Tell Your Doctors: Stop Overprescribing Cipro, Levaquin & Other Fluoroquinolones

People the world over have had their health ruined by a dangerous class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones. Cipro and Levaquin are two of the most common names. Check this list here to see if you’ve taken them.

The FDA recently put black box warnings on these drugs due to adverse reactions, like neuropathy and tendon damage, but the effects include a variety of unofficial consequences some of us know all too well: ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, CFS/ME, liver and kidney damage, hypothyroidism, tinnitus, SIBO, and diabetes, to name a few.

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Fellow “Floxies” – another year is nearly behind us. I hope you’re all having the best holidays possible — I wanted to ask each of you a favor.

Let’s create a vibrant, public forum where we can present our case – not only the scientific evidence, but also the human toll – to the medical community. Let’s educate doctors, who continue to prescribe these drugs, about the dangers of fluoroquinolones.

I’ve created a new site, GHN Forums. It’s a health community that can be easily searched from Google (unlike most Facebook groups), and it’s free to anyone who wants to join. You, your friends, your family members, and especially your doctors – let’s meet up, and let’s fix this.

Signing up to GHN Forums just takes one click via FB Connect. Here’s the link. Once inside, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the layout, and then meet up in the forums. It’s a brand new group, and it needs your voices.

In the days and months ahead, as our community grows, GHN will stay on the case, and coordinate with others, to see real safeguards are put in place, so these drugs are no longer given out for minor infections, or prescribed to people who have already been floxed.

This is a “numbers game”, as the saying goes. Please share this article using the social links below. FB, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest. Ask others in your networks to get involved, too. Let’s email this out to physicians, and encourage them to spread the word.

If we succeed, think of the immediate impact, and what it will do for future generations.

Meanwhile, as always, GHN is dedicated to helping those of us already damaged by these drugs to find better health. One such example is our Iodine Forum. You’re also invited to join up and create your own group. The idea is to figure out what’s working, and learn from each other.

Let’s make 2015 a genuinely Happy New Year.

Thanks!

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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.

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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 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.

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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!

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.

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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.

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 POTS, Anxiety & Introversion?

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

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

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

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

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

bench

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you enjoy this blog, you can support my work by buying things you need via this amazon portal HERE, or by purchasing any product linked in articles. It costs you nothing extra, and helps me continue writing. Thanks!

Lufenuron: Healing Chronic Fatigue & More

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

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

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

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

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

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

gorilla

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued.

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

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

If you enjoy this blog, you can support my work by buying things you need via this amazon portal HERE, or by purchasing any product linked in articles. It costs you nothing extra, and helps me continue writing. Thanks!

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!

Chronic Fatigue/POTS/IBD & the Gut-Neck Axis

“I worked with a chiropractor prior to my orthopedic neck surgery. As I described my FM/CFS symptoms, he said, “What did you do to your neck?” I mentioned I’d been in a serious car accident 10 years earlier, sustaining a whiplash injury. He said he had yet to meet a patient with CFS who didn’t have a history of neck trauma. He said there was a theory that any sort of injury to the cervical spinal column either released a component that led to the disease, or allowed one to enter the spinal fluid.”

 

The quote above was lifted from the comments section in a 2007 article on chronic fatigue, which is interesting in its own light, as it discusses a viral hypothesis for CFS/ME. Rather than going into this now, which is plausible to me based on the positive impact of FMT on CFS, considering a healthy microbiota is likely to be inherently anti-viral, I’d rather stick with a discussion of the biomechanical overlap between IBD/CFS-ME/POTS, and then relate that to gut ecology.

I suffer from CFS/ME in addition to ulcerative colitis, asthma, and other inflammatory conditions. I also, as many of you know, have a history of neck trauma, caused in a traffic accident years ago. For me, the neck injury acted as a trigger for most of my health issues, so I have recently suspected vagal nerve damage as a possible root problem. The VN mediates inflammation and immunity in the body, to a large extent, and controls heart rate/BP, hormonal output (adrenals, chief among them), organ function, including gut transport (suggesting constipation, GERD may be related to VN damage), so it’s easy to see where a wide range of symptoms could have this common thread.

