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.

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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. 😉

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

Iodine for Cipro and Levaquin Damage

Recently I’ve been reading about how fluoroquinolone antibiotics, like Cipro and Levaquin, poison us with fluoride. One primary avenue for damage centers on impairing thyroid function, because fluoride binds to iodine receptors, and so even when adequate iodine is present in the diet it can create a functional deficiency, leaving the thyroid without enough for good health.  The symptoms of low thyroid are many and varied, and I’ve had most  — ever since being “floxed” with Cipro back in the early 1990s. Things got even worse after Levaquin, just a few years ago.

It turns out not only can aggressive supplementation boost the bioavailable iodine (some doctors urge caution, others say to avoid the practice entirely), but iodine also has the ability to remove fluoride from the body, to free up its receptors from toxins, making them available (in my case, perhaps for the first time in 20 years) for proper thyroid function. It turns out quite a few doctors are on board with this approach, and for now I’m following their lead.

Boccetta contagocce

Here’s the bottom line: could it be possible for iodine to reverse some of the damage done by Cipro and Levaquin? I think it’s very likely.

The thyroid plays a vital role in energy, warmth, and immune function, and iodine is also a powerful antifungal. This is useful for someone like me who has been anxious and sleep deprived, suffering from cold hands and feet, wracked with chills in the winter when outside, often bundled with clothing on warm days, constipated, and… overwhelmed by fungal overgrowth in recent months. Is a picture of low thyroid emerging yet? Indeed.

Lufenuron was a great diagnostic tool for me. The first dose was quite effective, nearly magical, and showed me how much of my ill health, both mental and physical, could be attributed to candida, but subsequent doses were not as effective, so I needed to find an alternative. I also wondered why my immune system couldn’t pick up where the antifungals left off.

Needless to say, after my research into antifungal iodine, which could give me back my energy and immunity, I saw a potential missing link, and really wanted to try it.

For the last 8 days I’ve been doing a protocol, which typically starts at 12.5 mg iodine and slowly titrates up to 50 or even 100 mg. Some people take many months to go this high. If that sounds like a lot, it sure is, compared to what most mainstream doctors believe to be healthy, safe amounts.

Iodine supplementation is a very controversial subject, and since this blog is primarily a diary of my progress I’ll side-step the debate right now. Instead, I’ll reference a few texts for further reading, such as “The Iodine Crisis” by Lynne Farrow, or David Brownstein’s work, plus others in the medical community, like Chris Kresser, who once was enthusiastic about high doses of iodine and has since taken a more conservative stance, and you can try to make up your own minds.

My thyroid tests have been ambiguous. I’m borderline hypo, and can’t rule out Hashimoto’s, despite my antibodies test saying otherwise. I didn’t want to jump directly into taking 12.5 mg of iodine a day, which is the standard low-end of most protocols, and Iodoral, a common pill-form is this exact 12.5 mg  dose, so instead I began with Lugol’s 2%, only one drop per day, which supplies 2.5 mg (2,500 mcg). The only advantage of Iodoral pills is no gastric upset, which is an uncommon side effect of Lugol’s drops, but I figured by the time I was up to 12.5 mg of Lugol’s I’d switch to Iodoral if I felt the need. Onward.

My one drop, 2.5 mg, is about 3X times what most people would get in an iodine-rich Western diet. Some argue the Japanese routinely ingest about 13.5 mg due to higher seafood and seaweed consumption. This is a point of much debate, but relative to 50 mg or 100 mg I felt quite safe taking 1 drop of Lugol’s and this form is far cheaper than Iodoral, too, so the decision was easy.

Any health practitioner would agree, iodine supplementation isn’t to be done casually, and must be part of an exact protocol which includes vital co-supplements, like selenium (200 mcg per day appears to be optimal, but certainly no more than 400 mcg), plus ample amounts of magnesium, B-vitamins (especially B-2 and B-3), plus vitamin C, and fish oil for omega 3s. Zinc and/or copper can also be added, depending on nutritional status.

People are also encouraged to do an iodine loading test to establish how deficient they may be before getting started. This requires a large dose, to determine how much the body retains. I think it’s potentially harmful to people damaged by Cipro and Levaquin. There’s also plenty of controversy about the value of such tests. Some contend there’s no way iodine in urine can accurately show how much someone needs; others swear by it. I urge caution.

My caveat to anyone at this point is understand the disclaimer on my blog, and realize I’m not giving medical advice. I’m only relaying my own self-guided protocol for informational purposes. Please consult your physician before trying any new treatment.

