Book Review: “Toxic: Heal Your Body from Mold Toxicity, Lyme Disease, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, and Chronic Environmental Illness” by Dr. Neil Nathan, MD
Editor's Note: I was not asked to review this book by Dr. Neil Nathan or the book's publishing company. I reviewed this book on my accord, which should be fairly obvious since the book came out in 2018.
In being a part of the Lyme community since 2009, I’ve seen a lot of Lyme books come to the market, but have only ever read a handful since most only seemed to rehash the same outdated information with no clear direction for treatment, consist primarily of physician or patient stories -- which were relatable, but not helpful for healing -- or be a cheap trial offer for an expensive treatment program to be purchased at a later time.
It was honestly all really discouraging.
The Last Lyme Book I Purchased
The last Lyme book I purchased in hopes of completely restoring my health was Stephen Buhner’s 2015 “Healing Lyme”.
Phenomenal book. 5 out of 5 stars, but much of the information in this book that actually made me feel better -- for the first time since contracting Lyme -- I was already employing from Stephen’s 2005 book by the same title.
I love Stephen Buhner. I respect his unique and unrivaled knowledge of plants as a master herbalist and will forever be grateful for his insightful contributions to the Lyme community, but even he himself said,”...there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for Lyme or any of its coinfections”.
While Stephen Buhner’s treatment protocol gave me much hope, I needed something more. There was still something going on beyond which the help of herbs could provide.
The Age of Wait and See
While working the Buhner protocol, I would try to treat other common issues known to keep people with chronic Lyme ill, such as biotoxin illness, an MTHFR gene mutation, excessive yeast, heavy metals, nutrient deficiencies, stagnant lymph fluid, and I’m sure there are more.
Treating these conditions resulted in some ups and down, but never an ever-improving direction. I felt like I found some pieces of the puzzle, but I didn’t know how many puzzles I was really trying to put together.
So, after really just becoming exhausted from treating myself to no avail, I became rather complacent in restoring my health.
I just let my condition run its course until something worthwhile came along that could top the Buhner protocol in getting me to feel better.
While I waited -- years would pass -- I continued suffering from a very unusual and debilitating symptom after I’d take a shower. My nose would get stuffy, eyes became glazed, face would turn pale, and I’d just feel absolutely horrible. I’ve come to describe the reaction as “feeling poisoned or physically disgusting”.
My family practitioner -- not an LLMD by any means -- gave this unusual symptom a thought and suggested something along the lines of a histamine reaction.
He prescribed some Claritin, but it never helped. In fact, the drug itself made me feel off to where I never took the Claritin again.
Another dead-end and a little more hope lost.
[Re]discovering Dr. Neil Nathan, MD
Dr. Neil Nathan was one of the many Lyme-literate physicians I would come across in my decade-long research of chronic Lyme -- ironically he forwarded Stephen Buhner’s 2015 book “Healing Lyme” -- but he never gave me a reason to listen more to him -- until one fateful day.
I was on YouTube doing some generic research on mold toxicity when I stumbled upon a BetterHealthGuy video interviewing Dr. Neil Nathan. I gave it a listen because Scott of BetterHealthGuy.com always has good information for the Lyme community.
Within the first 5 minutes of a more than 90 minute long interview, Dr. Neil Nathan begins to address how a person with Lyme can be so hypersensitive to their environment, that even water can trigger what he identified as Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this in previous blog posts, but of all the doctors I’ve seen and research I’ve done on chronic Lyme, not a single explanation was ever given for how a simple shower could cause a person with chronic Lyme to feel so bad and ill, except for my out-of-the-box thinking family practitioner, who suggested a histamine response of some kind.
I was now all ears and brain for anything Dr. Neil Nathan had to say.
I stayed and watched the entire 90+ minute interview, and when it was done, I ordered his book "Toxic: Heal Your Body from Mold Toxicity, Lyme Disease, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, and Chronic Environmental Illness" (mentioned in the video) from Amazon without the slightest hesitation or hint that I may be pissing money into the wind (again).
This was my guy.
Reading Dr. Neil Nathan, MD’s Book
I was super stoked to get this book. In fact, I finished reading it in just a couple of days because I wanted to absorb everything.
But I really was an eager beaver to know what else Dr. Neil Nathan had to say about this unusual shower symptom I had and what I could do about it. One less day of suffering was fine by me.