I’ve dubbed it the “Gut-Neck Axis” because I’ve found healthy alterations to my gut flora are just as curative (or at the least, beneficial) as achieving proper alignment of my neck! Either will provide relief, whether it’s a glass of home-brewed kefir, a chiropractic adjustment, or a manipulation I can do on my own.

Why would this be? Does an adjustment of my neck release electrical “noise” in my central nervous system, a bottled up energy produced by pathogenic or translocated gut flora (SIBO), or is it simply taking pressure off my vagal nerve, which could allow it to engage more bandwidth in performing its tasks?

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My guess is both are true, because the neck is the physical fuse box between the brain and the enteric nervous system, the “gut brain”.

When hyperadrenergic POTS kicks in for me, my blood pressure and heart rate accelerate, I get obvious tinnitus, a stuffy nose, my gut stops moving, and I get very heat-intolerant. Much to my amazement, in recent days the use of a posture pump will stop all these symptoms, and quickly. Right away, I can feel peristalsis occurring, my nose opens up and I can feel my blood pressure dropping.

If I’m in the car and don’t have access to the device, often times just relaxing my neck, jutting my lower jaw forward a bit, and tilting my head back slightly will do the same. I’ve found it’s important to also try to elongate my neck as much as I can, by using muscles that extend it, whilst I simultaneously try to keep it limber, not stiff. At other times I get relief from just gently pushing in on my lower jaw (while it’s very relaxed), which seems to realign upper cervical vertebrae. There’s a zen to achieving this posture. It has taken practice, but luckily I get instant feedback when I’m doing it right, so I’ve made good progress.

By the way, it should be noted since we’re all different, I’m not recommending anyone try what works for me. This is not medical advice, and anyone reading along should consult their physician before attempting anything described herein.

The third leg of the stool, in this Axis, is active stress reduction. In any situation where I feel a high sympathetic state coming on, calming my mind, paying attention to breathing ( in for a count of 3, out for a count of 4) will act as a brake, and slow things down. For me, CFS/ME feels like a cardiovascular issue. I notice when hyperadrenergic POTS symptoms are flaring, I find it exhausting to stand; with my neck aligned properly I have much more energy.

One theory regarding a trigger for CFS is a vagal nerve infection, and I am not discounting this, but what if it’s also an impinged nerve, a transient impairment, that can be corrected with a spinal adjustment? It’s pretty clear to me my health issues have multiple avenues for healing, and there’s likely to be more than one root cause.

So to my broader point: in an attempt to simply feel as good as possible, I’ll continue to do each and every thing I’ve learned is having a positive impact on symptoms, whether it’s biomechanical or more related to gut flora. Since we know it’s a feedback loop, my theory is a neck injury can create a pro-inflammatory state in the gut that discourages the growth of vital gut flora. Stress can, too. Each of these, in turn, creates an inflamed gut that further discourages a healthy microbiome. It’s a vicious cycle. But by adding in cultured foods, probiotics, FMT, perhaps this reduces the electrical “noise” in the CNS, which makes mechanical manipulations less important.

I do know when I’ve done FMT a few times, it’s as if I’ve been seeing a chiropractor regularly. It’s all about relaxation, tilting over into a more parasympathetic-dominant mode, and a happy neck creates a happy gut, creates a happy brain. Furthermore, getting back to CFS, I notice FMT gives me a lot more energy. I can see where in the study cited above they may have had a much higher response rate with CFS/ME if the participants had simply done FMT for a longer period of time, say 6 to 8 weeks, rather than merely two to three days. I’d love to see another FMT study where participants were also given gentle chiropractic adjustments with an activator tool, massage therapy, and participated in guided meditation.

In the comments section I’d appreciate hearing from you. What are your own coping methods for cooling off the gut brain, staying in a more parasympathetic (restful/restorative/digesting) state? Also, if you have identified a neck-related trigger for IBD or CFS, which biomechanical approaches help the most? Have any of you had cervical spinal (neck) surgery? If so, what results have you had? I figure someone out there with IBD (ulcerative colitis or crohn’s) has had cervical spinal surgery and I’m very curious if this may have alleviated or improved the IBD.

