Monday, January 17, 2011

Nutraceuticals for yeast, bacteria, viruses and parasites

There is much discussion among the bio-medical moms about "yeast protocols", but it's more than that.  When we have an imbalance in our gut flora, yeast (also known as candida) grow out of control and can even become systemic. When this happens, it's very likely that there are also other pathogens along for the ride.

Why does this happen?
There are many reasons for yeast, bacteria and parasitic overgrowth, some of which are:
  • dysbiosis
  • prolonged antibiotic use
  • impaired digestion for any reason
  • poor diet
  • some medications
  • immune or autoimmune problems
  • poor liver function or liver disease
  • nutrient deficiencies or malabsorption
  • prolonged disease
It's hard to know what came first, the leaky gut or the dysbiosis, but what it all comes down to is that our children require daily assistance in fighting off these buggers (at least until we can get to the bottom of the problem by removing the cause and chelation does that).  Many doctors prescribe ineffective RXs which are temporary fixes and the pathogens actually have become resistant to them, so we prefer to use natural methods of keeping them down!  And they work!

You will not find the definition of nutraceutical in the Webster Dictionary, it's a fairly new term being used by holistic doctors.  My favorite definition was found on wikipedia

"Nutraceutical, a term combining the words “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical,” is a food or food product that provides health and medical benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease."

I recently decided to start myself on a regimen of the kid's nutraceuticals to see, if they had any effect on me.  I have more energy while taking them and, if I forget a dose (I usually take them twice a day) I notice that my mood becomes more irritable and I get a tickle in my throat forcing me to continue clearing it.  I also notice a die-off effect, if I don't continue taking them on a regular basis, indicating rapid overgrowth in the period that I am not taking them.  The throat-clearing is something I have noticed coming on for years and the only time it goes away is with grapefruit seed extract (GSE).  I also know that I suffer from the virus Herpes Simplex I which is evident by mouth sores and just about every time I get sick, I end up with one or more.

Immune suppression
There are latent viruses and then there are chronic persistent viral infections.  An example of a chronic persistent viral infection is EBV (Epstein Barr Virus) and some herpes viruses.  When a person has a chronic infection like this, their immune system is always slightly suppressed, leaving them vulnerable to other immune attacks.  Imagine an army trying to fight off their opponent, and then while they are fighting, yet another group comes in and attacks them from a different angle, and perhaps even another....they are going to lose the battle merely based on the fact that they just don't have enough guys or energy to fight them all.  This is what is happening to our bodies.  It's not that some crazy mongo-pathogens are growing into Hercules, it's that our immune systems are suppressed with so many daily and bio-accumulative assaults ranging from heavy metals and chemicals to plastics and who knows what else in our make-up, deodorant, lotions, shampoos, toothpaste, pesticides, plastic containers, plastic liners in baby formula and metal cans and yes, in vaccinations too, etc.  We can't fight these pathogens off as readily as we used to be able to so now we are seeing the effects of this phenomenon in GI disorders, autoimmune disease, neurological disease and even cancer.  It used to be only the elderly that were effected by the build up of these toxins, but now, as recent studies have indicated, babies are born sick, pregnant mothers harbor multiple chemicals and our children's rate of learning disabilities, ADD and Autism are significantly on the rise.

The daily grind
So what is our current chosen nutraceutical routine?  We have tried ALL kinds of herbs like Neem, Goldenseal and Uva Ursi as well as Caproyl (caprylic acid) among so many other products aimed at taking down these nasty invaders, but the tried and true products that never fail us are simply the following:
  • 3-4 drops of high potency good quality Oil of Oregano (OoO) three times a day.
  • 125-300mg of Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) three times daily and even more during rounds of chelation (never take GSE combined with SSRIs, because they both slow phase 1 in the liver detox pathways).  This is the liquid version (each drop is 10mg) and this is the tablet version(each tablet is 125mg).
  • 20-25mg of biotin daily (split into 3 doses) - this is a B vitamin that is created by the good gut bugs, so when we are low in those, we are low in biotin and yes, this is the same biotin that strengthens hair and nails, lol.  Biotin prevents yeast from colonizing and morphing into it's more dangerous form, the same form that causes leaky gut.
  • 100-750mg of Olive Leaf Extract (OLE) three times a day.  We use Swanson Vitamin super strength, but there is also a smaller dose, both are great and cheap!  If you want an alcohol free liquid, this is a wonderful product, but keep in min, each FULL dropper is only 100mg.  It's great when you are just starting out.
This combination has been fool proof and as many times as we have tried adding to, removing or switching them around, we always end up back at this arrangement, because it works for us. 