When I initially opened the book after receiving it, I was immediately dumbfounded. It was so inviting!
The monochromatic colors of the page numbers and diagrams, the use of an attractive typeface -- beautifully balanced with typographical emphasis -- and a college textbook dimension, all suggested that someone made the extra effort to ensure you’d stay in the book.
And I had not even started reading the book yet, but when I did, I was further impressed with the layout of the content.
The first half of the book discusses the 5 main reasons (primarily just 2 reasons Dr. Neil Nathan notes) for sensitivity and toxicity in a person with chronic Lyme disease.
In other words, he explained, in a very easy to understand language and content progression, why I was likely not getting better.
The second half deals with rebooting specific parts of the body to work as they once did.
Dr. Neil Nathan has treated thousands of patients. With the book, he does tell patient stories, but merely as a complement or context to the detailed explanation for what was plaguing the patient.
Once you understand what could be keeping you from getting better, Dr. Neil Nathan doesn’t just end the book. He outlines exactly what you need to do based on what is best for you. He doesn't give a one-size-fits-all treatment plan. Not in the slightest.
Dr. Neil Nathan understands that every person with this condition requires a slightly different approach to a larger treatment principle. Some people will need to treat mold toxicity first, while others will need to get their Mast Cell Activation Syndrome under control first before treating the mold.
Some may just be dealing with Bartonella.
As would not be expected, he outlines exactly how to do this in really the least expensive way possible. This cost efficient approach to feeling better reminded me very much of Stephen Buhner’s philosophy that a person does not need a lot of money to get better from chronic Lyme.
Both of these great men surely must be cut from the same cloth.
It doesn’t surprise me in the least that Stephen Buhner asked Dr. Neil Nathan to forward his 2015 book “Healing Lyme”.
If you’ve been dealing with chronic Lyme disease for many years, have tried different treatment modalities with some success, but feel there is still something more you’re missing, then yes -- you want to get a hold of this book.
If you’re extremely sensitive and reactive to your environment, whether it be from a shower, cologne, food, temperature fluctuations, noise, light, touch, sound, etc, then you absolutely need this book.
If you’ve been diagnosed with Biotoxin Illness (i.e., Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome or CIRS), have treated it, but with not much success, this book will be the correct guide.
If you’re sure you have the right treatment modalities and have figured out the conditions that are keeping you ill, but just aren’t sure how or when to best implement the treatments, this book will serve you well and give you the direction you need.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-read book, by a caring and humble Lyme physician, who speaks on your level, relates to your suffering, acknowledges there is a misunderstood mechanism behind your ailing body, imbues such hope that one can not only get better, but realize that it was never really that hard to do all along, Dr. Neil Nathan, MD is your man.
How Am I Using the Book?
After reading the book -- and with my new treatment plan in hand -- I’ve started the process of removing biotoxins first, specifically yeast toxins (i.e., gliotoxins) with bentonite clay.
If you’ve been following my blog, you know I have Biotoxin Illness and have been treating it off and on with modified citrus pectin, which has helped.
However, after reading this book, I became aware that removing certain biotoxins requires using certain binders, with no mention of modified citrus pectin at all.
I’m not saying that the modified citrus pectin didn’t help or that it can’t be used to feel better, but damn, when I started the bentonite clay specifically to remove the biotoxins (gliotoxins) from excessive yeast (as instructed by Dr. Neil Nathan), I felt another piece fall into place.
I’m also attempting to remove the excessive yeast with Thorne’s SF722, but as noted by Dr. Neil Nathan, the body knows what it wants to take care of first, so I’m listening carefully to what my body is responding best to.
I learned that my unusual shower symptom is most likely a Mast Cell Reaction.
I also learned that I likely reacted badly to the Claritin my family practitioner initially prescribed me because of the fillers within the drug itself rather than the drug.
I’ve also taken away some good philosophy from Dr. Neil Nathan regarding treatment. He mentions -- quite often throughout the book -- “If some is good, more is not necessarily better” , in regards to dosage.
But my favorite line from the book is when he says, "It is important for patients to remain hopeful and enthusiastic and to continue trying new treatments even when previous ones have set them back. Eventually, you are bound to find treatments that work."
The information -- and the just as important instructions and directions for this information -- in this book was simply not available 10 years ago when I first got sick, let alone would my then family practitioner have it.
