Archive for the ‘Gut Health’ Category

This is the Difference Between Probiotics and Prebiotics

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/difference-between-probiotic-prebiotic_

This Is The Difference Between Probiotics And Prebiotics

Plus, how to make sure you’re getting enough of each so you’re healthy.
There’s a good chance you’re familiar with probiotics (at least familiar enough where you make sure to stock up on Greek yogurt at the grocery store or pick up pills from your pharmacy).
But when it comes to your gut health, it’s actually the balance of two types of bacteria ― probiotics and prebiotics ― that helps keep everything operating as it should.
“There is a balance between [bacteria] in the gut called homeostasis,” said Ashkan Farhadi, a gastroenterologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center and director of MemorialCare Medical Group’s Digestive Disease Project in Fountain Valley, California.
When this homeostasis becomes imbalanced, it’s important to restore it by providing the body with good bacteria that then help gut health, Farhadi said.
Enter probiotics and prebiotics, which you can get through diet and supplements.

But downing a cup of Chobani alone isn’t going to solve the issue. There are specific ways to balance your gut health with probiotics and prebiotics, and multiple ways to get them from what you consume.

Differentiating between probiotics and prebiotics

Here’s an easy way to keep probiotics and prebiotics straight when it comes to their function in the body: “Probiotics are ‘good’ bacteria that are introduced to the gut to grow and thrive,” said Erin Palinski-Wade, a registered dietitian and author of the “2-Day Diabetes Diet.” “Prebiotics are essentially ‘food’ for these good bacteria.” This means they help stimulate and fuel the growth of probiotic bacteria already present in the body, acting like a fertilizer.

“It is essential to have both prebiotics and probiotics to promote gut health,” Palinksi-Wade added.

Probiotics help keep gut bacteria balanced by limiting the growth of bad bacteria, explained Alan Schwartzstein, a family physician practicing in Oregon, Wisconsin.

“Probiotics compete with these ‘bad’ bacteria for prebiotic food and do not allow them to multiply and cause harm to us.”

When there is a balanced amount of probiotics and prebiotics in the body, your digestive health is able to hum along.

This bacteria balance is also beneficial to your overall health, Palinski-Wade said. A good amount of probiotics in the body helps with vaginal health. A healthy gut contributes to a strong immune system, as well as good heart and brain health. What’s more, research published in Medicina has linked healthy bacteria in the gut with healthy body weight, lowering inflammation and stabilizing blood sugar levels.

How to know if your gut is OK ― and how to get it there if it isn’t

There’s a pretty simple sign that indicates if your gut has enough prebiotics and probiotics.

“Those who have a gut imbalance will have symptoms like increased gut sensitivity or changes in bowel habits,” Farhadi said. This means issues like diarrhea, constipation and excess gas.

You don’t have to wait for these unpleasant symptoms to pop up to start taking a probiotic. Whether you do it through diet or supplement, prebiotics and probiotics can be used by anyone to proactively maintain gut health, Farhadi said.

For example, in his own practice Farhadi recommends a patient eat a tablespoon of Greek yogurt (which has probiotics) sprinkled with Metamucil (which contains prebiotics) on top to restore balance in the gut.

Schwartzstein added that most people can get enough probiotics through their daily diet without a supplement. This includes eating foods like yogurt (make sure the label says “live active cultures” or the full name of the bacteria), soy drinks, soft cheeses like Gouda, and miso. There’s one main exception where heavier amounts of the bacteria might be needed.

“There are circumstances that can cause fewer probiotics in our digestive system; the most common is when we take antibiotics,” Schwartzstein said. “These antibiotics kill the healthy bacteria in our gut that serve as probiotics at the same time they kill the harmful bacteria that is causing the infection.” (This is also why most doctors only prescribe antibiotics if they are positive a patient has an infection caused by bacteria as opposed to a virus, like a cold.)

In these instances, you may need to take a probiotic supplement until you finish taking antibiotics. Talk to your doctor to make sure you take the correct strain and be aware that taking a probiotic supplement can come with side effects like gas and bloating, Schwartzstein said.

For prebiotics, Palinski-Wade said that a diet high in plant-based foods and fiber is a good way to make sure you’re consuming enough. Sources of prebiotics include garlic, vegetables, fruits and legumes.

If you don’t think you’re getting enough probiotics or prebiotics through your diet you may be leaning toward taking a supplement. In the case of prebiotics, any psyllium-based product (like Metamucil) can be used, as fiber acts as a prebiotic in the body.

Probiotics are a little trickier, as there are many different strains of probiotic bacteria that may be beneficial for certain conditions.

“Our research is so limited in this field,” Farhadi said. “Currently, the recommendation is based on individual experiences.”

Many times, Farhadi said a doctor may ask a patient to start a probiotic and see if it’s helpful. If not, they can switch between different brands and bacteria strains until they find the right fit. Talk with your physician before trying anything ― they’ll make sure you’re set up on the right path.

__________________

**Comment**

I would caution against using yogurt, kefir, and Metamucil unless they are without sugar.  A good substitute for Metamucil is just plain psyllium husk fiber.  https://fiberfacts.org/consumer_psyllium/  I found two opposing opinions on psyllium being a prebiotic, so discuss this with your practitioner. Both, however, are soluble sources of fiber. If you try this, go slowly so your body can acclimate to it.

If you detest the taste of plain yogurt products, you can always add fruit or liquid Stevia which comes in a myriad of flavors, but avoid processed sugar like the plague.

Some examples of food-sources of Prebiotics:

  • bananas
  • cold potatoes
  • milk
  • dandelion greens
  • legumes (beans)
  • chickory root
  • artichokes
  • garlic
  • onions
  • leeks
  • asparagus
  • barley
  • oats
  • apples
  • cocoa
  • burdock root
  • seaweed

All of these contain inulin which is an oligosaccharide or type of sugar molecule that is hard to break down so it can travel into your colon. Once there it becomes food for bacteria (probiotics). https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/probiotics-and-prebiotics#section5

Some examples of food-sources for Probiotics:

  • yogurt
  • kefir (daily & non-dairy)
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha tea
  • Some types of pickles (non-pasteurized).
  • Other pickled vegetables (non-pasteurized).

Regarding pro and prebiotic supplements, there are many varieties and types. Get probiotics that are refrigerated as they have live cultures in them. 

Also, look for probiotic supplements that are designed to carry the bacteria all the way to your large intestine for better effects, while others probably won’t survive stomach acid.

And, the Health line article cautions that some should not take a probiotic, or who may feel worse after taking them, such as people with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or people sensitive to ingredients in the supplement. For these issues, work with a practitioner to find the right strains.

