GHN – Changing Things Up a Bit! :-)

Hello, everyone! Going forward, I’m planning to shift the format here at GHN to include shorter posts with links to breaking news related to the microbiome, and strategies for improving GI health. These will include related studies, whenever possible, and interconnected ideas from all the”self-experimenters” in our (rapidly expanding!) networks.

I realize many use this blog as a resource for troubleshooting your own health issues, and I want all of us to be able to A) cover a lot of ground, and B) reach our own conclusions.

I’ll continue to post articles about my own adventures with helminthic therapy (specifically necator americanus hookworm) cultured foods, various antimicrobials, and FMT, as events unfold and updates are warranted.

I am appreciating all your feedback, and wish WordPress was designed as a more interactive format. Comments tend to get buried in these blogs, visually, and that limits discussion, but please DO keep up your replies so we can all continue to learn from each other. 🙂

The menaquinone (vitamin K2) content of animal products and fermented foods.

Great work, Matthew Dalby! I’d love it if you could write a follow up detailing the health effects of menaquinones, such ask K2’s ability to keep calcium from contributing to thickening of arterial walls, which in turn makes these foods a great foundation for anyone supplementing with vitamin D3. I certainly get a lot of heart-healthy K2 in my diet, based on your analysis. 🙂

The call of the Honeyguide

There is increasing interest in the menaquinones, the forms of vitamin K2 that are produced in animal tissues and as a result of bacterial fermentation. What information there currently is in the scientific literature about its content in foods appears to be rather scattered in journals that few people have access to so I thought I would have an attempt to present some of the most relevant information together here. What I hope this will do is both show how limited the testing so far has been, the variation among similar foods, and the range of sub-types of vitamin K2 to be found in our foods.

Vitamin K is an essential nutrient for the human body however rather than being a single compound it is composed of a group of structurally related compounds. These compounds all include the same active quinine ring molecule at their end giving them their vitamin…

View original post 2,287 more words

Lemongrass Oil for Deep Acne

Did you always have clear skin before your gut health changed? Have you noticed the more vegetables you eat, and especially when combined with carbs, like rice and potatoes, the more likely you are to get deep acne, or rosacea, especially to each side of the nose, about 24 hours after eating the offending food?

This has certainly been my experience, and the acne/rosacea/gut connection is a strong one. Sometimes, doing a probiotic retention enema will reduce the inflammation quickly enough to avoid a breakout, but if I can’t catch it in time, the next best thing I’ve found for deep acne is applying organic Lemongrass oil. Sometimes the pimple can be resolved virtually overnight.

lemongrass

Rather than using it undiluted, which may burn skin, I dilute it 1:4 with a carrier oil, like Jojoba, which can also be found as an organic product. This is the strength I use as a spot treatment, overnight. It’s capable of healing even deep, adult acne. For a facial wash, try 1 drop Lemongrass oil to 50 drops 30 ppm colloidal silver, which is antibacterial and antifungal, and mist on before bed using a pump-spray bottle.

Note: anyone using these oils for the first time should apply a drop of it, diluted 1:4 as you would use on your face, to an area like the wrist, where it can be easily washed off in the event of any irritation. People with sensitive skin, be sure to ask your dermatologist. Topical use of colloidal silver is quite safe, and highly effective against yeasts and fungi, but one should pay attention to dosing guidelines for silver.

The approach outlined above is for acute flares of acne. By far the best longer term treatment, for most people, is to heal your gut. If you have symptoms of SIBO, which can often be associated with tinnitus, too, consider eating a lower carb, low FODMAP diet, and try daily “intermittent fasting” which will allow your body to sweep bacteria out of the small intestine into the colon. People with SIBO have fewer “cleansing waves” than those with healthy guts, so compressing your food intake into two larger meals, spaced further apart, will allow your upper GI tract to become less of a feeding area for these misplaced gut microbes, and encourage them to seek their food sources further down, in the colon, where they belong.

Also, consider adding cultured foods like kefir, raw, organic sauerkraut, and yogurt to your diet, to displace less-friendly bacteria with healthy flora, to protect the gut wall, and nuture other beneficial strains in your upper and lower GI tract. Contrast these approaches to most standard dermatologists who prescribe gut-damaging antibiotics, and which would you rather choose? 🙂

If any of you have your own favorite approaches to acne control, I’d enjoy hearing from you in the comments section. Thanks!

Candida, SIBO and… Silver?

A brief bit of background: my mother took lots of antibiotics, from the 1950s onward, and was on Tetracyline when pregnant. I got my gut flora from her, as anyone would, but was born prematurely and spent 2 months in an isolette. This means I acquired the rest of my microbiome in a hospital, before heading home. I think it’s safe to say I’ve have had yeast issues for most of my life. My entire family did.

The standard medical attitude about candida continues to be “it doesn’t exist in anyone unless they are immune compromised”. My gut flora was damaged pre-birth, then I had a family doctor who prescribed antibiotics for a simple cough, or the sniffles, I’ve since been hit with Cipro and Levaquin (fluoroquinolone antibiotics) at least a dozen times, so from a modern understanding of gut-immune function, I am immune-compromised!

I got toenail fungus at an early age, developed sinus trouble (more antibiotics!) and have since read reputable sources saying most sinus issues are fungal. Candida? Maybe so, but the type of fungus is moot. Next I got asthma, seasonal allergies, then ulcerative colitis, then severe food intolerance. At no point along that path did any doctor say I needed to heal my microbiome, or go on a paleo diet, so if they didn’t understood something so basic, I can’t put much stock in their wholesale dismissal of candida overgrowth.

