I’ve been meaning to put down the insights I’ve gathered over the last six years for the benefit of others. So, here we go.
The first question that most of us face is ‘what’s wrong with me?’
Initially, I used to think ‘everything’. My muscles were aching, joints were creaking, my heart was racing, eyes were flashing, ears were buzzing, gums were bleeding, teeth were wobbling, skin was flaking and my bowels seemed to be having trouble holding anything in.
After research on support groups, I saw people suggest scary stuff like permanent DNA damage, damage to mitochondria, damage to CNS (central nervous system) etc..
In other words, FQs seemed to have damaged each and every ‘system’ in the body — digestive, nervous, muscular etc.
But it’s been six years, and I think I now have a better idea of what is/was wrong. Of course, not everyone will agree with my diagnosis, but it’s the best I can come up with, and has helped me keep me recover almost completely, provided I keep following some lifestyle changes.
To understand what is wrong with us, think of a lush, green tropical rainforest teeming with all kinds of life — monkeys, tigers, spiders, birds, insects etc.
Now imagine someone placed poison at strategic locations throughout the rainforest, killing all the animals, except for some insects.
Nothing’s happened to the plants, but all the animals are now dead, and there’s not a sound to be heard in the once loud and cacophonous jungle.
Think of what will happen to the forest (plants) over the next few days and weeks.
Things may remain the same on the first day. But over the next few days, many plants stop reproducing because there’s no-one to pollinate them, many weeds grow and strangle other plants because there’s no animal to eat those weeds.. and within a year, the jungle will hardly be recognizable. It will be a dysfunctional place, though there would still be some plants. It won’t work as a system, now that a crucial population of the inhabitants are missing.
Now imagine that the tropical forest is our intestines, the animals the bacteria inside our guts and the poison the FQs; you get an idea of what’s happened inside us.
Because FQs are so ‘broad spectrum’ (indiscriminate), they cause widespread havoc inside the rainforest that is our gut and throw it totally out of balance.
The gut is not able to function as it should — digesting the stuff we send to it and releasing energy-rich molecules into the blood stream. Lots of bacteria that are not supposed to grow in our guts (weeds) proliferate, in turn creating a lot of toxins as by-products on a daily basis.
Research is starting to show the absolutely crucial role played by bacteria in our body, particularly in the intestinal track.
Certain bacteria, for example, have been found to play an important part in the digestion process, and in keeping the intestines healthy. Some are required for the integrity of the intestinal walls and when these are not present, the intestinal walls cannot do their job of keeping large, undigested molecules and toxins out and letting in only those that our body needs.
Instead, all kinds of stuff start leaking into the blood stream — undigested food, harmful chemicals, heavy metals and toxins produced by ‘weed’ bacteria that now ‘own’ the place (search for ‘intestinal permeability’ and ‘disbiosis’ for more).
One way to figure this out is by checking for gas. Healthy bacteria in the gut produce methane — an odourless gas. But unhealthy bacteria often produce sulphurous gases that stink. Expect the belly to bloat as the weedy bacteria proliferate and create their own gases inside you.
What I have described just now is the root of what’s wrong with us, and almost everything else can be explained as an after-effect of this.
Leakage of toxins, heavy metals and unusually large molecules into the bloodstream damages other organs and systems — such as the nervous system, muscular system, kidneys, liver, and results in conditions such as ‘brain fog’, muscular and joint pain, tinnitus, heart palpitation, sleeplessness, lesions and sores (as the body tries to flush out the toxins via pus).
Overall, the cells in the body are overloaded with toxins and starved of what they really need — energy, protein molecules and ‘light metals’ such as magnesium and zinc. (Heavy metals, such as lead, often displace light metals such as magnesium that are used by the body for regulating its nervous system, leading to anxiety, sleeplessness, twitches and so on.)
All this results in an overall lethargy and a loss of interest in living, depression and suicidal thoughts. (Search fibromyalgia).
Many people would have noticed that they get a remission in their symptoms from fasting. This is probably because of two reasons — one: you are starving bad bacteria, and thereby reducing the toxins they produce and leak into your bloodstream. Secondly, undigested and unusually large food stuff is not getting leaked into your blood to cause pain to other organs.
HOW TO FIX IT
First thing to fix is your outlook. Remember that you are not ‘thinking straight’. There will be pessimism in your outlook, and you need to be aware of that and try to factor for that.
Remember, you feel things are hopeless because of a physical condition, and things are not as hopeless or bad as they seem. Be optimistic. Believe that you can overcome this.
Now, address the core issue: Reintroduce the right kind of animals into your gut. I have tried a variety of fermented foods for the process, and also relied on capsules of probiotics (which often come with prebiotics as well).
Besides operating the ‘cellular gates’ that control the influx of stuff from the intestine into the blood, ‘good’ bacteria have also been found to be beneficial for sleep. They are also required to keep our immune system working fine and prevent it from over-reacting (allergy).
One of the most successful bacteria that gave me a lot of relief was a combination of streptococcus faecalis, clostridium butryicum, bacillus mesentericus and lactobacillus acidophilus. It cost me only 15 cents per tablet, but US prices are likely to be higher.
There are several other probiotics on the market. Try the ‘tried and tested’ ones first, before getting adventurous. Remember, you don’t want to replace a weed with a weed that will turn out to be more difficult to get rid of. Go with ‘safe’ ones. Even ‘good’ bacteria can turn pathogenic in immune-compromised individuals such as those taking medications to suppress the immune system (most of us are not immunocompromised.)
