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.
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
You haven’t been feeling your best lately. You are more tired than usual. You haven’t been sleeping very well. You seem to wake up at the same time every night. You gut feels off. You have been noticing some indigestion and bloating. You aren’t sure what’s going on but you know something isn’t right.
You make an appointment with your doctor and he/she sends you in for some blood work. You are excited to see get the result and see what’ going on. In your follow-up appointment you are told that all your lab work came back normal and there is nothing wrong with you.
You leave the doctor’s office feeling frustrated, confused and probably with a prescription in hand. You know you don’t feel your best but you have no idea what to do about it.
Does this experience sound familiar?
This experience is common. Why is it that lab tests come back normal despite you feeling like crap? It is because conventional lab ranges are meant to encompass 90% of the population. This means that as the population gets sicker and more unhealthy, these lab ranges get wider.
These tests are meant to detect end of stage dysfunction so that you can be diagnosed with some condition or illness. What is your doctor is really telling you when he/she says everything is normal is that you just aren’t sick enough, yet.
It is only once your condition (whatever that condition may be) has progressed far enough along the spectrum that you will finally fall out of the lab range and get a diagnosis. At this point the issue may have been going on for years, even decades and it has now progressed so much that healing it becomes problematic.
Symptoms are not normal. It’s true they are very common, but that does not mean they are normal. Your body is an incredible machine and it’s meant to work. All it wants is to be in balance and for you to be healthy.
For this reason, it attempts to compensate when things start to go sideways. By the time you experience symptoms, the imbalance has been going on for quite some time. If you have symptoms, you have dysfunction.
A study was done on Armed Forces Personnel who eventually were diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This is an autoimmune condition also known as lupus in which the immune system attacks the body’s tissues including kidneys, joints, skin, blood, brain, heart and lungs.
Blood draws are taken regularly from the armed forces. This study evaluated the blood of 130 men before they were diagnosed with lupus. It was found that SLE antibodies were present in the blood up to 9.4 years prior to diagnosis.
What does this mean?
It means chronic health conditions do not just occur overnight. They take years to develop but are often not detected until a significant amount of damage is done and reversal is difficult to achieve.
Functional medicine addresses the underlying cause of disease and seeks to find dysfunction even when it’s in its early stages. It engages both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. The patient takes responsibility for their health and is fully involved in the healing process.
The healing process involves using different kinds of lab tests and careful analysis with functional lab ranges. Functional lab ranges are narrower then conventional lab ranges and are based on people who feel healthy.
Types of testing include looking at hormone balance, detoxification status, gut function, food sensitivities and for the presence of gastrointestinal pathogens. When all these things are in proper working order, you feel healthy.
As you know, I am a Functional Nutrition Practitioner. When I first heard about the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition training program, my health was in the toilet. I was really struggling. I could barely get out of bed and I was scared. I was scared for the future and I was scared that I wasn’t going to live very long.
I signed up for the program so I could learn how to heal myself. And along the way I realized that I wanted to help others heal as well.
As a part of the training I ran several different labs on myself. What I discovered was that I had the hormone levels of an 80 year old woman, my liver was congested and my cells were breaking down. I also had a parasite infection, a bacterial infection, yeast overgrowth, leaky gut and multiple food sensitivities.
By following the protocols I was taught, I was able to fix most of these things and get my health back. This was a few years ago now and since then I have turned my passion into a business that I love and that allows me to help people every single day. How cool is that?
These days I feel like my health is at about 80%. While I feel great most days, I know there is still work to be done. I have felt for a while that my energy should be stronger, my sleep should be better and that my athletic performance should be higher. I had also been noticing some mild digestive symptoms.
Maybe 80% health is good for most people but it’s not acceptable for me. I decided to run a couple of labs. I ran my standard GI Pathogen Screen and leaky gut test. Both came back clean. The standard GI Pathogen screen that I use relies on stool culture. If you have an infection, it needs to be able to grow in your stool and seen through a microscope in order to be detected.
This can work really well for some pathogens but not for others. My intuition was telling me that I had an infection so I decided to run the GI-MAP from Diagnostic Solutions Lab (DSL). DSL uses a new technology that allows lab technicians to analyze pathogenic DNA in stool rather than looking for pathogens through a microscope. This is an FDA approved technology and I have been hearing good things about it.
Here are the results I received earlier this week.
First of all, I have Entomoeba Histolytica. Histolytica literally means “tissue destroying.” This is basically the worst, most dangerous parasite you can get. When it comes to the parasite lottery, I just won (or lost….). This guy does not like to stay in the intestinal tract. It can move to the brain and the lungs. It also loves to travel to the liver and create abscesses. This can be fatal.
Unfortunately, this parasite does not respond to herbal formulas. I will need to take a potent dose of anti-biotics to kill it. Anti-biotics are something I avoid in all cases. This is clearly a case where they are necessary.
Second of all, I have Clostridium Difficile. This is a bacterial infection that is highly resistant to antibiotics. I am hoping that by taking the antibiotics for the E. Histolytica, it won’t cause this infection to flare up. This infection generally occurs because of antibiotic use and is rampant in hospitals. It secretes a toxin which basically poisons cells and kills them. It accounts for 29,000 deaths in the United States each year.
Not to mention I have Giardia Lamblia (another parasite) and Klebsiella, a nasty bacteria which can lead to autoimmune diseases. Clearly, my gut is a disaster zone.
The good news is that my immune system markers are good. This means that my immune system strong and is responding appropriately. If it wasn’t I probably wouldn’t be doing as well as I have been.
This is some serious stuff. I never would have imagined that I could have so much imbalance in my gut. All this time I have felt thatI was at 80% health but maybe it’s more like 50% or even 40%.
I can only imagine how amazing I am going to feel when I eradicate these infections and rebuild my gut. It’s exciting.
I am truly grateful that I ended up on this path with Function Nutrition. Without it my life would be much different. There is a good chance I would end up with a chronic illness or worse.
I will never know exactly how this happened. It likely has a lot to do with my past and how I used to live my life. I was often sick as a child. I was on multiple rounds of antibiotics. In fact, I can remember having these liquid antibiotics that tasted like banana and strawberry. I used to sneak them from the fridge and drink them. They tasted like candy!
I spent a lot of my life eating what I considered to be a healthy diet. Unfortunately, this consisted of low-fat processed foods and sugar. I also spent a good 10 years of my life partying like a maniac.
On top of that I once took a 3 month course of antibiotics for acne, I was on birth control pills for 8 years and I was emotionally stressed through my teens and most of my early 20’s.
All these things together deplete gut flora, depress the immune system and set the stage for infections to enter the body and thrive.
Symptoms are no joke. Many of us put up with them because everyone else has them and we think they are normal. Symptoms are your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. If you ignore them or mask them with pharmaceuticals, you are ignoring this important message.
You will either end up with new symptoms or they will come back with a vengeance in the future. You may even end up being diagnosed with a chronic illness and losing your quality of life.
I am not writing this to scare you. I am writing this to educate you and to help you avoid a nasty diagnosis down the road. You have the power to take control of your health. You have the ability to change what’s happening to you now and create a happier, healthier, more energetic future.
Be proactive about your health. If you are having symptoms, contact a Functional Medicine Practitioner or a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner. Spend the money, run the labs and take responsibility.
If you want to contact a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner please schedule here.