Getting Healthier Now

A Blog About Digestive Health

Tag: Cipro (page 1 of 2)

Uh-oh… Copper Deficiency Mimics Low B-12

It’s been quite a health adventure the last year or more, and you can read a quick update here. I had thought correcting a B-12 deficiency was all I needed to reclaim my health, but things got a bit more complicated.

It turns out copper deficiency can mimic low B-12, with many of the same symptoms of neurodegeneration, fatigue, skin inflammation and joint pain, due to disruption of collagen. I’ve been losing bone mass and developing arthritis – these are also signs of low copper. Here’s a full list of symptoms I’ve had during the last year.

The prevailing naturopathic attitude is we’re all copper toxic, so few of us would believe we could be deficient. Compounding the likelihood in an otherwise healthy population are corporate farming practices. Copper-rich foods simply can’t be grown in depleted soil. And sadly, few doctors ever think of copper deficiency when doing differential diagnosis. I’ve never once had copper levels tested by a physician, despite years of GI problems.

What’s most unsettling – unlike B-12 where there’s a fair amount of lag-time between low serum levels and permanent harm – copper deficiency neurodegeneration often cannot be reversed with supplementation. What does get repaired, eventually, may take months – or even years – of repletion. You can imagine my shock after reading this.


Next, I looked up dietary sources of copper. Due to my food intolerances I wasn’t eating any copper-rich foods. Couple this with years of gut inflammation, malabsorption, and regardless of any testing I might do with my doctor, it was clear I needed to supplement with a modest 2 mg of copper soon, just based on my symptoms and diet.

The proper way to take it is in combination with zinc. Too much zinc will deplete copper, so a proper balance is important. Also worth noting is colloidal silver, if taken orally or by IV, can deplete copper, sometimes with dramatic results. This may have happened with me a few years ago after taking colloidal silver for SIBO.

The good news is a few short days after I started taking 2 mg copper my eyesight was much sharper, mood and cognition improved a bit, and I got a noticeable reduction in fatigue. A week later I increased my dose to 4 mg, plus 30 mg zinc, and noticed less joint pain and stiffness. Shortly thereafter, my skin began feeling less fragile. Perhaps my collagen synthesis has been improving, and I may be correcting an anemia due to this deficiency.

Copper is also essential to keep blood vessels and arteries flexible and strong, which could explain my increased vericose veins and petechiae in the last year. It’s thought most cases of aortic rupture are preventable if people get adequate copper in food.

My face has had a red glow for the last couple of years, in recent months my chest and abdomen, and sometimes even my whole body has, too. This flushing could be due to histamine intolerance, and it’s important to note copper (along with B-6 and vitamin C) is required to create DAO enzyme to break down histamine. Sure enough, one thing I noticed after a few weeks supplementation is I’m no longer flushed from head to toe most of the day. Perhaps eventually I’ll be able to tolerate some higher histamine foods.

Given the risk of nervous system damage from long term deficiency, I decided not to wait for testing before supplementing with safe amounts. My plan is to stay at 4 mg copper daily with 30 mg zinc (which is what healthy people get in a copper-rich diet) until I can schedule hair analysis and serum tests to determine the correct protocol for repletion.

Where I’m still hoping to see improvement is more subtle, which appears to be low dopamine. Given its effect on brain health, copper is required to generate important neurotransmitters. Among other things, low dopamine (key to reward and accomplishment) was probably making it tough to update this blog for the last 16 months. With that said, onward and upward.

How many of us diagnosed and treated for B-12 deficiency are also copper deficient? If any of this sounds familiar, please join us in the comments section, and share your own story.

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.

A Sobering Wake Up Call: B12 Deficiency

Yes, it’s about time for a blog update, but where do I begin? After nearly 20 years of unexplained medical problems, in mid-July I finally crashed.

I’d been getting progressively sicker since a year ago, the summer of 2014. By the new year, 2015, financial problems led to lots of stress, then flares of SIBO. I became bed-bound, with loud tinnitus, insomnia, weight loss, low-grade fevers, and a total lack of appetite. I could no longer work at my job.

I also lost touch with plenty of friends during this time. I can’t say I blame them, as I had become so impaired I didn’t have much to offer. This only compounded the stress.

