Lydia is A Natural Girl

H.pylori: An Alternative Cure

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Disclaimer: None of the information on this blog is a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor before making any supplement, lifestyle, or dietary changes. I am not a doctor, nor am I certified in any way to dispense medical advice or treatment. This is just what worked for me.

Introduction: Well, the verdict is in: I beat H.pylori without antibiotics! My stool test came back negative. Scientists are just beginning to recognize the importance of gut health in our overall wellness. Read Follow Your Gut by Rob Knight to learn about how important your microbiome and gut flora are to your well-being, and how antibiotics decimate both good and bad bacteria in your gut. Scientists are only now exploring this new facet of our health and I for one am extremely excited to see what they come up with in the next few years.

Why I did it without antibiotics: I chose to forego antibiotics and use supplements and diet to beat this thing because I don’t want to contribute to the growing antibiotic resistance that’s making bacterial infections like H.pylori increasingly harder to treat with traditional methods. Luckily there are alternatives to these methods.

This is an extremely long and comprehensive post, so buckle your seat belts!

My H.pylori-related symptoms: Burning in my stomach just under my ribs; full feeling in my esophagus after eating; gas, mostly in the form of burping; back and other muscle pain; weight loss (but this last is probably due to dramatically changing my diet as soon as I learned I had the bacteria rather than due to the bacteria itself).

The Two-Month Supplement Regimen (I got most of these things from Amazon)

1. UMF-certified Comvita Active 16+ or Wedderspoon Manuka Honey Active 16+ – To help kill off the H.pylori. (I know that Wedderspoon isn’t UMF-certified; however, it has worked for other people and I alternated it with the Comvita honey throughout the regimen.) Take 1 teaspoon when you get up, 1 teaspoon twenty minutes before each meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and 1 teaspoon before bed, all on as empty a stomach as possible.
2. Allergy Research Group Mastic Gum – To help kill the H.pylori. 1000mg twice a day: two 500mg pills in morning when you get up, two 500mg pills at night before bed. Try to take this on an empty stomach every time. I usually took this and the honey in succession. Keep taking a lowered dose (1 pill in the morning and then 1 pill before bed) for two or three months after your negative stool test to make sure H.pylori doesn’t come back.
3. Ecological Research Brand Monolaurin – To help kill the H.pylori. 1200 mgs (two 600mg pills) in the morning with breakfast, 1200mg (two 600mg pills) at night with dinner.
4. NOW Foods L-Glutamine Powder – To help the lining of your stomach heal. 1 heaping teaspoon in a food item of your choice daily. (I put mine in my raw cabbage juice blend each day when I was juicing, or in my homemade chia pudding along with the probiotics when I wasn’t drinking the juice that day.) This supplement makes things taste slightly sweet, so be aware of that before you sprinkle it on your eggs or something else.
5. Swanson Ultra Zinc L-carnosine (PepzinGI) – To help the lining of your stomach heal. 1 pill in the morning with breakfast, 1 pill at night with dinner.
6. Probiotic: VSL #3 – NOTE: This is a medical-grade probiotic meant to help people with moderate to severe gastrointestinal issues. It is not meant to be a daily probiotic taken to maintain gut health; it is meant to completely overhaul your gut flora. I took this to recolonize my gut with “good” microflora and help restore the balance of good bacteria to bad bacteria. I took it in the medium dose, which was 450-billion per powder packet and can be ordered online from Amazon. (I recommend ordering from Good Gut Solutions on Amazon as they package and ship it properly.) A doctor must prescribe the highest dose of this probiotic. Remember that you need to keep VSL refrigerated at all times. Stir the contents of 1 packet into the cold breakfast item of your choice daily. (I put mine in 1 cup of homemade chia pudding everyday with breakfast.)
7. Probiotic: Nature’s Way Primadophilus Reuteri Pearls – To help recolonize your gut with “good” microflora. I got the 60-count packet. Lactobacillus reuteri specifically has been proven to fight H.pylori. 1 pill once a day before bed.
8. Broccoli sprouts (live) – Sulforaphane, which is at its highest concentration in broccoli sprouts rather than full-grown broccoli, has been shown to be extremely effective against H.pylori in many studies. There are supplements that claim to contain active sulforaphane; however, studies have shown that the chemical needs to interact with another chemical that you can only release from chewing live sprouts to make the sulforaphane bioavailable for the body. I ordered my sprouts and sprouting kit (with organic broccoli seed) from SproutPeople. Consume some sprouts once a day. I put a sprinkling in my eggs in the morning.
9. AloeForce Aloe Vera – To help the lining of your stomach heal. 4oz daily. (I usually put mine in my cabbage juice blend.) I also occasionally just took a shot glass full of this straight when my stomach was acting up and it helped.
10. Solaray Super Digestaway – Enzymes to help your stomach digest food as the H.pylori might have changed the level of acid in your stomach, making it more difficult for your body to break down food. 1 pill with each meal.
11. NOW Foods N-Acetyl Cysteine – NAC is an effective agent against H.pylori because it disrupts the biofilm in which the bacteria coats itself. 600mgs in the morning, 600mg at night. (Unfortunately I had to stop taking this after a few days as it gave me sharp shooting pains in my abdomen and headaches. Pain was not a symptom with which I originally presented. If you find that NAC works with your system then definitely take it; my infection was new when I began treating it so I hoped that the biofilm had not yet had a chance to form, but I can’t be sure.)

I know this is a lot to remember. I personally kept an Excel spreadsheet that I updated throughout the day to help me remember when to take what and how much of it to take. I’d be happy to post that spreadsheet if anyone is interested in seeing/using it. (I know, I know – I’m so Type A it hurts.) I also kept meticulous records, at first in a Google Doc and then in an app called MyFitnessPal, of what I ate each day. (When I brought this documentation to my doctor he looked at me incredulously and asked, “Did you really sit down and do all this?” Yes, yes I did.)

The Two-Month Diet

For two (or three for some people) months you’re going to need to consume a diet with very little to no sugar (natural or otherwise), caffeine, or alcohol to let your gut heal. I don’t usually drink coffee or anything else with caffeine in it, so for me the hardest part of this was getting rid of most sugar. It’s in everything! (A moment of realness: I desperately missed beer, whisky, and chocolate this entire time. I’m a huge foodie – I write about food for magazines – so this diet was really, really hard for me. If I can do it, you can do it!)

