A Fascinating Turn of Events

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.

30 thoughts on “A Fascinating Turn of Events

  1. Susie

    Definitely not witchcraft. Just dealing with the immune system in ways most don’t comprehend. I’ve had a similar process done for down regulating my autoimmune response to Lyme. Smart medicine. But it begs the question, what has triggered the immune system to begin with? In my case, it was clustered Lyme infections along with hpylori. Exciting stuff!

  2. Cathy B.

    I hope it works for you! Reminds me a little bit of what happened with me and my aspirin allergy. When I was young, I gradually developed an allergic reaction to aspirin. At first, it just started with a slight tickle in my throat, and as the years went on that developed into more of a cough response. In my late teens, it turned into a cough and wheezing. And in my late 20s, it turned into gasping for air and I couldn’t breathe, at which point I decided I had better stop using aspirin!

    30 years later, when I kept reading info from Ray Peat about the benefits of aspirin, I emailed him about my allergy and asked if he had any suggestions. He suggested using a salicylate cream, like Aspercreme. I think he also mentioned that it is possible to desensitize yourself to allergens.

    I was a little bit leery, to say the least. I bought some Aspercreme and rubbed a small amount on my leg. No reaction. The next day I rubbed a lot more on both legs. That did provoke a reaction, kind of an uncomfortable wheezing that went on for a few hours. To my surprise, the next day when I applied it, I had no reaction at all and no reaction in the subsequent times I used it. After a few weeks of daily use, I decided to be bold and try taking a little aspirin orally. No reaction! I couldn’t believe it! I went from a life-threatening response to no reaction at all. And I have taken it every day since with no reaction.

    So my point is the body is capable of doing amazing things and I am keeping my fingers crossed that this has some positive effects for you!

  3. Very cool, Susie! I too wonder what has caused the immune system overdrive in the first place, but one step at a time. If I can just get some consistent symptom relief I would be very happy. I’m so glad to hear this isn’t as out-there as it sounds.

  4. newtopaleo

    CoQ10 and magnesium is good. Arginine is a step in the wrong direction. It elevates NO which is the same thing serotonin raises. Your serotonin is already too high. NO causes insulin resistance. Serotonin itself is a response to insult and raises histamine and such, so the wheal from injecting serotonin would be a normal response.

  5. N2P – Hm…well, I’ll start the CoQ10 and increase Magnesium and see what happens. Somewhere down the line I may test the Arginine, but right now there are other things going on. I’m not sure what you mean about the reaction to Serotonin being a normal response.

  6. SWOT – What about this reminds you of that? I think she’s talking about having a parasite…? I don’t have intermittent shitting disease… 🙂

  7. SWOT

    @Lanie..Serotonin issues..parasites gobbling up precursors…people with stress get more symptoms as she says sometimes they are subclinical and the immune system can keep them at bay in cysts, but when things go off, they flourish…in your case, starches.

  8. SWOT

    @Lanie you could always take 5-htp with your sauerkraut and see if the serotonin boost from it offsets the depression..might give you a clue.

  9. Meme

    “CoQ10 and magnesium is good. Arginine is a step in the wrong direction. It elevates NO which is the same thing serotonin raises. Your serotonin is already too high. NO causes insulin resistance. Serotonin itself is a response to insult and raises histamine and such, so the wheal from injecting serotonin would be a normal response.”

    THIS. Exactly…..so much so, it bears rePeating (pardon the shitty pun).

    I’m sure this will come across all wrong, and that’s certainly not my intention at all, but have you ever actually read what Peat says about Serotonin, Lanie?

    I’m curious if you’ve actually studied his writings on the subject….or has the Peat Baby (insert mental picture of Peat’s head on a naked baby body) been thrown out with the proverbial Fructose Laden Bath Water?

  10. It’s really interesting to me the range of opinions about serotonin – is it good (we need more but precursors are being gobbled by parasites)? Or is it bad (Peat says so)? Hard to say. I do know one thing – it would help if Ray Peat would take the time to cite his sources within the body of his writings so I would know what part is his opinion and what part is attributable to science.

    N2P and Meme – what exactly are you afraid is going to happen to me if I use a drop of a diluted serotonin solution a couple times a day?

  11. Meme

    @Lanie….I’m not afraid that anything is going to happen when you drop diluted serotonin a couple of times a day. It’s a fascinating experiment and I think you should continue!!! We’re all here watching because we’re very interested….and we care.