While off-the-shelf probiotic pills and drinks did help some, I achieved the real breakthrough with a fermented coconut drink called ‘Neera’ that is available in India. It’s made by chopping off the top half of a coconut leaf just as it is taking shape, and collecting the sap. The sap ferments in an earthern pot which is used to collect it, while still on the coconut palm.
It’s widely available in certain states of India. There are both ‘treated’ and ‘untreated’ Neera. ‘Treated’ Neera has a shelf-life of several months, while untreated Neera goes bad in about a week at room temperature, even when packed well. It can remain fresh for about 3 weeks under refrigeration. As should be obvious, treated Neera is more or less completely useless for our purpose.
You can also try fermenting coconut water (untreated). Some people put yeast and sugar into coconut water before fermenting it.
Finally, you can also try the many other fermented drinks and food that people make, such as kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and so on.
These are far far more effective than pills as these contain dozens of good bacteria types, while pills contain only 2 or 3.
When making these things at home, be extremely careful about not contaminating the sample and use precautions to ensure that the sample does not have any ‘harmful bacteria’ in it. You can check out ‘how to’ guides for more info.
TIP — Remember to have probiotics first thing in the morning, when the stomach is the least acidic. Once you eat something, the stomach turns acidic, and probiotic bacteria are killed before they reach the intestines.
Even as repopulating the gut with the right kind of bacteria is on, you can also try to chelate some of the heavy metals (lead, mercury etc) that may have leaked through your gut walls already. These are usually deposited in tissues such as the brain and muscles, where they reduce the efficiency of the organ.
You can dislodge heavy metals using cilantro (make a smoothie with some water and an apple). Try to eat some Chlorella about 20-30 minutes before taking cilantro smoothie (preferably first thing in the morning). While Cilantro flushes out metal from your body into the bloodstream, these ions are then dumped into your intestine (by the liver?), where Chlorella binds with them, preventing them from being reabsorbed by the body.
If you have a lot of heavy metals (from eating seafood for example), this whole Cilantro treatment can make you quite unwell for a couple of hours due to the effect of all that metals coming back into circulation. Be prepared to rest.
Following certain eating habits can help kill bad bacteria and promote good bacteria. But do everything in moderation.
Certain foods are good for promoting good bacteria. Examples are onions and garlic. Garlic also kills bad bacteria. Use in moderation, as these are very powerful.
Try to add curcumin (turmeric) to your food or milk. This helps calm down the immune system and reduces oxidative stress. Pomegranates and certain other foods also contain a lot of anti-oxidants, which help negate the impact of toxins in your body.
Tame your sleep
One of the most important pieces of the recovery puzzle is sleep, specifically non-REM or deep sleep. It is said that a middle-aged person must get around 2 hours of NREM sleep and younger people must get more.
However, for some unknown reason, all this toxin business seems to upset our body’s ability to achieve or maintain deep sleep.
Deep sleep is when the body cleanses and repairs itself, and is crucial for overall health. Deep sleep is characterized by the absence of dreams.
When someone goes to sleep, after the first few minutes, the body moves into deep sleep. Stays there for an hour or so, and then moves to ‘dreamy sleep’ and then cycles back into deep sleep and so on.
If you’re always waking up from dreams, chances are that you — like me — have trouble hitting your quota of NREM sleep.
I realized that one can fix this by taking powdered root of the Ashvagandha plant, as is mentioned in Ayurveda, the ancient Indian ‘science of Life’.
Another plant mentioned in Ayurveda is Tagara (Valeriana wallichii). Again, it’s the root that is the most potent. Others have tried Passion flower with some success.
I tried a low dose — 325 mg per day — of Ashwagandha first. But it didn’t do anything for me. So, moved to 850 mg. That really made a difference.
There are some semi-natural supplements such as Picamilon and Phenbut. But Phenibut is heavily dependency-inducing and cannot be used more than once in four days or so. Picamilon is less so, but always go for a pure herbal solution first.
Once you hit your quota of NREM sleep, your body cleanses the dead tissues and toxins from your organs and also produces growth hormones, which are necessary for the repair and rejuvenation of your tissue.
This will immediately reduce your problems related to body pain, gums and loose teeth, and to some extent, CNS issues such as fits and seizures, dizziness etc.
Ashwagandha is cheap to buy. A pack with 60 tabs of 850 mg each, made by Jain Pharmaceuticals, costs only Rs 75 ($1.15) in India. https://www.amazon.in/Ashwagandha-6…
You can also boil the root and drink the water, though I’m not sure about how to control the quantity in that case. The plant can be grown in temperate climate.
Tagara is also available at reasonable rates. This pack on Amazon, for example, costs only 400 rupees ($6.30) https://www.amazon.in/Morpheme-Reme…
Thanks to everyone who helped me survive, and hope this helps someone.
** The story above is truthful, accurate and told to the best of the ability of the writer. It is not intended as medical advice. No person who submits his or her story, nor the people associated with Floxie Hope, diagnoses or treats any illness. The story above should not be substituted for professionally provided medical advice. Please consult your doctor before trying anything that has been mentioned in this story, or in any other story on this site. Please also note that people have varying responses to the treatments mentioned in each story. What helps one person may not help, and may even hurt, another person. It is important that you understand that supplements, IVs, essential oils, and all other treatments, affect people differently depending on the millions of variables that make each of us unique. Please use appropriate caution and prudence, and get professional medical advice.