• I cut out all grains except some brown rice cakes and rolled oats toward the end of the regimen when I was feeling better, but gluten-free grains are probably OK. Quinoa irritated my gut while on this regimen. Other people have reported good results as long as they stayed away from gluten. (Remember: Oats have a component that’s very similar to gluten. For this reason some people with gluten intolerance can’t have oats either, so you may want to watch your reaction to them. Buy oats that explicitly state that they’re gluten-free if you choose to incorporate them as they’re often prepared in the same facilities as gluten-containing foods.)
• No sweet dessert-like stuff (cookies, cake, pastries, etc.)
• No dairy (I substituted with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, which says it’s sugar-free but I think there’s still sugar in it. “Natural flavors,” which it includes on the label, is usually sugar. So is anything with the suffix “-ose,” for future reference. Also, very important: Make sure the almond milk you use has no carrageenan in it. This additive, used as a thickening agent, has been shown to cause gastrointestinal inflammation, which is precisely what we’re trying to avoid. I only found this out after I had been drinking a brand with added carrageenan – AlmondBreeze – for months. Don’t make my mistake.)
• No fruit except small amounts of fresh berries (low-sugar fruit) everyday, and a ton of fresh ripe avocados
• No tomatoes and tomato-based things
• No red meat
• No orange juice, lemon, lime, and other acidic foods (I minimized these rather than cut them out altogether as lemon juice didn’t seem to irritate my stomach.)
• Watch what salad dressing you use – you don’t want anything with high vinegar and/or sugar content.
• No soy sauce or other soy products. (I tend to avoid soy generally as it doesn’t agree with me, so this wasn’t hard for me)
• Soup may not be a good idea unless you make it yourself; pre-made could have gut irritants like black pepper or gluten-containing ingredients in it.

I used a couple of apps on my iPhone to help me keep track of what I was eating: MyFitnessPal, which helps you count calories and shows you pretty complete nutritional information about the food you’re eating; HealthyOut, which shows you some (admittedly limited) healthy options for when you’re dining out and trying to be good about your diet; and Ingredient1, which shows you new potential ingredients that fit your dietary restrictions when you get tired of eating the same thing all the time.

Remember to be realistic about your sugar intake as it’s virtually impossible to eliminate all sugars from your diet. According to the MyFitnessPal app I consumed an average of 28g of natural sugar a day. (The American Heart Association recommends women consume no more than 30g, or 6 teaspoons, of added sugar per day.) Most of the sugar I consumed (~17g) came from the 4 daily teaspoons of Manuka honey. The only “sugary” things I consumed during this period were foods with naturally occurring sugars – raspberries and blueberries in moderation, both of which are low-sugar fruits, bananas, and the occasional 2 or so tablespoons of unsalted unblanched peanut butter (1g of sugar per 2 tablespoons) eaten with celery. However, toward the end of the first month I began occasionally eating some low-sugar, gluten-free, dairy-free breakfast cookies that I made at home. I did cave once and have a gluten-free dessert made by a bakery, but most of my cheats were gluten-free, dairy-free, refined-sugar-free, low-natural-sugar things I made at home. (Think 1g of natural sugar per serving.) If you can resist sugar entirely I recommend doing that.

For those who are interested: According to MyFitnessPal I consumed an average of 2,020 calories a day on this regimen. I’ve had an incredibly fast metabolism my whole life, so this was the first time I have ever counted calories. (In the end the calorie counting really didn’t make a difference as I ended up hovering around 102lbs for most of the regimen. My normal weight is anywhere from 105 to 110lbs.) Most of the time I don’t worry too much about what I eat and I never gain any weight; however, I did try to eat relatively healthfully even before this happened to me. Keep in mind that you may be different. This is only if you subscribe to the whole calories-in-calories-out mentality of losing weight, in which I don’t believe and new science is beginning to discredit; see the newest issue of TIME (April 2015) for reference. (You should really just buy that issue of TIME and read it cover-to-cover, in my opinion. No, I’ve never written anything for them – I wish. It’s just got a ton of up-to-date information about nutrition and what you should be putting in your body.)

If you want to see exactly what I ate everyday throughout this ordeal, look me up on MyFitnessPal! My username is LePetitMort. (I find that euphemism so funny.)

My Daily Basic Meal Plan

I ate basically this menu literally everyday for the first month out of a lack of creativity brought on by my depression at not being able to have cake, bread, chocolate, or donuts, but feel free to change it up. I was less strict for the second month but still careful. Remember to wash all your (preferably organic) produce before consuming it! I got my produce/nut butter/whatever from my local Trader Joe’s because Whole Foods is insanely expensive and Giant/other big grocery stores usually have sub-par produce. Toward the end of the first month I occasionally ate out and had so-so results; one gluten-free dish at one restaurant was fine, but a gluten-free dish at another would upset my stomach. This was probably because that restaurant didn’t have dedicated facilities for preparing gluten-free food. I recommend eating at home as much as possible so you know exactly what’s in your dish.

Disclaimer: My symptoms were mild from the get-go so I ate a very fiber-rich diet. (This really helped keep me regular as fiber, combined with of a ton of water intake, is supposed to add bulk to stools. This bulk helps stool move more easily through your gut.) Keep in mind that your stomach may not be able to handle this much dense fiber right away. Remember, drink a TON of water throughout the day – as much as you can stand! Also try to have some protein with every meal – it’ll fill you up and keep you satiated until your next meal.

Breakfast (around 9AM): 4 organic free-range brown eggs mixed with a handful of torn-up organic spinach leaves/broccoli sprouts and scrambled in a pan greased with organic extra virgin olive oil. Eggs were seasoned with two pinches of iodized sea salt. (This was the most and only seasoning I ever put on anything). 1 large ripe organic black Hass avocado. Huge glass of water. 1/2 cup of homemade chia pudding with 1 packet of VSL#3 probiotics mixed into it. (I made my homemade chia pudding with 2 cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 4 tablespoons of chia seeds, and a handful of fresh organic blueberries and raspberries. Shake or stir all the ingredients together in an airtight container and then leave it to sit overnight in the fridge. One container would typically last me 3 to 4 mornings.)

Lunch (around 2PM): 4 large lettuce wraps made with hydroponic Bibb lettuce and filled with 1 large ripe black Hass avocado, chopped; a few minced slices of low-sodium turkey deli meat, preferably sliced fresh at your local deli but I often got mine from Trader Joe’s; diced cucumber (in whatever amount you like); and diced bell pepper of any color (in whatever amount you like) divided among the wraps. 1 huge glass of water. I would occasionally add in a small amount of raw white onion as my stomach could handle it but again, do what’s right for you. (By the way, if you add red bell pepper to your veggie wraps you might see flecks of red in your stool for the next few days. Don’t freak out and think you’re bleeding like I did – it’s hard for your body to process vegetable skins so they are sometimes visible after digestion.)

Post-Lunch (around 6PM): Anti-inflammatory juice: I made my juice in a blender and then strained it through an almond milk bag every day for the first 12 days. I then switched to making it every other day and then eventually I just made it sporadically because it’s pretty labor intensive and to be honest it doesn’t taste great. However, the benefits raw cabbage juice provides to your stomach are immeasurable, especially if you have ulcers, so if you can stand the taste you really should do this. It’s also a great way to incorporate a bunch of gut-healing spices into your diet.