Dr. Neil Nathan has gathered his knowledge and understanding, from treating thousands of patients throughout the years, for why many with chronic Lyme disease, Mold Toxicity, and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, are simply not able to restore their health to 100%, even despite having many small improvements.
He acknowledges the unique suffering a person with these conditions goes through, explains -- in layman’s terms -- the exact mechanisms behind the suffering, and finally offers the simplest directions, and cheapest of treatments, to combat, reverse, and remove the suffering.
As a society, our acknowledgment of these conditions is still shamefully in its infancy, but regardless, so much has been gained and learned in just the past 10 or even 5 years alone -- by dedicated and brilliant physicians like Dr. Neil Nathan -- that the mystery in what may be responsible for causing these conditions, and how to effectively treat them, has very much vanished.
After seeing many Lyme books come to market through the years, and discounting most with a simple glance of the cover, this is the Lyme book you end up buying.
It's been over a year since I've given an update on where my health stands. When I last left you guys, I was experimenting with the Carnivore Diet, which I'll start with briefly and move into my health and current treatment as a whole.
My Current Diet
Am I on the Carnivore Diet now? No.
However, I did attempt to try the Carnivore Diet one last time in November of 2020 for a little over 2 weeks. It was very easy to transition to since I've been in ketosis for about a year and a half.
While I seemed to do really well on eating just grass-fed ground beef, I definitely do a lot better with some carbohydrates added into the mix.
Despite this, I am still very reactive to many foods, as I continue to repair my gut. My current diet consists of:
How Have I been Feeling?
Pretty damn good, at least before I started taking Thorne's SF722 for my gut in November of 2020. I'll explain more later.
In the last year, I've chipped away a lot of what has been keeping me from feeling 100%. Much of this revolved around my gut, with the start of my current diet making the biggest of impacts I've seen thus far.
From the diet, I then worked the possibility of having low stomach acid by adding in Pure Encapsulations' Betaine HCL with Pepsin.
The HCL really helped with digestion, allowed me to put on some healthy weight, and energy levels grew and were much more consistent with a normal person. So much so that I even ended up starting a business that requires a good amount of physical labor.
Despite this huge improvement, I still had a pain in the right side of my upper abdomen after eating, which I noted in my previous blog posts on the Carnivore Diet.
Back to the internets for research and what seemed most plausible was an aggravated gallbladder. It made sense since I was eating high fat on keto.
So how do you calm an aggravated gallbladder? Why with bile salts and digestive enzymes of course! So I did research on a good gallbladder support supplement and came across and started taking Dr. Mercola's Gallbladder Enzymes.
The pain in my right side of my upper abdomen seemed to improve, which had me thinking now. Why was my gallbladder so aggravated? I have heard of people with chronic Lyme having gallbladder issues, so much to the point of having them removed.
So I researched a little more and learned that if you don't have adequate levels of acid in your stomach, your gallbladder won't be trigger to release bile, nor will your pancreas be triggered to release digestive enzymes.
Was this my case? I don't know. I'm not a doctor nor did I have any labs done, but surely how I improved correlated to what I was researching.
But shouldn't the HCL have made the stomach acidic enough to trigger the gallbladder and pancreas? Yes, but I think my gallbladder needed additional support because my stomach acid had been so low for so long.
I suspect I developed gallbladder stones over time because of the low stomach acid and they caused obstructions that prevented bile from flowing into my stomach after eating, hence the pain in my upper right abdomen after eating.
Again, I don't know this to be the true explanation, but the body seems to say it is.
What is my Current Treatment?
In the past 10 years, in all of the research and experimenting I've done for my health, all roads always seem to lead back to my gut.
My first symptoms to indicate something was wrong came from the gut. This is now no surprise to me as I was a child living in the 1990s, where high sugar and artificial everything was the American diet.
So most likely excessive yeast is the result of that wonderful and nourshing diet from the 90s, but I do suspect that Lyme is still an issue for me, but not as much as the yeast.
When a full moon rolls around, I do tend to feel worse -- not all the time -- but enough to remember Dr. Joseph Burrascano, M.D. suggesting that a person still had an active Lyme infection is they feel worse every 4 weeks.
So, with that figured out, I am currently attempting to remove excessive yeast from my gut with Thorne's SF722 and it's doing a hell of a job. From there, I mop up the biotoxins from the yeast (i.e., glitoxins) with the bentonite clay.
