Uncategorized

How I Cured an Allergy-Induced Sinus Infection with No Antibiotics

Countless Bottles of Antibiotics

If you are prone to sinus infections then you may be like me where you have racked up a rhythm of 1-2 rounds of antibiotics a year for your biyearly sinus infections you get when it is cold or hay-fever season. That was me for at least 10 years.

Antibiotics have their place. But I have come to realize their place is to prevent serious infection that could lead to death. Not to prevent a possible problem that could possibly lead to a bigger problem which then could lead to death if untreated. But I believed that if it was an ear infection or sinus infection that you needed antibiotics. That is what every doctor I had gone to in my life seemed to suggest.

The Damage on My Health For Mere Allergies

Then I sat in my Naturopath’s office reading the results of my labs and discovered that micro-biome was not only minute in amount but also in diversity. The consequences could last a life time. It was time to rebuild this precious ecosystem so vital to my health that I had napalmed countless times over the course of my life.

So last month, when my cold didn’t go away after 2 weeks, then 3 weeks…and finally started filling my tissues with a thick, yellow mucous when I blew my nose throughout the day, I was concerned.

I had prided myself in not even having sinus infection symptoms in over 3 years after a major change in my diet. My doctor had suggested that my yearly sinus infections were probably due to allergies untreated, not viruses gone bacterial. She suggested I address my food allergies and see what happened. Sure enough– after eliminating wheat and dairy from my diet, those bi-yearly “colds” that turned into upper respiratory infections that sent me for that bottle of napalm went away. She was right.

The Cold That Wouldn’t Go Away

But here I was, 3 years later with 21-day “cold” that just wouldn’t go away and another sinus infection. I felt so humbled. No way I could brag anymore. I had got one and I was still eating right. But when sinus infection symptoms hit, I knew that no matter what, that I was going to do what it took to get rid of it without antibiotics. I did not work so hard for 3 years to rebuild my gut to just destroy it for some yellow snot and some ear pain.

So I started praying and thinking. What could be the source of my sinus issues? If I could figure out the source, then maybe I could resolve it. And what other avenues could I explore to get healed after my usual go-tos were not working? Colloidal silver. Elderberry. Calcium citrate. Fish oils. None of it was making my cold go away like they usually did.

Then I pondered the possibility of an allergy.

Could I be allergic to something that I’m not usually around? I was not eating dairy or wheat so that couldn’t be the issue. I considered the bottle of St. John’s Wort I had started taking a couple of weeks prior.

But then my housekeeper texted me and asked me when I was going to get our floors installed. We had ripped them out the week I got sick and had been walking around on the crumbling, dust-creating mortar the previous owners had layered on the floor underneath to float the floor we ripped out. Complicated? Yes. But there is one key word in there that hit me. Dust.

I’m allergic to dust. And that mortar floor was a dust-emiting machine.

Could I be reacting to the floors? Yes! They got ripped out the week I started to feel sick.

I had found the source.

The steps to healing would now be four-fold:

  1. Minimize Exposure to Allergen
  2. Balance the Mircrobiome in my Nasal Cavity
  3. Reduce Inflammation that had spread to my ears
  4. Reduce Immune Response to Allergen

Fighting the Sinus Infection By Addressing the Allergen and Fighting the Bacteria

Now it was time to get my body to stop freaking out and longer, and heal what could be an infection from the 3 weeks worth of congestion I had been struggling with.

I started wearing a surgical mask in the house to minimize my exposure to the allergen and started working harder at finding a flooring guy to install our floors. This is still in the works, but the allergen will be gone soon.

I fought the bad bacteria with probiotics. But not the way you might think : )

I actually rinsed my nasal cavity with a Neti-pot using warm distilled water, a saline packet, and a pencil-eraser amount of Histaminx, which is a pro-biotic blend from Seeking health that includes only bacteria that lowers histamine levels in addition to balancing flora:

  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • Bifidobacterium breve
  • Lactobacillus salvarius
  • Lactobacillus plantarum

I knew we had beneficial bacteria in our mouths, throat, skin, and nasal cavity and that perhaps I was imbalanced there as well, which was preventing my body from fighting any staph or other nasty bacteria on and in my body. I also began chewing on dental probiotics and brushing my teeth a couple times a day with probiotic toothpaste. I found an incredible brand that uses a blend that specifically fights staph which is the number one cause of sinus infections. I’ll write another blog on the other benefits later but this toothpaste is the bomb.

Reduce Immune Response to Allergens

I started spraying Flonase in my nostrils to open up my euchastian tubes which had started to close up again causing my ear pain and pressure from the allergy. I learned about this from my last doctor visit 3 years ago when I was struggling with ear pain and hearing loss and had learned about my food allergies.

