Elixa Probiotic – Day 5

Day 5 of Elixa probiotics.

Yesterday I felt a little weepy.  Too much cooked and cooled (C/C) rice.  I was eating 1/4 cup 2x a day as a prebiotic for the last 2 days, and unfortunately this is what happens when I consume prebiotics – in food or supplement form – for more than a day or so. I think I’ll cut down to a tablespoon of C/C rice 2x a day.  I think it’s necessary to continue taking it though.  My current diet is so low in fermentable foods otherwise.  I’m hoping the good guys proliferate and crowd out the ones making me weepy.

Doing well otherwise – energy is good, sleep is good, blood sugar is good – 102 fasting BG this morning, and yesterday it was 84 between meals.  Prior to this it’s been about 4 months since I saw a number in the 80s.  So maybe good things are happening.

I had some questions for Karl Seddon, founder of Elixa, so I emailed him this weekend. It seems to say on the Elixa site that if you’ve been eating FODMAPs you don’t have to stop – you might choose certain ones (plantains, etc) over others (white potato, etc) – but that if you haven’t, you shouldn’t start in the middle of the 6 days of probiotics. Karl confirmed that this was correct and went on to say that eating food containing prebiotics is preferable to taking prebiotic supplements “because of how our GI tracts handle liquid food versus solid food (as it pertains to transit time and retention for enzyme action, etc.).” Interesting. I also asked him about the size of the dose in Elixa – is it a half trillion CFU in each day’s dose?  Or the entire 6 day course of probiotics? Karl’s answer: “The half a trillion CFUs is per dose. So that makes 3 Trillion per 6-day pack.”

That’s a lot of bugs.

I’m interested in taking a 2nd course of Elixa because I feel it’s helping me and I want to give the critters more time to do what they do.  Unfortunately Elixa is sold out at the moment – I’m on the mailing list to be notified when the new batch is ready.  In the meantime though I’ve found a probiotic that is similar called VSL3.  Many of the same strains as Elixa, and also available in high doses (100K per capsule). I’ve ordered it and am planning on using it after completing the Elixa.

Elixa Probiotic – Day 4

Today is day 4 – the 4th dose out of 6 – of Elixa Probiotic.  Yesterday I added in some cooked and cooled rice to provide some resistant starch to feed the gut critters.  Karl Seddon, the founder of Elixa, encourages first time users not to alter their diet during the course of probiotics to avoid confounding variables.  I’d already been eating rice – some of it cooked and cooled – so I don’t really consider that a change in my diet. I did have a little bloating – no gas though. That’s common for me when I eat carbs though.

Anyway, I still felt good…not cleaning-the-house-good or anything, but good. Fasting blood sugar this AM was 106.  I drank some wine last night and feel good this morning.  I only drink every few months but when I do I have a 3-4 of them.  No lasting effects today.

So, not much has changed so far.  Maybe I’ll be one of these people who don’t notice much of an effect.  Or maybe the actual course of probiotics will be uneventful but I’ll be able to tolerate a wider variety of foods, some of which contain fermentable fibers.  That would be awesome.

Elixa Probiotic – Day 3

I felt really good yesterday.  Came home from work and started cleaning my house – always a sign to me that energy has returned.  I have read reports of people saying their skin was softer around around the 2nd or 3rd day of Elixa, and I’m having that experience too – the bumpy skin on the back of my arms is softer this morning and my skin looks good.  Could be placebo effect, I guess.

Blood sugar this morning was 118 – I purposely ate rice last night to see if it would still be low this morning (after yesterday’s 96), but it wasn’t.

So more energy, good mood, good sleep again last night.

So, what to eat during this course of probiotics?  I’ve been following a very low-fiber diet in recent months because fiber irritated my gut, fed pathogens and made me depressed.  Karl Seddon, the founder of Elixa, says that you shouldn’t make dietary changes during the course of Elixa – probably because he doesn’t want the probiotic blamed for nasty effects of inulin on a compromised gut.  I’m a little concerned I’m not getting enough fermentable stuff in my diet for my new bug friends to eat. I had a consult with my NBT coach Amelia Luker the other day and she recommended cooked and cooled rice – cuz, resistant starch – for the purpose of making probiotics stick around in the gut.  So I’m trying that.  Beginning today I’ll have cooked and cooled rice a couple times a day for now, maybe I’ll try something else in a few days depending on how things are going.  I’m reluctant to add potatoes because I’ve eliminated nightshades.  Don’t even know if I’m sensitive to them, but I was desperate for my gut to heal up.

