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Tag: Magnesium

Conquering Advanced SIBO – Lactoferrin to the Rescue

I’ve probably had small intestinal bacterial overgrowth since childhood, and I’m now in middle age. This is a difficult-to-treat condition where colonic bacteria drifts up, beyond the gateway between the colon and small intestine, known as the ileocecal valve. This happens because the valve is stuck in the “open” position, either due to neurological impairment or constipation, which backs up the entire GI tract and keeps the valve propped open with the fecal stream.

In the early stages people might notice they’re developing rosacea. Most western medical doctors claim there’s no known cause for this skin condition, but in recent years practitioners with a more holistic approach, like Chris Kresser, and others, identified a study from decades ago where common probiotics were proven to be an effective treatment for it. Look for more on this in future GHN blog articles.

Besides rosacea and acne, other early stage SIBO symptoms might include low-grade fatigue, mild mood disturbances and cognitive impairment, minor food intolerances, aches and pains, low-grade, intermittent tinnitus (usually after meals), urinary and sinus infections, ear aches, gingivitis, halitosis, trouble staying warm, mild insomnia, IBS, trouble gaining weight.

Unenlightened doctors were treating my SIBO symptoms, such as sinus infections and prostate problems, with more antibiotics, which was unfortunate considering these drugs (Cipro, for example) likely caused SIBO in the first place. Fluoroquinolones contain fluoride, which binds iodine receptors and (among other things) impairs thyroid function.

SIBO

About six years ago I began to feel my whole gut, from the front around to my lower back, becoming burning hot. I could feel that same heat in my neck. Along with this came increasing brain fog and tinnitus. What’s happening with SIBO is simply upper gut fermentation – a low grade infection of the abdomen. With every single meal consumed, bacteria is fed first, then we get the scraps.

In healthy people the small intestine does have some protective bacteria in low concentrations, but in SIBO the ranks and type of flora resemble the lower gut populations, and these misplaced microbes can cause a lot of damage, by inflaming the small intestinal wall, and running amok systemically, with both toxic byproducts of fermentation and the bacteria themselves in the bloodstream.

This is made even worse when gram-negative bacteria are involved because they boost levels of lipopolysaccharide, a part of their cell membranes, and LPS is one of the most potent triggers of inflammation in our bodies.

Diet plays a role, with the distinct possibility that higher fat consumption fuels the growth of gram-negative bacteria. Paradoxically, this suggests those of us who switched to a higher-fat Paleo approach might be inadvertently increasing inflammation from gram-negative flora and LPS. It’s a  controversial theory, with a lot of strong opinions on all sides, so count on reading more of this in future GHN articles, too.

As SIBO becomes more advanced, think of those 14 feet or so of narrow tubing, the small intestine, where scopes and medicines have trouble penetrating, and how hard it might be to remove these uninvited guests. Bacteria and yeasts, such as candida, build biofilms that act as hardened bunkers against the gut wall. Think of tartar on your teeth, which is also biofilm, and it becomes clear how impossible it might be to cure.

Sadly, SIBO can become “self-worsening” because toxins further impair nerve function, which means the “migrating motor complex“, or MMC – which are peristaltic cleansing waves that normally clear colonic bacteria from the upper gut – this safety mechanism gets even weaker, resulting in more accumulation of bacteria and yeasts, then further inflammation develops.

Another paradox is mounting mineral deficiencies, from malabsorption, yet being unable to take vitamin and mineral supplements without fueling the problem. I am finding magnesium is especially difficult to take when upper gut fermentation is happening.

Later stage SIBO symptoms include crushing fatigue (which I’ve had since my last dose of Levaquin in 2009) to the point where it’s tough to get out of bed. Most people also have wide-ranging food intolerances, loud and constant tinnitus, major brain fog, personality changes (depression/anxiety, cognitive decline), tremors, hormonal problems, cardiovascular issues (tachycardia, hypertension) severe weight loss, and chronic, widespread joint pain.

A link is being established now, in recent studies, between rising fasting glucose levels, which I have, systemic inflammation, and metabolic disorders. Is SIBO a common denominator? I wouldn’t be surprised, and indeed, this isn’t a trivial condition that should be left alone.

I did seek conventional medical treatment a few years ago for SIBO. My gastroenterologist wanted me to avoid a “breath test” (patients breathe into a tube and gases are analyzed) because the sugar solution taken prior to the test could have flared my ulcerative colitis. Her caution was sensible. Instead, we just treated for it.

I took a 10 day course of Rifaximin antibiotic, which stays in the gut rather than acting systemically. It worked for the first two days, which my doctor thought was confirmation enough of SIBO. I had a big surge of energy, clarity. It was fantastic. Then on day three the drug had no effect. This is not uncommon, and makes sense considering I’ve got a gut full of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Historically, herbals and fermented foods plus diet and fasting have been more beneficial.

SIBO is insidious – if you didn’t know what was wrong, you might think you were just aging badly, since most people tend to do better when younger. As time goes by, you lose the ability to fight it because your mind is too scattered to do focused self-treatment. Even cooking meals becomes difficult, especially because SIBO can lead to a loss of appetite. Starving it becomes the easy way out – symptoms are reduced when fasting – but any further loss of nutrition compromises an already weak immune system.

So despite my years of struggle with SIBO, including most all the symptoms listed above, I was confused when it flared the last time. This is because it came on strong with pain in my joints. I would wake in the late morning, feeling as if I’d never slept, and my whole body was throbbing. I figured this couldn’t be SIBO, it must have been something entirely different like arthritis. Instead, it was just the worst flare I’d ever experienced.