Here’s the good part — I’ve been getting better ever since I started paying attention to gut health. It’s simple. Lower carb is healing — sugar is bad. Probiotic foods are a “yes” — antibiotics are an emphatic “no” (unless utterly essential). It’s been a wonderful road back for me, with every single health condition.

I’ve recently discovered antibiotics very likely destroyed the fragile, butyrate-producing bacteria in my gut, and butyrate heals inflammation  — while also being anti-fungal. No wonder homemade sodium butyrate enemas have been so helpful for my ulcerative colitis flares. I believe butyrate could certainly help others with IBD, including Crohn’s disease. It may even play a role in protecting the upper gut (small intestine) from development of SIBO. Speaking of…

Early this week, a Monday, I’d just started a new job. I didn’t have time to fix my own lunch from home, so I had to fend for myself in the usual higher-carb, sugary restaurants. I found a beef roast with sides. The meat portion was tiny, covered with a sweet gravy. Roasted potatoes and green beans rounded it out, but that same sauce was all over the veggies. I was so hungry I ate every potato. Normally only eat about 3 oz of them a day. I’d been in good shape, gut-wise, for so long, I could afford to cheat, right? Wrong! By morning, I could tell I had yeast overgrowth. My gut had zero peristalsis, I had bad tinnitus, which for me is usually a sign of SIBO returning, my breathing was restricted, sinuses were inflamed, and energy was in the tank.

I’d had had such luck with yogurt, in recent weeks, I decided to eat two pints, the following day at work. Apparently the candida had done such a job slowing down my gut, the yogurt just sat there. Candida has been slowly digesting us since day one. I believe it uses “host manipulation“, which is what many successful parasites do. People with yeast overgrowth often crave sweets and alcohol. I know I have in the past, and I didn’t lose that until I started removing yeast from my body.

Hyphal Form Candida

It makes sense: if candida creates sweet tooths to feed itself, why wouldn’t it also emit chemicals to slow down gut transport, to more effectively eat our food? This may explain why so many of us are underweight, or constipated, and could be a strong hypothesis for alcoholism. Here’s a very interesting thread exploring a connection between SIBO and candida. Normally benign, its invasive (hyphal) form is thought to just be a symptom of dysbiosis. A healthy array of commensal bacteria should curb overgrowth. However, for those who’ve had hyphal form for decades, we need to deal with it.

I am hosting hookworm right now, for food intolerance, asthma, IBD, so I can’t take oregano oil, olive leaf, berberine, even peppermint, without killing them. Colloidal silver is an antibiotic, but it will just stun them for a few days.  Numerous articles discuss a rare condition called agyria, where people who consumed massive amounts of silver turned their skin a bluish tint. I have taken only 3 courses, a few weeks at a time, in the last 4 years. I’m not worried about changing color!

So back to the problem at hand, by the end of day 2 my entire back was sore, where it was nearly impossible to walk. I have a specific pull-pattern where one rib gets dislocated, and it happens most often when my gut is unhealthy. Lipopolysaccharide, a bacterial endotoxin, may be the root of this inflammation. That night, I simply couldn’t find any position to lie in, and insomnia made everything worse. I spiked a fever from the SIBO, which is rare for me, and my lungs felt like bronchitis was developing.

Most people would have gone to the doctor at this point, and been prescribed antibiotics, but I don’t tolerate most of them, and would rather use an antimicrobial that kills both bacteria and yeast.

The morning of day 3, I still had a fever, and started with 1 ounce of 500 ppm (parts per million) colloidal silver in a pint of distilled water, which makes it about 33 ppm. This is a safe level, in my opinion, especially since I take it very rarely. It has had a long history as an antibiotic before the modern pharma-industry developed conventional antibiotics. Here’s a study showing silver’s effectiveness against antibiotic-resistant strains. I’ve read other sources claiming it “smothers” both good and bad bugs. Its effect on candida is confirmed by several studies.

To deal with my lungs I used 30 ppm silver in a miniature glass spray bottle. 5 puffs every two hours. So how did it all go? Interestingly, the oral silver seemed to get my gut moving, and my stools were soft but formed. I’m thinking this relates to a lower yeast population in the gut. A few hours after starting inhalation, my lungs were clear, the fever broke, and I’m still feeling pretty good. I’ve read articles where doctors used CS in a nebulizer to treat people with AIDS-related lung infections, so this seems like a solid approach. It protects weak patients like me (who are immune compromised) from gut-damaging systemic antibiotics.

What’s my takeaway? Buying silver is expensive, and I normally make my own, using a cheap generator, that tests out about 17 ppm. The cost of home-brewed is pennies per pint. I plan to use the silver orally and as a spray mist only if needed, for the next few days, then I’ll go back to cultured foods like homemade kefir, raw sauerkraut. Silver is best used sparingly. I prefer adding healthy flora to my gut, not killing friend and foe alike. I also take Prescript Assist, VSL #3, and LifeStart powder now, as probiotics, plus an occasional butyrate enema. This is what works, and I’ll keep it up, but perhaps the moral to this story is, the next time I’m late for work, I’ll stop and cook my own, sugar-free, lower-carb lunch!

PS: for those interested in learning more about colloidal silver, here’s a great group on Facebook: Colloidal Silver, Pro & Con, where all points of view are appreciated. And keep in mind all the usual caveats apply: ask your doctor before trying any new therapy.

Help Build a Fecal Microbiota Donor Registry

Many of us who suffer from overprescription of antibiotics, and adverse drug reactions (ADRs) from fluoroquinolone antibiotics like Levaquin and Cipro, realize our microbiota has been badly damaged, and eating cultured foods, or taking probiotic pills, is likely not going to be enough to restore complete gut flora, proper immune function, and mental health.

