Getting Healthier Now

A Blog About Digestive Health

Tag: allergies

A Long-overdue GHN Update

Since my last post here, many months ago, I got short term improvement from B-12 shots, but my serum levels were sky high and my doctor suggested I stop the injections. After an initial bounce I crashed, and began to have widespread inflammatory and neuroinflammatory issues. He theorized this may have been triggered by saturation with B-12. My serum B-6 was also quite high, despite never supplementing it.

A methylmalonic acid test was elevated, so after being off it for a few months, I continued to take 2,500 mcg oral B-12 and requested referral to a specialist who could check for genetic issues with methylation, but as my neck and back became more inflamed, and cognitive problems worsened, I was instead sent to a neurologist, who did a full workup: brain MRI, a soft-tissue MRA, hearing tests due to increasing tinnitus, a carotid artery test, and an EEG.

Other than a few white matter brain lesions (no change since a 2008 MRI) which may be congenital, these new tests were inconclusive. While I do have some degenerative changes to my cervical spine, autonomic dysfunction was the neurologist’s primary diagnosis. At this point, my symptoms were growing – you can read a list of them here.

A few weeks later, I saw a neurosurgeon and explained how pressing in various places on my neck, the base of my skull, and near the mastoid process behind my right ear, could often improve my autonomic issues. He pointed out a Chiari Malformation on my brain MRI but said “we don’t operate to fix dysautonomia”, which was yet another blind alley. I’ve yet to see an autonomic specialist for non-surgical treatment of this.

Flushing, at first just a red glow on my face, then eventually from near head to toe, has also been happening for about 14 months. My doctor tested for Carcinoid, and so far results don’t indicate it, which is a relief. Instead this may be related to a  mast cell disorder. I’ve learned certain kinds of flushing, even the rosacea which I have, can be caused by neurological problems.

What’s the root cause? It’s likely multifactoral, but nerve damage from repeated doses of fluoroquinolone antibiotics over the years, like Cipro and Levaquin, likely plays a huge role.  It was after a final dose of Levaquin in 2008 that I developed symptoms of hyperadrenergic POTS – primarily a vagus nerve malfunction – which triggers heat intolerance, trouble handling physical and emotional stress, and orthostatic intolerance.

However, these antibiotics did more than nerve damage, they wrecked my gut flora, and POTS is now thought to be autoimmune.

The best I’ve felt in recent years was while I hosted hookworm (small therapeutic doses) and did fecal transplants. Both of these protocols may boost vagus nerve tone, by lowering inflammation in the gut and boosting signaling from the enteric nervous system back to the brain, the “rest and digest” parasympathetic, which works opposite of “fight or flight” sympathetic.

My doctor suggested I try probiotics and hookworm again because he noted they seemed to help me, so I’ve been taking VSL#3 daily, plus Miyarisan tablets, which contain c. butyricum, and 15 weeks ago I did a dose of 50 necator americanus. While the initial side effects of helminthic therapy were rough, with spikes noted in blood work for eosinophils, I’m now feeling more benefits than allergic response, including no more asthma, healthier sinuses, and a big improvement of ulcerative colitis.

Concurrent with this, I remembered how good I felt one Summer when sunbathing for 15 minutes a day. I’ve had chronically low vitamin D and low testosterone. Sun exposure boosts both. I started laying out at noon each day a few months ago and it has been a great mood lifter. I also find I have better sleep quality when I get my daily 15 minutes. To discuss light therapy, its effect on mood, hormonal production and balancing sleep/wake cycles, join us here on Facebook.

I wanted to cover all the bases, and since sinusitis has been an ongoing problem for me, too, with green mucus indicative of staph colonization, I’ve begun daily rinses, which you can read about here. Two weeks later the mucus is thinning and has no color. I credit both the hookworm treatment and rinses to this recovery. Reducing sinus inflammation has improved anxiety, and my sleep is deeper. There’s a theory sinus inflammation from gram negative sinus flora can generate lipopolysaccharide (a potent inflammatory molecule) which in turn triggers brain inflammation.