I started to feel better, but needed to do one more thing to deal with the sinus issues.

The final step that combined with the above has completely eliminated my sinus infection symptoms and has helped my body fight the allergic response to these floors is a combination of 4-5 supplements I found all in one bottle called Breathe-X. I am now walking around my dusty house WITHOUT a surgical mask, not taking an antihistamine, and feeling great. I took 3 pills just once a day and that seems to be enough for me. If I skipped a day, I started to feel the congestion return.

BreatheX is made of some key ingredients that help your body naturally stop freaking out when around allergens and keep the nasal cavity healthy:

  • Quercetin– a flavanol from plants that helps Mast-cells stop producing histamine and also acts as a powerful antioxidant.
  • Bromelain– natural anti-inflammatory and helps maintain healthy nasal mucous
  • Vitamin C- heals wounds and builds immune system by helping balance histamine production.
  • Citrus Bioflavanoids-helps support blood vessels and healthy immune response.
  • Nettle – supports healthy immune function.

Ridding The Allergen

Of course this was only a temporary solution until my floors were replaced. We had the floors finally replaced 2 weeks ago and within 48 hours of the floors being replaced, my symptoms were 100 percent gone. No more supplements needed. And never once did I use antibiotics even though all symptoms pointed to a nasal infection!

So if you find yourself having difficulty getting rid of a cold, my suggestion is to first rule out an unknown allergy. Allergies typically cause most people to take 3-4 weeks to get over a cold virus which usually lasts only 7-10 days. But if the allergen doesn’t go away, the “cold” can last longer.

Farmacy not Pharmacy, General Gut Health, Supplements, Uncategorized

Why Your Probiotics May Not Be Working

A lot of people hear how important probiotics are to gut health. And it’s true! Our lifestyle and diet has not made it easy for our guts to nurture and grow a healthy microbiome. So supplementing with probiotics can help incredibly with digestive issues, anxiety/depression, allergies, autoimmune issues, and more. However, they can be pricey and when some people I hear complain that they didn’t notice an improvement from taking them, I can see why many quit after a short trial. Don’t do that!

probiotic killersWhat we forget is that one of the reasons why our lifestyle and diet doesn’t make it easy for a healthy microbiome to flourish in our gut, is that we don’t feed the bacteria in our gut what they need to multiply. Our diets are rich in protein, refined carbohydrates, and fats, but not enough in specific types of carbohydrates our gut flora love and need to survive.

So we spend thirty to sixty dollars a month on probiotics and within a couple of days those billions of bacteria die off before they had a chance to make a difference.

So what are we not eating enough of? Prebiotics. And these are made up of primarily undigestible carbohydrates. These are the carbs that do not get digested in your upper intestine so they make it to your lower intestine where are your bacteria are supposed to grow and thrive.

Probiotic foods dietThose bacteria get hungry, but sadly, pizza, hamburgers, and even many salads are already digested by the time they make it to the lower intestine, which means that those bacteria are starving. And just like any living creature, if they don’t get the food they need to survive, they will die.

So what do we need to eat in order to feed our microbiome from our probiotics? We need inulin, fiber, pectin, flavanols, and fructooligosaccharides and polyphenols.

Prebiotics have one or more of the indigestible carbohydrates from the list above and come in the form of some common and not so common foods. I’ve compiled a list here for you to use and make sure to include a few forms of these prebiotics every single day.

Roots and Tubers:

  • chicory root (drink like coffee)
  • potatoes
  • yams/sweet potatoes
  • yacon, konjac, hicama, and burdock roots
  • jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes)
  • garlic
  • onion
  • parsnips and turnips
  • celery root

Some Fruit:

  • blueberries
  • unripe/green bananas
  • plantains
  • apples
  • mangos
  • papayas
  • Pulp from ripe, in season, organic fruit.
  • Figs (technically a flower!)
  • dried dates and figs

Some Veggies:

  • celery
  • leeks
  • dandelion greens
  • seaweed
  • spinach
  • asparagus
  • radicchio
  • Belgian endive
  • Cruciferous veggies (cooked if you have IBS)
  • Leafy greens

Some grain:

  • hulled barley
  • oats
  • wheat bran

Seeds:

  • chia/flax seeds

Fungus: 

  • Mushrooms

Some Nuts

  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts
  • Macadamias
  • Pecans

Other Starches

  • Shiratake noodles
  • other non-grain “pastas”
  • Some Sauces/Vinegars/Oils
  • lemon juice
  • vinegar
  • Italian balsamic vinegar

probiotic1-13So go ahead and sprinkle some flax seed on that spinach salad, add a yam to your dinner, and don’t forget to flavor up that meat with some garlic and onions. Your probiotics will thank you and you just might start noticing them really work to help you with regularity, reduced anxiety, reduced bloating and gas, and overall wellness.

