quadriplegia GI health

A 55-Year-Old Quadriplegic Man’s Quest for GI Health

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Lifelong GI Issues

Ever since I was a child, I suffered from a variety of gastrointestinal issues (GI), many, I now know were diet related. These symptoms included: gas, bloating, indigestion, food sensitivities, chronic fatigue symptoms, undigested food particles in the stool, pinworms, candida overgrowth and other pathogens. This is in addition to being chronically underweight and suffering from poor sleep because of GI symptoms. I also had thin skin and slow healing, weak bones, joints, and tendons. My GI issues were a glaring problem through my 20s and 30s but became worse at the age of 38 after I got my mercury fillings removed.

When I was 42 years old, all these issues came to a head and were magnified exponentially when I crashed my mountain bike and broke my neck in multiple places. The injury, the surgeries, the feeding tube, and the endless list of medications pushed my body to its limits. While I survived, I am paralyzed from the chest down with minimal use of my arms. Over the years, I have tried multiple protocols, but have only recently begun to unwind these symptoms with the help of dietary changes (carnivore diet and oxalate clearing) and the use thiamine. This is my story.

Raised on Processed Foods

I was born on May 7, 1964, the third of three children. As was common at the time, my mother smoked during pregnancy, had multiple mercury fillings put in just before she started having babies and ate and fed us a diet that consisted mostly of highly sweetened and processed foods. Things like Captain Crunch, powdered milk, margarine and Wonder Bread were staples at our house. Even with all of these processed foods in my diet, I was underweight my entire life. I had a difficult time gaining weight and putting on muscle or developing strength. I was given antibiotics here and there throughout childhood, and remarkably, when I was three years old there was one month where I had bronchitis three times, each with its own course of antibiotics. I also used to get pinworms for a certain phase of my childhood.

Problems with My Bones, Joints, and Tendons

Despite all of this, I was active in sports from junior high onward. I played basketball from junior high on and ran cross country the last two years of high school. Early on though, I had problems with my joints, bones, and tendons. My junior year, I developed shin splints running cross country and in my senior year of high school, I began having knee problems, which a gym teacher diagnosed as chondromalacia. My knobby tibial tuberosities suggested a probable Osgood-Schlatter’s syndrome, although I did not experience the knee pain that most have with this condition. My back went out on me for the first time at the age of 23, and for a long time, it went out every winter. After college, I tried getting back into running and experienced Morton’s neuroma and I had to give it up.

Changing My Diet, But Maybe Not For the Better

In my early 20s, I started experimenting with diet in hopes of feeling better. For some reason I got it in my head that pursuing a vegetarian diet was a noble thing to do. I joined a food co-op and started making a lot of whole grains and beans and whole-grain bread and nut butters and lots of vegetables that I had never eaten before. I was not fully vegetarian and I ate meat occasionally. It seems like it was during this time things continued to get worse. I was weak, easily fatigued, had joint problems and brain fog and lost a significant amount of weight. I should note, that since high school, I had very stinky flatulence. Within a year or two of this diet, I figured out that eating dairy was giving me back acne and so I eliminated dairy from my diet as well. This new dairy free diet improved that aspect of my health, even if the rest of my health continued to decline. I was becoming so unhealthy, there were a few times that ejaculation caused my back to go out. By the time, I was 26, I had almost no desire to masturbate. Given my GI distress, I underwent a stool test via the Great Smokies Lab (now called Genova Diagnostics). It showed that my microbiome was a mess. I had two amoebas, two pathogenic bacteria, high levels of candida, and very low levels of good bacteria.

At 29, I lived for five months at Kripalu, a wellness center in Western Massachusetts. They served a vegetarian diet and I really got into the live food thing. I consumed lots of sprouts and fermented drinks. I’m 5’10 inches tall and I probably got down to about 120 pounds. I convinced myself it was my body going through a cleansing process 🙂 For the next two years, I remained fully vegetarian, mostly vegan.

At 31, a health practitioner convinced me to start eating meat again and I put on 10 pounds in one month. From that point on, I was eating meat and keeping my simple sugars really low but still eating rice and other grains like quinoa and buckwheat.

At 35, I picked up a bug in Mexico and had diarrhea, which I managed for about eight months. After three rounds of antibiotics, I finally had more normal stools, but always with a certain amount of undigested food and usually loose.