As you can see from my blog, I’ve tried quite a few treatment protocols over the years, and it seemed everything would work for a while, then I would lose ground and wind up feeling worse than ever. In recent months: iodine, lactoferrin, probiotics – all seemed to hold so much promise, they would initiate healing, then for some unknown reason, those benefits would slip away.

In early July I began waking with hot flashes and flushing, blood pressure spikes, rapid pulse – an intense resurgence of POTS symptoms. However, this time it got worse: my back and neck were both in terrible pain. I had electric zaps in my hands, a metallic taste in my mouth, a sore tongue, and strangely burning, aching feet. Soon after this, frequent spasms began in my lower back, and my groin became numb.

A week or so later, my hair began falling out, my vision became so blurry I could focus on nothing, my nose felt constantly stuffy yet there was no mucus, and I completely lost my sense of smell. My balance was way off, and I found myself stumbling around the house. Next, my skin took on a yellowish hue, and when I went for a dog walk, every step made me feel on the verge of a seizure. Fluorescent lighting had the same effect.

Worst of all, my mind was going. I had huge short term memory lapses, bewildering rages over small annoyances, waves of panic. When spoken to, it took me about 20 seconds to rewind what I’d just heard, otherwise I couldn’t register the meaning of the first few sentences. It was an obvious, accelerating, cognitive decline, and needless to say, pretty terrifying.

I would go visit my doctor, and he was puzzled by everything, but especially confused by the tachycardia. During this time my pulse was usually over 100 at rest. EKG results were normal. Blood work looked generally good.

But it was clear things were getting worse. My eyes looked dull and red, I’m 6 feet tall and now weighed 144 pounds. Yet with no diagnosis, there was no treatment plan, so I really had no idea where things were headed, and my doctor wanted to just continue monitoring my condition while I rested.

One day, due to my increasing back and neck pain, I was doing a search on PubMed for cervical stenosis, for degenerative spinal diseases. In the side bar I saw a study “Dual pathology as a result of spinal stenosis and vitamin B12 deficiency“, and that was it.

The next step was to explore the long list of vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms, realize I had nearly all of them, try taking some B12 (I started with 1 mg a day of this brand),  and for the first few days I felt hugely better.

My vision had been blurry for a few days, and it suddenly sharpened up, colors became richer, and I noticed I could focus both near and far, better than in my teenage years. My breathing was incredibly clear (not a hint of asthma), and my gut motility was perfect. One night I checked my pulse and it was 60.

The pain and numbness in my lower back and groin, plus the pins and needles sensations in hands and feet began improving. My neck felt more stable. Also, the burning hot abdomen and neck I’d been experiencing for years suddenly switched to that cool-to-the-touch (very normal) skin temperature from decades ago, probably because my parasympathetic nervous system was finally working.

My mood continued to get better, including emotions both happy and sad. I’d notice waves of release and relaxation in my body, borne of sentimental thoughts. I began to focus outside myself, to check in on friends again. To be faced with rebuilding all of this is bitter sweet.

And progress is rarely linear. By day 6 I realized that the lozenge form of B12 I started with was probably fine for healthy people but contained mannitol and sorbitol, which created a lot of bloating, so I switched to these capsules without additives. I decided to crush each capsule first, by chewing it, then would park it under my tongue to aid absorption. Chances are my gut isn’t able to pull B12 from my food, although until I get further testing I won’t know for sure the root cause of my deficiency.

Where am I now? I got the methylmalonic acid test results back from my doctor. The reference range is 87 to 318, and my levels were 334, outside the upper limit of normal, indicating (pretty accurately, from what I’ve read) low B12 levels. MMA is neurotoxic, so I do want to see this number drop, and chances are it will come into balance as I continue supplementing B12.

Incidentally, vegetarians are far more likely to be B12 deficient, and since I am a paleo-dieter, who ought to be getting enough B12 from the animal protein in my diet, my doctor never thought to check. Based on my experience, it can happen to anyone, and especially if you have SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, where upper gut flora – migrate up from the colon – and consume our nutrients before we can.

I’m seeing connections to so many other problems that could be B12 deficiency-related. POTS, for example, this study links to adolescents, but maybe it applies to everyone, old and young. Crohn’s disease is a definite risk factor, but SIBO and ulcerative colitis are also related. Anyone who had anesthesia with nitrous oxide can become depleted of B12, and this describes me, also.

