Why does this happen?
There are many reasons for yeast, bacteria and parasitic overgrowth, some of which are:
- 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
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.
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.
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
- Mood swings
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Anger outbursts
- Intense cravings for sugars, sweets, and breads
- Itchy skin
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.
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.
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.