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3 Reasons Why Your Normal Thyroid Results May Be Misleading - Dominick Hussey

3 Reasons Why Your Normal Thyroid Results May Be Misleading

When your doctor tells you that your lab results for thyroid function have come back as “normal,” you would assume that your thyroid is functioning well. However, there are three reasons why these results can be misleading. In this article, we discuss the three reasons why standard thyroid testing may be misleading.

Meet Mary

Mary lives in Russell, Ontario. She came to see me complaining of a goitre. A goitre is an increase in volume, often visible, of the thyroid gland. The goitre became apparent five years previously. On blood tests, she had a TSH of 4 and thyroid antibodies were within the normal range. These results were perplexing to Mary as she had every sign and symptom of hypothyroidism including fatigue, constipation, hair loss, dry skin, depression and, goitre. The most disturbing aspect for Mary was how much the size of her goitre would vary on a day to day basis. When she was overtired or particularly under any emotional kind of stress or caught a cold or the flu, her thyroid would swell, and become inflamed, tender and red. When I asked Mary why she had decided to see me, she said that she lost confidence in her doctors and appeared incapable of looking past the so-called normal thyroid results.

Unfortunately, Mary’s story is the norm (pun intended!) and not an exception. Many clients report thyroid symptoms and have normal test results. Why does this keep happening? In the next section, we discuss the main reasons why thyroid test results are misleading.

1. Conventional Medicine Blood Testing Does Not Give You A Complete Picture

When testing thyroid function, most Canadian family doctors will only check the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). The pituitary gland produces TSH. As the name suggests, TSH tells the thyroid gland how much thyroid hormone to produce. TSH is an excellent overall indicator for assessing thyroid function. However, TSH does not on its own give you a complete picture of what is happening with the thyroid gland. In other words, if all that is being tested is TSH, you certainly cannot rule out problems with thyroid function by that result alone.

Total vs Free Thyroid Hormone Testing

Some family doctors might also test total T4 in addition to TSH. T4 is the primary form of thyroid hormone that is produced in the thyroid gland. Approximately 93 per cent of the hormone produced by the thyroid gland is T4. The remaining is T3. T4 is a good indicator of how well the thyroid gland is functioning. However as we will discuss later in this article, T4 alone, does not give a complete picture because it is not the metabolically active form of thyroid hormone. The metabolically active form of thyroid hormone is T3. Thus, even if there is sufficient T4, if T4 is not getting converted into T3, then a person can still suffer from hypothyroid symptoms. This pattern is prevalent among people with thyroid dysfunction.

The two most common thyroid blood tests a family physician will run are TSH and total T4. Some doctors might also measure total T3, which is a better measure than TSH and total T4, as mentioned above, as it provides some idea about the conversion of T4 into T3. However testing TSH, total T4, and total T3 is also insufficient because they are forms of thyroid hormone that are bound to a protein carrier.

All hormones are fat soluble, meaning they are not water soluble, and the composition of the blood is mostly water. Consequently, for the blood to transport hormones around the body, they have to be attached to a protein carrier. The principal protein carrier for thyroid hormones is thyroid-binding globulin. So total T4 and total T3 are measurements of how much of thyroid hormone is bound to a protein carrier. These measurements are valuable as it shows, in the case of total T4, how well the thyroid gland is functioning. However, the problem with only looking at total thyroid hormones, the protein-bound thyroid hormones, is that it does not show metabolically active thyroid hormones.

Free thyroid hormones, or free T4 and T3, have been separated from the protein carrier. Free T4 and T3 assess the amount of metabolically active thyroid hormone in the blood. Such information is useful because it is not uncommon to have adequate amounts of total T4 and T3 and have low values of free T4 and T3. In such a case there is an excessive amount of the protein carrier of thyroid-binding globulin, which leads to a lower-than-optimal amount of the free thyroid hormone. And as we will discuss later, that can be caused by excess estrogen.

Antibodies and thyroid hypofunction

The most probable cause of thyroid hypofunction in the developed world is Hashimoto’s Disease. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid gland, where the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland and eventually decreases its ability to produce thyroid hormone. Unfortunately, conventional doctors, rarely test for thyroid antibodies, because if the antibody test is positive, it will not change their treatment. In traditional medicine, the therapy for hypothyroidism is to prescribe thyroid hormone regardless of the cause.

In many cases of hypothyroidism, the root cause of the problem does not come from within the thyroid gland. An underactive thyroid gland is a symptom of the real issue which is immune dysfunction or autoimmunity. It would, therefore, be useful to know if antibodies are being produced against the thyroid, because if there are, then the primary focus would not be on the thyroid. Instead, the aim would be on balancing and regulating the immune system to prevent it from attacking the thyroid gland. This is why thyroid antibodies, should be a part of blood testing for anybody who is suffering from hypothyroid symptoms.

Conventional Lab Ranges

The traditional lab ranges are, typically, based on a sample of people that have undergone those tests. There have been issues using this approach. For example, initial calculations to determine the normal range for TSH were based on data from the Nurses’ Health Study. When choosing which data to include steps where taken to exclude people that had already had a diagnosis of hypothyroidism, had abnormal TSH and thyroid antibodies. However, the nurses did not undergo a thyroid ultrasound of their thyroids or other kinds of evaluations to screen for people who did have hypothyroidism. It is a well-known fact that the number of people with hypothyroidism that don’t know that they have it is significantly higher than the number of people that have a definite diagnosis. Those initial calculations studies led to a TSH range of around 0.5 to 4.5, which is now the standard conventional range. Mary had a TSH of 4 which according to the traditional range would be deemed as normal.

There have been many studies written over the last 20 years that have been critical of those initial calculations. The study authors have said that there were likely many people included in those initial calculations that did have hypothyroidism. Their inclusion would have skewed the “normal” range of TSH to be too high. In the subsequent studies, researchers did a much better job of eliminating participants with hypothyroidism. As a result, a normal TSH range was more like 0.5 to maybe 2 or 2.5, dependent on the study. That is a much narrower range than 0.5 to 4.5. So if you go to your doctor and your TSH is 4, they will tell you that four is within the normal range while most of the evidence now suggests that that is not the case. A TSH of 4 in the case of Mary is indicative of perhaps a mild hypothyroid state.

2. Goitres Are A Clinical Sign Of Thyroid Disease

When considering Mary, the next relevant question is, what does a goitre typically indicate? We know from the research that in the developed world, the number one cause of goitre is Hashimoto’s Disease, the autoimmune condition I mentioned above wherever the body attacks the thyroid gland. In the developing world, the number one cause of goitre is iodine deficiency.

One of the ways to look for Hashimoto’s Disease is to test for thyroid antibodies. Mary’s antibodies were in the normal range.  However, about 20 to 30 per cent of people patients with Hashimoto’s, according to the studies, never test positive for thyroid antibodies. In such cases, a goitre that is visible on ultrasound may be the only sign that they have Hashimoto’s. This scenario is well documented in the scientific literature, and it is not understood why people with goitre do not test positive for antibodies. In some cases, they may have a compromised immune system, so they are not very good at producing antibodies, period. A compromised immune system can be assessed by testing total immunoglobulin levels IgG, IgA, IgM and IgE.

To summarise, if like Mary you a goitre is present it is extremely likely that there is a thyroid problem regardless of what the labs are saying. And statistically speaking, you likely have either Hashimoto’s Disease.

3. Thyroid Disease May Not Show Up On Standard Conventional Blood Tests

Is it possible that the thyroid is not functioning correctly, even if the lab results are all normal? In other words, is thyroid disease possible even if TSH, total T4 and T3, free T4 and free T3, thyroid antibodies results are all normal? The short answer here is yes. There are five main reasons why thyroid dysfunction may be present despite normal blood test results.

