I went to my functional medicine doc yesterday. I almost didn’t go, figuring that I had already exhausted his best ideas (which I thought because I had exhausted all of MY best ideas). Oh, the arrogance of me sometimes. I went anyway hoping to get some advice on treating high blood pressure since my hydrochlorothiazide may be causing dips in potassium and heart palpitations. He had some interesting ideas for treating hypertension, but much more.
Regarding the hypertension, he suggested I try a combination of the following:
- CoQ10 – 200mg/day
- L-Arginine 2000mg 2-3x per day
- Magnesium to bowel tolerance
Having never tried L-Arginine (an amino acid) I thought this was pretty cool. So I’ve ordered some CoQ10 and L-Arginine, and I already have Magnesium Glycinate.
I know, I said was done with supplements. I still need to get my blood pressure down though. And….it’s possible I might have overstated my position. Just a tad.
So now let’s get to the really interesting part. We again discussed my inability to eat/digest starch and fiber without becoming depressed, acknowledging nothing tried thus far has made a dent. He said, “Have you ever heard of Provocation Neutralization?” No, no I haven’t. He explained that there is a form of testing and treatment that helps some people with mysterious “intolerance” symptoms. He went on to say that considering my problems seem gut related and manifest as mood symptoms, maybe neurotransmitters are involved. I prepared myself to hear something about needing more serotonin – because that’s what everyone says – but he didn’t go that direction. In fact, he said, “For example, if you’re having trouble tolerating the serotonin that’s being produced, the answer isn’t to give you a lot more serotonin to deal with.”
Huh? Is this guy actually saying something non-positive about serotonin? I can honestly say I’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about serotonin outside the internet. He had my attention.
He went on to describe Provocation Neutralization, saying that he’s not sure exactly why it works, but it seems to work for some people. Testing (via injection) is done to determine whether there is an intolerance to a substance, similar to traditional skin-prick allergy testing. If there is a reaction – swelling of the injection site, or induction of the actual symptom to treat (in my case depression), the need for treatment has been established. Then, a “neutralization” dose of the same substance is administered. The neutralization dose is determined by doing additional injections at progressively weakened concentrations, and determining the highest concentration that causes NO reaction. It’s a little complicated, and I had to have it explained to me a couple of times. It sounded a little like homeopathy to me – the idea of using the same substance at a diluted concentration to treat an allergic reaction. It’s not exactly homeopathy though – we’re not talking about dilutions of 1:10,000 or anything – these are larger amounts of the actual substance.
I was excited to try it. They did the testing right there on site, using serotonin as the substance of interest. The lab tech did a small subcutaneous injection of serotonin at a dilution of “2” – I’m not sure if that means a 1:2 ratio of serotonin to saline?
That caused a “wheal response” (swelling at the injection site) which suggests my body is launching an immune response to serotonin. The injection site itched, similar to your average IgE (histamine) allergy reaction. Apparently my body thinks serotonin is an invader that needs to be attacked. An autoimmune reaction. Can you believe that? I’m allergic to my own neurotransmitter.
I asked the lab tech how this can happen – she said it’s not uncommon. The immune system gets ramped up due to our toxic world and starts attacking things it shouldn’t. This may or may not be the cause of my long-term chronic inflammation and inability to tolerate starch/fiber. It’s really interesting, isn’t it?
She did 2 more injections at progressively diluted concentrations in order to determine the neutralization dose that I can use to stop symptoms when they arise. The “3” dilution (1:3 ratio?) still caused a reaction (tearfulness) though not as much swelling. The “4” dilution caused no reaction, and thus was determined to be my neutralization dilution of serotonin. She then mixed up a bottle of serotonin/saline at this ratio and gave me instructions to take 1 drop 2x a day, with additional drops 5 minutes apart for treatment of symptoms as needed.
What the hell is this witchcraft? I have no idea. I’ve never heard of it and aside from a couple of poorly produced youtube videos from the 90s there’s not a lot of information on this. I did find this article, but Provocation Neutralization is generally regarded as experimental, unproven, and quackery. I don’t care. I’m trying it.
My plan is to get a couple days of 2x/day dosing in and then do a fiber/starch challenge. The idea is to neutralize my immune response to serotonin, which can reportedly happen within minutes.
Of course I’ll report back.