FMT has already proven its effectiveness in many cases of C. Diff Infections. Recent studies indicate FMT may also be curative in CFS/ME, diabetes, MS, ulcerative colitis, crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions. I feel it can also be an important supportive therapy for those coping with Lyme Disease, as it rebuilds the flora lost from frequent antimicrobial treatments. Far from this being fringe science, Psychology Today acknowledges how FMT could play a role in treating anxiety. Here’s another article, in the New York Times, from a fecal transplant donor.

Here’s the good news: we already have a registry for FMT donors, and people can SIGN UP, at thepowerofpoop.com! This will be a huge step in giving thousands of people the full spectrum of probiotics they need. If you’re on Twitter, please re-tweet this post (instead of favoriting), or just use the Twitter link at the bottom of this blog entry.

Thanks for helping to spread the word!

Hookworm for Healing Prostatitis?

So seven weeks ago I did a 50 hookworm top-off dose, and I’m absolutely 100% allergy free right now: no asthma, no sneezing, and I’m also experiencing the characteristic lack of aches and pains I tend to enjoy when my hookworm are active and providing their benefits. This is now my third year of helminthic therapy, so my body is quite accustomed to it.

Side effects? Hardly any. A few weeks ago i had slightly increased mucus production in my nasal passages and sinuses, which is actually a sign of health for me, as this all disappeared when I got “floxed” with Levaquin antibiotics a few years ago. At that point my immune system was stunned. My nose always felt irritated, with a “tight” and “dry” sensation. Happily, I now have a very normal, unremarkable nose, and this means no more sinus headaches, either!

As far as gut function, I have a history of ulcerative colitis, and other than a brief flare that came on before my last dose of hookworm, I’ve been in total remission, for months. I was able to get rid of the flare using sodium butyrate enemas, and now it seems like my worms have it all under control.

Now, for something very interesting, indeed. In years past I’ve always noticed prostatitis is a problem for me as seasons change, particularly from Summer into Fall. Not so, this year, and perhaps this is also due to my hookworm! Why? My theory is prostatitis can be the result of seasonal allergies. In quite a few forums around the web I’ve noticed men wondering about a connection, and my experience could help to confirm it. I do hope in time hookworm will be put to use for this “off-label” condition, as I find it to be more beneficial than any other therapy I’ve tried!

It’s easiest for me to look at the prostatitis/allergy connection in terms of an inflammatory threshold. In past years, even when I was much younger, anything could be a potential trigger — too much coffee, alcohol, or spicy food, too much sitting, not enough exercise, infrequent sexual activity, general stress. Now, none of this matters. I just feel good.

I should add, I also include plenty of cultured foods in my diet, such as delicious homemade kefir, yogurt, raw sauerkraut, and probiotics in pill form. I am convinced this, too, helps prostatitis by improving the ecology of the colon. Considering the proximity of the colon to the bladder, and other male anatomy, it’s easy to see how a fungal overgrowth in the gut can lead to candida migrating into prostate tissues. Furthermore, it’s thought many of us are allergic to fungal pathogens, so once they invade tissues the immune system makes matters worse by mounting an ineffective inflammatory response.

Again, if hookworm tame the immune system, and a low-grade fungal infection is the trigger, it’s clear to me how helminthic therapy might play a role in easing prostatitis. I’ll have more to say about the impact of adding probiotic foods to my diet, and its effect on general inflammation, in a future post.

I’d appreciate hearing from you all in the comments section — of those doing helminthic therapy, is it helping to curb autoimmune response? And how many of you men out there have noticed if it helps with prostatitis? We self-experimenters are learning a lot about controlling inflammation, so much so that my doctors are really interested in updates — much of it gathered from you. Hopefully in time our knowledge can have an impact on mainstream medicine. Meanwhile, let’s keep up the good work!

Did You Have a Neck Injury Before Being Floxed?

Many of us damaged by fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Floxed) have also noticed we share a history of neck trauma — an injury which preceded being floxed, and may have made us vulnerable to the drug(s). Here you’ll find a poll, so we can gather information on the subject.

 

Thanks very much for your participation! Please share on FB, Tweet, Re-Tweet, and pass it along to any other forums you follow.

 

Chronic Fatigue/POTS/IBD & the Gut-Neck Axis

“I worked with a chiropractor prior to my orthopedic neck surgery. As I described my FM/CFS symptoms, he said, “What did you do to your neck?” I mentioned I’d been in a serious car accident 10 years earlier, sustaining a whiplash injury. He said he had yet to meet a patient with CFS who didn’t have a history of neck trauma. He said there was a theory that any sort of injury to the cervical spinal column either released a component that led to the disease, or allowed one to enter the spinal fluid.”

 

The quote above was lifted from the comments section in a 2007 article on chronic fatigue, which is interesting in its own light, as it discusses a viral hypothesis for CFS/ME. Rather than going into this now, which is plausible to me based on the positive impact of FMT on CFS, considering a healthy microbiota is likely to be inherently anti-viral, I’d rather stick with a discussion of the biomechanical overlap between IBD/CFS-ME/POTS, and then relate that to gut ecology.

I suffer from CFS/ME in addition to ulcerative colitis, asthma, and other inflammatory conditions. I also, as many of you know, have a history of neck trauma, caused in a traffic accident years ago. For me, the neck injury acted as a trigger for most of my health issues, so I have recently suspected vagal nerve damage as a possible root problem. The VN mediates inflammation and immunity in the body, to a large extent, and controls heart rate/BP, hormonal output (adrenals, chief among them), organ function, including gut transport (suggesting constipation, GERD may be related to VN damage), so it’s easy to see where a wide range of symptoms could have this common thread.

I’ve dubbed it the “Gut-Neck Axis” because I’ve found healthy alterations to my gut flora are just as curative (or at the least, beneficial) as achieving proper alignment of my neck! Either will provide relief, whether it’s a glass of home-brewed kefir, a chiropractic adjustment, or a manipulation I can do on my own.

