I’m 4 days into my new plan. I’ve discontinued all antibiotic herbs and I’m only taking Diflucan, an anti-yeast medication. I’ve also stopped eating things that are likely to contain yeast, such as olives, pickles, and vinegar, in addition to a sugar-free paleo diet. This morning I’m down 4 pounds, sleeping great, and energy is great. I’m interested to see where this goes.
I’m home from work with pinkeye today. Kind of fun actually – too sick/infectious to go to work but I actually feel great so I can get things done today.
Anyway…my current health plan:
- Started Diflucan 2 days ago – continue for 30 days, followed by 30 days Nystatin – to kill yeast.
- Paleo/keto diet – low carb/low PUFA – no sugar, starch, dairy, legumes, grains, or yeast (including vinegar and anything made with vinegar). Focusing on meat, eggs, broth/homemade soup, non-starchy well-cooked vegetables, coconut oil, homemade mayo.
- Probiotics – Prescript Assist, one capsule a day right now, may increase to 2x/day in a week or two.
- Fermented foods – Only non-vinegar, non-sugar, non-dairy based ferments. Basically sauerkraut 1-2 times a day right now. Good thing I love it.
- Exercise – 5 minutes a day of interval training using stationary bike. Yes, 5 minutes. That’s what I have time for on a daily basis. It’s better than 0 minutes.
Joined iodine users groups on Facebook. A couple years ago I got kicked out of one for questioning someone. Love Facebook.
I feel very lucky to have found a M.D. who a) has a background in functional medicine, and b) takes my insurance. I saw him today for the first time after finding him on the Institute of Functional Medicine website. I get all starry eyed listening to him talk about yeast, gut health, probiotics, MTHFR, reverse T3….*sigh*. He doesn’t even ask me about my cholesterol level.
I dumped all of my labs on him – all of the gut panels, food intolerance tests, lipid panels, adrenal tests, organic acids test….he was familiar with all of them. He didn’t really buy my endotoxin hypothesis – that my depression is caused by an overgrowth of gram negative bacteria (despite lab testing that hints at it). He instead suspected yeast being a problem for me, and said that even if I don’t have an overgrowth (my labs generally don’t support an overgrowth of yeast) I could still be allergic to the mycotoxins produced by yeasts that are present. He also said I have a lot of symptoms of hypothyroid, including fatigue, difficulty losing weight, lack of sex drive, mood problems, scalloped tongue.
He prescribed me antifungals and recommended a sugar-free and yeast-free diet, as an experiment to see if yeast is causing my problems. I’ve done sugar free diets for months at a time – I can do that standing on my head – but I’ve never done a yeast free diet. My most recent foray into the land of keto was riddled with vinaigrette salad dressings and olives. I wonder if that might have something to do with my lack of success with losing weight and becoming keto adapted. Yeast. He wrote me a script for Diflucan to kill yeast (30 days) and then Nystatin for a month. At that point I’ll have a follow up appointment and he wants to evaluate my AM basal temperatures. If they’re low he’ll probably prescribe thyroid.
One thing I’m not sure about is his recommendation of iodine. I know Ray Peat and others say that high doses of iodine can trigger Hashimotos, though iodine proponents say that’s not an issue if you take selenium. I had my own iodine experiment once upon a time, and it didn’t go well. He was surprised to hear this, having recommended it to literally hundreds of people, the vast majority of whom do much better with it. He recommended David Brownstein’s book, Iodine: Why you need it, why you can’t live without it. He has people start with Iodorol, 12.5mg of iodine per day. I said I’d give it some thought.
I’ll need to do a little research on what feeds yeast. Do yeasties eat everything bacteria eat? I’m not sure what this diet is supposed to look like. Research tonight, start tomorrow.
Well, the Gut Health Protocol isn’t going well. I’ve been plagued by carb cravings (from the probiotics?) and allergy symptoms (histamine response from sauerkraut?) and I’ve been completely unable to maintain a sugar-free or low carb diet. I’ve had bloating (yeast?) possibly related to antimicrobial use. It’s happened before.
I’ve basically scrapped almost all the supplements until I know what to do. I’m still eating sauerkraut…though that’s going to be on hold for a while too, I think.
On Monday I have an appointment with a new doctor. He has a background in functional medicine, so maybe he can help.
I mentioned in my last post that I’m focusing on eliminating The Beast with an antimicrobial kill phase, following the Gut Health Protocol (GHP) by John Herron. In the book a crap-ton of supplements are offered, with their respective pros and cons. I selected the ones that met one or more of the following criteria:
- I already had them.