My LLMD has been utilizing both in his treatment for Lyme/MSIDS patients and he reports that he has far fewer patients suffering with gut issues now – even while using antibiotics.

The Importance of Gut Health to Healing From Chronic Illnesses Podcast- Dr. Jill Carnahan

https://livingwithlyme.us/episode-63-the-importance-of-gut-health-to-healing-from-chronic-illnesses/

Episode 63: The Importance of Gut Health to Healing from Chronic Illnesses

Cindy Kennedy, FNP, is joined by Dr. Jill Carnahan, who discusses the importance of gut health in order to heal from chronic illnesses. She offers an insight into candida and its role in “Gut Dysbiosis.”Dr. Carnahan completed her residency at the University of Illinois Program in Family Medicine at Methodist Medical Center. In 2006 she was voted by faculty to receive the Resident Teacher of the Year award and elected to Central Illinois 40 Leaders Under 40. She received her medical degree from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago and her Bachelor of Science degree in Bio-Engineering at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. She is dually board-certified in Family Medicine and Integrative Holistic Medicine. In 2008, Dr. Carnahan’s vision for health and healing resulted in the creation of Methodist Center for Integrative Medicine in Peoria, Illinois, where she served as the Medical Director for two years. In 2010, she founded Flatiron Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado, where she practices functional medicine with medical partner, Dr. Robert Rountree, author and expert speaker.

Dr. Carnahan is also 10-year survivor of breast cancer and Crohn’s disease and passionate about teaching patients how to “live well” and thrive in the midst of complex and chronic illness. She is also committed to teaching other physicians how to address underlying cause of illness rather than just treating symptoms through the principles of functional medicine. She is a prolific writer, speaker, and loves to infuse others with her passion for health & healing!

If you would like to read more about Dr. Carnahan, visit www.drcarnahan.com.

________________

For more:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/10/24/herbs-habits-to-revive-your-gut/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/08/15/whats-the-best-diet-for-lyme-disease-dr-rawls/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/01/12/sibo-clinical-implications-natural-therapeutic-options/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/02/19/germs-in-your-gut-are-talking-to-your-brain-scientists-want-to-know-what-theyre-saying/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/03/29/cochrane-review-probiotics-reduce-c-diff-by-70-in-high-risk-patients-taking-antibiotics/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/09/15/prebiotics-probiotics-do-they-really-work-for-gut-health/

 

How to Detox Naturally For Healthy Aging

https://vitalplan.com/blog/how-to-detox-naturally-for-healthy-aging?

how-to-detox-naturally-healthy-aging

How to Detox Naturally for Healthy Aging

By Beth Janes Posted 03-15-2019

Environmental toxins have always posed a risk to humans, even thousands of years ago. Back then, it was things like molds and other dangerous bacteria and viruses, poisonous berries and other plants, snake venom, or the sting of a jellyfish that had the biggest potential to make people ill or even kill them.

Now, however, those naturally-occurring toxins are the least of our problems. Instead, our modern world is overrun with toxins and toxicants — the proper term for man-made toxins — which are harder to avoid and much more insidious than natural ones ever were.

Some estimates suggest that more than 200,000 man-made chemicals now exist, most of which have only been developed in the past 100 years or so, says Dr. Bill Rawls, M.D., Medical Director of Vital Plan. And we’re exposed to many of them every day in the air we breathe, the food and drinks we consume, and what has contact with our skin. Here’s just a taste of what’s on that list:

  • Pollution from cars and industrial processes include particulate matter, ozone gas, and benzene.
  • Indoors, chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are commonly released from household items like carpet, paint, and cleaning solutions.
  • In the average American diet, you’ll find pesticide and herbicide residue, BPA or other chemicals from plastics that can leach into food, plus heavy metals and arsenic in water.
  • The many personal care products we use, often with the intention of making skin and hair more healthy, can contain endocrine disruptors that have been linked to a variety of cancers.
  • Traffic jams, work deadlines, and other pressures easily trigger toxic chronic stress.
  • Refined carbohydrates, highly processed sugars and manipulated fats can also be toxic to humans’ otherwise relatively primitive systems, which were designed to run on simple plants, barks, herbs and fresh, clean water.

All of these toxins and toxicants negatively impact health on many different fronts, but one of the most serious is how they accelerate or interfere with aging. In fact, research now shows that environmental toxins play a significant role in what’s called external aging, according to a recent review in the journal Trends in Molecular Medicine. That’s the type of aging that’s driven by external factors, as opposed to the genetic and internal ones we can’t control.

As tempting as it is to want to isolate and target the worst culprits on the toxic list, there’s not necessarily one or even a few that you can vilify over others, says Dr. Rawls. “It’s all of them together — it’s this high level of insidious toxins that has never been here before on earth,” he explains. “Because our ancestors didn’t deal with them, our bodies don’t have the genetic memory or ability to properly tolerate or process all of the toxins that we’re now bombarded with daily.”

But all is not lost: It is possible to minimize toxins’ impact and significantly decelerate aging — and naturally, to boot. Here’s how.

How Cells Age — and How Toxins Interfere

How Cells Age — and How Toxins Interfere

To understand how modern toxins interfere with the aging process, it helps to first know how the body ages normally. “We are a collection of cells, and each cell is specialized to take care of other cells,” Dr. Rawls explains. “When a critical number of cells, or cells from a key organ like our lungs or heart, get sick or old or die — that’s what aging and illness is in a nutshell.”

That happens naturally over time when mitochondria, cells’ power generators, burn out, which causes cells to die or produce less healthy cells that don’t function properly. It also happens when cells are no longer able to properly communicate and coordinate with their 10 trillion peers, which all come from 200 different groups.

“That cellular coordination is remarkably important,” says Dr. Rawls. “When it doesn’t happen, the body starts breaking down and functions stop working — that’s also illness and aging.”

In many ways, our bodies aren’t that different than a machine, and just like components of a machine, our cells and systems eventually stop working as well. Toxins, however, can cause the aging of cells and breakdown of cellular communication to happen sooner than it would otherwise. “Environmental toxins strangle or suffocate or damage cells, or they disrupt chemical messengers so cells aren’t communicating, and so the body breaks down,” Dr. Rawls says.

For example, just as herbicides and pesticides mess with the chemical messenger channels in weeds and insects, they can also disrupt those in humans (which are surprisingly similar), says Dr. Rawls. Chemicals in plastics and in pesticides, meanwhile, may mimic hormones in the body. Not only does that affect signaling, it can throw your body’s hormonal balance out of whack and potentially contribute to hormonally-active cancers.

