Gut health: my test results + protocol

Hi everyone!

Who watched my Instagram video about all the gut testing I did and how I have bacterial imbalances? Well here it is again for you!

The run down:

If you’ve been following LBK for a while, you’d know I went through a round of gut testing about a year ago and found out that I had SIBO (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth), yeast overgrowth and imbalances of my gut bacteria.

SIBO usually happens when you’re stomach is low in acid and bacteria from the large intestine creeps up into the small intestine, which causes things like bloating, nausea and stomach aches.

Candida/yeast overgrowth occurs when the “yeast” aka fungi in your gut grow too well in your digestive system and cause inflammation and irritation in the gut. This happens a lot in modern societies that eat lots of sugars.

These combined with general imbalances in my gut made me feel bloated and nauseas all the time. But I fixed it…. for a while. Since the first treatment, I felt great. Truly great. My tummy felt good, I was hardly ever bloated, and not nauseous. But all of a sudden around Christmas I had a horrible 3 days of severe bloating and nausea out of nowhere. I had to do a liquid diet of bone broth and green juice for a few days and then I felt better.

This led me to wonder what was wrong again. I knew I needed to retest. The first time I had all my tests done I tested for SIBO, did stool testing, hormones, and food allergies. This time I started with just the stool test because my insurance currently sucks and these things are expensive!

The tests/results:

The test I took is called GDX by Genova and I swear I refer people to this test all the time. It’s a stool test that you do over 3 days and they test for EVERYTHING. It shows all your gut bacteria and more! It has to be ordered by a doctor and interpreted by one who understands it. My doc is Dr Lacey and she is amazing! I mentioned her in my story video so go find her on Instagram!

I didn’t test for SIBO because my insurance doesn’t cover it but the test for SIBO also has to be ordered by a doctor like Dr Lacey. With this test, you drink a lactulose solution and breathe into a bag every 20 minutes for about 3 hours and send it to the lab where they see what gases you produce and can pinpoint the SIBO bacteria based on that.

Sure enough, I came back positive for Candida overgrowth, E. coli overgrowth, bacterial imbalance and low amounts of good bacteria. We’re also assuming I have SIBO because my symptoms are so similar to what I had with SIBO before that I’m 99% sure that I have it.

The protocol:

The purpose of this post is to talk about my protocol though! So once again… here we go! A “protocol” is term nutritionists and docs like to use for going on a diet combined with supplements and herbs that is designed to make you feel better and get rid of bad bacteria. It’s basically better than saying “you’re not gonna eat anything you like for a month and take lots of pills every day but it’ll make you better!” Joking… sort of.

Everyone’s protocol will be different depending on what you are trying to achieve but for me I need to accomplish 3 things.

  1. Kill off my Candida and E. coli overgrowth
  2. Kill off my small intestinal bacteria overgrowth
  3. Replace my good bacteria

Luckily, I will not have to take any traditional antibiotics this time! Everything is herbal and will not throw my gut off even more. The supplements I’ll be taking are going to target these things and then I’ll be adding in probiotics once we think I’m in the clear.

Diet protocol:

My diet is also going to change. Currently I eat paleo and low carb, not ketogenic, but I keep my carbs around 30% or less of my total macros. This is what level I find works for me but this is still too high to kill off the yeast bacteria because yeast LOVE sugar. Think about it. Grapes have to have sugar to be fermented into wine…this is what is happening in my gut, yay!

So the first part of my diet will be to cut out sugars, meaning fruit mainly because I already don’t eat grains.

Secondly, I will be watching out for high yeast foods. A lot of people refer to this as The Candida Diet. So no moldy nuts and grains, or sugars.

Then I will be taking out FODMAPS to address my SIBO. FODMAPS are foods that contain fermentable carbohydrates that gut bacteria feed off of and this makes SIBO worse. I’ve done this before and had some success with it so I’m thinking it’ll work well.

I will follow the Anti Candida, low carb, low FODMAP diet for 2 weeks and then slowly introduce things back in and see how it goes. I suspect I’ll need a little longer than that but we’ll see!

Supplement protocol:

I will be adding in all the supplements Dr Lacey has prescribed me! I’m going to refrain from giving dosage on those because this isn’t a one size fits all type of thing and I don’t want anyone to imitate my treatment plan and expect it to work for them.

I know that’s annoying but I truly believe that if anyone is experiencing the symptoms I have, they should see a functional medicine doctor and get a personalized plan!

As for the effectiveness of the supplements, all of these are scientifically PROVEN to kill bacteria and do what they are intended to do. Just because they are herbs and this isn’t typical “western” medicine, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Here’s a summary of what each does, my references of actual studies are at the end of this post.

