Iodine Protocol: Still Working!

I’ve been taking iodine therapeutically since November 5, 2014, well over a month now, and experiencing some very solid benefits. For an explanation of why it may be helping so much, you can see the first installment here, and the second installment here.

It’s still highly effective against fungal overgrowth. In fact, other than a slight hint of candida symptoms whenever I stop iodine for 48 hours or more, this chronic infection now feels totally under control. It’s impressive, considering how sick I have been with yeast issues for much of my adult life, after taking multiple rounds of Cipro and Levaquin antibiotics.

big_banana

I know of no better way to measure iodine’s impact than to say I was able to eat two bananas, on back to back nights, as a midnight snack last week. For years, even one bite would have brought on a torrent of yeast symptoms, such as itchy ears, skin eruptions, scalp problems, asthma, and… none of this happened. Instead, I now have a tasty new source of potassium in my diet.

Boosting thyroid function allows our innate immunity to kill candida – not such a crazy thought now, nor was it back in 1972, if you read this very interesting study linked here.

Most protocols start at high doses, such as 12.5 mg iodine, and then increase over time to as many as 50 mg or even 100 mg.

This is NOT what I’ve been doing.

I cannot stress it enough — for me, going low and slow has yielded the best results. If you read my first post, you’ll see I ramped up from 2.5 mg in water (using Lugol’s 2%, one drop per day) and over a two week period went to 12.5 mg for only a brief time. Yikes. Not good. Even with salt loading, as needed, my detox remained intense.

aiga_toilet_men_bg

It wasn’t uncommon for me to have diarrhea throughout the day, and this continued even at 7.5 mg iodine daily, or down to 5 mg. I did divided doses, added to distilled water, from morning until noon. Whatever the approach it was just too much, so I’ve since backed it way off… to right where I began… at 2.5 mg. This equates to only one drop of Lugol’s 2% Iodine solution, in a pint of distilled water, and I sip it during the first half of the day, to avoid any stimulating effects before bed.

Furthermore, rather than continuous daily use, I’m now trying it for 4 days on, 3 days off, which is considered “pulse dosing”, so my body can catch up on the detoxification process. My gut has always been my weakest link, and I encourage anyone who is doing an iodine protocol to not only listen to their body, but anticipate how their unique physiology may require adjustments to dosing.

Even on my iodine-free days, I continue to take the companion nutrients. Selenium is most important, from the standpoint of protecting the thyroid against harm, as with hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition. Chris Kresser has recommended a complex, containing a few types of selenium, Paul Jaminet feels most people will be able to get enough from food sources, others suggest eating brazil nuts, with a caveat: more than a few might cause an overdose of selenium.

What other types of nutritional support can help? Since the gut is most anyone’s primary detox pathway, I’m making sure I drink home-brewed kefir daily and take VSL #3 and Miyarisan Tablets for additional probiotics. I’m also adding plenty of resistant starch to my diet, to encourage the growth of healthy colonic bacteria.

So how about the bigger picture, the future? I’m driven by results, and right now candida symptoms are virtually gone, I’ve healed my constipation, I’m sleeping better (except when diarrhea has been active), my body temperature is much more even, and I no longer get chilled on warm days, I have fewer aches and pains, no more mucus or blood in stools (I’ve had ulcerative colitis since 2000).

Sounds like I’m correcting hypothyroidism, doesn’t it? My sinusitis is gone (fungal overgrowth-related), my vision is much sharper, my libido is back, my skin is clear, my hair is softer and no longer dry, tinnitus is gone about 75% of the time, my appetite is better, and I also feel “full” when I’ve eaten enough food. I also have virtually zero anxiety.

Basically, it’s as if all my body’s rhythms are in tune, and I’m running a little hotter. I feel hugely better. So, given this, my instinct is to resist the urge to push aggressively through what would probably be a rough detox. I’d rather spare my body that damage and be patient. After all, since I’m feeling so solid, what’s the rush? 🙂

If you’ve had a history of Cipro, Levaquin, or other fluoroquinolone antibiotics use, and are developing hypothyroid symptoms, you may have a functional iodine deficiency, due to iodine receptors being blocked by fluoride and other toxins, such as bromide, chlorine, and mercury. We have a group on Facebook now, for learning about ways to correct this problem. Whether you’re actively taking iodine, or just want to learn more about it, please feel free to join us. Also, your comments are appreciated here in the Hot Topics forum. Login, hit the “join group” button, and go. 🙂

If you enjoy reading GHN, 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 very much!

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Food Poisoning? Probiotics to the Rescue.

How many of you heard recently about the amazing Woodrat, who can devour a wide variety of toxic plants? That’s interesting on its own, but then consider this: if you transplant Woodrat poop to other rodents, even its unrelated brethren can suddenly eat the same toxic stuff.

s_plains_woodrat_21717

So it seems clear enough: the healthy bacteria found in Woodrat guts are the reason for this animal’s uncanny ability.

That brings to mind an analogy: all those toxic things I used to be able to gobble up — restaurant food, ancient leftovers, just about any foodtruck fare — before I was prescribed a bunch of nasty antibiotics, including Cipro and Levaquin, a class of drugs the FDA has since slapped with “black-box” warnings.

Indeed, ever since my gut flora was blasted to smithereens, I’ve had trouble eating anything but the most well-prepared food. Since it’s impossible to always be careful and cook our own meals, a helpful remedy I learned was to start shoveling down probiotics at the first sign of a problem.