Other toxins may act as free radicals, causing inflammation and damage to cell membranes or blood vessels, Dr. Rawls says. That’s the case with many air pollutants from cars and industrial processes. When you breathe them in, they flood your respiratory and cardiovascular systems and can pass into your bloodstream.

These free radical-like toxins can interact with nerve endings, too, which then allow them to disrupt your nervous system. In fact, studies have found a clear link between high levels of airborne toxins in the environment and early death from all causes, but particularly heart disease. Decreased lung function and increased hospital admissions were also shown to be more common among those who live and work in the polluted areas.

Toxins may also directly damage DNA, the blueprint that cells use to make new cells. When that happens, the new, abnormal cells may die off — or they may continue reproducing damaged, diseased, or dysfunctional cells. For example, DNA in skin cells directly absorbs photons from UV light, which then leads to skin wrinkling and increased risk for skin cancer. Research even suggests exposure to certain toxins in pesticides and elsewhere may change DNA in a way that contributes to disease not only for those exposed, but also to their offspring and subsequent generations.

That’s all pretty scary stuff, but the good news is that you aren’t powerless. “The great thing about where we are now, is that we know more about the effects of these toxins than ever before, and we have more choices that let us better avoid or deal with them,” Dr. Rawls says.

How to Detox Naturally

Along with reducing your exposure to the more obvious and well-known toxins — such as steering clear of cigarette and cigar smoke, avoiding household chemicals, and reducing your use of plastic containers — here’s how to best protect yourself against invisible, insidious toxin exposure and equip your body to naturally filter them out and reduce the potential damage.

1. Fill Half Your Plate with Vegetables and/or Fruit

“No matter what the issue is, when it comes to improving health, the answer will almost always include eating more plants,” Dr. Rawls says. But as far as detox goes, there are specific ways veggies can help.

For one, many modern toxins are fat soluble, and, unlike meat, plants generally don’t have a lot of fat in which to store toxins. Many fruits and some veggies also have protective peels that help limit their load, plus you can find many affordable organicoptions.

People who eat a lot of produce also tend to not have excessive amounts of body fat that can store toxins. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cabbage in particular also help ensure proper functioning of your liver, which is one of your body’s main detox centers, Dr. Rawls says. Vegetables’ fiber plays a key role, too.

“After your liver processes a toxin to make it water soluble, it’s secreted into bile, where the molecules then need something to bind to in order to exit your body,” Dr. Rawls says. “Vegetable fiber does that better than any other type.”

Indeed, fiber intake was closely tied to what researchers called “successful aging,” according to a study in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. The researchers found that people who ate a lot of fiber were 80% less likely to have hypertension, diabetes, dementia, depression, and a functional disability.

Vegetables also ensure cell membranes are their healthiest, and these membranes are what let nutrients in and help keep toxins out. “All the fat you eat ends up in cell membranes,” Dr. Rawls explains. “If you’re eating mostly saturated fat from meat and fried foods, membranes become stiff like lard.”

Plus, fried food can actually be a toxin all on its own; cooking fat or oil over extremely high heat turns it into free radicals. “So what you’re doing then is lacing cell membranes with damaging free radicals,” he says. One study in the journal British Medical Journal found that post-menopausal women who ate one or more servings of fried food a day had an 8% higher risk of dying during the study period. The risk rose to 13% for those who ordered up fried chicken daily.

A healthy plant-based diet also contributes to a healthy vascular system and good blood flow, which also helps move toxins out of your body, Dr. Rawls adds. Bottom line: “What we eat influences aging down to the cellular level, as well as our ability to flush out toxins.”

2. Try Detoxifying Herbs and Natural Ingredients

“Everyone wants one simple detox product, but most of what’s available cause only a laxative effect,” Dr. Rawls says. “When people get constipated, they build up loads of bad bacteria in their gut, and when they get rid of it, they feel better. But those products are not actually helping remove toxins.”

One that is at the top of his list: Chlorella. A nutrient-rich freshwater green algae, chlorella is rich in chlorophyll, a pigment with antioxidant properties that binds to toxins and helps usher them out of your system.

He also points to herbs that support healthy liver function, which is highly involved in processing toxins so your body can remove them. “Herbs like milk thistle and burdock root, as well as andrographis are at the top of the list because they help protect liver cells,” Dr. Rawls says. Milk thistle, for example, contains a potent antioxidant compound that has been shown beneficial in liver disease, as well as for protecting against liver toxins and reducing liver inflammation, according to a review in Lancet Oncology.

Another herb to consider: Glutathione, an essential antioxidant found in many plants and our own bodies. Glutathione plays a key role in liver function, especially during the first stage of toxin removal — when the liver transforms the toxin from fat soluble to water soluble so it can be excreted, Dr. Rawls says.

Studies suggest glutathione can be beneficial for the liver, with a recent study in BMC Gastroenterology even showing it may help those with non-fatty liver disease. What’s notable here, though, is that along with supporting liver function, glutathione also helps protect cell mitochondria from free radical damage that contributes to aging.

Berberine and other bitter herbs that support healthy digestion also help your body detox and support healthy aging. They work by ensuring proper removal of toxins through stools, plus promote healthy, balanced gut flora. And a healthy balance of gut bugs means a strong immune system — upwards of 70% of our immune system lives in our gut — which helps strengthen your defenses against disease.

3. Get Enough Sleep

Not only does sleep help diffuse stress and its toxic effects, it is essential for your body to rid itself of toxic materials and waste. “Deep, stage-3 sleep is when your body is able to detox most effectively, and when it works the hardest to get rid of toxins,” Dr. Rawls says.

One recent study in the journal Science Advances showed how this works when it comes to the brain and toxic proteins that can build up and that have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers found that deep sleep sets up the ideal environment for your body’s glymphatic system to work optimally. The glymphatic system is your brain’s specialized waste removal system, which uses the flow of cerebrospinal fluid to “cleanse” away toxic junk.

If you struggle with occasional sleeplessness, herbs and other natural ingredients can help here, too. A few to consider:

  • Montmorency tart cherries: They’re a natural source of melatonin, a sleep-signalling hormone. Levels are low, but you don’t need much to initiate sleep, says Dr. Rawls, and in fact the high levels (>3mg) found in many supplements may actually disrupt your normal sleep-wake cycle.
  • Magnesium: More than half of Americans don’t get enough of this essential mineral, a shortfall that’s been linked with poor sleep quality. Plus, magnesium helps promote calm and relaxation, which naturally lends to better sleep. Look for it in magnesium glycinate form, which is more easily absorbed by the body.
  • Ashwagandha and l-theanine: If stress is what’s keeping you up, consider these herbs. They can help balance the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, which regulates stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline so you’re better able to manage stress in the face of it.
  • Bacopa, passionflower, and motherwort: Especially when taken together, these three herbs help promote a calm mind and support normal, healthy sleep.

