Are Your Electronic Devices Making You Sick?

In this week’s episode of Integrative Wellness Radio, Dr. Nicole and Brooke discuss how electronic devices may exacerbate any underlying illnesses including viruses, gut microbes, infections, and can even lead to cancerous cell changes down the line. Learn more about a functional medicine approach to managing your health with Integrative Wellness Radio!


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Dr. Nicole 1:00: Hey everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Integrative Wellness Radio. I am Doctor Nicole Rivera and I am here with the Functional Medicine Nutritionist, Brooke Scheller. We both work side-by- side at Integrative Wellness Group in New Jersey. We're going to be touching on a topic that is something that I don't think gets a lot of press these days, but it is very significant and very important. We're going to be talking about EMFs, which stands for Electromagnetic Frequencies. Also known as Electromagnetic Radiation, different types of radiation that come from all of our wireless devices. We live in a very technology based world nowadays and we're constantly being exposed to different types of wireless frequencies. Everything from WiFi, to our cellphones, to routers, really the list goes on. There's so many different avenues that we're getting exposed to nowadays. Even our cordless phones, our landlines in our house.

Brooke: Even our smart watches or our trackers.

Nicole: Fitbits.

Brooke: Yeah.

Nicole 2:00: Yeah, the fitbits are big ones. I know that's something that we've been using to kind of track our health and our steps and make sure that we're trying to stay active. We're going to dive a little bit into some of the impact that these EMF's can have on the body. What we really want to tie into it is how these EMF's are going to be contributing factors to creating more persistent infections which then could potentially lead to different diagnoses later down the line. Things like autoimmune conditions and even things like cancer.

Brooke 3:00: I actually was kind of urging Nicole to choose this topic today, because I think it's something we really, really don't think much about. We're so excited when a new smart phone comes out, or a new smart watch, or something that kind of drives us to advance ourselves. We don't really think that there are negative health impacts from some of these things. We see people who are using more of these. Let's say, maybe a more successful person or someone who works a lot, is on a computer, is using a cellphone, checking their e-mail constantly. Those types of people are having a lot of stress, they're having maybe some more significant health impacts down the line. It's a question of, yes there are going to be underlying things going on, maybe infections, viruses and things like that, but how is this abrasive technology impacting that?

Nicole 4:00: I think it's doublesided. Today we're really going to focus on the biochemical impact that it can make. The overuse of technology definitely rewires our brains and makes us live in more of a sympathetic response, meaning fight or flight, so we're always kind of like running on adrenaline and go, go, go. Our bodies, they end up being tired but wired. I think that that is a whole other topic in itself, because the constant use of technology and always being on is something that can definitely create a lot of imbalance. In addition we really want to talk about how the frequencies specifically are being a contributing factor to creating these persistent infections and making these infections almost more aggressive in our bodies.

Brooke: Yeah, so why don't you explain a little bit more about how that can possibly be happening.

Nicole 5:00: Well, I guess when I say infections I should really clarify what I'm saying, too. In the world of functional medicine a lot of the things that I end up treating are infections. These could be infections in your gut. For those of you who have maybe heard of candida, which is a yeast overgrowth in your gut. It can be parasites in your gut. It can be bacterial overgrowth, either in your colon or your small intestine, which is known as SIBO. Those are more gut related infections.

Then we have other infections like the Herpes Simplex Virus. That's cold sores that we might get. There's also going to be the Epstein-Barr Virus, which is the virus associated with mono. Then there's something called Mycoplasma. Mycoplasma is what we call walking pneumonia. You could be walking around with it and not even know you have it. There's a lot of different types of viruses, bacteria, and bugs, like parasites, that all can be living within our bodies. Unfortunately, it's a little too easy to get these types of infections nowadays. Part of the puzzle is our immune systems are compromised.

We have a podcast that we talk about the three things crippling your immune system. Just to briefly touch on it, heavy metal toxicity, things like mercury, aluminum, cadmium, can be one. Mold can be another. Then we do talk about infections there as well, especially in the gut. We can definitely have compromised immune systems, which open us up to these infections.

6:00 One of my mentors, one of the things that he said that really stood out to me was, "Things like Lymes Disease, things like staff infections, candida, these things have been among us for centuries, so why are these infections becoming so problematic now?". I really didn't know where he was going with the conversation. He talked about EMFs and he talked about all of the radiation we're getting exposed to and the fact that we live in WiFi soup, literally. Pretty much anywhere you go, if you turn on the WiFi on your phone, you're going to see tons of different providers or routers pop up. It's all around us. We really can't escape it nowadays.

With that being said this type of radiation and frequencies are actually irritating these infections that can be in our body and actually having them act more aggressive and also having them attach onto the host more significantly. Once they get in the body, it's actually very hard to get them out, unless you're using very, very specific therapies. One of the factors is all of the radiation that we are getting exposed to.

Brooke: As some people might have heard, our bodies are made up of like 80% bacteria, so we've got bacteria inside, outside. With the role that antibiotics are playing in our health these days, can EMF's also be having an impact on that?

