Monday, June 3, 2013

Alternative Medicine: Alternative Therapy

Dreamstime stock photo - source
Other posts in this series:
What is an alternative medicine doctor and what do they do?
What testing do you get when you choose alternative medicine?
What is a detox diet and why do you do it?
What supplements and shakes do they recommend?
Results of the food sensitivities testing.

It's now been about 6 weeks since I've (knowingly) eaten gluten.  And I haven't felt too much of a difference.  In general I feel like my digestion is a little bit easier, less of the "overly full" feeling after meals, but I'm also on digestive enzymes and tons of probiotics, so who's to say which of those things is making the difference.  And if I don't feel better does that mean I'm not finding the right combination of foods to cut out or does it mean that food isn't really my problem?  Argh!

But first let me tell you about the rest of my test results.

Gut Issues

As the doctor mentioned on my first visit, osteopathic doctors concentrate a lot on the gut.  80% of your immune response comes from your gut.  Some people call it your second brain.  So, obviously, a lot of my testing revolved around my gut.  Turns out I don't have enough good bacteria in my gut.  No surprise there.  Remember back in November when I had that C-diff infection?  Yeah, that really screwed everything up in there.

I also have too much yeast in my gut.  Those two things go together, not enough good bacteria to kill off yeast, so it overgrows.  Then when I have too much yeast, all the sugar and carbs that I eat just make the yeast grow (like when you activate yeast to use in a bread recipe).  So, even if the not eating gluten doesn't make me feel tons better, at least not eating it means I'm eating less carbs and it helps stop the yeast from growing.  In light of those results, they "prescribed" high doses of probiotics in these little packets of powder that I mix in with my shake every day.  Hopefully it will even everything out in my gut and get all the bacteria in the right amounts again.  The doctor also recommended I drink Kefir every day, which is like pourable yogurt.  So I've been putting that in my shake too.  Lots of stuff goes in that shake.

OK, so what else is wrong with me?

Heavy Metals

Well, I did a test that looked for heavy metals in my blood.  And they found some.  Lead and antimony.  I have no clue how they got there.  I look at the lists online of ways that you can get lead in your blood and nothing on the list seems to apply to me.  But it's there.

So how do you get rid of lead?  Depends on who you ask.  According to the doctor in Atlanta, I need to do a process called chelation, which is an IV therapy.  They inject you with a chelating agent which binds to the heavy metal and helps it find its way out of your body.  The downside?  Chelating also helps other minerals that you need, such as calcium find their way out of your body too.  People have died from losing too much calcium after doing chelation.  On the flip side, the same article says that there is a "low occurrence of side effects when used at the dose and infusion rates approved by the US FDA as a treatment for heavy metal poisoning."

OK.  Then I have a doctor (non-alternative, regular doctor) telling me that heavy metals are quickly excreted from the body and I don't have to do anything special to get them out.  But my osteopathic doctor and my research online tells me that heavy metals are only slowly excreted and that they build up over time because of this.  Meaning that I need to do something extra, like chelation, to help them out.  So which one is true?  I have no clue, but it's hard for me to believe that I was recently exposed to lead and that it just so happens that I had high levels of it at the time of the test.  I don't know where I would have been exposed to it in the past, but I feel like that's a more likely scenerio than current exposure.  Argh!  I hate it when the "experts" disagree.

Viral Load

Lastly, they tested my viral load, meaning how much of previous viruses that I have had are still lurking around in my system.  Two viruses stood out and they both make sense.  The Epstein Barr virus, the one that causes mono and chronic fatigue syndrome, is incredibly high.  I had mono in high school and I've heard that it never actually leaves your system.  A high level can cause fatigue and low energy, basically as if you have chronic mono. 

The other is the micoplasm, or walking pneumonia, virus.  Seeing as walking pneumonia is very common in East TN and I've had it half a dozen times over the last 10 years that I've lived here, I can believe that my levels are high.  Once again that can cause fatigue and low energy.

How do you fix that?  Well, according to a traditional doctor, you don't.  You just live with it and all the levels will go down in time.  Seeing as I had mono 18 years ago, I kind of doubt that one will go down in time.  According to an osteopathic doctor, you do more IV therapy - oxidative IV therapy.  The websites that I have found about oxidative IV therapy say that they inject your blood with hydrogen peroxide, that it's all natural and it's all good.  Yet, the state of TN doesn't allow people to give out the therapy here.  Why would the state not allow it if there are no side effects and only benefits?

So I guess in all this I'm left with more questions than answers.  Is not eating gluten really making a difference?  Should I be cutting out all grains instead of just gluten?  Should I really do the chelation?  What about the oxidative IV therapy?  To do that, I have to pay a lot and drive to Atlanta a lot.  And the biggest question of all, is any of this really going to make a difference in my pain?

I don't have any answer to any of this right now.  If any of you have any advice or any experience with this, I would love to hear what you have to say.

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