- They weren’t too expensive.
- I hadn’t already taken them and decided they suck for me.
So not real scientific.
The protocol recommends a base of good nutrition (of course) and if you’re not sure you’re getting all the nutrition you need from food you should get it from supplements – at least temporarily, while the gut heals. The nutritional supplements I’m taking right now are as follows:
- Zinc Carnosine – this one was new to me, and recommended in the GHP book specifically for intestinal health.
- Vitamin D3
- Vitamin K2
- Magnesium Glycinate
- Milk Thistle – for liver support during kill phase
- Potassium – 1 tsp day, to balance problems created by my prescription medications.
Now onto the kill phase supplements:
About 5 weeks ago I started with oregano oil and Amazon C-F (a mix of antimicrobial herbs) 3x a day. I started with these because I already had them lying around from my last kill phase. I probably shouldn’t have bothered because that last kill phase didn’t actually kill what I needed killed. I wasn’t thinking rationally though. Looking back though, the oregano oil is effective for yeast, so probably was helpful along the way.
About 3 weeks ago I read the GHP book and decided to add the kill supplements recommended by Herron, including the following biofilm disruptors:
- Interfase Plus – “It is great at eliminating biofilm created by pathogens, but it also disrupts the biofilm created by beneficial bacteria and yeast, therefore you should not take InterFase indefinitely.” (GHP). I learned the hard way that the “Plus” in the Interfase Plus is a binding agent that binds minerals to prevent biofilm formation. I learned this by developing heart palpitations as soon as I started taking it, due to low potassium/magnesium. I supplemented extra minerals and switched to regular “Interfase” (no plus), and the problem was solved. I take this 1-2x/day.
- Monolaurin – “It supports a healthy immune function and helps break down the biofilms of SIBO and candida albicans.” (GHP). I take this 2x/day.
- NAC (already had it). This brand is expensive but was highly recommended by Amelia at NBT. I take this 1-2x/day.
- Lactoferrin – “Binds iron so that pathogenic bacteria can’t utilize it, but your body can.” (GHP) Maybe not the best thing to take if your iron is low, but mine isn’t, as far as I know. I take this 1x/day.
I started rotating the following antifungals, switching off after 2 weeks to prevent the yeasties from acclimating. These have helped quite a bit with bloating:
- Caprylic Acid – I use Bulletproof Brain Octane oil – 1-2 tsp a day. Already had it.
- Oregano oil – (mentioned above). Already had it.
- Saccharomyces Boulardii – I use Primal Defense, which has has both soil-based probiotics and SB for yeast control. I already had this too.
About 2 weeks ago I stopped taking the oregano oil and the Amazon C-F and started taking these other antimicrobials:
- Olive Leaf Extract – I got this mostly because I’d heard other people mention it positively and because it was inexpensive. I take this 2x/day.
- Whole Garlic – Yes, the food. I got some organic, domestic garlic from these folks on Amazon. I think they’re selling it to plant and grow garlic but I just ate it. Breaking the rules. I eat whole cloves crushed and soaked in water for 15 minutes, 1-2x/day. Given my history with garlic, this is the single factor that I’m pretty sure is killing off my nemesis. I know this doesn’t work for everyone’s gut troubles, but it works for mine.
And because I’m impatient and not willing to wait for the kill phase to be over, I’m also working on rebuilding already. For this I’m using the following:
- Prescript Assist – I already had this but couldn’t tolerate it a year ago. This time around, no problem. Perhaps because I’m killing it off with my kill supplements? This is a probiotic of soil-based organisms that is supposed to be beneficial even during a kill phase because it’s very tough and will form spores and take root, waiting for the kill phase to end. It then (supposedly) creates a beneficial environment for happy fun bacteria. I really need to do a little more research on this, but this particular probiotic has been recommended to me by many people.
- L-Glutamine – 5g/day in the AM, to repair leaky gut. (already had this)
- Glycine – 5g/day in the AM, to repair leaky gut.
Oh, I forgot to mention one of the most important parts…the GHP book recommends lots of fermented foods. 2x a day – sauerkraut, kimchee, kefir, kombucha, etc. I’ve been eating lots of sauerkraut made by a local farmer and store-bought kefir, 2x a day. It is recommended from day 1, even during the kill phase. I have to say, I can’t get enough of it – it makes me feel great. I’m making my first homemade batch of sauerkraut as we speak. I’ll be writing much more about this, I’m sure.