Tolerating the nutraceuticals
I have heard so many parents say that their children don't tolerate one or the other and I do know this is entirely possible, however, I think when a child is showing an inability to "tolerate" one of the above by way of an exacerbation of symptoms, I would bet that it's not an intolerance.  This is called "die-off".  In fact, when Grayson's IgG allergy panel showed ALL citrus as something he reacts to, I was sure that his worsening of symptoms when given even 10mg of GSE was related to an intolerance.  I just couldn't get his yeast overgrowth under control though, so I decided I had to push through the first few days to see, if I was wrong.  I am so glad I did!  Notice that above he is now on at least 300mg of GSE three times a day?  Originally, one drop would send him into an emotional, sensory tizzy!  I thought, no way can I give him that!!  When I pushed through what proved to be die-off symptoms (the toxins released into the bloodstream when yeast are killed is multiple times worse than their waste byproducts when they are alive) for the first week or so, we came out on the other side experiencing a new calm I had NEVER seen before!  And since then, we have been slowly increasing his dose to the point where he is fairly consistent unless we are stirring things up with chelation or he gets sick, both increase yeast overgrowth.

I would go as far as to say that all Americans and their children have some form of overgrowth, if they are overly emotional, experience more than typical outbursts or tantrums, sensitive to things like sound, or even if they crave sensory input like loud music and physical pressure (Grayson used to push his hands between two cushions of the couch a lot, a friend's daughter rolls herself under cushions and asks her mom to lay on her).  Increased viral infections (under-active immune system) are another sign and even harder to connect with is the LACK of illness from an over-active immune system.  Grayson started out with hyper-immunity and we thought his incredible lack of illness was a good sign.  We couldn't be more wrong.

Typical (the more common) symptoms of candida overgrowth are:
  • Frequent stomach pains and digestion problems
  • Skin problems (skin infections, eczema, psoriasis, acne)
  • Foggy brain / Trouble concentrating
  • Constant tiredness and exhaustion
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Anger outbursts
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Intense cravings for sugars, sweets, and breads
  • Itchy skin
I think it's safe to say that most Americans suffer from at least one of the above, no?  And what about our poor diet as mentioned earlier on?  We are seeing this crop up as the cause for so many things now!  I think it's safe to assume that many Americans suffer from Candida overgrowth, at minimum.   It's more evident in our kids by way of neurological symptoms.  Grayson's Sensory Processing Disorder completely evaporates when the yeast condition is under control.  As SOON as he experiences overgrowth that we haven't caught, we begin to see signs of tics, sensory defensiveness by way of frustration with clothing and his blankets at night, sensory seeking which involves bumping, crashing and jumping and one of the biggest signs is an over emotional state of mind.  Within 15 minutes of his nutraceutical dose, it fades away, sometimes after a temporary worsening.  These are very common symptoms in children and I know from talking with many many other bio-med moms that they are fairly consistent across the board, although their sensory symptoms do vary from child to child.  Some are more sensitive and some are less sensitive to the overgrowth, in other words, if you were to test a child for levels of yeast, one child who is VERY sensitive and symptomatic could have lower numbers than a child who reacts less, but has higher numbers on the test.  I am not sure what drives this and what other factors are involved, it could even be related to an actual allergy to the toxins, but that is just one possibility.  One thing I do know is that Grayson is super sensitive to any change, even changes in temperature, weather, and diet, so it makes sense that he would be so sensitive to the ever-changing landscape of his pathogenic burden. 

