Saturday, February 08, 2014

Extreme Yeast Battles & Timing of Supplements

I wrote previously here about our - both my older son and I - recent battles with yeast overgrowth. I am doing much better now, as I mentioned in my recent post on our sugar-free diet, but my son, who has been on antibiotics for over 3 years (so far) for Lyme disease, is still in terrible shape. Through the whole 2-month long winter break, he has been mostly incapacitated - totally exhausted, no energy, severe cognitive problems, and increased Lyme symptoms (herx reaction). We tried a lot of things, as indicated on my yeast post, but nothing was helping. In fact, we stopped all antibiotcs - both prescription and herbals - last week, and he still kept getting worse. He is supposed to move back to campus tomorrow for the spring semester, but that seems impossible at the moment.

So, this morning, we consulted again with a biochemist/registered dietician whom had helped our son before - in fact, she helped him improve enough to start college last fall. She has a Master's degree in biochemistry and is unbelievably smart when it comes to all these complex biochemical processes - methylation, infections, immune disorders, mitochondrial dysfunction - all that big mess of interacting stuff that we with ME/CFS and Lyme disease deal with every day.

We learned a lot today, as we always do when we meet with her, including some things for the yeast overgrowth that I've been doing wrong. A lot of it has to do with WHEN he takes certain meds and supplements - I had that all messed up! Here's a summary of what we learned about timing:
  • I knew to separate probiotics from antibiotics by at least 2-3 hours. We take probiotics before breakfast and before dinner and antibiotics (both herbal and prescription) at lunch and at bedtime.
  • Caprylic acid, Grapefruit seed extract, Pau D'Arco (all common ingredients in anti-yeast supplements) also have antibiotic properties and also must be taken well away from probiotics. We have been taking all of these along with our probiotics, effectively killing off the good bacteria before it has a chance to do any good! These will all move into the lunchtime meds box.
  • Activated Charcoal (important for detox, especially in people with Lyme and other infections experiencing herx reactions) acts like a sponge, absorbing whatever it comes across. I was also putting this into the same medicine boxes with the probiotics and the anti-yeast stuff, further rendering his probiotics useless! She suggested he take 2 charcoal supplements an hour or two after eating lunch (and taking lunchtime meds).
  • Chlorella - also intended to help with detox - is similar to the charcoal, so I switched it to the same 1-2 hours after lunch, plus more with dinner meds.
  • She also recommended taking most of the energy support supplements with breakfast and lunch, early in the day when he will get the most use out of them. This includes cognitive support, magnesium, acetyl-L-carnitine, and CoQ10.
  • She suggested grouping all of the fat-soluble meds together at dinnertime, along with the omega-3 fatty acids (we use krill oil capsules), so multi-vitamins (one at breakfast and one at dinner), vitamin D3 (we were taking them multiple times a day - now they are all in the dinner meds).
  • We also switched all the milk thistle into the dinnertime meds (they also help with detox and with liver function).
I spent all day today figuring this out and re-doing his weekly medicine boxes (and changing some of mine, too).

To help our son get "unstuck" and past this horrible incapacitated state he has been in, she also suggested some drastic changes for this coming week:
  • Super-strict anti-yeast diet: no sugar, no grains at all, no fruit except for 1 pear a day, no beans (a tough one for us - we eat a lot of beans!), only certain veggies (no starchy veggies, corn, or peas), and no legumes or nuts. Yeah, that doesn't leave much! Especially for a 19-year old boy who normally eats lots of whole grains, bread, cereal, oatmeal, fruit, and peanut butter. He will basically just live on eggs, meat, pears, and certain veggies this week. He is seriously upset about this, BUT willing to try anything to feel better at this point. The idea is to remove anything that could promote yeast growth and eat a super-clean diet for a brief period of time to make a fresh start.
  • Keep up homemade lemonade for additional detox support (fresh lemon juice, water, bit of stevia, and electrolyte drops for sodium and potassium for OI) - 32 oz per day, which we've been doing all winter break.
  • Also, for this next week, stop everything that is antimicrobial (all the yeast supplements listed above, oregano, olive leaf, and antibiotics.
  • And, for this next week, eliminate supplements that support sulfur production (alpha lipoic acid and N-acetyl cysteine are the two she mentioned that he normally takes).
  • We're leaving in the 1 Diflucan a day, and if he's feeling better by the end of the week, we will add all the anti-yeast stuff back in (at lunch), switch to an alternating "cocktail" of prescription antifungals, and very gradually add the antibiotics back in, as he can tolerate them.
That's the short-term plan. Once we get the yeast overgrowth under control, then we will focus once again on methylation because it is clear from the way he is reacting to antibiotics that his methylation process is once again severely messed up.