 

If you enjoy this blog, you can support my work by buying things you need via this Amazon portal HERE, or by purchasing any product linked in articles. It costs you nothing extra, and helps me continue writing. Thanks!

 

IBD and Vagal Nerve Issues: the Gut/Neck Axis?

Is it possible some of us with IBD also have an underlying neck injury, which drives gut inflammation?

The average human’s head is about the weight of a bowling ball, so it’s not surprising the neck can experience trauma due to an acute injury, or chronic misalignment through smart phone use (text-neck!) , poor posture on the job, inactivity, etc.

For me, inflammatory conditions began with antibiotic use, but they got MUCH WORSE after a neck injury, sustained in a traffic accident, several years ago. Initial symptoms were a stuffy, blocked nose without congestion, then asthma, sinusitis, tinnitus, TMJ, constipation, IBS, and a few years later ulcerative colitis.

UC lead to inactivity, more time spent in front of a computer, degenerative changes in my neck, throw in a dose of Levaquin for food poisoning, then SIBO, food intolerances, hyperadrenergic POTS, heart palpitations, GERD, panic attacks/anxiety, and finally chronic fatigue.

I’ve had quite a few breakthroughs with health in the last few years, but the most profound occurred about a week ago when I realized many of these symptoms I’ve had for years (while directly linked to antibiotics use) are also mediated by my posture, specifically, if my neck is in an unhealthy kyphotic curvature (reverse of normal alignment) or wonderful, yet illusive, lordosis .

What’s the inflammation connection? The vagal nerve runs throughout the body, getting its name “the wanderer” from the widespread path it travels, but it threads its way through a narrow channel in the cervical spine, such that compression of soft tissues between the upper cervical vertebrae can impair a lot of vagal function. This is my layperson’s view. Let’s see if our experience bears this out.

Given that the “fight or flight” response includes a clenching of neck muscles, in preparation for fleeing, is it possible this reduction of parasympathetic response (relaxation) is partially a built-in biomechanical feature of our bodies? If so, chronic stress, with its attendant tightening of that upper cervical spine, may be a vicious cycle — one that we can fairly easily monitor and turn around!

In a previous post I mentioned the posture pump I’ve been using. It’s fairly inexpensive, and definitely effective, but also impractical for anyone out and about in the world. What if we could do something similar with no equipment? Enter the “Alexander Technique“.

I’m warning you: this practice is so simple, you may wonder if you’re doing much at all, but when performed properly, you’ll notice a big difference. For some, this perfecting of posture and movement may be all you’ll need.

I have developed the habit, in just a few short days, of “sitting tall” in my car, as I’m driving. I tilt my head back ever so slightly, so that my chin is jutting forward. Lordosis! I can feel my nasal passages opening, my sinuses draining. I also notice my blood pressure dropping, as pressure (I assume) is taken off my vagal nerve.

Furthermore, when I adopt this posture throughout the day, I notice the “heat” that fills my entire lower abdomen, and gives rise to gut inflammation, mucus in stools, dull pain — this totally goes away. Hmmm…

I know I’m not the only person who experienced the sudden onset of hyperadrenergic POTS after a neck injury. A cardiologist I consulted a few years ago about my POTS symptoms mentioned one hyperadrenergic patient of his who was a perfectly healthy woman until she got whiplash in a car crash. I’m in touch with another woman via Facebook who had a skiing accident. She hurt her upper cervical spine, and has had POTS (standard, low blood pressure form) ever since.

This is certainly sad, especially given how little the allopathic doctors understand about hyperadrenergic POTS, or UC and other forms of IBD — typically they are good at treating acute symptoms — but if permanent neck trauma is indeed part of a multi-factoral range of inflammatory triggers, we can at least try to heal vagal nerve function from the gut side of the equation.

