Sunday, May 17, 2015

A health revelation and hopefully the end of the mystery

Great news! I think I found the source of my health problems. So far, several days of a new probiotic have allowed me to start enjoying some of the healthy histamine foods that I had to eliminate. Even my boss said to stay on this probiotic, because I've been super creative and energetic at work. Fingers crossed that I simply had a gut dysbiosis and it's being fixed through diet and probiotics.

Look for PRO-Women: Probiotics for Women with Cranberry Extract & 100% Naturally Occurring D-Mannose. This is what finally seems to be restoring balance to me. I had to do a LOT of scouring the internet for answers. I had learned that histamine intolerance can be a result of gut dysbiosis (besides other causes) and that some strains of lactobacillus can produce more histamines (I'm looking at you, L. casei) while others help production of DAO, which breaks down histamines in the gut (love you, L. rhamnosus) and some can attack the protective shields of bad flora (thank you L. plantarum). This formula has the good guys, and don't let the low numbers fool you. It does deliver.

I've also learned that candida overgrowth symptoms match histamine intolerance symptoms exactly. Also, the candida elimination diet is almost identical to the low histamine diet. Coincidence? Maybe not. An overgrowth of candida will cause the body to produce histamines to destroy it and guess where those go--to the gut, the source of the problem. And candida overgrowth can cause leaky gut because of the way it breaks down the intestinal tissues. Guess what happens then--the body attacks the particles that drift into the bloodstream, causing the symptoms I've been feeling throughout my body.

On one website, I found it stated that candida proteins are very similar to gluten proteins. I'm not sure if that's true, but it would explain the gluten sensitivity. I used to be a sugar addict, which only feeds candida and bad flora, which also cause cravings for sweets in a vicious cycle. I've found that these probiotics and the children's version by Hyperbiotics (which I added to this because it includes B. infantis and which stepped up my feeling good even more)--PRO-Kids Children's Probiotics--curb my sugar cravings within hours of taking them. I won't go into boring details here of all that I've found on the internet. You can search it all yourself if you're having problems like I was.

However, I will say that dysbiosis, SIBO, and/or candida overgrowth all cause similar symptoms to histamine intolerance. I doubt I will ever tolerate gluten again, but it would seem that candida has gotten through my gut into my body to wreak havoc on it. I'll let the doctors confirm or deny that, but I do know that a restrictive diet has aided my health tremendously (particularly eliminating gluten and sweeteners and, at least for now, all sweet fruits). I was struggling with eating much variety of even healthy foods due to histamine reactions, but within 24 hours of my first dose of this probiotic, I was able to cut out the quercetin and add in at least one of the foods from the histamine-releasing food list without any of the adverse effects I was having. It's early in this experiment, so I'll take it a step at a time, but I'm hopeful that I'm getting closer to the source of my problems and that, in short time, my gut will heal from whatever damage I've caused it.

Two days ago, I returned to my favorite tea shop, because they have everything and I miss the place. I had to cut out tea because of histamines--any dried or cured food, including tea, is packed with them. They had a mix just for candida. That first cup, I could barely slowly sip a third of 16 oz. before the pain of histamine reaction was too much and I had to take two quercetin to get by. The next day, I went back and had another and drank down a full 16 oz. cup of the tea with barely a start of pain from histamines.

I'm also sauteeing my foods with lots of onion (a natural prebiotic for the good gut flora), which I love dearly, and fresh garlic cloves (a natural antifungal and immune booster as well as prebiotic). I'll stay on this for a few weeks. Whole, unprocessed foods are definitely the best medicine.

I'm so excited about all these discoveries, because it gives me renewed hope in being able to return to full health and a full variety of the fruits and veggies I love, rather than this tiny restrictive diet I've had to follow. Maybe I can even enjoy some chocolate again, just a little dark chocolate. Oh, bliss! What a reward that would be. I've felt so deprived and discouraged. I might have to avoid gluten for the rest of my life and avoid packaged foods, but at least I'll be healthy.

Maybe there's a reason for this happening--I've forced my whole family to eat better, cleaner. We're removing processed foods from our pantry and returning to the way my grandparents used to eat by cooking our meals from fresh veggies and meats and fruits.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the invasive tests I'm having done this week turn up nothing serious. Everything I've done for myself so far have been steps in the right direction but not enough. I'm hoping that I've solved the riddle of my own health crisis and that I can live out the rest of my life in good health, physically and mentally.

PS--Read Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain–for Life by David Perlmutter, M.D. (neurologist). This book is all about how what happens in our guts influences everything else in our bodies, including mental health, where my symptoms hit the hardest.

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