On the days when you don’t have time or the circumstances don’t lend yourself to any real amount of prebiotics. You can also supplement.There are a few great prebiotic supplements out there from trusted companies like Garden of Life and Doctors in the wellness community including Dr. Gundry, Dr. Lynch, and Dr. Tobias.

 

 

 

Supplements, Uncategorized

Could Low Stomach Acid Be The Cause of All Your Issues?

I’m Finally a Believer

Have you ever waited to do something and then once you did, you thought–why didn’t I do this sooner? That is what happened to me this last week.

I have had a few others who also have gut issues tell me to take HCL (hydrochloric acid). But all I knew was that they claimed my belly wouldn’t hurt when I ate food if I took it. But I had already managed to figure out ways around the belly ache thing for much of the time. Stay away from dairy and wheat (for me are huge triggers), super fatty foods unless I take ox bile, take digestive enzymes when I eat the occasional slice of bread or cheese (usually I stay away), and load up on the veggies. And it has helped so much. But I have not gotten rid everyone of my symptoms from my IBS even when I’m super strict.

If anyone has IBS or knows about it, not only does one have unexplainable and sensitive gut that gets “irritated” easily, it also causes either constipation or diarrhea or switching between the two. I use to suffer from severe constipation. That is actually what started my health journey after my first son was born (by C-Section)…my usual digestive issues became exasperated and I was finally diagnosed with IBS and a rectocele. After making all the positive health changes, that issue has dissipated but has changed to more the other side…not extreme, but definitely in that category.

Well when another well-informed friend of mine who is further along in her gut health journey shared with me that it low stomach may be what is triggering all my other issues,  I finally decided to try this HCL and I cannot believe how immediate I noticed the effects. Not only did my belly not hurt after eating a protein meal that day, but the next morning, I actually for the first time in years, had a healthy looking bowel movement. I know this is now just the beginning. And can’t wait to see what else improves overtime.

Male Internal Anatomy with Stomach Acid HighlightedOk so what is so darn special about HCL, how does it connect to stomach acid, and why might you have it?

First– You need stomach acid!!! Human stomach acid is made of HCL. We need to have a P.H of less than 3.0 in our stomach for healthy breakdown and sanitation of our food. Remember learning about acids and bases in grade school? If our stomach acid is more base or alkaline it will be a higher P.H. If it is more acidic, the number will be lower P.H. When we have stomach acid with a P.H higher than 3,  we create a domino effect that wreaks havoc on the rest of our system.

cycleIf you stomach doesn’t break down your food the way it should, it puts more work on your intestines and organs making them tired and worn out.

cycle If your stomach acid doesn’t kick in, it doesn’t signal your other organs like your gall bladder that you have food in your system and so they don’t work at creating bile to break down your fats.

cycle If  your stomach acid is low or absent, your body cannot absorb key vitamins and minerals like boron, b12, b6, zinc, calcium, magnesium and more. Without these vitamins at sufficient levels your body cannot perform the way it was designed, struggling to have energy, detoxify properly, and more– including, ironically–creating stomach acid!

cycle If  your stomach acid is not high enough, it can’t kill the bad bacteria that highjacked your food, leading to an imbalance of beneficial bacteria in your gut (more on that later).

cycle If  you have undigested protein and fat in your bowels and vitamin deficiency essential for your body to function exasperated by the imbalance of good bacteria in your gut to further breakdown the food–you get inflammation.

Inflammation in the body often is accompanied by inflammation in the gut. When you are constantly inflamed in your gut, it cannot do its job, which not only includes digesting your food to bring your body the right nutrients it needs to thrive, but it can not make serotonin for your brain and body so you can feel calm and happy.

Neither can it wrap and dispose of hormone byproducts and waste so you don’t become hormonally imbalanced. The chronic inflammation also leads to the intestinal lining and cilia to separate or open up, leading toxins and such in your bowels to enter your blood stream, and spread inflammation to other areas.

Chronic inflammation is the root of almost all disease including autoimmune symptoms and diseases like food allergies, IBS, Crohns, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, diabetes and more.

If you suffer from any of the following, you may have low stomach acid:

  • Food allergies
  • Chronic constipation or diarrhea
  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Autoimmune illnesses
  • Chronic yeast infections
  • Acid reflux (yes! It is not often caused by too much stomach acid)
  • and more!

Believe it or not,  low stomach acid and its many effects are VERY COMMON, especially with the American S.A.D diet and our stressful lifestyles and medications we take. Honestly, it seems like everyone I talk to seems to have something autoimmune happening in their body. It is an epidemic.