Okay, with that said, let’s get started. 🙂

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I began 8 days ago in the morning with one drop of Lugol’s 2% in about 6 oz of distilled water, with a splash of apple cider vinegar, since combining iodine with a weak acid aids in absorption. With this I took 200 mcg Selenium Complex (this brand claims a blend of 3 forms) , 800 mg magnesium citrate, a B-Complex, some additional B-2 and B-3 as ATP Cofactors, and vitamin C. All are critical, especially selenium, as this can protect the thyroid as iodine doses are increased, and magnesium is critical for detoxing.

How did I do on Day 1 of my iodine protocol? Within the first hour after my first drop of Lugol’s I felt clearer-headed, more upbeat and energetic. My gut began moving in a pleasant way, and by nightfall I was wonderfully sleepy, which is unusual when I have my worst CFS symptoms. Usually I am “wired but tired”.

Around 930pm I went to sleep quickly, slept deeply, remembered a few semi-vivid dreams as I woke, which has always been a sign of good health for me, and realized I was experiencing a powerful libido, for the first time in a few years, out of nowhere. Indeed, fairly surprising!

That entire next Day 2, before and after I took my next one-drop dose (2.5mg or 2,500 mcg) I continued to feel really good. I noticed my sinuses were clearing (no more fungal overgrowth?), my muscles felt limber, and all the usual aches and pains were missing. My prostatitis was gone, I felt light on my feet, and was able to stand for extended periods. I found myself moving around the house straightening up, and cleaning. Similar improvements happened with my initial dose of Lufenuron, then various problems returned as it lost efficacy. Could I finally be getting the upper hand on a systemic fungal infection? All in all, I’m cautiously optimistic.

Here’s something else quite remarkable: by this point it was clear SIBO had also healed. I noticed I could eat larger portions of resistant starch with no upper gut fermentation, and my migrating motor complex was fully active. How could this happen so quickly? Is SIBO an iodine deficiency? In my case, I would say the answer is an emphatic yes, and this make me wonder if antibiotics (prescription or herbal) are even necessary for healing it. Perhaps the MMC just needs to sweep that colonic flora out of the small intestine, and back where it belongs.

Day 3 I boosted my dose by one drop, two drops total, so I was now taking 5 mg iodine, and this is where I began to get detox symptoms, which are quite common and can be uncomfortable. Bromide and fluoride, plus mercury (my levels are very high due to past fish consumption) are all liberated by iodine, and my body began to get overwhelmed. Headache, nausea, a feeling of being in another world, darker thoughts, sneezing, heavy fatigue, diarrhea, and prickly sensations in my limbs were the worst of it. I started salt loading, and within 30 minues I felt much better.

Between Days 4 and 8 I carefully boosted my dose to 12.5 mg, which again is usually the starting dose for most protocols. I’m quite glad I didn’t go to this level immediately, or I may have been horribly ill. I cannot stress enough, if you’re someone like me, with a history of fluoride poisoning from Cipro, Levaquin, or other fluoroquinolone antibiotics, please start any iodine protocol low and slow.

Even with my conservative pacing, and at levels well beneath the 12.5 mg dose, I had moments of confustion, visual disturbances, and cognitive problems. At one point I was unable to find words as I tried chatting with a friend. It took about 20 minutes of salt loading before this subsided.

If the detox sounds horrendous, it was, but the benefits once the storm passed were amazing. Today, Day 8, I discovered strength in my legs I haven’t felt in a few years. Walking is effortless, my sinuses are clear, my mood is balanced, my mind is sharp. My sense of smell has returned, my hair is much softer. My stool volume has increased. No more constipation, and virtually gone also is the tinnitus that has plagued me since Levaquin. It’s barely audible in the mornings, and silent an hour or so after I wake.

The burning hot sensation in my abdomen (likely a vagal nerve issue known as POTS) is gone, and now my belly is cool to the touch. Another sign of POTS healing: my blood pressure is low, I can tolerate any temperature, and I can perspire again, which tells me my parasympathetic nervous system is working.

Speaking of neurological issues, the FDA has started warning the public about the dangers of Cipro and Levaquin, and permanent nerve damage is the primary adverse reaction listed. While he would probably urge a lower dose than I’m taking, people like Jack Kruse see a role for iodine in correcting neuropathy, and I aim to find out if higher therapeutic levels can remove enough fluoride to create a cure.

Another area where iodine may help is with metabolic problems, where some claim it reduces the need for insulin among diabetics, so I’m also looking forward to checking my fasting glucose levels in a few weeks, which began creeping into the low 90s range, after Levaquin.