I wonder about B12 deficiency and the phenomenon of being “floxed” by fluoroquinolone antibiotics. Do these drugs deplete B12, and would this explain why some of us get really sick from taking them, and others don’t?

Since taking B12 I’ve noticed I can tolerate a lot more foods that used to provoke what felt like candida yeast overgrowth symptoms, and I do know my white count was mysteriously low in recent years. B12 is a critical component for immunity.

Am I feeling confident about the road ahead, and how best to approach healing? Not at all. I plan to see a neurologist to get a clearer picture of how to proceed, but scheduling this will take time. My primary care doctor has been balking at simple questions, such as “how much B12 should I take”, so I’m thinking it’s best to be conservative, and take no more than 1 mg (1,000 mcg) per day. I also know the MTHFR gene mutation could play a role, and I may need to supplement methylfolate, but when I’ve tried taking just 800 mcg I feel worse, so for now that’s on my avoid list.

The most frustrating thing of all is what’s improved and what’s stayed the same. My back and neck pain are getting better. I am seeing sleep improvements, my mood is generally upbeat, asthma is totally gone, my mind is getting sharper (although my memory is not what it was in June).

Unfortunately, while I did experience a burst of energy around days 4 through 6, I crashed shortly thereafter and am feeling heavy fatigue now. I am back to spending most hours of the day in bed, and my ability to focus is greatly diminished. Is this typical for recovery?

I’ve struggled to find information on how most of us respond to supplementation of B12. Not everyone improves, especially when diagnosed late, but of those who do, they often say “give it 2 or 3 months” and I’m now at three weeks.

If you’re interested in flashing forward a year and a half, to see how I’m progressing, you can read about it here. Did you know B-12 and copper deficiencies have similar symptoms? Neither did I.

Probiotics: Larger Doses Making a Big Difference

Lactoferrin for SIBO? It seems to be helping most by lowering my inflammation, and I’ll continue taking it daily, but I’ve noticed it also tends to constipate me, which is a bit of a paradox because while the lactoferrin should help kill pathogens and destroy biofilm, a constipated gut is at continued risk for SIBO.

In an effort to counteract this, and get my gut moving, I’ve gone back to the most basic approach of all: probiotics, and lots of them. I figure I can combine this with the lactoferrin, taking the two of them offset as many hours as possible. Lactoferrin with food, and probiotics between meals.

Why not more of my kefir and sauerkraut? I’ve found “enough” is helpful, but too much of either can make me back slide, and I’m not sure why. Especially when my GI tract is sluggish, I think kefir may worsen SIBO by building more biofilm. If anyone has ever tried cleaning a used kefir mason jar, with its thick accumulation of flora after just a few batches, you know what I’m talking about.

If I could deposit the healthy kefir biofilms exclusively in my colon, that would be another matter, but I’ve tried this, more than a few times. Unfortunately, retention enemas with kefir have given me relief only in acute situations, and longer term use doesn’t seem to address all my symptoms.

Probiotics, on the other hand, generally don’t have a reputation for colonizing our guts. Many see this as a drawback, but in the case of SIBO, I am hoping it’s an advantage. Perhaps these temporary upper gut residents will outcompete small intestinal pathogens without setting up shop and compounding the problem.

Recently I came across an interesting evaluation of some common probiotics on PubMed’s site. Note the section on VSL#3, which is a mixture of gram positive bacteria (which do not contain highly inflammatory lipopolysaccharide). Like many probiotics, VSL#3 is a mixture of flora originally harvested from a healthy human donor.

Take note of what it says about VSL#3 helping to heal the gut barrier function. “Leaky gut” is another term for this, and I’ve no doubt that’s one of my biggest problems.

Barrier function was also assessed using mannitol flux assays and after 4 weeks of VSL#3 treatment, barrier function normalized in these mice. Using the T84 human intestinal epithelial cell line it was further shown that VSL#3 and products secreted by these bacteria enhanced intestinal epithelial barrier function in vitro, and pre-exposure of T84 monolayers to VSL#3 provided a dose-dependent decrease in cellular invasion by the pathogenic bacteria Salmonella enterica serovar Dublin. A subsequent study corroborated these findings and further found that VSL#3 upregulated the expression of several mucins which are postulated to play an important cytoprotective role in host defense against pathogens [21].

