Healing my Brain After Cipro

The scariest parts of getting floxed, for me, were the cognitive losses that I experienced. I lost my memory, my reading comprehension, my concentration, my ability to connect with people and have a meaningful conversation, my ability to understand what was going on at work, etc. I felt stupid. I felt as if my IQ had dropped significantly. My job, which I had done with ease before getting sick, suddenly felt difficult. I had trouble reading; books that I could previously understand with ease, suddenly became incomprehensible.

It was horrible.

Having my muscles and tendons not work like they used to was scary, but losing important aspects of my mind was terrifying.

I had always thought of myself as a smart person and to have that taken away from me was so, so, so difficult. Losing my memory, reading comprehension, concentration, etc. made me question my identity as a “smart” person. If I didn’t have those things, was I still smart? Was I still capable? Could I understand things that I needed to understand to be able to do my job, connect with my loved ones and identify myself as intelligent?

All of those questions went through my head. Both the questions, and the honest answer of – I don’t know – were difficult to deal with.

I tried lots of things to get my mind back. I’m not sure how much of a difference any single thing made, but cumulatively, they worked. I got at least most of my cognitive skills back. I’m not any slower mentally now than I was before I got sick – or at least I don’t think I am.

There’s not a protocol for what to do to get your brain back after getting floxed, so I had to guess about what would help me. I tried various things. Here are the things that seemed to help:

  1. Time. First and foremost, time helped. Getting back to a place where I felt as intelligent as I did before I got floxed took time. It was one of the last things to come back, but it did come back. I have recovered my memory, reading comprehension, concentration, ability to follow conversations, etc. Time was my friend. It healed my cognitive wounds along with my physical wounds.
  2. Meditation. Meditating helped me to gain my concentration back. If you can concentrate on your breath, you can concentrate on a book. Both are pretty difficult when floxed. Concentrating on the breath while meditating is difficult for non-floxies too. Attempting to do something that is difficult (meditating is simultaneously the easiest and most difficult thing in the world to do) helped me to do other things that were comparatively easy.
  3. Suduku puzzles. I did a suduku puzzle a day for at least a year. It engaged my brain. It helped me to concentrate.
  4. Reading. Practice makes perfect, as they say. I kept reading and eventually it got easier.
  5. Writing. I think that writing the articles that I have put online has helped me to organize my thoughts, remember information, etc.
  6. Researching. The articles about how fluoroquinolones affect cells are not easy. They’re actually really, really hard. Learning the language that is in the scientific journal articles that I now read for fun (well, to figure this stuff out, but I am doing it voluntarily so I suppose that it is “for fun”) has exercised my brain.
  7. Lecithin. I supplement lecithin. I think that it has cleared up some of the brain fog that I had. Here is an article about the benefits of lecithin – http://www.diannecraft.org/improving-your-memory-with-lecithin/ One thing to note is that lecithin is soy based so be forewarned of that if you can’t eat soy.

With all of those things, and some luck, I have recovered my mental capabilities. My brain fog has receded. My memory, reading comprehension, connectedness and concentration are as good as they were before I got sick. In some ways, I may even be smarter now than I was before I got floxed. I didn’t read biochem journals for fun before I got floxed. I didn’t know what lymphcytes or reactive oxygen species or acyl glucuronides were before I got floxed. I know what those things are now (okay, so I don’t really understand acyl glucuronides, but who does?).

I know that the loss of mental capabilities the happens with fluoroquinolone toxicity is really scary. Please try to believe that it will pass and that it will get better. It did for me. My mind recovered along with my body. I sincerely hope the same for you!


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31 thoughts on “Healing my Brain After Cipro

  1. Scott Rose April 15, 2014 at 9:39 am Reply

    Thanks for another great post, Lisa! Another supplement that is supposed to help tremendously with healing the brain, plus repair DNA damage in the body, plus help with chronic fatigue is NADH. NADH has apparently been shown to even reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease (as opposed to just slowing down the effects), and it is supposed to tremendously help those with Parkinson’s Disease as well. Since getting floxed myself a year ago, adding NADH into my daily supplement regimen has given me the energy to get through the day again. I take 60mg of NADH per day. I think it was the NADH that made the biggest difference for me, although it is always difficult to tell since I now take 30 supplements per day to try to help with my symptoms. Anyways, there is a great book on NADH with tons of scientific evidence of NADH’s power, written by the scientist who first stabilized NADH. It’s called “NADH: The Biological Hydrogen” by George D. Birkmayer.