So far, given all my subjective improvements, I see plenty of reason for optimism. To be continued! 🙂

If you’re on an iodine protocol, or have experienced damage from fluoroquinolones and are considering this type of therapy, please be in touch in the comments section. I’d love to hear from anyone taking 12.5 mg or more, to find out if this dose has helped with fluoride or mercury detoxification.

Also, if anyone would like to join us on Facebook, here’s a new group, entirely focused on the use of iodine for healing Cipro and Levaquin damage. Hope to see you there.

 

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!

Heal Insomnia with Orange Lighting

Many of us who have damaged gut flora from antibiotics suffer from insomnia. I’ve had better sleep quality, where I became drowsy at appropriate times and had deep and restful sleep, after doing an antifungal protocol. Eating a lower carb diet, with plenty of cultured vegetables and homemade kefir, is also a big help. I’ve noticed both helminthic therapy, and FMT improved my sleep immediately. Indeed, adverse reactions to antibiotics can be so severe, we will take drastic measures to recapture elusive sleep.

However this article is about a very simple and effective protocol for healing insomnia, via a fascinating mechanism: manipulating the color temperature of all light seen after sundown into the orange/red spectrum. It turns out blue light, which we modern humans bathe ourselves in after dark, via computer and television screens, artificial lighting, and even traffic lights, stops production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.

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This may be one reason shift workers have a higher incidence of heart disease, depression, diabetes and other health problems. There’s also evidence of reduced melatonin contributing to cancer.

I tried using orange goggles after dark, and the effect was virtually immediate. Eventually, I realized it was easier to download an app for my laptop called f.lux, which warms up the color temperature of the monitor during evening hours, and I added orange compact fluorescent bulbs to my bedroom. I’ve noticed now that even if my gut health is not optimal, I still have much better sleep quality than I did before implementing these measures.

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Himalayan Salt Lamps are another interesting approach because in addition to an orange glow, they are purported to emit negative ions, and act as air purifiers. I haven’t tried one yet, but some users report relief from allergies and a pleasant smell when lit. Clearly, folks are enthusiastic about their salt lamps, as this one has a 5-star rating and nearly 2,500 reviews.

himalayan_salt_lamp.

I’m also experimenting lately with turning off my wifi at night. Some people go so far as to disable the main breakers to their house (tough to do with a refrigerator) and swear this makes an even bigger difference. For anyone who has been in the wilderness, and slept out under the stars, away from artificial light, you probably noticed your body responding favorably. Since many of us can’t take this step, perhaps the changes outlined above will be the next best thing.

What strategies are you using to unplug from technology, and how has it impacted your own sleep patterns or general healing? 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!

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.

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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.

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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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!

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.

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.”

Hookworm Day 15 – Glorious sleep.

More than two weeks after dosing with helminths, I’m no longer on the natural high of a “bounce”. Instead, my body feels like it’s adjusting — sometimes awkwardly, or uncomfortably — then I’ll have a moment where I feel a sudden and startling improvement, reminiscent of the honeymoon phase.

It’s worth noting that none of the negatives I’ve experienced thus far come anywhere close to side effects I’ve endured in the past, from medications like prednisone, Imuran, 6-mp, etc. At the worst, I’ve felt a generalized tenderness in my mouth, and have noticed it’s a shade redder than usual. The solution was fairly simple: switch from an electric to a manual toothbrush. My gut also feels a bit off, but this is tame compared to an ulcerative colitis flare.

On the net positive side of the ledger, I’m finding I get wonderfully drowsy at night, exactly at a time when I’d like to be sleeping. Even if I push beyond this first sleep cycle, I still fall asleep with ease when I finally decide to turn in for the night. This is no small feat, since part of my immune dysfunction has been insomnia, for the last two or three years. Typically, if I miss the boat at 10:00PM, I’ll be up until 4:30AM until I get another window of drowsiness, and then sleep comes on like a coma. Not so anymore. I feel, well… normal.

And tinnitus, which as been a growing problem for the last 5 years, is also nearly gone. I’ve read articles suggesting that “buzzing” we hear is really the sound of our nervous system. When the acoustic nerve becomes hyper-attenuated, we tune in to those frequencies. This may be promoted by a high-adrenaline state, because I’ve noticed tinnitus getting worse when I’ve had a stressful experience at work. Anyway, no more of that, or at least I can barely notice. Combined with the normalizing internal clock, I feel as if I’ve stepped into a new body that’s acting stereotypically human. I could get used to this.

Update: flash forward a few years, and here’s another great way to heal insomnia.