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.

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Heal Type 2 Diabetes with a Probiotic?

Recently, I’ve discovered the joys of butyrate for gut inflammation, when it stopped my last ulcerative colitis flare faster than steroids or Imuran, but it’s clear this short chain fatty acid (SCFA), which is created by gut bacteria as they ferment mostly vegetable fibers, is critical to protecting against colon cancer, leaky gut, and a variety of other conditions. What if anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory butyrate is also the key to healing diabetes, or rather, what if an absence of butyrate-generating gut flora may lead to dysregulation of blood glucose, and what if we could fix this?

Enter Clostridium Butyricum, a Japanese probiotic by the name Miyarisan Tablets, that actually generates butyrate! Of course it makes sense this soil-based bacteria might also heal ulcerative colitis, but it has another wonderful feature: its ability to guard against deadly c. diff infections. In Japan, many people are given c. butyricum upon entry to a hospital, as a preventative for these dangerous and highly-contagious acquired infections. Yes, this probiotic is a true powerhouse.

Clostridium_butyricum

Back to metabolic issues, I read an article on Chris Kresser’s site where he noted low carb dieters tend to have higher blood glucose levels, because of induced insulin resistance. Here’s an additional hypothesis: I wonder if people with damaged flora seek out a paleo diet, since it’s less likely to aggravate their GI symptoms of carbohydrate intolerance. Furthermore, ancestral diets (in practice) tend to be higher in fats and animal protein and lower in vegetable fibers, so it makes sense these people would start out deficient in butyrate-generating flora, pre-paleo (perhaps due to antibiotics use or inherited altered flora), and continue to limit their butyrate generation through lower consumption of vegetable fibers. A growing interest in resistant starches seeks to address this, with dietary hacks that increase butyrate.

Are higher than normal fasting glucose levels static, or over a longer time frame are these people at risk for developing diabetes? And what if someone is already diabetic? Generally, low carb diets work for managing type 2, and resistant starch gets high marks for improving metabolic profiles, bifido strains or not. We’ve known for quite a while that cultured foods improve diabetes by limiting carbohydrate metabolism. Leading edge research is now figuring out gut flora transplants might even heal diabetes. But what if simply establishing a colon full of c. butyricum could provide some of these same benefits?

Another approach would be to use a probiotic developed for IBD, VSL #3, to brew a yogurt, which would boost the ranks of bacteria substantially and also make it totally active. Here’s a study that shows VSL #3 was both effective in increasing glucose tolerance and generating more butyrate. VSL is more complex than Miyarisan. It lists streptococcus thermophilus, bifidobacterium breve, bifidobacterium longum, bifidobacterium infantis, lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus plantarum (abundant in sauerkraut), lactobacillus paracasei, and lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus. When making a yogurt from this, it’s assumed these ratios would change, as not all bacteria would have the same growth rate in milk.

While it’s not likely to be a cure, could therapeutic doses of c. buytyricum,  or the blend of strains in VSL #3, halt rising glucose levels, or even improve numbers?

I aim to find out. My fasting glucose used to be perfect, but have been creeping higher since taking courses of fluoroquinolone antibiotics, like Cipro and Levaquin. Anyone can monitor their levels, using a glucose meter, so it should be easy to track results. I’ll try the Miyarisan Tablets in combination with VSL#3 in a ferment, for increased viability, and will be eating my tried and true resistant starches, which should boost good ole butyrate. Along the way, I predict ulcerative colitis will be banished from my gut, since I’ll be a prolific butyrate auto-generator for the first time in many years. Stay tuned!