1. Pituitary Dysfunction.

The pituitary gland produces thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). A problem in the pituitary may affect the production of TSH. TSH tells the thyroid to produce more thyroid hormone. Pituitary dysfunction may lead to a low-normal TSH, T4 or T3 but the patient can still be suffering from hypothyroid symptoms.

2. Poor Conversion Of T4 To T3

Remember that T4 is not metabolically active and is the primary thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid gland. T4 is converted to T3 which is metabolically active. Conversion happens in the gut and the liver and other tissues around the body, and it can be inhibited by inflammation, gut issues, and also nutrient deficiencies.

3. Elevated Thyroid-Binding Globulin Protein

Thyroid-binding globulin protein, as I described earlier, carries the thyroid hormone around the blood. Some states like high estrogen, which could be related to taking birth control or hormone replacement therapy, can elevate thyroid-binding globulin. Elevated thyroid-binding globulin can lead to low levels of free T4 or T3, even if total T4 and total T3 are normal.

4. Non-Thyroidal Illness Syndrome

Non-thyroidal illness syndrome (NTIS) is sometimes referred to as central hypothyroidism. NTIS is the result of low levels of TRH, or thyrotropin-releasing hormone, which is secreted by the hypothalamus to tell the pituitary how much TSH to produce. The causes of NTIS include leptin resistance, insulin resistance, inflammation, and other non-thyroid-related causes, hence the name.

5. Thyroid Resistance

Thyroid resistance is similar to insulin resistance or leptin resistance. Thyroid resistance is when both the thyroid and the pituitary glands are functioning normally, but the thyroid hormone is not entering the cells. The cellular receptors for thyroid hormone have become resistant to thyroid hormone, in the same way, that way that the cells for insulin can become resistant to insulin. Thyroid resistance can be caused by things like high cortisol levels, inflammation, elevated homocysteine, and other factors.

New Thyroid Function Testing

At this point, I should mention that some new tests may help identify thyroid dysfunction earlier than the current blood markers. One of them measures the ratio of free cortisol to total or metabolised cortisol.  This information is obtained from the Dutch test, offered by Precision Analytical. Thyroid hormone is required to metabolise cortisol. People with a high free cortisol low total cortisol ratio is, therefore, an indication of low thyroid hormones.

What next?

If you have a similar story to Mary and have been experiencing thyroid signs and symptoms, what should you do?

If it all possible, you should attempt to find a holistic health practitioner to work with who is familiar with thyroid physiology and proper assessment of these issues and is willing to treat you perhaps. A holistic practitioner may include a functional medicine practitioner, an integrative medical doctor, or naturopathic doctor. If you are not able to see a practitioner there are some steps you can take yourself:

  1. Under the presumption that your thyroid issues may be autoimmune you could try the autoimmune paleo diet (AIP). Follow the diet for a month and if your symptoms resolve then try reintroducing foods to identify the triggers.
  2. Optimize vitamin D and glutathione status, which can help balance and regulate the immune system.
  3. Take curcumin is an anti-inflammatory that has an immunoregulatory effect.

 

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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2 Best Leaky Gut Tests - Dominick Hussey - Functional Medicine

2 Best Leaky Gut Tests

Susan was experiencing severe bloating, gas and diarrhea. She had been to see her GP, 3 Gastroenterologists. All her tests were normal including bloodwork, an endoscopy and a colonoscopy. No one could explain her symptoms. Like most people in her position, Susan began to look for answers on the internet. Eventually, she came across an article on a condition known as leaky gut. Her symptoms appeared to match those of leaky gut. Her question was what were best leaky gut tests.

In this article, we will cover the fundamentals basics of leaky gut, is testing for leaky gut a good idea, and the two best leaky gut tests.

The Fundamentals of Leaky Gut

A leaky gut is a popular term that describes a condition where the lining of the intestines is not functioning correctly. The correct medical term for leaky gut is increased intestinal permeability.

The intestinal lining covers a surface area of about 400 metres squared and requires about 40 per cent of the body’s energy expenditure.  That is pretty extraordinary when you think that the brain needs only 20 per cent of the body’s energy expenditure.

This fact tells us that the intestinal lining is essential to our health.

The gut is a hollow tube that connects the mouth to the anus.  So, everything that is inside of the gut is technically outside of the body. Therefore everything that is inside of the gut is not technically inside of the body.

Therefore anything that is in the gut to move into the body has to cross that intestinal lining. A fundamental function of the intestinal lining is to let in things that should get in and keep out things that should not stay out.

When certain conditions are present, the intestinal lining’s capability of doing that task breaks down, and then all kinds of problems can happen.

Many factors can interfere with the function of the intestinal lining including:

  • A western-type inflammatory diet, lacking in fermentable carbohydrates and fermented foods
  • Bacterial, viral, parasitic infections
  • Fungal overgrowth
  • Heavy metals
  • Mold
  • Certain medications like proton pump inhibitors, antibiotics, or NSAIDs
  • Lifestyle factors like chronic stress or sleep deprivation or inappropriate physical activity, like too little or too much
  • Inadequate immune stimulation during our developmental period. Insufficient immune stimulation is known as the hygiene hypothesis. Better hygiene has done a lot to reduce acute infections, but these overly sterilised environments may have contributed to immune dysregulation because our immune systems aren’t adequately stimulated.

There are other factors which we call endogenous factors. Endogenous means they are factors that occur inside of the body that can contribute to leaky gut.

Endogenous factors include chronic inflammation, SIBO, or gut-brain axis problems

Is testing for leaky gut a good idea?

In my opinion, a leaky gut is almost always a symptom of a deep-seated underlying issue, meaning that the underlying problem comes before a leaky gut.

Causes of a leaky gut may include any of above factors that interfere with the function of the intestinal lining.

One of the critical principles of functional medicine is that we want to get to the bottom of what is causing symptoms or even manifestations of a disease. We want to remove or address those causes or triggers before we try to do anything about the symptom or the sign. The more we can get to the root of the problem, the more effective the intervention will be.

In other words, by suppressing symptoms, it is going to be less effective, and will not last for as long because we have not addressed the underlying cause.

So with intestinal permeability, if we remove the triggers that are causing leaky gut in many cases, you will not need to address intestinal permeability because it will take care of itself.

One of the astonishing things about the cells in the gut is they regenerate every two to three days. Therefore if you remove the triggers that are causing the problem, the cells will revive and the tight junctions can restore themselves, and the intestinal permeability will disappear.

Hence typically in my practice clinic, before looking at a leaky gut, I will test and treat the triggers such as food sensitivities, gut infections and stress. If the patient is still having problems that we could associate with leaky gut, at that point, I will consider testing for intestinal permeability.

Testing options for intestinal permeability

If you look at the research, many different leaky gut tests have been used to define or identify intestinal permeability. Some of these are more common than others, but I am just going to mention a few different ones, and then I will tell you what I use in my practice and what I recommend.

The first is the lactulose/mannitol permeability assay. This test uses molecules, sugars, long-chain sugars called oligosaccharides, and I will explain a little bit more about that in a later.

The second test is an antigenic permeability screen. This test looks at antibodies to particular antigens like lipopolysaccharides and then also antibodies to endogenous molecules like actomyosin, occludin and zonulin. These are proteins that the body produces in the gut that help to regulate tight junction permeability, the structure of the gut and determine whether the gut is permeable or not.

The next marker that researchers sometimes use in studies is an organic acid called D-lactate or D-lactic acid. D-lactate is different from lactic acid that you may have heard about that can be high after exercise. This organic acid is a product of bacterial metabolism which is produced in the gut. Some studies have shown a correlation between high D-lactate and increased intestinal permeability.

Butyrate, which is a short-chain fatty acid, has been investigated as a potential marker for intestinal permeability. Low butyrate is a sign of leaky gut.