A quick note on Thorne's SF722: I've taken this supplement before, but it never really did anything for me. I had high hopes for it, especially considering the reviews.
And it was the reviews that indicated that the supplement could be more effective if you broke them open with your teeth before swallowing. So I started doing this for the 5 capsules 2x a day dosage I was on. Big mistake.
Thorne's SF722 immediately became the yeast weapon I've been looking for, as I herxed pretty badly. So much so that I had to drop my dosage from 5 capsules 2x a day to just 3 capsules 1x a day.
On top of this, I noticed I didn't need to take the HCL anymore because the Undecylenic Acid of the SF722 capsules is, you guessed it, acidic.
Could it be that excessive yeast changes the pH of the stomach to more alkaline? Maybe, especially since H. Pylori can, but nonetheless, an acidic stomach seems to do me good. Go figure.
What Does the Future Hold for Me?
For now, I will continue to repair my gut and remove excessive yeast with Thorne's SF722, with the intent to graduate to Byron White's A-FNG, if needed.
I'll also continue to mop up yeast biotoxins with bentonite clay as instructed by Dr. Neil Nathan, M.D. in his book, "Toxic: Heal Your Body from Mold Toxicity, Lyme Disease, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, and Chronic Environmental Illness".
Once the excessive yeast is in control and my gut is good, I'll then consider if a Lyme treatment is still warranted.
If I am ever to restore my health to 100% -- which I am very confident in doing now than I have ever been -- I've toyed with the idea of writing a book or maybe just a blog post with the specifics of how I did it.
Regardless of the medium for which I would make this information available, it would be 100% free and available to anyone to use for their own benefit.
Losing my health just over 10 years ago has taught me so much and morphed me in ways that I don't think a normal life ever could have, for the better, surely.
If people with this condition are suffering any more than I have (I'm sure they are) -- and I've suffered quite a bit mentally and physically -- then I feel it is a duty as a human being to lessen the suffering of others if I can lessen, or better yet, completely dissolve, my own.
If I can do that with the knowledge and experience I've gained in potentially restoring my health 100%, that is the greatest reward for me. Not money. Not fame. Not anything other than extending a helping hand.
Just Some Final Thoughts
Clearly I'm not posting or commenting on Tired of Lyme as often as I used to, but this is a good thing. It's because I've been feeling so much better, with so much of a normal life returning.
With this said, I do still check in on Tired of Lyme, maintain and update its coding, and read comments and messages I receive from you all.
I hope that many of you have found a road to recovery or are at least mapping it out, like I am. If you're not, then I offer the following information to you for which I would have given to myself 10 years ago:
I do occasionally wonder what my life would have been like had I never lost my health 10 years ago. I think of the struggles I've been through since then, but all that I've accomplished and the good that has come because of it.
Clearly life throws challenges your way, with some challenges being harder to overcome than others and that's okay. You do your best and learn along the way, not only about how to better yourself, but what you're capable of under said challenge.
Your best ally is to not only never give up, but continue to learn and ask questions. Make sense of what is happening to you with every symptom as a clue. Eventually, you'll have all of the pieces of the puzzle and be able to place them all back together.
At the moment, I am no longer on the Carnivore diet. In short, it showed me some really impressive results by drastically dropping my inflammation and reducing my symptoms, but the fat without any plant fiber made digestion seriously unpleasant.
In making digestion seriously unpleasant, I was much more reluctant to eat higher calorie meals (i.e., more fat) in order to not only sustain my weight, but add on some pounds.
My weight started dropping as I reached the end of my 30 days of Carnivore.
My protein to fat ratio was roughly 30% protein to 70% fat. Sometimes a bit higher on the fat.
Honestly, I would have stuck with the Carnivore diet had it not been for the unpleasant digestion. This included excessive belching, nausea, vomiting on occasion, and even a run or 2, if you know what I mean.
It got so bad at one point that I ended up in the E.R.
I told the E.R. doctor about my Carnivore diet. In knowing this, he said to drink some more water because my creatinine was a bit elevated due to my high protein diet.
Other than that, and as would be expected, everything was normal (vitally speaking) and they discharged me with a potential viral diagnosis. They even ran lipase levels without my suggesting, which were normal.
So, the girlfriend, with a background in diet and nutrition, recommended that I throw in some fiber to see if it helps. It did and it did immediately.
Of course, in throwing in some fiber, I was simultaneously throwing in carbs -- granted they were extremely low. I moved into Keto territory.