Nicole 8:00: Well, I think where the antibiotics come into play, is that we are compromising our beneficial bacteria. We're compromising the bacteria that protect us against all of these bad strains of either bacteria or different types of bugs. We are then going into a world, either if we were C-section, or mom was put on antibiotics through her pregnancy, or there was some other complication during the birth that the child had to go on antibiotics, or they were premature.

All of those things are contributing factors to the baby actually not fully developing their good quality microbiome, meaning all of the good bacteria that protects them against the world. Then antibiotics then compounding because of ear infections, strep throat and whatever else it's used for. Then that is definitely something that is opening us up to a lot of bad infections, because again we do not have the beneficial protective bacteria.

Brooke: Right. Then going in and being exposed to EMFs compounding on this effect is definitely, later on down the line, can lead to certain things. I know we said this is kind of a hot topic, but eventually, possibly leading down the line to something like cancer.

Nicole 9:00: Well, the cancer is really something later down the line. What's interesting is most people that I work with that either have had a history of cancer or are currently going through some course of treatment because of cancer, they are usually dealing with a lot of other infections in the body. It's very unlikely that you have cancer, or have had a history of cancer, and that is the only thing happening in your body. Typically you have other underlining things that have compromised your body enough that your cells then started to mutate.

As an example, if you have an infection that is primarily in specific tissue of your body. Maybe you have an infection specifically in the reproductive organs. With that being said, if that infection is persistent enough and you're also someone who is exposed to a lot of EMFs, because maybe you sleep with your cellphone on right next to your bed and maybe your router is really close to your bedroom and maybe you live in a condo and there's surrounding units that also have WiFi. Now you have this infection and then it's also now becoming more aggressive and it is reproducing and dividing and growing, because of all the EMFs you are getting exposed to. Now if this infection is there long enough then your body has to learn how to adapt.

As an example, most of your cells are aerobic, meaning they live off of oxygen. They need oxygen and other nutrients. If your infection is now suffocating those cells, your cells have actually learned how to live without oxygen. That is what we call the shift from being aerobic to anaerobic. Anaerobic means now your cells have to learn how to live without oxygen, so they actually mutate. Under a microscope technically what that looks like is cancer.


With that being said, infection can be part of the puzzle. Other levels of toxicity can be part of the puzzle, like different types of pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, etcetera. That can also create that suffocating effect to the cells that they have to learn how to live without oxygen. The infections can also be part of that puzzle. Then from there that mutations happens and that is what starts the development of the cancer cells. If it still is never properly diagnosed that there was an infection there in the first place, you can cut the reproductive organs out, you can radiate them, you can use chemotherapy, you can do all those things, but chances are somewhere down the line this can happen again, because you haven't addressed the root cause.

It's definitely something to consider, because if you are someone who has been diagnosed with cancer at some point, you really want to explore what else is happening in my body that could be also a contributing factor. It is very, very, very unlikely that there is only cancer in your body and there is nothing else happening.

Brooke: Right and I think one of the important things is that we think that there's a genetic component. We think that there is correlation to, "Oh, my mother had breast cancer, so now I'm doomed." Or maybe you got tested and found out you had something like the BRCA gene and it doesn't necessarily mean that you are going to develop cancer. It means you're at a little bit higher of a risk, however if you're taking those preventative measures, finding out more about what';s going on in the body, then you can really lower your risk and start to get under control of whatever is going on underlying. I think that it's important that you mentioned about how cancer is not alone. We have people come in frequently that have had a past cancer exposure or ... What would you call it?

Nicole: History.

Brooke: A history of cancer. They say, "But I was fine. My doctor told me everything was great and I was in great health. I felt fine." Then upon further testing finding out that there was a lot of underlying things contributing maybe to the depletion of the immune system.

Nicole 14:00: Yeah. Something really important for you to take away from this is chemotherapy is an immune suppressant. If you are someone who has cancer and you also do have this infections in your body, again, undiagnosed. Then you can go through, of course, a chemotherapy and have a really terrible reaction, because now you're further shutting down the immune system and you're allowing these infections to persist further. If you were someone who went through chemotherapy or you know somebody going through chemotherapy and they are not doing well and they're having a lot of side effects and they're really feeling terrible, it is most likely that there is something that is happening in addition to the cancer that is now allowed to persist because the immune system is further shut down.

I think that's something that is really important to take away. I know that some people they say, "It wasn't the cancer that killed my father, or my mother or whoever it is for you, I think it was the chemo." Again, chemo is a very serious drug, but it's not necessarily the chemo, it's the infection that could have been there that then was able to thrive because there was no protective mechanism.

There was no protection anymore because the immune system was totally incapacitated. I think that that's something that's really important and really empowering. This is never intended to overwhelm. I just think that when we hear that diagnosis, if it's for ourselves or if it's for a relative, we automatically feel powerless. We feel like our only option is to kill it and kill it fast. When I hear of people that get that diagnosis, I fear that they go down the road of the most traditional treatment, the chemotherapy, and that it's not the cancer that kills them, it's the underlining infections that have not been diagnosed.

