Candida & Vitamin, Mineral Deficiencies

I’ve been doing a fairly aggressive antifungal protocol, using Lufenuron (an animal medication not approved for human use) and taking quite a few herbal antifungals. Along the way, I’ve had moments of feeling wonderful, and yet the progress is not at all linear. Recently I’ve discovered how vitamin and mineral deficiencies may be harming my body’s ability to control candida overgrowth on its own, and how I may be able to solve this with simple supplementation.

For quite some time I’ve had heavy fatigue, which came on the last time I took Levaquin, a few years ago. Fluoroquinolone antibiotics contain high amounts of fluoride, a vehicle attached to the quinolone to allow penetration deep into body tissues. Fluoride binds to magnesium, so there’s reason to think those of us who have been “floxed”, that is poisoned by these powerful antibiotics, may be able to heal ourselves by improving our magnesium status.

A complicating factor for some of us: antibiotics like Levaquin and Cipro destroy beneficial barrier bacteria that keep harmful candida albicans overgrowth from occurring, and as it overgrows, candida appears to use up magnesium stores. There’s a great deal of debate about magnesium, whether supplementing it will feed candida or help us fight it off.

This study suggests magnesium can aid hyphal growth of candida, but the presence of calcium may negate that. Dr. Carolyn Dean feels strongly that magnesium supplements should be taken, not avoided. Given the controversy, supplementing magnesium seems safest to me if done in combination with an acid, to discourage fungal overgrowth, such as Betaine HCL, so that’s how I’m taking it.

How about other essential minerals? I was given IV Levaquin for food poisoning, which likely wouldn’t have happened if earlier use of antibiotics hadn’t wiped out a lot of my beneficial flora. While in the ER with a 104F temperature, I remember the nurses insisting I take two potassium capsules. They said my blood work showed dangerously low levels of this essential mineral.

Flash forward. Last night I felt anxious, I was having trouble focusing on my work. I noticed all my muscles were tense, tinnitus was loud, and my gut was full of gas, which is typical of SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. The bloating seemed to be irritating my vagal nerve, and I could tell my blood pressure was elevated. Here are the symptoms of potassium deficiency, which include bloating (due to transient neuropathy) and hypertension.

I tried sleeping, and it was impossible, so I went to the cupboard and noticed a bottle of Trisalts. It’s a blend of calcium, magnesium, and a small amount of potassium. I took a dose of this, and within 20 minutes felt the vast majority of my symptoms improving, including healthy peristalsis and no more trapped gas. This morning I woke up feeling very rested, with my nose wide open. My mood was much brighter, muscles were relaxed, and my tinnitus was barely audible.

Now a few hours later my tinnitus is totally gone. It’s hard to describe, but I just feel more grounded, present in my body and relaxed. More like my “old self”. That healthy person.

Beginning yesterday, and continuing into today, I’ve also started boosting my B vitamin intake, with a B-complex, because the last blood work I had showed my white count was in the low-normal range, and folate deficiency can worsen this. The brand I’m taking contains folate (as Metafolin®, L-5-MTHF), rather than folic acid, which has been shown to be unhealthy. Perhaps a low white count is simply a symptom of hyphal candida overgrowth, as is suggested in this article. In any case, I do notice a lift from B supplementation, which is consistent with candidiasis and impaired absorption of B6.

candida

Finally, I’m taking vitamin C with renewed interest, since it’s clear my whole body is in need of nutrition, but I was quite curious — how might vitamin C help with candidiasis? Buckle up for some exciting news: according to this study, ascorbic acid inhibits candida’s ability to transform from a benign yeast form to an aggressive hyphal infection. Hooray for that!

So here’s my plan for the days ahead: I think all my antifungal protocols are important, but they won’t result in lasting healing unless my body has the nutrients to fight the infection off and keep the fungal overgrowth in check. After last night’s solid results from simple mineral supplementation, and the tonic effect I’ve had from vitamins B and C, I am encouraged, and don’t think minerals (when taken properly) feed candida more than they aid in vital immune function.

To be continued. 🙂

Are you taking magnesium to heal from fluoroquinolone antibiotics? Have you noticed if this helps or hurts your body’s ability to cope with candida infection? How about vitamin C and its role in fighting fungal ovegrowth? Please join the conversation in the comments section, and let us know how you’re doing.

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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.

Autonomic Dysfunction

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

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

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

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