    • Lisa Bloomquist April 15, 2014 at 9:45 am Reply

      Thank you for the information, Scott! I’ll have to check out the book and try the NADH. 🙂

    • valerie April 29, 2014 at 9:02 pm Reply

      Hi Scott. I’m so glad I found this post. Please could you tell me the brand and type of NADH you use. I have found several on iherb.com, but don’t know which is the best.
      I am suffering from the worst brain fog and light headedness from taking Cipro.
      Thank you for your help.

      • Scott Rose May 21, 2014 at 7:54 am Reply

        Hi Valeria, I just looked on iherb.com and the 2 brands of NADH that they carry are both licensed from the exact same company: Enada. So whichever one you purchase from iHerb.com, you will be getting the exact same Enada-manufactured NADH. The guy who wrote the book I mention above is the creator of Enada, so it’s probably a good brand… maybe the best brand, since he’s the original scientist who discovered how to stabilize NADH in the first place! The place I buy my NADH from does NOT have Enada brand, so I have been bouncing back & forth between Now Foods NADH and Premier Research Labs NADH, trying to figure out which one I like better. But maybe I’ll go down the Enada path and see how I feel.

        • Valerie Mitchell May 21, 2014 at 10:53 pm

          Thank you Scott

          Sent from Valerie’s iPhone


      • Tim Featherstone May 27, 2014 at 9:54 am Reply

        Let us know how you get on with it Valerie?
        I’m suffering from lightheadness alot from Cipro, to the point of nausea on occasion!

    • Balsa July 19, 2017 at 12:50 am Reply

      How did you take 60mg of NADH daily when in package you got 30 pills with 5mg, and recommended dose is one (5mg in the morning)? You took 12 pills a day????

  2. Lisa Bloomquist April 16, 2014 at 3:56 pm Reply

    Just so y’all know, the irony of the type-o in the last paragraph isn’t lost on me. Apparently my proofreading skills have not fully returned. The sentence should read, “I know that the loss of mental capabilities that happens with fluoroquinolone toxicity is really scary.”

    • douglasjlieuwen August 10, 2017 at 6:06 pm Reply

      Never even noticed until you mentioned it. My brain auto corrected it. Thanks for all you do! Your awesome!

  3. Marie April 18, 2014 at 5:30 am Reply

    Hello Lisa,

    Thanks for this, as always. I was wondering if you had any tips for coping with the depression and general apathy that comes with fluoroquinolone poisoning apart from the ones above that could apply? I’m unwilling to turn to a medical professional for reasons you can imagine, especially after having my other symptoms dismissed as psychosomatic…

    • Ruth Young April 24, 2014 at 2:45 am Reply

      You could try Idebenone and L-Theanine. Those work for me to improve my mood.

    • Lisa Bloomquist April 24, 2014 at 3:11 pm Reply

      Hi Marie,

      Sorry that it took me a while to get back to you! I sometimes lose track of comments and I apologize for that.

      I think that Ruth’s suggestions of supplements are good things to try. Also, I think that it’s best to get your Vitamin D levels maximized. A woman who also writes for Hormones Matter has this blog about Vitamin D – http://smilinsuepubs.com/

      I hesitate to recommend things that are religious, because it’s such an individualized thing, but the book “A Return to Love” by Marianne Williamson, with teachings from A Course in Miracles, really helped me in getting my head wrapped around this whole thing. It gave me some badly needed perspective. There are other religious, or secular, books or lectures that can probably help.

      To be honest with you, I still struggle with the apathy. It’s hard. I think that just trying to fight it every day is helpful. And please forgive yourself when you fall short.

      I hope that helps!

      Best regards,

      • Tim Featherstone May 19, 2014 at 6:28 am Reply

        Hi guys, I’m new to all this, I took 12 x2 ciprofloxacin pills 5 weeks ago, ended up in a&e (er) with heart palpitations, pins and needles, burning limbs, heavy body feeling, depersonalisation, brain fog, anxiety, depression, was all checked out ok, stopped taking meds, all cleared up, now 5 weeks later the physiological side effects have reappeared, brain fog, poor memory, depersonalisation, slight dizziness, anxiety, I don’t appear to have any other symptoms, I’m worried this is the cipro still, I have been like this a week and want to be proactive and prevent any more problems now, what’s the best course of action? I started magnesium so far, it’s very scary and I desparately want to be a success story too, I have considered other causes such as Candida after being also on trimethoprim for so long for prostatitis but it’s all too similar to the cipro feelings I had whilst on it.

        Has anybody else only had brain problems from this and for them to appear so long after treatment?