The juice contains 1 tsp l-glutamine powder; 4oz aloe vera juice; 1 heaping tsp cassia cinnamon; 1 heaping tsp turmeric; 1 heaping tsp ginger powder or 2 inch peeled and washed knob of fresh ginger; handful of leafy greens (spinach, bok choy, kale, whatever); ¼ of a head of red cabbage; 3 sticks of celery (optional); about 2 cups of water; 4 ice cubes. If using a blender rather than a juicer: Blend on your “Liquefy” setting. While it’s blending, put your almond milk bag into a large bowl. Once the blender has done its thing, pour the liquid into the almond milk bag. Lift the bag and use your hands to squeeze all the juice into the bowl. Pour the juice from the bowl into a glass and drink as quickly as you can to get all the nutrients. I recommend using a straw; the juice goes down faster and easier that way.

Snack options (after you’ve rotated the juice to every other day): If you find that you’re just a little bit hungry between meals, remember that you could actually just be bored or dehydrated. Try drinking a mug of ginger turmeric tea, green tea, peppermint tea, or a big glass of water and wait 20 minutes. If you’re still hungry after that, I rotated the following options: 3-5 organic celery sticks dipped in ~3 tablespoons of unsalted unblanched peanut butter (Trader Joe’s brand). 1 huge glass of water. (I only had this as a snack once or twice a week because I was really watching my sugar intake. TJ’s unsalted unblanched peanut butter has about 1g of sugar per 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.)

Alternatively I would pop popcorn on the stove. I did this by adding 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a saucepan and then adding 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in a single layer on the bottom of the pot. (American’s Best White Popcorn is the popcorn I used.) Cover. Cook on medium-high heat until the pot is full and/or you stop hearing the kernels pop. Season with two pinches of iodized sea salt. Be warned: Popcorn is VERY fiber-rich. My stomach could handle it but if your stomach is in particularly bad shape this is probably not a good idea.

Toward the end of the first month of the regimen (because I was about to pull my hair out from boredom and I love baking) I also experimented with various gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free baked options, the links to which I will provide at the end of this section.

Dinner (around 8:30PM): 1 frozen tilapia fillet or 1 wild-caught frozen salmon fillet, defrosted overnight in the fridge and then baked in the oven on a pan lined with aluminum foil and greased with extra virgin olive oil. (You could also just put it in the oven straight from the freezer if you forget to defrost it. Google how to cook it.) Season fish with two pinches of iodized sea salt and a little olive oil before baking. Serve with 1 large ripe black Hass avocado and 1 bowl of steamed broccoli crowns seasoned with 1 pinch iodized sea salt. Huge glass of water. Eat whatever fish you want – I tried grouper, mahi mahi, and scallops as well. All worked for me. (Get fresh fish if you can, of course, but I didn’t want to be hopping back to the store everyday and our fridge space is limited. I also highly recommend grilling your fish if you can. I couldn’t because we live in an apartment complex that disallows grills.)

Stuff I Baked (Remember, if you’re going to bake things make sure you eat them in extreme moderation. One batch of the breakfast cookies lasted me just over a week because I only had a little bit of them at a time.)

http://www.sugarfreemom.com/recipes/fudgey-flourless-chocolate-brownies-gluten-dairy-sugar-free/ (Eliminated the instant coffee from this recipe because of the acidity. We also don’t have any instant coffee in the house. 1.5g of sugar per brownie.)

http://www.raisinggenerationnourished.com/2014/03/ultimate-breakfast-cookie-dairy-egg-gluten-refined-sugar-free-nut-grain-free-options/ (I cut the nuts/seeds because nuts bothered my stomach throughout the regimen and also cut the raisins/other dried fruit because of the added natural sugar content. 1.4g of sugar per cookie. These were delicious, especially warm.)

General Taking Care of Yourself Things

I tried to approach this regimen as an experiment and an opportunity to break some bad habits I’d been meaning to kick for a while. Remember, this whole thing is temporary. It’s an opportunity to press the reset button on your health and your body. Begin this experience with an open mind and a sunny outlook because you’re doing something positive for yourself!

I did at least one yoga sequence (I recommend Yoga with Adriene on YouTube) everyday at home because I wanted some form of physical activity but I decided I didn’t want to lose any more weight by burning calories with high-intensity exercise.

If you’ve never done yoga before, you’ll be surprised how much it helps you de-stress and clear your mind of negativity. Doing a digestive yoga practice also REALLY helped me with my indigestion and pain whenever my stomach or other body part began acting up. There’s no need to take medication when your stomach is feeling poorly if you can spend 20-30 minutes on the mat. Really. Do this part everyday – I did. You’ll look and feel better for it.

I also meditated for at least two minutes everyday and the sense of peace I received in return was invaluable.

Eliminate as much stress from your life as possible. Remember to care for yourself – be patient and kind to yourself as you’re healing. You’re not going to feel great everyday, but it will get better gradually. Get a massage, paint, write – do stuff that gives you joy and keeps your spirits up. Make sure you surround yourself with people who love you. Tell them what’s going on with you and let them support you. Get out of the house and enjoy nature.

I made a list of 3 things for which I was thankful at the end of each day and one beautiful thing I saw each day. This exercise really helped me mentally. As I said before, daily yoga and meditation were immeasurably helpful. I can’t stress enough how grounding and peaceful the daily practice was for me – it reminded me that the rest of my body is perfectly healthy and I’m lucky that all I have is a treatable bacterial infection. Also helpful was journaling about my experiences each day and recording changes and symptoms. (It helps to put all your thoughts down on paper so they’re not running around in your head. It also helps you get some perspective – this too shall pass.)

Get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Make sure it’s quality sleep: Turn the temperature in your bedroom down low (preferably between 65 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit) at night; eliminate all sources of ambient light in your bedroom; stop looking at your phone, TV, and computer 2 hours before bed (the blue light emitted by these devices signals your brain that it should be awake); and invest in some breathable moisture-wicking sheets. Do whatever you have to do to ensure your body is getting good rest while you’re fighting this thing. You’ll look and feel better for it.

How I Felt During the Regimen

For the first few weeks I felt great, but then I deteriorated.

The good: The very first week of doing this regimen I saw my bowel movements become as regular as clockwork (10:30AM everyday!), which I suspect was due to both the increased fiber intake and the supplement regimen. I had a lot of energy most of the time. My mood was buoyant and my anxiety levels, which are usually extremely high, were dramatically lowered. My heart rate also slowed (a lifetime average of 80 beats per minute to an average of 65 beats per minute), which was probably a side effect of the mastic gum as it can lower blood pressure. My heart palpitations, which I’ve had on and off since I was a teenager, completely disappeared. I also read The Art of Happiness and watched a TEDTalk every morning, both of which helped me. These benefits continued throughout the regimen.