Why would this be? Does an adjustment of my neck release electrical “noise” in my central nervous system, a bottled up energy produced by pathogenic or translocated gut flora (SIBO), or is it simply taking pressure off my vagal nerve, which could allow it to engage more bandwidth in performing its tasks?

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My guess is both are true, because the neck is the physical fuse box between the brain and the enteric nervous system, the “gut brain”.

When hyperadrenergic POTS kicks in for me, my blood pressure and heart rate accelerate, I get obvious tinnitus, a stuffy nose, my gut stops moving, and I get very heat-intolerant. Much to my amazement, in recent days the use of a posture pump will stop all these symptoms, and quickly. Right away, I can feel peristalsis occurring, my nose opens up and I can feel my blood pressure dropping.

If I’m in the car and don’t have access to the device, often times just relaxing my neck, jutting my lower jaw forward a bit, and tilting my head back slightly will do the same. I’ve found it’s important to also try to elongate my neck as much as I can, by using muscles that extend it, whilst I simultaneously try to keep it limber, not stiff. At other times I get relief from just gently pushing in on my lower jaw (while it’s very relaxed), which seems to realign upper cervical vertebrae. There’s a zen to achieving this posture. It has taken practice, but luckily I get instant feedback when I’m doing it right, so I’ve made good progress.

By the way, it should be noted since we’re all different, I’m not recommending anyone try what works for me. This is not medical advice, and anyone reading along should consult their physician before attempting anything described herein.

The third leg of the stool, in this Axis, is active stress reduction. In any situation where I feel a high sympathetic state coming on, calming my mind, paying attention to breathing ( in for a count of 3, out for a count of 4) will act as a brake, and slow things down. For me, CFS/ME feels like a cardiovascular issue. I notice when hyperadrenergic POTS symptoms are flaring, I find it exhausting to stand; with my neck aligned properly I have much more energy.

One theory regarding a trigger for CFS is a vagal nerve infection, and I am not discounting this, but what if it’s also an impinged nerve, a transient impairment, that can be corrected with a spinal adjustment? It’s pretty clear to me my health issues have multiple avenues for healing, and there’s likely to be more than one root cause.

So to my broader point: in an attempt to simply feel as good as possible, I’ll continue to do each and every thing I’ve learned is having a positive impact on symptoms, whether it’s biomechanical or more related to gut flora. Since we know it’s a feedback loop, my theory is a neck injury can create a pro-inflammatory state in the gut that discourages the growth of vital gut flora. Stress can, too. Each of these, in turn, creates an inflamed gut that further discourages a healthy microbiome. It’s a vicious cycle. But by adding in cultured foods, probiotics, FMT, perhaps this reduces the electrical “noise” in the CNS, which makes mechanical manipulations less important.

I do know when I’ve done FMT a few times, it’s as if I’ve been seeing a chiropractor regularly. It’s all about relaxation, tilting over into a more parasympathetic-dominant mode, and a happy neck creates a happy gut, creates a happy brain. Furthermore, getting back to CFS, I notice FMT gives me a lot more energy. I can see where in the study cited above they may have had a much higher response rate with CFS/ME if the participants had simply done FMT for a longer period of time, say 6 to 8 weeks, rather than merely two to three days. I’d love to see another FMT study where participants were also given gentle chiropractic adjustments with an activator tool, massage therapy, and participated in guided meditation.

In the comments section I’d appreciate hearing from you. What are your own coping methods for cooling off the gut brain, staying in a more parasympathetic (restful/restorative/digesting) state? Also, if you have identified a neck-related trigger for IBD or CFS, which biomechanical approaches help the most? Have any of you had cervical spinal (neck) surgery? If so, what results have you had? I figure someone out there with IBD (ulcerative colitis or crohn’s) has had cervical spinal surgery and I’m very curious if this may have alleviated or improved the IBD.

 

If you enjoy this blog, you can support my work by buying things you need via this Amazon portal HERE, or by purchasing any product linked in articles. It costs you nothing extra, and helps me continue writing. Thanks!

 

IBD and Vagal Nerve Issues: the Gut/Neck Axis?

Is it possible some of us with IBD also have an underlying neck injury, which drives gut inflammation?

The average human’s head is about the weight of a bowling ball, so it’s not surprising the neck can experience trauma due to an acute injury, or chronic misalignment through smart phone use (text-neck!) , poor posture on the job, inactivity, etc.

For me, inflammatory conditions began with antibiotic use, but they got MUCH WORSE after a neck injury, sustained in a traffic accident, several years ago. Initial symptoms were a stuffy, blocked nose without congestion, then asthma, sinusitis, tinnitus, TMJ, constipation, IBS, and a few years later ulcerative colitis.

UC lead to inactivity, more time spent in front of a computer, degenerative changes in my neck, throw in a dose of Levaquin for food poisoning, then SIBO, food intolerances, hyperadrenergic POTS, heart palpitations, GERD, panic attacks/anxiety, and finally chronic fatigue.

I’ve had quite a few breakthroughs with health in the last few years, but the most profound occurred about a week ago when I realized many of these symptoms I’ve had for years (while directly linked to antibiotics use) are also mediated by my posture, specifically, if my neck is in an unhealthy kyphotic curvature (reverse of normal alignment) or wonderful, yet illusive, lordosis .

What’s the inflammation connection? The vagal nerve runs throughout the body, getting its name “the wanderer” from the widespread path it travels, but it threads its way through a narrow channel in the cervical spine, such that compression of soft tissues between the upper cervical vertebrae can impair a lot of vagal function. This is my layperson’s view. Let’s see if our experience bears this out.

