Archive for the ‘candida’ Category

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SIBO is not Candida

February 25, 2010

I am seriously always butting in where I am not invited. At least I have learned to give disclaimers, and I don’t shove Atkins down everyone’s throats anymore (although its pretty obvious from your symptoms if you are most people!) and now I’m also not such a candida-denialist. (Thanks to my group and thanks to having been on Nystatin and Diflucan for more than a month now RX’ed by holistic doctor.)

In summary, a woman from California (I mention this only because the entire board is for residents of the Central Coast, not girls in Queens!) asks how to get rid of SIBO “naturally.” Of course the first answer is from someone telling her that she has an “idea” that her SIBO is not actually SIBO but really it is Candida.

It’s really hard for me to sit by and watch people deny that SIBO exists. Sometimes, like in this case,  they are well-meaning people, with a background (either as a patient or a practitioner) in natural medicine.  But often they are just selling something, like Dr. Jeff with his McCombs Plan.

Anyway, I jumped in and here is my response:

The only natural treatment for SIBO with any research to back up claims is enteric coated peppermint oil

I moderate a support group for SIBO with 80 members and therefore speak based on the experience of myself and these folks – I am NOT a medical professional. With that said, I have found that you must take peppermint oil for a long time, (6 months or more) alongside other treatments (antibiotic/probiotic) and you must rotate it with other natural anti-microbials (garlic oil, etc.) if you want it to work.

Candida is very real and can co-exist with SIBO. However, the two are not the same. Just because most people have never heard of SIBO or don’t know a lot about it; they dismiss it and call it candida. Yes the diets are similar but they are not the same thing. SIBO is colonic bacteria inhabiting the small intestine. It is not a yeast, friendly or pathogenic. Even the Environmental Illness Resource differentiates the two.

With a SIBO you have to avoid fructose, and fiber. You need something with anti-microbial properties in order to kill the bacteria that exists in the wrong location. Probiotics can assist in ameliorating symptoms, but if the housekeeping wave isn’t working correctly to move things out of the small intestine and into the large, you might be compounding the problem in the long run by loading up on more bacteria.

I have been researching SIBO for years now and I have not run across a natural treatment. Yet it is an important part of the entire treatment regime because Holistic or natural medicine can work to correct imbalances in the body that create an environment that is SIBO-friendly. For example, SIBO can be caused by an underactive thyroid. A holistic MD who treats thyroid based on symptoms and body temperature may detect low thyroid in an individual who would be told by a conventional endocrynologist that they are “normal.” He or she can then treat the patient’s thyroid, adrenal, testicular and ovarian hormones and bring the patient to hormonal equillibrium, helping to create an environment less friendly to developing SIBO. However, if you take a look at the study linked above, you will see that even after treating for hypothyroidism, SIBO patients still needed antibiotics to kill the bacteria.

Other natural things you can do: Eat whole foods, (you are probably already doing this!) Avoid things that you know bother you, whether they are “healthy” or not. It is also very important to take HcL with meals because stomach acid kills off most infections that try to get into the gut, contributing to most bacteria being in the later part of the intestines (colon or large intestine) where they belong.

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Update

December 2, 2009

Something strange is going on with the blog; it looks as if everything past October is gone. This is probably only a temporary snafu, but I was thinking of posting anyway, so this update will serve as a test and a real post I suppose.

Yesterday I had flu-like symptoms, and when I took my temperature, it ranged from 95.5 – 96.5 F. Today my temperature is higher but not feverish, but I am home sick all the same, coughing and sneezing and sweating and as an added bonus I have menstrual cramps. Yesterday, in my non-feverish yet totally flu-like haze, I bought an Atkins bar. The small amounts of malitol and sucralose did not bother me as they have in the past. However, chocolate is not allowed on the low-histamine diet. The mistake caused me to consider throwing in the towel on the low-histamine diet, which has not brought about any changes. It had only been three days, but the person in the Yahoo group felt great after 3 days and began to add in the allowed carbs. I kept up the show, however, and just skipped out on food for the rest of the  work day, not being too hungry anyway. I came home and had a few ounces of lamb and a half cup of homemade mashed potatoes for dinner. I also ate a small amount of peanut butter and ricotta cheese and pecans. I was so bloated and miserable all night.  Today I started my period so whos to say what is and isn’t making me ill, between the flu and that.

This blog gets a lot more traffic when I’m feeling well. Of course people want to know how to be cured and how to feel better. I really want to know that. I’m tired of the things I want to be doing falling just out of reach. I’m tired of being someone who makes an effort to be healthy but keeps falling ill. With little colds, feeling flu-ish, etc. I have finally banished the migratory musculoskeletal pains, “bone pain” as I used to call it, and I think this is thanks to mega-dosing with Vitamin D. I’m super grateful that they are gone; the pain was really debilitating at times. But I am still dealing with the bloating and distention, the abdominal cramping, the weight gain, the sneezing and runny noses, and now dizziness and achiness. I am going to see a new doctor towards the end of the month. We have to wait until then because he is outside the union healthcare system, which means I will have to pay out of pocket. He is a holistic doctor, and some of his patient testimonials talk about how he helped people fix their subclinical thyroid and yeast issues. I have held some pretty firm anti-candida views in the past. However, at this point I’m fairly willing to believe that if bacteria can overgrow, then yeast can too. And I’m nearly positive that my thyroid is busted. Test results be damned. So I’m hopeful.

