This update is a long time coming. I meant to follow up with my gut test many months ago but life got crazy and I got side tracked. Turns out I’m not the best client….
If you want to read my detailed article about what was going on with me and my health back in March 2016, read this post.
To give you a quick summary, I had been struggling on and off with my digestive health for pretty much my whole life. In the past I had run numerous stool tests on myself. My first ones did indicate a parasite and bacterial infection but I was able to easily remove those with the use of herbs and botanicals.
Despite getting rid of those infections, I still wasn’t feeling my best. I wasn’t having any significant digestive symptoms but things definitely felt off.
The stool culture tests I was running weren’t bringing up anything. Early last year, the Functional Nutrition organization I work for started carrying a new type of pathogen test. Rather that searching for pathogens through a microscope, this new test uses a FDA approved technology called Polymerase Chain Reaction. This involves a technique that identifies DNA in stool. It can highlight DNA of any critter that might be living inside you. It is significantly more sensitive than a regular stool culture test.
I decided to run this panel on myself and what I found was shocking. See my results below.
As it turned out my results indicated some very serious infections. The most serious was Entamoeba Histolytica. This parasite is pretty much the worst you can get. You typically get it from travelling in Central American, South American and Asia (I have been to all these places). The reason this parasite is so dangerous is because in some cases it can be fatal. It doesn’t like to stay in the gastrointestinal tract. It can migrate to the liver, the brain and the lungs. In the liver it can cause an absess and this is what can be fatal.
The second scary infection I had was Clostridium Difficile (C. Diff). This is nasty strain of bacteria that is resistant to many types of antibiotics. It produces significant toxins and is responsible for thousands of deaths per year, mostly in the senior population.
I also had Giardia (a water born parasite), Klebsiella (a opportunistic bacterial infection that can trigger autoimmunity) and Proteus (another autoimmune triggering bacteria).
The test was a total mess. Since then I have run close to fifty of these tests on clients and my results are still the worst I have seen to date.
I first did 3 weeks on an antibiotic called Iodoquinol. That was the most intense part of the protocol. I was really upset to be taking antibiotics but unfortunately the E.Histolytica does not respond well to herbal treatment. The antibiotic also was indicated for the Giardia infection.
I then spent 2 months taking Saccromyces Boulliardi, a beneficial strain of yeast that crowds out the C.diff.
Once I was done this, I spent the next two months on three products from Bio-Botanical Research; Biocidin, Biotonic and Olivirex. Together these three products are a force. They kill infections, disrupt biofilm, boost detoxification and stimulate the immune system.
I felt significantly better over the summer. My energy improved, as did my stamina. My skin started to glow and I felt like I was heading in the right direction.
Unfortunately in September I went to a potluck and accidentally ate a dip that I thought was gluten free (it wasn’t). I didn’t figure this out until months later but I spent 8 weeks with intense stomach pain, skin breakouts and wondering what the hell was going on.
This is what kicked my butt into gear and made me realize I needed to make re-testing a priority. Normally, I have clients re-test within 3-6 months depending on the protocol. It’s very important to re-test and confirm that infections are gone and another round of treatment is not needed.
Below are the results of my re-test.
As you can see things are significantly improved. I was very happy to see these results. All the infections are gone except the Klebsiella. This bacteria is very opportunistic and produces a significant amount of biofilm (a sticky substance that bacteria can “hide” under). Clearly this infection has been resistant to my efforts and I am going to have to make a new plan.
A little bit of Candida also showed up on this test which was not on my previous test. This is not unusual. It is not uncommon for new things to pop up on a re-test. Once you get rid of certain infections, they make room for other things to move in.
I am not overly concerned with low amounts of Candida. It should respond well to some anti-fungal herbs and a low sugar diet.
The next biggest issue with my re-test is my elevated Anti-Gliadin SigA. Gliadin is the component in gluten that people react to. This elevated marker confirms my gluten exposure at that potluck in September. After exposure antibodies stay elevated for up to 6 months and can cause significant inflammation. I really need to be more careful at potlucks and inquire about ingredients.
Everything else is looking a lot better. My friendly flora levels have improved. My Bifidobacterium has gone up. This is important as low levels of Bifido. are related to C.diff infections. My enterococcus and lactobacillus bacteria could be a little higher so probiotics will be on the menu.
These results are very encouraging to me. They give me hope and motivation to continue on this path.
In the coming weeks I will also be posting results of my DUTCH urine hormone panel and Organic Acids Tests. Stay tuned!
If you are interested in running this test with me, there are a couple of ways to work with me. If you are interested in running a GI-MAP only, I suggest joining my group program where you can purchase the GI-MAP or any other Functional Lab Test kit. If you are interested in 1:1 coaching and a more comprehensive program, I encourage you to apply to be one of my private clients. Apply here.