4. Drink Plenty of (Filtered) Water

Filtering your tap H2O is a no-brainer for limiting exposure to all sorts of metals and toxic substances. For example, as many as 56 million Americans in 25 states may be drinking tap water with unsafe arsenic levels, according to the U.S. Natural Resources Defense Council.

But along with arsenic, a known carcinogen, tap water can contain trace amounts of medications, heavy metals, and other toxins that can mess with natural hormones. Bottled water, however, isn’t the answer since it may not be filtered, plus has the added risk of potentially containing BPA, a hormone-disrupting toxin in many plastics, according to a paper in the The British Medical Journal.

Just as important as filtering your water is to be sure you’re drinking enough. Adequate hydration helps flush toxins out of your system through urine, but also by keeping your GI function regular, which is another exit point for toxins, Dr. Rawls says. Check out your urine for clues as to whether you’re sipping sufficiently — it should be light yellow, like lemonade.

5. Cut Way Back on Sugar

“Excess sugar is toxic in a variety of ways,” Dr. Rawls says. First, excessive sugar promotes the growth of abnormal or pathogenic bacteria in the gut. Those gut microbes can actually create toxins that stimulate and agitate the brain, which then affects sleep and hormone levels and sets off a domino effect that impacts health and longevity at every stage, Dr. Rawls says.

Excess glucose in particular accelerates aging since it sticks to proteins in the body, which “gums up the works,” Dr. Rawls says. “Proteins make all functions in cells possible, and when you load the body with glucose, it sticks to the proteins and causes them to collapse.” One of the most visible signs of too much sugar, for example, is skin wrinkling. That’s because collagen — skin’s main support structure — is primarily made of protein.

But that’s not the only way too much sugar can be toxic. The more you eat, the more your body will become resistant to the insulin that moves glucose out of your blood and to cells that use it for energy. That can lead to elevated levels of both insulin and blood glucose, which have been linked in studies to cellular aging, including in the brain. Meanwhile, other research has found that those who eat a lot of sugar are at higher risk of dying of cardiovascular diseases, reports a study in JAMA Internal Medicine.

6. Stay Physically Active

“One of the best ways to get rid of heavy metals in your body is through exercise,” Dr. Rawls says. “It increases blood flow and promotes sweat, which is a key way your body detoxes; I think of it as blowing out your pipes.” In fact, research suggests that people exposed to higher levels of metals may sweat out just as many toxins as they release through urine, according to a review in the Journal of Environmental Public Health.

Exercise is also the most effective way to manage stress and help encourage quality sleep. “That’s important, because stress and lack of sleep disrupt hormones, which then interferes with your ability to get rid of toxins,” Dr. Rawls says. So try to be moderately active every day, by walking frequently throughout the day or using a bike to commute. And if you can regularly work up a sweat, even better.

7. Turn to Nature’s Air Purifiers

A number of plants are known to be especially effective at scrubbing indoor air of pollutants, reports a paper in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. While all plants will help to some extent, try filling your home with air-purifying all-stars shown to significantly lower indoor levels of VOCs, including areca, lady and bamboo palms, English ivy, Boston ferns, peace lily and Ficus.

Likewise, when you’re outdoors, try to spend as much time as possible in naturally green areas and away from major roads and highways. Research suggests lusher landscapes help mitigate the effects of climate change, including improving air quality and reducing your exposure to airborne toxins. One review found decreased risk of mortality among those subjects who lived in the greenest areas.

What’s more, spending time amidst nature also significantly reduces stress, according to a study in Behavioral Sciences. If you can’t escape the city, at least seek out parks for a daily dose of nature. Research suggests urban parks and green spaces improve air quality and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, mortality, and diabetes, according to a review chapter in the book Nature-Based Solutions to Climate Change Adaptation in Urban Areas.

8. Be Sun Safe

While most toxins do their dirty work inside your body and in ways you can’t see, ultraviolet rays from the sun age you prematurely in very visible ways: Over time, they cause skin to wrinkle, make it less elastic, and trigger hyperpigmentation (brown spots) plus rough, dry skin texture.

Researchers who studied 183 sets of twins proved just how aging sun damage can be. The twins who had had more sun exposure and a history of outdoor activities and lack of sunscreen all looked significantly older compared to their more sun-safe sibling. Ultraviolet rays are also known carcinogens that can increase your risk of skin cancer, Dr. Rawls says.

You needn’t become a vampire who ventures out only at night, however. To protect yourself, simply practice sun-safe behaviors:

  • Avoid being outdoors in the sun when rays are strongest, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Wear protective clothing, a wide-brim hat, and sunglasses.
  • Apply a non-toxic sunscreen to exposed skin. Look for those that list zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as active ingredients, which are inert minerals that block rays, providing natural SPF.

Ultimately, it’s impossible to completely avoid the influx of modern-day toxins and their aging effects. But with these tips, you can certainly lessen your exposure and mitigate their negative effects now and years down the road as you enter and enjoy your golden years.

