Connecting to Self-Care, when your previous self-care practices are out of reach

The following is a guest post written by Sujata Patel. You can read about Sujata’s journey through fluoroquinolone toxicity in her Floxie Hope Story and on her web site, Journey with Sujata. If you would like to write a guest-post for, please let me know through THIS LINK


When it comes to feeling good and regaining your health, self-care is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves. I am sure you are thinking, “Yeah right…I barely have the energy to shower in the morning, let alone focus on self-care practices…” I get it. Please keep reading.

Prior to my fluoroquinolone poisoning in July of 2014, my self- care practices kept me fit, healthy, optimistic, peaceful, grounded and vibrant. There was nothing I couldn’t tackle, because my mindset and my physical health were well taken care of.

As a single mother with four teenagers at the time, it was very important that I kept myself in great health. I took that seriously. I did many things to keep myself in optimal health. I slept 8 hours a night. I took basic supplements. I ate very well (aside from the occasional doughnut or ice cream). I worked out five days a week. This included spinning classes, boot camps, yoga, walking, running, cycling and hiking. The endorphins that were released during those activities made me feel amazing. I also meditated 30 minutes twice a day. I meditated first thing in the morning, and in the afternoon before my children would come home from school. This kept me centered throughout the day and fully present for my children in the evenings. I spent a lot of time with friends. We would meet for coffee, hike trails in our local parks, ride bikes, or meet for dinner. We laughed and laughed at anything and everything that came up. My emotional and physical tanks were full. So when a friend in need called me, I could drop everything and be there to help in any way possible. Regardless of what stressors presented themselves…and they did…I was well equipped to handle them and the ups and downs that came along with them. And even if something threw me to the ground, I didn’t stay down very long. I could always connect with my self-care practices and lift my mood in a healthy way.

When I got floxed, everything changed. Almost every single thing that kept me grounded, centered, optimistic, fit, uplifted, and hopeful was taken away from me. I fell into the hole of a victim. My tendons were brittle, my muscles were in immense pain. The nerve pain that shot through my entire body was unbearable at times. My joints hurt so much along with the rest of my body, that it was even difficult to just sit or lie down. Anywhere there was pressure put onto my body sent impulses to my brain that registered as pain. And as many of you know, that pressure doesn’t have to be significant. It could be the soft touch of someone just resting his hand on your thigh in an attempt to reassure you.

Because of the completely debilitating condition, I could not walk to do things for myself, let alone spin, cycle, do yoga, hike, and run. Those endorphins that used to coarse through my veins? Gone. I couldn’t sleep at night because of the incessant pain. Anyone who has experienced chronic pain can understand what that does to someone’s psyche. The pain was so unbearable and my mobility so impaired, that I stopped reaching out to friends to get together. It was impossible to sit on a hard chair at a coffee shop without wanting to ball up and cry…let alone use precious energy to attempt to be there for a friend in need. The friends, the laughter, the social aspects of my life disappeared. Time in nature on trails at our local parks? Well that fell by the wayside also. It was too painful to even think about expending that sort of energy. The prospect of living like this at age 45 with 4 children that I was raising on my own was devastating. Of course major depression set in, and everything I had in my tool box to lift me out of it was inaccessible.

What now? Well I had to think about how I was going to help myself. Clearly, a part of me is always looking for a way to get better and heal. If I didn’t have that deep down badass drive, I would not be here sharing my success story with you.

In my hours of self-pity for no longer being able to do advanced yoga poses, I came across an article written by a monk who had suffered some physical limitations. He spoke about his daily yoga practice and how he adjusted to his situation. The main point that helped me was that even if he could not do asanas (poses), he could still connect to pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation. Breathing exercises are a part of yoga, and when he woke up in the morning, if he couldn’t do poses he would connect with breathing. Day after day, his yoga practice consisted of only breathing and meditation. And he was gentle with himself, knowing that he was still practicing yoga…just not in the way most people view yoga. This article changed a few things in me. It helped me be gentle with myself and release expectations of doing things the way I used to. And not just in my yoga practice, but in my life. There were many things I had to relinquish. If I did it with resistance and self-pity, it was not helpful. But if I did it with compassion and gentleness for myself, I FELT better emotionally.

I started using breathing exercises and meditation to help relieve my pain. Of course, being in incessant pain, any reprieve from it was welcome. My meditation practice during this time was in no way one of those things where you see someone in full lotus position with proper hand positions and crown of the head reaching toward the sky. I was balled up in fetal position on the sofa or in my bed as I was practicing. What a beautiful gift it was to find that I could lessen the pain and even find brief moments of no pain while I was meditating. Finally – I was able to connect with a self-care practice that actually helped! Breathing and Meditation…

The next thing that came to my awareness was Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) baths. Along with being extremely beneficial for drawing toxins out of the body, magnesium baths have so many more benefits (more about this in future blogs). I started taking Epsom salt baths a few times a week as part of my self-care practices. It was something I could totally do, cripple and all. All I had to do was fill up the tub, add some salts and sit there. While I was there, I would light candles, dim the lights, and use this time to connect with silence and softness. This was incredibly nourishing for my body as well as my mind and spirit. Very powerful.

I did start to find that I was so focused on researching solutions for this condition, that the other side of my brain was stagnating. I needed to do something to give my analytical brain a break. In an effort to do this, I started doing periodic creative nights. I am by no means an artist, but I would sit down with my girls and create whatever I could. It wasn’t about creating a masterpiece. It was about taking the time to DO it. Taking that paintbrush and dipping it in paint, then doing something…anything…with it on my canvas or paper. It is amazing how focused I could get on my creative project, that I could escape, for some moments, from the reality of my condition.