VSL#3 is suitable, due to a wider range of flora. It’s also effective for ulcerative colitis. Another popular brand is a mix of soil-based organisms, Prescript Assist. A third option: Miyarisan Tablets, a Japanese probiotic that contains c. butyricum, which generates its own antifungal, anti-inflammatory butyrate, a short chain fatty acid (SCFA) helpful in IBD. Given the lack of butyrate in guts of people with metaboilc issues, c. butyricum may be able to do even more for us.

Back to our restaurant experience gone-awry, or those leftovers that should have been tossed, the theory behind high dose probiotics is they can often overwhelm pathogenic microbes. True enough, I’ve had it work wonders, but in an acute situation of tainted food, it’s not uncommon for me to gulp down 5X the normal dose of VSL#3 and maybe even re-dose a few hours later.

Since it’s not clear how the body will deal with large doses of soil-based bacteria, I am sparing with Prescript Assist and only take VSL #3, or other brands such as Life Start, which is a single strain (bifido infantis) probiotic, and another multi-strain product, Renew Life Ultimate Flora Critical Care, in larger quantities. Keep in mind Renew Life is enteric coated, which means it’s designed to dissolve in the lower GI tract. Therefore, it’s best to open the capsule before dosing, if you need it to work right away.

I’ve also taken peppermint oil (which i just read is a powerful antifungal), oregano oil, and colloidal silver, when I needed quick relief. These can certainly work well against bad bacteria, but they also degrade the good bugs, so whenever possible I try to avoid herbals and antimicrobials. In the case of SIBO, some upper gut sterilization can be helpful. This is one reason peppermint is recommended for IBS.

An additional approach that may help with a toxic gut is activated charcoal. People who have overdosed on medications are often given this in hospitals, and it can work to mop up a lot of organic toxins quickly. Just be aware it will bind with everything, including whatever medicinal supplements you take with it.

So this is the strategy that’s worked for me. What about your own gut? If you find you’re getting GI issues after eating pretty often, and you never used to have that problem, think back to how many courses of antibiotics you may have had in your lifetime, or — since we get our gut flora from our mothers — how many your Mom may have had, too. You may be developing a condition called dysbiosis, which simply means damaged gut flora. Problems often arise from too few bacteria rather than too many.

What are the potential consequences? About 10 years ago I got sick from restaurant food and landed in the ER several hours later with a 104F temp. They gave me (very ironically) IV Levaquin antibiotics to stop the infection. Take that, Woodrat.

Bushytailed_Woodrat

Major problems followed, including POTS (a type of neuropathy), food intolerances, SIBO, plus major brain fog, anxiety, tinnitus and insomnia. For those unfamiliar with the term, I’d been “Floxed” by fluoroquinolones, which I later learned are actually chemotherapy agents, not just antibiotics. Anyone who pops Cipro or Levaquin for minor infections, be very careful.

Had I known of this “probiotic rescue” at the time, I could have been overwhelming the bacteria in my upper gut right away, long before I began to develop a fever. Alternatively, I could have been drinking colloidal silver and taking oregano oil, or peppermint oil. Even turmeric and raw garlic have fairly potent antibacterial qualities.

NOTE: food poisoning can be serious, so by all means seek medical attention if you feel really sick after a meal. All the measures I’ve mentioned can be tried while you’re preparing for a trip to urgent care, so I hope you’ll be waltzing out of the waiting room early, rather than spending the night. 😉

sunrise

What about longer term solutions for GI health? Probiotics are expensive, which makes sustained use impractical for many of us, and how effective are they at colonizing the gut? Results vary, but many probiotics are barely “waking up” by the time they leave our bodies. How about asking our easy-going friend with the iron-stomach to do a poop-swap? Yes, FMT, as it’s called, is the ultimate flora fix, but restrictions on its use have created quite a few hurdles.

For most of us, the best answer may be simple, age-old wisdom: eat more cultured foods. They have trillions of healthy bacteria, compared to the billions in expensive probiotics, and that flora is awake and ready to go to work the moment you consume it!

You can learn how to make your own Kefir and Sauerkraut HERE.

 

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 very much!

Iodine Protocol Destroying Candida

It’s now day 16 of my iodine protocol. Those who follow this blog remember when I tried Lufenuron, an antifungal not approved for human use, for advanced candida overgrowth. The first month it worked wonders, the 2nd it had only a partial effect, and by the 3rd dose Lufenuron had no effect at all. Disheartening, yes, but that brief success taught me how many of my symptoms were from fungal overgrowth: intense fatigue, tinnitus, SIBO, anxiety, skin breakouts, sinusitis, and several other seemingly disconnected problems.

Iodine, taken orally, is every bit as effective for me as Lufenuron was, even more so, plus its potency against candida has remained constant. And here’s a milestone: my ulcerative colitis symptoms are completely, utterly gone. Not a trace of inflammation in my colon, not a speck of bleeding, despite sprinting to the loo during a characteristic iodine detox.

Flash back 3 weeks ago, hearing of a friend’s success with an iodine protocol came at the perfect time. The doses involved in this approach were shockingly high to me, compared to the usual orthodoxy. I had heard a bit already about iodine’s impact on chronic infections, and hoped it might halt the steady worsening of candida I experienced when Lufenuron failed. I really felt it tugging me down quickly this time, no matter how many herbals I threw at it.

That’s all changing now, after beginning my own protocol. I started gently, with just one drop of Lugol’s 2% Iodine solution, which is 2.5 mg, or 2,500 mcg (about 1.66X the RDA of 1,500 mcg). Even that relatively small initial dose had a profound effect.

I’ve been carefully ramping the dose in the days since, and am now peaking at 5 drops, or 12.5 mg, averaging around 3 drops, or 7.5 mg. Many suggest this “pulse dosing”, which includes two or three days off, after every 5 days on, so the body can effectively detox. Overall, it’s really working. In fact, I have fewer symptoms of candidiasis now than prior to my last dose of Levaquin antibiotic.