Waking in the night gasping for air has been a problem during these last few months, and while I was scheduled for a sleep study I noticed a sudden improvement after a few days of sunbathing. There’s a vitamin D and sleep apnea correlation, mainly with regard to metabolic activity, so it’s possible Sun is good medicine for it. While I still have some brain fog, my mind feels sharper while sunbathing and I’m no longer waking at night. Since obstruction of upper airways can also contribute to apnea, sinus rinses are likely helping, too.

I’ve also been to see an oral surgeon after my dentist thought I could have dental infections contributing to fatigue and cognitive problems, but an oral surgeon did a panoramic x ray and said it looked fine. He noted sinus inflammation and recommended I keep doing my daily rinses.

I feel fortunate testing was able to rule out a lot, but if you see a pattern here, it’s that each protocol has helped a little – yet nothing has totally solved – what first appeared to be symptoms of low B-12. Now, just in the last month, I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out a key factor, and it may be a different deficiency, with very similar presentation.

Hookworm for Healing Prostatitis?

So seven weeks ago I did a 50 hookworm top-off dose, and I’m absolutely 100% allergy free right now: no asthma, no sneezing, and I’m also experiencing the characteristic lack of aches and pains I tend to enjoy when my hookworm are active and providing their benefits. This is now my third year of helminthic therapy, so my body is quite accustomed to it.

Side effects? Hardly any. A few weeks ago i had slightly increased mucus production in my nasal passages and sinuses, which is actually a sign of health for me, as this all disappeared when I got “floxed” with Levaquin antibiotics a few years ago. At that point my immune system was stunned. My nose always felt irritated, with a “tight” and “dry” sensation. Happily, I now have a very normal, unremarkable nose, and this means no more sinus headaches, either!

As far as gut function, I have a history of ulcerative colitis, and other than a brief flare that came on before my last dose of hookworm, I’ve been in total remission, for months. I was able to get rid of the flare using sodium butyrate enemas, and now it seems like my worms have it all under control.

Now, for something very interesting, indeed. In years past I’ve always noticed prostatitis is a problem for me as seasons change, particularly from Summer into Fall. Not so, this year, and perhaps this is also due to my hookworm! Why? My theory is prostatitis can be the result of seasonal allergies. In quite a few forums around the web I’ve noticed men wondering about a connection, and my experience could help to confirm it. I do hope in time hookworm will be put to use for this “off-label” condition, as I find it to be more beneficial than any other therapy I’ve tried!

It’s easiest for me to look at the prostatitis/allergy connection in terms of an inflammatory threshold. In past years, even when I was much younger, anything could be a potential trigger — too much coffee, alcohol, or spicy food, too much sitting, not enough exercise, infrequent sexual activity, general stress. Now, none of this matters. I just feel good.

I should add, I also include plenty of cultured foods in my diet, such as delicious homemade kefir, yogurt, raw sauerkraut, and probiotics in pill form. I am convinced this, too, helps prostatitis by improving the ecology of the colon. Considering the proximity of the colon to the bladder, and other male anatomy, it’s easy to see how a fungal overgrowth in the gut can lead to candida migrating into prostate tissues. Furthermore, it’s thought many of us are allergic to fungal pathogens, so once they invade tissues the immune system makes matters worse by mounting an ineffective inflammatory response.

Again, if hookworm tame the immune system, and a low-grade fungal infection is the trigger, it’s clear to me how helminthic therapy might play a role in easing prostatitis. I’ll have more to say about the impact of adding probiotic foods to my diet, and its effect on general inflammation, in a future post.

I’d appreciate hearing from you all in the comments section — of those doing helminthic therapy, is it helping to curb autoimmune response? And how many of you men out there have noticed if it helps with prostatitis? We self-experimenters are learning a lot about controlling inflammation, so much so that my doctors are really interested in updates — much of it gathered from you. Hopefully in time our knowledge can have an impact on mainstream medicine. Meanwhile, let’s keep up the good work!

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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 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 ““, which . There seems to be no limit to the odd sensations and behaviors provoked by “substance P”, according to one article i read, including . $%@#!! No wonder. What resonates for me in the reading I did tonight are symptoms of tinnitus, and autoimmune issues — specifically, lots of . And let’s not forget … or .