    I absolutely CANNOT argue Peat’s position, I’m no where near smart enough. I don’t know enough about the brain or neurotransmitters. Whatever, I’m clueless.

    However, I CAN tell you from my own personal experience (experiments) that I think Peat is 100% correct. This is only based on my own personal history of mental/emotional disorders/diagnosis. My experiments with LSD and mushrooms in my teens….I was self-medicating, but didn’t realize it until I quit. I didn’t do those drugs a lot, but I did them recreationally often enough to “keep me sane” and functioning.

    After I swore off all psychedelics in my early 20’s, everything sort of went to hell. I was “formally diagnosed” (what a joke) and sent home with one SSRI after another. NONE of them worked and they often made things much worse. After a couple of years and some seriously scary moments, I swore off all pharmaceuticals.

    Still suffering and in an effort to cure myself, I started in with the herbal/supplement crap. You know the SAMe, St. John’s Wort, 5-HTP, melatonin etc…all through my 30’s. These were either just as bad as the pharmaceuticals or useless.

    It wasn’t until I read Peat’s work on Serotonin that a light bulb went off in my head and I realized WHY nothing I had tried up until that point had worked. It’s the EXACT opposite of “mainstream medical wisdom”. I had a really difficult time wrapping my head around that, but my own life experience had already proven him to be correct.

    And that was the turning point. I began to put his theories into practice almost three years ago. His stuff about starch and fiber irritating the intestines. His stuff about estrogen and PUFA suppressing the metabolism. His stuff about blood sugar regulation….

    I don’t know if Peat is correct about everything that he writes about, but the few things that I have been able to put into practice and test for myself, he’s been correct…..so far.

    Please carry on with your drops of diluted serotonin and if it doesn’t work out, maybe try some diluted drops of LSD…..and NO, I’m not kidding. It’ll be eye opening for sure.


  12. Meme

    🙂 Ha ha…well, I been called a lot of things…..

    I’m serious tho, Lanie. Keep experimenting and NEVER give up…your happiness and health are worth it.

  13. I was going to say more but was on my iPad and didn’t want to type it all out.

    I also did the self-medication with St. John’s Wort, and it pulled me out of years of depression. I took Wellbutrin (which actually acts on Dopamine, I think) for several years too – it helped, but I stopped when I got pregnant. I love me some Peat – you know I do – but I’m not just blindly accepting what he says as truth. I’m glad you’re hanging in here with me anyway!!

  14. Meme

    @SWOT….Yep, some good points in that article for for sure.

    I’ve come to the conclusion (too many times) that there is no One Best Way of eating simply because we humans are an intricate combination of many little differences. We have slightly different genes, family histories, environmental stressors, previous damage accumulated, different balances in neurotransmitters, gut flora etc etc etc. I dunno, I’m guessing all that cumulative shit matters…..but I’m still merely guessing.

    Perhaps that’s the reason why one person’s program is awesome for some people, but won’t necessarily work for the next person.

    Maybe it isn’t a matter of any one “guru” being right or wrong, per se.

    People who have struggled and finally find tools that work for them tend to be the loudest proponents (sometimes annoyingly so).
    *hangs head in guilt*

    @Lanie…..You’re right not to blindly trust Peat or anyone for that matter. The only person that you should be trusting to find what’s best for you is YOU.

    Science is great and all, but sometimes getting out of the head and following the heart is good medicine too.

  15. SWOT

    @Meme…I agree. As stated, I think LCHF is therapy for those who need it. I think recommending it to everyone is foolish. Yes, there are tons of variables that involved, but there are also some things that apply to everyone.

  16. Meme

    @SWOT…..Yep, I still want a Master List of things that apply to everyone though. Lists appeal to me.

    MY PERSONAL FOOD BOUNDARY LIST (just for me)….these are the items that I have learned to draw a hard boundary line on…and it HAS NOT been an easy journey. Cow products were the most difficult for me to let go of. I’ve known for at least 5 years (longer if I’m really honest) that they cause me problems, but I just couldn’t bring myself to fully eliminate them until recently.

    No Refined Sugar
    No Grain
    No Cow Dairy (sobbing)
    No PUFA oils
    No Beef (more sobbing)
    No Manufactured/Processed foods (except gelatin and some supps)
    No Starchy Veg on a daily basis (still holding out hope someday)

    When I look at this list, it seems quite short, but in reality these seven items cover over 90% of what most people consider food/eat every single day in some form or another.