The expense is a factor, and the primary reason I’ve never stuck with VSL#3 for very long, but could it be a “poor man’s fecal transplant”? With FMT being very costly in a clinic setting, and since I don’t currently have access to a donor for DIY at home, I’m going to give this a shot. The only difference being I’ll take this probiotic orally in addition to retention enemas.

Speaking of upper gut colonization, would the fact that VSL#3 is human-sourced mean its flora will attach permanently to the wall of the small intestine? Likely, the answer is no. This has something to do with how probiotics are manufactured. For some reason, the adherence of probiotic strains on the gut wall is usually not that good, no matter how the flora was originally harvested.

I began with a retention enema using 8 pills of VSL#3 in about 4 ounces of distilled water, using an empty and rinsed Fleet enema bottle. About 5 minutes later I felt my long-gone sense of smell returning. I noticed a basket of essential oils that had been on my dresser for months. Hard to imagine my nose had been so impaired this wasn’t fragrant to me until now, but that’s indeed the case.

About 20 minutes later, I noticed my tinnitus getting quieter, and my whole body relaxing. My mood improved. Joint pain was lessened, also.

Oral administration of VSL#3 was my next step. I took 8 capsules, 2 doses of 4 each, that first day.

I’ve been taking 4 capsules, 3 times per day, between meals, ever since, and drinking 2 pints of distilled water with each dose. I add trace minerals to my water. I only did the retention enema on day 1, and am hoping I can stop it altogether or reduce to once per week.

Now, three days in to the 12 capsules per day oral protocol, here’s a an intriguing list of symptoms where I’m definitely seeing improvements. It’s worth noting a great many of these issues came about after taking fluoroquinolone antibiotics. How much of being “floxed” is due to altered flora?

I should underscore that probiotics are nothing new for me, and VSL#3 is one I’ve used in the past to stop ulcerative colitis flares, but I’ve never taken it in this quantity, nor have I done it with the same frequency, plus I’m also combining the doses with enough water that my stomach acid is probably being diluted, which means more flora survives to reach the colon.

I also think, subjectively, my symptoms were never this bad in previous years, so I never had this far to “bounce back”.

So many symptoms are linked. Overall, I sense a restoration of my vagal nerve function. Huge relief from a constant stuffy nose (neurological, not from typical blockage), my pulse and BP are nice and low, and my sleep patterns and mood are evening out. No more blazing hot colon, lower back and neck, either.

The one thing that hasn’t changed yet, and this is fairly upsetting, is fatigue.

At first I felt strength returning to my legs, and I’d hoped this effect would snowball, but it’s less noticeable now than it was when I first started. Maybe I need to maintain the retention enemas. Another possible explanation for this is lipopolysaccharide being released, as gram positive flora is duking it out with the gram negative ones. If it’s happening in my small intestine, this means more LPS in the bloodstream. Perhaps sorting it all out is just a function of time.

Fatigue is the core of my illness, and Cipro and Levaquin were the triggers for it. I hope as I continue my therapy this will resolve, and it’s clear 3 days of anything gut-related is not enough time to know the longer term potential for healing.

I do hold out lots of hope I can eventually get my energy back, given all the other smaller improvements I’ve seen in the early going. I actually had my housemate take a “before” picture last night, because I’m so shrunken from the SIBO: 6 feet tall and 145 lbs. Underweight is nothing to mess around with, and I know it can significantly impair immunity. I had to do something, and i think i’m finally on the right track.

Have you tried a similar approach, taking large, longer term doses of probiotics? Which type works best for you? And if anyone has figured out a way to “brew” them to reduce the cost, let us know in the comments section below. Thanks.





Is it Your Thyroid, the Fluoride… or the Mercury?

How many of us have been exposed to high amounts of fluoride, a non-essential mineral that compromises thyroid activity, and is a known mutagen, from sources we never thought possible?

If you’ve ever taken antacids, or antidepressants, including Paxil and Prozac, plus countless other medications, including fluoroquinolone antibiotics like Cipro and Levaquin, or if you’ve had steroids in the hospital, or drank from a municipal water supply, or used toothpaste, you’ve been exposed to it. Fluoride is even in our air from coal combustion and steel production.

Just as mercury bioaccumulates from smaller to larger fish, and then into humans, fluoride does the same. For most of us, it’s in the pesticides on the vegetables and grains that most of us consume, then it appears in even higher concentrations in the animals we eat, who feed on these crops, and feedstocks like bonemeal.