 

The actual supplements and what they do + the research/proof :

  1. Metagenics: Glutagenics. This supplement is mainly glutamine. Glutamine is an amino acid that the cells of the gastrointestinal lining use as fuel. In a study, glutamine was shown to support gastrointestinal mucosal growth and prevent the mucosa from atrophying. The study also showed, “glutamine facilitates enteral absorption of nutrients and electrolytes in animals with experimental diarrhea. It also lessens the severity of diarrhea by enhancing water and salt intake. It protects the gut epithelium from ammonia-induced cell death”.
  2. Pure Encapsulations: Digestion GB. This enzyme mix helps digest food and has added bile salts to emulsify fat. Enzymes have been shown to improve digestion in studies on patients with anything from indigestion to Celiac Disease.
  3. Pure Encapsulations: Digestive Enzyme Ultra. This one is a mix of lots of digestive enzymes. Research supports the benefits of enzymes for digestive and joint disorders. “In addition, bromelain, a digestive enzyme extracted from pineapple stems, may provide protection against cancer cells. Digestive enzymes also promote an anti-inflammatory response, which can impact numerous diseases and conditions.”
  4. Pure Encapsulations: Betaine HCl with pepsin. This one scares people because it raises stomach acid to help kill SIBO. But, it is scientifically proven to work for people with low stomach acid. The HCl “helps converts pepsin (a stomach enzyme which digests protein) into its active form. Other functions of stomach acid include killing ingested bacteria, yeast and parasites and allowing proper absorption of B12, folic acid, and minerals. Stomach acid levels may also be important in maximizing white blood cell and platelet function.”
  5. Pure Encapsulations: Pure Genomics Multivitamin. This is self explanatory, but we all NEED vitamins. The food we eat today is less nutrient dense than our food used to be and most of us do not eat as many nutrients as we need anyways.
  6. Metagenetics – Candibactin BR. This is one of the herbal antibiotics. It contains Berberine. Berberine has been used to treat diabetes for centuries but I will be using it to kill the SIBO bacteria. In one study, this supplement combined with the one below was proven to be more effective (10% more) than the leading antibiotic (Rifaximin) for treating SIBO.
  7. Metagenics – Candibactin AR. This is the other herbal antibiotic. It contains thyme oil which is a powerful antibiotic. “In a 2011 study conducted at the Medical University of Lodz in Poland tested thyme oil’s response to 120 strains of bacteria isolated from patients with infections of oral cavity, respiratory and genitourinary tracts. The results of experiments showed that the oil from the thyme plant exhibited extremely strong activity against all of the clinical strains. Thyme oil even demonstrated a good efficacy against antibiotic-resistant strains.”
  8. Prescript Assist: Probiotic. This will be the probiotic I will use after my treatment once we kill off the bad bacteria. Probiotics have many beneficial effects on the digestive system and are also tied to the immune system. According to Berkeley Wellness, “there’s a close connection between the bacteria in your colon and the immune system—and probiotics have been linked to enhanced immune responses (such as to flu vaccines). Several studies, including one published in 2012 in the British Journal of Nutrition, have found that certain probiotic strains boost measures of immune response…”

Thats it for the details. I hope this helps clear up any misconceptions about the effectiveness of these supplements because they are not conventional. I would not take medicine or herbs if I didn’t fully research them and believe that they will work for me. Everyone should do their own research before taking anything, even prescription medications.

Going forward:

For now I’m just happy I know why I was feeling so crappy and I’m ready to address the issues I have. I cannot wait to be feeling better because I have been SO bloated!

I hope this helps everyone going through gut troubles! Dr Lacey does video/phone consultations for anyone who is considering doing some gut testing and getting everything balanced.

I’ll post some recipes and photos of my meals on Instagram. It’s hard to look out for FODMAPS, high Candida food and be low carb at the same time but I’m determined to make it work!

Feel free to reach out and I’ll answer any questions, and also refer everyone to Dr Lacey! We also might have a little interview coming up if anyone has questions they’re dying to ask please message me or comment!

Love,

Kristina

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4369670/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4923703/

https://1md.org/article/benefits-digestive-enzymes-clinical-studies-1md

http://www.functionalmedicineuniversity.com/SupplementingwithHCL.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4030608/

https://draxe.com/thyme-oil/

https://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2014-11/treating-small-intestinal-bacterial-overgrowth

http://www.berkeleywellness.com/supplements/other-supplements/article/probiotics-pros-and-cons

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