Given that the “fight or flight” response includes a clenching of neck muscles, in preparation for fleeing, is it possible this reduction of parasympathetic response (relaxation) is partially a built-in biomechanical feature of our bodies? If so, chronic stress, with its attendant tightening of that upper cervical spine, may be a vicious cycle — one that we can fairly easily monitor and turn around!

In a previous post I mentioned the posture pump I’ve been using. It’s fairly inexpensive, and definitely effective, but also impractical for anyone out and about in the world. What if we could do something similar with no equipment? Enter the “Alexander Technique“.

I’m warning you: this practice is so simple, you may wonder if you’re doing much at all, but when performed properly, you’ll notice a big difference. For some, this perfecting of posture and movement may be all you’ll need.

I have developed the habit, in just a few short days, of “sitting tall” in my car, as I’m driving. I tilt my head back ever so slightly, so that my chin is jutting forward. Lordosis! I can feel my nasal passages opening, my sinuses draining. I also notice my blood pressure dropping, as pressure (I assume) is taken off my vagal nerve.

Furthermore, when I adopt this posture throughout the day, I notice the “heat” that fills my entire lower abdomen, and gives rise to gut inflammation, mucus in stools, dull pain — this totally goes away. Hmmm…

I know I’m not the only person who experienced the sudden onset of hyperadrenergic POTS after a neck injury. A cardiologist I consulted a few years ago about my POTS symptoms mentioned one hyperadrenergic patient of his who was a perfectly healthy woman until she got whiplash in a car crash. I’m in touch with another woman via Facebook who had a skiing accident. She hurt her upper cervical spine, and has had POTS (standard, low blood pressure form) ever since.

This is certainly sad, especially given how little the allopathic doctors understand about hyperadrenergic POTS, or UC and other forms of IBD — typically they are good at treating acute symptoms — but if permanent neck trauma is indeed part of a multi-factoral range of inflammatory triggers, we can at least try to heal vagal nerve function from the gut side of the equation.

Our enteric nervous system is a feedback loop, so the Gut/Brain/(Neck?) Axis works in reverse, and if we have mechanical impairment “upstairs”, boosting gut flora signaling via the vagal nerve, from gut to brain, may compensate for the neurological impairment in some people. I’ve been tinkering a lot with eating gut bugs (in yogurt, sauerkraut, my own homemade kefir and probiotics) that may promote parasympathetic (relax and digest) activity. More on that in a future post.

Does anyone else have a history of neck injury or strain that could explain more global issues? If so, I’d appreciate hearing from you in the comments section.

EDIT: since writing this article not long ago, I’ve spoken to huge numbers of IBD sufferers who had a neck injury immediately preceding the onset of their illness. I’d appreciate your feedback. If you’ve had a similar experience and would like me to include your story in a future post, send me an email via the contact form. Thanks! 

Homemade Sodium Butyrate Enemas Work for UC

It’s been a while since I updated this blog. In fact, I’ve been feeling so well lately, I’ve been busy working on three projects at once, however, stay tuned for a lot more articles in the future.

Here’s a major breakthrough: I had a brief flare of ulcerative colitis a few months ago but was able to halt it with homemade retention enemas. They each contain only 4 ounces of water with a blend of probiotics (bifido infantis)  and sodiium butyrate. I’d read studies that showed butyrate to be effective for UC and was surprised to find you can purchase it easily here.

The recipe is easy: I mix 4 capsules sodium butyrate with distilled water, in an emptied and rinsed Fleet Enema bottle. The probiotics are optional, but bifido infantis has been proven to reduce inflammation in quite a few studies. During the active flare I did the enemas morning and night, and as I healed I reduced them to once per day. For me, it took about a week, and soon I was no longer bleeding. That’s faster than steroid enemas,  or even oral or IV steroids.

Butyrate also has no side effects, such as bone loss from prednisone, or lymphoma from Imuran and 6-mp, and depending on your nutrient needs, a few other types of butyrate are sold, such as potassium butyrate or cal/mag butyrate. I’ve experimented and they are all very effective.

How does SB work? It appears to help the body generate protective mucus, and is an energy source for the cells of the gut wall. Not surprisingly, sodium butyrate as been found to have potent antifungal properties. This means it can help kill candida in the colon. Before trying it for any condition, I’d say it’s best to talk to your doctor. My GI was familiar with the treatment and supportive.

In other news, as far as food intolerances go, I’m able to eat about 75% of my former full diet these days, and it’s possible some of the problem foods could be reintroduced right now, but I feel good enough as-is I don’t want to rock the boat. I now weigh 162 lbs, which is right where I was during college years, for the bulk of my healthy life.

Recently I’ve been eating full-fat, organic yogurt, every other day. The brand I’m trying is Nancy’s, because it’s got lots of L. rhamnosus in it, which has been proven in several studies to help with depression/anxiety. My only suggestion would be to not go overboard with it, since yogurt has enough lactose to feed candida in the gut.

Everything I’m doing now is improving constipation, which in turn is boosting my energy levels quite a bit. At work, I’m flying up and down long hallways, feeling lots of strength in my legs. I’m still have some fatigue, as standing for long periods is tiring, but things are definitely moving in the right direction.

Has anyone else tried sodium butyrate enemas? If you’ve got feedback for me, or if you want to learn more about how to use this simple therapy, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

 

If you enjoy this blog, you can support my work by buying things you need via this amazon portal HERE, or by purchasing any product linked in articles. It costs you nothing extra, and helps me continue writing. Thanks!

Hookworm working, feeling great!

Today I’m 10 1/2 weeks into a 75 hookworm dose. As far as I know, I had no worms remaining when I did that top off, because stool tests for ova were negative at the time, but I have had blood work done recently suggesting the new dose is alive and well. My EOS level is quite high, which is consistent with a parasitic infection.