Finally, zonulin is a protein that regulates the tight junctions in the gut has been investigated as a marker for intestinal permeability.

What Are The Best Leaky Gut Tests?

In terms of clinical practice and what is readily available and has been most validated by the scientific research, the lactulose/mannitol test and the antigenic permeability screen are the two best leaky gut tests.

The Lactulose/Mannitol Test

The lactulose/mannitol test involves measuring levels of two sugars in the urine after the patient consumes those sugars. By looking at the ratio of the two sugars in the urine you can tell you whether the gut is permeable.

The lactulose/mannitol test is available through Genova Diagnostics.

There are some shortcomings of lactulose/mannitol testing.

One of the issues is that the transport of lactulose or mannitol through the gut barrier is not actually or not necessarily an indicator of a malfunction of the intestinal tight junctions. In other words, a positive result doesn’t necessarily mean that there is intestinal permeability present.

There are a lot of variables that can influence the uptake of the sugars, like GI motility, use of medication like NSAIDs, the surface area of the intestine, gastric emptying, and mucosal blood flow so these variations can affect the result.

Another issue is that some studies have shown that only large molecules (over 5,000 daltons) can change the permeability of intestinal epithelial cells and then result in an inflammatory response in the body.

Lactulose and mannitol are below 500 daltons, which suggests that they may not be appropriate as challenge molecules for an intestinal permeability test.

There are ways to increase lactulose/mannitol testing accuracy including:

  1. Avoiding foods containing lactulose 24 hours before the test. Lactulose is found in heat-processed dairy and non-dairy beverages such as soy milk and some yoghurts.
  2. Avoid mannitol for 24 hours before the test. Mannitol is found in brown seaweed, celery, carrot, coconut, cauliflower, cabbage, pineapple, lettuce, watermelon, pumpkin, squash, cassava, pea, asparagus, coffee, olives and berries, and chewing gum.
  3. Avoid dairy products for 24 hours before the test.
  4. On the day of the test avoid drinking too much water.

The Antigenic Permeability Screen

The second test for leaky gut is called the antigenic permeability screen.  This test was developed by Doctor Aristo Vojdani at Cyrex Labs.

In large part, Dr Vojdani developed the test because of the shortcomings of the lactulose/mannitol test.

Doctor Vojdani wanted to create a test that would better reflect pathological permeability of the gut. So instead of using larger sugars, he decided to screen for antibodies to proteins and bacterial endotoxins, since those are the primary concern when it comes to immunoreactivity.

We know that the uptake of antigens, proteins and bacterial endotoxins, plays a significant role in the pathogenesis of a gastrointestinal and autoimmune disease.

Many studies are showing that the inappropriate transfer of proteins and endotoxins from the gut into the bloodstream initiates an inflammatory response and can contribute to autoimmune disease. This understanding explains the connection between leaky gut and autoimmune disease. Less than 10 per cent of subjects with a genetic susceptibility to autoimmune disease progress to having a clinical autoimmune disease in their lifetime. This fact suggests that environmental triggers like toxic chemicals and infections and dietary proteins are probably involved in the development of autoimmune disease.

The Antigenic Permeability Screen is a blood test. This test is only offered by one lab, Cyrex Labs, and is called Cyrex Array 2.

This test needs to be ordered by a healthcare practitioner who is registered with the Cyrex.

The test involves drawing a blood sample and then testing for antibodies to lipopolysaccharide, IgM, IgG and IgA antibodies,

Conclusion

In practice, for the reasons I explained above I do not check for intestinal permeability very often. Typically I tend to look at the underlying cause of intestinal permeability and address that first. So although the mannitol/lactulose and antigenic permeability screen are the best leaky gut tests, If I do a sound job with addressing the root, in most cases, the intestinal permeability will resolve on its own.

When I do test for permeability, I use the Cyrex test.

 

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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What is the best Soil based Probiotic - Dominick Hussey - Ottawa

What is the best Soil based Probiotic?

Soil-based probiotics are bacteria that are found predominantly in the soil. I began using soil-based probiotics in my practice about two years ago, specifically, Prescript-Assist. I was pleased with Prescript Assist because it was very effective and few people would react to it. About three months ago the makers of Prescript Assist made a change to the formula that was not agreeable to many people (including me). Consequently, I needed to find an alternative that is the best soil based probiotic. To help me in this endeavour I took a look at the current scientific literature.

In this article, I will highlight what I uncovered in my search for the best soil-based probiotic.

What are the main categories of probiotics?

Soil-based probiotics are one of 4 major types of probiotics including:

  1. Lactobacillus-Bifidobacterium predominant formulas
  2. Saccharomyces boulardii.
  3. Soil-based probiotics
  4. E. coli probiotics

What does the scientific literature say about Soil-Based strains?

When we look at the studies soil-based probiotics, the most well-studied strain is Bacillus coagulans. The next most studied include Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus clausii, Bacillus licheniformis, and Enterococcus faecium.

The majority of the high-level studies (clinical trials) on soil-based probiotics were looking at the effect of one strain of bacteria. In other words, if you follow the findings, you should only use one species at a time. However, when we look at the body of literature on all types of probiotics, we see that a multi-strain form of probiotic seems to be better than a single strain form.

What are the main soil-based probiotic products?

So far we have talked about a little about the four most studied strains of soil-based probiotics. We have uncovered that a multi-strain may be better than a single strain soil-based probiotic. Now, let us briefly look at six primary soil-based probiotic products.

  1. Soil Based Probiotic from Functional Medicine Formulations is a two-strain product containing Bacillus coagulans and Bacillus subtilis.
  2. BioSpora from Klaire Labs is also a two-strain formulation containing Bacillus coagulans and Bacillus subtilis.
  3. MegaSpore from Microbiome Labs is a four-strain probiotic that contains Bacillus coagulans, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus clausii, and Bacillus licheniformis.
  4. Thrive Probiotic is a three strain product containing Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus coagulans, and Bacillus clausii.
  5. Proflora 4R from Biocidin, which contains Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus coagulans, and Bacillus clausii plus marshmallow, quercetin, and Aloe Vera.
  6. Probiotic-3 from AOR, which contains Enterococcus faecium, Clostridium butyricum and B. subtilis.

These are the six leading soil-based probiotics. Is one of these better than the others?

When you go to each of the manufacturer’s websites, you will read lots of claims, but I think they are all somewhat comparable. These are all excellent probiotics.

Are they better than other brands that you may find that are half the cost? Very likely. One of the things you do see with some probiotics is an inconsistency with the label claims and what the products contain.

This is very important with the soil-based probiotics since some so-called soil-based probiotics (none of the above) contain soil-based organisms and not soil-based bacteria. Some soil-based organisms can be pathogenic and may harm you so using a product from a company that has good quality assurance is essential.

How do these products rate against the latest research?

As mentioned above, the best scientific data is for Bacillus coagulans, which we find in five out of the five products. There are eight high-level studies (clinical trials) using single a strain Bacillus coagulans showing benefit in humans.

There is one study looking at Bacillus subtilis, which we find in four out five products, which show a benefit in humans. And there are also six other clinical trials looking at Bacillus subtilis with different strains, showing benefit.

Bacillus clausii, which we find in three out of the six formulations, has three studies showing benefit.

Bacillus licheniformis, which we find in one out of six, has two studies showing benefit.

Enterococcus faecium has five, which we find in one out of the six, has two studies showing benefit.

Most of these the studies are using two strains, and for this reason, I would recommend using a two-strain formulation as a starting point.

What does the research say about soil-based products?

Currently, there is one clinical trial looking at MegaSporeBiotic, showed a reduction in intestinal permeability or leaky gut, which is an excellent first step.

What are the benefits of Soil-based Probiotics?