What about bacteria?
Now that we've touched on yeast and viruses, what about bacteria?  There are some nasty bacterias getting attention out there, like the increased infections involving e.coli and nursing homes experiencing clostridia problems, and what about the strep bacteria, some people get that infection regularly (I can honestly say I have NEVER had one, knock on wood).  Grayson has been tested and has all three of those residing in his gut and I am not referring to the good strains.  We were also able to see from testing that he was not colonizing the lactobacillus strain we give him nightly!  Here is the link to the first blog I wrote when we first had Grayson tested and discovered the clostridia and yeast.  When Grayson is experiencing bacteria overgrowth, we see a completely different set of symptoms arise.  Over time we start to see a worsening in behavior, a defiance starts to creep up, we see a Jekyll and Hyde sort of bouncing back and forth moodiness and then suddenly we realize that our days are completely riddled with explosive, negative outbursts.  Nothing is right, nothing makes him happy, he says mean things, he pokes fun at his brother with pleasure, he slams doors, hits walls, screams and hates everything and everyone.  If we are just keeping the bacteria at bay, we will have days of this, on and off, then we either realize it's happening and increase his OLE and OoO (they are antibacterial in nature) or it gets out of control and then we need the big guns!  The biofilm protocol!  When we first learned of Grayson's seriousclostridia overgrowth we tried three courses of (20 days each) antibiotics aimed to focus directly on the Clostridia and he was a DREAM while was being actively treated, we had our Grayson back.  Within 6-8 weeks, the symptoms would begin to crop up again and before long, we were back where we started.  What it did do for us was prove that the Grayson we knew was hidden under there and needed no prompting to use manners, be affectionate with us or his brother and he was completely compliant again.  We just needed to figure out how to peel off this layer of evil.  This is where the biofilm protocol came in.  Just giving the meds or nutraceuticals just wasn't enough.  But we didn't give up, because we saw that recovery was possible.

Biofilm protocol
Biofilm Maturation
Pathogens develop a polysaccharide protective coating over themselves allowing them to hide from treatment.  That is their ultimate goal, survival! In fact, I think it's their only goal!  Even the bacteria in and around your teeth develop biofilm, known as plaque.  Based on it's exposed location, we are able to remove it every six months when we go to the dentist for a cleaning, but what if it's in your intestines, then what?  The biofilm protocol is a process that involves using enzymes to poke holes in the protective polysaccharides that bacteria build around themselves, allowing the chosen nutraceuticals to get into the matrix and attack the bacteria.  The final step of the biofilm protocol is a mop-up so that the intense die-off toxins are absorbed and ushered out of the body so it can't do any additional damage to it's host.  This is a daily process that is done until the symptoms are eradicated.  We have only had to do this twice, the first time was for about 3-4 months straight (things were REALLY out of control when he was three years old, I'm sure you could find a post from back then to see the details) and then one other time to just keep things under control and we didn't need to use it for long the second time around.  As we near higher rounds of chelation, we aren't seeing the massive swings up and down like we used to.  We have occasional regression which usually has a cause like illness or chelation itself (which stirs things up) and then there is rapid recovery once the trigger is resolved or gone.  He still has a sensitive system and full recovery will require years of chelation, but the progress is encouraging, we are fighting a battle worth fighting!

And I am sure you probably don't even like to think about parasites, but we all have them.  We deworm our pets every 6 months, what makes us think we don't need to do the same?  To see my more detailed post on parasites, you can click here.