I should add that for nearly everyone providers won’t allow a dose of 75 at once, but in my case I’ve demonstrated a very high tolerance, and have some health issues that make hosting for longer periods difficult, so my provider was willing to make a rare exception.

How am I feeling? Fantastic. Today Spring has sprung, the air is so loaded with pollen you can see it blowing in the wind. This year I can smell all sorts of flowers and other plants in the breeze, which is a nice change of pace. In previous allergy seasons when I was not hosting hookworm I was stuck inside, huddled in a dark room next to an air purifier, and shoveling down vitamin C, the only antihistamine I could tolerate. So the scent of Spring is a wonderful, new thing.

It’s a joy to have no asthma, no sinus trouble, and my mood is also really balanced. I have more energy, no more insomnia, my skin is clearing up (less rosacea), constipation (one of many side effects of levaquin) is gone, and I’m starting to gain some healthy weight: 6 ft tall, and 160 lbs. After being underweight for the last 10 years, this is a major milestone. I now weigh what I did before I got sick with ulcerative colitis. On the IBD front, I have not had a flare in a year or more, and the last one was brief, and quite mild.

Besides the hookworm protocol, I am drinking home-brewed kefir daily, and eating raw, organic sauerkraut a few days a week. I have adopted a lower-fat “mediterranean paleo” diet, designed to keep my lipid profile optimized. This seems to be encouraging good gut flora diversity, too.

Apologies for not updating this blog sooner. I’ve been busy working, holding down more than one job, and at times working 12 days straight. Anyone who has followed my blog from the start knows how incredible this is. I feel “normal” again, but in some ways I feel better than I have in about 15 years. Seriously!

PROGRESS..!!

I realize I haven’t updated this blog in a long, long time. Well, I have some admirable excuses. I’ve been feeling so GOOD lately, and have been working outside the house for the last several months. So, essentially, I’ve been too busy LIVING.

The gist of my approach has been to treat SIBO with plenty of olive leaf, oregano oil (never more than 2 weeks at a time with the oregano),  and berberine complex. Occasionally I add a peppermint oil mixture containing fennel and ginger. A low FODMAP diet is another aspect of the protocol, because I began to notice my favorite veggies, like Kale and Collard Greens caused tinnitus, heat in my abdomen, insomnia, and other uncomfortable symptoms. Switching to a diet of animal protein and cooked iceberg lettuce has helped a lot. I plan to incorporate other low FODMAP foods later.

With the herbal supplements, I have been incredibly persistent, and it’s paid off. In fact, with all of this, the key seems to be never, every letting up. I stumbled in the past, and tried drinking homemade kefir. It tasted great, and logic suggests all the flora would do me good, but my gut is not ready yet to digest dairy. The SIBO flared up so violently, I felt like I went all the way back to square one. This was about a month ago.

What’s improving? My gut function is normalizing. It’s been so long since I can recall not being constipated, but here I am now, heading to the loo about an hour after I eat, and having formed stools that are soft enough to pass easily. This is the way crapping should be! I’ve also stopped hearing loud and constant tinnitus. This improved the moment my gut motility started to normalize. No more heat in my abdomen anymore, either. When my SIBO would flare in the past, my entire abdomen, including my lower back, would feel very warm to the touch. Now my skin is cool, like it used to be in the good ole days.

I’m also seeing relief from acne/rosacea and chronic sinusitis. This suggests to me my gut wall is healing, and commensal bacteria is no longer translocating to these areas.

Perhaps the best of all, hyperadrenergic POTS is also gone. No more high pulse and blood pressure. I’m beginning to feel much more energetic, much less brain fog, and my mood is clear and bright. I feel more creative, my mind is more engaged in the world around me, I’m sleeping really well and testosterone levels are now back in the normal range. Yes, I can honestly say I feel frisky.

What still needs improvement? I’m underweight, 6 feet tall and 151 lbs. I’d like to gain 5-10, and this has been difficult in recent years. I am also dealing with a flare of ulcerative colitis, which started out pretty intense, but has gotten much better with probiotic retention enemas (4oz distilled water with 4 capsules “Align” probiotic), delivered in an empty (rinsed out) Fleet enema bottle. I do think the herbal protocol is helping with the UC, too. Perhaps because candida can be a trigger.

My next goal is to build a full population of hookworm (necator americanus), to cope with any remaining food intolerances, and then do another series of fecal transplants, since after all these herbals I’m pretty sure my microbiome is not as strong as it could be. If i can find a particularly happy and calm donor, even better.

Stay tuned. 🙂

Finally Gaining Weight

Tonight I got some good news on the bathroom scale — 158 lbs, up from 145 lbs just a few weeks ago. My appetite is pretty good, and I seem to be digesting my food a lot better. So far I’ve done a total of 9 fecal transplants and that may be where I stop for now, as my donor is going to be unavailable for a while. I had hoped to do 10 treatments, but this may be good enough.

It all started with a course of Levaquin last August — suddenly I had hard, dry stools. Even after a lot of FT, months later, I seem to have hit a wall in terms of the volume of my stool. I’m regular now, which is a nice change of pace, but my stools are smaller and harder than I had hoped. This is generally indicative of a low bacteria count. Bacteria help to hold water in stool, which makes them easier to pass.

My goal now is to create the healthiest ecology in my gut possible, with cultured vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi) and fermented beverages like kefir. I make my own, 32 oz at a time, in a mason jar atop my gas range. It stays a cozy 79 degrees there, most of the day, and I get great results with grains I purchased online.

