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Here is something you may not know about me.  I also want to say that what I am about to say changed the course of my life, in fact, it is the story of my life.  It is also why I am all about paying it forward to the people of Marin County.  I was not always the healthiest person.  I was a very shy/introverted child growing up.  I rarely went out and had very few friends.  I was completely oblivious as to what good health was, despite having a father who was a psychiatrist and a mother who was an anthropologist and had studied psychology in college.  My main food staples were pizza, submarine sandwiches, burritos, pasta and sushi.  I loved spicy food such as Indian food, Mexican food and Thai food and such.  (I later learned that this was due to a zinc deficiency.  A zinc deficiency leads to an inability to taste one’s foods that leads us to crave spicy, sweet, sour and salty foods.

In my mid to late teens I developed severe acne.  I didn’t know what to do.  I wanted to go on a few dates like other people my age but I had severe cystic acne and it was really embarrassing.  Sometimes it looked as though I had a third or even a fourth eye.  Like most teens at the time, I tried the main products available on the market such as benzyl peroxide and strydex pads (salicylic acetate). These products made my skin worse even though they helped for the first couple days or weeks that I used them. Since both of my parents were in academic professions they sent me to a dermatologist.  The dermatologist continued with prescriptions from where I had left off with the over-the-counters.  I used Cleocin-T, Retin A, Tetracycline and finally Acutane.

Each and every one of the products that I had been using were treating symptoms and NONE of them were addressing what was causing those symptoms.  What is so ironic and fascinating about all of this is that acne is due to both a virus and poor detoxification.  Compromised detoxification happens when the liver and gallbladder are congested with poisons and toxins that lead them to be unable to allow the immune system and skin to be healthy.  I was being given products to make my skin healthier that were causing my symptoms to get worse and my liver and gallbladder to be more toxic which was then leading to me having even more difficulty with detoxifying and leading to even more acne.

When I finally ended up on Acutane for several months my skin did get much better but there was a price to pay in pain in suffering.  The Acutane came with warnings from the manufacture that explained that it might cause liver damage and should not be used by pregnant women as it could cause birth defects in yet to be born children if the woman were unknowingly pregnant.  The label also said that the product could cause minor visual changes such as floaters in the eyes, dry and flaky skin, flushing, that the user should not go into direct sunlight as they might damage their eyes, and a long list of other side effects.  (I later learned that none of these types of side effect are side effects at all, but rather, they are the well-known, well studied and well understood, EFFECTS of the medication.)  The product is a synthetic type of vitamin A that prevents the liver from metabolizing fat. One of the main functions of the liver is to metabolize fat.

This was a very, very, very toxic product.  There was a class action lawsuit later against the manufacturer of Acutane because so many people got incredibly sick from its use.  That is how bad it was and still is.  Since the late 1988 they have reformulated the product several times to make it only slightly less toxic.  When I began to take the product, I started to experience many of the same symptoms that were listed on the product pamphlet.  Sure enough, I began to flush easily, I saw floaters in my eyes, and one symptom that was not mentioned on the label was that I often began to get quite irritable.  Fortunately, my acne had greatly improved with the use of the product but at what price?

A few years went by and I started to notice some very undesirable symptoms.  I was tired all of the time.  I was beginning to have neck pain and mid and low back pain.  Even though my acne was much better, I still experienced some acne.  I was regularly getting so angry with close friends and loved ones that I would yell at them at the top of my lungs.  I then began to have warm flashes during the day that caused me to get so disoriented that I was dizzy and couldn’t think straight.  I had night sweats.  I was regularly having difficulty thinking clearly – foggy thinking.  I even developed chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. I was beginning to get depressed and I had a great deal of difficulty sleeping at night.  I was experiencing leaky gut / GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease) — having diarrhea 4 to 6 times per day as well as fibromyalgia symptoms.  At one point I had sharp shooting pain between my shoulder blades that was so severe that I was unable to move.  I needed a handful of pills to wake up In the morning, a handful of pills to function throughout the day, and a third handful of pills to go to sleep at night.