Massage therapy became a mainstay of my self-care practices, and still is to this day. Before being floxed, I might have had a massage once a year. It was usually on vacation as a well-deserved treat. I highly recommend this to anyone who has been floxed. But be careful. You don’t want anyone to press too hard on brittle tendons and have them rupture. Make sure you communicate clearly with your massage therapist and be selective about where you go! Massage therapy was great. It has helped me to release the trigger points, the constant contraction of the muscles and spasms. And all I had to do was get there, lie down, close my eyes, and breathe.

These few practices were a great start to being able to take care of myself in some way. These basic self-care practices took me from completely and utterly face down in the dirt to offering a little hope for relief, healing, and reclaiming my life.

What can you do, even in your condition, to help your body, mind and spirit?

  • Learn meditation and breathing exercises and practice them DAILY.
  • Take Epsom salt baths.
  • Schedule regular creative nights and do whatever comes naturally to you.
  • Get regular massages.
  • Above all, be gentle with yourself.

In love and healing light,


Floxie Hope Podcast Episode 25 – Dr. Mark Ghalili

I had the pleasure and honor of interviewing Dr. Mark Ghalili for Episode 25 of The Floxie Hope Podcast. You can download and listen to the episode through these links:


In this episode of The Floxie Hope Podcast, Dr. Ghalili discusses both his personal journey through fluoroquinolone toxicity, and how he has helped patients through fluoroquinolone toxicity.

It is stated a couple times during the podcast, and I want to reiterate, please do not use this podcast as medical advice. Please consult a physician before trying any remedy that is mentioned in the podcast. The podcast is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for medical advice.

You can learn more about Dr. Ghalili in the post, Floxed Doctors are Taking Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Patients and through his web site, Regenerative Medicine LA. You can also reach Dr. Ghalili through email– He is currently taking fluoroquinolone toxicity patients–please reach out to him for more information.

These videos and photos show Dr. Ghalili going through fluoroquinolone toxicity, and some of his treatments. They illustrate much of what he describes in the podcast interview.




Floxed Doctors are Taking Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Patients

Most people don’t understand fluoroquinolone toxicity. They don’t understand the complexity or severity of chronic illness brought on by fluoroquinolone antibiotics. They don’t understand the pain. They don’t understand the timeline – that it takes a long time to heal from getting “floxed,” and that some people don’t heal at all. They don’t understand delayed reactions, or continuing decline. They don’t understand the mechanisms of fluoroquinolone toxicity. They don’t understand how a pharmaceutical, an antibiotic no less, can cause multi-symptom, chronic illness.

The only people who really, truly, completely understand, are the people who have been through it themselves.

That, more than anything else (in my opinion), is what makes these two medical practitioners (one D.O. functional medicine practitioner, and one pharmacist functional medicine practitioner) uniquely qualified to treat fluoroquinolone toxicity patients.

They have been floxed themselves. They know what it’s like. They understand the pain, the fear, the complexity, the lack of resources available, the horror of a bomb going off in their body, etc. They know what it’s like to go from healthy and active, to being in a wheelchair because of a disabling reaction to Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, or Floxin. They understand because they have been there. They truly have empathy for victims of fluoroquinolones because they too are victims of these drugs.

The two featured medical practitioners have also healed. Their healing journeys are different, but their results are the same–recovery.

After they healed, they decided to so something to help the “floxie” community, and devoted their practices (or at least a portion of their practices) to helping people to overcome fluoroquinolone toxicity. I am hopeful that their services will help hundreds, if not thousands, of people to heal from fluoroquinolone toxicity.

The two medical practitioners that I’m referring to are Dr. Mark Ghalili, D.O. of Regenerative Medicine LA, and Sujata Patel of Journey with Sujata and Wellness With Sujata.

Here is some information about each of them.

Dr. Mark Ghalili, D.O. of Regenerative Medicine LA:

Most people in the fluoroquinolone toxicity community have seen the feature of Dr. Ghalili’s story on CBS Los Angeles:

On the Regenerative Medicine LA web site, Dr. Ghalili’s bio states:

Dr. Ghalili’s passion lies in teaching his patients about chronic disease, prevention, and finding the underlying reasons for an illness. At an early stage in his career, he noticed the future of medicine becoming a medication cure-all for all patient’s ailments. Dr. Ghalili realized that the traditional methods and ideologies used in Western Medicine that were taught to him failed to provide any insight into functional and regenerative medicine. He realized millions of American’s are suffering from chronic disease and need a whole body approach taken in order to heal. Dr. Ghalili has dedicated his life towards offering care to people living with medical conditions that are not being improved by traditional medicine; his own personal journey will allow him to positively impact patient’s lives.

I have spoken extensively with Dr. Ghalili, and I know that his ordeal with fluoroquinolone toxicity was harrowing and traumatic, and that he has made a remarkable recovery. Dr. Ghalili has agreed to write a recovery story to be published on Floxie Hope, and he will also be featured in a podcast episode (both to be published at a later date).

Sujata Patel of Journey with Sujata and Wellness With Sujata:

You can read about Sujata’s journey through fluoroquinolone toxicity on Sujata’s Story – Cipro Poisoning and Recovery. In her story, Sujata describes how active and healthy she was before she took Cipro, and how she ended up in a wheelchair after getting “floxed.” She describes how Western Medicine let her down, by both failing to have answers and failing to give her acknowledgement. She tells us what things she has done, and continues to do, to heal her body, mind, and spirit. It’s a wonderful story, and I encourage you to read it.