So it’s clear there’s a problem. How big is it?

One interesting metric are the rates of thyroid cancers but we can also look at the increase in dental fluorosis, which is far more than a cosmetic issue if it’s “a developmental disturbance of dental enamel caused by excessive exposure to high concentrations of fluoride during tooth development.”


Okay… onward!

Recently I started an iodine protocol, which you can read about HERE, largely because I had many symptoms of hypothyroidism, which developed after taking multiple doses of antibiotics like Cipro and Levaquin. Also, like many of us, I grew up chewing (and swallowing!) fluoride tablets to make my teeth stronger.

Iodine receptors get bound by fluoride, and iodine can remove it, thereby correcting a functional deficiency of iodine. It can also, quite often, give a big boost to thyroid function.

In my case, iodine unleashed a torrent of detoxing, mostly via the GI tract. Then, suddenly, I began to feel more energetic (although my fatigue is not gone yet), I had better sleep patterns, an increased libido, 75% less tinnitus, and (unexpectedly) relief from chronic fungal overgrowth – likely because my immune system could function again. It’s been quite a ride.

My only questions now are:

1. how long have I been hypothyroid, and

2. given how well I’ve responded to iodine supplementation… what can this protocol do for me in the long run?


This is a serious question, indeed.

Where does one go from here?

If you listen to the naturopathic community, and a few doctors, Iodine chelates mercury, as well as fluoride, but conventional medicine is strangely mute on the subject. In basic chemical reactions, it seems to be the case, so why not in the body?

Perhaps I have two reasons to supplement with Lugol’s 2%, since mercury appears to cause its own thyroid issues. Hashimoto’s anyone? Who knew?

I’m a former 5-day-a-week consumer of seafood, so when I got my mercury levels checked they were “off the charts” as my doctor put it. I asked her how we could fix that and got a blank stare in return. My doctor paused for a moment, and then explained there was no diagnostic code for mercury toxicity, and therefore she had no way to treat it – at least within my health plan.

Sure, everyone has some burden of ingested toxins, it would be naive to assume otherwise, but I’ve got a body full of mercury and very likely fluoride, too. Readers here are familiar with my health problems, and how they came about. The tipping point was fluoroquinolones, but I’m sure mercury plays a role, too. The perfect storm of toxicity, and I’m very lucky to not have amalgam fillings, unlike so many others.

So what to do about this?


That’s a question many of us are asking lately. We’re left alone to wonder: boron, Borax®, diatomaceous earth, bentonite clay, Zeolite, activated charcoal, grapefruit pectin, Modifilan (seaweed), psyllium husk, cilantro. How about the minerals, like magnesium?

The list of potential detoxifiers are endless, but what do we know about how they behave in the body? I’ve no doubt some can remove good metals and nutrients along with the bad, plus too much fluoride or mercury, unleashed too quickly, can burden the liver, kidneys, brain – everything.

So we need to be careful. We need to figure out what works for our given set of toxicities, and how to best approach it.

And that’s what I’ll be focusing on in an upcoming installment. Stay tuned.


More Proof of Sauerkraut’s Power…

Not long ago I did an article on using probiotics to heal acute episodes of food poisoning. Tonight I saw a startling piece on herbicide Glyphosate, that also provided evidence humble, delicious sauerkraut, and other lacto-fermented foods, can attack and neutralize – botulism.

The mechanism by which certain aptly-named “healthy flora” can do this is quite complex, so read the original article for details. Basically, the proper pH and saline content can render botulism unable to grow, and quite a few microbe participants in a healthy gut can outright digest it.

Indeed, one of the most toxic substances on earth can enter our body and quickly be… gone.

So it’s pretty clear sauerkraut ought to be an important part of anyone’s diet, right? Well, there’s a spirited debate on this topic. Sauerkraut is a goitrogenic food, which means it impairs the body’s ability to absorb iodine, and therefore might suppress thyroid function. This has garnered quite a lot of attention around the blogosphere in recent years, especially because fermentation of sauerkraut may enhance its goitrogenic properties.

Others make compelling arguments to the contrary, and point instead to iodine and selenium deficiency being the singular Hashimoto’s risk factor. Once these issues are corrected, they claim, people can benefit greatly from the nutritional (and possibly even thyroid-boosting) effects of these foods like — sauerkraut.