The bad: I had some abdominal distension, gas in the form of burping and passing wind, and abdominal discomfort throughout the regimen. The discomfort got worse over time instead of better; instead of the burning with which I originally presented the discomfort became a gnawing pain in my stomach and lower abdomen that would last for hours after eating. The full feeling in my esophagus also resurfaced, and I began feeling like my food was coming back up whenever I would lie down after eating. (These symptoms began happening at the end of Week 4/the beginning of Week 5). By the middle of Week 6 I had to stop all the supplements and just scale it back to two pills of mastic in the morning and two pills of mastic at night to give my system a break; I’m fairly sure it was my body signaling it had cleared the infection and was now rejecting the natural remedies instead of using them to its advantage. The symptoms subsided completely after I discontinued the supplements.

If you look at the spreadsheet I made to keep track of my supplements you’ll see I added things in and took them out if they bothered me. I think by Week 6 my body had had enough of all this stuff I was feeding it. I even had a blood vessel randomly burst on the inside of my right knee, which was scary. After that I decided to scale it back, dropping everything except the mastic until I could take my second (negative!) test.

Sources

Below is a list of the sources from which I gathered all the information off of which my regimen is based. These sources are a combination of in vitro (petri dishes and lab tests with mice and rats) and in vivo (in human subjects) scientific studies. It’s good to keep in mind that more research on naturally eliminating this bacterium is needed. Larger, more heavily regulated trials are also necessary, but the evidence out there for some of these ingredients is very strong already. The scientific community knows, and has known for some time, that the traditional antibiotic protocol used to treat H.pylori is no longer effective – they’re actively looking for alternatives. Use Google Scholar (or a university’s databases and libraries if you have access) to take a peek at some of these studies and see for yourself. (If you’re new to reading scientific literature then just take a glance at the abstracts and Google unfamiliar terms.)

Antioxidants (food-based):

Park, S.H., Kangwan, N., Park, J.M., Kim, E.H., & Hahm, K.B. (2013) Non-microbial approach for Heliobacter pylori as faster track to prevent gastric cancer than simple eradication. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 19(47), 8986-8995.

Cabbage:

Makobongo, M.O., Gilbreath, J.J., & Merrell, S.D. (2014) Nontraditional therapies to Treat Heliobacter pylori Infection. Journal of Microbiology, 52(4), 259-272.

Carrots:

Makobongo, M.O., Gilbreath, J.J., & Merrell, S.D. (2014) Nontraditional therapies to Treat Heliobacter pylori Infection. Journal of Microbiology, 52(4), 259-272.

Cinnamon:

Makobongo, M.O., Gilbreath, J.J., & Merrell, S.D. (2014) Nontraditional therapies to Treat Heliobacter pylori Infection. Journal of Microbiology, 52(4), 259-272.

Cranberries:

Takeuchi, H., Trang, V.T., Morimoto, N., Nishida, Y., Matsumura, Y. & Sugiura, T. (2014) Natural products and food components with anti-Heliobacter pylori activities. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 20(27), 8971-8978.

Vitor, J.M., & Vale, F.F. (2011) Alternative therapies for Heliobacter pylori: probiotics and phytomedicine. Immunology and Medical Microbiology, 63, 153-164.

DHA:

Park, S.H., Kangwan, N., Park, J.M., Kim, E.H., & Hahm, K.B. (2013) Non-microbial approach for Heliobacter pylori as faster track to prevent gastric cancer than simple eradication. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 19(47), 8986-8995.

Garlic:

Makobongo, M.O., Gilbreath, J.J., & Merrell, S.D. (2014) Nontraditional therapies to Treat Heliobacter pylori Infection. Journal of Microbiology, 52(4), 259-272.

Takeuchi, H., Trang, V.T., Morimoto, N., Nishida, Y., Matsumura, Y. & Sugiura, T. (2014) Natural products and food components with anti-Heliobacter pylori activities. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 20(27), 8971-8978.

Ginger:

Makobongo, M.O., Gilbreath, J.J., & Merrell, S.D. (2014) Nontraditional therapies to Treat Heliobacter pylori Infection. Journal of Microbiology, 52(4), 259-272.

Takeuchi, H., Trang, V.T., Morimoto, N., Nishida, Y., Matsumura, Y. & Sugiura, T. (2014) Natural products and food components with anti-Heliobacter pylori activities. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 20(27), 8971-8978.

Green tea:

Boyanova, L., Lieva, J., Gergova, G., Vladimirov, B., Nikolov, R., & Mitov, I. (2015) Honey and green/black tea consumption may reduce the risk of Heliobacter pylori infection. Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease.

Makobongo, M.O., Gilbreath, J.J., & Merrell, S.D. (2014) Nontraditional therapies to Treat Heliobacter pylori Infection. Journal of Microbiology, 52(4), 259-272.

Takeuchi, H., Trang, V.T., Morimoto, N., Nishida, Y., Matsumura, Y. & Sugiura, T. (2014) Natural products and food components with anti-Heliobacter pylori activities. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 20(27), 8971-8978.

Honey:

Boyanova, L., Lieva, J., Gergova, G., Vladimirov, B., Nikolov, R., & Mitov, I. (2015) Honey and green/black tea consumption may reduce the risk of Heliobacter pylori infection. Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease.

Keenan, J. I., Salm, N., Wallace, A.J., & Hampton, M.B. (2012) Using Food to Reduce H.pylori-associated inflammation. Phytotherapy Research, 26(11), 1620-1625.

Vitor, J.M., & Vale, F.F. (2011) Alternative therapies for Heliobacter pylori: probiotics and phytomedicine. Immunology and Medical Microbiology, 63, 153-164.

Lactoferrin (milk):

Di Mario, F., Aragona, G., Bo, N.D., Ingegnoli, A., Cavestro, G.M., Moussa, A.M., Iori, V., Leandro, G., Pilotto, A., & Franze, A. (2003) Use of Lactoferrin for Heliobacter pylori eradication. Preliminary results. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, 36(5), 396-398.

Takeuchi, H., Trang, V.T., Morimoto, N., Nishida, Y., Matsumura, Y. & Sugiura, T. (2014) Natural products and food components with anti-Heliobacter pylori activities. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 20(27), 8971-8978.

Maillard Reaction Products (black garlic):

Takeuchi, H., Trang, V.T., Morimoto, N., Nishida, Y., Matsumura, Y. & Sugiura, T. (2014) Natural products and food components with anti-Heliobacter pylori activities. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 20(27), 8971-8978.