Unfortunately with most of the people that we have seen that have either have had cancer or currently do, we have found tremendous amounts of viruses and we've found Lyme Disease in many of them as well. Those are people that if Lyme Disease is showing up in your blood, that means your immune system is not working to begin with because Lyme Disease actually lives in your connective tissue. If it's in your blood, it's bad. If you were to then go forward and get on chemotherapy you could potentially just have Lyme takeover. It's a lot of really important information to consider.

Brooke 17:00: Yeah and this is why we do the testing that we do. The things that we're looking at are not your classic, average, everyday, run-of- the-mill doctors appointment where they're looking over, okay, everything looks find in a metabolic panel or a CBC, which is your blood panel. Some of these things are not really going to light up in there.

Taking a little bit further of a look and getting a really good health history allows us to really make a good decision on what to look for aside from your average everyday test. That includes things like a hair analysis, a test for heavy metals and stool analysis to check for some of those gut infections. The body is all connected. It's not separate parts. If you have cancer in the breast, there could absolutely be something going on in the gut that could be a contributing factor. Bear in mind that health and the body are all connected. I think that's something that's quite eye opening for people as well.

Nicole: I like the fact that you said that. That you can have breast cancer and then also have a gut infection. I know some of you might be like, "That sounds crazy. How is that have to do with anything?" You might go and say that to your primary physician and say, "Can that be possible?" They're going to look at you like you're crazy. The thing is our medical system is very based off of separate systems. If you have urinary problems then that means that's the only system dysfunctioning. Then if you also have a gut problem then you have to go to the Gastroenterologist. Oh, then if you have migraines you have to go to the neurologist.

At the end of the day, who's piecing the puzzle together? Who is connecting the dots and giving you the full comprehensive look at your body? Yes, everything is connected. Yes, infections in your gut, in your reproductive organs can contribute to migraines and can contribute to allergies and can contribute to so many things. You really need to work with the right people to connect the dots for you, so you can have a more comprehensive look at yourself and start to feel better.

19:00 I think that people just don't know what it's like to feel good anymore. You might even have had a diagnosis of cancer or have a relative who has had a diagnosis of cancer and you might have said, "Oh my god. I don't understand. They were so healthy. How did this happen?" I think what it really comes down to is that people get used to feeling not well. It's normal to be tired. It's normal to have stomach aches. It's normal to have diarrhea everyday. It's normal to be constipated. It's normal to have migraines. It's normal to have those things. At the end of the day it's not normal and we all deserve better. We deserve to feel awesome. We deserve to feel good. You don';t know what you don't know. You get the testing done and you actually learn a lot about yourself. Then you know what you can do through your lifestyle to make better decisions and then get yourself feeling better.

Brooke: Well and bringing it back to talking about the EMFs. I do want people to kind of a have a little bit of a take home with this. Like I said, I think it's something that is quite eye opening. With EMFs there's a lot of things that you can do at home to help decrease your exposure. Things you can do on a daily basis. I know some of my favorite tips are, put your phone on airplane mode, or don't sleep with it right next to your head. I know you have a lot of really good tips as well from some of the people you've studied under as well.

Nicole 20:00: Yeah, I would say putting your phone on airplane mode is something that is super simple to do. It will shutdown your data. It will shutdown the EMFs within the phone. Your alarm clock will still work. That's always something that people ask me. You can also unplug your WiFi. Really just unplugging the back of your router will shutdown the WiFi. It's super simple because in the morning, if you are someone who works from home, you just plug it back in and it reboots within about a minute. It's nothing that is super time consuming or anything like that.

If you are somebody who is really suffering. Maybe you are somebody who has Lyme Disease, or is constantly getting sick and you already know that your immune system is compromised. You can go as extreme as shutting down the fuses in your home. I know that if you have kids, you might be like, "Well, what are they going to do if they have to get up to go to the bathroom? The lights won't work," etcetera. You can even shut down the fuses for your bedroom so at least no outlets are active. Then unplug the WiFi as well as putting your phone on airplane mode. Those are all just tips that can really help. These are things that you want to implement really if your immune system is compromised. Especially if you are aware that you do have various infections within the body. It will help to at least decrease the exposure at night and allow your body to go into that repair mode.

Brooke: I think you said something key there when you said kind of the more extreme or the more extreme your systems, or maybe if you have had a diagnosis and you know for sure that something is present, then you might want to take some of those more precautionary steps. Turning off the fuses and things like that. If you're somebody who feels anxiety, or stress, or things like that, you might want to start by, "Hey let me try putting on airplane mode and see if the improvements in how I feel."

As always we like to offer a fifteen minute strategy call for anybody who's listening with myself. Especially if some of this resonates with you and you want to learn a little bit more about how we can possibly help at Integrative Wellness Group. As always, please feel free to subscribe to us on iTunes and write us a review and rating. Thank you.