You can read more about Sujata, and her journey through fluoroquinolone toxicity, on Journey with Sujata. Here are some highlights:

My name is Sujata, and I am excited to share my story and journey through fluoroquinolone toxicity, fibromyalgia, hope, recovery, and ultimately reclaiming my life. My hope is that through my journey and the results of my research and development, I will be able to offer you that same hope so that you can reclaim a joyful, hopeful, vibrant and healthy life.


Given my age and my excellent health, I had no idea this could impact my life so drastically. I started noticing tendonitis in various areas of my body, which progressed to all of my tendons. Over the course of a week, it began impacting my nervous system, all of my muscles, my joints, and my cognitive (brain) function.


This is when my quest for information began. I was determined to figure out what the root cause of this side effect was and how I could treat and reverse it. So many of the symptoms of fluoroquinolone and fibromyalgia overlap, and I started finding the congruencies between each. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. This was my inspiration to find anything and everything I could to reverse this life altering condition. I had to think outside of the box, using my pharmacy background, my knowledge of biochemistry and medicinal chemistry, and really thinking about what was happening at a cellular level. It was not as simple as searching “cure for fibromyalgia” or “reverse fluoroquinolone toxicity” on the internet. I wanted to understand how to stop the progression of this illness, rid the toxins that contribute to the progression of the illness, and how to rebuild healthy cells to regain health and vitality.


I could have kept my findings to myself. But as I read through message boards and blogs of no hope and lives of devastation, it literally brought me to tears. I simply must share my findings, insights and products with anyone who could possibly benefit. It is my mission to educate and help as many people as I can who are suffering from fibromyalgia and fluoroquinolone toxicity. It is my mission to offer hope, clarity, and an avenue to recover and heal.

I have regained my mental clarity, my vitality and thirst of adventure in my life. I have come out of a two and a half year long depression, I have re-ignited the spark within me that makes me want to experience everything life has to offer, and I know that if I can do it, so can you. I want that for you. I want you to feel the hope, I want you to walk the steps of healing yourself, and I want you to live again. I want you to feel empowered within yourself and KNOW that you too, can live the life you are meant to and WANT to live! Journey with Sujata is here to support you, guide you, and walk with you as you journey to health.

I have corresponded with Sujata extensively, and, in addition to her story, she has written a guest-post for Floxie Hope (that, as of the publishing of this post, I have yet to publish–but will soon).

Both Dr. Ghalili and Sujata Patel practice medicine in ways that are outside of the norm. They are not typical medical practitioners who approach the world in a typical way. This is probably a good thing, seeing as most “floxies” have not been able to find help or answers from typical mainstream doctors (though some have – there are good and bad medical practitioners of all types). They are both Functional Medicine Practitioners, which, according to Dr. Mark Hyman, means that:

Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.

It should be acknowledged that consultations and treatments from both Dr. Ghalili and Sujata are more expensive than most traditional doctor visit co-pays. Medical providers who practice outside of the traditional system tend to be more expensive for consumers (in part because none of their business expenses are covered by insurance payments/reimbursements). The hefty price-tag that comes with their services does not make them greedy, and it does not mean that they are praying on people. I’m sure that they both have good reasons for the amounts that they charge, and, from what I’ve heard, their fees are in-line with those of other Functional Medicine Practitioners.

Both Dr. Ghalili and Sujata Patel saw that there was a need for medical practitioners who understood fluoroquinolone toxicity, and they did something about it–they became Functional Medicine Practitioners who specialize in fluoroquinolone toxicity. They are using their extensive medical training to help “floxies” and their help is appreciated!

Hopefully more medical practitioners will start recognizing, and even treating, fluoroquinolone toxicity. I don’t hope for anyone to get “floxed,” and I hope that the desire of other medical practitioners to help people heal from fluoroquinolone toxicity stems from our collective advocacy efforts, rather than the horrifying experience of going through fluoroquinolone toxicity themselves. But, with that noted, medical practitioners who have personally been through fluoroquinolone toxicity can empathize with “floxed” patients, and they have a perspective that is unique and valuable. I appreciate both Dr. Mark Ghalili and Sujata Patel, and I hope that both of their practices are successful and that they help many people to recover from fluoroquinolone toxicity.

End note – I am not affiliated with either Dr. Mark Ghalili/Regenerative Medicine LA, or Sujata Patel/Wellness with Sujata/Journey with Sujata in any way. I’m not receiving any money from either of them. I have corresponded with both of them, but neither I (Lisa Bloomquist Palmer) nor Floxie Hope, are monetarily involved with either of them in any way.


Persistent Fluoroquinolones in the Body and Delayed Adverse Reactions

This is a guest post written by Gary. You can read Gary’s story HERE. It contains a wonderful wealth of knowledge, insight, and advice. 

Fluoroquinolone side effects are often multisymptom affecting a wide range of bodily functions, ie: CNS, Muscles, Tendons, Brain, etc (Halkin, 1988l Mattappalil and Mergenhagen, 2014; Menzies et al., 1999; Moorthy et al., 2008; Thomas and Reagan, 1996; etc)

The chronic, often multisymptom, effects are not well documented and are normally assigned (often multiple) different diagnosis by doctors, such as clinical depression, fibromyalgia, etc/ (Strauchman and Morningstar, 2012)

I argue the reason for the chronic effects is because the Fluoroquinolones are not metabolized correctly, or the are metabolized and the normal biological enzymes that are responsible for detoxification of xenobiotic substrates is impared. A xenobiotic is a synthetic chemical such as Levaquin, Cipro, pestacides, etc. It’s also likely that FQ exposure changes gene expressions relating to various cytochrome P-450s (which is responsible for metabolizing and detoxification) causing your body to accumulate toxic chemicals, being unable to remove them.