Hiramoto, S., Itoh, K., Shizuuchi, S., Kawachi, Y., Morishita, Y., Nagase, M., Suzuki, Y., Nobuta, Y., Sudou, Y., Nakamura, O., Kagaya, I., Goshima, H., Kodama, Yoshikatsu, Icatro, F.C., Miura, S., Sugimyama, T., & Kimura, N. (2004) Melanoidin, a Food Protein-Derived Advanced Maillard Reaction Product, Suppresses Heliobacter pylori in vitro and in vivo. Heliobacter, 9(5), 429-435.

Mastic Gum:

Choli-Papadopoulou, T., Kottakis, F., Papadopoulos, G., & Pendas. S. (2011) Heliobacter pylori neutrophil activating protein as target for new drugs against H.pylori inflammation. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 17(21), 2585-2591.

Miyamoto, T., Okimoto, T., & Kuwano, M. (2014) Chemical Composition of the Essential Oil of Mastic Gum and their Antibacterial Activity Against Drug-Resistant Heliobacter pylori. Natural Products and Bioprospecting, 4(4), 227-231.

Monolaurin:

Bergsson, G., Steingrimmsson, O., & Thormar, H. (2002) Bactericidal effects of fatty acids and monoglycerides on Heliobacter pylori. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, 20(4), 258-262.

Preuss, H. G., Echard, B., Enig, M., Brook, I., & Elliott, T.B. (2005) Minimum inhibitory concentrations of herbal essential oils and Monolaurin for gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, 272(1-2), 29-34.

Thormar, H., Isaacs, C.E., Brown, H.R. Barshatzky, M.R., & Pessolano, T. (?) Inactivation of enveloped viruses and killing of cells by fatty acids and monoglycerides. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

Olive oil:

Takeuchi, H., Trang, V.T., Morimoto, N., Nishida, Y., Matsumura, Y. & Sugiura, T. (2014) Natural products and food components with anti-Heliobacter pylori activities. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 20(27), 8971-8978.

Omega-3s:

Keenan, J. I., Salm, N., Wallace, A.J., & Hampton, M.B. (2012) Using Food to Reduce H.pylori-associated inflammation. Phytotherapy Research, 26(11), 1620-1625.

Probiotics (Lactobacillus reuteri):

Emara, M.H., Mohamed, S.Y., & Abdel-Aziz, H. (2014) Lactobacillus reuteri in management of Heliobacter pylori infection in dyspeptic patients: a double-blind placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial. Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology, 7(1), 4-13.

Park, S.H., Kangwan, N., Park, J.M., Kim, E.H., & Hahm, K.B. (2013) Non-microbial approach for Heliobacter pylori as faster track to prevent gastric cancer than simple eradication. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 19(47), 8986-8995.

Vitor, J.M., & Vale, F.F. (2011) Alternative therapies for Heliobacter pylori: probiotics and phytomedicine. Immunology and Medical Microbiology, 63, 153-164.

Resveratrol (red wine)

Makobongo, M.O., Gilbreath, J.J., & Merrell, S.D. (2014) Nontraditional therapies to Treat Heliobacter pylori Infection. Journal of Microbiology, 52(4), 259-272.

Sulforaphane (Broccoli Sprouts):

Bahadoran, Z., Mirmiran, P., Yeganeg, M.Z., Hosseinpanah, F., Zojaji, H., & Azizi, F. (2014) Complementary and alternative medicinal effects of broccoli sprouts powder on Heliobacter pylori eradication rate in type 2 diabetic patients: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of Functional Foods, 7, 390-397.

Fahey, J.W., Stephenson, K.K., Wade, K.L., & Talalay, P. (2013) Urease from Heliobacter pylori is inactivated by sulforaphane and other isothiocyanates. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 435(1), 1-7.

Galan, M.V., Kishan, A.A., & Silverman, A.L. (2004) Oral broccoli sprouts for the the treatment of Heliobacter pylori infection: a preliminary report. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 49(7-8), 1088-90. (56g of sprouts twice daily)

Keenan, J. I., Salm, N., Wallace, A.J., & Hampton, M.B. (2012) Using Food to Reduce H.pylori-associated inflammation. Phytotherapy Research, 26(11), 1620-1625.

Makobongo, M.O., Gilbreath, J.J., & Merrell, S.D. (2014) Nontraditional therapies to Treat Heliobacter pylori Infection. Journal of Microbiology, 52(4), 259-272.

Park, S.H., Kangwan, N., Park, J.M., Kim, E.H., & Hahm, K.B. (2013) Non-microbial approach for Heliobacter pylori as faster track to prevent gastric cancer than simple eradication. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 19(47), 8986-8995.

Takeuchi, H., Trang, V.T., Morimoto, N., Nishida, Y., Matsumura, Y. & Sugiura, T. (2014) Natural products and food components with anti-Heliobacter pylori activities. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 20(27), 8971-8978.

Vitor, J.M., & Vale, F.F. (2011) Alternative therapies for Heliobacter pylori: probiotics and phytomedicine. Immunology and Medical Microbiology, 63, 153-164.

Yanaka, A. (2011) Sulforaphane Enhances Protection and Repair of Gastric Mucosa Against Oxidative stress In Vitro, and Demonstrates Anti-inflammatory Effects on Heliobacter pylori-Infected Gastric Mucosae in Mice and Human Subjects. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 17(16), 1532-1540.

Sprouts are good for your heart, too:

Mirmiran, P., Bahadoran, Z., Golzarand, M., Zojaji, H., & Azizi, F. (2014) A comparative study of broccoli sprouts powder and standard triple therapy on cardiovascular risk factors following H.pylori eradication: a randomized clinical trial in patients with type 2 diabetes. Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders, 13(64), 1-7.

Swallow root:

Takeuchi, H., Trang, V.T., Morimoto, N., Nishida, Y., Matsumura, Y. & Sugiura, T. (2014) Natural products and food components with anti-Heliobacter pylori activities. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 20(27), 8971-8978.

Turmeric:

Makobongo, M.O., Gilbreath, J.J., & Merrell, S.D. (2014) Nontraditional therapies to Treat Heliobacter pylori Infection. Journal of Microbiology, 52(4), 259-272.

Park, S.H., Kangwan, N., Park, J.M., Kim, E.H., & Hahm, K.B. (2013) Non-microbial approach for Heliobacter pylori as faster track to prevent gastric cancer than simple eradication. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 19(47), 8986-8995.

Takeuchi, H., Trang, V.T., Morimoto, N., Nishida, Y., Matsumura, Y. & Sugiura, T. (2014) Natural products and food components with anti-Heliobacter pylori activities. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 20(27), 8971-8978.

Vitor, J.M., & Vale, F.F. (2011) Alternative therapies for Heliobacter pylori: probiotics and phytomedicine. Immunology and Medical Microbiology, 63, 153-164.