Our enteric nervous system is a feedback loop, so the Gut/Brain/(Neck?) Axis works in reverse, and if we have mechanical impairment “upstairs”, boosting gut flora signaling via the vagal nerve, from gut to brain, may compensate for the neurological impairment in some people. I’ve been tinkering a lot with eating gut bugs (in yogurt, sauerkraut, my own homemade kefir and probiotics) that may promote parasympathetic (relax and digest) activity. More on that in a future post.

Does anyone else have a history of neck injury or strain that could explain more global issues? If so, I’d appreciate hearing from you in the comments section.

EDIT: since writing this article not long ago, I’ve spoken to huge numbers of IBD sufferers who had a neck injury immediately preceding the onset of their illness. I’d appreciate your feedback. If you’ve had a similar experience and would like me to include your story in a future post, send me an email via the contact form. Thanks! 

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.

Autonomic Dysfunction

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

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

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

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

Cervical Spinal Stenosis?

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

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

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

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

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

Biomechanics.

I’m not sure how typical or unusual this is, but I found out last summer the hypoglycemic symptoms I’d been having, and also the electrical jolts in my extremities, the hair falling out, numbness in my face, the dimming vision and tinnitus — I found out this wasn’t early stages of MS, as I had feared, or any other major medical situation. Instead, I was referred to a great chiropractor, he adjusted me for the first time in my life, and this treatment alleviated all these seemingly disparate symptoms.

His explanation was pretty simple: the neck can slip out of alignment from bad posture in front of a computer, this compresses key nerves that send impulses to every organ of the body. An adjustment will “reboot” the nervous system, and reestablish these important connections. Realignment of “subluxations” can also improve blood flow to the scalp and brain. It took a few sessions for the benefit to stay consistent, and for the last few months I’ve been feeling pretty good.

Don’t ask me why I didn’t just go back to the chiropractor when things went haywire a week ago. Today I did, and I’m feeling much better. Not 100% yet, but much improved.

The question remains, why did the helminthic therapy effects seem to disappear, and once my neck and spine are behaving again will I suddenly feel that “worm high” coming back? Time will tell. Today I was noticing their characteristic GI disturbance again, this after many days of a normal gut, so I know my “old friends” are still with me. For now I’m just trying to focus on the big three: adequate sleep, a good diet, and consistent exercise.

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.”

Day 53 — Stability.

Today offered the strongest clues yet that the side effects phase is beginning to resolve. I woke after a fairly sound sleep with decent energy, and only a little of the brain fog and dehydration I’ve come to associate with “worm flu”. My appetite is slowly beginning to emerge again, and I’m able to tolerate the fairly narrow range of foods in my current diet quite well. I’ll test myself with more choices later, once I know I’m not reacting allergically to the helminths anymore.

Exercise is a key barometer — I continue to not only tolerate it, but I am starting to thrive on its effects. Curiously, it really seems to mediate my body’s reaction to the HT. I can feel the strength returning to my legs, as I push myself along at a good clip, searching for fatigue that never seems to come. My breathing is consistently clear and unaffected by temperature, humidity, airborne allergens, etc. By all measures my asthma and upper respiratory complaints are gone.

And it’s also time to celebrate 3 consecutive days of no worm-induced GI disturbances. My gut no longer feels tender, and I’ve started to gain back the weight I lost due to several weeks of compromised digestion — 5 lbs in about 6 days. So I’m now 149 lbs, 11 under my ideal target weight. That’s significant!

Tinnitus is only audible these days when I’m having a reaction to the HT, which came again this afternoon. I was able to deal with the symptoms by taking five 1,000mg tablets of vitamin C. That’s half of what I’ve used in the past, and the attack only lasted 90 minutes — about half the duration of a typical episode. This is one more indication my body  is beginning to submit to the iron will of the worms. The total absence of tinnitus throughout most of the day suggests my adrenal function is normalizing.

I’ll be quite happy if the trend continues, with modest improvement, for the foreseeable future. Obviously, I’d like to start feeling some of the more euphoric moments like I did during the initial “bounce”, post-inoculation, but as my sleep patterns rebalance (I still feel a touch of insomnia), and my diet becomes more varied, I would expect the benefits to start ramping, perhaps even with some synergy.