The first major benefit I noticed from iodine was improved sleep patterns, and this has continued to be wonderfully deep and restful, dream-filled sleep. Then there’s relief from my sinusitis, which began to happen in the initial two weeks of oral iodine supplementation. By now I can eat as many potatoes, rice, even sweet potatoes, as I dare, and my sinuses stay clear (historically, carbs have been a trigger). I no longer wake up with brown mucus, that odd “beery” smell of fungal sinusitis, which first started around 1995.

While I usually just take the Lugol’s in water (see below for details) and drink it down, I’ve even been making an iodine nasal spray, too, used every 3 or 4 days, because I want to cure the problem once and for all. I empty out a nasal spray bottle, then add a bit of Lavi Wash to create saline, with 2 drops of Lugol’s 2% Iodine. I mix this with about 8 oz distilled water, add some into the spray bottle, and keep the rest in a glass container with a plastic lid in my refrigerator.

The nasal spray is totally optional, for dealing with fungal sinusitis only. The main protocol is simply taking your iodine in water, according to whatever dose your doctor recommends.

Note: before trying anything iodine-related, it is important to consult with a physician or naturopath familiar with thyroid issues, who can perform adequate testing to establish your baseline function. Make sure you try a tiny amount of iodine on your wrist first, where it can be washed off should you react. Some people experience a rush of energy. Keep in mind even sinus rinses contribute to your total iodine dose, not just oral use. Also be cautious about measures, as people outside the US are often using a far stronger form of Lugol’s (5%). This means drop-for-drop what seems like the same Lugol’s brand can be quite different.

november5

Okay, let’s rewind a bit — it all started on 11/5/14. After the first dozen days straight, I only took one day off, and I’ve been at it daily ever since. My dosing has varied from 1 drop of Lugol’s 2% solution taken orally (2.5 mg iodine) to 5 drops (which supplies 12.5 mg) depending on my response/detoxing. Unlike pulse dosing, I am in a saw-toothed pattern of nudging it up, dropping it down, then bumping it up again, without many breaks. I just listen to my body as I go, and try not to push too hard.

Since my last blog entry, a fairly intense release of toxins has continued, but it’s now getting much better, with only occasional GI upset, and my last dose of 12.5 mg is only a bit lower than a brief peak of 17.5 mg. That dose felt a tad high, so I backed off. Simple enough.

Iodine detoxing is no fun. At worst, probably 5 trips to the bathroom for me, from morning to noon. I felt fine initially, but by mid-day my muscles were getting a bit stiff from mineral loss. I’ve had low potassium in the past after dehydration, so I took a blend (calcium, magnesium, potassium) called Trisalts (2 one-half teaspoon doses that day) and felt a lot better. I may have been deficient in all three minerals, although I’ve been supplementing a lot of magnesium for companion nutrients (highly essential), along with my selenium complex (200 mcg), a b-complex specific for iodine protocols, and vitamin C.

I also add a bit of trace minerals to my distilled water, and I never, ever drink tap water. Toothpastes with fluoride are equally bad — I really hate the idea of ingesting more fluoride when I’m trying to free up my iodine receptors from — fluoride, chlorine and bromines.

distillation-process
I have a water distiller in my kitchen, and it’s been running a few days a week for the last 4 years. The only downside is the fan noise, but it has paid for itself. In my area there have been reports of ground water contamination, and I do know a type of fluoride is added to the municipal water supply, in addition to a few new chemicals that are supposed to be “better” than the old decontaminants, like chlorine (another halide that blocks iodine) but who knows?

A detox requires pure water to restore what’s getting flushed out, but decreasing diarrhea after week 3 suggests iodine has already managed to remove a lot of toxins, such as fluoride, bromines, and mercury (I have a lot after eating fish 5 days a week, from my youth into my 30s). What I’ve got now is the healthiest gut I’ve had in a long time, and I’m feeling greater benefits from ferments, like kefir and sauerkraut. In pre-iodine days, I knew kefir was good for me, but it made my SIBO worse, and it seemed no matter how much I drank, candida was always one step ahead.

How could iodine be doing so much to heal chronic candida overgrowth? Iodine on its own has an antifungal quality, which explains why it’s clearing SIBO in the upper gut. If the entire GI tract is being rid of fungal pathogens, it’s easy to see why constipation is totally healed. If byproducts of that fermentation are no longer polluting the bloodstream, autonomic activity should benefit, so peristalsis will become more vigorous, and mental health should improve, too.

But more important appears to be iodine’s affect on thyoid and gut health, its ability to free up those iodine receptors and allow nutrients from oral supplementation and food sources to be better utilized, in key aspects of biochemisty. It’s a powerful immune boost.

While I do still have some fatigue, everything is working better. My mood is upbeat, I have a libido again, and feel a general ambition. My mind is much quicker. I even notice as I’m typing this my eyesight is incredibly sharp (no glasses anymore!) and my fingers are flying along the keyboard.

Since my initial post on this subject, the Iodine for Fluoroquinolone Toxicity group on Facebook is in full swing. We’re learning how sensitive we are to iodine, even the co-supplements. This means the 12.5 mg iodine used in typical protocols is way too high for all of us “floxies”. My suggestion would be to go slowly, even less aggressively than a physician might recommend, if you feel your body is struggling to detox. One group member likened a floxie starting iodine to a very dry sponge being suddenly inundated with water — at first we aren’t able to grab much at all, but over time we can absorb, and really benefit from, therapeutic doses.