Vitamin E:

Makobongo, M.O., Gilbreath, J.J., & Merrell, S.D. (2014) Nontraditional therapies to Treat Heliobacter pylori Infection. Journal of Microbiology, 52(4), 259-272.

Vitamin C:

Makobongo, M.O., Gilbreath, J.J., & Merrell, S.D. (2014) Nontraditional therapies to Treat Heliobacter pylori Infection. Journal of Microbiology, 52(4), 259-272.

Wasabi:

Shin, I.S., Masuda, H., & Naohide, K. (2004) Bactericidal activity of wasabi (Wasabia japonica) against Heliobacter pylori. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 94(3), 255-261.

H.pylori & Me – The Journey Begins!

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I got the blood test results today: I’m positive for H.pylori infection. Rats.

I know you’re probably wondering why I’m not more upset about this. I think it’s because I did all of that research (both on the open net and using my university’s research resources) and know that this thing is treatable, one way or another. I’m going to figure out the way that works for me. (And in the meantime I get to eat super healthy, exercise, and feel really good as a result! How’s that for a deal?)

I’ve already seen my energy levels rise, my mood and general state of mind become more calm/happy, and the majority of my symptoms abate just from changing my diet and doing yoga consistently for the last couple of days in preparation for the arrival of the supplements. Seriously guys, clean up your diet. Your body will be overjoyed. Things I’ve cut out (temporarily, for the next three months): gluten, dairy, soy, most sugars, and red meat. (It’s important to note that I won’t be living like this forever. Bread is too important to me.)

Today is the beginning of a three-month long personal science experiment for me. I’m going to be following a strict diet (one that luckily still includes a ton of delicious food – thank God I learned to cook three years ago or I’d be screwed), practicing yoga daily, doing cardio (running at least a mile on the treadmill) every other day if at all possible, and taking many, many supplements over the next 90 days. If my regimen works, I’ll post what I did to get rid of this nasty bug. If not, I’ll continue to document my journey. I’m determined that I’m going to get rid of this thing in a year or less. We’ll see if I can do it!

Wish me luck,

– Lydia

H.pylori & Me – The Prequel

I think I may have H.pylori. If I do have it, it’s OK – I have a plan.

Why I say “I think”: Since last Wednesday night, I have been having an intermittent mild burning sensation just below my rib cage. It comes and goes, mostly acting up an hour or so after I’ve eaten something it doesn’t like. It doesn’t do it with everything I eat or drink and still allows me to basically go about my normal day, but I am used to eating whenever and whatever I like. (Usually I eat healthfully but I do eat “bad things” sometimes too.) There has also been some mild, intermittent stomach pain in my lower abdomen and some gas. I still have my appetite, which is actually a shame as I’m being so cautious about what I put into my stomach that it’s resulted in my not putting in much at all. I have lost weight since I’ve been more cautious about what and how much food I put into my body at once, but I haven’t experienced the dramatic weight loss or other frightening symptoms others have reported. Overall it would seem that my case is mild, at least thus far. My allopathic doctor diagnosed me with gastritis on Thursday evening, and now I’m waiting for the blood work to come back to see whether or not I have H.pylori.

I suspect, even though there are other causes of gastritis, that it’s H.pylori because I was doing absolutely nothing differently and the symptoms came on overnight. I actually suspect that I contracted it from a kabob restaurant my boyfriend and I tried for the first time the day before my symptoms came on. (Damn kabobs.) I’ve never had symptoms like this before. I don’t drink overmuch, I don’t smoke, I’m not pregnant, I work out (running and yoga), and I eat relatively healthfully most of the time. I’m also 25 years old. All of this leads me to believe that H.pylori, which causes 80% of gastric ulcers, is the culprit.

A little more about H.pylori: It’s estimated (depending on which study you read) that 30 to 50% of the world’s population has this freeloader riding around in their gut. For the majority of people who have it – around 85% – there are no symptoms or ill effects. For the remaining population there are peptic and gastric ulcers, gastritis (which I have), bloating, belching, indigestion, and all manner of other unattractive stomach discomfort. Certain strains of this nasty bug have been linked to gastric cancer, though it’s estimated that only 1 to 2% of people with H.pylori will get cancer, and that it will take years of having H.pylori to progress that far. (Don’t panic! Stress causes the acid in your stomach to increase, which may worsen your symptoms. Take a deep breath – there’s good news coming in this post.)

The resistance of H.pylori to antibiotics has skyrocketed over the past 30 years. The bug was first discovered in the mid-1980s, though it has been with us as a species for millennia. In the 1990s, the go-to cure for H.pylori was what is popularly referred to as triple therapy: the combination of a PPI (proton pump inhibitor, which basically turns off the stomach acid pumps to allow the lining of the stomach to heal) and two antibiotics to kill the bug. When this therapy first came into practice it had a 97% success rate.

In the intervening years bacteria has evolved to defend itself against antibiotics. Today, the failure rate of triple (and even quadruple!) therapy to eradicate H.pylori is anywhere from 30 to 40%. This failure rate is even higher in areas where people have built up a resistance to clarithromycin and metronidazol, two common antibiotics administered against H.pylori infection. Patient compliance rates (in other words, how well people adhere to their doctor’s directions for taking the medication) have fallen for several reasons.

The first is that the triple therapy requires a lot of pills in one day, which can be confusing and hard to remember. The second is that the high doses of antibiotics can have some nasty side effects, which causes people to stop taking the medication part-way through the dosage. This premature cessation of therapy, which exposes the bacteria to the antibiotic but does not allow the antibiotic to completely destroy the bacteria, allows the bacteria to develop a resistance to the antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance in a population grows for these reasons (and others).

I didn’t just gather this information from random places on the internet. My educational experience (a major heavy on the use and understanding of the scientific method and requiring hours and hours of research and evaluating previously conducted studies) gave me the ability to sort through studies and scholarly journals and find legitimate, peer-reviewed, well-conducted, representative scientific studies. I’ve been devouring as many of these studies as I can since I found out I may have H.pylori. It turns out that since the late 1990s there have been many, many studies on both alternative treatments and supplements that aid in the success of the traditional antibiotic therapy for H.pylori. Unfortunately most of these studies have been small; wider studies need to be conducted on this bacteria and a natural route to its eradication.

I have, of course, also read as much as I could on the internet (the open internet – blogs, Facebook, forums, etc.) about peoples’ anecdotal experiences in eradicating H.pylori from their own bodies. It turns out that many of the things that people are using to cure their H.pylori naturally are the same things on which scientists have been conducting studies, especially in the last 10 years. Many (but not all) of the natural remedies people are using to cure/treat their H.pylori have been backed as legitimate anti-H.pylori agents by the scientific community.