These symptoms only exasperate your stress and your body’s energy levels which then make it more difficult for to make stomach acid–so the crazy cycle continues and we treat individual symptoms instead of starting at the cause–which in all likelihood could very well be low stomach acid.

So What to Do Next to Stop the Crazy Cycle?

If any of this resonates with you, I highly recommend you try some HCL.

As a note–see a doctor for guidance or do not take HCL if you are high-risk: According to Dr. Wright, author of the powerful book, Stomach Acid is Good for You, these include:

People that are “high risk” shouldn’t take Betaine HCL without supervision. You’re high risk if you’re consuming any anti-inflammatory medicines. Examples of those are: corticosteroids, aspirin, Indocin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or other NSAIDs. These drugs can damage the GI lining and supplementing with HCL could aggravate it, increasing the risks of bleeding or ulcer.

If you don’t fit the above at-risk type, then try it out!

How Do you Know if You Have Low Stomach Acid For Sure?

If your stomach doesn’t burn when you take Betain HCL with a protein-based meal two times in a row, then you’ve got it and should consider supplementing.

There are other methods you can use to figure out if you have low stomach acid, but one is expensive and the other is not always accurate. This is a sure fire thing. No different than–to see if your belly ache is due to hunger, eat a meal and see if the pain goes away. You know?

There’s a lot of research on this, but the easiest way to figure it out is to spend the 10 bucks and buy a bottle of HCL. I bought 200mg capsule bottle of Betain HCL with bitters in it and a larger dose one as well (650mg) which included bitters to stimulate our own acid.

Don’t be concerned that you are doing something wrong if you keep going up to high amounts. According to Dr. Wright, the average dose of HCL needed for those who suffer from low stomach acid is 3,250-4,550 mg per meal!

But if you want to be conservative, take for 3 days just one 200 mg capsule with each meal where you are eating protein. If your belly doesn’t burn after the first two meals with the HCL, then you have low stomach acid. After 3 days, go up a capsule. Take 400mg with each protein-based meal. Keep following that order until your dosage causes your belly to burn. If you get that, take a teaspoon of baking soda and it will alkalize the acid right away so your belly won’t hurt. Otherwise it goes away after about 15-30 min.

Then you know you need one dosage less. Right now I’m at the 600 stage and my belly is still doing fine. So I’m going to switch to the 650 capsules next and then go up by 650 mg capsules from here until I find the optimal range. Or I might need to use both the high and low to get the number right.

But here is the coolest part…

Pencil with eraserHCL Supplementation Does Not Have To Be Forever

Once your body is doing what it is supposed to because you stopped the crazy cycle, eventually your stomach will produce  more of its own stomach acid and you can down on your dosages.

My good friend who struggles with all sort of autoimmune issues started out with the average range and after getting her diet straight and nutrient intake, within a few months she has gone down to just one 650mg capsule! She is so excited! You should also see an improvement in your autoimmune issues, digestive issues, emotional issues, and more.

Just remember–age, stress, poor diet, vitamin deficiencies in essentials like zinc and vitamin b, infections from pylori bacteria, and bypass surgery can all lead to low stomach acid.

So if you fit any of the above, you may find that you will continually need to take some range of HCL as a supplement. Listen to your body and see what works.

You can help your body start the healing process to produce its own stomach acid by taking HCL with bitters in it. The bitters will stimulate your own stomach to create acid and in a sense “wake it up” from its slumber to start remembering to work. This could take longer for some if their stomach hasn’t been doing its job for a long time.

Thankfully HCL is super cheap and therefore, a supplement that is not too much of a hassle other than just remembering to take it. And remembering to keep a bottle in your purse or a few capsules in a baggy in your wallet for when you eat out.

Now to clarify– while low stomach acid may be the cause of your ailments, it is not a one-fix answer to all your answers either. Just like family dysfunction–having the culprit stop its abuse can help. But the victims need to heal as well so that all can function well from there on out. Taking HCL may very well stop the crazy cycle. But don’t let this stop you from healing your gut and the rest of your body from its damage with the proper diet, vitamin and mineral intake, lifestyle changes, and flora intake. When you take care of the rest as well, you allow your body to function optimally, making its own HCL so you can reduce or stop supplementation.

Let me know in the comments if you tried this and found benefits.

Sources and Works Cited

Wright, Jonathan V., and Lane Lenard. Why Stomach Acid Is Good for You: Natural Relief from Heartburn, Indigestion, Reflux, and GERD. M. Evans, 2001. 

https://www.chatelaine.com/health/diet/bloated-low-stomach-acid-may-be-the-cause/

https://www.healthline.com/health/hypochlorhydria

https://drjockers.com/5-ways-test-stomach-acid-levels/

http://thepaleonurse.com/the-truth-about-stomach-acid-why-low-stomach-acid-is-jeopardizing-your-health/

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