There’s some debate about the effect of kefir on stool, with most saying the longer ferments cause constipation, while the shorter ones cause looser stools. A friend of mine noted the loose stools may be caused by an abundance of lactose in the shorter ferments. If so, this is not necessarily a good thing for those of us with carbohydrate intolerance. I’d rather ferment it a bit longer, consume less sugar, and get more beneficial bacteria in my brew.

So what else could bulk up my stool and increase the water content? Betaine HCL has been suggested as a more natural way to decrease transit time and maintain moisture. Same goes for soluble forms of fiber, like apple pectin. I cannot handle the sugar in apples, but I can take pectin capsules, and have been adding two per meal lately. Apple pectin can feed bacteria both good and bad, so it’s important to not take it in cases of dysbiosis. Once the flora present is a decent balance adding some fuel should be a step in the right direction. Especially since pectin holds water in stools and reduces friction against the gut lining.

I’m also back on a routine of taking 4K to 6K mg of vitamin C daily. Sometimes it’s buffered, other times I take it straight with food, to reduce the chance of stomach and bladder irritation. Magnesium is another helper, either the glycinate form or the oxide (less absorbed), if i want more of a laxative effect.

Fats also seem to be a universal “mover”, so i don’t shy away from saturated fats in animal protein, and also add liberal amounts of olive oil to the vegetables I steam. If cooking at higher heat, I use grapeseed oil. An added benefit here is higher calories, since I’m still trying to bulk up a bit. Slow and steady wins the race.

Fecal Transplant, The Return of Joy

For quite a while now I’ve battled with fatigue, insomnia, POTS (blood pressure spikes), racing heart, and anxiety/depression when my gut flora is particularly out of balance. Last January things worsened, especially weight loss, pain in my left descending colon, and extreme fatigue, so much so that I didn’t recognize the symptoms anymore as “my usual”. By early April, I was concerned I might be developing colon cancer, and thought maybe I’d mistaken its insidious symptoms for gut dysbiosis. I was frightened enough, and sick enough, to start making out my will.

Well, thankfully, it turns out I was wrong. Biopsy results from a colonscopy I had a few days ago came back and the preliminary results show no signs of malignancy. I do have inflammation in my colon consistent with colitis, but I’m not bleeding. Perhaps this is due to the anti-inflamatory capabilities of my Necator Americanus hookworm.

Getting the “all clear” was wonderful, but it has not made my health issues any better. I’ve been waking up in a sweat, feeling hot around my abdomen and lower back. It’s like a fever, localized to my gut. My nose is also stuffy, my ears are ringing, my mood is off, and I am quite tired. Too tired, in fact, to get out of bed much of the day.

Since I had some lead time while I waited for the colonoscopy, this gave me the opportunity to call my fecal transplant donor, who I worked with last October, and ask if we could do a round 2. He could tell right away how sick I was, and said “yes”. So we got started two days ago, on Wednesday the 18th of April.

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Immediately following the treatment, which I self-administered with an enema kit at home, I felt better. In mere minutes I was able to breathe freely, an hour later my mind was brighter, and I was laughing and smiling in a spontaneous way. Four hours later my entire body was more relaxed, the stuffiness in my ears was receding, my balance was better.

By the evening I was playing my guitar again, able to smell the distinct odor of wood and glue through the sound hole, and playing with a nuance I hadn’t felt in a few years. I was reconnecting with “joy”, and it’s incredible how essential healthy flora is to our vitality and to what extent it shapes our personalities, our skills.

At 9:30PM that evening I was yawning, and ready for bed. I hadn’t felt normal drowsiness since taking Levaquin in August of 2011, which is many months ago. I am waking now feeling refreshed and restored. Insomnia is a thing of the past.

Fecal transplant has affected my labs, also. Testosterone and leutinizing hormone levels have been low for a few years now (consistent with chronic infections), and after one FT treatment I’ve no doubt my T is higher. Let’s put it this way — every middle aged man seeing his doctor for Viagra might do a lot better with a fecal transplant. Seriously.

My donor left town for a few days and will be back late this weekend. In the time since, I’ve tried stool stored in the refrigerator, but it isn’t as good as fresh. I am relapsing some, with fatigue, stuffy nose, and tinnitus. I’m not sure if the ringing in my ears is from my colon, or somewhere else. I am hoping we can continue on for another 7 to 10 days, so I can regain my progress and lock in these benefits.

 

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If you or anyone you know have done FMT, I’d really appreciate hearing from you in the comments section below. This is life-saving medicine for so many. so please spread the word about fecal transplant, on twitter and Facebook, anywhere you can.

 

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Eating: the new frontier

I am still enjoying delicious Vivonex (heavy sarcasm) for most of my nutrition, but tried adding a few veggies tonight: purple cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli, steamed in a pot together.

Added a whiff of olive oil and some sea salt.

Aced it. No reactions!

This is pretty major progress for me. Last October any one of those foods would have had me feeling toxic, especially the olive oil and broccoli, due to the salicylates.

So based on what I’ve read about salicylate intolerance, my phase II liver detox is functioning a bit better now, and my gut is in pretty good shape, too. More regular elimination probably takes a bit of the burden off the liver.

Good job, hookworms. 🙂

Day 25, signals from old friends…

Spring has come early, bringing with it high winds that fill the air with seasonal allergens. My body doesn’t like this time of year, but today I was on a roller coaster where my stuffy nose would suddenly clear up for no apparent reason. Hello, hookworm. I came in from a walk and lay in bed a while, taking note of how my body was reacting, and felt my parasympathetic nervous system activating, too. For those who are sympathetic-dominant like me, which is basically a tendency toward “fight or flight”, this flip-side (the relaxation circuit firing) can feel wonderful.