However, I have not found any studies that claim that any one natural remedy can completely cure an individual of H.pylori with any kind of observable regularity. Despite this, if my test results come back positive for H.pylori (which I should find out this week), I am going to try a natural route to eradication before the high-fail traditional antibiotic therapy. I will be doing this under the supervision of an allopathic physician. I will also be using traditional allopathic labs, i.e. UBT (urea breath test), blood work, and stool test, conducted in allopathic medical labs, to confirm that the H.pylori is truly gone. I will be posting the protocol I choose to use and the results of my therapy here. (I say this about the labs because some of the labs that naturopathic doctors use for testing are not considered legitimate by the scientific community. I do believe in being relatively natural whenever I can, but for test results as important as these I want to know that they’re as reliable as possible.)

I already have a long list, with sources, of things that I know the scientific community has backed in being effective against H.pylori. I will present this list to my doctor. I plan to make a deal with my doctor: He will give me two/three months to try the natural route and test me before I try the traditional therapy.

I’ll update you guys as soon as I know something. There’s hope! Don’t give up.

Love,

– Lydia

Root Canal Update: A Year Later

So it’s been a year since my first root canal. I’m happy to report that I went back at the six month mark and an x-ray revealed that my bone had completely regrown, the abscess was completely healed, and the tooth looked perfect. I’ve had zero problems with the tooth since then.

I mentioned in my last post that my other front tooth, which had also been affected by the trauma, had a weak cold test during the evaluation for my first root canal. Unfortunately that second tooth began giving me some minor problems (aching, hurting) in January and I had to have it root canalled in early February of this year, almost exactly one year after my first root canal. (This second procedure was much less scary and painful as it wasn’t an emergency, so there was no swelling to get the lidocaine through.) When my endodontist (same one who performed the first procedure) went into the tooth, she said the nerve was definitely dead and it was good I was having it done now as if I had delayed it could have ended up like the first one.

Now that second tooth has been giving me some grief for about a week in the form of the occasional twinging pain, but it’s stopped doing that in the past few days. I had an endodontist appointment today to check that everything is ship-shape in there and they said the shooting pain is probably because I grind my teeth at night. I’d say they’re right – as soon as I started doing yoga again I’ve had no pain in that tooth, which I infer is from being relaxed while I sleep because of the yoga. Today’s x-ray was perfect, so nothing is going on in there.

Just wanted to give an update to anyone who might be scouring the web looking for root canal information!

Stay well,

– Lydia

Root Canal Update!

I realize it’s been a while since my first post about my root canal and people might be searching the web looking for information about what to expect – I certainly did. This post is for you.

It’s been 6 weeks since my root canal was done and I’m happy to report that everything is pretty much back to normal. My gums have healed completely and are looking healthy and pink; the tooth is not painful or loose, though it is a little discolored. However, this is normal according to everything I’ve heard from my endodontist and read on the internet. As far as they can tell from x-rays and examinations the infection at the root is gone. There’s still the slightest bit of tenderness in the area where the infection was; my endodontist told me that it will probably be tender in that spot for a while as my body slowly heals the place where the infection ate away at the bone. She also said that because I’m young, healthy, and my root canal was the result of trauma rather than decay, the bone might grow back to a certain degree within 6 months. Hurray for that! I feel normal and healthy again and have been back to working out hard, eating normally, kissing my partner – no discomfort, no pain, no sickness to speak of. (I actually didn’t get sick once this winter, which is something of a record for me.) The only reason I say “pretty much back to normal” is because I still can’t bite things like sandwiches or any hard bread because the tooth has not yet been restored by my dentist and is therefore still a bit fragile despite the amount of healthy tooth structure I have left.

What happened after my last post: Since I was about to travel overseas when I had to have my emergency root canal and I was very wary of the infection coming back after my course of antibiotics, my endodontist (who was so patient with all of my questions – I called her four times a day everyday while the process was happening) wanted to wait a little bit before permanently filling my tooth. She said she could have filled it before I left as everything looked clean and was progressing well, but she wanted me to have peace of mind on my trip. FYI: Flying with an open tooth isn’t painful. However, I’m a nervous flyer so I took .05mgs of klonopin and three Advil before I got on the plane. I know, I know, that’s pretty much the opposite of natural, but I have panic attacks on planes if I don’t take anything and I’d rather not put my liver through the agony of getting quite drunk in order to fly. This is my alternative until I can get over my phobia.

My swollen and discolored gums and the accompanying facial swelling went down extremely quickly after I began treatment – within a matter of days. This is probably because of the antibiotics and the Medrol, which is an anti-swelling medication with long list of scary side effects, none of which happened to me. The z-pak of azithromycin did its thing and I had no adverse side effects from that either. I drank a glass of kefir yogurt everyday and a ton of water (at least three 16 oz bottles a day) while I was taking the medication, which I think helped.

About a week after I came back from my trip (which was uneventful as far as the tooth goes), the endodontist put the permanent gutta percha filling into the tooth and placed a temporary filling on the back. My dentist will replace this temporary filling with a permanent filling when we restore the tooth. I haven’t had the tooth restored yet because I’m still working on convincing them that I don’t need a crown. Besides the fact that they’re super expensive, I want to be able to monitor the health of the tooth in the long term. That would be pretty difficult to do with a crown over the tooth structure, effectively hiding any outward signs of further decay. The root canal tooth was tender to the touch for about a day after the permanent filling procedure (which was quick and relatively painless), but since then I haven’t felt or seen anything strange or uncomfortable and have been brushing, flossing, and using my Waterpik twice daily as usual.

I went to have my teeth cleaned before I left for my overseas trip (the root canal tooth was unfilled but had a temporary filling on the back and medication in the canal) and received the good news that I have no cavities. My 24 year record remains unbroken! Woo! Hopefully this will be my one and only brush with the endodontist, though I must admit I’m a bit worried – when the endodontist did the cold test on the rest of my front teeth they responded well… With the exception of my other front tooth. The response to the cold stimulant was weak. The endodontist said we should keep an eye on it just in case, but they saw no sign of infection on the x-rays they took. Fingers crossed that something similar doesn’t happen again.

Anyway, just wanted to provide an update for anyone who might be scouring the web for those rare stories of success in the face of all of the scary stories about what went wrong for other people. Granted it’s only been 6 weeks since my procedure; hopefully this will remain a success story in the long-term.

Surprise! You Need A Root Canal.

Growing up, my brother and I were never afraid of the dentist. (I have my mother to thank for this – we inherited naturally strong teeth and healthy gums from the Trinidadian side of the family.) Unfortunately I had a pretty severe facial injury three years ago that caused most of my front top teeth to be pushed back in my mouth several centimeters. (I was riding a bike and didn’t put my hands out fast enough when I went over the handlebars. Ouch.) After the accident I couldn’t close my mouth properly because the top front teeth had been pushed back far enough that they were hitting my bottom front teeth when I tried to close my lips. I underwent lingual brace therapy that brought the teeth back into a more normal position.