It's a lot to absorb and a lot of changes to make at once, but we are hoping this will all help him get back on his feet. I only wish I'd contacted the biochemist back on January 1 for her advice, so we could have done all of this while he was living at home - the super-strict diet will be very tough to maintain on campus. I also feel like I wasted a couple of months (plus a lot of money!) by taking all those supplements at the wrong time of day. But regret does no good for either of us...moving forward and hoping for better days ahead!

NOTE: This super-strict diet was recommended specifically for my son and his individual health problems which include not only CFS and yeast overgrowth but also Lyme disease, bartonella, and babesia plus very severe methylation problems.

I am not recommending this diet for anyone else but was only sharing my son's experiences and what we are trying for him. Any changes to diet or supplements should be discussed with your own doctor.

For those interested in just a basic anti-yeast diet, this Candida Diet website has some great information.


Sue Jackson said...

Oh forgot to mention - besides pears, coconut is not only allowed this week but is fabulous for yeast, as it is a potent antifungal. I've been eating lots of coconut all month, my my son HATES it unfortunately!


Tink said...

Sue, been following your blog in my blog reader for a long time. I too have a systemic yeast infection thanks to antibiotic courses for Cpn(Chlamydia Pneumoniae) 3 years ago, I'm now battling the yeast for 2 years. Recently learned from dr. de Meirleir that I had late stage Babesia, Bartonella and Borreliosis. Because if the late stage he advises abx infusions. A disaster waiting to happen with the yeast infection still flaring up. I did all you did for your son diet, meds, natural anti fungal etc.
My doctor is an ND and because I am so medication sensitive I could only tolerate Nystatin. 3 weeks ago he pointed me In the direction of Lufenuron.
It is used in veterinarian medicine to interfere with the Chitin(hard skin)of parasites such as worms and fleas and is used in treating ringworm also a fungal. It is very safe to use and has no side effects other than the die off from the Candida after e days.

It is a powder that is not metabolized in the liver but is stored in your fatty tissues. After 3 days is slowly releases itself and destroys/interferes with the Chitin of the Candida that has been formed after you had yeast for some time. As it was explained to me, it makes holes in the Chitin and than it is simple for your immune system to attack the Candida. The powder is taken 3 days in a row with a fatty meal or full fat yogurt because it is only soluble in fat.

My plan was to start yesterday but my body was all of a sudden hit by bursitis in both shoulders and is in survival mode. I will probably start next week if I feel well enough to deal with the die off.

I'm keeping my blog up to date and write about Lufenuron because not too much info about if is out there. Maybe you want to see how I'm doing with it and keep in it in mind as a possible try for your son.
This powder for 3 days is much simpler than all diets I had to deal with! It's a day job!
My blog is here:

Unknown said...

Hi Sue,
can You explain me, please, what's the methylation process?
With gratitude,

Sue Jackson said...

Avocado is good, too. And seeds are OK - pumpkin seeds, sunflower butter. Unfortunately, Jamie doesn't eat any of these things! He may need to branch out a bit this week.

Sue Jackson said...

Thanks so much, Tink for this information. I've never heard of Lufenuron and will run it by the biochemist who is helping us.

For now, I am interested to see how the supplements we are already taking work when they are taken at the appropriate times. I feel like the past 2 months and all that we tried were wasted because I didn't understand about the timing!

My son also has those same 3 infections: babesia, bartonella, and Lyme. It is a long road to getting rid of them but hopefully it ends with significant improvement! You know that bursitis in your shoulders is quite possibly joint pain from the Lyme disease.

The other thing to focus on in addition to yeast overgrowth before you start IV abx is methylation - given all that you are dealing with, it is likely your methylation processes are messed up, just like my son. Take a look at the next comment and my response below...

