autoimmunity, you may want to consider those types of things. I love that, and I know part of it's due to your hard work.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 23:18
No, not mine. Not mine. I don't take credit. I was there for moral support. But yes, all of the autoimmune issues that are there, they sort of started showing them. What I wanted to say was that the black box warning is a recommended thing, and so it really is still going to take [inaudible] putting all of this information out there.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 23:52
This [is a] slide I wanted to include. This is a textured implant that is ruptured. This is cohesive silicone. There are three kinds of implants: One is silicone, one is saline, and then this cohesive silicone, which is sort of the new gummy bear implant. And this one happens to be ruptured. The fuzzy stuff you see on there is the texture. That was created to try to help prevent contracture around the implant or scar tissue from squeezing the implant too much, which happens in some women. But these implants, if they're shiny, are smooth.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 24:28
I will say that one of the misconceptions that people have about implant illness [is]: “Well, my implants aren't ruptured. I'm fine. I don't have that because my implant isn't ruptured.” But that's not true because these bleed even when they're not ruptured, and they dissolve. We know they're not lifetime devices. I don't want to get too far into that discussion, but the manufacturers recommend removing them at 10 years because they are not lifetime devices. I think it's important for women to know that as well. You know this slide, right, from Dr. Ray?
Dr. Jill 25:11
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 25:12
Okay. Dr. Ray—I got to work with him on Tuesday mornings for about three years. He was just amazing as far as his knowledge of chemical sensitivity and environmental illness [went]. He had a lot of implant patients that came through and a lot of chemical-sensitivity patients. With mast cell activation syndrome, these patients get a lot of chemical sensitivities to air, skin, and their foods—just a lot of different sensitivities. So removing those things that they're sensitive to is so important to being able to heal. I saw patients that were so reactive, Jill. It was unbelievable. They would react to the paint on the sheetrock. I don't know if you've encountered chemical sensitivity—
Dr. Jill 26:05
Yes, I love that you're putting it in context because that's kind of where we started: This is one piece of the puzzle—and for some women, it's a huge piece of the puzzle—but it's usually not the only thing in the whole world that's toxic in isolation. So part of it is probably that the patients who have a higher toxic load to begin with are going to develop more issues. Or if you're already a kind of sensitive person, that may play into your decision whether or not to get implants or whether to remove them because, from what I'm seeing in clinical practice and I'm sure you are too, there is a more sensitive part of the population genetically. Because, like you said, there are some people who have no reactions. So this is all part of the bigger picture, the foundation of which the implant comes in.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 26:49
Absolutely. I'm so glad you brought up the toxic body burden, which has been accumulating over time. And certainly our genetics even play into that. And there is some evidence when you read some of the articles by Shoenfeld that you know people with terrible allergies from childhood have more problems with implants. So maybe that is another piece that people want to pay attention to. Some people are saying the MTHFR gene, which creates methylation issues and increases toxic burden, can also play a role in breast implant illness.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 27:29
I love this slide. T cells—they're either your friend or your foe, and boy are they ever! We need them, but we want them to be quiet for the most part. And I think people are understanding that more now with COVID and cytokine storms—how these T cells, when they get too interested in something, can cause a lot of problems. Although, without them, we have tons of infections and immune system issues.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 28:06
When these T cells secrete their cytokines, these cytokines are loose in the tissue and can go into other spaces and create inflammation, amplifying inflammation outside of the space where they're meant to be operational. I think that the fact that these women usually get six to eight years is speaking to the fact that it's amplifying, amplifying, amplifying over time.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 28:37
I love the cell danger response. When I stumbled upon this, I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is the answer to everything, almost!” But looking at the epigenetics of things that change in regards to when a cell has had so much inflammation that it can't live anymore, it releases its contents, and then those contents turn on receptors on the cells next door to increase inflammation. So this is playing a role and it makes sense. Certainly, I don't have concrete evidence of that but—
Dr. Jill 29:16
I love that you brought up the cell danger response because, like you, as I've heard of this in the last several years with Dr. Nevaux's research, it puts all the pieces together. And for those of you listening if you've never heard of this, the very basics are when cells, like Dr. Kessmann mentioned, get disrupted and spill their contents outside the cytoplasm. Those contents can trigger an outside cell wall reaction when it says: Hey, there's damage here. We used to call it damage-associated triggers. And those cell contents that have spilled outside, including ATP, will go outside and then trigger the external receptors. And the body is like: Wait, this isn't supposed to be here. And it creates a cell-danger response.
