Monday, September 16, 2013

Healing the gut: part 2

Finally I am getting to finishing this post after a whole month and a half!! For those of you who know us personally, you know it has been a very long journey for us trying to figure out Scarlett's loose stool and gut issues. We started with a dairy/gluten free diet which helped immensely, but did not completely fix the problem. I contemplated for a long time putting her on the GAPS diet, but just wasn't sure if I could keep up something that intense for a long period of time (especially with a new little one coming). Well, we have finally received answers as to why Scarlett has been having loose stools all her life. I was getting frustrated at "fishing in the dark" and trying to find out why she continued to have loose stools despite all the things I was implementing. I talked it over with Chris and we decided to take her to see a naturopath for answers and testing. It was a big decision because it is not cheap to do this and obviously insurance won't cover the visits, although they do cover some of the testing fees. So after explaining Scarlett's history to the naturopath she decided to have us start with two different tests. The first test was the IgG antibody test to see what foods her immune system was reacting too and to indicate if she had a leaky gut or not. The second test was a stool culture to figure out the different things going on inside of her digestive system.

The IgG test is a blood test that they use to indicate how your immune system is reacting to various foods. Since she is so small we were only able to do the regular test without the extra vegetable and spice add on's. I was very surprised at her results. She was reacting to basically all beans (kidney, soy, peanut, and even string bean), some different types of fish we would never eat, and strangely enough chicken. She didn't react at all to dairy or wheat, but the naturopath said it could be because she has been off of them for so long they wouldn't show up on the test. The naturopath said the results were actually good because if she had a rampant leaky gut she would be reacting to many more foods. She did decide to put her on two gut healing supplements just to help. The first is called Endefen by Metagenics. This supplement is a general nutritional supplement for the upper GI tract and helps support good bacteria growth. The second one is called Glutagenics by Metagenics and contains the powerful gut healing L-glutamine. It also contains Deglycyrrhizinated licorice root and aloe leaf extract which both help heal the gut as well. The last piece is to keep Scarlett off all the foods she reacts to for 6 months. Truthfully that part hasn't been too hard except for chicken and green beans. She didn't react to turkey so I have been substituting with that instead. 

The second test was the stool analysis. It turns out that Scarlett had quite a few things in her gut that were causing her some issues. The first thing they found was the H. Pylori bacteria which is one of the main causes of ulcers. To combat this the naturopath put her on Zinc Carnosine which kills the bacteria. The second thing they found was that she had a large amount of yeast in her gut. This didn't surprise me as she still has some cradle cap and because we dealt with so many yeast issues after her birth. To combat this Scarlett is on a modified candida diet. This means only 1 serving of low GI fruit per day, 1 serving of grain, and 1 serving of starchy vegetable. The rest of her diet is basically meat, lentils, non-starchy vegetables, and nuts. This is actually slightly difficult to do with me needing a few more carbs while pregnant. In order to accomplish this I usually make all our lunches grain free and alternate a starchy vegetable or grain for breakfast and supper. I try to get a few more low GI carbs in while she naps or is occupied in another room since I need them while pregnant. The other supplement she ordered to combat the yeast is called Ultraflora Acute Care. This is a probiotic formula which contains a beneficial yeast called S. Bourlardii which kills off the bad yeast. The last two things they found in Scarlett's gut were Camplyobacter and two different animal parasites. The naturopath was very intrigued by this since she said they don't normally see these in a two year old and these could be the main reason she continued to have loose stools. She said normally in a healthy gut these two will just get passed out in the stool, but if they find a hospitable environment in a damaged gut they will stick around. She wanted to wait to start any treatment for these two because she wanted to she if we took care of the H. pylori and yeast if her system would just get rid of the camplyobacter and parasites on it's own. 

We started Scarlett on the Endefen and Glutagenics right away after her first visit. She was on them for around a month before the tests came back. Then we started the zinc carnosine, acute care, and the candida diet. The first few days of it went very well, however then she started to have issues holding her urine. This was very strange for her and she would cry because she felt so bad she couldn't hold it. I think this was her detox reaction because the naturopath had us back down on the probiotic dosage and she began to be able to hold it again. We continued with the supplements for about 3 weeks and her stools were becoming normal! Then a funny thing happened. Despite changing nothing she began to have loose stools again. After talking with the naturopath she decided she wanted to start an anti-parasitic because she thought they might be flaring up as we clear her system out. We then started her on Biocidin (an herbal anti-parasitic and anti-yeast product) and Caproyl (an anti-yeast product which is actually a very concentrated dose of coconut oil). We began with one drop of Biocidin and after a week we were supposed to up it to 2 drops. The first week went good, but after adding two drops she had the same strange reaction as she did when we introduced the zinc and ultraflora. This time she was wetting the bed. The naturopath thinks this may just be her detox reaction. We decided to keep on with it a few days to see if it would improve and it did. Her stools are becoming more regular again and she quit wetting the bed. 

This is the point we are at right now. Her stools are regular. She is still on all the supplements and the candida diet. The naturopath wants to keep her on this diet for another couple months to completely clear out the yeast and she said we may have to switch up the Biocidin with another herbal product to keep the parasites and bacteria from becoming immune. All in all, I am so glad we are doing this and I wish we would have started earlier. With the little one coming in about a month I am feeling slightly overwhelmed especially with the diet. I have been frantically making lots of meals so that I will not have to worry about cooking as much and I plan to sneak more carbs in while she naps or is in the other room. I struggled with milk supply with Scarlett and think I could possibly not have enough grandular tissue so I am not willing to eat lower carbs while nursing for fear it will diminish my supply further. I plan to stick with low GI fruits, 1 serving of grain, a small amount of honey in baked goods, and starchy vegetables. I know I will eventually need gut healing too since most babies born with a damaged gut acquire it from the gut health of their mother. The naturopath said she would have no problem treating me while nursing but to wait until around 3-4 months after having him since the gut does change due to the hormones while pregnant.  

2 comments:

  1. Megan, you have worked SO HARD and so diligently to figure this out for her. I commend you, my friend.

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  2. Thanks Melissa! I really truly appreciate all your support these past few years! You are truly a wonderful friend!

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