Based on study findings, soil-based probiotics have been shown to impart numerous benefits to humans, including:

  • Improvements in diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, and stool consistency.
  • Increases in secretory IgA, the protective mucous membrane in the gut.
  • Decreased leaky gut.
  • Decreased respiratory tract infections.
  • A healthier microbiota.
  • Decreased inflammation.
  • Improvements in IBS severity.
  • Decreased post-exertional muscle soreness.
  • Secretion of antimicrobial peptides, meaning probiotics have an antimicrobial effect.
  • Decrease adverse events from antibiotics.
  • There is also mention that there is a slight benefit of improved constipation.

Does this mean that soil-based probiotics are the best form of probiotic?

Based on the list above, soil-based probiotics appear to impart a lot of significant benefits.

However, these benefits are not unique to soil-based probiotics.

So, just because I am highlighting the benefits of soil-based probiotics here, do not let that fool you into thinking that this is the best form of probiotic.

I think they are a viable option and worth including in a probiotic protocol.

What have we learnt?

Soil-based probiotics are one of three to five major categories of probiotics.

When we look at the studies soil-based probiotics, the most well-studied strain is Bacillus coagulans. The next most studied include Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus clausii, Bacillus licheniformis, and Enterococcus faecium.

There are six leading soil-based probiotics supplements, all of which appear to be sound scientifically based products.

Is there a best soil based probiotic? I would say no. But, if you have not taken a soil-based probiotic before I would recommend starting with a two-strain formula.

Are soil-based probiotics the best form of probiotic? I would say no again since all four categories of probiotics can impart the same benefits.

If you would like to learn more about how to choose the right probiotic for you then I recommend that you check out my FREE Probiotics ebook.

Click here to download the ebook.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Sulfur Intolerance - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment - Dominick Hussey

Sulfur Intolerance – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Sulfur intolerance is an old concept that is seeing a new lease of life. Some people are aware of sulfur because they are allergic to sulfur based medications. We associate sulfur with volcanoes. Others who live in the country around Ottawa, as I do, will know sulfur because they use well water.

In this article, I will describe what triggered me to learn more about sulfur, how sulfur is essential to the body, what are the symptoms of sulfur intolerance and how to treat it.

Close Encounter of the Sulfur Intolerance Kind

Meet Anne. Anne is a client of mine that I had been treating for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). Whenever she was taking the antimicrobial herbs, I prescribed her symptoms would go away. But as soon as she stopped the supplements her gas and bloating would return.

Anne’s case was a puzzle, so I decided to go back to basics and look at whether the food she was eating was causing her symptoms.

I asked her to do a food-symptom diary. She was following a low Fodmap diet which generally would help people with SIBO.

She came back after two weeks with her completed diary, but there did not appear to be any noticeable correlation between her symptoms and diet.

I told her to return after three weeks.

On the next visit, she reported that she had begun experiencing joint pain.  I asked her if anything had changed in her life and she said that her family had moved into a new house in the country.

The new house had a well. Anne always had drunk lots of water, so we got her to have her water tested. On receiving the water report, it showed it was very high in sulfur

Armed with this new information, I began looking at what foods are naturally high in sulfur. I told Anne to stop eating those foods and drinking the well water.

The effect was immediate. After two days, her gas, bloating and joint pain disappeared.

What is Sulphur?

Sulphur is a multivalent non-metal, abundant, tasteless and odourless. In its native form sulphur is a yellow crystalline solid.

In nature, it occurs as the pure element or as sulfide and sulfate minerals. Although sulphur is infamous for its smell, frequently compared to rotten eggs, that odour is characteristic of hydrogen sulphide.

How does the body use Sulphur?

Sulfur in the form of sulphate is the third most abundant mineral in the body, about half being is found in the muscles, skin and bones.

Sulphate makes up essential amino acids used to create protein in cells, tissues, hormones, enzymes, and antibodies.

Our bodies require a constant supply of Sulfate.

Sometimes the metabolism of sulfur to sulfate is hindered. Poor metabolism can be problematic and can lead to sulfur intolerance.

What are the symptoms of Sulphur Intolerance?

Sulphur intolerance can produce a wide variety of symptoms because sulphur plays a role in so many systems in the body. That said there are some more common symptoms including:

  • Feeling exhausted and toxic
  • Brain Fog
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Eye inflammation
  • Skin issues like urticaria and eczema
  • Gas and bloating
  • Ammonia smell in nose
  • Joint pain

What is the cause of Sulfur Intolerance?

Sulfur intolerance is the result of an excess of sulfur in the body. This excess is partly due to a reduction in the bodies capacity to metabolise sulfur into sulphate.

A reason for this reduced sulfur metabolism is exposure to glyphosate.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient found in the herbicide, Roundup.

Farmers spray Roundup on genetically modified crops such as canola, corn, sugar beets and soy.

When ingested into the body glyphosate binds to Molybdenum. Molybdenum is one of the cofactors used by the body to convert sulfur into sulphate.

What are the primary sources of sulfur?

So glyphosate slows the conversion of sulfur to sulphate. This slowing will lead to a build-up of sulfur in the body. There are five chief sources of sulfur exposure

1. Diet

Diet is an obvious factor that may be aggravating sulfur intolerance. If you are eating a high sulfur diet such as a paleo style diet or GAPs diet that is going to be problematic.

Food that is high in sulfur include:

  • Eggs
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Onions
  • Nuts
  • Cruciferous Vegetables
  • Meat

The highlighted foods are most common.

2. Water Source

Anyone who is on well water needs to get their water tested. If you see red rings around your faucets and in your toilets, then you may have a high sulfur content in your water.

3. Medications and supplements

Common detoxification supplements such as Alpha Lipoic Acid, MSM and N-Acetylcysteine will increase sulfur levels in the body.

Certain medications, like sulfur medications, may be problematic. You may have been prescribed sulfasalazine and felt very ill. If someone has a sulfur allergy, that might be another indicator that they may have a sulfur intolerance issues going on.

4. Hydrogen Sulfide Bacteria

Hydrogen sulfide producing bacteria can be found in water systems. Again, testing is essential here.

5. Environment toxins

Sulfur is one of the byproducts of fossil fuel. Breathing in exhaust fuels is a potential source of sulfur.

What are the best treatment approaches for a sulfur intolerance?

The Low Sulfur Diet

If you google any diet on the internet, there are often many different versions available. That said they are all very similar and it does not matter if you follow a particular diet.

You can find my personal favourite low sulfur diet on Dr Jockers.

You can use this source as a base and then begin experimenting. Rarely are all sulphur foods bad for everybody. If you feel much better on a low sulfur diet, then you try reintroducing one food at a time to see which ones bring back your symptoms.

If sulfur intolerance is your issue, then you should notice a reduction in your symptoms after 3 to 5 days of following the diet.

Supplements

Supplements are a necessary part of treating a sulfur intolerance. The supplements help mitigate symptoms and help reduce high sulfur food intolerance.

Epsom Salt Baths

Epsom salts are composed of magnesium sulphate. Epsom salts can be very beneficial particularly for helping to reduce the toxic feeling. Take 4 cups of Epsom salts per bath.

Trace Minerals

Trace minerals that also have sulfate in them have been found to be clinically useful. Trace Minerals Research has a product called ConcenTrace that includes magnesium and calcium and also contains lithium orotate.

Calcium D-Glucarate

Calcium D-Glucarate has been found to be clinically useful for people with ammonia issues.

Molybdenum

As previously stated, molybdenum is a significant cofactor in the conversion sulphur into sulfate. Glyphosate exposure can cause a molybdenum deficiency. So avoiding glyphosate by eating organic foods and supplementing with molybdenum has been found to be clinically beneficial.

I recommend Biotics Mo-Zyme Forte, which is a food-based tablet based on sprouted lentils. Chew one tablet two times per day.

Hydroxocobalamin (B12)

There have been some impressive results in using hydroxocobalamin as well.