For example, According to Liang et al., (2015), Fish that were exposed to a specific FQ had changes to cytochrome P450 1A (CYP1A), cytochrome P-450 3A (CYP3A), glutathione S-transferase (GST), P-glycoprotein (P-gp), which are all responsible for metabolizing and/or removal of xenobiotics. Other animals exposed to FQs were shown to have changes in cytochrome P-450 sites – For example, Dogs exposed to FQs showed inhibiting only cytochrome P-450 3A (Regmi et al., 2005; 2007), Chickens (Shlosberg et al., 1997; Granfors et al., 2004). To be fair, this might not affect humans completely, but this would likely explain the delayed toxicity to the CNS and other parts of the body – Delayed toxicity for FQ patients are likely a result of impared detoxification pathways due to FQ exposure overall which means the body has a high level of xenobiotics that cannot be removed.

There are even a few case studies on /people/ to support this article. In a paper (Strauchman and Morningstar, 2012), a patient was prescribed Moxifloxacin in 2005 and developed a worsening set of symptoms (after inclusion of medication), such as episodic tachycardia, episodic dizziness, episodic shortness of breath, and chronically swollen glands. Additional symptoms included daily episodes of nausea, sweating, tremors, brain fog, blurred vision, panic attacks, and phonophobia. Over the course of 3 years, after Moxifloxacin treatment, her condition improved, modestly.

In 2011, the PCP diagnosed the patient with diverticulitis and prescribed her ciprofloxacin 500 mg – Over the course of the treatment, she started to experience all the previous symptoms from 2005 – including panic attacks, insomnia, blurred vision, tachycardia, and nausea. This episode additionally included diffuse musculoskeletal joint pain. The patient also reported that her elbows, wrists, and knees seemed to crack too easily and too often. (p.3). Full workup was ordered, including genetic testing which showed the following:

– Genetic polymorphism in the cytochrome P-450 pathway

– Genetic variations in the catechol-o-methyl transferase enzyme, the Nacetyl transferase enzyme, and the glutathione-s-transferase enzyme necessary for glutathione conjugation and phase II detoxification.

The patient was also tested for polychlorinated biphenyls and other volatile solvents. They found the patient to have elevated levels of ethylbenzene, xylene, and the pesticide dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene. Although these levels could indicate environmental accumulation, impaired detoxification pathways may make this accumulation more of a contributing factor.

Fluoroquinolone treatment seems to affect enzymes possesses, causing reduced activity due to chelation of ions, such as Se2 [Selenium], Mg2 [Magnesium], Fe2/3+ [Iron] (Badal et al., 2015; Uivarosi, 2013; Seedher and Agarwal, 2010) which explains the chronic issues, as well as delayed toxicity (due in part to impaired detoxification)

Even more evidence that either FQs remain in the body, impairing detoxification of xenobiotics (or they contribute to impairment) is from a journal (Cohen, 2008) where a patient was on a 14 day course of Moxifloxacin and became disabled, for many years; His symptoms were Brain Fog, Cognitive Defects/memory loss, tingling and numbness in his legs, joint pains, Achilles pain, Chronic Fatigue, Weakness, to a degree that he could barely stand or walk; The patient began IV Based Antioxidant therapy, and his condition improved considerably (95%+ recovery within a month). It’s highly likely that the IV Antioxidant therapy activated/modulated cytochrome P-450 to allow the patients body to excrete the excessive, normal environmental xenobiotics (and including Moxifloxican) and the patient recovered.

Fluoroquinolones have a very high melting point, over 200C, which means the crystals they form are very stable in neutral pH. (Andriole et al., 2000). If FQs are stuck within the cells, then that means they are responsible with mitochondrial ETC leakage, causing depressed health effects (ie: Brain Fog from FQ exposure is likely caused by FQs interfering with ATP energy output, which affects the Brain’s homeostasis).

What causes the delayed toxicity? There are only 3 possible explanations.

– You have pre-existing genetic polymorphisms in cytochrome P450s (and others) that prevent you from metabolizing and/or excreting FQs – Which leads to various normal systems in the body to suffer for a long period of time. (FQ crystals are ‘stuck’ in your body)

– FQs /cause/ the polymorphisms because they chelate heavy metals that enzymes require for proper biological function, such as phase II detoxification. Once this happens, your body begins to accumulate xenobiotics and you develop delayed toxicity.

– FQs cause mitochrondia dysfunction with organs responsible for generting glutathione, causing your body to have extremely low levels of glutathione, leading to increased amounts of xenobiotics that you cannot remove.

If this behavior takes place, how do we prove it?

– Genetic testing is the only way to be sure you have these Genetic polymorphisms/Genetic Variations – Some sites out there do provide this.

– Liquid Chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry will need to be performed on blood samples from people currently damaged by FQs to see if any concentrations of it exist in plasma.

– Total GSH testing would likely show lower-than-expected glutathione levels in the body with someone that is disabled, because if FQs are embedded in the cells, they are likly decreasing ATP output of various organs.

How would we remove the FQs that are ‘stuck’ in the body?

– Ozone is able to remove FQs from water (Feng et al., 2016). Therefor, Ozone therapy might be an idea If this behavior of FQs takes place.

– Fluoroquinolones have a Michael acceptor in them, making them very electrophilic. The non-aromatic double bond could potentially be subject to nucleophilic attack via a Michael addition, so one removal strategy could be allowing ligating the fluoroquinolone/associated polymorphs to something that is readily transported across cell membranes and excreted. However, this would need to be drawn up on a computer simulation to see if this could be done, cost effectively.