In the autumn of 2001, I had my five mercury fillings removed by a dentist who I thought was doing it safely. However, I cannot honestly remember if I had an alternate air source over my nose. In the early winter of 2002, my back went out on me, the worst it ever had. Normally, it would take a week or two to be back to normal but this time it went on for months and months. In the autumn of 2002, I developed chronic diarrhea again. Things started really falling apart the following winter of 2003 and I seriously thought I might be checking out of this life. At some point during that winter I found out about the specific carbohydrate diet and give that a try. I met a woman who was also following the specific carbohydrate diet and told me about Andy Cutler‘s work with mercury chelation. I immediately started working directly with Andy in May 2003. It was really tough going at first because I could only tolerate 100 mg of powdered magnesium without having more bowel dysfunction.

Sometime during the summer of 2003, I decided to see what would happen if I only ate meat and winter squash. Within a day or two, I had an almost normal stool. I realized that I didn’t have some kind of untreatable pathogen but that my already bad food sensitivities had gotten profoundly worse. Andy got me to do a plasma cysteine test with great Smokies laboratories. He explained to me that with many of his clients he was seeing that the Mercury messed up the enzyme that breaks down cysteine. He told me that my plasma cysteine level was the highest he had ever seen. Another confirmation that I probably was dealing with chronic mercury poisoning. Meat and winter squash, avocado, olive oil, coconut butter, zucchini and salt were my diet for many years after that. Even though, somethings improved, others did not and I was always limping along but not thriving. I spent three years following Andy Cutler‘s protocol for mercury chelation. It seemed to help stabilize things but it wasn’t a big turnaround I was praying for.

Over the course of decades, I saw dozens of practitioners and spent a lot of money on supplements and various protocols and healing modalities in an attempt to heal my gut and correct, what seems like lifelong GI dysfunction, much to no avail.

A Broken Neck

In August 2012, I crashed on my mountain bike and broke my neck. I fractured C3 through C7, vertebral bodies of C4 and C5 were crushed and the spinal cord was severed at C5. I had five level cervical fusion with plates in the front end rods in the back. It was a huge medical intervention with lots of medications and I almost died several times. For the first two months, I had a feeding tube and was fed some kind of horrible, powdered, grain-based crap. After two months, I passed the swallowing test and was allowed to start eating my previous diet. After four months in the hospital, I came home with lots of medications, a completely stressed out body and mind and not very sure if I wanted to continue living. Since then I’ve had many sleepless nights and so much discomfort.

After the injury, I developed severely low blood pressure and I continue to take meds for vasoconstriction. My blood pressure tanks periodically, but especially when eating. At one of the hospitals, I had practitioners tell me that they had never seen anybody drop their blood pressure so much when eating. So now I pre-medicate before eating. I wouldn’t go anywhere without my blood pressure cuff for at least a year.

In addition to the GI issues and problems with blood pressure since the injury, over the last six years my muscles have gradually become increasingly fibrous. It feels like they are becoming a mix of fiber and plastic. It’s so horrible that at times I don’t know how I can even manage to stay sane inside my body.

Trying to Recover

About a year after I got out of the hospital, I did a three-day round of chelation with alpha lipoic acid and DMSA. The following two weeks, I had four or five times that an incredibly foul smelling bio-film came out of my bottom. All of a sudden, I started getting high blood pressure and I had to reduce my medications by 30%. I didn’t make the connection until a year later when I learned that chelation compounds can dismantle biofilms. I chelated again two months later and I had the same experience; lots of horrible smelling biofilm came out and then another need to decrease my low blood pressure medications.

Bladder infections are quite common in people with indwelling catheter‘s. After so many times of being diagnosed with bladder infections and taking antibiotics, I was desperate and tried doing three days of a lot of unsweetened cranberry juice. That threw my poor gut into absolute chaos, the likes of which I never experienced before. I tried managing it with grapefruit seed extract and some other things to no avail.