Bismuth

For those with digestive symptoms, I recommend Bismuth in the form of Bio HPF.

 

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Medical Marijuana - How it works and what it can help - Dominick Hussey - Ottawa

Medical Marijuana – How it works and what it can help

Medical marijuana has been a prescription drug since 2001 in Canada. With the upcoming legislation of recreational marijuana, there is a sudden peak in interest in the medicine. Only the other day my neighbour was asking me about her daughter using medical marijuana for her menstrual cramps. I had to tell her that I knew very little about it. I am always interested in learning about new alternative treatments so 8made the decision to find out what all the fuss was about.

In his article you are going to learn about:

  • The differences between marijuana, CBD and THC
  • The early history of medical marijuana
  • How medical Marijana works
  • What conditions may benefit from medical marijuana

Marijuana vs THC vs CBD

The term “marijuana” refers to any of the subspecies of the whole Cannabis sativa plant.

Within that, cannabidiol, or CBD, and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, are the chemical compounds that we find in marijuana that are of particular medical interest.

THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis that’s responsible for much of the high and the changes in perception that people feel when they consume cannabis products.

CBD, on the other hand, is not psychoactive and does not produce the high.

The early history of medical marijuana

Early on, it was discovered by cancer patients that marijuana could help with the side effects of chemotherapy.

At that point, patients had to use it illegally, but it proved to be very useful.

People on chemo would have severe loss of appetite, nausea, and just feel rotten most of the time, but cannabis would enable them to feel much better.

Over time as our understanding began to expand, researchers started to look at physiological mechanisms behind how marijuana works.

How marijuana works

We know that the human brain contains endocannabinoid receptors, and cannabinoids can induce either an inhibitory or excitatory response by acting on these receptors.

These receptors bind not only to the chemicals found in marijuana but also in endogenous compounds, which are compounds that we produce in our own body.

There is a specific type of endocannabinoid receptor called CB1 which stimulates appetite and eating behaviours.

CB1 is the reason that we can use medical marijuana to increase appetites in patients undergoing chemotherapy, as we talked about, and also patients with AIDS and other conditions that reduce appetite.

Marijana has also been studied as an appetite stimulant in age-induced anorexia, low appetite in the elderly, which can become a pretty significant problem, and specifically those for Alzheimer’s because that disease can lead to lower appetite or forgetting to eat.

There actually is some research suggesting that cannabinoids may be able to slow the disease process of Alzheimer’s by preventing the inflammatory effects induced by beta-amyloid deposition, which is a hallmark of that condition.

Perhaps most interestingly regarding the therapeutic application, endocannabinoid receptors have been shown to reduce pain from a wide variety of causes.

For example, we know that the analgesic effects of acetaminophen can be prevented by blocking specific cannabinoid receptors. This fact suggests that one of the pain-relieving mechanisms of acetaminophen involves cannabinoid receptors, and, of course, also indicates that cannabinoid receptors play a role in pain.

Cannabis extracts containing both THC alone and a combination of THC and CBD have been shown to be effective at reducing pain from many chronic conditions as well as neuropathic pain.

For example, people with MS who use cannabis report a reduction in symptoms including muscle spasticity, pain in the extremities, bowel dysfunction and balance issues.

This effect could be due to not only cannabis’s role in controlling pain but also its impact on motor function, motor control, and gastrointestinal motility.

Conditions that may benefit from medical marijuana

Some conditions have already been identified in the medical literature regarding a potential benefit from medical marijuana.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a growing problem, and there are not many good options for people with PTSD in the conventional medicine. In the United States, New Mexico was the first state to allow the use of medical marijuana to treat PTSD. The one study that they did reveals a 75 percent reduction in symptoms among patients with PTSD. You do not see that with any conventional treatment.

Cancer

Cancer is another exciting application for medical marijuana. I have already mentioned that we use medical marijuana for the treatment of nausea and vomiting in cancer patients undergoing chemo.

There is new research however that has suggests that cannabis may be able to treat the cancer cells.

Cannabinoids induce cell death, inhibit cell growth, and slow metastasis in tumour cells without harming the surrounding non-cancerous cells.

In one mouse study, pure THC and CBD were shown to prime glioma cells, which are cells found in a particular type of brain cancer for radiation therapy, making them more sensitive to it and the radiation and more effectively treated by it.

There’s not enough published research yet on cannabis and cancer. I would love to see more as conventional treatments are lacking at this point.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

MS is another condition that has been shown to benefit from cannabis.

Studies have found that it can provide relief from multiple symptoms of MS including spasticity, pain, and motor function and control.

In humans with MS, both whole-plant cannabis-based medicine and extracts combining THC and CBD have been shown to reduce the number of spastic episodes and pain.

Epilepsy

Marijuana has been used for millennia in the treatment of epilepsy. Marijuana is mentioned in ancient texts, but it is only recently investigated for safety and efficacy in humans.

In particular, that research is focused on cannabis use for childhood epilepsy that’s shown resistance to current treatments.

Conventional treatments for epilepsy in kids can cause terrible side effects, which in some ways can be worse than the disease itself.

In a recent study, CBD was found to decrease seizure frequency in participants with childhood-onset treatment-resistant epilepsy.

Those are the conditions that have been best studied so far, but there are many, many other therapeutic applications because when you understand how marijuana works.

Marijana can be:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • analgesic
  • anti-anxiolytic
  • anti-anxiety
  • help with depression
  • a miracle for sleep in some cases for patients who have intractable insomnia

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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How emotions impact our health - Dominick Hussey - Ottawa

How emotions impact our health?

The longer I work with my clients, the more I feel that lifestyle, behaviour, emotions and past traumatic experiences play a crucial role in our health. Many times in my practice emotions have proven to play an even more critical role than more commonly recognised factors like diet, exercise, and sleep.

Diet, exercise and sleep, of course, play a significant role in health and will usually receive initial attention because they are more visible and in some ways easier to change.

Emotions can require in-depth investigation, and they are not the kind of changes that we can quickly make overnight.

In this article, you are going to learn how emotions and health are an ancient concept, how emotions cause disease, how we store feelings in the body, and the myths surrounding the mind-body connection.

An ancient theory backed by modern research

The idea that emotions play a role in health and disease is old. In traditional Chinese medicine, for example,  each of the organ systems is associated with a particular feeling.

  • The kidneys link with fear
  • The liver links with anger
  • The lungs link with anxiety
  • The spleen links with pensiveness or over thinking

The thinking is that too much of any of these emotions damages the respective organ system. For example, somebody with unresolved anxiety may develop asthma.

Regardless of your views on the traditional Chinese viewpoint, modern science has also uncovered a link between emotions and disease. We primarily express this concept in the scientific literature regarding stress.

We know there is a link between stress and different conditions including cancer, heart disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.

How do emotions contribute to disease?

This question is fascinating, and to answer it; we need to define what is an emotion.

If you look in a dictionary, we define emotion as a natural instinct of the mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.

This definition of emotion is very technical..

We can also associate emotions with sensations in our body.

For example, if I see a spider, I feel fear, and then I experience a whole load of body sensations that are related to that fear—my heartbeat increases and muscle tension.

The fundamental point here is that my emotions are producing physiological changes.

If emotion is old, it will have long-term physiological effects on the body, and it’s not difficult to understand how that could contribute to disease.

Can we store emotions and can they cause illness in later life?

This concept falls outside of our current understanding of the body, but that doesn’t mean we can rule it out.

Based on what we have talked about so far, it is at least plausible that strong emotions could produce a lasting response in the body, and there is some support for this in the scientific literature.

For example, we know that traumatic events that happen during pregnancy or in early childhood can permanently downregulate your adrenal glands and affect the production of hormones like cortisol for the rest of that child’s life.