Speaking of, how much iodine do you think is “enough”? There are at least two distinct camps, in iodine supplementation circles. Some say micrograms, some say milligrams. Let us know where you stand, in the comments section.

For now I’m favoring the middle way — one foot on the brake, the other on the accelerator — and it’s an interesting ride.

To be continued… 🙂

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!

Lufenuron: Healing POTS, Anxiety & Introversion?

This is a two-part post so far. You can read the first installment here. Today the resolution of profoundly life-limiting symptoms, across a wide range of conditions, has me rethinking what dysbiosis might be. I hadn’t anticipated writing a new blog entry for Lufenuron yet, but some huge changes are happening daily. You can read about the first two weeks here.

Today is Day 15. As the candida is dwindling, symptoms of die-off returned, such as diarrhea. It makes sense, given the mix of Interfase Plus and Candizyme I am taking.

I woke with fairly loud tinnitus, my eyes were crusty with discharge (not my usual), and I just felt toxic. On the plus side, I had been feeling some pain while urinating these last few months but I’m now experiencing no prostatitis. Constipation is also no longer an issue. I’ve been having two bowel movements a day since Day 2 of Lufenuron, and my first today was a Bristol Stool Chart 5.5.

But as the day went on, I gathered steam, felt a bit better and went to a job interview. The drive over was relaxing, and I noticed even though it was hot outside, I had no heat intolerance. Tinnitus had virtually stopped by then, too.

I arrived early and parked, then noticed a bench on the sidewalk and sat down. Soon I was texting a friend, and as we chatted I realized I wasn’t the least bit sound-sensitive, which is unusual for my “post-Levaquin self“. In fact, I felt calm, relaxed, and was enjoying myself. Even a few days ago I would have felt exposed, hyper-aware of the noises around me, and been seeking the quiet of my car, with the windows rolled up. I’ve been suffering from this agoraphobia since i can remember, but I have also had candida since birth, too.

bench

Once in the lobby of the location where I was interviewing, there I sat on the couch, leafing through magazines. I had a huge epiphany. Reaching out for a photo-book, I was filled with a pleasant curiosity as I made my way through it. This is my old self! I remember family members remarking that my personality had changed, after I got blasted with antibiotics. This felt like that happy-go-lucky, engaging fellow returning.

The interview went really well. I felt relaxed, invested in conversation, transparent, not feeling the need to sell myself, just in the moment. Driving home I was upbeat and carefree. I rolled the windows down, feeling the blast of air on my skin. No sound sensitivity, and the fresh air felt great. I sensed how stale my car was (nose working now!), just because I’ve been leaving windows up constantly to avoid noise. Yes, my whole environment will need to detox with me.

Back at my house, I leaned down to the floor and adjusted a dimmer on a light, but my heart wasn’t pounding, and I didn’t feel like I was going to keel over. CFS has been a problem for the last 5 years, and it’s definitely been improving over the last week or so, but this evening I realized POTS symptoms have been disappearing, too. I really don’t have orthostatic intolerance anymore! And as I walk around the house my whole body feels lighter, stronger.

With improved bowel transport, even SIBO might be healing, and this new found energy puts some validity in that hunch, given how tired I get when upper gut fermentation is a problem. Perhaps candida has an adaptive mechanism, disrupting the migrating motor complex so it can consume more of our food. I’ve noticed GERD is also no longer a problem, which is likely tied to this same issue of decreased gut motility. I have a very happy colon now, and am hoping a lack of fungal overgrowth could heal my ulcerative colitis for good. Fingers crossed.

The wide range of improvements is impressive. I have to wonder, how many of us with POTS or SIBO are really just experiencing the neurological impairment caused by candida flourishing in our bodies, and its endlessly dumping of 79 toxins into our bloodstream? How much of being “floxed” (poisoned by fluoroquinolone antibiotics) relates to fungal overgrowth? And how many of us who became introverted, or prone to anxiety, after this gut flora damage — are we experiencing the same toxicity?

Day 15 of Lufenuron and yes, I feel pretty good.

I should add my point is not to recommend the use of Lufenuron, but rather, I think we need to pay close attention to fungal overgrowth, and relentlessly rid the body of candida however we can. In my case it appears to be making a huge difference.

UPDATE: I tried Lufenuron three times, and while the first dose provided incredible relief, when I took it again one month later it was only half as effective as it had initially been, and by the third dose, another month after that, it barely had an impact on my fungal overgrowth at all. This was despite mixing it with herbals.

Luckily I learned something valuable from the experiment: it seemed my immune system was the problem, so I began looking for something that could boost my body’s innate ability to fight candida. That led me to iodine, and a potential connection between fluorquinolone antibiotics, like Cipro and Levaquin, and hypothyroidism. Here’s the first installment of my iodine protocol. You’ll find the second article here. So far the results have been really encouraging, and unlike Lufenuron, iodine is both inexpensive and subject to much greater testing in humans.

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!

Lufenuron: Healing Chronic Fatigue & More

A month or so ago I was feeling “okay” but not great. Ever since I was given Levaquin antibiotics in the ER for food poisoning, about 4 years ago, I’ve had CFS/ME, brain fog, tinnitus, POTS, SIBO, food intolerance, asthma, ulcerative colitis, sinus and skin issues, depression/anxiety, rising blood sugar and constipation.

Does this sound familiar to any of you? What’s the common thread?

I’ve had fungal overgrowth, inside and out, for years, made much worse by broad spectrum antibiotics. Doctors shuffle me out of their offices when I ask for Nystatin powder, or other prescription antifungals, despite having obvious plaques on my scalp, feet, face, chest and groin, plus sinus and lung irritations consistent with candidiasis.