– Prolonged IV Antioxidant therapy, as shown above, seems to reverse FQ toxicity in some patients but further testing will need to be done (A heavy metal toxscreen via blood to be tested for chemical insult will likely need to be ordered)

Pharmacogenomics is going to likely show who is compatible with FQs and who isn’t, down the road–once we identify specific SNP’s that are broken with us floxies, the /good/ news is, with CRISPR technology, those of us with pre-existing polymorphisms (pre/post-FQ) will likely be able to have them corrected with little to no side effects.

Data from the following:

Strauchman M, Morningstar MW. Fluoroquinolone toxicity symptoms in a patient presenting with low back pain. Clinics and Practice. 2012;2(4):e87. doi:10.4081/cp.2012.e87.

N. L. Regmi, A. M. Abd El-Aty, R. Kubota, S. S. Shah, and M. Shimoda, “Lack of inhibitory effects of several fluoroquinolones on cytochrome P-450 3A activities at clinical dosage in dogs,” Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 37–42, 2007.  ·  ·

N. L. Regmi, A. M. Abd El-Aty, M. Kuroha, M. Nakamura, and M. Shimoda, “Inhibitory effect of several fluoroquinolones on hepatic microsomal cytochrome P-450 1A activities in dogs,” Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, vol. 28, no. 6, pp. 553–557, 2005.  ·  ·

M. D. Brand, R. L. Goncalves, A. L. Orr et al., “Suppressors of superoxide-H2O2 production at site IQ of mitochondrial complex I protect against stem cell hyperplasia and ischemia-reperfusion injury,” Cell Metabolism, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 582–592, 2016.  ·  ·

M. A. Simonin, P. Gegout-Pottie, A. Minn, P. Gillet, P. Netter, and B. Terlain, “Pefloxacin-induced Achilles tendon toxicity in rodents: biochemical changes in proteoglycan synthesis and oxidative damage to collagen,” Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, vol. 44, no. 4, pp. 867–872, 2000.  ·  ·

Krzysztof Michalak, Aleksandra Sobolewska-Włodarczyk, Marcin Włodarczyk, Justyna Sobolewska, Piotr Woźniak, and Bogusław Sobolewski, “Treatment of the Fluoroquinolone-Associated Disability: The Pathobiochemical Implications,” Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, vol. 2017, Article ID 8023935, 15 pages, 2017. doi:10.1155/2017/8023935

J. M. Radandt, C. R. Marchbanks, and M. N. Dudley, “Interactions of fluoroquinolones with other drugs: mechanisms, variability, clinical significance, and management,” Clinical Infectious Diseases, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 272–284, 1992.

H. H. M. Ma, F. C. K. Chiu, and R. C. Li, “Mechanistic investigation of the reduction in antimicrobial activity of ciprofloxacin by metal cations,” Pharmaceutical Research, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 366–370, 1997.

N. Seedher and P. Agarwal, “Effect of metal ions on some pharmacologically relevant interactions involving fluoroquinolone antibiotics,” Drug Metabolism and Drug Interactions, vol. 25, no. 1–4, pp. 17–24, 2010.

H. Koga, “High-performance liquid chromatography measurement of antimicrobial concentrations in polymorphonuclear leukocytes,” Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, vol. 31, no. 12, pp. 1904–1908, 1987.

A. Pascual, I. García, S. Ballesta, and E. J. Perea, “Uptake and intracellular activity of trovafloxacin in human phagocytes and tissue-cultured epithelial cells,” Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 274–277, 1997.

V. T. Andriole, The Quinolones – Third Edition, Acedemic Press, San Diego California, 2000.

S. Badal, Y. F. Her, and L. J. Maher 3rd, “Nonantibiotic effects of fluoroquinolones in mammalian cells,” The Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol. 290, no. 36, pp. 22287–22297, 2015.

J. Y. Lee, S. H. Lee, J. W. Chang, J. J. Song, H. H. Jung, and G. J. Im, “Protective effect of metformin on gentamicin-induced vestibulotoxicity in rat primary cell culture,” Clinical and Experimental Otorhinolaryngology, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 286–294, 2014.  ·  ·

Z. K. Salman, R. Refaat, E. Selima, A. El Sarha, and M. A. Ismail, “The combined effect of metformin and L-cysteine on inflammation, oxidative stress and insulin resistance in streptozotocin-induced type 2 diabetes in rats,” European Journal of Pharmacology, vol. 714, no. 1–3, pp. 448–455, 2013.  ·  ·

A. I. Morales, D. Detaille, M. Prieto et al., “Metformin prevents experimental gentamicin-induced nephropathy by a mitochondria-dependent pathway,” Kidney International, vol. 77, no. 10, pp. 861–869, 2010.  ·  ·

W. Chowanadisai, K. A. Bauerly, E. Tchaparian, A. Wong, G. A. Cortopassi, and R. B. Rucker, “Pyrroloquinoline quinone stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis through cAMP response element-binding protein phosphorylation and increased PGC-1alpha expression,” The Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol. 285, no. 1, pp. 142–152, 2010.  ·  ·

T. Stites, D. Storms, K. Bauerly et al., “Pyrroloquinoline quinone modulates mitochondrial quantity and function in mice,” The Journal of Nutrition, vol. 136, no. 2, pp. 390–396, 2006.

Y. Huang, N. Chen, and D. Miao, “Biological effects of pyrroloquinoline quinone on liver damage in Bmi-1 knockout mice,” Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 451–458, 2015.  ·  ·

M. Feng, L. Yan, X. Zhang et al., “Fast removal of the antibiotic flumequine from aqueous solution by ozonation: influencing factors, reaction pathways, and toxicity evaluation,” Science of The Total Environment, vol. 541, pp. 167–175, 2016


The Vagus Nerve Guide: Reduce Inflammation and Chronic Illness Through Toning Your Vagus Nerve

I first became interested in the vagus nerve when I read this wonderful and fascinating article about the connections between the vagus nerve and chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases:

Hacking the Nervous System, by Gaia Vince

The article notes that:

“Operating far below the level of our conscious minds, the vagus nerve is vital for keeping our bodies healthy. It is an essential part of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for calming organs after the stressed ‘fight-or-flight’ adrenaline response to danger. Not all vagus nerves are the same, however: some people have stronger vagus activity, which means their bodies can relax faster after a stress.”