Dr. Jill 30:01
There's a lot more to it. But the bottom line is that it creates chronic fatigue. It's underlying a lot of the infectious diseases, like Lyme disease and tick-borne infections. It's underlying a lot of the toxicity, whether it's breast implant illness toxicity or mold illness. And it's common in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and autism. So it's stopping this response, and decreasing the effects on the outside of the cell can actually reverse a lot of those symptoms. It's easier said than done.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 30:31
Yes. Every little piece, I was just so fascinated with it—even decreasing the response of this to vitamin D and increasing scar tissue, oh, it's just fascinating—when I learned about that from Dr. Nevaux and all of the other researchers who have put their work into that. And then you just mentioned all of this, so thank you so much for going into all of that. But any inflammatory state—we know sepsis is so inflammatory, and it causes such severe blood pressure fluctuations and just really intense symptoms. People are very aware of that, the cytokines that get released, and all of that. COVID-19, mold illness, Lyme disease, autoimmune diseases—all of these have that intense inflammation that can create that whole pattern of disease symptoms that you can see.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 31:26
So in the patients that I see that have implants, gosh, we work through all of this: “Do you have any of these other things that we can help you with?” And I honestly never tell anyone to get their implants out. That is such a personal decision, and it has to really be almost like a family decision because it's such a step. It's not a simple thing to commit to going under another surgery, so I certainly don't take it lightly at all. I would encourage everyone listening to never just jump to that. Make sure you've looked everywhere that you can to try to fix the problem.
Dr. Jill 32:13
I love that you say that, because here we are hoping to empower women to make the right choice for themselves. We're not at all saying you must do this or that. It's just [about] giving more information so that you can make a great decision for yourself. And either way is the right decision if you decide and own it.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 32:27
Yes. I just really want to educate and then let people make their own decisions on all of this. So on this slide, I think we could spend hours. I don't want to do that. But it's all about re-establishing immune tolerance and removing the things that may trigger the immune system. That will allow the T cells to relax and stop releasing cytokines. So [it's about] removing unnecessary toxins, such as dysbiosis and candida, and anything else you may be exposing yourself to.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 33:07
I work really hard on air quality because I find that patients aren't really looking there. They're not thinking about it. They're sleeping with fabric softeners all around them and all of these chemicals coming out of their foam mattresses. All of those things can cause symptoms. Removing whatever you can to decrease your toxic body burden and allowing the natural detoxification process to begin, starting with the high levels: Sweat, urine, and stool. We only have three ways to detox, and getting rid of the toxins in any way that we can can help with that toxic burden.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 33:48
I always recommend organic food, and I know you do. At Dr. Ray's clinic, I also learned about the food rotation, which I do implement so much because a lot of my patients are so health conscious and they eat super healthy, but they eat the same thing. And when they get that permeable gut—an inflammatory response going on in the gut—they start reacting to everything they're eating, [which] is what I find out when I do the testing. So increasing the rotation of foods every four to seven days is based on the fact that T cell populations decrease over about a three- to four-day period of time. So I love that.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 34:26
And then, filtered water out of glass—if anyone brought a plastic bottle into Dr. Ray's clinic, he was like, “No plastic!” Now we know. I've seen the speakers who talk about mast cell activation say how sensitive their patients are to these plastics. Even when they're getting vitamin IVs, they're reacting to the tubing and things like that. So yes, I'd love any of your input on any of that.
Dr. Jill 34:59
The phthalates are kind of softeners and some of the plastic tubing, and then the BPA, which is, of course, from water bottles and things. And now there's BPA-free, but it's a different type of BPA. I actually think all plastics should be avoided. I don't think that the new BPAs are any safer, or at least not safe enough to be used. Now granted, back in the day when we did travel, there was still once in a while when I'd used plastic bottles. But as long as you're like 90% of the time using glass when you have the choice, then that 10% doesn't matter so much. So, I love that. And it's funny, you mentioned something that people have heard me say: “Clean air, clean water, clean food”—a really simple thing. That's like the foundation of detox. And you're mentioning all those things here about air, water, and food.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 35:42
Yes, that's great. And I always thought I lived pretty clean. I went, and then I realized I'm not living near clean enough. I had so much in my house that I needed to remove to get to a level where my air feels really clean now. And I love that.