In throwing in the carbs for the first time in a month, my yeast symptoms -- which had completely dropped to almost zero in being on Carnivore -- came back in full force.
Just 1 gram of carb caused my yeast symptoms to flare. I was that sensitive. A sensitivity of which I had never been.
Additionally, inflammation came roaring back, as I once again awoke in the morning with stiffness and pain. Yes, the words, “I can’t win” ran through my mind.
So then it became a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils: Unpleasant digestion on Carnivore or yeast flare up on Keto.
Since I needed to take modified citrus pectin at some point to clear our some biotoxins I accrued -- which has carbs, at least 1 gram -- the choice was clear that I would go Keto, of which I’ve been to the present day.
Smart choice, as I’ve done Keto in the past and did very well with it.
In being on Keto for probably about a week now, digestion is no longer unpleasant (thank you, fiber), and my yeast symptoms are very tolerable, despite eating more carbs now than when I first broke Carnivore.
It’s almost as if the body balanced itself out.
For now, I’m sticking with Keto, of which my diet is still very meat-oriented. I don’t seem to tolerable chicken well. It’s really just been ground beef and fresh salmon.
On top of that, I’ve added in lemons, cucumber, celery, and avocados. That is it.
In moving forward from here, I intend to repeat good results I’ve achieved in the past, specifically with the modified citrus pectin.
My goal here is to get on a respectable dosage of the modified citrus pectin, take MCT oil for excessive yeast while on the modified citrus pectin.
That’s the goal, but we’ll see how it actually plays out.
Why do I think the Carnivore diet didn’t work out for me beyond a month? I’m not 100% certain, but it could be a number of issues:
Without much research on humans eating just meat long term to survive, I decided to lean more towards the anecdote of my 91 year old grandfather who eats omnivorously.
In the end, we’ll all try a bunch of stuff in order to simply just feel better. The important thing is that we do take risks, because it could very well be worth the reward.
But it’s also just important to not attempt to fix something if it isn’t broke. Balance is key.
As always, listen to your body.
This past Saturday, July 20, 2019, marks 30 official days on the carnivore diet for me.
With this blog post, I'll give you the trials and tribulations along the way, as I took pretty detailed notes.
Summary Results of carnivore diet for 30 days
In being on the carnivore diet (eating just meat) for 30 days, my overall Lyme symptoms have decreased, which means inflammation has decreased, which means eating just meat is ideal for lowering inflammation. Nice!
However, this comes at a cost of some tolerable difficulty in the bathroom while Mr. Brown waits on line 2, if you know what I mean. Not nice!
Overall, my quality of life and health has improved to the point where I am more of a normal person. With less symptoms, more and consistent energy, and a greater sense of well-being, I seem much further away from the grasp of a health’s decline.
What were the pros of being on the carnivore diet for 30 days?
What Were The Cons Of Being On The Carnivore Diet For 30 Days?
Here's a detailed timeline outlining my experience on the carnivore diet for 30 days
Will I stay on the Carnivore Diet?
I think so.
I ended my carnivore diet on day 32 by eating an avocado. On potential day 33, I then introduced a green bell pepper.
Today would be day 34 and I awoke this morning achy and inflamed all over. It would appear that green bell peppers are a no go, but for now, I'm going to go back to just meat and try avocado again next week.
What did I eat on the Carnivore diet?
The majority of my carnivore diet consisted of just ground beef, chuck roast, lamb, and sockeye salmon. That's it!
A lot of people talk about adding in salt for electrolytes, and possibly even supplementing with electrolytes during the transition phase.
I had salt a couple of times, but noticed I did better without it. Too much salt, and the body starts depleting potassium, which then depletes magnesium, which then depletes calcium, etc.
I also found drinking less water helped in maintaining electrolyte levels as well.
To ameliorate muscle twitching from low magnesium, I switched mainly from Poland Spring to Evian.
Carnivore Diet Day 30 Conclusion
I went on the carnivore diet for 3 reasons:
I can for sure say that my yeast and Lyme symptoms have waned, but I do still have excessive belching and nausea.
This could be due to an ulcer, of which I've begun to take low dosages of oregano oil and it seems to be working.
What I'm going to do is stick with the carnivore diet for now, but slowly start increasing the oil of oregano and see what that does for the gut.
I'll probably try adding in avocado again sometime next week, and if I'm feeling brazen, maybe even some celery.
