January 23, 2022 7:00 am

Alison Vickery FDNP, healing, autoimmunity, mast cell activation

The science of how to heal is growing rapidly.

Dr. Naviaux published a journal article that organizes the current knowledge on the cell danger response.

I consider it a seminal work and one of four groundbreaking pieces of research that form the basis of how I restore health.

histamine intolerance, mast cell activation, medicines, antidepressants, brain fog, alison vickery, health, australia


Health happens on a spectrum.

At one end of the spectrum, the body can seamlessly maintain health. It does this through what Naviaux calls the health cycle.

If you have pricked your finger with a lancet or seen your finger bleed and repair itself, this is an example of the body seamlessly maintaining health.

At the other end of the spectrum, the body can no longer address stressors as cells and organs have stopped functioning, and a disease process is underway.

It does so when over time as more and more cells fail to be repaired such that organs begin to fail. This is where medicine excels.

In the middle of these two extremes, the body attempts to restore health by running health and cell repair programs, and we experience symptoms.

I like the analogy of a sailing boat rocking under strong winds (stressors) and rough seas (cellular capacity).

The boat’s rocking (including releasing histamine) is the boat trying to sail upright (by running the cell danger response cycle).

Unblocking the health cycle allows the boat to sail upright once again.

The Four Stages

Naviaux has suggested four distinct stages of healing based on distinct cellular characteristics.

The four stages are the;

Health cycle,

Cell danger response 1 (CDR1),

Cell danger response 2 (CDR 2), and

Cell danger response 3 (CDR3).

The focus of this blog post is on the health cycle.

histamine intolerance, autoimmunity, mast cell activation, cell danger response, Alison Vickery, Health, Australia

The Health Cycle

The body has a pre-programmed health cycle to do everyday running repairs. Four factors determine whether the health cycle will become disrupted:

1. Circadian Disruption

The healing cycle (and even our mast cells) run on circadian rhythms.

Circadian rhythms are pre-timed hourly biological and seasonal processes.

Active processes (exercise and activity) are programmed for the day, while recovery processes (sleep and detoxification) are programmed for the night.

If your lifestyle conflicts with your circadian rhythms, the capacity to heal will be reduced.

Perhaps the most common example is interrupting the sleep cycle by shiftwork, which goes against the pre-timed circadian rhythms. However, many other things can interfere with circadian rhythms.

Working with your body rather than pushing against it is one of the simplest ways to support health. And it costs nothing.

2. Glycaemic Dysregulation

Our brain’s capacity to switch between glucose, butyrate, and ketones for energy expands the capacity of our health cycle.

Specifically, regular moderate exercise and brief intermittent fasting overnight stress the body. While eating, resting, and sleeping restore the body.

The regular stress and repair via the health cycle appear to build the capacity to heal.  The critical point is that stressing an already stressed body will not build the capacity to heal.  Only stressing the body to the point that it can rebalance itself will.

Runaway blood glucose and insulin are rampant in my client base. Many clients have lost their natural connection between food and their body and are eating a macronutrient composition that does not suit their cells.

It is incredibly stressful on cells (setting up the cell danger response) and can stop the switching process (necessary for healing).

Equally, staying only in ketosis, or undertaking long fasts, only builds metabolic INflexibility.

The cells also do not care what we can digest, what we feel like eating, what is good for the planet, or what someone else recommends we eat. The cells need what they need. And what they need varies considerably between people.

Indeed, I find many symptoms due to poor macronutrient compositions of meals (that is, what we are not eating) rather than what we are eating.

3. Inflammatory Signals from Stressor Load

The body is also exposed to many hidden stressors (other than daily activity) that must also be handled by the health cycle.

These include:

Metals, especially mercury, aluminum, lead, and copper.

Parasites, bacteria, and fungi/candida



Lyme and co-infections

Chemical toxins, including glyphosate

Food and supplement intolerances

Prescription medicines – many of which impact the mitochondria. For example, many antihistamines and mast-cell stabilizers appear to interfere with CDR3.

What if, rather than blocking the mast cell function, we could simply remove what was blocking the cell from functioning? This, in my opinion, is vital to health restoration.

4. Perceived Stress

The body is also exposed to any hidden emotional stressors that must be handled by the health cycle.

Unresolved mental, intuitive or spiritual trauma is, in my experience, a significant component of what keeps us from restoring health. Of all the four factors, it determines the period it takes to restore health.

All factors need to be addressed, but those who do not address unresolved trauma will not restore their health.

histamine intolerance, mast cell activation, autoimmunity, Alison Vickery, Health, Australia


Naviaux’s model provides a framework for how to heal.

The importance of the health cycle is that the body knows what it is doing and can heal.

However, it is impossible to restore health without attending to the fundamentals on which health relies.

You won’t get well in the same environment you got sick in.

This approach provides a fundamentally different approach to the traditional medical model and a clear pathway to restoring health.

To learn more about the other three phases, the cell danger response, read the companion blog post, Cell Danger Response: Rethinking Mast Cell Activation.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook to continue the conversation.

Key References

Naviaux, Robert K. “Metabolic features, and regulation of the healing cycle—A new model for chronic disease pathogenesis and treatment.” Mitochondrion (2018).

Naviaux, Robert K. “Metabolic features of the cell danger response.” Mitochondrion 16 (2014): 7-17.

Mattson, Mark P., et al. “Intermittent metabolic switching, neuroplasticity, and brain health.” Nature Reviews Neuroscience 19.2 (2018): 63.