The language that modern science uses to explain what happens does not involve using terms like storing emotion or trauma in the body, but you could certainly look at it that way.

I am guessing that some may use the term stored emotions because when people work to resolve traumas, they often re-experience the associated sensations or feelings.

I think there may very well be other cases where somebody experiences a severe trauma early on, and that trauma affects the body in different ways that modern science doesn’t currently understand.

For example, maybe one person develops cancer or another an autoimmune disease.

Does this mean that all early life trauma will cause disease?

Now, I should say at this point; I’m a little bit wary of any explanation that tries to oversimplify things.

In the examples that I just used where people had an emotionally traumatic event that then manifested as a disease or a condition later in life.

For every person that did have something like that, there could be people that had a traumatic event and didn’t manifest a disease later in life.

Humans are very, very complicated beings.

Multiple factors affect our susceptibility to disease, including genetics, epigenetic expression, environmental factors like diet, physical activity, sleep, stress, and of course, emotions.

Whether we develop a disease is in my experience due to a combination of factors.

The mind-body connection

We base our current medical model on the philosophical underpinning of Cartesian dualism.

Cartesian dualism is a mechanistic view that the body is a sum of its parts.

However, modern science through quantum physics has taught us that the parts that we perceived to be separate are in fact part of an interconnected whole.

The chief point here is that a medical model that is based not on Cartesian dualism but on a more current understanding of quantum physics would likely see no separation between thoughts, emotions, and the physical body because they are all made of the same stuff.

We have this phrase that you see all the time, the “mind-body connection.”

To a certain extent, I appreciate why this term has become fashionable as it increases awareness of an important concept.

However, even to use the term “mind-body connection” is misleading because it creates the idea that there’s a separate mind and a separate body that are then connected.

Conclusion

Even though we may not understand the mechanisms behind how emotion could contribute to disease. There is already quite a lot of research that supports that connection.

As our understanding of both the nature of reality and human nature evolves, I think medicine is going to look very different in a hundred years than it does today.

Personally and professionally I have no doubts that emotions have an impact on our health.

As a health practitioner, I have seen significant transformations in patients when working with emotions using many different modalities especially energy based medicine including energy healing and Bodytalk.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Tick Bites - Avoidance, Removal and Testing - Dominick Hussey - Ottawa

Tick Bites: Avoidance, Removal and Testing

Lyme disease is the number one vector-borne disease in Canada. In our country, there are nearly 1,000 reported new cases each year. In 2015, over 91% of cases were recorded from 3 provinces: Ontario, Nova Scotia and Québec. In the past three years, I have diagnosed three people with Lyme Disease. The cause of Lyme is the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, and the most common vector for this bacteria are tick bites.

Ticks carry many different bacteria, parasites, and viruses which can cause severe acute and chronic illness in humans.

Awareness of the problem is the first step towards controlling the epidemic. It is of critical importance that you understand how to prevent and manage tick bites. If you can avoid the tick bite, or at least be proactive in responding when a bite occurs, you can drastically reduce chances of contracting Lyme Disease.

In this article, you are going to learn some simple ways to decrease the risk of tick bites and how to do tick checks, as well as the proper way to remove a tick. I will also discuss how to identify different types of ticks, which can help a doctor understand the risk of transmission of various bugs, as well as how and where to send a tick for testing to identify infections that it may have been carrying.

With this information, you can potentially save yourself and your family from a serious chronic infection with potentially severe multisystem health issues and even death.

Awareness of the problem is key

Peak tick season is during the spring and summer months in Ontario, especially after rain. The rain is a time of increased tick questing and feeding activity.

My wife and I love nature, and we try to remain active in the outdoors.

To avoid ticks, there are some simple things that you can do.

  • When going hiking, walk in the centre of the path and avoid grasses, even tall ones. When in search of a blood meal, ticks like to climb up to the outer tips of the grass, turn themselves around, and wave their legs around, waiting to catch a ride. This behaviour is called questing.
  • Ticks also gather in fallen leaves and under logs, where you may go sit to enjoy a break on a hike.

Repellants

There are a number of different options for repellants.

  1. Lemon eucalyptus oil is a potentially safe and effective natural repellent.
  2. Permethrin, which is made from chrysanthemums, is also a good option. Treating clothing, shoes, and sleeping bags with this can be helpful. Treatments can last many wash cycles so that it can be effective over a period of time.
  3. DEET is also effective for more extreme exposure situations but is more toxic, so it should be used with caution.

Checking for Ticks

When returning from being outdoors in tick-endemic areas, which can also include city parks and lawns at home, consider the following:

  • Change your clothes and put the used clothes in the dryer for 20 minutes, shower and tick check.
  • Do tick checks thoroughly on your children and partner including behind ears, under fingernails, under toenails, belly button, groin area, hairline, and armpits.
  • Check your children before bed if they have been playing outside.
  • Nymph ticks are poppy-seed sized, and one frequently cannot tell that it is a tick without a magnifying glass. An iPhone can be used a magnifier.
  • Be mindful of your pets, as they can bring ticks into the house.

How to remove a tick

Once you have identified that a tick bite has occurred, it is imperative to understand the proper tick removal technique.

Having the right tweezers on hand is critical, and I recommend purchasing the TickEase tweezers. These tweezers are made explicitly for tick removal.

Below are 3 steps for roving a tick:

  1. Insert the tweezers as close to the skin as possible.
  2. Pinch off the mouth part of the tick and gently lift perpendicular to where the tick is attached.
  3. Provide some traction and just wait for the tick to release.

This procedure can take a few minutes if the tick is well attached.

Don’t squeeze the body of the tick. Don’t twist it, burn it, put any oil on it. These actions can increase the risk of infection, as the tick might regurgitate its stomach contents into the bite area.

There is a nice information sheet on tick removal on the Bay Area Lyme Foundation website.

Once removed, place the tick in a Ziploc bag with a moist paper towel and save the tick for identification and pathogen testing.

Identifying Ticks

If possible, try to identify the tick at home using a resource like the Rhode Island TickEncounter.

The type of tick can help a doctor:

  • Know which pathogens are possibly present.
  • Help make decisions on whether or not to treat while waiting for the results of the tick testing. Information on the type of tick can also be helpful if the tick was lost and not able to be tested.

Sometimes tick identification will be very easy based on the features present. Sometimes, however, it will be tough and require an expert to identify the tick.

After removing the tick, I recommend sending the tick for pathogen testing. Testing is particularly important because early treatment can make a big difference in outcomes in preventing chronic infection.

Testing Ticks

In Ontario, Public Health Ontario performs tick testing.

After a tick bite

After a tick bite, watch for any unusual symptoms. The Bay Area Lyme Foundation has an excellent handout on signs of Lyme Disease on their website.

The purpose of this article is not to discuss when and how to treat after a tick bite. However, if you are concerned, you need to consult with a Lyme literate practitioner. You can find Lyme practitioners through the ILADS website.

Conclusion

Lyme disease and the associated co-infections are a growing problem in Ontario. Ticks and tick bites are the most common vector for these infections, and awareness of how to prevent and manage a tick bite is of critical importance in helping avert severe acute and chronic illness in your patients. In this article, we discussed ways to keep yourself protected when out in nature and how to perform thorough tick checks. Also, we examined the management of tick bites, including specific instructions for proper removal of the tick, how to identify it, what kind of tick was involved and testing the tick for pathogens.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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The Potato Hack - A Simple Weight Loss Diet - Dominick Hussey

The Potato Hack – A Simple Weight Loss Diet

I have been treating patients for over a two decades. One of the most challenging conditions to treat is weight loss. Of course, this depends on from where the patient is starting. If they are eating lots of junk food, not exercising, and not sleeping well, weight loss can be pretty straightforward. But if they are already doing all the right things but still not losing weight, it can be tough. In this article, I am going to talk about one of my secret weapons when it comes to losing weight; the potato hack simple weight loss diet.

