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Extreme Yeast Battles & Timing of Supplements

Posted Feb 08 2014 7:53pm
I wrote previously here about our - both my older son and I - recent battles with yeast overgrowth . I am doing much better now, as I mentioned in my recent post on our sugar-free diet , but my son, who has been on antibiotics for over 3 years (so far) for Lyme disease, is still in terrible shape. Through the whole 2-month long winter break, he has been mostly incapacitated - totally exhausted, no energy, severe cognitive problems, and increased Lyme symptoms (herx reaction). We tried a lot of things, as indicated on my yeast post , but nothing was helping. In fact, we stopped all antibiotcs - both prescription and herbals - last week, and he still kept getting worse. He is supposed to move back to campus tomorrow for the spring semester, but that seems impossible at the moment.

So, this morning, we consulted again with a biochemist/registered dietician whom had helped our son before - in fact, she helped him improve enough to start college last fall. She has a Master's degree in biochemistry and is unbelievably smart when it comes to all these complex biochemical processes - methylation, infections, immune disorders, mitochondrial dysfunction - all that big mess of interacting stuff that we with ME/CFS and Lyme disease deal with every day.

We learned a lot today, as we always do when we meet with her, including some things for the yeast overgrowth that I've been doing wrong. A lot of it has to do with WHEN he takes certain meds and supplements - I had that all messed up! Here's a summary of what we learned about timing
  • I knew to separate probiotics from antibiotics by at least 2-3 hours. We take probiotics before breakfast and before dinner and antibiotics (both herbal and prescription) at lunch and at bedtime.
  • Caprylic acid, Grapefruit seed extract, Pau D'Arco (all common ingredients in anti-yeast supplements) also have antibiotic properties and also must be taken well away from probiotics. We have been taking all of these along with our probiotics, effectively killing off the good bacteria before it has a chance to do any good! These will all move into the lunchtime meds box.
  • Activated Charcoal (important for detox, especially in people with Lyme and other infections experiencing herx reactions) acts like a sponge, absorbing whatever it comes across. I was also putting this into the same medicine boxes with the probiotics and the anti-yeast stuff, further rendering his probiotics useless! She suggested he take 2 charcoal supplements an hour or two after eating lunch (and taking lunchtime meds).
  • Chlorella - also intended to help with detox - is similar to the charcoal, so I switched it to the same 1-2 hours after lunch, plus more with dinner meds.
  • She also recommended taking most of the energy support supplements with breakfast and lunch, early in the day when he will get the most use out of them. This includes cognitive support, magnesium, acetyl-L-carnitine, and CoQ10.
  • She suggested grouping all of the fat-soluble meds together at dinnertime, along with the omega-3 fatty acids (we use krill oil capsules), so multi-vitamins (one at breakfast and one at dinner), vitamin D3 (we were taking them multiple times a day - now they are all in the dinner meds).
  • We also switched all the milk thistle into the dinnertime meds (they also help with detox and with liver function).
I spent all day today figuring this out and re-doing his weekly medicine boxes (and changing some of mine, too).

To help our son get "unstuck" and past this horrible incapacitated state he has been in, she also suggested some drastic changes for this coming week
  • Super-strict anti-yeast diet: no sugar, no grains at all, no fruit except for 1 pear a day, no beans (a tough one for us - we eat a lot of beans!), only certain veggies (no starchy veggies, corn, or peas), and no legumes or nuts. Yeah, that doesn't leave much! Especially for a 19-year old boy who normally eats lots of whole grains, bread, cereal, oatmeal, fruit, and peanut butter. He will basically just live on eggs, meat, pears, and certain veggies this week. He is seriously upset about this, BUT willing to try anything to feel better at this point. The idea is to remove anything that could promote yeast growth and eat a super-clean diet for a brief period of time to make a fresh start.
  • Keep up homemade lemonade for additional detox support (fresh lemon juice, water, bit of stevia, and electrolyte drops for sodium and potassium for OI) - 32 oz per day, which we've been doing all winter break.
  • Also, for this next week, stop everything that is antimicrobial (all the yeast supplements listed above, oregano, olive leaf, and antibiotics.
  • And, for this next week, eliminate supplements that support sulfur production (alpha lipoic acid and N-acetyl cysteine are the two she mentioned that he normally takes).
  • We're leaving in the 1 Diflucan a day, and if he's feeling better by the end of the week, we will add all the anti-yeast stuff back in (at lunch), switch to an alternating "cocktail" of prescription antifungals, and very gradually add the antibiotics back in, as he can tolerate them.
That's the short-term plan. Once we get the yeast overgrowth under control, then we will focus once again on methylation because it is clear from the way he is reacting to antibiotics that his methylation process is once again severely messed up.

It's a lot to absorb and a lot of changes to make at once, but we are hoping this will all help him get back on his feet. I only wish I'd contacted the biochemist back on January 1 for her advice, so we could have done all of this while he was living at home - the super-strict diet will be very tough to maintain on campus. I also feel like I wasted a couple of months (plus a lot of money!) by taking all those supplements at the wrong time of day. But regret does no good for either of us...moving forward and hoping for better days ahead!

NOTE: This super-strict diet was recommended specifically for my son and his individual health problems which include not only CFS and yeast overgrowth but also Lyme disease, bartonella, and babesia plus very severe methylation problems.

I am not recommending this diet for anyone else but was only sharing my son's experiences and what we are trying for him. Any changes to diet or supplements should be discussed with your own doctor.

For those interested in just a basic anti-yeast diet, this Candida Diet website has some great information.
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