The vagus nerve is a critical component of the autonomic nervous system, and it is also responsible for the release of acetylcholine (ACh), a neurotransmitter that:

  1. It is a neuromodulator of the central nervous system, the autonomic nervous system, and the peripheral nervous system.
    1. In the autonomic nervous system, ACh has key roles in both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, and affects motility through the digestive tract, sweating, tear production, balance, heart-rate, breathing, etc.
    2. In the central nervous system, ACh plays a role in regulating arousal, attention, sleep, and motivation.
    3.  In the peripheral nervous system, ACh controls muscle activation (both skeletal muscles and smooth muscles–the muscles that involuntarily contract and release).
  2. It affects vascular tone.
  3. A lack of ACh is linked to Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other chronic CNS illnesses.
  4. It suppresses inflammation.
  5. It affects the release of hormones.

The vagus nerve is an essential part of our autonomic nervous system (the parasympathetic nervous system is part of the autonomic nervous system), it regulates inflammation, and lack of vagal nerve tone/health is related to many chronic illnesses.

Hallmarks of fluoroquinolone toxicity are autonomic nervous system dysfunction, inflammation, and even ACh dysfunction.

I explored the connections between fluoroquinolone toxicity and the vagus nerve in these posts on

I don’t know whether or not vagus nerve damage is a root cause of fluoroquinolone toxicity, but I do believe that healing and toning the vagus nerve is helpful for all people suffering from chronic inflammation and disease–including floxies.

The connections between vagus nerve health/tone and fluoroquinolone toxicity, as well as my desire to figure out fluoroquiolone toxicity (an ongoing struggle), led me to study the vagus nerve, and explore ways to strengthen and tone it.

I put my findings/research into a book. It’s called The Vagus Nerve Guide: Reduce Inflammation and Chronic Illness Through Toning Your Vagus Nerve and it’s available via Amazon kindle. You can find it HERE.

I hope that you find it to be interesting and useful.

Thank you to each and every one of you who buys the book, and an especially large thank you to those who leave a review on Amazon. 🙂

Please also “like” the Vagus Nerve Guide on Facebook. The page can be found HERE.

The web site for the book is

Researching fluoroquinolone toxicity has led me in all sorts of unexpected and interesting directions. I never would have thought that I would be researching the vagus nerve, much less writing a book about it. Yet, here we are. I hope that the information in The Vagus Nerve Guide: Reduce Inflammation and Chronic Illness Through Toning Your Vagus Nerve is helpful to everyone who reads it.

Here is a sample from the book:

The vagus nerve is one of the longest nerves in the human body. It runs from the hypothalamus area of of the brain, down through the chest and diaphragm, and through the intestines. It wraps around the heart, gut, and most of the other organs in the body.

It is convenient to think of the vagus nerve as a highway between cities. One city, Brainopolis, has many thriving tech businesses. The other city, Gutland, is a manufacturing center. Though the two cities have very different climates and cultures, they are intertwined and dependent upon each other. Without the raw goods from Gutland, Brainopolis wouldn’t be able to create its high-tech products, and without the information and technology from Brainopolis, Gutland would be inefficient and slow. In order to transfer goods, products, and technologies from Brainopolis to Gutland, and from Gutland to Brainopolis, an efficient, well-maintained, highway between the two cities is needed. That highway is the Vagus Nerve Highway.

When the vagus nerve is toned, it is like a well-maintained super-highway with minimal traffic on it–information and nutrients travel from the brain to the gut, and from the gut to the brain, quickly and efficiently, so that both can be optimally maintained. A damaged vagus, that has lost tone, is like a pot-holed and jammed highway. The proper information and nutrients aren’t able to go from the brain to the gut, or from the gut to the brain, because the path between those two vital organs isn’t operating properly. Just like well-maintained highways (and other transportation systems) are necessary for a properly functioning economy, well-maintained nerves that connect organs and systems are necessary for a properly functioning body.

The Vagus Nerve Highway doesn’t just connect Brainopolis and Gutland though, it also connects Brainopolis to Kidneydale, Spleenland, Lungora, etc. For those who aren’t following the analogy, I’m trying to say that the vagus nerve not only connects the brain and the gut, it also connects the brain to most the other vital organs throughout the body. A well-functioning, and well-toned, vagus nerve is necessary for communication between your brain and many of your vital organs–including the gut. Without a clear and toned vagus nerve, organs cannot get what they need from the brain, and the brain cannot get what it needs from the organs. Metaphorical traffic jams ensue, and result in real health problems.

A malfunctioning vagus nerve is related to many of the chronic diseases of modernity, including autoimmune diseases, fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, POTS, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, digestive disorders like SIBO and IBS, autism, diabetes, heart-disease, and even obesity. When the vagus nerve is not toned, and information is not traveling smoothly between the brain and the organs, neither the brain nor the organs function optimally.