Hot flashes are gone even though I ate dairy a couple days ago.  I guess it’s not the dairy.  Or else it is the dairy and the black cohosh is making it better anyway.  Or maybe nothing I’m doing is working or not working and they’re just going to come and go because of menopause.  Well, I’m glad they’re gone.

Elixa Probiotic – Day 2

I’m now on Day 2 of a 6-day course of Elixa Probiotics.

Well….pretty smooth sailing so far.

I took the entire dose of Elixa yesterday fully expecting some sort of digestive distress or something, but so far it’s sort of as if nothing is new.  Here are the effects so far:

  • Yesterday I was tired around noon and had to lie down, but the fatigue passed quickly.
  • I had some irritability yesterday.  This is somewhat unusual these days, so likely due to intestinal irritation.
  • I slept very soundly last night.  This is unusual.
  • This morning my fasting blood sugar was 96.  That’s the lowest it’s been in 3 months.  Coincidence?

I’ve also had some moments of feeling kind of great.  This is not so unusual that I can necessarily attribute it to the probiotics, but it’s unexpected.  I was bracing for feeling like dirt for a couple days.

I just took the entire dose for day #2.

Elixa Probiotic – Day 1

Well I’ve been tap dancing around this in my mind for weeks and this morning I impulsively decided to just go for it.  I’ve started taking Elixa – a high dose probiotic that is consumed for only 6 days (or more if you really want). Each day’s dose is actually 10 capsules of probiotics.  I’m only taking a third of that for the first 2 or 3 days to make sure I tolerate it well.  I’ve had some unfavorable reactions to probiotics in the past, including headaches and fatigue – and that’s not including all of the problems I’ve had with prebiotics that are often included in probiotic formulations.  I’ll document each day with an update on my gut status.

I took the first dose about 40 minutes ago and my gut is starting to make some weird groany noises.

In other news, my hot flashes are almost gone.  My face gets a little warm now but no more sweating at really embarrassing times or waking up in the middle of the night sweating and hot.  I have eaten some dairy over the past few days to see if they would get worse again, and they have not.  Interesting…

Update, 3:51 PM

I took the 3 Elixa capsules (1/3 of the daily dose) this morning at about 7AM.  Now, almost 9 hours later I feel fine, so I went ahead and took the other 2/3 of the day’s dose.  No more half assing it.  Tomorrow, assuming I don’t die tonight, I’ll take the entire day’s dose in the AM.  So far the only thing unusual I’ve experienced was some pronounced fatigue around noon, but I laid down for a half hour and was fine.  I have a work appointment in 2.5 hours.  I’m hoping it wasn’t a mistake to take many billions of probiotics just now.

Updates

A quickie today:

  1.  Something is helping with the hot flashes.  They’re less severe and less frequent.  Maybe the black cohosh?  I stopped taking the progesterone after a few days.  I’ll continue with the black cohosh for now and if they come back I’ll know it was the progesterone that helped.
  2. I’m able to digest things a little better – my mood suffered a little when I ate something with fiber in it but I can eat rice or sugar now without bloating or mood problems.  I choose not to, however, because it actually doesn’t help me to feel full and it destabilizes my blood sugar.
  3. Weight is stable.  I’m having trouble sticking to a very low carb diet right now, so I’m just going with it and eating more carbs when I feel the need to do so.  Gut first, then other health, then vanity.

Sorry my blog has become so dull.  Healing is boring.

Hot Flashes and Gut Health

Weird thought for the day:  Wouldn’t it be interesting if my ups and downs were actually a manifestation of bipolar disorder and have absolutely nothing to do with food or supplements?  Hm….

Nah.

Trying a bunch of stuff lately.  My two biggest problems at the moment are fixing my leaky gut (and thus fixing my depression, food intolerances, and probably some other metabolic maladies) and making hot flashes go away.  Blood sugar is probably 3rd on the list, followed by concern over thyroid health and vascular health.

I’m finding that in general, hot flashes are pretty much just accepted as an inevitable inconvenience associated with getting older.  I joined a couple of peri-menopause groups on facebook and everyone is complaining about hot flashes and no one has any idea what to do about them.  There’s another group called Sisters in Estrogen Dominance that is more focused on using biomedical interventions rather than just complaining, but even in that group there does not seem to be much consensus about treating hot flashes.  Ray Peat says to take Progest E.  Well, I am….again.  I’ve been taking 3 drops every 2 hours (about 80mg of progesterone daily) and hot flashes continue at the same frequency and intensity they had before, occurring every 75-90 minutes and causing me to look like I just ran a 5K in July when really I’m just sitting in an air conditioned room sipping a cool beverage.   Yesterday I had a meeting with my supervisor lasting 90 minute.  In that time I had 2 hot flashes.  Twice trying to mop sweat off my face in a manner that wasn’t too obvious.  I don’t know this supervisor well enough to open up about my hormonal concerns, so I just pretended everything was fine.  It’s so uncomfortable.  Socially and physically.