        What’s the best treatment? Does not need to be cheap.
        I’m in the UK so my options May be limited

        Many thanks

        • Thankful September 21, 2014 at 2:01 pm

          Tim, I wonder if perhaps you had a detox reaction. Maybe you were detoxing without realizing it, and it was pulling Cipro out. I have heard of drug users re-experiencing the drug’s effects during a detoxification process. You might want to look into liposomal glutathione and also a detox protocol using niacin and exercise in conjunction with a far infrared sauna, which enable the body to detox toxins which are stored deep into the tissues.

  4. Lisa Bloomquist May 21, 2014 at 10:18 am Reply

    Anyone who is reading this post and the comments will likely find this article to be interesting – http://www.hormonesmatter.com/cognitive-testing-post-adverse-reaction-lost-opportunity/ For more information on thiamine, please do a search on Hormones Matter for “Lonsdale” to get Dr. Lonsdale’s other work. I get my thiamine through raw, crushed garlic – taken straight.

  5. TimF May 21, 2014 at 11:02 am Reply

    I think somebody should make a list, it may be me when i get the time, of all the supplements everybody used in the stories on this fab site and what they thought the outcome was of each one, Magnesium seems to pop up everywhere but what’s the rest, there could be a top 10 judged by usage and perceived effectiveness. add Thiamine to the list, i strongly believe, certainly in the early stages of Floxing, that if you get the right supplements and nutrients to counter act the balance in the short term you are more likely to recover in the long term, that is why i am desperately researching what’s best for brain fog only a few weeks in to my journey!

    • abhikumar9 May 11, 2020 at 9:48 am Reply


      I read these stories I could relate to the symptoms
      I can’t sleep , I can’t work . Every doctor and close relatives say it’s just tension and anxiety
      It would be great to talk to a person that understands. Please I am at the lowest point of my life , will really appreciate your help.
      I started having the same reaction to cipro 5 days into the course (500 mg) and stopped taking 3 days back . Would really appreciate your help to counteract the toxicity as early as possible

      Please reach out to me at abhikumar93@gmail.com
      Forever in your debt .

  6. Al July 22, 2014 at 10:45 am Reply

    Help! I believe that my 75 year old father may be experiencing depression and anxiety (no previous history) after taking cipro. He stopped taking the meds but still experiences the symptoms weeks later. Where do I begin? Should he see a neurologist or other kind of specialist to evaluate what is goiing on, and make recommendations? I don’t know what kind of reaction I will get if I suggest this connection to his PCP who prescribed the Cipro for a ‘possible infection’ which we don’t think existed., , whom he has only seen once. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

    • Lisa Bloomquist July 22, 2014 at 2:05 pm Reply

      Hi Al,

      I’m so sorry that you and your father are going through this! Too often senior citizens are over-medicated and disregarded when they experience side-effects. It’s not okay.

      As far as where to begin, I would recommend getting his intracellular mineral and antioxidant levels checked and supplement accordingly.

      Functional medicine and/or anti-aging doctors seem to be very open-minded about treating people holistically and using non-pharmaceutical approaches. I would look into finding one to consult with.

      Magnesium helps most people going through an adverse reaction to FQs.

      Optimizing his B vitamin and Vitamin D3 levels will probably be helpful.

      Antioxidant supplementation may be helpful. If you look on the comments under Lisa’s Story, there are many antioxidant supplement recommendations.

      I’m a big fan of brewer’s yeast. I think that it helped me because it’s full of trace minerals and nutrients. One of its contents – uridine – has been shown to have positive effects on mental health.

      The livers of seniors don’t work as effectively as they did when the person was younger. I’m not sure what to do to remedy this situation, but asking trusted experts about how to help your father’s liver get rid of toxins is probably a good thing to do.

      Best regards,

  7. Al July 22, 2014 at 10:47 am Reply

    We have a psychiatrist apt. tomorrow, but I’m afraid more meds may make things worse. I plan to discuss the neuro toxin concern with the dr.

    • Tim Featherstone July 22, 2014 at 11:58 am Reply

      This is only my personal thoughts and many have said this also………….

      If at all possible no meds no meds no meds, it will normally work itself out on it’s own, depending on how serious it is just make sure somebody is with him at all times, more medications will only toxify him further, i have been in that head space from Cipro myself but it did resolve on it’s own, again just my personal opinion.

      Cipro damages and blocks nerves in your brain that allow you to feel normal, relaxed, connect with other people, it also damages your gut which affects your brain too but they normally heal, mine healed relatively quickly.

      Somebody else can chime in here but i’m not sure what a neurologist can do for him, if your sure it’s toxic induced, many people seek alternative therapy for such things, like meditation, i know crazy huh! i managed to convince myself it was just a symptom of Cipro and would pass and whilst it was hard i managed to get through it.