I'd also like to get a blood panel done just to make sure everything on the inside looks as good as I've been feeling.
The carnivore diet, once I adapted to burning fat for energy (day 18), really shined for me. I definitely did not get worse on it, I definitely did not stay the same, but I definitely felt better.
Not 100% better, but enough to keep me feeling more normal and less ailing. I'm much encouraged now to see how a yeast treatment could complement this zero carb diet.
This Fall will mark 10 years since unusual and bizarre symptoms manifested and made themselves a home with me -- chronic Lyme.
To bring everyone up to speed and a quick refresh (even for me), since 2009, I've been diagnosed with Lyme, Babesia, CIFS, MTHFR, CBS, heavy metals, POTS, excessive yeast, and possibly more, but we get the picture -- your standard chronically ill person.
In having all of these diagnoses, you'd bet that I've tried quite a few treatment modalities along the way, though not everything.
I've done the Buhner protocol, cherry-picked the Cowden protocol, taken antibiotics, treated excessive yeast in countless ways, homeopathy, altered diet, chelation, nutrient testing and replenishing, etc.
A few treatment modalities have worked, most were pissing into the wind, as they say, or as maybe they do.
My never-ending quest to find an answer led me to the carnivore diet (zero Carb Diet)
As someone who enjoys a good challenge -- and Lyme definitely tops that list -- I'd always spend time researching what else could be available to help heal me from my health woes.
Honestly, I've tried so many treatments and received so many diagnoses, that when people now ask what's wrong with me, I can't even give them an answer because I myself don't even know anymore.
I feel the length of this plight has gotten me lost along the way, but never without a will to keep moving forward.
So I'd keep researching for an answer, but discarding what I found because it was all stuff I've heard or tried before -- nothing new.
However, one day I stumbled upon a video by a girl named Mikhaila Peterson, who was able to put the symptoms of her chronic illness into remission by simply eating just beef.
This was different, for sure. I was intrigued.
After watching this video, I read the comments below to get the viewers' general consensus on her radical diet of just beef. She had a lot of support, which was great!
From there, I went to her blog to get the nitty gritty. I wanted to see how she was thriving on the diet and just get more details about her story in general.
Why? I don't know. I guess because I love beef and I'm also chronically ill. You can see how that logic panned out.
Mikhaila has a testimonial on her blog about a chronically ill person named Charlene Anderson -- who had Lyme (like me), along with other ailments -- and was able to feel better with a carnivore diet.
That's it. I was sold, but delivery would take a couple of months!
Starting the Carnivore Diet
For these past 10 years, the treatment philosophy has been to add moreso than remove. The more stuff I take, the better I should feel, in time -- or at least that's what I've picked up consistently along the way.
No where along the way has anyone suggested the complete opposite. Not only stop taking supplements, medicine, and seeing doctors, but strip your diet down to just beef.
Well, 10 years is long enough, and dammit I was very willing to try something different. Something radical, especially if it didn't involve another doctor's appointment or a supplement delivery from Amazon.
It took me some time after watching Mikhaila's original video to go full carnivore. I'd try the Keto diet and a few more supplements in between, but when my health started to decline even more within the past month, it was time.
I figured if I'm not living a life, than I really honestly have nothing to lose.
This past Friday, June 21, 2019, I officially started the carnivore diet, fully committed.
How am I doing on the Carnivore Diet with Lyme?
Unusually and frighteningly good! I am honestly shocked at how well I am responding to the carnivore diet as someone who has been dealing with chronic Lyme for almost 10 years, and I've only been on it for less than a week.
Symptoms have been dropping like flies. It really is remarkable the improvements I'm experiencing.
I had symptoms disappearing that I didn't even know I had. That's because when you're chronically ill, you adapt and learn to accept any malfunction in your body that comes your way.
In dealing with this condition, you don't even acknowledge the torment of symptoms after a certain period of time. You just live with it and it becomes your normal.
Like I said, I started the carnivore diet this past Friday, June 21, 2019, but it wasn't smooth sailing the entire time.
Before Friday, I was eating twice a day -- intermittent fasting, which I've been doing for years. After every meal, I would be hit with an overwhelming fatigue and need to sleep.
A systemic muscle weakness, a symptom I experienced when my entire health ordeal started in 2009, resurfaced.
I was pretty miserable this past month, useless to society, but pushed through it as I always did, even if it killed me.