Still desperate to relieve the never-ending gastrointestinal distress, I found and tried a parasite protocol put together for autistic children. The protocol begins by building up a dosage of chlorine dioxide. I had an incredibly hard time building on my dosage, as the detox symptoms were horrific. About two months into taking chlorine dioxide, I woke up one morning about 4 AM thinking I was close to death. I had extreme anxiety, ADD and severe discomfort. When I did my bowel program that morning, I had chunk of biofilm come out, and within less than an hour, I felt really good in my body with a clear mind. Over the next four or five months, I continued the protocol and struggled greatly with the detox symptoms, which limited me from hitting things as hard as many people are able to. Eventually, I got depleted from doing enemas and had to stop that protocol. For the next 2 1/2 years or so, I continued to take chlorine dioxide on a daily basis. If I stopped I got massive brain fog, exhaustion and felt extremely cold all the time.

More Broken Bones

Two years ago, I developed three fractures in my right knee just from riding my functional electronic stimulation bicycle. That is how bad my osteoporosis had become. Luckily, I found a fantastic magnesium product called Remag, a liquid pico-ionic magnesium solution, which is so incredibly absorbable that even at 1200 mg per day I showed no signs of laxative effect, but I did show signs of powerful detoxification. I started sweating, profusely at times, for about six weeks before it stopped. Previously, any powdered magnesium above 100 mg would give me a loose stools. It took about 4 to 6 months of not riding my bike before I was able to start riding again.

One and a half years ago, I had a cone beam scan of my mouth and discovered I had five abscesses. Four were at the sites of my wisdom teeth extractions and the fifth was under my front six lower teeth. Six months later, I was in Utah seeing a biological dentist for a remediation of those infection sites. I was really hoping this work would really help improve my intestinal health. It seems like my mood has improved since then, but overall, I can’t really say I saw any improvements in my digestion and my pathogen load.

I picked up some kind of oral pathogen from my partner, which creates a black staining of my teeth. The chlorine dioxide kept this at bay, and now since I have stopped the chlorine dioxide this past year the black staining has progressed and is quite disgusting to see. The dentist in Utah took a blood sample from one of the extraction sites and performed live microscopy. It definitely was not a pretty sight. Large strands of pancaked and aggregated red blood cell, and in one of the samples, there were many black sea urchin looking creatures that the dentist said he had never seen before. He was suspecting is some kind of mold. Perhaps that is the black staining on my teeth?

Ongoing Dysbiosis

Last winter, I started working with somebody from the company Systemic Formulas which makes a large selection of uniquely formulated supplements. I implemented one of their parasite protocols and over time was able to get off the chlorine dioxide. I also implemented some of their detoxification protocols and only had marginal results. Since that time last spring, I’ve had to continue with at least one of their products and colloidal silver to keep the dysbiosis in my intestines in check.

Just over a year ago, I purchased an ozone generator for rectal insufflations. It seems to help reduce symptoms but even with very consistent use, it does not seem to have created long-term improvements. About a year ago, I also purchased a pulsed electromagnetic field, PEMF, device that similarly seems to help with symptoms but has not created long-term improvements.

I was really convinced Ozone could help so I found a doctor who has the equipment for major autohemotherapy in which blood is extracted, ozone is added and the IV is reinserted. I definitely had some die-off symptoms, but did not seem to have any long-term benefit.

Beginning to Heal With the Carnivore Diet

In mid-August 2019, I began eating a carnivore diet. After about two months, I started putting on some weight, the first time in many years. I haven’t had the big changes many people do after almost 6 months, but I have a lot of healing to do.

I have an obvious oxalate problem. This is demonstrated by oxalate crystals coming out of my eyelids, my skin and in my urine, which I can easily see because of clear tubing that goes to my urine drainage bag.

Finding Thiamine: Another Missing Piece

November 2019, I listened to some videos by Elliot Overton from the UK. He did an interview with Dr. Chandler Marrs and recommended her book that she co-wrote with Dr. Lonsdale. That interview and the book have inspired me to work with Elliot and begin raising my dosage of thiamine. Initially, I noticed some improvements in muscle function and reduction of this feeling of tiny pieces of sharp plastic embedded in my muscles. When I got myself up to about 300 mg of Allithiamine, I started having some paradox symptoms possibly. For several weeks my muscles became a lot tighter and spastic, I had quite a few nearly sleepless nights and I started sweating profusely similar to when I started taking the magnesium. I had some diarrhea but that could have been from eating grain flour on a steak at a restaurant without realizing it. It could also be from being on the carnivore diet and stopping milk thistle herb and vitamin C in an effort to reduce oxalates.