References
1. Sorrentino, Jessica A. et al. “Defining the toxicology of aging.” Trends in Molecular Medicine. 2014 July; 20:7 P375-384
2. University of Michigan School of Public Health, Environmental Health Fact Sheet. 2013, November. “Air Pollution and Oxidative Stress.” Retrieved from http://mleead.umich.edu/files/Air-Pollution-and-Oxidative-Stress.pdf
3. Kelly, Frank J. “Oxidative stress: Its role in air pollution and adverse health effects.” Occupational & Environmental Medicine. 003;60:612-616
4. Ueda, K. “Effect of environmental chemicals on the genes and the gene expression.” Yakugaku Zasshi: Journal of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan. 2009 Dec;129(12):1501-6.
5. Manikkam, Mohan et al. “Pesticide Methoxychlor Promotes the Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Adult-Onset Disease through the Female Germline.” PLoS One. 2014 Jul 24;9(7):e102091.
6. Gopinath, B. et al. “Association Between Carbohydrate Nutrition and Successful Aging Over 10 Years.” The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 2016 Oct;71(10):1335-40.
7. Kmietowicz, Zosia. “Fried food linked to increased risk of death among older US women.” BMJ. 2019; 364:1362
8. MacMillan, Amanda. “What’s in your drinking water?” NRDC. 2017, May 02. Retrieved from http://www.nrdc.org/water/drinking/qarsenic.asp
9. Kerr, Jonathan R. “Bottled water for all, all the time?” BMJ2016;352:i1214
10. Harvard Medical School, Blavatnik Institute, Neurobiology, newsletter. “Sugar on the Brain.” Retrieved from http://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard-mahoney-neuroscience-institute/brain-newsletter/and-brain-series/sugar-and-brain
11. Yang, Quanhe et al. “Added Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality Among US Adults.” JAMA Internal Medicine. 2014;174(4):516-524.
12. Sears, Margaret E. et al. “Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury in Sweat: A Systematic Review.” Journal of Environmental and Public Health. 2012; 2012: 184745.
13. Claudio, Luz. “Planting Healthier Indoor Air.” Environmental Health Perspectives. 2011 Oct; 119(10): a426–a427.
14. James, Peter et al. “Exposure to greenness and mortality in a nationwide prospective cohort study of women.” Environmental Health Perspectives. 2016: Sep
15. Ewert, Alan and Chang, Yun. “Levels of Nature and Stress Response.” Behavioral Sciences. 2018 May; 8(5): 49.
16. Braubach M., et al 2017. “Effects of Urban Green Space on Environmental Health, Equity and Resilience.” In: Kabisch N., Korn H., Stadler J., Bonn A. (eds) Nature-Based Solutions to Climate Change Adaptation in Urban Areas. Theory and Practice of Urban Sustainability Transitions. Springer, Chem
17. Guyuron, B. et al. “Factors contributing to the facial aging of identical twins.” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 2009 Apr;123(4):1321-31.
18. Hablitz, Lauren M. et al. “Increased glymphatic influx is correlated with high EEG delta power and low heart rate in mice under anesthesia.” Science Advances. 27 Feb 2019:5, 2, eaav5447
19. Siegel, Abby B. and Stebbing, Justin. “Milk thistle: early seeds of potential.” Lancet Oncology. 2013 Sep; 14(10): 929–930.
20. Honda, Yasushi et al. “Efficacy of glutathione for the treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: an open-label, single-arm, multicenter, pilot study.” BMC Gastroenterology. 2017; 17: 96.
21. Wallace TC, McBurney M, Fulgoni VL, 3rd. Multivitamin/mineral supplement contribution to micronutrient intakes in the United States, 2007-2010. J Am Coll Nutr. 2014;33(2):94-102.

__________________

For more:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2015/12/06/tips-for-newbies/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/01/26/lyme-herxheimer-reactions-dr-rawls/

 

 

 

Antibiotics & Lyme: Everything You Need to Know

https://www.bca-clinic.de/en/antibiotics-and-lyme-disease-everything-you-need-to-know/

Antibiotics And Lyme Disease: Everything You Need To Know

 

Antibiotics are often the default treatment path for many doctors when it comes to Lyme disease. However, they are not always effective. Lyme disease is a complicated disorder that we don’t yet fully understand. Yes, antibiotics work to a certain degree, but in some cases they don’t fully eradicate the disease, leading to years of debilitating symptoms for patients. So when are antibiotics effective, which types are effective, and in cases where they fail to get rid of the Lyme bacteria, what happens? These aren’t easy questions to answer, as much Lyme disease knowledge is still murky at best. However, it’s important to try to understand exactly how antibiotics and Lyme disease work in tandem.

Firstly, let’s look at when they are effective. Lyme disease can be broadly split into two stages: acute and chronic. Acute Lyme lasts for a few weeks, and is easily identifiable by the presence of a bullseye rash. This distinctive Lyme symptom is present in the majority of cases in the initial stages of the disease, and is one of the best indicators available to doctors and patients alike. If the condition is presented to a medical professional in the acute stages, Lyme disease can almost always be eradicated by antibiotics. Successful treatment is usually achieved by a short course of oral antibiotics, namely doxycycline or amoxicillin. However, if this acute stage of the disease is missed and it progresses to the chronic stage, antibiotics alone will not be enough to fight off the disorder.

Many doctors prescribe antibiotics for patients who have a diagnosis of Lyme disease.

Chronic Lyme disease is a much more diverse and complicated condition than acute Lyme. This is because inflammation also plays a significant role in the symptoms. Many doctors follow the traditional line of thinking that Lyme, being caused by the presence of bacteria, can be treated successfully using synthetic microbes (i.e. antibiotics), like many other conditions and diseases. While this reasoning may be structurally sound, it doesn’t take into account the body’s own reaction to the bacteria, and how that can kickstart a whole set of new and debilitating symptoms. On top of that, individuals will have different reactions to the borrelia bacteria, depending on their constitution. Lyme disease is not a one-size-fits-all condition like the flu, which has very little variance in its symptoms on a person-to-person level.

The symptoms of chronic Lyme vary wildly, but usually include joint pain, muscle pain, aches, soreness and a chronic sense of fatigue. All these symptoms are a result of the immune system’s response to the bacteria. For some reason, the immune system goes into overdrive when faced with a long-term borrelia infection, resulting in severely debilitating symptoms, even when the actual presence of the bacteria may be minimal. Obviously, antibiotics administered at this point will have zero effect on inflammation symptoms, as they are the body’s own doing. Yet Lyme-illiterate doctors will often insist on antibiotics as the only treatment path for chronic Lyme disease, if they believe the diagnosis at all (chronic Lyme is still not officially recognised by the CDC).

Treating chronic Lyme requires a more nuanced touch. The medical staff at BCA-clinic in Augsburg, Germany, have been experts in Lyme disease for a long time. Their approach to treatment is designed to tackle both the inflammation and infection symptoms of the disease. The first thing to do is test the patient to see what the ratio of inflammation and infection actually is. Some people might have a lot of inflammation and only traces of a bacterial infection, while some others might have the complete opposite. Successful Lyme disease treatment constitutes knowing the difference between the two, and responding accordingly. Antibiotics are only half of the approach here, as they solely deal with infection. For the inflammatory symptoms, herbal supplements and diet adjustments are necessary.

Antibiotics can be helpful in fighting chronic Lyme, but they really only deal with the infection side of the disease, not the inflammation.

Borrelia bacteria have been proven to be surprisingly resistant to antibiotic treatment. If they are left in the system, they can adapt to survive the natural immune response, as well as tolerating various forms of common antibiotic. Borrelia exists in two separate forms: the spirochete and the ‘cell wall’ variant, sometimes known as the ‘cyst’ form. Under stress, the spirochete will adapt to the cyst form, making it much more resistant to antibiotics. It is likely that the majority of chronic Lyme sufferers have both borrelia forms present in their systems at any given time. Therefore, it is crucial to combine antibiotics in order to attack the bacteria from all angles. This requires an experienced medical professional who is well-versed in Lyme; unfortunately, many doctors are not.

