How to Make Kefir & Sauerkraut – It’s Easier than You Think

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Homemade kefir is extremely easy to make, in a mason jar on your kitchen counter overnight. The key ingredient is a starter culture, known as “kefir grains”. They look like popcorn, and expand as you make batches. In a few months you’ll have enough to share with your friends. They have a chewy texture and are loaded with probiotic power, so if you love your kefir, eat some grains for an added boost.

The only other thing you need is a plastic strainer, to separate the grains from your milk, and collect them for a new batch — in the same jar where you made the first. Just add more milk (or almond, soy and coconut milk, if you’re not a fan of dairy), and park it in a spot on your counter that stays as close to 75F (24C) as possible. I cover mine with a paper towel and rubber band, so it can breathe. No yogurt maker required.

Speaking of dairy vs. soy, and lactose intolerance, Kefir cultures are good enough at colonizing the gut, if you start slowly and drink it several days a week, you can actually rebuild your gut flora and heal lactose intolerance, by making home-brewed Kefir a daily habit.

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Whole milk will produce a much tastier and richer brew than low-fat, and you can also add whipping cream for an almost dessert-like quality. It tastes a lot like yogurt, but the longer you ferment it (usually between 1 and 2 days is best) the more tart it becomes. Tangy 2-day brews have less lactose, and a higher number of healthy gut-bugs, so keep that in mind if you’re drinking it for GI benefits.

And here’s another tip: to make long ferments yummy, or just to satisfy your sweet tooth, you can always add Stevia, which is an all-natural sweetener made from the leaves of a South American plant. A little tiny bit goes a long way — just a quarter-pinch will do. Unlike sugar, Stevia won’t feed candida in your GI tract, or raise blood glucose levels if you’re diabetic.

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Another superfood that could help you find your inner Woodrat is raw, easy-to-make sauerkraut. It’s teeming with trillions of healthy bacteria per serving, much more than any probiotic, and it’s delicious, too. Purists make a good-sized batch (10 or so cabbages-worth) in stone crocks. This one I have at home, made in Poland. All it takes is a heavy-duty food processor or old-school shredder to chop the cabbage very finely, sprinkle some sea salt throughout, pack it into your crock tightly, and three weeks later it’s done.

Here’s a short video by fermentation guru Sandor Katz that shows how easy it is to make this delicious superfood, full of active enzymes.

Hooray for ‘kraut! 🙂

If you’re good at making cultured foods, GHN Forums is offering you a 100% free place to set up your own group, and tell the world how to create these healing foods.

All you have to do is sign up, with a single click, via FB-Connect. Inside, you’ll find a growing community of health-conscious people using natural approaches to wellness. Hope to see you there. 🙂

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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.

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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.

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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!

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!

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!

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.

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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.

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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!

Kefir and Diabetes: Some Anecdotal Evidence

Readers of GHN will appreciate another interesting blog post (see below my entry) about kefir, gut flora, and metabolic issues. Taking a look on Pubmed’s site, I’m reading more and more studies suggesting kefir can make a difference

Kefir can be found in most grocery stores. It’s also extremely cheap and easy to make your own kefir at home, in a jar on the kitchen counter, in 12 hours or so. Some people buy their “grains” online, others share them in groups. All you need is a mason jar and a plastic strainer, to separate the grains from the kefir before every batch is ready to drink. The beauty of it is the grains just keep getting larger as you make more ferments, so you can share them with friends, or eat them on their own for a probiotic superfood.

If you’re interested in learning more about the connection between GI health and glucose control, here’s a new group on Facebook. Just keep in mind if you’re diabetic, it’s important to speak to your doctor before making any adjustments to your treatment plan. Chances are they’ll suggest paying closer attention to readings during any dietary changes.

Now, here’s the article that caught my attention, reblogged from another WordPress site. Enjoy!

 

Bio-Sil South Africa

Kefir and diabetes

      • Kefir
      • Kombucha

Kefir

Captain of your ship and the master of your destiny.
Shaped by the light we let through us
.

I remember that day quite vividly. It was over ten years ago. It was February and bitter cold outside. I made myself  a breakfast that I thought was healthy. Fiber One cereal and skim milk. Thirty minutes later a terrible feeling came over me, one that I recognized from having gestational diabetes with the pregnancy of my daughter. I had a blood sugar meter that I could test my blood sugar with, and when I saw the numbers my heart sank. I picked up the phone to call my brother-in-law, who was a medical physician. He very gently and kindly confirmed for me what I already knew. My blood sugar was too high and out of the normal range. These were diabetic numbers, but I already knew this…

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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. 🙂

Lemongrass Oil for Deep Acne

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

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

lemongrass

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

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

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

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

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

Candida, SIBO and… Silver?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hyphal Form Candida

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!