I started doing a lot of the old fixes, which are quite good: intermittent fasting (I cut out all food after 4pm) to starve the bacteria daily. I took peppermint oil with meals – a surprisingly good antifungal and antibacterial. I boosted my water consumption to about a gallon of distilled water daily, with trace minerals added. I went to 1 cup of coffee in the AM, cut out fibrous vegetables, I added Interfase Plus, to dissolve biofilms.

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The whole time I kept reading, and came across references to bovine-sourced lactoferrin, which is a substitute for the human lactoferrin babies get in breast milk. We adults also have it in our tears, and it can be found throughout the body. Lactoferrin is a bone-builder, a binder of iron (which pulls that fuel away from pathogenic bacteria), it’s also antiviral, used by some people to treat hepatitis C, and a potent antifungal. Throughout the literature, I read of its ability to harm pathogens while protecting, or even nurturing, healthy flora.

This makes lactoferrin a perfect choice for me, because as effective as peppermint oil, olive leaf, or berberine might be, these herbals also kill a lot of good bacteria. I am an avid sauerkraut and kefir-consumer, so I’m putting some flora back, but I don’t want to lose important lower gut microbes that fermented foods cannot replace.

Here’s perhaps the most exciting thing of all: lactoferrin’s interaction with lipopolysaccharide. Very encouraging, to say the least.

My results: it’s been a very exciting few days. The fatigue is still pretty bad, but it’s getting better. I’m finding my mind is clearer, my mood is brighter, and I can at least go for a walk and feel a bit stronger. A few days ago if I ventured out at all, I could hardly get down the block and back.

This makes me wonder how many of us with CFS/ME actually just have advanced SIBO. New science is beginning to understand the “gut-brain axis”, how the brain is linked to a “gut-brain”, our enteric nervous system, and CFS is a condition where that connection is obvious. In this thread “Lisa” did incredibly well with lactoferrin, for a time. For her, it seemed to provide energy as well as clearing the fog.

So far, I’ve had some toxic die-off symptoms (LPS!), but not as much as in the past when using antibiotics (such as the Rifaximin) for SIBO. My joint pain is not entirely gone, but it’s a lot better, same with my sleep patterns.

One very notable fact is I tend to feel more energetic while in motion than I do when I am laying down or sitting. I’ve heard this is a classic hypothyroid symptom, although not often documented, and back to the subject of LPS, I may have found a source of thyroid inflammation. Look for a lot more on this topic in future articles.

My plan from here forward is to reduce the broad spectrum herbal antimicrobials, be more strict about intermittent fasting, eat a lower fat diet with a few more simple carbs to reduce LPS (this is complex – kudos to Paul Jaminet), and continue on taking the lactoferrin. The brands I’m trying are Life Extension and Jarrow. The dose has varied. I started slowly, just two pills a day of Jarrow, but have since gone to 4 of each kind as of today.

I am also still a believer in supplemental iodine, but my dose is lower now, about 2.5mg a day, which is one drop of Lugol’s 2%, and I always take 200mcg a day of selenium to protect my thyroid. I have reduced iodine because if LPS is a factor in my hypothyroidism, I want to heal my SIBO first.

Lactoferrin to the rescue. Let’s see how this goes.

To be continued.

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.”

fluorosis

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?

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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?

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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.

 

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… 🙂

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

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Histamines and Helminths

Here’s a bit of a recap after some observation: due to its impact on my adrenals in the past, and other wide ranging side effects, I have chosen to avoid taking prednisone, or limit its use as much as possible, during the side effects phase of HT. In its place, I’m using benadryl to cope with the worst attacks, but otherwise am relying on fairly large doses of vitamin C (up to 10K mg per episode), which I’ve found to be a safe and very effective antihistamine. Guess what? In my opinion, vitamin C is actually more effective than prednisone for “worm flu”. Here’s why:

When I have an allergic response to the HT, it is transitory, almost as if the attack is triggered by one or more of the helminths moving from one “site” to another in my gut. I can think of no other reason why I’ve had a total of 6 such episodes in the last 50 days, at fairly random intervals. Several days ago I was convinced Lamb was the trigger, now I wonder if it may just be the HT on its own. Whatever the cause, vitamin C acts quickly and has no lingering effects, so it is tailor made to address the 2 or 3 hour bouts I’ve had with allergic response to helminths.

Secondly, and I can only suggest this based on an intuition, the effectiveness of HT may very well be built up over time, as our bodies react. In other words, mounting an immune response may be what provokes the immune-modulatory action from the helminths, so by blunting this, for an extended duration with a drug like prednisone, do we ultimately reduce the benefits of the helminthic therapy? I can’t say for sure, but this is yet another reason I’m using the more benign vitamin C to deal with acute worm flu. Perhaps it will allow a more open “conversation” between worm and host.

I’m also drinking plenty of water, to flush my body of histamines. Here are some clues: since eating foods with high levels of histidine (which converts to histamine) seems to make me feel worse, I’m guessing my histamine levels are high, overall, and most likely due to the HT itself. Since too much water without electrolytes can be unhealthy, I make a point of adding a potassium/magnesium/calcium formula a few times daily, to fortify these fluids.

The results? Well, today I had the least amount of GI disturbance since the side effects began, which felt like a fantastic achievement, but suffered a smaller scale 2 hour allergic reaction this afternoon. I’ll call this yet another example of nonlinear progress.

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