I have tried my best to control it with diet and herbals, like olive leaf, pau d’arco, grapefruit seed extract and berberine. It’s a chronic infection, so I’m slowly feeling worse and worse. Recently, even downing healthy amounts of cultured veggies and homemade kefir (both are powerful probiotics) hasn’t been very effective.

Flash back to a month ago, all it took was one starchy lunch that fed candida and i got horribly ill. I had GERD, muscle spasms, insomnia, asthma. In the days that followed, I knew I needed to do something more drastic to get the upper hand. Colloidal silver was helpful, but not something I wanted to take longer term. I heard about Lufenuron in an online forum. Not for human use, this chitin-inhibitor dissolves flea eggs, and… the outer shell of candida. Mammals don’t have chitin, so it’s apparently safe for dogs, cats and (theoretically) people.

It’s typically given for the first week of every month, daily, with a high fat meal (so it will deposit in tissues and be slow-released, rather than quickly leaving via the GI tract), then for the remaining 3 weeks of each month it goes to work destroying fungal overgrowth.

gorilla

Yes, humans aren’t supposed to use it, but there’s nothing stopping anyone from treating their gorilla, so that’s what I set out to do. Curiously, ever since i gave my pet ape pure Lufenuron, we both started to feel much better.

This is my record of that adventure, which will be updated periodically:

Day 1: dosage was 2 grams, and by the middle of Day 2, a major burst of mental clarity occurred. By that evening, the ability to sleep deeply had returned, to the point of waking on Day 3 — after 10 hours with no dreams, out like a light — and muscles felt much less sore, plus joint pain had disappeared.

To reiterate: during a 7 day total treatment “loading” window, 2 grams were administered daily, with a high-fat meal.

By Days 4 and 5, die-off symptoms emerged, which is not surprising, and lasted until Day 12: diarrhea, blurred vision, fatigue, insomnia and body aches. The good news: no more constipation, but it took 10 days for die-off to subside, and detoxing continues.

Day 13: colon inflammation is gone, and a healthy, sometimes ravenous appetite has emerged. I’m finding I don’t have to manipulate my neck as much to relieve POTS symptoms. I also think my tinnitus is a little better. It comes and goes, but I have more moments of silence.

Today, Day 14, upon waking, the gorilla is quite spunky, feeling like a randy teenager (Lufenuron might replace Viagra), and in the afternoon, muscles unwind in a characteristic activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, as nap time beckons. The vagal nerve is working now, which is intriguing! Was candida to blame for it running amok? It’s amazing how long, hot showers are enjoyable again (for my monkey). Relaxation is happening; anxiety is disappearing. There’s no more being stuck in fight-or-flight mode.

Healing like this is emotional, but “joy” hasn’t returned yet. My gorilla is still waiting for that.

By the way, people should not treat their primate’s flea problem with pure Lufenuron unless they’ve consulted a veterinarian, and should never treat themselves using medication not approved for humans. In fact, any and all new treatments contemplated should first be discussed with a physician. Please see the disclaimer.

With that said, CFS symptoms are improving, POTS also, along with so much more. Go, monkey, go.

To be continued.

UPDATE: I tried Lufenuron three times, and while the first dose provided incredible relief, when I took it again one month later it was only half as effective as it had initially been, and by the third dose, another month after that, it barely had an impact on my fungal overgrowth at all. This was despite mixing it with herbals.

Luckily I learned something valuable from the experiment: it seemed my immune system was the problem, so I began looking for something that could boost my body’s innate ability to fight candida. That led me to iodine, and a potential connection between fluorquinolone antibiotics, like Cipro and Levaquin, and hypothyroidism. Here’s the first installment of my iodine protocol. You’ll find the second article here. So far the results have been really encouraging, and unlike Lufenuron, iodine is both inexpensive and subject to much greater testing in humans.

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! 

Hookworm Only — Starting Over.

It’s been ages since I updated this blog. Basically, I was doing very well on the first round of helminthic therapy, then wounded my finger tip when I was cooking dinner one night. A one week course of Levaquin antibiotics (early August, 2011) sterilized my gut, and what grew back was a horrible mix of bacteria. This triggered a flare of ulcerative colitis. I probably already had SIBO, too, from years of antibiotics from childhood to young adult years, but the constipation from this last round of antibiotic “therapy” made it all much worse. I then decided to add a 1500 whipworm top off dose, to stop the bleeding in my colon, but this just made my bowels more sluggish and I started to feel allergic to just about everything.

Eventually, enough was indeed enough. Due to a growing intolerance to foods, I had to kill off my 2000 whipworm and 55 hookworm combination with a three day course of Mebendazole (late October, 2011) and start over. On November 22nd I reinoculated with 50 Necator Americanus hookworm and decided to avoid the whipworm this time, since they appeared to contribute to an increased allergic response and most likely compounded the constipation from antibiotics. I feel I can now control my ulcerative colitis with probiotic implants and as long as hookworm reduce my allergies, this will also help my IBD improve.

So far, so good. I’m really feeling better this time around. Tomorrow (Tuesday) will be 6 weeks since I inoculated with 50 Necator Americanus hookworm. Last time, when I did the 55 hookworm/500 whipworm combination, by week 7 my asthma disappeared, so that’s a potential benchmark. If anything, I feel like I’m having earlier symptom relief on round two, and am reacting less allergically in general.

My nose started clearing around Thanksgiving, due to the “bounce”, which is an early symptom relief some of us get from hookworm, then this upper respiratory relief became a longer term benefit about a week or so ago. I hardly ever react to things like house dust anymore, and if I do it’s a more typical reaction like a sneeze, something I never could manage when my immune system was a deer in the headlights.