Are you pre-diabetic or diabetic, and experimenting with probiotic foods and resistant starch? Do you use butyrate supplements for ulcerative colitis or crohn’s? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section, or at GHN on Facebook. We also have a dedicated group on Facebook for Healing or Avoiding Diabetes by Fixing the Gut. Thanks! 🙂

Black Garlic: Healthy & Delicious

Like most fermented foods, aged black garlic is much higher in certain antioxidants than its raw counterpart. It’s one of the most studied foods, in recent years, due to its ability to lower cholesterol, and guard against a wide range of inflammatory diseases, including cancers of various kinds, and complications of diabetes. Studies also suggest a neuroprotective role, and a mechanism for blocking kidney damage. Historically, it was developed in Korea and used to treat a wide range of ailments, including arthritis.

How does it rate for fighting fungal and bacterial infection? According to this article, black garlic may actually aid in absorption of allicin, the antimicrobial compound found in both black garlic and crushed raw garlic, via  a compound called S-allylcysteine. Fellow health-nerds can read about the incredible details here. Given that synergy between S-allylcysteine and allicin, i often take black and raw combined for anti-candida potency. i have SIBO, and eating a bulb a day doesn’t cause me any GI distress, in fact, I think it’s helping heal my gut.

For people who love the health effects of garlic but don’t like the odor on their breath, you’re in luck, because no matter how much black garlic you eat, your breath will not be affected.

Purchasing black garlic online is extremely expensive, while making your own is very affordable. It takes about two weeks to slow-roast in a rice cooker on the lowest “keep warm” setting. My Sanyo model ECJ-D100S stays like that until turned off. Continuous operation is important. Here’s a long thread devoted to that very feature. It seems the Aroma ARC-2000A will do this, as will the West Bend 84905 Slow Cooker, and both are affordable. So is this Proctor Silex. For higher budgets there’s the Instant Pot DUO60. Even though it’s a low temperature, be safe and check yours regularly during the extended cooking time.

So let’s repeat the entire recipe: put your raw garlic into the cooker, close the lid, and two weeks later it’s ready. Amazing to think you can buy a brand new rice cooker for the price of 1.5 lbs of store-bought black garlic, and make your own for mere pennies of electricity per batch. I use a recipe I found posted to a forum, as a Korean grandmother’s method.

The only modifications I made were putting the finished batch into a colander on my kitchen counter, rather than hanging it in a cloth bag for a week before use, and I’ve added four days to the aging period, for a total of two weeks. I find it’s ready to eat right away, without drying. The process is more of an aging than fermentation, but the results are the same, in terms of unlocking so many nutrients and making them bioavailable. It’s caramelized. Yum.

Note the clear difference in color between the black and raw garlic.

Note the Color Difference Between Black and Raw Garlic

How does it taste? It’s a wonderful combination of sweet and savory, like a deep, dried cherry or tamarind flavor, and each clove pops out of its skin easily, soft and squishy, so peeling is never a problem. When I give it to my friends who come over to the house, it’s not uncommon to see them devouring 1/2 a bulb at a time. I’ve done it myself, and especially for medicinal reasons, I’ve even eaten entire bulbs at once. The effect can be very energizing, and you can see from the studies linked above, it has a wide range of health benefits.

Those who have trouble with raw garlic may be pleasantly surprised, as I was, at how easily black garlic can be digested, but if you have IBS or IBD, the best approach is to go slow, as you would with any new food, and see how you do. Often times ramping up portions of new foods, over time, can create a tolerance, whereas doing too much too soon can create problems.

Those of you who are omnivores, try some on a rib eye steak, or a pork roast. Put it on after your meats are done, as it doesn’t require cooking. Everyone, whether they are paleo or vegetarian, can enjoy it in stir fries and added to mashed potatoes or rice dishes. Another great feature of this superfood is that it keeps for months, right out in the open — no need to refrigerate or store in a dark place.

Have you tried black garlic already? Please share your medicinal uses, aging tips, and favorite cookers with us in the comments section. Also, many thanks to everyone at the crossroads for cultured foods and beverages: Wild Fermentation, on Facebook, for their amazing help in sourcing the perfect black garlic maker. Updates to follow, such as this new recipe.  🙂

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!

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. 🙂

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 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!