It’s important to back up any heavy antibiotic use with a probiotic, in order to keep your gut healthy. Knowing how long to stay on a course of a particular antibiotic is also necessary. If you suspect you have chronic Lyme disease, getting help from an expert in the field should be paramount. The disease can affect people for many years, and is very hard to treat if you don’t know what you’re doing. While antibiotics are an important component, they are not totally reliable in every case. When it comes to chronic Lyme, they should be used as part of a broader treatment process.

_____________________

**Comment**

A few points:

  1. There is legitimate science behind antibiotics killing pathogens which is why it is a “default.”
  2. The jury’s really still out on whether or not acute cases are “cured” by short-term antibiotics. According to Microbiologist Tom Greer, treatment failures have been documented since the beginning. Who’s to say a person treated early doesn’t go on to develop arthritis or even mental illness and never connects the dots to a past Lyme/MSIDS infection? The M.D. who wrote this thinks we should be concerned:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/06/10/the-coming-pandemic-of-lyme-dementia/
  3. There are various reasons why antibiotics sometimes do not work. Until this is teased out, there is a lot that remains unknown. We know the organisms are stealthy and evade treatment, and I don’t believe that’s just in the case of antibiotics. Also, there are nuances with antibiotic treatment that most doctors aren’t privy to. For more on this see:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/02/13/lyme-disease-treatment/. Also, for an informative video by Dr. Burrascano, a well known and experienced Lyme literate doctor, see: https://www.ilads.org/dr-burrascano-happy-holidays/?. Drug blood levels are crucial and need to be addressed. I highlight the 40 minute video where he discusses treatment nuances here:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/02/22/why-mainstream-lyme-msids-research-remains-in-the-dark-ages/.  I’ve seen a lot of patients through the years and the ones that do the poorest are those that have tried alternative things for years, unwilling to even try antibiotics, and those who have used antibiotics indiscriminately. What I mean by that is they’ve been given the CDC mono-therapy of doxycycline for long periods of time without consideration of and treatment for the various forms of Lyme or coinfections. Doxy, while a great front-line drug that works against many of the pathogens will not work against some – like Babesia for instance. Also, in my opinion, there are some doctors who have not taken a holistic approach and have neglected key aspects of treatment like detoxification and gut health. To steal a quote from Dr. Burrascano, “Now is the time for pristine health habits.” This illness will test your metal in every way, shape, and form.  Learn ALL you can to improve your immune system, but let me be clear – antibiotics DO kill things.  It’s proven. Lyme/MSIDS finds and uses your weaknesses against you. The best thing you can do is find out and address your weaknesses.
  4. If you study the Lyme organism, you realize that it is pleomorphic and certain antibiotics (doxycycline) will only address certain forms – potentially leaving other forms to emerge later. This is a real concern.  I think it folly to use the mono-therapy on anyone – acute or chronic. Researcher Eva Sapi has shown that high doses of doxy actually throws the spirochete into the non-cell wall form: https://www.dovepress.com/evaluation-of-in-vitro-antibiotic-susceptibility-of-different-morpholo-peer-reviewed-article-IDR. My main concern is the potential for this to be happening to folks treated early with only doxy.  While this author states there are only 2 forms of the bacteria, there are actually 4 and effective treatment takes this into account:
  5. Once infected, a person should be on the look-out for future symptoms and work with an experienced practitioner that understands the nature of the organisms involved.
  6. What IS murky is the Bull’s-eye rash criteria that’s been used for decades keeping thousands from a proper diagnosis. The percentage who gets it varies wildly (27-80%) clearly demonstrating the need for better markers. While those who DO have the rash HAVE Lyme disease, those who DON’T – CAN ALSO HAVE Lyme disease.  I can’t be any clearer.
  7. Some antibiotics DO address inflammation:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/06/04/minocycline-for-ms-and-much-more/.  Mino was one of the most effective drugs for me as it crosses the blood/brain barrier, kills pathogens AND addresses inflammation. Another thing that really has been a game-changer for me is MSM:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/03/02/dmso-msm-for-lyme-msids/. Interesting note: MSM did nothing while I was in full-fledged treatment. It was only AFTER treatment that this seemed to help. I noticed a 70% reduction in pain within a week and had nearly none in a month’s time.  Also, consider systemic enzymes for their anti-inflammatory properties:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/04/22/systemic-enzymes/. Interestingly, these also only worked after treatment for me. Also consider LDN & CBD oil:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/12/18/ldn/, https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/02/10/the-endocannabinoid-system-and-the-important-role-it-plays-in-human-health/
  8. In sum, treating this complex illness will be one of the most challenging things you’ve ever done. Partner with an experienced practitioner and learn all you can. Bring ideas to the table if you feel them worth consideration. Feeling overwhelmed is part of this process but if you learn one thing every day by the end of the year, you’ve learned 365 new things!  Keep an open mind and talk to others. While what they’ve done may or may not work for you, you’ve learned something that may help someone else, and develop the attitude that you are willing to try everything and the kitchen sink if it works.
Chin up. You can do this!  

 

Cochrane Review – Probiotics Reduce C-diff By 70% in High Risk Patients Taking Antibiotics

https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD006095.pub4/abstract

Probiotics for the prevention of Clostridium difficile‐associated diarrhea in adults and children

Abstract

Background

Antibiotics can disturb gastrointestinal microbiota which may lead to reduced resistance to pathogens such as Clostridium difficile (C. difficile). Probiotics are live microbial preparations that, when administered in adequate amounts, may confer a health benefit to the host, and are a potential C. difficile prevention strategy. Recent clinical practice guidelines do not recommend probiotic prophylaxis, even though probiotics have the highest quality evidence among cited prophylactic therapies.

Objectives

To assess the efficacy and safety of probiotics for preventing C.difficile‐associated diarrhea (CDAD) in adults and children.

Search methods

We searched PubMed, EMBASE, CENTRAL, and the Cochrane IBD Group Specialized Register from inception to 21 March 2017. Additionally, we conducted an extensive grey literature search.

Selection criteria

Randomized controlled (placebo, alternative prophylaxis, or no treatment control) trials investigating probiotics (any strain, any dose) for prevention of CDAD, or C. difficile infection were considered for inclusion.

