Brace yourselves, this is a long one.
For the last – almost 2 years, wow – I’ve been randomly cutting out foods and listening hard to my body’s response. Most of the reactions have been seemingly random. Some have been obvious looking back but not obvious at the time. This has been such a random and confusing process. My dad is doing the same thing as me as he seems to have a similar problem. I’ve been asked “how does this make sense?” more times than I can remember. And my response is always “I don’t know. I have no idea but maybe ______”. The blank has changed over the last couple of years.
Last September (2016) I got bronchitis badly enough that I needed to take antibiotics. It was turning into pneumonia. I had it for 3 weeks before I went to the doctor but I couldn’t breathe so Andrey forced me to go. I had a good period of time after that until I reintroduced white cabbage (sauerkraut for the probiotics). Then with the cabbage reaction I chose to take antibiotics (dapsone) to stop my skin issues from coming back. I went back on my antidepressants, dapsone, took gravol to sleep, took tylenol 3 for the pain, did everything I had been trying to avoid. And prescriptions helped the reaction not be as awful, it slowly went away and I stopped the medications again.
I found out I was pregnant at the very end of my cabbage reaction, late November. After that I had a period of almost 6 months of reacting to food I had originally ruled out as safe. This was very concerning. Could I be sensitizing myself by removing foods? Was this remission only for a period of time? Was this caused by the pregnancy?
I think I’ve figured it out. I initially blamed the pregnancy (as you can see in past blog posts), but I think it was at least partly the antibiotic use. I blasted myself with them in September and then in November and I think I destroyed all the progress I had made.
I think my problem is Candida overgrowth.
Here’s my thinking:
I started to react to sweet potatoes, asparagus, large quantities of broccoli, honey, the limited fruit I was eating. I cut out fish and turmeric because I couldn’t figure out what was causing my problems, and recently I’ve reintroduced them with no problems (YAY). What do all of those have in common? Sugar!
So when I realized that everything I was reacting to contained some amount of sugar I thought SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). Basically you’re supposed to have most of your bacteria in your large intestine, but if it’s in your small intestine it is really not good for you. It can cause bloating, stomach pain, and a whole host of other nasty symptoms (brain fog, depression, joint pain, etc).
But then I tried probiotics. ProbioMax, 100 billion CFU. That’s a lot of bacteria. If your gut is healthy it shouldn’t make you sick. I took it for 3 days and by the 4th day I was crying for no reason and my digestion was destroyed. My arthritis even started appearing again. My skin got itchy and then my face broke out. I started being smelly. I freaked out because I thought maybe it was a month-long reaction and I had just started feeling better (this was after my “I’m feeling better” blog post). Fortunately, after about a week and a half, I started feeling better and after 2 weeks I was back to feeling good again. Why would probiotics make me sick? (and this isn’t the first time, every time I’ve tried to reintroduce them this happen). Candida.
What is Candida?
- short answer, it’s a fungus that helps you digest sugar. If you have too much of it, it can cause a bunch of problems. It’s the normal cause of yeast infections.
How do you get an overgrowth of Candida?
- you take antibiotics – antibiotics kill the microbiome that is keeping your candida in check.
- you take hormonal birth control
- you take immune suppressants
- your diet is high in sugar
Kinda sounds like a problem most people could have. Anyways then I thought about my symptoms. Since cutting out fruit, if I eat fruit I feel drunk in about 10 minutes. Seriously. This often happens with yeast. Yeast produces ethanol when given sugar. So that makes a lot more sense than “grapes make me drunk haha (except not haha). Then I get mouth ulcers and arthritis and it hits my mood. When I was in grade 2 my mom noticed oranges made my arthritis worse. Nobody believed her but now I know oranges are really bad for my arthritis.
Turns out there’s something known as candida arthritis. Not one of my doctors took joint fluid samples. They just diagnosed me and put me on serious medication. But if they had, would they have found candida?
I had thrush when I was under the age of 2, right before arthritis started. Thrush can be caused by candida. I’ve also had yeast infections after I take antibiotics almost every time. But then I didn’t really have that issue for about 2 years… So I didn’t think about yeast.
Here’s a list of the symptoms of too much candida.
Now the problem with this theory is, tons of theories encompass all of the symptoms I’ve been suffering from. But I do seem to get better when I cut out all sugar.