In October I was experiencing incredible food intolerance — reacting to nearly every protein I tried to eat — with a stuffy nose, tinnitus, and throat tightening sensation. The last week or so I’ve noticed my appetite increasing, and seeing that as a signal, I’ve since been testing and enjoying normal portions of pork and lamb, plus smaller amounts of beef. I’ll try things like chicken and fish at a later date when it’s more obvious the hookworm are providing benefits. Vegetable fats and proteins, like avocado and coconut, have also been fairly problematic in the past, so I’ll wait a while to test those, too.

Should anyone ever wonder if hookworm can help with salicylate sensitivity, in my case I think it’s doing exactly that. In early October I reacted to an over the counter product with salicylates (acne cream and a skin wash) when I used it on my face, and since then foods higher in salicylates would trigger a similar reaction — nasal congestion, tinnitus, increased heart rate and anxiety, asthma and throat tightening. It was no fun at all! Last night I tried eating a boiled carrot, since they are high in salicylates, and barely reacted. This morning I’m sipping a cup of organic coffee (also pretty high on the scale) and enjoying it. None of this would have been possible a month ago!

One of the best benefits now is relief from anxiety and muscular tension. I’m waking up feeling rested, with a very relaxed back and legs, and am drowsy enough to take naps, which creates a virtuous cycle.

Another thing I’m noticing — my face is clearing up. When my gut flora is out of balance, I often get acne to each side of my nose.

By the way, I have a new GI doctor who knows Joel Weinstock at Tufts University, is a major proponent of helminthic therapy, and (as I understand it) has sat on panel discussions with Weinstock. This doctor of mine also does fecal transplants for quite a few of their patients and has told me FT can be really helpful in the right applications, including my own condition. Right now the course of treatment we’re following is to keep things simple and allow the hookworm to get established.

Regarding acne relief, my GI says hookworm appear to literally change the human biome for the better, influencing which of the good bacteria survive and which of the more pathogenic ones don’t, and how large or small each population is allowed to grow. New (and old) research suggests a strong link between SIBO, acne and neuropsychological issues. Note the Stokes and Pillsbury study here, done 70 years ago, and leading edge research is just now catching on to their same hypothesis today.

The possibility of SIBO for me is very real, but I haven’t been tested to confirm it. Diagnosis can involve drinking sugar water to create gases that are then measured in the upper GI tract, but too much carbohydrate can cause flare ups of ulcerative colitis, and I don’t want to take the risk. The best approach in my opinion was to act as if I have SIBO and treat it with diet and probiotics, not antibiotics (which is a more conventional approach). For now, this has meant adding even more soft-cooked vegetables to an already high fiber diet. I’m literally sweeping the bacteria out of my small bowel and into the colon with a “broom” of large plates of veggies, mixed with modest amounts of animal protein. Too much fiber can create problems of its own, like undigested material that continues to feed bacteria, but this mechanical approach to addressing SIBO is short term and focused. As soon as possible I’ll want to eat a lower residue diet.

Meanwhile, I’m feeling well enough to go back into the world and work again, which is great, but in the interest of stabilizing as soon as possible, and cementing my progress, I would like to get up to a full dose of hookworm at the 3 month mark. I’m anticipating doing another 50 hookworm 6 weeks from now, or perhaps even 70, to get up to a 120 hookworm population. Given how minimal the side effects have been for me, I do think I can now handle 70 at once, especially with the 50 in me already, which should ease the immune response.

I’ve also ordered a microscope so I can keep track of my hookworm egg count. I don’t plan on being too precise about this. I don’t care how many eggs per gram of stool they are laying. I just want to make sure they are alive and well, so the plan is to check for ova every few months, and base most of my population maintenance on inoculation timing and overall symptom relief. If things are going well, my instinct is to just let things be and enjoy the ride!

Healing from POTS

How did I get here? My symptoms of a stuffy nose and breathing trouble began after a motorcycle accident 22 years ago. At the time, I was more concerned about the rest of my body than my neck. It was stiff and sore for a few weeks, but I shook it off, and moved forward in life. About a month after the accident I began getting asthma attacks that would start with a stuffy nose. Tachycardia was also an issue, cropping up when I was exposed to allergens like house dust. Too bad some doctor back then didn’t order imaging studies of my neck. They probably would have seen the loss of normal curvature (lordosis) of my cervical spine, a condition known as “kyphosis”, which can be caused by traumatic injury.

I saw a neurosurgeon last week, and he felt surgery to open up my cervical spinal channel would improve my symptoms. He couldn’t promise anything — a favorable outcome, reduction or elimination of any specific symptoms, and he cautioned I might come out of the surgery feeling worse. “I can’t predict the future”, he said more than once. He suggested gentle, focused chiropractic, and neck traction, as things to try instead of surgery. Overall, his was an honest assessment, and one I could appreciate. But I’m not ready for someone to cut into my neck yet. And this particular surgeon seemed to know nothing about POTS. I described my symptoms and he referred to them as “vague” or “diffused”. To anyone familiar with dysautonomia, I would consider my description as classic, and typical, of autonomic nerve dysfunction, orthostatic intolerance, but these are not common diagnoses, unfortunately.

So I’m trying to tackle my health issues on a limited budget, and get the most impact I can for the effort. Neurofeedback worked well to deal with the background anxiety of illness. All these symptoms take their toll, and I felt these sessions were soothing me, but the effects only lasted a few days, and they were not cheap.