Balancing act
These gut bugs are all intertwined in some way.  They communicate with each other, they feed each other, and they hitch rides on one another.  It's important to understand the symbiotic relationship they share in order to treat for them.  Also, having a microbiology test done is a good way to start, otherwise you are aiming in the dark.  When you know what you are aiming at, you are much more likely to hit it.  The best part about many of the microbiology tests available, is that they also test each of the microbes found in the stool against natural and RX anti-microbials to determine what they are resistant to and what works best at killing them.  They provide a scale of what has the best and worst effect that allows you to really target the buggers!!  Once you know what you are going after, it's good to know how they effect each other during treatment.  Typically when someone tells me they are fighting a yeast infection of any kind, I immediately think bacteria.  The reason is that yeast tend to increase when they are trying to fight off a bacterial invasion.  So the symptoms you will see first are yeast symptoms.  You will hear a lot of parents say that their children are giddy, too happy, inappropriately laughing at things or even nothing, almost like they are drunk and suffer from sleep disturbances.  Some even get the drunken sailor walk!  This is because yeast put out ethanol, yes that is alcohol, so they ARE drunk!  Funny?  Not when it's your child.  So back to my point, first you see these symptoms, so you immediately think you need to attack the yeast beast, right?  WRONG!!  Doing so, without also administering an anti-bacterial is going to result in the nasty increase (or unleashing) of whatever bacteria the yeast were trying to control.  We experienced this big time and I will tell you that, if I had to choose, I would take a nasty yeast overgrowth over the evils of bacterial overgrowth ANY day.  My child becomes the exorcist with bacteria, complete with head-spinning and spitting!  Ok, not really, but he might as well!  It's BAD.  So, make sure to ALWAYS treat both together.  This is why we give GSE with OoO and OLE.  And to add insult to injury, if your child is also viral, and/or has parasites....the picture gets even more complicated.  Yeast tend to hitch rides on parasites, actually feeding off of them, one parasite on top of another, nice picture?  And viruses?  When there is viral die off, or shedding, there is an increase in yeast, it actually feeds the yeast.  So this is precisely why we give all three together, because GSE attacks yeast (and also some bacteria, but not all), the OoO is a really good broad spectrum that attacks both also and OLE is an anti-viral and anti-bacterial.  But beware, killing off too much of one can cause an increase in another pathogen.  Killing too much yeast off can result in more bacteria overgrowth and vice versa, etc.  The trick is to experiment with your child (or yourself) to find the right combination.  For example, if you see bacteria signs, there are two possible things you can do, decrease the anti-fungal (GSE) or increase the anti-bacterial (OLE).  I am inclined to raise the appropriate nutraceutical first.  Then I stay at that dose for a few days to see how they respond.  I make adjustments regularly, even today.  If your child is sick, viral die off will feed the yeast, and eating foods that feed yeast will also cause an increase, bacterial infections will show with bacteria signs, etc.  It's a balancing act.

For anyone unsure of the cause of various odd symptoms, like the lists above, consider trying a course of these nutraceuticals to see, if they make a difference.  I bet they would!

IMPORTANT UPDATE - I thought it might be interesting for you to know that even with the use of grapefruit seed extract three times a day for years, our older son, who had an IgG sensitivity to every citrus product known to man, has had an updated IgG and the only citrus left on it is orange.  Grapefruit has dropped off, even with excessive usage of the GSE.  So for those who are afraid to use it, because their child showed sensitivity to citrus, this proves that it should not effect that sensitivity.  Again, EVERY child is different, I am just sharing our experience.


Selena said...

The yeast beast seems to affect us all. I've tried GSE liquad but it's soooo bitter. How do you get Grayson to take it without the sour face? I want to move to all natural antifungals (rx diflucan now) but until I can get my guy to take it willingly, it's a battle.

Jessica said...

I started out putting the GSE in about a teaspoon of of juice then administering it with a syringe. Both my boys (2 and 5) will take it in water now, they are so used to it, but they also both swallow pills, so we use the tablets (capsules aren't as effective, I hear). So they get 125mg per tablet. Grayson takes two, three times a day and Gavin takes one, three times a day, but on bad days, he doesn't want to swallow it so then I have to put 10-15 drops into water. Sometimes he acts like Mr. Dramataic about it, other times he takes it and continues playing without missing a beat. It is important to start slow though, so I would recommend the liquid until you can get to at least 8-10 drops.

Malke said...

This post was incredibly helpful for me. I've been trying to figure out how to do GSE for months. As soon as things got too bad, I'd take dd off for a while then start again. Recently things got much worse on an 'off' period and I decided to start up again. Things improved almost immediately. Reading your post gave me the perspective I needed to not only put up with the die-off but understand it better and see the 'intolerance' through to the other end.

Also, I had to start dd on 1/2 a drop of GSE every *other* day and now she's handling 1/2 a drop each day. Thanks to you sharing your thoughts and experience, I will not be stopping GSE, but only adjusting the dose from now on. THANKS!!!

Jessica said...

Malke, I am so glad to have been able to help you! That is precisely why I write! I know how confusing this can all be when you are still trying to find your "magic bullet". Once you have her on the dose that works for her, you will have a much better sense of what she needs and when. Trust your gut, mama!


Kara said...