Why could I tolerate some sugar but not others? (honey but not cane sugar)
- I’m going to have to wait to answer this. I don’t know.
Why did I get better when I was still eating some sugar?
- I was eating sweet potatoes, apples, pears, peaches, plums up until recently. I got better when I was still eating them, then with the two round of antibiotics I couldn’t handle them anymore.
- Maybe I killed off the microbiome I was regrowing with the antibiotics and I had a regrowth in Candida?
- Dad never got 100% better with the original diet. He got 80% better but not 100%.
I tried a candida diet about 4 years ago. Why didn’t that help?
- I went to a naturopath (this was when I thought they were full of it) and he suggested Candida was my problem. I didn’t believe him at all but I still tried the diet to make my mom happy. I didn’t cheat. It was known as a candida diet and it did absolutely nothing. Maybe this was because I was still eating IgG foods on this diet. Maybe it wasn’t strict enough. Who knows. I do know that how I’m eating is extremelyyyyy restrictive and the highest amount of sugar I’m eating is lettuce. Which doesn’t have much sugar in it..
How do I find out if it is candida?
- I’m not entirely sure how to answer this question either. What I’m doing is potentially starving it. I started starving it accidentally but that’s what I’m doing. The next steps are to actively kill it. Unfortunately, I can’t do that when I’m pregnant. I don’t know how to test to see if it’s Candida but I do think this is the most obvious explanation. It makes a hell of a lot more sense than “oh my body doesn’t like asparagus but it likes collards”. Collards don’t seem easier to digest! They look completely inedible. But I just listened and ate what made me happy.
I’ll write about a treatment plan (Andrey’s currently trying it out – he used antibiotics all the time as a child, they’re not prescription in Russia). We’ll see if it works. How will we know if it works? If we can eat fruit again. If he can eat it and not feel crappy, and if I can eat it and not get mouth ulcers, a drunk feeling, brain fog, arthritis, etc. But this has given me hope thinking if I can heal this problem I can expand the diet again. (Still avoiding IgG foods of course)
Here are some things I read to figure out a treatment plan:
- Berberine 500mg? Inhibits C albicans growth. Before meals. Can titrate up to 1500 mg if tolerable –https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10973-009-0565-7
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4879420/ (with fluconazole)
- oil of oregano against candida – https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FA%3A1013311632207?LI=true
- shows candida forms a biofilm – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3205277/
- info on candida biofilms – https://www.thecandidadiet.com/candida-biofilms/
- dysbiocide and FC-Cidal 100C – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4030608/
- serrapeptase – http://www.yeastinfectionadvisor.com/enzymesforyeast.html less scientific but serrapeptase is good for you anyways very anti-inflammatory. Empty stomach
- candida can lower your absorption of vitamin D3 5000 iu, zinc 25mg and B12 so recommend taking those and vitamin C 3000mg. Zinc with food for sure.
- molybdenum 300 mcg and chlorella – if you experience die off symptoms they clear your system faster
Here’s some info on candida arthritis:
Here’s some info on candida depression – this doctor is probably seen as a quack to a bunch of people but so are most people who look into diet. The website is useful anyways.
Hopefully I’ll know in the next couple of months if it was Candida or some other type of yeast. A mix of candida and IgG reactions causing my problems? I know how it sounds but hey, it makes slightly more sense than random food reactions and getting drunk for no reason. We’ll test out the antifungals (all natural, I’m staying away from anything pharmaceutical unless I’m legitimately dying) on Andrey. He’s agreed. I’m not going to be able to take even natural antifungals probably until I’m done breastfeeding, which is really annoying because I like trying to figure things out.
So the take away? I’m feeling pretty good. Dad’s feeling pretty good. I actually have a theory instead of random foods I can’t eat. I started a very low dose probiotic yesterday. 5 billion CFU. It’s nothing compared to the 100 billion CFU I tried. If I don’t get any side effects I’ll take a bit more and lower it when it starts making me feel bad. Maybe I can get rid of this problem by just starving it and treating it with probiotics. Who knows. Life is weird.
UPDATE 2018: I definitely had a candida problem (tested for in a stool sample), but it’s been resolved since the all beef diet (also tested in a stool sample).