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 syndrome is common these days. It is a condition where the barrier system that protects the blood from the digestive tract becomes dysfunctional.
When a person is healthy, this barrier prevents certain things from reaching the blood stream. These include viruses, parasites, undigested foods and toxins. When the lining breaks down, inappropriate things begin to enter the blood stream where they can cause an inappropriate immune response and lead to inflammation.
Leaky gut is involved in food sensitivities, allergies and autoimmune conditions. If you want to learn more about leaky gut, click here.
I discover unhealthy guts in almost all of my clients. Gut dysfunction is something I always test for because it is so common. When the gut is unhealthy it can lead to a whole host of issues including blood sugar imbalances, neurotransmitter deficiencies, mood disorders, chronic fatigue and problems sleeping.
Gut health is a hot topic and people are always asking me how they can heal their guts. It isn’t always an easy task but success starts with having the proper information.
1. EAT AN INFLAMMATION REDUCING DIET
If you want to heal your gut, you need to reduce inflammation coming into the body. This starts with diet. Many foods we eat are inflammatory and can do some serious damage.
Some of the biggest culprits are refined and processed foods, gluten, polyunsaturated oils, alcohol, sugar, conventional meat and dairy products, grains and GMO foods.
Start by pulling these inflammatory foods out of your diet. Make sure to eat a diet that includes lots of organic vegetables, pastured eggs, free-range meat, healthy fats, herbs and spices.
The diet I most frequently recommend to my clients with gut issues is the Paleo diet. This diet omits much of the foods listed above and is high in protein which is critical for gut repair.
In situations where gut damage is more severe, I recommend the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol (AIP) which goes further to eliminate nuts and seeds and eggs. This can be very therapeutic for people suffering from autoimmune conditions. Here is a great resource for the AIP diet.
2. IDENTIFYING FOOD SENSITIVITIES
When the gut is damaged seemingly healthy foods can actually be quite irritating. The more unhealthy the gut is, the more food sensitivities you will have. These sensitivities are different for each person.
They can be hard to pinpoint since reactions to are often delayed up to 7 days. If the Paleo or AIP diet isn’t giving you the results you need, I recommend testing for food sensitives.
Many practitioners use an IgG food sensitivity panel to look for suspect foods. Personally, I am not a fan of this type of testing. In my personal research, I have not found many good scientific studies validating this type of testing. There is a lot of debate between practitioners and I have yet to make a definitive opinion on the matter
3. REDUCE MENTAL & EMOTIONAL STRESS
Stress is one of the main causes of leaky gut. How? When you are stressed, your body moves all your energy from rest and digest processes and into the skeletal and muscular system. This allows you to fight or flight from a dangerous situation.
Our stress system does not differentiate between different types of stressors. There is only one stress response.
If you have a stress response and you have food in your intestinal tract, it stops being digested. It is left to sit in your intestine where it is acted upon by bacteria and is fermented. This fermentation can damage the gut and produce toxins which then clogs up the liver. And if your stressed your body isn’t detoxifying either. This can lead to toxic build up and more damage to the gut.
We have a lot of stress these days and learning how to manage it is paramount to healing your leaky gut syndrome.
4. IDENTIFY PATHOGENIC INFECTIONS
Ongoing chronic infections are one the biggest blocking factors in achieving a healthy gut.
Most people think they are immune to infections because they haven’t done any international travel but unfortunately you can acquire infections even in countries like Canada or the United States.
We are exposed to different types of infections from parasites, bacteria and yeast on a regular basis. These things come from food contamination, unclean drinking water (some types of parasites can resist chlorination) or from poor hygiene practices.
The majority of your immune system in your digestive tract. When your gut is healthy, your immune system works well. When the gut gets dysfunctional, opportunistic species can easily make their home in your intestines. Some pathogenic species can travel outside the gut to other areas of the body.
Unfriendly microorganisms can cause toxic build up, inflammation and can prevent you from absorbing nutrients from the healthy diet you are eating. Just keeping these organisms in check is stressful to the body. Your body works hard to control pathogens and it drains your energy levels.
Chronic infections also lead to elevated cortisol which can suppress your immune system, cause insulin resistance, inhibit weight loss efforts and deplete your sex hormones.
Even people who do not experience typical digestive symptoms may still have infections. I find them in over 90% of the people I test, even those who claim good digestion status.
If you do not identify and eradicate infections, inflammation will continue and will perpetuate the leaky gut situation. My favorite test for identifying GI Pathogens at the moment is the Diagnostics Solutions Lab GI-MAP. Find out more about my experience with this test and how it helped me identify some dangerous infections in my own gut.
5. STIMULATE DIGESTION
Undigested food promotes bacterial overgrowth and fermentation, both things will contribute to leaky gut syndrome.
During any gut healing protocol, I recommend high quality digestive enzymes. The enzyme you choose should contain a broad spectrum of enzymes. It should also contain HCL (for protein breakdown) and ox-bile (for breakdown of fats).
Currently my favorite product for gut healing is DSL GI-MAP I mentioned above since it measures levels of gut microflora.
If you do not know your status, I recommend using a high quality multi-strain probiotic. You should take these at bed time and make sure to take them 2 hours away from food and any supplements that contain anti-microbial, anti-fungal or anti-parasitic qualities.
Currently my favorite probiotic products are Megasporbiotic and