    I think I do best when carbs are 200gm per day or less…..more than 200 does not make me feel awesome, but I’m not sure where the lower end is…yet. Protein is 80ish, but I consistently fail on this and often eat 100 or more. I’m still not sure on fat intake. I personally prefer more fat in my diet, but I don’t know if it’s healthy for me in the long term.

    Also still trying to figure out the fiber types/personal limits. I have a love/hate relationship with fiber.

    Perhaps My List will change over time, although it hasn’t changed much in the last 5 years…despite my best efforts to magically believe otherwise.

    Do you have a personal List? If so, what’s yours look like? (if you feel like sharing)

    I’m sure there are some peeps that would view my list and whisper Orthorexia (a medical condition in which the sufferer systematically avoids specific foods in the belief that they are harmful)…..fair enough.

    Even so, the ultimate irony here is that I’ve personally CURED myself of NUMEROUS real and DANGEROUS medical conditions via this one benign condition.

    Thank gawd for goats and sheep.

  17. SWOT


    Right now.

    LCHF 6 days a week.
    I must IF at least 7-8 hours between meals or my gallbladder acts up…needs time to refill
    One 24 hour period, usually during the weekend, I have 2 carb meals. No wheat, ever. A little bit of spelt I can tolerate. My wife says more makes me moody.
    I pay for those carb ups with a nasty serotonin / melatonin crash. Maybe fructose wise, 1-2 sweet treats. baked apples with cinnamon and honey or a small piece of chocolate spelt cake. That’s it.
    ..all nice and lazy, sleepy, but in a good mood. I just don’t want to do anything.

    When I was doing the “brown carb” low/no sugar business, my fasting insulin was low 20’s. Last time I checked getting back on LCHF, it dropped down to 12. I still want to get it to 5 or less, than I might tinker my CHO intake….maybe add one more meal during the week. I only cook with olive oil or coconut oil. Occasionally use butter.


    Allopurinol for hyperuricemia
    Ursodiol for gallstone management
    Vitamin K2 mk7
    D3 drops.
    NAC for leaky gut after my last wheat reexperiment disaster (gets rid of my sinusitis too)
    Green Tea
    Magnesium Citrate/B6
    Occasional multivitamin
    Lots of fish/salmon
    Flax oil
    Milk Thistle
    Colostrum after stress
    try to get 15-30 minutes outside when i wake up in morning
    Do another 15-20 minutes sunbathing middle of day.

  18. Meme

    @SWOT….Thanks for sharing!

    I take D3 drops (especially in the Fall/Winter), Vit K, Magnesium, B vitamins and Milk Thistle too…..those first four are Universal, for sure. I think EVERYBODY needs them. I’m not sure the Milk Thistle is doing anything, I’ve been inconsistent with remembering to take it.

    I’ve read on various sites that NAC can be useful for cleaning up biofilms, sounds like it’s working well for you too…very good to know.

    Have you ever tried glycine or taurine or theanine for stress? I rotate them in and out as needed and LOVE them dearly. Here’s some articles on taurine, both are well-referenced:



    I found taurine to be amazingly helpful for liver/gallbladder issues. It may have been a key player in helping to fix my glucose issues as well, but I don’t know for sure because I was/have been doing several different things to clean up liver and restore pancreatic signaling.

    Taurine gives me noticeable benefits with regards to endurance.

    Oh, and sunbathing…. absolutely UNIVERSAL!

  19. SWOT

    @Meme…haven’t messed with taurine. Ursodiol slowly dissolves smaller stones and prevents formation during weight loss. Your body already makes it; in this case it’s just adding more of the particular bile salt that dissolves them.

    Haven’t messed with taurine.

    Stress: Not really stressed right now, but I’ve started messing around with GABA for stress/anxiety..seems to help.

  20. SWOT

    @meme…taurine is a precursor for GABA so, it’s really the same pathway, similar to insotiol vs 5-htp if you want more serotonin. At least 5-htp and inositol don’t kill your dopamine,

    BTW, my wife was getting carb cravings (she’s following me on doing LCHF 6 days / 1 day carbs) yesterday. 100mg of 5-htp later, and they were gone.

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