In the last week I’ve seen a new chiropractor who uses the “activator” method. It’s a precision hand tool that delivers a measured, consistent pulse of pressure to the spine, in a focused, gentle way. Most of the time you barely feel the adjustment, but it does work. I’ve noticed the effect bloom over the course of three or 4 days after. And this chiropractor is working in a very methodical way, starting from my hips and low back, paying attention to leg length, and then testing various neurological responses to find subluxations all the way up to my cervical spine. After 3 visits I can say i’m feeling a noticeable improvement, and I plan to continue treatment as long as I can. Thinking back over the development of my health issues, chiropractic has been one of the most helpful, but also has been damaging, when the wrong approach was applied at the wrong time. I want to stick with rehabilitating my cervical spine as much as possible, since it seems to be the source of so many issues.

POTS, be it hyperadrenergic like I seem to have (diagnosis pending), or the more conventional hypotension form, can also have an autoimmune component. The last few blood pressure spikes I’ve had didn’t seem overly related to head position, neck movement, etc. Sometimes my neck and head just starts to get hot, and I can feel my pulse and BP rising, usually after exercise or eating a meal. Both activities can release histamines, which in turn can activate mast cells. MCAD, or mast cell activation disorder, is a theoretical cause of POTS according to some researchers. They’ve found for certain patients an antihistamine will control symptoms just as well as more conventional approaches like beta blockers or blood pressure medications.

Diet is something I’ve been tinkering with for about a decade, and it has consistently yielded good results. Not necessarily linear progress, but the overall trend has been favorable. Two days ago I decided to give up dairy products altogether, and this was after a dairy holiday of two days reduced or eliminated many of my symptoms. Things like tinnitus — now nearly gone after a weekend of being dairy free. The fullness in my ears, congestion in my sinuses and nasal passages, slowly getting better now. My overall mood seems more stable, less anxious, less brain fog and fatigue. This blogger here has a very interesting theory about casein allergy and how improperly digested casein can affect neurotransmitters, even months after stopping dairy consumption. Basically, they are suggesting casein peptides can “lock up” certain receptors in the brain and create a wide range of neurological symptoms, including insomnia.

Sleep, for me, is the final frontier. Just as I thought I was sorting it out, last night I had another episode where I went past the 11pm tipping point, and was soon staring at a clock reading 1:45AM, with pulse pounding. In moments like this, I’ve decided to just take half a Klonopin, which for me is half the lowest .5MG dose, and go to sleep. It works. And sleep is too precious to miss, especially since going without for a night makes the POTS symptoms much worse.

The ultimate goal, of course, is to sleep well without any pharmaceutical aid whatsoever. I’m hoping with diet, chiropractic, and things like consistent exercise and meditation, I can achieve this in the near future.

I always seem to wrap up with a thought about the worms. My helminthic therapy has been paused by the use of Levaquin antibiotic, but the hookworm and whipworm should be back “online”, laying their eggs, in another 6 to 7 weeks (October 15th). I’m hoping by that time I’ll start to experience their longer term benefits, which could include a reduction of most, if not all, allergic symptoms. Can these worms “cure” my POTS? Well, during my bounce back in April, 2011, all my various aches and pains disappeared. I’d settle for feeling a fraction of that relief now, and have high hopes helminthic therapy will compliment all the other measures I’m taking.

Autonomic Dysfunction

I’m still waiting to get some tests done — A brain MRI with contrast, an EEG, and flexion/extension xrays of my cervical spine to see if certain postures create greater narrowing of the spinal channel or impinge on root nerves. Meanwhile, I’m continuing to have these “attacks”, and they appear to be autonomic nerve-related: neuropathy in my face and hands, tingling in the top of my head, profuse sweating, extreme stuffy nose, high blood pressure spikes, dizziness, tinnitus, and a sensation in my body and mind like the onset of a seizure. Oh, and all of this makes me a bit anxious. One neurologist prescribed a sedative to abort them, which seems to work, but so do mega doses of vitamin C, so I’m trying to go as drug-free as I can when managing it.

What sets them off appears to be biomechanical. Last night all it took was sitting in front of the computer and shifting my weight slightly. Then I felt something slip, up high around C2 in my cervical spine, a clicking sensation was audible, then the attack started. No pain, just a lot of weird symptoms, including diarrhea. It’s as if my bowels don’t have a neural connection when this chain of events takes place. Sometimes I’m unable to even initiate peristalsis, and that’s a little spooky.

So what does all of this have to do with helminthic therapy? I see a strong potential connection, if I turn out to be one of the lucky people who get long term benefits. Apparently, many ulcerative colitis sufferers, even if they are currently in remission like me, can develop symptoms of autonomic dysfunction, or AD. If that’s the case, and if the helminths can keep my UC in remission, I’m willing to bet they’ll also calm the inflammation in my central nervous system. The fact that HT has been documented as effective against MS, where healing demyelination is the goal, perhaps if there’s an autoimmune component to my autonomic dysfunction I can find relief, too.

Right now I’m exploring the possibilities, and I’ll know a lot more with test results. When I look back over how my autoimmune issues have developed, this neurological component (high sympathetic state)  is something I’ve been coping with for a good part of my life. These most recent symptoms feel more like a progression from that early point, something where a low threshold was breached, rather than any isolated development. That gives me a lot of hope it can be reversed. Go, worms!

Cervical Spinal Stenosis?

We shall see, but (ulcerative colitis and some food allergies aside) I think the true cause of years of my health problems is about to be revealed. I go to my doc  in a few days and will get an MRI done to assess what’s going on with my neck. At this point it appears the most intense “allergic reactions” I thought I was having to the HT were actually nerve pain and respiratory symptoms emanating from my cervical (upper) spine. Wearing a foam neck support for a few days has helped a lot, especially as a diagnostic tool. I was intrigued to read there even seems to be a connection between TMJ and cervical spine injury.