The Potato Hack Simple Weight Loss Diet

The potato diet has been around since the 1800s as a weight loss approach.

For example, this is a quote from a book called The Potato Diet written in 1849.

“Few are aware of the great value of the potato as an article of diet. It may astonish some of our readers when we assert that potatoes alone are sufficient to sustain the human body in a state of firm and vigorous health. Lean men grow fat, and fat men become lean, lean as they ought to be and so all grow better in health.”

Even though this diet has been around since the 1800s, it was only recently resurrected and popularised by people like Tim Steele in his book The Potato Hack.

Why is the potato hack diet so effective for weight loss?

There are a few reasons why the potato hack diet effective for weight loss.

  1. Several studies show low-calorie, low-fat, high-carb diets can be useful for treating diabetes.
  2. You can modify the potato hack weight loss diet so that the person is only eating potatoes that have been cooked and cooled. This process converts much of the starch in the potatoes to resistant starch. Resistant starch is a type of fibre, which is not digested by humans. Our friendly bacteria consume fibre, so it has a positive impact on blood sugar.
  3. The potato hack diet spontaneously decreases calorie intake, which is one of the reasons it leads to such significant weight loss. Weight loss is one of the fastest and most efficient ways of reducing blood sugar when a patient is overweight.
  4. The potato hack diet reduces inflammation and improves the gut microbiota. Both of those can indirectly or directly improve blood sugar.

How does the potato hack diet work?

The food reward concept

Many of you are familiar with the idea of food reward, which is where the more rewarding foods are, the more likely we are to eat them. The food reward concept is a hardwired evolutionary mechanism that helped us survive in a natural environment of food scarcity.

One of the things that contribute to the reward value of food is variety.

The more different flavours, taste, and macronutrients there are in a particular meal, the more likely we are to eat it and to eat more of it.

The easiest way to think about this is to imagine two plates next to each other.  One plate has potatoes that have been steamed or baked with no salt or oil. The other dish has potato chips.

I am reasonably sure that most of us will not overeat the plain steamed or boiled potatoes. We will eat as much as we need to satisfy our appetite but no more.

Whereas, we are more likely to overeat the potato chips even if we are not hungry.

This example demonstrates the concept of food reward and one of the reasons that the Potato Hack diet works so well.

The diet reduces the reward value and leads to a calorie reduction.

Resistant Starch

Another reason why the potato hack diet works is that potatoes that have been cooked and cooled are high in resistant starch, as I mentioned before.

Resistant starch feeds our gut bacteria, and this has a profound impact on slowing down our metabolism.

As a side note, you can use the potato diet as an excellent way to reset your gut. For people who have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, doing a Potato Hack diet for three to five days can help them get back on track.

Basic rules for following the potato hack simple weight loss diet

The following guidelines are from Tim Steele’s book, The Potato Hack, which I highly recommend if you’re interested in this as a strategy.

  1. Eat nothing but white potatoes for three to five days.
  2. While doing the potato hack simple weight loss diet, you should test your blood sugar with a glucometer after the first few potato meals. If there is a spike in blood sugar, switch from cooked to cooked and cooled potatoes.
  3. The diet only works with white potatoes and not sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes do not form resistant starch in the way that white potatoes do.
  4. Eat two to five pounds of potatoes each day. You should eat enough to satisfy your hunger. You do not need to count calories or potatoes while you’re doing this diet.
  5. No other foods are allowed on the potatoes. So no butter, no sour cream, no cheese, and no bacon bits.
  6. You allowed a little salt, but it is discouraged.
  7. Drink when thirsty. Coffee, tea, and water only.
  8. Light exercise such as walking, yoga, gentle cycling, and swimming only.

A variation of the potato hack diet is called “Potatoes By Day.” During the Potatoes by day diet, you follow the potato diet from dawn to dusk, and then you eat a typical dinner.

Contraindications to doing the diet

If you are considering trying the potato hack diet then it is essential to think about the following contraindications:

  1. Do not try the diet if you are very sensitive to nightshade vegetables.
  2. Do not try the diet if you experience blood sugar spikes even with cooked and cooled potatoes.
  3. Do not try the diet if you can not tolerate a lot of starch or resistant starch. For example, people with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth do not do well eating a lot of starch or resistant starch.

Further guidelines and considerations

  1. The potato diet is suitable when other diet strategies have failed. In my experience, a paleo style wholefoods diet is beneficial for weight loss, and it is more sustainable over the long term.
  2. If you do the Potato Hack Simple Weight Loss Diet for any significant length of time, taking a high-quality multivitamin is a good idea.
  3. You should personalise the diet to your lifestyle to make it more sustainable. In some cases, doing a Potato Hack diet for one or two days a week or just doing the Potatoes By Day strategy will be a better fit. This approach will be advisable if you have a family and busy life.
  4. You will usually lose a half a pound to a pound of weight loss per full day of the potato hack. Based on this information you can roughly calculate how many days you need to be doing the diet.

Conclusion

The Potato Hack Simple Weight Loss Diet is an affordable, and handy advanced tool for weight loss. The diet can work when everything else has failed, and because cooked and cooled potatoes have lots of resistant starch, it’s often safe even for people with blood sugar issues.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Mold Toxicity Symptoms, Diagnosis and Natural Treatment - Dominick Hussey

Mold Toxicity Symptoms, Diagnosis and Natural Treatment

The awareness of mold toxicity and it’s effect on human health has increased dramatically over the past few years. Estimates predict that indoor air pollutants, including mold, may be contributing to more than 50% of people’s illnesses.

You will find the most common types of mold indoors, which include Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, and Aspergillus. Stachybotrys chartarum sometimes referred to as “toxic black mold”, grows on household surfaces such as wood, fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust, and lint.

Read on to learn more about the typical symptoms of mold toxicity, diagnosis and testing and a simple but an effective natural treatment approach.

3 Most Common Symptoms of Mold Toxicity

Mold toxicity can cause a multitude of different symptoms. Three however common symptoms are almost always present.

  1. Fatigue – by far the number one symptom.
  2. Cognition issues including memory, word finding and calculation difficulties.
  3. Breathing issues including chronic sinus congestion, shortness of breath, breathing difficulty with exercise, sinus nasal drainage, and wheezing. The wheezing looks like asthma, but it doesn’t respond to the typical treatment of inhalers.

Other symptoms of mold toxicity may include:

  • Musculoskeletal symptoms including muscle weakness, achiness, joint pain, and morning stiffness.
  • Urinary symptoms including urinary incontinence, increased thirst, and electrolyte abnormalities leading to muscle cramps.
  • Neurological symptoms including numbness, tingling, and unusual skin sensation where one side of the face becomes numb or even paralysed.
  • Digestive problems including loose stools.
  • Vision issues including red eyes and blurry vision. Sometimes, patients will have night sweats.
  • General symptoms might include sudden appetite swings, body temperature changes, and weight gain, especially in women.

Mold toxicity can produce some unusual symptoms including:

  • Ice pick pain – A sharp, stabbing pain that can be anywhere in the body, but it’s frequently in the head. A headache that feels like being stuck with an ice pick.
  • Static shocks
  • People with mold toxicity often complain about the watches they wear stop working for no apparent reason.

How To Diagnose Mold Toxicity

Like any disease, you can diagnose mold toxicity from a combination of presenting symptoms, good case history and testing.

If you suspect you may have mold toxicity, then some fundamental questions may give you clues that mold might be a problem.

  • Do you live in a moldy house?
  • Do you live in a building that has had water intrusion, damp basement, or musty smells?”
  • Do you get condensation on the windows?
  • Does your house have a flat roof?
  • Did you develop this illness after a move to a new location or got a new job?
  • Do you feel better when you’re on vacation?
  • Do you smell a musty odour anywhere in your house or place of work?