Candida diets are popular. It seems that everyone I know is on a mission to murder Candida in whatever way they can.
Firstly, I want to address the fact that Candida normally lives in the large intestine. When dealing with Candida, the idea is not to totally eradicate the yeast but to deal with the overgrowth and restore balance to the intestinal tract. I think a lot of people miss this point. Total eradication is not only impossible but can be detrimental as well. We need some amount of Candida, we just don’t want it to take over.
When Candida is allowed to thrive, it can come with a plethora of nasty symptoms. Does this sound like you?
If you are struggling with any of the above, you are probably desperate to find relief. Likely, you have done a lot of reading on the internet and have come to the conclusion that Candida is your issue. Before you go full force into the first Candida protocol you find, stop. Read this first.
Mistake # 1: You Don’t have Candida to Begin With
If you are currently doing a Candida protocol, ask yourself this question, “How do I know I have Candida?” Many people assume they have Candida overgrowth based on their symptoms. This is problematic because most symptoms for yeast overgrowth are vague and are also symptoms for a myriad of other health conditions. Diagnosing yourself based on symptoms is never a good idea.
Candida is a buzz word. Everyone is talking about it. Many people read an article or two and assume they have it. It could be Candida but it could also be a number of other fungal species. It may not even be yeast. It could be a parasitic infections, a bacterial infection, leaky gut, autoimmunity, a thyroid condition or a number of other disorders that virtually cause the same symptoms as Candida.
These conditions are not mutually exclusive. You could have Candida plus any of these other conditions at the same time. To assume you have Candida is to run the risk of treating the wrong condition and never getting to the bottom of your health complaints.
For example, I rarely see Candida overgrowth without other pathogenic infections. Yeast is generally a secondary infection, meaning that some other infection came first and paved the way for Candida to overgrow. If you do not address additional gut infections then the yeast will simply come back over and over and over again. And that’s just frustrating!
How to Test for Yeast?
There are a number of different testing options that will identify yeast overgrowth. My favorite is the Great Plains Laboratory Organic Acids test. Genova Diagnostics also has a good organic acids test. Additionally, the Diagnostics Solution Lab GI-MAP that I have been using recently with clients also has markers for yeast.
Mistake # 2: You are using the Candida Diet “Alone”
Googling “candida diet” will give you a million different types of diets to kill Candida. Most diets recommend removing sugar, starch, alcohol and refined foods. Since sugar and starches are a primary food source for the yeast, in theory by cutting these things out the yeast will go away. Wrong.
By eating this way you may essentially be eating a “low-carb” diet. Eating low-carb increases the production of ketones, which are secondary food source for your body. Unfortunately, studies show that Candida can thrive off ketone bodies as well.
By limited fuel to Candida, you are pushing down the overgrowth. Candida can simply go dormant and come back to life once the food source is present again. By pushing down overgrowth, it may also be harder to kill off Candida with herbs.
Additionally, different diets work for different people. Some people may be able to simply cut out sugar to control yeast but other people may need a more comprehensive approach. Many people may fare better on a low FODMAPS diet or a Specific Carbohydrate Diet.
The bottom line is that no diet alone will kill Candida overgrowth. Sure, it will starve some of the bad guys and you may notice a reduction in your symptoms but to truly eliminate overgrowth you need to take anti-fungals, replenish beneficial microflora and heal your gut. This brings us to the next most common mistake
Mistake # 3: Failure to “Heal Your Gut”
The main reason why people fail to eradicate yeast overgrowth is because they do not address the reason(s) which allowed the yeast to overgrow in the first place.
Candida is a natural part of your make up. It lives in the large intestine but is largely kept in check by the other beneficial microflora that reside alongside it. When gut flora becomes depleted from food intolerance, inflammation, alcohol, leaky gut, poor diet, toxic overload or other pathogenic infections, the yeast can move beyond the large intestine and affect other areas of the body.
Yeast is opportunistic. If it has the opportunity to overgrow, it will. Many people diligently do their Candida diet, take their anti-fungal herbs but do nothing to address microflora imbalance or to repair the mucosal lining of the gut.
If you do not change the environment that allowed you to become infected in the first place then you will never get rid of the yeast. Period.
Healing Candida involves identifying food sensitivities, healing leaky gut, addressing inflammation, replenishing beneficial microflora, detoxing the liver and identifying other pathogenic infections.
Taking a close look at your lifestyle habits is important as well. Are you getting enough sleep at night? Are you going to bed at a decent time? Are you managing your stress? Do you exercise regularly?
All these things are important in maintaining total body balance and ensuring that yeast is kept in check.
To learn more about how to heal your gut. Click here.