Thank you so much for all the great information in your blog. I must admit I have spent the last few days stalking your blog, reading every post backwards and forward. This post specifically just blew me away. Our son has major yeast issues and while we have been trying to contain it nothing has ever really seemed to help. After reading your post, now I don't think I was dosing the GSE enough. Not to mention, he probably has bad bacteria running rampid since I have not given him anything for bacteria aside from probiotics. My question to you is, how do you fit probiotics into the day? If you are giving all these nutraceuticals 3 times a day that does not leave much time.
Thank you again for writting this blog. I feel like I learned more over the last couple days reading your blog, than I have in years of researching the internet or reading books. You are an amazing mother, keep up the good work!

Jessica said...

Kara, We don't give probiotics during the day, only at bedtime, but I do make kefir water and I give them each a cup twice a day, an hour away from their nutraceuticals.

Anonymous said...

Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa ( may be another solution to itchy throat. i know a lot of people use it, its also non alcoholic, though it's effectiveness is not as good as alcohol based cough medicine, but it's still good to use on not so serious itchy throat. Hope you are getting well soon!!!

MK said...

love your blog. I have a question for you. A friend of mine (she's 42) has been on antibiotics numerous times, she's getting to the point that her body is becoming resistant to them. Her latest illness is strep and the antibiotics don't seem to be working. She thinks she has yeast problems (most likely) but hasn't been tested for anything yet.
I want her to try, GSE, OoO and OLE. what do you suggest?
thank you for your insight :)

Jessica said...

OLE is good for strep as is Juniper Berry and garlic. Juniper Berry shouldn't be used long term, but it can be pulsed ten days on and then a break, then on again. I would also suggest that she use the GSE and OoO at the same time just to be sure she doesn't end up with a massive yeast flare from taking the OLE and Juniper Berry. She should start slow and increase a little at a time, because she may get serious die off, but she will need to push through that. Strep is nasty and if she begins to feel any joint pains or heart symptoms, she should call her doctor ASAP. Taking OLE will make the antibiotics less effective, so taking the two together won't be helpful. Maybe she should at least finish the course of her antibiotics first, then try the naturals. Remember, I am no doctor (nor do I play one on tv, lol) so I am just sharing what I would do, if it were me. Perhaps she should call a holistic doctor to see what their take would be on this. Strep can be very problematic for some people. Once she gets the strep knocked down, she really should consider taking something natural on a regular basis as a means of maintenance. Good luck, I hope she can fight it off and work towards a healthier status. Oh and make sure she is taking huge doses of probiotics at night before bed, at least 2 hours away from these things. I would recommend custom Probiotics, CP-1 formula. I take three capsules at night.

Carlos and Janis said...

I haven't had the time to read through your blog chronologically to know if you've answered this . . .

Did you use this nutraceutical regimen in addition to diet to start off with, or is it appropriate to start here. I have a friend who is telling me that I MUST use the dietary approach at the same time, and I'm just wondering if I'm up for it. I know this will be a process to fully overcome, but I was wondering what advice you have to offer.

For some background, I suspect SPD in my 3yo son (including some OCD tendencies). He seems to be going through a sensory seeking phase right now, but other times he seems perfectly normal. It's during these "flare-ups" that I tend to look for answers. :o)

I've seen at least one other request for e-mail contact with you and would encourage you to consider putting some sort of contact link on your blog if that's possible. I know that's asking for a lot. I understand if you choose not to. But when I feel like I've found someone who's been where I am, it's such a relief. And I have so many questions! :o) Thanks for your blog. I appreciate everything I've read.

Jessica said...

I'm so sorry I totally missed this entry, not sure how... =(

When we started out, we didn't really know about the pathogen overgrowth as an option, I had SPD as the first diagnosis and found food sensitivities as the first cause so we removed them as a first course of action out of sheer ignorance. However, with that said, I would probably do it that way again (unless I knew with testing that we were dealing with overgrowth) only because I feel like it would remove symptoms that might have been related solely to the food issues, so that I could focus on the remaining symptoms. I guess either way, the point is to start one thing at a time, to be sure you know what is causing what, good and/or bad. I'm sure by now, you've figured something out, but I wanted to address your question for the sake of others reading as well. If you have this question after reading my blog, it's likely that others do as well. If you would like to contact me directly, you can reach me at

adrbeads said...

I have liquid GSE, wondering how much 125 mg might be in ml? Or perhaps I should start 1 drop at a time?
My son is 4 and still struggling with sensory behaviors, hyperactivity and we had. Been on fluconazole for over 6 months.....
I need to try something new......
Thank you!!