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.