One day when I was at the gym lifting weights I tore 90% of my pec major muscle on the right and had to get it surgically repaired.  A few years later I tore the other pectoralis major muscle on the opposite side of my body.  When I began to study Professional Applied Kinesiology I later learned that the pectoralis major muscles are related to the liver.  The Acutane had caused me to have an extremely toxic liver.  Because I was feeling so poorly, I went to the Medical Doctor to have a blood lab done and the blood lab revealed that my thyroid hormone levels for TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) were more than 4 times normal.  I was suffering from hypothyroidism.  (In order to make active thyroid hormone, T3, you must have a healthy liver because 60% of the conversion of inactive to active thyroid hormone takes place in the liver.)  The doctor reviewing the lab suggested that I would need to be put on thyroid medication for the rest of my life.  Instead, I chose to use holistic therapies to heal without using any prescription medication, surgical procedures, or radiation therapy (like radioactive iodine)

I needed a solution. I started getting treated with acupuncture 5 times per week and chiropractic adjustments once every week or two.  After having received more than 17 chiropractic adjustments and over 40 acupuncture treatments with herbs over the course of 5 months, I was not really doing any better. I was not getting worse, but I also was not feeling any better.  I was at somewhat of a plateau with my health.  I found out about a chiropractic holistic doctor named Dr. Bruce Shin who had special skills and training.  His practice was in Temecula, about an hour and 45 minutes away from where I was going to school in Whittier at Los Angeles College of Chiropractic, School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Southern California University of Health Sciences.

Dr. Shin had the same title that I now hold, a Diplomate of the International College of Applied Kinesiology. He had also studied Neuro Emotional Technique and Total Body Modification and a variety of other techniques. I was able to obtain more relief after just one treatment with Dr. Shin than I was able to receive from all of the acupuncture visits and chiropractic adjustments over the last 5 months!  My energy improved.  Most of my severe pains and aches went away.  I no longer needed all of the pills to get to sleep, wake up, or function throughout the day.  I went from taking about 12 or 15 different nutrients to only needing 2 or 3 different things.  I was thinking clearly throughout the day and felt like an entirely different person.

It may sound like I was now completely healed, but my health journey was really only just beginning. What I haven’t mentioned, was that many of my worst digestive symptoms and back pain happened immediately after I received the required MMR and TB vaccines when I began chiropractic school. When I was studying the science pre-requisites needed for entry into chiropractic school, I had been exposed to mold in the apartment that I was living in in Los Angeles.  Once I graduated from chiropractic school I was again exposed to mold.  There was mold in my office, car, gym and home.  This went on for a period of more than 6 years.  This is no exaggeration.  As a result of the mold, I had to move my office twice.  I also ended up in litigation against my previous office landlord because they did not properly remediate the mold.  I purchased a new car.  I cancelled the gym membership that I had at the tie and joined another gym. I moved to a new place to live.  I moved my office twice because I had been working in a mold office environment twice throughout my first 6 years in practice.

Today, I am one of the healthiest and happiest 48-year olds that I know and I am married to my beautiful and sexy wife Ivette whom I love very much.  She means the world to me.  I met Ivette while traveling in Central and South America. During the last 11 years I have become known as one of the world’s most highly sought-after Functional Medicine / Integrative Medicine doctors who specializes in thyroid disease and hormone imbalance.  I have been on a variety of radio shows and, as you know, featured on NBC, CBS, abc, Fox News and Yahoo!.  I am also a mold and candida expert due to my own healing journey with mold infection.  I have written several articles on such diverse subjects as acupuncture meridians, TMJD (Temporal Mandibular Joint Dysfunction), muscle testing and andropause (the male menopause).

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You Can Hear More of Dr. Ilya Skolnikoff’s Story Directly from Dr. Ilya Skolnikoff Below:

More from Dr. Skolnikoff and his Autoimmune
Experiences of the Past

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