Okay, then!


While this is critically important debate for people who have Hashimoto’s or are at risk for it, we should also get in the habit of discussing goitrogenic DRUGS, like Cipro and Levaquin. Rest assured, I won’t stop beating the drum about these antibiotics. The far-reaching and growing phenomenon of being “floxed” is one of the most under-reported health issues of our time, in my opinion. Many others agree.

But I digress.

Wonderful sauerkraut, modest amounts of iodine, and about 100 mcg per day of added (thyroid-protecting) selenium might be the perfect triple-combo for thyroid health, and good protection against food poisoning. To round things out, I also add plenty of home-brewed dairy kefir and a few probiotics, for good measure.

That’s my protocol.




Keep in mind any information available here is understood to be, and presented as, personal opinions, not medical advice. Everyone reading the GHN Digestive Health Blog is encouraged to ask their doctor’s opinion and not engage in any new treatments without their advice.

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.Movie A Dog’s Purpose (2017)

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.


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.


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. 🙂

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Food Poisoning? Probiotics to the Rescue.

How many of you heard recently about the amazing Woodrat, ? 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.

So it seems clear enough: the healthy bacteria found in Woodrat guts are .

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 .

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.

, due to a wider range of flora. It’s also effective for ulcerative colitis. Another popular brand is a mix of . A third option: 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 .

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 , and another multi-strain product, 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 (which i just read is a ), , and , when I . 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 . This is one reason .

An additional approach that may help with a toxic gut is . 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 影梭 have had in your lifetime, or — since we get our gut flora from our mothers — . 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.

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, , which I later learned are actually , 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 .

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. 😉

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 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 .


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Iodine Protocol Destroying Candida

It’s now day 16 of my iodine protocol. Those who follow this blog remember when I tried an antifungal not approved for human use, for advanced candida overgrowth. The first month it worked wonders, the 2nd it had only a partial effect, and by the 3rd dose Lufenuron had no effect at all. Disheartening, yes, but that brief success taught me how many of my symptoms were from fungal overgrowth: intense fatigue, tinnitus, , anxiety, skin breakouts, sinusitis, and several other seemingly disconnected problems.

Iodine, taken orally, is every bit as effective for me as Lufenuron was, even more so, plus its potency against candida has remained constant. And here’s a milestone: my ulcerative colitis symptoms are completely, utterly gone. Not a trace of inflammation in my colon, not a speck of bleeding, despite sprinting to the loo during a characteristic iodine detox.

Flash back 3 weeks ago, hearing of came at the perfect time. The , compared to the usual orthodoxy. I had heard a bit already about iodine’s impact on chronic infections, and hoped it might halt the steady worsening of candida I experienced when Lufenuron failed. I really felt it tugging me down quickly this time, no matter how many herbals I threw at it.

That’s all changing now, after beginning my own protocol. I started gently, with just one drop of , which is 2.5 mg, or 2,500 mcg (about 1.66X the RDA of 1,500 mcg). Even that relatively small initial dose had a profound effect.

I’ve been carefully ramping the dose in the days since, and am now peaking at 5 drops, or 12.5 mg, averaging around 3 drops, or 7.5 mg. Many suggest this “pulse dosing”, which includes two or three days off, after every 5 days on, so the body can effectively detox. Overall, it’s really working. In fact, I have fewer symptoms of candidiasis now than prior to .

The first major benefit I noticed from iodine was improved sleep patterns, and this has continued to be wonderfully deep and restful, dream-filled sleep. Then there’s relief from my sinusitis, which began to happen in the initial two weeks of oral iodine supplementation. By now I can eat as many potatoes, rice, even sweet potatoes, as I dare, and my sinuses stay clear (historically, carbs have been a trigger). I no longer wake up with brown mucus, that odd “beery” smell of fungal sinusitis, which first started around 1995.

While I usually just take the Lugol’s in water (see below for details) and drink it down, I’ve even been making an iodine nasal spray, too, used every 3 or 4 days, because I want to cure the problem once and for all. I empty out a , then add a bit of to create saline, with 2 drops of . I mix this with about 8 oz distilled water, add some into the spray bottle, and keep the rest in a glass container with a plastic lid in my refrigerator.