Most diseases (especially the chronic diseases of modernity) are related to inflammation. When you stub your toe and it immediately throbs and swells, that swelling is a helpful inflammatory response in which your body is sending nutrient-rich blood to the site of the injury. Though that inflammation is healthy, much of the inflammation that people currently experience isn’t healthy or helpful. A constant barrage of toxin exposures (pesticides, GMOs, pollution, pharmaceuticals, etc.), the Standard American Diet (SAD) that is full of processed ingredients and toxins, stress, heavy metal exposures, etc. lead to chronic inflammation, and that chronic inflammation can lead to cancer, autoimmune diseases, “mysterious” diseases like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, depression and other psychiatric illnesses, diabetes, obesity, as well as ageing and age-related illnesses. A toned vagus nerve reduces inflammation by producing calming neurotransmitters like Acetylcholine (ACh), GABA, oxytocin, and other neurotransmitters that reduce inflammation.

On the Vagus Nerve Highway, when there is inflammation–the body’s version of a house fire–fire-trucks and other emergency responder vehicles are dependent on a clear and open path in order to reach their destination in time to eliminate the fire. The path that ACh, GABA, and other neurotransmitters that quell inflammation, must travel along is the vagus nerve. A toned vagus nerve will make that process more smooth and efficient, whereas a damaged vagus nerve will stop the signals from reaching their destinations, and will allow inflammation to wreak havok.

Having a vagus nerve that is toned, and a Vagus Nerve Highway that is operating optimally, is one of the best ways to suppress inflammation, reduce the symptoms of many chronic illnesses, and improve your health overall.

In this book, we will explore how to fix your Vagus Nerve Highway (I’ll move away from the highway analogy, and refer to it as “toning the vagus nerve” from here on out), and use exercises and practices that tone your vagus nerve to quell inflammation and improve overall health. The vagus nerve is too often neglected, but it is a vital part of being a physically, emotionally, and socially healthy person.

Can Floxies Drink Alcohol?

Many people have asked me if they can/should drink alcohol post-flox.

As with most things, the answer is – it depends, and everyone is different.

Some Floxies tolerate alcohol fine, while others don’t.

Alcohol is, of course, bad for you. It’s hard on the liver, and can lead to cirrhosis and alcoholic hepatitis. It burdens your liver’s detoxification abilities and hinders your ability to get rid of other toxins. Alcohol wreaks havoc on the gut microbiome, and can encourage candida growth. Alcohol weakens the immune system, and can make you more succeptible to other illnesses. I could go on and on because there are hundreds of articles about the harm that alcohol inflicts on the human body. No matter how many videos come out about tequila being a probiotic, or articles there are about wine containing resveritrol, alcohol is not a health elixir. It is not good for you.

HOWEVER, it is quite fun (IMO), and it even has some health benefits–it’s a painkiller and it reduces feelings of stress and anxiety. Alcohol has enough redeeming qualities that billions of people around the world, most of whom are aware of the negative effects of alcohol, consume it. I do, and so do many other floxies.

When I first got floxed, I stopped drinking for a while. My body was going hay-wire in every conceivable way, and I didn’t want to contribute to my problems by knowingly consuming a substance that is bad for me. I think that abstaining from alcohol during the acute phase of fluoroquinolone toxicity was the right thing for me to do.

Once my body stabilized (i.e. it stopped feeling like a bomb was going off in my body, and I even had some improved/normal days) I started having a drink every once in a while. Even though I could drink, I found that my tolerance for alcohol was greatly diminished. Before I got floxed I could handle three-ish drinks in an evening (and I thoroughly enjoyed drinking them). After getting floxed, my tolerance was one drink a night (that was barely enjoyable). I didn’t even want to drink more than that–I struggle to explain why, but I just felt done after 3/4 of a drink. Over time (I am now a bit over 5 years post-flox) my tolerance increased, and I can now comfortably have two alcoholic beverages in an evening. That’s plenty for me, in my personal opinion of how much I should/shouldn’t drink.

I never experienced a relapse in fluoroquinolone toxicity symptoms as a direct result of drinking alcohol, but other people have, and I encourage everyone who wants to drink post-flox to be very careful and cautious with alcohol consumption. Comments such as this one, from Bob (and the comment just above it when you click on the link, from Ann), are examples of alcohol triggering an increase in, or relapse of, fluoroquinolone toxicity symptoms:

After getting floxed I had relapses to alcohol which I only drank on vacation. I suspect this is due to severe kill off of gut flora. I am afraid to drink anymore.

This comment from Mark also notes that alcohol consumption can lead to fluoroquinolone toxicity symptom flares:

I cheated this weekend and drank alcohol/ate dairy. You know what? It flared up my cipro symptoms full force. Knee joints started cracking like crazy, achilles heal flare, etc. I’m convinced that we are all suffering an overgrowth of yeast and the faster we can get that under control, the healthier we will be.

Some people have a more moderate reaction to alcohol post-flox. This comment, from Ruth, is really interesting and insightful. Though she can drink alcohol without issue, she typically abstains:

I am able to drink again but my tolerance is greatly reduced. It won’t actually harm your gaba receptors because alcohol acts on gaba-b instead of gaba-a. I think it promotes healing.

When the alcohol downgrades the gaba-b subunit, I think the body makes repairs to some of the a subunits in order to put things back in balance.

I think when the FQ took out some of your gaba-a receptors your body gave you extra gaba-b receptors. This can make you a lot more receptive to the effects of alcohol. The b unit seems to be able to replace itself faster. That’s why alcohol withdrawal lasts a lot less long than benzodiazepine withdrawal. This is all just my theory. I have nothing to back it up with except my own experience.

Last year I got drunk at the Racine Zoo by accident. They hosted a teacher’s night and served spiked punches with no indication that they were alcoholic. I had what they had labeled as “Lesson Learned Lemonade.” I was thirsty so I slammed a big cup. At first I felt super relaxed and I thought that my nervous system must really be healing. Maybe it was that walk on the beach… and then I felt it. I knew it had been alcoholic. I ended up drunk off my ass, but not so bad that I couldn’t say “gamma amino butyric acid,” ha, ha. I got a brief relapse from that experience, of symptoms I had not had in a long time. After that ended my base line seemed higher.