The GHP book has other options and much more detail, including lots of links to scientific articles supporting the use of the various supplements and recommended foods, so please don’t use this blog post as a guide – this is just what I’m finding helpful for me, in part due to my aforementioned criteria.
How ridiculous is my supplement regimen? Ridiculous, right? I don’t care, I feel really good. It’s been about 6 weeks total, almost 3 weeks with the biofilm disruptors. I’m looking at another week or two with the antimicrobials/biofilm disruptors and then it’ll be full-on rebuilding phase. At this point I have experimented and can eat anything as long as I continue the kill supplements – no depression. The challenge will be when I’m no longer taking them. I might continue to take garlic….we’ll see. Here’s a chart of my current regimen:
After writing my last post I started reading and following the Gut Health Protocol by John Herron. The author has a Facebook group and willingly gives guidance to the confused and sickly masses. An all-around decent and altruistic guy.
So, a summary of my gut-struggles thus far. Interestingly, a gut problem was the last thing I suspected over the years, since I don’t have much in the way of GI distress. After finally connecting my awful mood swings to eating certain things (fiber and starch) I tested for SIBO (it was negative). Stool testing, however, indicated there is an overgrowth of a bacteria called Citrobacter Braakii. What I know is that whenever I eat starch or fiber – with few exceptions – I become depressed, tired, unable to pay attention, irritable, and basically a giant pain in the ass to live with. I’ve learned that gram-negative bacteria (Citrobacter Braakii is one) put out lipopolysaccharides (aka “LPS”, aka “endotoxin”) when they grow. This bacteria seems to feed on fiber and starch, and the only way I’ve been able to avoid this debilitating depression is to completely avoid fiber and starch. This leaves out many fruits, vegetables, and all starches – and it’s much worse when those starches are the low-glycemic variety, such as brown rice, lentils, and beans.
So why is this a problem? Can’t I just avoid starches and call it a day? Well, sure…and I have for the last 2-3 years. However, in that time I’ve developed type-2 diabetes and gained about 20 pounds (now about 50 pounds overweight), and I have high levels of persistent hunger despite eating over 2000 calories a day. When I eat simple carbohydrates (non-starches) my triglycerides shoot up to 500 and I gain weight rapidly. I’m unable to lose weight, even following a LCHF diet with 98% dilligence for months at a time. I suppose I could get over the vanity aspect of being obese if my health was improving, but it’s not. I’m taking 2 Big Pharma medications to control high blood pressure, and I’m going against doctor’s recommendations by not taking the others she has prescribed (statins and Metformin). My labs indicate that I have a high level of chronic inflammation, despite diet changes. None of this is getting better.
I’d like to be able to eat low-glycemic carbohydrates that will keep me full and satisfied between meals, so I can follow a lower-calorie diet. I’m also tired of getting depressed and irritable – because despite being pretty damn vigilant, it’s really hard to avoid all starches and fiber all the time. (Side note: I’ve actually had to put a “yelling jar” in my house to ameliorate the psychological damage I do to my kid by yelling at her. Every time I yell I put a dollar in the jar that she and her dad can spend together. She takes great joy in this.) I’m also concerned about my prognosis. Type-2 Diabetes, LPS toxicity, and my genetic profile (APOE4 gene) likely adds up to Alzheimer’s Disease in my future. I’m fairly sure the inflammation that is being caused by the LPS put out by this pathogen is responsible for a lot of my health problems (check out that C-Reactive Protein…not good.)
My Great Garlic Experiment (thanks to Ray Medina) a couple years ago gave me temporary freedom from the beast – the depression – the pathogen. I felt much better but stopped using garlic when I started getting bloated all the time. (I now realize I probably let yeast overgrow by not using probiotics at the right time or in the right amount.) A couple weeks ago I started using raw garlic again along with some other antimicrobials and antifungals recommended in the Gut Health Protocol. I’m currently in the kill phase and feeling pretty great.
John Herron recommends fermented foods starting day 1, including during the kill phase. I’ve been eating (and starting to crave) unpasturized sauerkraut and kefir, and have also been taking soil-based probiotics – several hours apart from antimicrobials – twice per day. Lots of good coming in and lots of killing of the bad. In my next post I’ll detail exactly what supplements I’m using. My goal is to fix my gut problem – that means killing off The Beast, improving the integrity of the intestinal wall, adding probiotics and fermented foods, and eating LCHF (for now). I’m taking a lot of supplements right now, but it feels like the right thing to do. The kill phase will be another couple of weeks or so….maybe longer.