Data collection and analysis

Two authors (independently and in duplicate) extracted data and assessed risk of bias. The primary outcome was the incidence of CDAD. Secondary outcomes included detection of C. difficile infection in stool, adverse events, antibiotic‐associated diarrhea (AAD) and length of hospital stay. Dichotomous outcomes (e.g. incidence of CDAD) were pooled using a random‐effects model to calculate the risk ratio (RR) and corresponding 95% confidence interval (95% CI). We calculated the number needed to treat for an additional beneficial outcome (NNTB) where appropriate. Continuous outcomes (e.g. length of hospital stay) were pooled using a random‐effects model to calculate the mean difference and corresponding 95% CI. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to explore the impact of missing data on efficacy and safety outcomes. For the sensitivity analyses, we assumed that the event rate for those participants in the control group who had missing data was the same as the event rate for those participants in the control group who were successfully followed. For the probiotic group, we calculated effects using the following assumed ratios of event rates in those with missing data in comparison to those successfully followed: 1.5:1, 2:1, 3:1, and 5:1. To explore possible explanations for heterogeneity, a priori subgroup analyses were conducted on probiotic species, dose, adult versus pediatric population, and risk of bias as well as a post hoc subgroup analysis on baseline risk of CDAD (low 0% to 2%; moderate 3% to 5%; high > 5%). The overall quality of the evidence supporting each outcome was independently assessed using the GRADE criteria.

Main results

Thirty‐nine studies (9955 participants) met the eligibility requirements for our review. Overall, 27 studies were rated as either high or unclear risk of bias. A complete case analysis (i.e. participants who completed the study) among trials investigating CDAD (31 trials, 8672 participants) suggests that probiotics reduce the risk of CDAD by 60%. The incidence of CDAD was 1.5% (70/4525) in the probiotic group compared to 4.0% (164/4147) in the placebo or no treatment control group (RR 0.40, 95% CI 0.30 to 0.52; GRADE = moderate). Twenty‐two of 31 trials had missing CDAD data ranging from 2% to 45%. Our complete case CDAD results proved robust to sensitivity analyses of plausible and worst‐plausible assumptions regarding missing outcome data and results were similar whether considering subgroups of trials in adults versus children, inpatients versus outpatients, different probiotic species, lower versus higher doses of probiotics, or studies at high versus low risk of bias. However, in a post hoc analysis, we did observe a subgroup effect with respect to baseline risk of developing CDAD. Trials with a baseline CDAD risk of 0% to 2% and 3% to 5% did not show any difference in risk but trials enrolling participants with a baseline risk of > 5% for developing CDAD demonstrated a large 70% risk reduction (interaction P value = 0.01). Among studies with a baseline risk > 5%, the incidence of CDAD in the probiotic group was 3.1% (43/1370) compared to 11.6% (126/1084) in the control group (13 trials, 2454 participants; RR 0.30, 95% CI 0.21 to 0.42; GRADE = moderate). With respect to detection of C. difficile in the stool pooled complete case results from 15 trials (1214 participants) did not show a reduction in infection rates. C. difficile infection was 15.5% (98/633) in the probiotics group compared to 17.0% (99/581) in the placebo or no treatment control group (RR 0.86, 95% CI 0.67 to 1.10; GRADE = moderate). Adverse events were assessed in 32 studies (8305 participants) and our pooled complete case analysis indicates probiotics reduce the risk of adverse events by 17% (RR 0.83, 95% CI 0.71 to 0.97; GRADE = very low). In both treatment and control groups the most common adverse events included abdominal cramping, nausea, fever, soft stools, flatulence, and taste disturbance.

Authors’ conclusions

Based on this systematic review and meta‐analysis of 31 randomized controlled trials including 8672 patients, moderate certainty evidence suggests that probiotics are effective for preventing CDAD (NNTB = 42 patients, 95% CI 32 to 58). Our post hoc subgroup analyses to explore heterogeneity indicated that probiotics are effective among trials with a CDAD baseline risk >5% (NNTB = 12; moderate certainty evidence), but not among trials with a baseline risk ≤5% (low to moderate certainty evidence). Although adverse effects were reported among 32 included trials, there were more adverse events among patients in the control groups. The short‐term use of probiotics appears to be safe and effective when used along with antibiotics in patients who are not immunocompromised or severely debilitated. Despite the need for further research, hospitalized patients, particularly those at high risk of CDAD, should be informed of the potential benefits and harms of probiotics.

 

What is Clostridium difficile‐associated diarrhea?

Antibiotics are among the most prescribed medications worldwide. Antibiotic treatment may disturb the balance of organisms that normally populate the gut. This can result in a range of symptoms, most notably, diarrhea. Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is a particularly dangerous organism that may colonize the gut if the normal healthy balance has been disturbed. Clostridium difficile‐related disease varies from asymptomatic infection, diarrhea, colitis, and pseudo‐membranous colitis to toxic megacolon and death. The cost of treatment is expensive and the financial burden on the medical system is substantial.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live organisms (bacteria or yeast) thought to improve the balance of organisms that populate the gut, counteracting potential disturbances to the gut microbial balance that are associated with antibiotic use, and reducing the risk of colonization by pathogenic bacteria. Probiotics can be found in dietary supplements or yogurts and are becoming increasingly available as capsules sold in health food stores and supermarkets. As ‘functional food’ or ‘good bacteria’, probiotics have been suggested as a means of both preventing and treating C. difficile‐associated diarrhea (CDAD).

What did the researchers investigate?

The researchers investigated whether probiotics prevent CDAD in adults and children receiving antibiotic therapy and whether probiotics causes any harms (side effects). The researchers searched the medical literature extensively up to 21 March 2017.

What did the researchers find?

This review includes 39 randomized trials with a total of 9955 participants. Thirty‐one studies (8672 participants) assessed the effectiveness of probiotics for preventing CDAD among participants taking antibiotics. Our results suggest that when probiotics are given with antibiotics the risk of developing CDAD is reduced by 60% on average. Among trials enrolling participants at high risk of developing CDAD (> 5%), the potential benefit of probiotics is more pronounced with a 70% risk reduction on average. Side effects were assessed in 32 studies (8305 participants) and our results suggest that taking probiotics does not increase the risk of developing side effects. The most common side effects reported in these studies include abdominal cramping, nausea, fever, soft stools, flatulence, and taste disturbance. The short‐term use of probiotics appears to be safe and effective when used along with antibiotics in patients who are not immunocompromised or severely debilitated. Despite the need for further research, hospitalized patients, particularly those at high risk of CDAD, should be informed of the potential benefits and harms of probiotics.

FREE Self-help Gut Health Bundle

https://promo.healthmeans.com/guthealth/?  Register Here

2019-03-08T18-05-38.002Z_d9cf3bb3-63ee-4954-844b-df8809dc8984_group_cover_photo

20 free expert talks and eBooks to help you heal SIBO, acid reflux, GERD, microbiome imbalances and more.

We’ve collected our top expert talks and eBooks to create this incredible, self-learning gut health bundle… for FREE!