At the date of this writing on March 4, 2020 I am taking 800 mg per day Allithiamine. I am wondering if I am one of the people who are so thiamine deficient that I might need to increase my dose over 1 g before I see a difference. I have been taking 8 grams of vitamin C for about one year and when I found Sally K Norton‘s video on oxalates I dropped vitamin C, milk thistle, and collagen. It was sometime around then that I started getting looser stools and almost diarrhea at times. It wasn’t until I started talking with Elliot that we started thinking I’m might be one of the people who has trouble with diarrhea with Carnivore but the vitamin C and the milk thistle was keeping it in check. I have added 4 g of vitamin C back and the milk thistle for several weeks until my stools firmed up again. I also lowered the amount of magnesium I was taking.

Although the GI symptoms are the major driving force for experimenting with allithiamine, and reading the book Thiamine Deficiency Disease, Dysautonomia and High Calorie Malnutrition, I am very curious about neurological symptoms. I would say I am very strongly stuck in sympathetic mode with a tendency towards anxiety. Perhaps, it was thiamine deficiency all along. My dietary choices over the years would certainly support that possibility.

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  1. Nutrients require co factors. Month of high dose B1 will upend cofactors and you won’t get the benefits anymores. RDA is just over 1 mg taking 800x that for a long period likely counterproductive. B1 helps digestion. Cofactors for B1, at least the most obvious are biotin, Mg and Mn. I would cut the B1 dose back and add biotin and see what ratio of the two works best for digestion. Always trying to get the dose to as low a point as possible. Mg and more so Mn are harder to work with. Try that and see how your digestion is. If too constipated then a small dose of Mg could be added. Bowel movements dark brown and well formed. No sticking or smell.

    • Thanks Vince.

      I added in biotin two or three months ago. It seems to have helped manage my dysbiosis somewhat. I think it was three or four days after I got my dosage up to 40 mg, my body released what some people would call a rope worm and others might call a mucoid strand about 20 inches long or so and then just last week I had another one even longer. Very curious.
      I am taking a B complex… A OR advance B complex and magnesium and manganese.

  2. Your immune function is weak. One round of antibiotics can destroy your good bacteria and bowel health. You need to rebuild your gut health.

    Did you ever replenish or restore gut health with probiotics? Where your minerals tested when you where in chelation?

    Vitamins will absorb better and new microbes will make vitamins. That’s why you couldn’t put on weight, you not absorbing nutrients. This has been going on for a long time so you will need to rebuild your gut microbiome and seal your gut lining.

    Transmitters are primarily made in the gut, so there is a good
    chance you’re not feeling well or sleeping well because of low transmitter production. The brain and gut has bi-directional relationship. Listen to Dr. Emeran Mayer videos. Chriskresser.com explains why patients need to rebuild flora.

    Product considerations to seal your gut:

    -Carnosine (LifeExtension brand includes B1) take with zinc
    -Licorice melts

    I buy 4 brands and species and use one for four days and rotate
    to trick the bad bugs. I take antifungals am/noon and probiotics at night.

    I’ve tried these with excellent results.

    -REDD Adult Sinus Support
    -Syntol and Floraphage by Arthur Andrew Medical
    -Metagenics Candibactin-AR
    -Metagenics – CandiBactin-BR

    For oral health I use a tongue scraper am/pm, and probiotic spray.

    Carnivore is generally anti-inflammatory, but if its giving you diarrhea your going to lose nutrients you can’t afford to lose. At some point, try eating a rainbow of vegetables/low sugar fruit because it will fuel your gut microbes and give you fiber.

    • Thanks for your response. I’ve taken lots of probiotics over the years but I’ve never tried rotating them like you suggest I might give that a try.

  3. Apparently N-Acetyl Cysteine can help break up biofilms, amongst other benefits. It’s a powerful antioxidant. I’m not sure if it’s a form your body could utilise. I started taking it a week ago & boy is it going to work! I also take one Serrapeptase tablet, one Alpha Lipoic Acid & some Vitamin C. I do take other vitamins at times, but what I am experiencing has only started since adding the N-AC.

    • Thanks for your reply!

      I’ve stayed away from taking cysteine for a long time because about a year after I got my mercury fillings out I got chronic diarrhea that disappeared when I got off the high Cysteine foods. The old great Smokies laboratories used to do a plasma Cysteine test. Mine came back super high. It was something that Andy Cutler Ph.D. recommended when I was working with him on my mercury chelation.

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