My sinus infection is finally healing now, and I’ve been inhaling a 30ppm solution of colloidal silver to treat a mild lung infection (triggered by the sinusitis). As a result, I’m now waking with signs of higher testosterone in the AM, and feeling increased mental clarity and steadiness. I have had low free testosterone and low LH (luteinizing hormone) on my last few blood tests, and this appears to be resolving, which is a relief. Low grade infections can often cause this, and the body doesn’t waste any time bouncing back as this type of physical stress is eliminated.

In terms of the hormonal balancing, I don’t want to ascribe all my improvements to one thing, be that the hookworm or the CS. It really seems to be a combination of each.

On the not so pleasant side of the ledger, I still have some tinnitus in my right ear, which may be a transient immune response triggered by the hookworm, or it could also just be left over middle ear dysfunction from my flu — sinus/ear related. I am also experiencing some insomnia, and epigastric pain for the first time since reinoculating with these 75 hookworm. This is simply a diffused ache in my upper and mid-abdomen — the same thing happened last May, if I recall, as the hookworm were developing.

All good signs, as far as I’m concerned.  Any indication my worms are ‘moving in’ puts me at ease. Here’s to accruing some benefits soon!

3 weeks in…

So it’s now been 21 days since I inoculated with 75 hookworm. I’ve had an upper respiratory flu that morphed into a sinus and middle ear infection. The goal was to avoid antibiotics (I cannot tolerate them), especially because they have contributed to so many of my health issues. Another course of them now could be very damaging and my primary care doctor realizes this. It took weeks, and quite a few home remedies, such as colloidal silver and xylitol neti pot rinses, a few hot showers a day, hot peppermint tea (I can now tolerate salicylates again, much to my amazement!), hot packs on the sinuses and ears, plenty of bed rest and lots of fluids, plus vitamin C. A month or so later, I’m finally starting to turn the corner.

Ironically, the most annoying remnant of this illness is the acne just inside my ear canal, brought on by a high carb elemental diet, the only food I can tolerate currently. “Vivonex”, as it’s called, keeps me going, but the side effects for me seem to be an increase in SIBO related co-infections like acne and rosacea. If I add some veggies throughout the day I get formed stools and less translocating bacteria, probably because the tight junctions in my small intestines are less likely to be breached, simply because my bowel transport is more efficient with the added fiber.

As far as the hookworm are concerned, I’d like to think I’ve got a bunch in me now, but so far the signs have been minimal. It’s impossible to separate the side effects from the flu, although I do think some of my loose stools are worm-related. Time will tell. As far as the timeline of events goes, and accruing benefits, I’m sort of in a middle zone where I may have few indications of the worms truly “moving in” until they start laying eggs, around 7 or 8 weeks at the earliest.

Fingers crossed they are alive and well, and that they can stick around this time!

Day 5, and feeling benefits already

Some of the changes I’m experiencing now may be due to a “bounce”, which is a short term high a small percentage of those who do helminthic therapy experience. My first inoculation came with a 5 or 6 day euphoria, where for much of it I felt like i was 19 again. This time around I’ve been sick with a flu virus, feeling fatigued, and having sinus issues, so it’s been difficult to discern what’s “worm flu” and “real flu”.

This morning I woke up feeling hormonally more activated than I’ve been in months, perhaps even a year. For men it’s pretty easy to pick up these clues. No blood test required. My free testosterone has been low for many months, and my luteinizing hormone (LH) is also low. This indicates not a problem with the testes, which in my case are fine, but instead it’s a pituitary malfunction. Basically the brain isn’t able to signal the testes to produce T, so the free T levels remain low. My theory as to why this is happening relates to gut/brain inflammation and SIBO. To further complicate matters, low T can cause gut inflammation, which compounds the entire problem. But this morning I seem to have witnessed the start of a virtuous circle.

My energy levels are still low, so I took a nap around 2pm and as I laid there I took an inventory of my body — true relaxation hasn’t felt possible for quite a few weeks. Today I not only felt calm in my mind, but my muscles were looser, and I could feel that comfortable ‘shudder’ of my parasympathetic nervous system activating. It’s a wave of energy I’ve always felt through my body in association with a peaceful state: the opposite of fight or flight.

Sleep came on quickly, and I began dreaming. It wasn’t a particularly pleasant one, but I marveled at this all the same — I haven’t had a dream I remembered in nearly a year. I tend to dream when my gut is healthy, or at least I have dreams that are vivid enough to remember at these times. There was also something obvious about it — I was clearly trying to process events that had been building in my subconscious.

Furthermore, I’m also starting to crave real food again, instead of having no appetite and shoveling down my powdered elemental diet. This is the essence of healing!

Reinoculating with 75 Hookworm

I’m going to make this fairly brief, and hope to keep a more regular schedule with updates. Right now SIBO appears to be what’s affecting me most. My GI dr. hasn’t confirmed the diagnosis with a breath test yet, but many of my symptoms can be attributed to Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. It’s not the most pleasant prognosis, but I do think hookworm can be a key part of healing the gut lining and the food intolerance that goes with it.

Here’s my current situation: about 6 weeks ago I was looking with my microscope and found 1 hookworm egg. This is not uncommon to only find one ovum per slide. But in my case I was very diligent and never found another one for a month after. I also had lost my worm benefits. So I’ve since done a 75 hookworm top off dose. It’s an interesting ride, because I’m also fighting a viral flu I got about 3 weeks ago. It’s hard to know which symptoms are virus and which are worm, but I think I can sift through it all and get a decent picture.

Insomnia — hookworm. Low grade fever — virus. Stuffy nose — virus. Tinnitus — hookworm. I’m getting tossed around on the ocean with my old friends. But we’ll make it. Stay tuned for more exciting developments, such as — being able to smell and taste, and eat real food again instead of Vivonex. 🙂