Dr. Jill 36:04
I was just going to mention really quickly that I had breast cancer. This year is 20 years [since], if you can believe that. I remember afterward understanding, “Oh, wow, my soaps, my lotions, my cleaning supplies, and all of these things actually matter,” and starting that process of really cleaning up my makeup and all the stuff we women use—including cleaners and bath and body products and everything. If you've never looked at that, it could take a year or two to really go through, and it's a little more expensive, and you have to trade out brands.
Dr. Jill 36:34
But if you want a resource, the Environmental Working Group has so many resources on the toxicity levels of makeup and hair products. They have a database called Skin Deep, and it's all free. It's ewg.org. So, it's all free resources if you're looking, because I remember it taking a couple of years to transition. Now I just naturally always choose clean products, but it takes a while. But it is important. It's really important, especially for our young women who are putting on more makeup or bath and body products, because their skin surface-wise is going to absorb more. And they're going to be more affected at 12 than they are at 36.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 37:09
I hope everybody's listening right now, but go ahead. No, I totally appreciate you saying that. Yes, so I try to keep it super simple—just an unfragranced soap that you can wash the floors with. Hydrogen peroxide. Baking soda does tons of good in bathrooms. For the windows, you can do vinegar. So it can be really simple. When you get to the products for the face and all of that, I love the Environmental Working Group—I'm so glad you brought that up—and for food and organic foods as well.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 37:43
But here's another thing, number five: The vagal activity that gets going with these patients when they have all of these cytokine issues and inflammation triggers their fight-or-flight [response]. Then that fight-or-flight [response] propagates the whole problem, and they get into a vicious cycle of being super anxious, which triggers the immune system and anxiety. So, [it's about] really finding ways to break out of that. And there's a lot of work, like with HeartMath and learning how to breathe and how to calm that fight or flight response on your own, getting really grounded. Using the ground—I love to recommend using trees and going outside and enjoying nature. There's a lot of evidence that it decreases the fight-or-flight [response], which can help healing. And Annie Hopper—you know Annie Hopper?
Dr. Jill 38:36
Oh yes, the DNRS program; I'm a huge fan. In fact, I just created limbic system-retraining ideas. There's like 12 of them because there's this DNRS, there's Dr. Gupta's program, there's HeartMath—all the ones you mentioned. But sometimes, for our type A people like myself, [having] one more thing to do and one more program actually makes us more stressed. And these are great programs; don't get me wrong. But what I tried to do on that handout was things like craniosacral or binaural beats—some of these things that are passive that you can just receive and enjoy—or walking in nature. All of those can help. So I love that you're talking about this because I literally believe that 100% of people dealing with any form of toxicity have to address the limbic system in order to get back to 100%—that's a piece of the puzzle for everybody.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 39:20
I'm so glad you are saying that because I love that. I sometimes feel like I get an unusual look when I tell them to go outside and ground [themselves]. They're like, “Really?” But I think when you go to the mountains, where you get to be so close, you just feel so good. And could any of this actually be scientific in—
Dr. Jill 39:46
One hundred percent! I've done silly little things. I live in Colorado, so there are days when it's really cold out. And I don't know if it's been below 32, but it could be like 45, 35, or 40. I'll be out walking the dogs, and I'll sometimes take off my shoes and socks and stand barefoot on the grass. And it's cold. I mean, it's warm too—it's not all year-round like that. But I have actually chosen to stand barefoot on very, very cold grass. But it's so invigorating. It might just be a minute or two. And you can do it, of course, [when it's] warm—summer, beach, whatever. You don't have to wait for spring. There's something kind of invigorating about standing barefoot on 35-degree grass.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 40:27
I bet you are activating the vagal system, right?
Dr. Jill 40:30
And then breathing—I incorporate breathing there. And I'm like, “This is going to be the new Wim Hof.” Like, “Dr. Jill's standing on cold grass!”