I remember about 15 years ago seeing Christiane Northrup on Oprah and she was talking about menopause and how the symptoms of menopause can be treated, which often involves giving up things like alcohol, late nights and other physiological stressors because you just can’t physically tolerate things like that anymore.  I wonder if I’m experiencing this in my inability to tolerate dairy.  I can’t help but notice that hot flashes went away at the same time I stopped eating dairy in March (although I changed other things too), and then came back when I started eating dairy again 30 days later, and then went away when I stopped again, and then came back when I started again.

I guess I better stop eating dairy.

Full disclosure here…I got discouraged about feeling shitty all the time and started eating dairy again a few days ago. It had been 3 or 4 weeks since the last time and the hot flashes were still hanging around.  I noticed the first two times I gave up dairy it took weeks for the hot flashes to die down.  I think part of me doesn’t want to accept this.  Ok, I accept it.  I’m not like other people.  I can’t just wing it.

Some levity:

Anyway, new things I’m trying right now:

  • bombing myself with progesterone/vitamin E (will probably stop if hot flashes continue through today at the same rate and intensity)
  • Black Cohosh – I’ve been taking this for about 2 weeks for the hot flashes.  No difference yet.
  • 5-10g of L-glutamine per day
  • Turmeric – 2-3 Teaspoons of Golden Paste per day, added to food (eggs, salad dressings)

Actually my digestion has improved since I started the probiotic, turmeric, and L-glutamine.  (Sorry, I don’t know which one is actually helping.  I try to isolate variables but if I gave everything an appropriate evaluation time this would all just take too long.)  I notice I can eat a wider variety of foods now without mood problems or bloating including rice, sugar, and bread.  I don’t feel as good for other reasons (increased hunger, blood sugar swings) so I won’t be continuing those every day, but I try every now and then.

I’ll be stopping the 2nd round of antimicrobials….maybe today.  It’s time to rebuild.

Plan going forward: back to a low-carb paleo plan, mostly eggs, meat, veggies, and saturated fats.  I felt great doing that back in April so I’ll go that direction again.

Turmeric

Turns out there’s this whole turmeric movement on social media. I joined the Turmeric User Group on Facebook and was introduced to a world of inflammation-lowering, skin-tag-disappearing, blood-sugar-reducing, arthritis-healing people who take Turmeric numerous times per day.  So I’ve joined the cult.

They recommend a special mixture of Turmeric, fresh ground pepper, and coconut oil to enhance absorption, called “Golden Paste” (GP) – recipe here.  I guess this recipe was developed by a veterinarian so lots of people are giving this to their pets and livestock for various reasons.  I just skip through all the dog posts. I feel really good the last couple of days.  Maybe the turmeric is doing something.  I’ve been taking 1/4 teaspoon of the GP 3x per day.  I mix it in with eggs, salad dressings, pretty much every meal tastes like turmeric. You could take it as a supplement but that’s not terribly palatable, and I actually love the taste of turmeric in food.

Thanks to a comment by Kim I’ve also started taking Black Cohosh, in an attempt to quell my extremely obnoxious hot flashes.  I had a long conversation with someone yesterday during which I had two hot flashes.  Not once, but twice did I break out in a sweat and try to be all nonchalant about it like, “Yeah, don’t mind me…I’m just wiping perspiration off of my face at an alarming rate for no reason – twice – while you sit there looking beautiful.   Nothing to see here…”.  I’ve decided to just get over the social awkwardness of it and just tell people I’m having hot flashes when that happens.  People then tell me their weird health problems to make me feel better, which I find endearing.  We bond over our failing health.

So geez I’m on like 6000 supplements right now.  I should probably reconsider some of them.  I have been exercising SOME restraint…I haven’t started the Berberine (and I might not), and I put the Restore on hold for now – mostly because I want to see what happens with the turmeric.  I seem to be tolerating the Primal Defense probiotic just fine (maybe because I’m killing it off with my continued use of antimicrobials), but I’m continuing that and will increase the dose after a few days.