Good luck - I will follow your progress with interest!


Sue Jackson said...

Hi, Nina -

Methylation is a process that occurs in your cells - it is part of how your body removes toxins, like infectious agents, medications, and supplements. Lots and lots of people with ME/CFS and/or Lyme have methylation processes that are not working properly...the net result is to make you feel very sick, where nothing you try seems to help. Treating methylation helped my son a lot last year (and we are hoping it will again once we deal with the yeast overgrowth). With blocked methylation, you can;t make any progress against underlying infections, like Lyme or the viruses that are common in CFS.

Here is a past blog posts I wrote about methylation (i really need to address it more thoroughly here):

And two excellent articles that explain what methylation is and why it is important:

That last once includes some very helpful diagrams.

Just be cautious if you decide to address methylation issues - make sure you have a doctor to help you and go very slowly, starting with just one supplement at a time, at the lowest possible dose.

Hope that helps -


ME CFS Self-help Guru said...

Thanks Sue, I've found this post really useful and am definitely going to rejig the timing of some of my supplements to see if it makes a difference.

I too keep intending to purge on a very strict anti yeast diet, but as a vegetarian I can never quite get my head round how to let go of beans, nuts and starchy veg, even for just a few days. I am very impressed with your son's commitment to his health! Perhaps I should just bit the bullet too!

Sue Jackson said...

Ha ha - that's funny because I was just commenting to a friend yesterday that it's a good thing my son loves meat and isn't vegetarian!!

Even on the strictest diet, seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, etc.) are allowed, and the dietician also recommended yesterday adding whey protein shakes for him this week if he is hungry - the whey is excellent for glutathione (something people with CFS usually don't have enough of), and she reassured me that even people who are dairy intolerant (like us!) can eat it without problems because whey has little lactose and is separate from casein (the protein in dairy most people have trouble with). I love sunflower butter (like peanut butter)! And eggs are good. So between eggs, seeds, and whey protein, you might be able to get enough protein!

No question it will be a tough week for him. he did go back to school last night and was thrilled that dinner was steak and green beans - his favorite meat and favorite veggies and both allowed!

Sue Jackson said...

Just wanted to note (and I should have said this in my post) that this super-strict diet was recommended specifically for my son and his specific health problems which include not only CFS and yeast overgrowth but also Lyme disease, bartonella, and babesia plus very severe methylation problems.

I did not intend to recommend this diet for anyone else but was only sharing my son's experiences and what we are trying for him.

For those interested in just a basic anti-yeast diet, this website has some great information:


Janis said...

Hi Sue,
I found diets like that helped me get rid of Candida, but so did taking stuff like caprylic acid. The unfortunate consequence of eating this way, even with modifications for a long time, was that it raised the adrenaline and serotonin at the expense of thyroid. I went from feeling fabulous to crashing, or at least from fabulous to insomniac/grumpy. What's pulling me out of that is learned about the ideas of Ray Peat, Ph.D. and starting to eat to support my thyroid. Coconut oil is good for this BTW. Hope he can adjust, but if he craves carbs and starts to get weaker, don't chalk it up to detox. It could be thyroid suppression.

Sue Jackson said...

Thanks for the heads up, Janis! I didn't realize thyroid and diet were so closely related. My son and I both have our thyroid tests done annually - our doctor knows it is common in CFS and she is great about keeping up with stuff like that - so far (the past 10 years!), we are both good...but we will certainly keep an eye out for that now with the dietary changes.


Anonymous said...

If he doesn't like coconut oil you could try making these chocolate fat bombs for him. It hides all the flavor and even my coconut averse dh says they are good. Since we are dealing with yeast I would not sweeten with honey or syrups, choose some other sweetener.
Melt 1/2 c. coconut oil. Mix oil with 1/2 c. cocoa, 1/2 c. almond butter or peanut butter, 1/4 C. honey or maple syrup, or stevia, or Swerve or xylitol and 1/4 tsp. vanilla. I put them in an ice cube tray that makes little tiny ice cubes for 30 minutes or freeze for 10. Keep in airtight container in refrig. I use xylitol but its better if you buy the powdered kind then your candy won't be grainy.

Sue Jackson said...

Sounds delicious! Thanks!