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 40:41
Oh my! I haven't done that yet. We don't get snow very often, but I'm going to try it next time.
Dr. Jill 40:45
It takes a brave soul. But I'm telling you, it's pretty darn invigorating.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 40:49
I bet! It reminds me [of when] I went to Alaska. I was in Barrow, Alaska, and there were people that would jump into the iceberg—freezing water—to do a plunge. I don't know, I guess they had an intense reaction to that. But yes, so establishing restorative sleep—I think that plays also into the fight-or-flight [response] and using whatever you need to, [like] melatonin. I use a lot of magnesium to help with sleep and gut health. And then supporting supplementation and detoxification—I think integrative and functional medicine doctors are the best at probably doing that. That's just how I feel. And then having tons of social support—that really helps to calm the fight or flight. I think some of these women have been sick for so long and just really need that support to help them through all stages of this process.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 41:54
And then the last thing that I think is important is lymphatic drainage. But with any toxicity, I think that you have to do that at the right time and in the right amount because you can activate all those T cells. When those toxins get moved towards the lymph glands, they can reactivate an immune process that had been quieted. So, just to be aware of that [is important]. What do you recommend?
Dr. Jill 42:22
Oh, I couldn't agree more. I feel like for patients who are either detoxing from mold or they're treating an infection like a chronic Epstein-Barr or Lyme illness or this post-surgical explantation, it's so critical to involve the lymphatics. I'll start with gentle things like dry brushing, Epsom salt baths, lymphatic massage, and drainage remedies. There are a bunch of homeopathic drainage remedies I use. Those are all gentle ways, but you can overdo it. So even with the drainage remedies, one of my favorite ones, [inaudible], is the brand. I have no association with them, but they have one for the kidneys, the liver, and the lymph. And I usually start with the lymph, then add the kidneys, and then gently add the liver. But those are all ways, and there's a lot more than that, that can help with that lymphatic [drainage]. But that's a hard one because, in allopathic medicine like you and I are trained, we don't talk much about lymph, do we?
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 43:16
Hmm. I don't remember anything about it. I remember [it being mentioned] in anatomy, but that was probably the last time I got talked about. But the lymph is everywhere. [It's] in our brain. It's a whole other system that I think is so important with detoxification.
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 43:38
So I think that is my last slide. And this is just one of my favorite pictures. I love fine art. Anyway. But thank you, Jill. And yes, I'm so glad that we were able to have this today.
Dr. Jill 43:54
Oh, this is tremendous! Dr. Kessmann, this has been absolutely phenomenal. And I know I'm getting some comments through here—people are really interested—and we're going to share this. So we'll be sure to share the information. I look forward to continuing to learn, and maybe we'll have to have you back so that we can talk even more about what we're learning. And like I said, there are often different layers. But if you are a woman and you've tried to deal with some of these other things and you're stuck, this is one consideration that I would think about. And I'm assuming you're taking on new patients, and you do consultations around this area. Is that right, Dr. Kessmann?
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 44:30
I do. I'm in the Dallas area. I have a functional medicine practice where I do consultations for many different things. But often I see implant illness, either because they know or they don't know, and somehow they were led to me through [inaudible].
Dr. Jill 44:50
They were drawn to you, yes. So where can people find you? I want to be sure to give your website. I'll put a link there as well. But what's your website?
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 44:57
Yes, it's drjenniferkessmann.com. You can find me there. Send an email to the contact page. I also operate under Kessmann Clinics. I would love to help anyone who needs some guidance.
Dr. Jill 45:16
Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for joining us today. This was fun. I will be sure to get this out to the groups and all of that. Thank you to everybody who's listening. Be sure to post your questions, because I'll come back in here. And on Facebook, do you have a professional page anywhere where people can contact you?
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 45:33
Sure, it's Jennifer Kessmann MD. That's on Facebook. And I'm on Instagram: @Jennifer.KessmannMD as well.
Dr. Jill 45:42
Awesome, everybody. Well, have a great Friday afternoon! And thank you, Dr. Kessmann. This was awesome!
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann 45:47
Thank you, Jill! I loved it!
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