So I think alcohol is not completely bad. However, it can devastate your gut microbiome, so I am very careful about it. I had a tiny tiny bit of Bailey’s at Christmas. I enjoyed it. Other than the holidays I abstain from alcohol for the sake of my healthy flora.

Although it won’t stop your nervous system from healing, remember that psych symptoms can also stem from an imbalance of healthy vs. unhealthy microbes. Alcohol can worsen that situation considerably so for the foreseeable future it is better to abstain. Farther down the road you will probably be able to have a beer now and then with no ill effects.

Some people have even found that alcohol has helped them. It is a pain reliever and relaxant. It reduces anxiety and stress – even the anxiety and stress that comes with getting poisoned by a pharmaceutical. Stress and anxiety reduction are crucial for healing from fluoroquinolone toxicity. Both Bronwen and Barbara noted that they felt better with moderate alcohol consumption.

Bronwen’s Comment:

As far as booze goes, I actually found one drink helped lessen my symptoms a bit when they were getting overwhelming in the evening – much to my surprise, but I have only ever read one other person that found the same thing – most find the opposite. Again, test yourself! I certainly could not have more than one drink. The liver is struggling along with the other organs, as the clearing house for toxins, so alcohol puts another burden on it.

Barbara’s Comment:

My saving grace is I am allowed wine 😁😁 hallelujah .I have been able to drink alcohol from the begining and in certain times when the pain was bad I swear it helped.

As you can see, reactions to alcohol post-flox vary considerably. So, what should your take-away from this post be? Should you drink alcohol, or not? I can’t answer that for you, because I have no idea how you respond to alcohol, or how much you enjoy consuming it. If alcohol isn’t your drug of choice, and you don’t particularly like it, don’t start drinking because some people have responded positively to its benefits. If you want to drink alcohol, it is, of course, best to do it in moderation. If you want to avoid all things that may trigger a relapse, or that are generally bad for the body, by all means, don’t drink. As with all advice for my floxie friends – it depends, everyone is different, and be careful.


A Plea For Doctors to Believe Us

This is a guest post written by Stephanie. She has faced disbelief, and even abuse, from people in the medical fields. Sadly, I think that her experience will be familiar for many of you. Know that you are not alone in your frustration, fear, or anger. 

Dear Doctors,

Let me start by saying I have more friends than I can keep up with. That I am loved and in a such a healthy relationship more so than most. I am not a hypochondriac.

When I say I am fine it means that I am managing my pain with cannabis. When I have attacks please try to understand that I have been abused by the medical system to the point where it is terrifying for me to go to a western medical doctor. I had a doctor look into my eyes while I was pleading with him to help as I was choking say I do not know what is happening to you maybe we can wrap you in a blanket. The nurses asked him if he was going to do any tests. He said no I don’t know what’s wrong with her. I will write up her paper work offer her some pain medication and release her once she is calm. I am not exaggerating that really happened.

I have been told, “you are tachycardic you need to go to the ER right now.” The nurse who “helped me” rolled her eyes at me and said, “so you have pain.” My arm was curled up by my chest from the pain and she said, “you’re going to need to pull that arm down for the x-ray.” I said, “it hurts when I put my arm down.” Her response, “well do you want an x-ray?” Nothing was found she said, “you’re fine go home.” No other testing was done because the Doctor who sent me was an integrative doctor and I could hear them making jokes about my doctor from outside the room and I was changing.  They never checked my blood pressure I kept saying I was dizzy everything was ignored because the x-ray was “normal”.

I have sat and told doctors about being poisoned and been told, “well, you would know more about that then I would.” This is coming from two movement specialists who you would assume would be familiar with side effect s from medication. The last one proceeded to tell me about all of his degrees he proceeded to tell me about how he trained the doctor who I wanted a second opinion from as she made me cry and told me I was making it up. I said I really don’t care what you think of her and would like you to please look into my illness on floxie hope maybe you can help me. He then proceeded after 15 minutes of telling me mostly about himself probably five minutes of having me move and watching me have attacks. He said I needed friends and my naturopath was stealing money from me. This is after admitting he knew nothing about side effects of the medications I took. I sat in the car and cried for about 15 minutes. I said to myself that day no more abuse. No matter how bad the pain gets, I am done with western medical doctors unless I know they will believe the side effects that are listed on the side of a pill bottle.

I write this as a plea for those who cry in their car as I have, for those who lay in their bed or couch day after day when you feel like your heart is pounding in your chest as I do. When you do all the breathing exercises you are supposed to. where I sit there and say at least I have a roof over my head and food in my tummy so even if I have nerve damage in my heart and this is my lot, it’s better than most.

Please understand we are very ill. More ill than most could ever take. We fight every day to live with a thirst for life that most take for granted. That it’s scary when the only covered forms of help try to tell you that you are cry or lonely.

That there is no way to fight back but stop going to western medicine doctors unless you are told they are “safe” and will listen. That we need to change this system of bowing down to the almighty pill. Pills can cause harm. For those like me who live every day in pain we need the help of the healthy. We need you to hear us and see we are not crazy we are not lonely, we have simply been abused by a system that is bought and paid for by the pharmaceutical companies. The healthy are the ones we need your kindness and support. We need you to question we need you to love us and be kind to us. To hear our stories not with judgement but with love. Please read our stories, please ask your doctors if pills are really the first needed step or the easy way out for them. Ask your doctors if you have a bacterial or viral infection.

Please join us in our fight. Please stand by us because it is a very scary world once you have been abused by the medical system. We need to end this abuse and we need your help to do it.