Mistake # 4: You Aren’t Using the Right Anti-Fungals or You Aren’t Taking them for Long Enough
In order to properly address Candida overgrowth you need to be taking the proper herbs. Candida can become easily resistant to herbs so it’s important to take a variety of different ones. You may also need to rotate herbs to reduce resistance.
Most people don’t take their herbs for long enough. Most Candida cleanses I see on the store shelf involve taking herbs and eating a Candida diet for 2-3 weeks. If you think you can knock out Candida overgrowth in 2-3 weeks, you are sadly mistaken. In my experience, Candida protocols need to be done for 6-8 weeks at a minimum.
Your herbal Candida formula should contain most of, if not all, of the following herbs; olive leaf extract, caprylic acid, pau d’arco, grapefruit seed extract, zinc, biotin, oregano oil and berberine. Currently my favorite product is
Leaky gut is a disgusting name for a very serious condition. Unfortunately, the medical community is just beginning to recognize it as an actual condition. Because of this, many people are left in the dark, wondering about whether or not they have it. Leaky gut is a common cause of many healthy problems that go beyond gut issues. Acne is one of the symptoms that can find its root in leaky gut syndrome.
What is leaky gut?
Leaky gut refers to increased intestinal permeability. Basically, the intestine is meant to be selectively permeable. So in the gut are cells called the tight junctions. Tight junctions are cells that act like gate keepers between the intestine and the blood stream. They open up to let certain things through (vitamins, minerals, nutrients) and block out other things (viruses, toxins, pathogens). Having well functioning tight junctions in important. We consume a lot of crap. If it all were to pass the tight junctions into the bloodstream, we would be in serious trouble.
Leaky gut syndrome means that the gut inflammed and the tight junctions have either degenerated or have began to malfunction, causing them to be open when they should be closed. Once the tight junctions so not work properly, anything and everything begins to leak into the blood.
When things begin to leak into the blood that don’t belong there, you get inflammation. The immune system starts to respond to what they perceive to be invaders.
While the immune system is an amazing thing, it is also a very aggressive thing. It takes things seriously. You don’t want the immune system responding more often than it should be. Think of the immune system like an army of warriers, after a battle, the battleground is a mess. The ground is torn up, there are bodies, blood and destruction.
Things start to really get nasty when the immune system starts to get over reactive. It gets so used to responding regularly that it starts to go a little haywire and reacts to every small thing.
There is a component of inflammation in every single chronic illness. While inflammation is crucial sometimes, it is not something we want to happen constantly. Acne is an inflammatory condition and inflammation in the gut, leads to inflammation on your face.
Additionally, most research finds a component of leaky gut in all autoimmune conditions. Autoimmunity refers to a condition when the immune system goes erratic and begins destroying the body’s tissues. Which tissues the immune system decides to attack depends on where your weakest link is and any genetic predispositions.
When you have toxins and other substances constantly leaking into the bloodstream, that are not supposed to be there, the immune system can get confused. For example, the protein in gluten resembles thyroid tissue. After the immune cells spend enough time attacking undigested gluten in the bloodstream, they start looking for other things that resemble it. They can start attacking the thyroid and you end up with Hasthimoto’s. This is called molecular mimicry and many believe it is a root cause of autoimmune conditions.
What are the symptoms of leaky gut syndrome?
Because of the importance of the digestive system, symptoms can be wide ranging. It is very common for someone suffering from leaky gut to have no gut symptoms. Symptoms often manifest themselves in the brain as brain fog, depression and other mental illness.
What Causes Leaky Gut?
There are many theories as to what causes leaky gut, but the three I have consistently come across are gluten, stress, alcohol and food intolerances. All these things have the ability to damage the gut. Anything that damages or breaks down the gut lining can cause the failure of the tight junctions.
Gluten can influence leaky gut in a very interesting way. The tight junctions are controlled by the protein, zonulin. When zonulin is released, the tight junctions open. Research has shown that gluten stimulates the production of zonulin, causing tight junctions to open for 4-5 hours after ingesting gluten. This process may occur in all people, even those who are not technically gluten intolerant.
How to Treat Leaky Gut?
Once of the most important ways to reduce inflammation in the gut may be to reduce or completely remove gluten from the diet. If you decide to go gluten free, make sure to remove it for a minimum of 4 weeks before you decide whether or not it improves your health.
Other important factors are going to include reducing stress, avoiding alcohol and uncovering food intolerances.
Once you have removed the damaging substances, you can begin to think about healing the gut. The good news is that the cells of the intestine regenerate quickly.
Best Things for Healing the Gut
Gut healing isn’t easy. It can be a lengthy process of removing toxins, testing foods and discovering the underlying cause of inflammation. But it may also be the most significant thing for disease prevention and your future health.