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What I learned from working in organic grocery

February 21, 2008

“I confess that I have been as blind as a mole, but it is better to learn wisdom late than never to learn it at all.” – Sherlock Holmes, ‘The Adventure of the Man with the Twisted Lip’

I worked in grocery for around five years before I discovered the accommodating and relatively high-paying (until I moved to New York) world of clerical work-study. Three of those five years were in natural and organic grocery, and two of those were spent stocking, ordering, cleaning, and selling produce. I never heard of gluten sensitivity or candida or even food allergies before the organic market. I listened to countless stories, almost always told by women, about their symptoms: weakness and fatigue, the aches and pains and the often drunken not-of-this world brain fog that shrouded their lives. These things led them on arduous journeys to root out a wheat allergy or a yeast overgrowth. Often it took them months or years and often no one helped them along the way; maybe one or two of them had a naturopath’s assistance. I wonder now how helpful in truth that assistance was. So many people abruptly swinging from one end of the spectrum to the other; omnivores suddenly eating raw diets, vegetarians adding red meat to their menus. I always listened intently to these women while they told their stories. I often asked questions. “Well, what do you eat while you’re trying to find out your allergies?” “How did you know that was ultimately what was making you sick?” These women were always thin and almost always middle-aged. They were sometimes hippies, and other times they could have passed for suburban soccer moms, and they probably were just that, willing to drive east or over the river to the urban fringe to pick up their organic food. Some of them practiced healing arts, as I suppose their experiences empowered them to be more than just well for themselves. Sometimes they espoused all kinds of New Age crap that I couldn’t care less for. Sometimes they didn’t.   I confess now that I didn’t always believe them. It is difficult to explain. I respected their stories, especially the parts where they were symptomatic. Who wants to feel that way? I had lived my whole life feeling like something wasn’t quite right – depression and lethargy despite a natural optimism. I had aches and pains too, and it was always difficult for me to lose weight – my body always seemed like it wanted to hold on to things, especially hurtful things. During the parts of their story where they figured out what was making them sick, I even cheered them on inside, but I don’t know if I ever fully believed them. How could something as innocuous as food make you that sick? Surely the relationship was not causal. Something else was going on. Hormones? Stress? A latent medical condition? I took these stories with a grain of salt, the way I took the stories of women who went on olive oil diets and lost tons of weight.

For the past two years I have felt sick and no doctor has been able to find a cause. In order to cure, a cause must be found. The one causal factor identified, my gallbladder, was removed one year ago, and the procedure only minimally lessened my symptoms. And gradually, all the symptoms returned. I have been back and forth in these two years with food. I have at times felt empowered when investigating my food, happy that I could actually be the one controlling not only the disease but the cure. I have at other times felt helpless and burdened. Food = my fault, again. I can’t just take a pill, get some rest, eat smaller meals. All this time, however, I have secretly and silently taken my strength from the women in the organic grocery store. I am only 32. Probably the age of many of the women I spoke to when they first began to hunt down their intolerances and allergies. Now I realize that the women who lost weight on olive oil probably did so because they put down the sugar and the bread. Now I realize that food can make us all incredibly ill; the same food can make us all ill for different reasons. I feel that I have a lifetime of diet detection ahead of me. But I feel that one day it may be old hat, it may be comfortable, and I may see lasting benefits that will allow me to tell stories that begin with “I went through a couple of very rough years until I figured out that I….”

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Day Two

January 14, 2008

Turkey is being saved for tomorrow’s lunch. I did taste it though. Husband baked it with organic cold pressed olive oil and the poultry mix of herbs from Whole Foods. It was really good but had a strange texture. Dinner was steamed kale and salmon. There is jasmati rice for tomorrow. I think I’m going to try and concoct a salad with broccoli sprouts, red leaf lettuce, avocado and endive. The problem is salad dressing. I typically use vinegar or something low calorie and low-fat from Annie’s. Vinegar is out, however, so it looks like I’ll be pouring more oil down my gullet. I can’t describe the phobia that I have of oil. I know its healthy fat, but between the years I worked at a natural grocery (all the deli food was delicious but slathered in olive and sesame oil) and the gallbladder removal last year, I can’t help but fear it.* The Complete Candida Yeast Guidebook allows lemon, and even encourages it, but my nutritionist does not, and I also fear lemon, with its high acid content. Speaking of acid, I had a 16 oz iced coffee from Whole Foods today. It felt like cheating, but my nutritionist and I discussed it last week – I am supposed to be using the coming week to wean off coffee rather than come off it cold turkey. I should probably be proud of myself, considering that this weekend was supposed to be easing into the diet, but I’ve actually jumped right in. I didn’t even drink coffee yesterday; just had black chai. So tomorrow a 12 oz coffee should do the trick.

I suppose no elimination diet blog would be complete without a frank discussion of gas and bowels. I can say that again the much decreased volume of gas continues, although I am by no means completely gas-free. Unfortunately, belching continues, and the bloating continues too. Oh and yeah you wouldn’t believe what came out of me earlier today. That was a little surprising given that its only been a day and its not as if I existed on McDonald’s up until Friday or something.

Back to a more societally acceptable topic: it would seem that I should have a lot more to say about the turkey and the vegetarianism. This is a perfect medium, and I do have many thoughts on the subject, and many mixed feelings. Yet I find myself far too tired to really go into it. Kind of like everything else. This sickness has taken its toll. This diet is doing the same.

*Fear of fat was not long for this world…