Testing For Mold Toxicity

When investigating mold toxicity, there are two types of testing you should consider, environmental and lab testing.

For environmental testing of your home or workplace, you can do a formal test with a mold inspector. Alternatively, you can do a DIY home test called an EMRI. You can order the EMRI test on Mycometrics.com. This test looks for the DNA of mold in the house dust.

Lab testing

When testing for mold toxicity, it is not necessary to spend many thousands of dollars on lab testing. Rather the cost of testing should be below $1000. Below are a couple of the lab markers, that you should consider when looking for mold toxicity.

  1. HLA-DR typing, gene testing that will tell you if you are within 24% of the population that is genetically susceptible to mold toxicity.
  2. TGF-beta, a marker of an overactive immune system.

A combination of the above testing is available through a direct patient lab called Life Extension.

A 3 Step Natural Treatment Plan For Mold Toxicity

1. Get out of exposure

If you have come to the firm conclusion that you have mold toxicity, then you should remove yourself from the mold exposure environment. If you try any treatment and you are still in a moldy environment, the therapy will not help.

By removing yourself from the environment, there is a good chance you will begin to feel better. If you do not feel better this does not mean that mold is not the problem. A small percentage people with mold issues still feel unwell after removing themselves from the source of the exposure. These people have a condition known as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). People with CIRS often have the genes that make them highly susceptible to mold exposure. Research has shown that 24% of the population have some risk to mold exposure while 4% have a very high risk.

2. Identify and remove the mold from your environment

Once you have removed yourself from the environment, the next step is to identify and remove the mold from your home or workplace. If you can remove the mold, this may be all you need to do to feel better. Again any improvement will be closely associated with your genetics. The worse your genes, the less chance you will feel better from just removing the mold.

3. Remove the mold from the body

The next step is to begin the process of removing the mold from your body. One of the main ways you can detox your body from the mold is through the use of bile sequestrants.

How acid sequestrants work

When the body is exposed to toxins, it detoxifies them through the liver and then secretes them into the bile where they go out via the stool. In some people with mold toxicity bile is reabsorbed back into the body. Bile acid sequestrants are compounds that bind to bile acids, stopping reabsorption and allowing them to pass out of the body in the stool.

There are two types of bile acid sequestrants, prescription and natural compounds.

Prescription Bile Sequestrants

The bile prescription sequestrants that have been studied the most are Cholestyramine powder and Welchol.

The recommended dosage for Cholestyramine powder is 4 grams, four times a day, an hour before a meal or supplements or two hours after.

Welchol is taken once or twice a day. Welchol is not as efficient and is more expensive then Cholestyramine powder.

For best results when I recommend combining the prescription binders with clay, charcoal, chlorella, and glucomannan.

Natural Bile Sequestrants and binders

Warning: People with severe intractable diarrhea cannot tolerate bile sequestrants.

Tracking treatment progress

An easy way to monitor the effectiveness of treatment is to use a visual contrast study (VAS) that can be done in the office or online. A VAS detects retinal changes to capillary hypoxia. If the test is abnormal, it is likely that there has been a toxic exposure.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Biofilms - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - Dominick Hussey

Biofilms – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Biofilms are protective coatings that bacteria and fungus form to protect themselves from antibiotics and herbal treatment. Biofilms may be at the root of infections that won’t go away like Candida, fungus, H. pylori and SIBO.

Read on to learn more about biofilms, why they turn bad, how to tell if they are affecting you, common infections associated with biofilms, testing and how to treat biofilms.

What are Biofilms?

Biofilms exist pretty much anywhere there are microbes and moisture. Therefore, you can find them at the bottom of the ocean. You encounter them in the mucous membranes of any animal which includes their digestive tract, lungs or even in blood vessels.

Not all biofilms are bad. In the digestive tract of humans, the friendly bacteria use biofilms to protect themselves. So some play a part in us staying healthy. So we do not want to get rid of all biofilms.

When Biofilms go from Good to Bad to Ugly

You can illustrate the different biofilms by visualising a spectrum in front of you. Going from left to right, on the left you have good biofilms and on the right the bad biofilms.

The majority of biofilms begin as good or healthy. A useful way to imagine biofilms is to use an analogy of a fence. Good biofilms are like a garden fence that keeps the healthy bacteria in and any other unwanted intruders out.

As biofilms begin to become worse, then the fence becomes higher, and it starts to hold on to unfriendly bacteria.

At this stage, biofilms are known as early phase or phase type 1 biofilms. These are unhealthy but relatively easy to eradicate.

As you become sick and rundown and you lose your good bacteria, or they get rundown, the fence becomes more like a cage. Researchers liken this to a hive community, where you can have bad bacteria, viruses, parasites, protozoans, as well as friendly bacteria.

How to Tell if Biofilms are affecting you?

According to Dr, there are some broad indicators that may suggest biofilms are playing a role in your health.

  1. If you have a lab diagnosed pathogen such as H Pylori that has been unresponsive to a standard treatment protocol. That is usually a sign that there’s biofilm protecting a pathogen.
  2. If you have been chronically sick for than a year or two.

Infections Commonly Associated With Biofilms

Certain infections are most prone to formation of biofilm including:

  1. H. pylori, probably the most well known.
  2. Pseudomonas family, which can cause persistent lung infections and death from pneumonia.
  3. Gram-negative type bacteria like the E. coli
  4. Lyme and coinfections
  5. Parasitic infections such as Blastocystis hominis
  6. Methane Producers such as archea found in SIBO
  7. Candida

How to Test for Biofilms

There is currently no easy way to test for biofilms. You can look for them through biopsy, but this is not practical or cost effective.

Diagnosis is mainly based on empirical evidence from signs and symptoms.

Treatment of Biofilms

Dietary Treatment

In most traditional diets, there are anti-biofilm things that are either part of the food or part of the additives to the food such as:

  • Turmeric
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary

Natural Treatments

There are a number of different natural compounds or biofilm disruptors that have been found to be effective for treating biofilms.

Weak Natural Biofilm Disruptors
  • Oils including Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary
  • Herbs including Curcumin and Olive leaf
Moderate to Strong Natural Biofilm Disruptors
  • Black cumin
  • Thiols like n-acetylcysteine and alpha-lipoic acid is also a thiol which can have that effect.
  • DMSA or DMPS
  • Bismuth
Strong Natural Biofilm Disruptors

Any natural biofilm disruptor stronger than those above are new molecules that have been developed from individual natural compounds. Examples of popular strong natural biofilm disruptor include:

Prescription Treatments

There is currently no scientifically validated prescription drugs to that treat biofilms.

How To Know If Treatment Is Working

When using biofilm disruptors it reasonable for you to experience some acute die off symptoms. This is a good sign that the treatment is working. Biofilm disruptors open up biofilms and make your immune system aware of the pathogens inside. When this happens, you get a very aggressive immune response which can not only be uncomfortable but scary.

Although every case is different, symptoms usually resolve between one and six weeks

Die-off versus Intolerance symptoms

Intolerance symptoms occur when you react to something in the supplement or drug. People tend to react to more sulphur containing compounds such as NAC, ALA or DMPS.

Typical intolerance reactions include flushing of the skin, itching, rashes and headaches.

Die off symptoms tend to be stronger and more global than from intolerances. Die off symptoms may include multiple painful joints or whole body muscle pains.

Ways to counter Die-off symptoms

Die off symptoms can be very unpleasant. There are however some useful strategies to help manage these symptoms.

  1. Over-the-counter antihistamine medications
  2. High amounts of adrenal support supplementation
  3. Sauna can be very helpful
  4. Drinking lots of water

If you want to learn more about biofilms, I recommend the following article, Biofilms: What Have We Learned from the Research?written by Dr Paul Anderson.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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