This past Friday, I awoke stiff as a board and in pain all over my body. Yes, the inflammation was real and it was all I needed to make a change.
I didn't eat anything at all until 2 pm on Friday because I know that fasting is really good for shutting down inflammation. And as the morning went on into the afternoon, I actually began to feel better.
When 2 pm rolled around, I made the choice to eat just ground beef. It was 80%, grass-fed ground beef, of which I didn't even add salt.
After eating, I was waiting for the fatigue to hit, but something unusual happened. The fatigue never came.
I'm on to something here. It was this moment I got my first confirmation that the carnivore diet could really be legit, even for Lyme.
As a bonus to my efforts, Mikhaila Peterson's recent diagnosis of Lyme gave me great hope and motivation to try it.
That evening, family came over for a gathering and I prepared 2 lamb shoulder cuts on the iron skillet (for me). Again, no salt, nor any fatigue afterwards.
What the hell was going on? Why was I not suffering?!
To top it off, I even went for an extensive walk around town. Absolutely zero fatigue or muscle weakness. I was feeling pretty good.
I was blown away and in complete awe at what I was experiencing.
Saturday (The following Day)
In feeling as good as I did yesterday (Friday), you'd bet I'd make every effort to repeat those results.
Well, I did, but things went down hill fast. I stuck with just the meat, but a complete exhaustion would take over beginning on Saturday.
After doing some research, I'd learn there is a transitional period when moving to the carnivore diet. You don't just switch to the carnivore diet and everything is fantastic.
Nope! Your body is switching from a fuel of glucose from carbohydrates, to a fuel from ketones from fat.
During this transitional phase, your body has to make adjustments in order to burn the new fuel source of fat efficiently.
I was weak, exhausted, and out of breath during this transition, but eventually on the following Monday, June 24, my body transitioned enough to where I wasn't exhausted or weak anymore.
It appeared that my body successfully transitioned to use ketones as its main fuel source (aside from protein) instead of carbohydrates.
It's my understanding that this transitional (adaptation) period can be really rough for some people. The more carbs you were eating before the transition, the harder (and longer) it will be.
I've read it can take a couple weeks to make this transition, but for me, it seemed to take just 3 days. This makes sense, since I essentially was on the Keto diet just prior.
I suspect I felt good that Friday because I cut out of the carbs, which reduced inflammation, which allowed my hormones to work a bit more correctly.
The short-lived energy came from my glycogen reserves (uninhibited by inflammation) since my body was no longer receiving carbohydrates.
What has improved on the carnivore diet for me?
A lot has, and as I mentioned before, I'm still in shock at how well I'm responding to the carnivore diet.
Since starting the carnivore diet, I've noticed:
Mind you, I've only been on the carnivore diet for less than a week, but the drastic improvement in my symptoms is huge!
It really is all the motivation I need to keep at it. I'm truly excited to see how my body further responds to the carnivore diet.
Why is the carnivore diet working for chronic Lyme?
I've read a few stories of people with chronic Lyme truly benefiting from the carnivore diet when nothing else has worked.
Could these stories be fake? Sure. Do I think they're fake? I don't know, but if you find no money trail, and instead just relatable words and a true gratitude from the experience as reflected in the sound of a voice, it's worth giving a shot.
There isn't much research on how the carnivore diet works for the human body, but there is much anecdotal evidence.
Hopefully one day these anecdotal experiences will form strong hypotheses for scientific testing and experiments, to potentially better the health of many.
What research has shown is that the less carbs you consume, the less inflammation you'll have. The carnivore diet is perfect for repairing digestive woes and reducing inflammation.
Which is why I think the carnivore diet could potentially help me get better from my chronic Lyme.
Stephen Buhner, the creator of the Buhner protocol for Lyme, has a first and important step in treating the condition by shutting down inflammation in the body.
He states that a person can simply feel better by reducing the inflammation the Lyme spirochetes cause in the body. The inflammation is what causes the symptoms.
The Lyme bacteria needs inflammation to thrive because it's the mechanism that breaks down collagen in the body, the Lyme spirochetes favorite food.
This is why Lyme symptoms tend to occur in collagen-rich areas within the body (e.g., the heart, the eyes, the joints, etc).
If you can shut down the inflammation, then you can essentially starve the Lyme bacteria (or at least make it difficult for it to thrive), thus resulting in fewer symptoms.