      I hope this helps
      Time is his friend

  8. Thankful September 21, 2014 at 2:12 pm Reply

    I wanted to add here that under Douglas’s story, found here: https://floxiehope.com/douglas-story-cipro-side-effects/, he says that Vitamin C pulls Cipro from the brain. He simply squeezes fresh lemons into his water. I’m guessing this might be because lemon juice is high in sesquiterpenes: http://www.pubfacts.com/detail/16506842/Comparison-of-volatile-concentrations-in-hand-squeezed-juices-of-four-different-lemon-varieties. In the world of essential oils, it is said that oils containing sesquiterpenes can detox petrochemicals from the body and brain. One drop of an essential oil is equal to about 70 cups of tea made from that oil’s origin, so perhaps using the oils would be an even faster route. A lot of people add lemon oil to their water, but you want to make sure the oil is safe for ingestion, as not all companies are therapeutic grade oils.

  9. TOM October 26, 2015 at 3:05 pm Reply

    Scott Rose, you wrote: “it is always difficult to tell since I now take 30 supplements per day to try to help with my symptoms” If NADH has helped you then why you still taking 30 suplemens? I do not understand that. Please tell me a ONE THING which help you to renove a brain fog.

  10. TOM October 26, 2015 at 3:06 pm Reply

    to remove

  11. Anonymous February 1, 2016 at 9:52 am Reply

    Because of a horrible bone infection I developed after what was supposed to be a simple surgery, I was given Cipro for life…So for the last year and 9 days, I have been taking 1500 mgs of Cipro daily. December 22, 2015 I was told to stop the Cipro immediately — with a stern warning the infection could return and that I would have to get blood work every three weeks, for ever. But now, the Cipro effects are debilitating. Until a month ago, I thought it all was surgery related and I went from what I thought was good progress, to a fetal position at work (I am/was an art teacher.) I was forced to take disability retirement at 25% of what I was making. My hips to my feet burn and ache to the point they are immobile. My wrists burn like bracelets of fire. My arms have locked into place – like cramps and the pain when they release is horrific. The mental fog I contributed to the botched surgeries (3 in 3 months) and the anesthesia that came with them. I just never knew…I was expected to die after the last surgery…was on life support for 7 days, Little did I know the very antibiotic that saved me would eventually become poison and essentially take away my life as I knew it. I am new to this research but I am determined. This can not be my life now. Your words – all of yours- make me feel hopeful. Thank you for sharing…

    • Lisa Bloomquist February 1, 2016 at 11:50 am Reply

      I am so, so, so, so, so sorry for everything that you have gone through! I literally have tears in my eyes. I can only imagine the pain and frustration and fear that you have experienced and I wish I could say more than, “I’m sorry.” I wish you wellness, and recovery, and continued hope. Our bodies have amazing healing abilities–have faith in them. You obviously have an amazing fighting spirit–keep fighting. There is a lot of wisdom in the recovery stories on this site (and The Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Solution ebook has a lot of good supplement suggestions too). I hope that our journeys help you through yours!

      Huge hugs,

  12. Balsa July 19, 2017 at 12:49 am Reply

    How did you take 60mg of NADH daily when in package you got 30 pills with 5mg, and recommended dose is one (5mg in the morning)? You took 12 pills a day????

  13. Zz September 30, 2017 at 6:09 pm Reply

    I took my intelligence for granted before I was floxed. I miss it so much everyday.

  14. Peter December 27, 2017 at 11:25 am Reply

    Lisa, Hi –
    How much was magnesium a part of your recovery?

  15. Azz March 31, 2018 at 5:25 am Reply

    It’s been 8 months since I was poisoned by Cipro yet I’m still suffering from cognitive side effects some being brain fog, dizziness and a general feeling of disclarity if that makes sense. Did you see some improvement by this time?

  16. William Craig June 16, 2019 at 6:12 am Reply

    April 24 2019 i was given cipro for a infection in my colon that was not verified.i was at the end of my rope.with chronic back issues already not being able eat or go to the bathroom and constant nausea and puking made it difficult just to get out of bed.since first dose of cipro things we not right at all.had bloody black loose bowels so bad went to er.since then stopped cipro but the damage was done.ive lost my memory ,my few friends have completly turned on me ,and ive lost all connection with the real world.i should never have been on this drug.ive had many falls that have damaged my back more.im having mood swings so bad no one wants to be around me let alone help
    I sit confused and alone trying to wake from this nitemare and have no where to turn.so many more bad things have happened that i cant change i feel no suicide is my only way out.i hope no one is as bad as me and wish u all well.im not strong enough to fight anymore

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