Education about gut and microbiome health has never been as prevalent as it is now — in fact, it can be pretty overwhelming. Our gut health bundle will help you more easily explore dietary protocols, top supplements and probiotics, and the latest research on how genetics impact your biome.

We know it can be a struggle to find the time to learn from so many great health resources out there. Fortunately, these expert talks and eBooks are yours INDEFINITELY. Meaning, you’ll have access to learn from them at your own pace!

Learn incredible wisdom and insights from such well-known gut health experts as:

  • Dr. Partha Nandi
  • Shivan Sarna
  • Misty Williams
  • Donna Gates
  • Sayer Ji
  • Dr. Sarah Ballantyne
  • And more!

You’ll gain immediate access to the expert talks and eBooks, and retain access to them indefinitely — you can learn and make changes to your life at your own pace.

There’s no catch. No purchase required. No commitment necessary.

BONUS EBOOKS & GIFTS

Gut Recovery Recipes from Donna Gates
Low Sugar Desserts Cookbook from Partha Nandi
Healing Rosie’s Optimal Lab Tracker from Misty Williams
SIBO SOS® Cookbook from Shivan Sarna
Gut Health and Cannabidiol eBook from Rooted Apothecary
GreenMedInfo’s Science of Longevity eReport from Sayer Ji
The Leaky Gut Diet Plan from Kettle & Fire
123s of AIP eGuide from Sarah Ballantyne

 

What Does it Mean to Herx?

https://globallymealliance.org/what-does-it-mean-to-herx/?

MyLymeLife_2-4

by Jennifer Crystal

Sometimes when I’m describing tick-borne illness, I feel like I’m speaking a foreign language.

Most people have heard of Lyme disease—though too many mistakenly call it “Lyme’s” when there is actually no possessive form. I often get blank stares when I use words like babesia, ehrlichia, and bartonella. Another term that confuses people, even those who have been diagnosed with Lyme, is Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction, more commonly referred to as a Herx”.

A what? Bear with me.

Discovered by dermatologists Adolf Jarisch and Karl Herxheimer in their studies of syphilis—another illness like Lyme whose bacterium is a spirochete, meaning having a spiral shape—a Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction is an adverse response to toxins released by bacteria killed by antibiotics. In the case of Lyme disease, antibiotics sometimes kill spirochetes faster than the body can eliminate them. This means the patient is stuck with a backlog of dead bacteria which takes time to expel. The buildup of this toxic waste can make the patient feel much worse before it makes them feel better; their symptoms increase until their bodies can expel the dead spirochetes.

That’s one explanation of a Herxheimer reaction, but what does it feel like to actually have one?

When I started taking intravenous antibiotics, the first six weeks were awful. I’d expected the medicine to slowly clear up my symptoms the way antibiotics work, for example, on a sinus infection or simple bronchitis. But within a week of beginning treatment, I started feeling worse than I ever had before. My fatigue was as intense as it was when I first took ill. I felt a pulling sensation in my limbs stronger than I’d ever had before. I couldn’t find a comfortable position in bed because of all the the pains in my joints. Usually easy tasks like brushing my hair and washing dishes felt like workouts. My sleep became so heavy that my blood stopped circulating properly, and my limbs felt weighted. I wondered how I could still be alive when my body seemed so lifeless.

“This is great news,” my doctor said, paradoxically. “It means the medicine is working. Stay the course.”

My doctor said I was Herxing, meaning that the antibiotics were doing exactly what they were supposed to do.

“Once your body gets rid of that build up of dead bacteria, you’ll start to feel better.”

You may wonder how the bacteria gets eliminated. Some of it, especially the toxins from the parasitic tick-borne co-infection babesia, is sweated out. I’d wake two or three times a night completely soaked from head to toe, as if I’d just showered. The sweat felt slimy on my body, like a lotion or oil. I often had to change pajamas and sometimes even the sheets of my bed in the middle of the night.

But most dead spirochetes are eliminated as you might imagine: through the stool. I’d sit up in bed and suddenly feel a great urge for the bathroom. Once there, I’d barely get my nightgown raised and underwear down before my bowels exploded. The release came with the rush of diarrhea but the consistency was of foam noodles snaking out of me in long tubes. The toilet filled so quickly that I had to flush before continuing to go. The toilet steamed with hot dung the color of dead, hardened manure. The smell made me gag.

During my most intense Herxes, I ran to the bathroom upwards of ten times a day. I had to make sure to drink lots of electrolyte-enhanced water, to combat the dehydration brought on by night sweats and frequent elimination. I ate bananas to keep up my potassium levels. I spent a lot of time sleeping, or trying to sleep. During these periods my neurological symptoms would also worsen, because dead spirochetes were piling in my central nervous system, which for me meant insomnia or even hallucinatory nightmares.

The span of a Herx differs by patient. It depends on how you respond to treatment. How much bacteria do you have in your body to start with? Moreover,  how quickly can your body detox? For me, a Herx could last anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks. Then, I’d get a reprieve for a week or two, and then the cycle would start all over. Each time, the Herxheimer reaction was a little less intense, but shorter. You might feel like you’re dying when you’re having one, but in fact it’s actually the bacteria that is dying, and that’s really a good thing.

You can’t control how well your body will respond to antibiotics, but you can help the detox process. There are many theories on how to do so. Some Lyme Literate Medical Doctors (LLMDs) use actual detox protocols. What helped me the most was electrolyte- augmented water, decaffeinated green tea, and lemon juice. Talk to your LLMD about how you can best support your body during a detox, so that your Herxes aren’t so bad. And when you do have a Herx and someone asks, “What’s that?” just show them this article.


jennifer crystal

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.

Jennifer Crystal is a writer and educator in Boston. She has written a memoir about her journey with chronic tick borne illness, for which she is seeking representation. Contact her at: 

lymewarriorjennifercrystal@gmail.com

_________________

**Comment**

One of the hardest things to understand about this complex disease(es) is that you feel a whole lot worse before you feel better and this can take considerable time.  Managing the herx is a challenging job.  Many find sauna’s to be of great help.  I also found drinking lemon water, green tea, MSM, and taking enzymes helpful.  As Dr. Burrascano says, “Now is the time for pristine health habits.”

For more:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2015/08/15/herxheimer-die-off-reaction-explained/

https://www.lymedisease.org/lymesci-herxing/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/01/26/lyme-herxheimer-reactions-dr-rawls/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2015/12/06/tips-for-newbies/

Enzymes:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/04/22/systemic-enzymes/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/03/05/how-proteolytic-enzymes-may-help-lyme-msids/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/10/24/herbs-habits-to-revive-your-gut/

MSM – another detoxifier, gut support, & inflammation & pain reducer:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/03/02/dmso-msm-for-lyme-msids/