Stephen Buhner prefers to shut down inflammation caused by Lyme with Japanese Knotweed, of which I've taken before and it actually worked.
No placebo. I was back on my feet and working (not full time, but to an extent) within a year of taking it.
But the Japanese Knotweed wasn't enough, so I never completely got better. I ended up coming off of it and let my body handle the condition on its own.
Fast forward 3 years to 2019, and I've found a new treatment modality that may be able to shut down the Lyme inflammation more effectively -- the carnivore diet.
What is the algorithm for overcoming chronic Lyme? What do we as individuals -- that deal with this condition on a daily basis -- need to do to get better?
And not just what we need to do, but when and how we need to do it. You see, in living with this condition since 2009, I've learned a lot, but there are few pieces that never really leave my mind for more than a day.
The first thing is that the only thing any person with chronic Lyme absolutely knows to be true is how they feel. Everything else is guessing with the best of them.
The second is that you can take all of the exact treatment modalities you need to heal your case of the condition, but if you don't take those modalities at the right time or in the right manner, you might as well not take them at all.
Case in point. I have a suspected "biotoxin illness" and "excessive yeast". Before I treated the excessive yeast, I took modified citrus pectin to clear myself of biotoxins.
Once I started feeling relatively good on it, I no longer increased the dosage, and in time, ended up coming off of it. Why keep taking something if you're feeling good? Well, I now know it's because what made me feel relatively good is that I kept taking that something.
So, I foolishly came off of the modified citrus pectin, some time passed, and I started treating the excessive yeast with high dosage probiotics.
It was rough at first, but as my probiotic dosage increased, my energy levels increased, symptoms waned, and I just became a more normal person. I was doing really good!
However, as I continued to increase my probiotic dosage further, things started to take a turn. Symptoms came back, energy levels decreased, and I really just felt that I was back at square one. What gives?
What gives is me, and what I gave is up on the modification citrus pectin. In taking a higher dosage of probiotics, I would ultimately end up killing excessive yeast cells, which mean't their biotoxins would be hanging around to eagerly put me right back in my place.
No problem! I'll just start on the modified citrus pectin again.
Not so fast.
I couldn't just walk right back up to the dosage of the modification citrus pectin again. It had been some time since I'd been off of it, which mean't biotoxins built up, especially after killing excessive yeast, which means my initial modification citrus pectin efforts before were only great for a future slap in the face.
What am I doing now? Now I'm starting back on the probiotics, while at the same time trying to work up the modification citrus pectin, again.
I'm sure this is a very familiar treatment process for you. The point I'm trying to make is don't just take what you know you need to heal. Take it at the right time and in the right manner as well.
Each one of us has our own healing algorithm to figure out. Doctors on this condition can sometimes be helpful -- but they cost a lot of money and I find them to not really be worth the investment.
I would love to sit here and write that I am completely over this condition, but 10 years later, I still am not.
However, the above reflects it's very clear to me why I'm still dealing with the condition.
Now, that's not to say that I haven't had times where I was doing really good, because I have. Those moments are great -- they can last months -- and really remind you it's possible to heal.
But then there are times when the roller coaster goes down because the logic that needs to be applied to keep you feeling good can sometimes not be figured out, if it's remembered to be called upon at all.
Is it possible to even completely heal from chronic Lyme? I don't know. I've read stories of people who claimed to be healed from the condition, and I've interviewed people who've allegedly put the condition to rest and are leading normal lives. Seriously, good for them! I wish them nothing but good health and the greatest reward for accomplishing the impossible.
Those people, if they did in fact overcome chronic Lyme, figured out their algorithm to heal. They were able to identify the logic that needed to be applied to get themselves over this condition.
But let's say, hypothetically, that all of these people are lying and they never actually overcame any alleged chronic Lyme. I really hope not because I like to think humans can be great. And they can be.
If they didn't, hypothetically, that's still no reason to lose hope that the condition can't be beat. Just because a solution has yet to be found doesn't mean a solution can't be found.
If a solution hasn't been found, you have every capability to find one. There is no law written in the Universe that states a solution can not be found to a problem that's yet to be solved.
For me, I'm still working my algorithm out. In the meantime, I say keep it coming and make it double.
Thanks for reading and best to you all!
Welcome to My Blog!
The LyBlog will focus on my personal battle with chronic Lyme disease, which includes updates, progress reports, and personal experiences.