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 bandwagonhost 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.”

Eat, to avoid allergies.

Overall, my progress has been quite good with helminthic therapy, but tonight (day 58 post-inoculation) I had another allergic episode. It wasn’t as bad as some have been in the past, but I did need to shovel down a fair amount of vitamin C, maybe ten 1,000 mg tablets, though the course of it. This was unpleasant, as always, but I was able to gather what seems like really important information from the event.trailer movie Tomorrow Everything Starts

It occurred to me these attacks always happen around the same time — mid afternoon to early evening. I wondered if maybe the helminths tend to be more active during those hours. Then another conclusion presented itself: low blood sugar. Most of the recent “worm flu” events I’ve had are consistent with getting caught up in work and skipping meals. On the days where I’ve been less focused on tasks, and eating solid meals, I seem to do just fine. So I quickly fixed a bowl of yogurt, added fresh blueberries, a dash of stevia, and a shot of whipping cream, for some extra calories. Not ten minutes later, my allergic response (congested nose, tinnitis and tightening throat) disappeared.

That got me wondering if there might be a connection between low blood sugar, histamines, and generalized allergic reactions. Lo and behold, there seems to be a solid correlation. In fact, the more I looked, the more it appeared to be the case — autoimmune issues, histamine intolerance, food and seasonal allergies, may be exacerbated by a lack of “fuel” — even conditions as far-ranging as narcolepsy. So next time you feel that “worm flu” coming on, take some time out and feed yourself. And if you want to steer clear of it all day long, eat frequent small meals with plenty of protein, as this is the best way of coping with hypoglycemia, from what I’ve read.

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Day 34 — Tinkering.

So I woke up late again, with pretty intense fatigue, but discovered something unexpected — symptoms of a sinus infection. I thought I had banished it weeks ago, using my neti pot, but it appears to have been smoldering away, dormant, and is now flaring up again.

I’m not surprised — allergy season is still going full bore, predisone (even the small doses I took) may have weakened my immunity some, and the helminths themselves have a reputation for giving those of us with hyper-vigilant immune systems the vulnerability of mere mortals.

I’m back using my neti pot, twice so far today, with a pinch of salt and baking soda. It’s a simple solution that worked before, and this time around I plan to stick with it for maintenance after the “all clear” is sounded.

Again, I’m a witness to this process, and willing to be encouraged by things that aren’t altogether positive. It’s comforting to actually have a low-grade infection, whether it’s viral or bacterial, simply because the “sick” me never got them for the last 10 years. I think my defenses were always too reactive to let it happen.

And I’m realizing that if it weren’t for my sinus issues, I might actually be bouncing out of bed by now. My body feels pretty good, otherwise — no real GI issues anymore, more clarity in my head, and a brighter mood.

Let’s go, sinuses. Stop your sniveling. Onward!

Day 30 — The long view.

Today I woke up late, to a ringing telephone — a work call. It turns out I’d overslept by about 4 hours, and missed two alarms. I felt clammy, really tired, a bit disoriented. Thinking back, I knew I had been dreaming quite a bit, which for me is an unusual positive, but these were foggy and forgotten episodes.

Coffee. It was, up until recently, a forbidden substance, a trigger for not only UC but candida, too. It’s now an option for me, after doing the HT inoculation, and even provides a cleaner buzz than in the good old days when I was “healthy” and drank it regularly.

By mid afternoon my energy had picked up a bit, and my head was clearer. I still felt a bit unsteady, with some ringing in my ears and muscle pains, primarily in bluehost my neck. But the back-and-forth continues, just as it did a few days ago, where one minute I feel pretty rotten, and another I’m feeling a burst of worm magic.

For example, today I went outside for a while and sat in the sun, and I could smell it all — plants, flowers, grasses. In the past this would have been a toxic soup of allergens, and my nose would have been too stuffy to identify any of it, let alone each scent in the mix.

I’m realizing 55 hookworms is a large dose, and symptoms tend to be worse with a higher count, so this could take a while. I should settle in and prepare for the journey. I also know that along the way I’ll have moments of unexpected good vibes.