Better Body Clinical Nutrition


Autonomic Nervous System Dysfunction

Wednesday, February 8, 2023 2:06 PM

When you flip a light switch on in your house, you know what the end-result will be. The light switch connects a circuit that produces light when the electrons reach the filament. Your computer is similar. While you type a report or surf the Internet, the computer performs an abundance of unseen tasks in the background: checking for printer signals, moving data to the hard drive, and organizing its memory.   It is easy to take these tasks for granted, because they operate behind the scenes; they don’t seem relevant to the task at hand.

The human body functions much the same way. Every process in the body is controlled by signals sent from the brain, through the nerves, to each individual organ or muscle. Like the example of our computer, there is an abundance of tasks the body performs that can be easily taken for granted.    These background tasks are referred to as the “autonomic nervous system”.  Heart rate, sleep, digestion, and vascular pressure are all normal bodily functions that don’t receive a second thought.  But what if the body didn’t perform these functions correctly?  What does autonomic nervous system dysfunction feel like?

There are two possible scenarios:

1-  Blocking

2-  Switching

There are a few illnesses that cause autonomic nervous system dysfunction.  As if by design, the areas of the brain controlling the autonomic nervous system were made the most secure. Even in degenerative neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, autonomic functions like heart rate and digestion remain untouched until the late stages of the illness.
However, there are stressors that do cause dysfunction on the autonomic nervous system.  

The most common stressors are:
o Food sensitivities
o Immune Challenges
o Bacteria
o Virus
o Parasites
o Or Fungus (Yeast overgrowth, like candida)
o Metal toxicity
o Chemical toxicity
o Scars (a break in the skin interferes with the communication between nerve endings)

Digestion, heart rate and syncope, pain response, and even sleep can be impaired.  The symptoms may present themselves differently from person to person such as:

Sleep dysfunction
Inability to sit or stand for prolonged periods
Pain response
Mental exhaustion
Autonomic Nervous System switching is a phenomenon in which the parasympathetic (rest & digest response) or sympathetic (fight or flight response), or both systems are operating opposite to what is necessary for optimum function.  In essence, it regulates in the opposite direction of what it is supposed to do; hence, the term switching 

The best way to determine if switching is present is to use a Heart Rate Variability (HRV) test with the patient in both the lying and standing positions.  This test will check for both blocking and switching at the same time. Both the parasympathetic and sympathetic systems may also do the opposite of what they are supposed to do, and this is called a double switch. 

I think of switching as being the presence of a short circuit just as in the blocking short circuit.  This needs to be corrected before the ‘analyzer’ will properly function.  Just as with blocked regulation, switching has its clinical implications.  Unlike blocking, switching will cause the patient to react adversely to his clinical program.  Even though the correct program may have been given to the patient, he will react incorrectly to it.  For instance, the patient’s condition will appear to worsen.  This is a good sign that switching is present and therefore the astute practitioner will look for it.

Just as with blocking, switching will also skew the results of the reflex analysis, so it is very important that any switching be corrected before moving on to the next step.  So, if someone is going along and improving, and suddenly his program is not working and he appears to be getting worse, it is time to check to see if he is switched.  Once switching is found to be present, and the malfunctioning circuit is identified and corrected, the program will start to work again.

There are 108 different switching ‘circuits’ so the best way to check for switching is by using the heart rate variability instrumentation to detect its presence.  Once it is found, the practitioner can proceed to check the 108 circuits to find the switch and fix it. 

If you are a nutrition patient of ours, you will have received a Heart Rate Variability (HRV) test as a new patient, and we would have handle anything that may have come up. But as mentioned above, if during your program you do not seem to be progressing, it is time to recheck. We do this routinely every visit and check the most common areas, but if this quick check does not bring to view the issue, an HRV is the thing to do to determine if we need to investigate further. There are too many ways to investigate these potential issues to do it every visit, but an HRV which indicates the issue will prompt us to investigate further to find and handle it.