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Mystery Illnesses

"I feel terrible but my doctor says all my labs are normal"
Stressed Man

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that.... 

Sometimes mystery illnesses are straightforward - primary care practitioners are simply too rushed to look closely or deeply enough and the answers are just beneath the surface (like an undiagnosed thyroid issue, or early stage anemia where iron stores are low, but there has not been a change in red blood cells yet).  

Other times there really is a mystery to be solved.  Mystery illnesses are nearly always a combination of multiple issues layered on top of one another.  


  • An infection that occurred on the heels of an injury or during a time of great stress. 

  • Chemical or biotoxin exposures on top of hidden food sensitivities or dysbiosis. 

  • Genetic SNPs that make it more difficult to fight infections and get rid of toxins, then a long term exposure to chemicals due to living near an oil refinery, then getting mono, then living in a moldy house.

  • Sometimes it is an unusual infection (like Lyme), or hidden mold in the walls of your bedroom or in the AC vents of your apartment.

With mystery illnesses there are usually a combination of factors that set the stage over time, and then one or two more obvious events that trigger the onset of symptoms that do not resolve as expected.  

Solving these mysteries takes detective work (see Health Detective). 

  • It means mapping out both life and health events in a timeline.

  • It means looking at genomics, toxic exposures, diet, lifestyle and even thought habits.  

  • It means testing all the different body systems that might be contributing, and testing them deeply (not just screening tests).

  • In some cases it might mean specialty testing.  I can guide you and collaborate with your health care team to help find the answers. 

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