The lingual braces tear up the inside of your mouth and you’re in pretty constant pain since they adjust them quite frequently. After 7 months I couldn’t stand it anymore and had my orthodontist remove the braces before he advised doing so. My bite is slightly misaligned as a result but it doesn’t bother me on a regular basis. Since then I use a Waterpik twice a day, brush twice a day with a peppermint/baking soda/fluoride-based toothpaste from Trader Joe’s and a soft brush; and use Listerine mouthwash twice a day. (I’m in the middle of converting everything I use to natural alternatives and I still have a ways to go, as you can see. I’ve also heard of the evils of fluoride but currently can’t afford more toothpaste.) In the last few years I’ve developed a problem with grinding my teeth at night (probably a result of my misaligned bite), which hasn’t bothered me much – until now.

Initially I thought the pain I was experiencing was due to my grinding habit. (That makes it sound like I stand around in nightclubs looking for victims, doesn’t it?) The pain began as a dull ache on Saturday morning when I woke up, then got progressively more painful until I woke up early on Monday morning and my lip and cheek had swelled up. I immediately went to the endodontist and they did a root canal within the hour. (I don’t care what the internet tells you – if you present with an infection, that sucker is going to hurt. I had to have four excruciatingly painful numbing shots in my inflamed gums before they could get in there to perform the root canal, and even then I still felt occasional sharp twinges of pain as they worked. And I have to go back in a few days to finish it. At least they were super-nice to me.)

That was yesterday morning. Today I had to go back into the office because I had developed a hard lump where the top lip connects to the gum line, just over the tooth where my root canal had been performed. The endodontist drained it – it was full of pus and blood and other nastiness – and now we’re leaving the temporary filling off overnight to allow the infection to drain further. I’m going back into the office tomorrow to check on how it’s doing and see if they can replace the filling at that time. I’ve been swishing Trader Joe’s sea salt and warm filtered water around in my mouth every few minutes since I got home from the office. No painkillers necessary today so far; I took what was a frankly unhealthy amount of ibuprofen yesterday and want to hold off torturing my liver further until it becomes absolutely necessary. Today I’ve just sipped some fresh homemade ginger root tea with cinnamon, had half a glass of kefir yogurt (no other probiotics in the house at the moment and I want to do something to counter the negative gut effects of the azithromycin they put me on), and eaten some organic broccoli florets and baby carrots with sea salt.

Since you, like me, may have seen this around the internet: I asked them about the infection spreading because I may accidentally swallow some of the drainage as we wait for the tooth to drain. They said that wasn’t going to happen. Same answer when I asked about potential further bone loss resulting from the formation of the cyst. (This I take more at face value as the fluid-filled sac was there for less than 24 hours, but I still have my doubts about their belief about the infection spreading, so I’ve been swallowing as little as possible since I left the office, choosing instead to swill with salt water and spit every few minutes. I suggested that we might want to extract the tooth to avoid later complications since I’ve also read that that’s more effective at preventing widespread complications down the line, but they scoffed at me.) I know I worried when I read those things on the internet before I went back, which leads me to my next point…

Since I first got the root canal done I’ve been scaring myself silly looking up root canal complications on the internet, as I’m sure many people do when they’re confronted with a health problem and are ignorant of potential complications. Apparently the consensus is that root canals are pretty much the worst thing you can do for your teeth, which makes me wish I had access to this information before I began mine; it’s too late to turn back now for me, so I’ll just have to make the best of it. I’m hoping the fact that I inherited healthy teeth and the fact that I’m young, exercise regularly, and follow a relatively healthy diet (grass-fed, pasture-raised meats; full fat milk and cheese*; green veggies; very little sugar, grain, and processed food intake except for the occasional drink when out with friends; and an almost obscene amount of water everyday) will all play in my favor.

Despite the torrent of doom and gloom I’ve traipsed through on dental forums in the last few days, I have found a couple of resources that have given me hope: Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel and Oil Pulling: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing by naturopath Bruce Fife. I’ve bought both books on my Kindle ($2.99 each! I love Kindle.) and have been perusing them all evening.

Anyone have any experience with these techniques working? I know Heather from arealfoodlover.wordpress.com had great success diminishing her cavities and remineralizing her teeth using Nagel’s method, and I aim to follow in her footsteps.

I’m particularly interested in whether I can oil pull while my tooth is open and draining or whether that’s a bad idea. I did some oil pulling this morning with coconut oil and two drops of peppermint essential oil and my mouth felt great afterward (this was before they removed my temporary filling to let the pus drain out), but I’m not sure if it would be a good idea to do it when I have an open tooth.

I’m a big fan of not polluting the body with unnecessary chemicals and junk as well as a big believer in natural healing, so I’m hoping that after this torture is over I can attempt to heal my body and teeth using some of techniques suggested by Nagel and Fife and avoid ever having another root canal again.

Any thoughts? I’m open to any and all suggestions.

*I’m looking into getting raw milks and cheeses from local farms around the area, especially after reading Nagel’s work; any suggestions are welcome if you happen to know someone who does quality work!

Come Along on My Journey…

For the last few months I’ve been looking more deeply into the ways in which the things we use everyday can do harm to our health, and I wanted to share my experiences (and get your input!) as I slowly integrate more healthy products and habits into my everyday life – without breaking the bank.

A little about me: I’m currently a college student and an unpaid editorial intern, which makes cost-consciousness not only important but essential. I grew up and currently live in northern Virginia. I’m 24 years old, 105 lbs, 5’6″, omnivorous, of mixed race background, work out regularly (weight training and HIIT four times a week), am chronic disease-free (as far as I know), don’t smoke, drink alcohol socially, and am female. I have a slight heart arrhythmia (which is triggered by certain things, not a constant). Things that run in my family: High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease. I have been on hormonal birth control since I was 16.

I feel that it’s important to include this information in case anyone wants to try the things that end up working for me – everyone is different, so it helps to know as much as you can about a person’s history and background to learn why it might the best choice for them and why something else, or a modified version of the same thing, might be the best choice for you. I love dogs, cooking, reading, and traveling.

I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned! I’m looking forward to getting to know you guys.

Sincerely,

– Lydia

 

P.S. – I am in no way a science denier. I’m a huge fan of science. Everything I do on this blog will be supported by scientific studies published in scholarly journals. I believe in vaccination and that GMOs and regular food are nutritionally equivalent.  I just think there are better ways to do things than expecting to stuff a bunch of chemicals in your body and then not change anything else about your unhealthy habits and have the chemicals work for you.