The nasal spray is totally optional, for dealing with fungal sinusitis only. The main protocol is simply taking your iodine in water, according to whatever dose your doctor recommends.

Note: before trying anything iodine-related, it is important to consult with a physician or naturopath familiar with thyroid issues, who can perform adequate testing to establish your baseline function. Make sure you try a tiny amount of iodine on your wrist first, where it can be washed off should you react. Some people 二元期权 experience a rush of energy. Keep in mind even sinus rinses contribute to your total iodine dose, not just oral use. Also be cautious about measures, as people outside the US are often using a far stronger form of Lugol’s (5%). This means drop-for-drop what seems like the same Lugol’s brand can be quite different.

Okay, let’s rewind a bit — it . After the first dozen days straight, I only took one day off, and I’ve been at it daily ever since. My dosing has varied from 1 drop of Lugol’s 2% solution taken orally (2.5 mg iodine) to 5 drops (which supplies 12.5 mg) depending on my response/detoxing. Unlike , I am in a saw-toothed pattern of nudging it up, dropping it down, then bumping it up again, without many breaks. I just listen to my body as I go, and try not to push too hard.

Since my last blog entry, a fairly intense release of toxins has continued, but it’s now getting much better, with only occasional GI upset, and my last dose of 12.5 mg is only a bit lower than a brief peak of 17.5 mg. That dose felt a tad high, so I backed off. Simple enough.

Iodine detoxing is no fun. At worst, probably 5 trips to the bathroom for me, from morning to noon. I felt fine initially, but by mid-day my muscles were getting a bit stiff from mineral loss. I’ve had low potassium in the past after dehydration, so I took a blend (calcium, magnesium, potassium) called and felt a lot better. I may have been deficient in all three minerals, although I’ve been supplementing a lot of magnesium for , along with my , a , and vitamin C.

I also add a bit of to my distilled water, and I never, ever drink tap water. Toothpastes with fluoride are equally bad — I really hate the idea of ingesting when I’m trying to .

I , and it’s been running a few days a week for the last 4 years. The only downside is the fan noise, but it has paid for itself. In my area there have been reports of ground water contamination, and I do know a type of fluoride is added to the municipal water supply, in addition to a few new chemicals that are supposed to be “better” than the old decontaminants, like but who knows?

A detox requires pure water to restore what’s getting flushed out, but decreasing diarrhea after week 3 suggests iodine has already managed to remove a lot of toxins, such as fluoride, bromines, and mercury (I have a lot after eating fish 5 days a week, from my youth into my 30s). What I’ve got now is the healthiest gut I’ve had in a long time, and I’m feeling greater benefits from ferments, like kefir and sauerkraut. In pre-iodine days, I knew kefir was good for me, but it made my SIBO worse, and it seemed no matter how much I drank, candida was always one step ahead.

How could iodine be doing so much to heal chronic candida overgrowth? Iodine on its own , which explains why it’s clearing . If the entire GI tract is being rid of fungal pathogens, it’s easy to see why constipation is totally healed. If byproducts of that fermentation are no longer polluting the bloodstream, autonomic activity should benefit, so peristalsis will become more vigorous, and mental health should improve, too.

But more important appears to be , its ability to free up those iodine receptors and allow nutrients from oral supplementation and food sources to be better utilized, in . It’s a powerful immune boost.

While I do still have some fatigue, everything is working better. My mood is upbeat, I have a libido again, and feel a general ambition. My mind is much quicker. I even notice as I’m typing this my eyesight is incredibly sharp (no glasses anymore!) and my fingers are flying along the keyboard.

Since my initial post on this subject, the is in full swing. We’re learning how sensitive we are to iodine, even the co-supplements. This means the 12.5 mg iodine used in typical protocols is way too high for all of us “floxies”. My suggestion would be to go slowly, even less aggressively than a physician might recommend, if you feel your body is struggling to detox. One group member likened a floxie starting iodine to a very dry sponge being suddenly inundated with water — at first we aren’t able to grab much at all, but over time we can absorb, and really benefit from, therapeutic doses.

Speaking of, how much iodine do you think is “enough”? two , in . Some say micrograms, some say milligrams. Let us know where you stand, in the .

For now I’m favoring the middle way — one foot on the brake, the other on the accelerator — and it’s an interesting ride.

To be continued… 🙂

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