My chiropractor suggested I do some imaging studies, and thought a narrowing of the channel for the spinal cord in the my neck, or “cervical spinal stenosis”, might be the culprit: nerve pain in extremities, and muscle weakness, plus low blood sugar episodes, tinnitus, anxiety, and poor muscle coordination at times. Even my “exercise intolerance” may be related, since the movement of walking, and especially running, aggravates this fragile part of the body. In my case, a few minutes of brisk walking was enough to trigger a very stuffy nose, and an asthma-like attack, which would make my heart race. A cold sweat often followed.

Vitamin C worked as a powerful medicine for this “worm flu” I thought I was having, due to its anti-inflammatory qualities. I can confirm it still works, and for the nerve issues, because when the pain and other symptoms are at their worst, the same moderately high doses of vitamin C (five to ten 1,000 MG tablets) clear it up quickly.

From what I can gather now, the only side effects of mine that appear related to the helminthic therapy is some diarrhea (with attendant dehydration), and fatigue. Neither appears totally resolved yet, at this, day 69, but it’s much improved from a month ago.

If I’m lucky, maybe the HT will help reduce inflammation in my neck on an ongoing basis. During my bounce, in week one post-hookworm and whipworm inoculation, I felt incredibly good, and was quite active. So let’s go, worms. Onward and upward!

TMJ, by the way!

My helminth express seems to be off the rails for a moment. Allergies are returning, anxiety is back, so are restricted airways, both in my chest and head. My neti pot offers scant relief for this strange congestion, as there appears to be no mucous, only inflamed tissues. You don’t realize how horrid asthma is until it’s been bannished for 60 days, and then suddenly returns.

Since it’s no fun to go from feeling good and carefree to fairly awful, I’ve spent the last few days trying to figure this out. Why did I suddenly start having blood sugar issues again? Was it that one fateful night I had a tiny sip of scotch (no irony, it was only half a shot) with friends, and stayed up way too late? Were my adrenals already hanging by a thread, and that slight nudge was enough to upset the whole apple cart?

Or did this frustrating turn of events happen when my jaw slipped out of joint? Seriously! TMJ,  or temporomandibular joint disorder has cropped up occasionally in the past. It’s annoying because it’s impossible to chew anything without pain, and then there’s the fear of further dislocating the joint. It was about a week ago when my overall health began to backslide, and the TMJ happened first. Is there a connection? Quite possibly, and it’s a strange one.

Apparently, trauma to the nerve near this joint can stimulate the release of “substance P“, which doesn’t get recycled in the body, and has endocryne-like properties. There seems to be no limit to the odd sensations and behaviors provoked by “substance P”, according to one article i read, including itchy skin and an urge to swear. $%@#!! No wonder. What resonates for me in the reading I did tonight are symptoms of tinnitus, and autoimmune issues — specifically, lots of pain and histamines, with acute inflammation. And let’s not forget anxiety and insomnia… or asthma, for that matter.

So is substance P actually the culprit, and is it capable of upstaging the helminth harmony? Or is this combination of factors, like adrenal fatigue from years of prednisone use, inattention to an optimal diet, lack of sleep from too much (half-caf half-decaf!) coffee, and stress from work — did these factors collectively take me off the HT track? Probably “all of the above” and it’s going to be a slow, steady road back. But I would love to think “Hey, man, it wasn’t me — it was the substance P.”

The Fog of Worm — Week 7.

As luck would have it, a week ago, that glorious day of my last entry, was the high point thus far. A brief triumph for harmony, between a man and his helminths. All subsequent days have been filled with fatigue, GI discomfort, and various other aches and pains. Throughout it all I’ve been trying (and usually succeeding) to stay in motion, eat decent meals, push fluids and get plenty of rest. Tonight, sleep is elusive, as my stomach hurts too much to drift off.

But when I strip away the discomfort, I can still see glimpses of huge progress. For example, here i am celebrating at least 5 weeks of diarrhea. Why on earth is this a positive? Well, back in the olden days when I was suffering from active UC, just a few days of running to the can would have triggered a bloody mess of inflammation that ultimately would lead to hospitalization. The last time I flared up was a year ago, due to food poisoning in a restaurant. It took 3 days for me to flare, get a systemic infection, and by the time I landed in the ER I had a temperature of 104 and nearly croaked. Thanks for the Levaquin, doc! Now that I’m doing helminthic therapy, I seem capable of withstanding intestinal contortions of Olympic proportions. No bleeding, no inflammation at all. This is most impressive.

And despite fatigue that makes crawling out of bed in the morning pretty tough, I’ve got a surprising amount of endurance on the treadmill, or walking around my neighborhood. In fact, it feels like the more I move around, the more groovy worm secretions are coursing through my system, easing my non-transient aches and pains. For instance, I injured my knee in a motorcycle accident, and this has plagued me for years. During my “bounce” (week 1, post-inoculation) the pain disappeared, and after returning slightly during the peak side effects phase, it’s almost entirely gone again.

Nasal congestion is primarily resolved, too, once I wake up, and my lungs are perfectly clear — no asthma symptoms any more. Amazing, really. And the Happy Helminth mental boost is there, too, despite the daily grind of worm flu — depression and anxiety are now best identified by their absence. In moments, I even feel echoes of last Monday’s giddiness, but for shorter bursts. So I lay here feeling stoic, glad to have my new “old friends”. It’s becoming quite clear this is merely a waiting game now.