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Autoimmune disease, gut flora & other issues

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  • Autoimmune disease, gut flora & other issues

    Hello everyone.

    Iíll try my best to make this as concise as possibleÖ

    I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis back in 2006, and started medication a few weeks after (Avonex). Up to 2011 I kept at it dutifully, despite no improvement in my symptoms and a handful of new plaques on each new MRI (which was why I switched to Tysabri after 4 years). By this time I almost hated the side effects of the meds more than the disease itself.

    In the summer of 2011 I watched a video with Dr. Terry Wahls. After a lot of reading I cut out dairy first, within weeks grains and refined sugars followed. I stopped the meds cold turkey too. Within months my symptoms decreased dramatically, and havenít visited me since.

    The only remnant of my symptoms is fatigue and decreased sensitivity in my fingertips due to constant tingling, a big success considering I had tingling in most of my body, severe vertigo, facial numbness and stiff and unwieldy limbs (not all at once!). For me this diet changed my life.

    Though my symptoms decreased dramatically, nothing happened to the seemingly non MS related issues. It only recently dawned on me that I had none of these things listed below on a SAD diet, except acne. (Hence the inquiry here.)

    Dry scalp (entire flakes coming off all the time)
    Dry face (which nothing seems to alleviate, not even shaving or scrubbing, or both...)
    Somewhat dry skin over my entire body
    Acne on face (back acne disappeared after removing dairy, a significant improvement in my face after removing virgin coconut oil/fat, but still it persists)

    Dental caries forms easily (a teaspoon of honey for a week and my teeth object- it doesnít take much longer before a dark splotch emerges on a tooth)

    Nail fungus
    Athleteís foot
    (these two are on my left foot solely, plus the skin on my big toe, from the base right up to the nail
    is hard and cracked like an elephantís, and it itches like crazy)
    I also have these strange hard bumps on my soles, on both feet, little balls of hardened skin, that come off in one piece and leaves a crater.

    Cuts and nicks take weeks to heal, and the mark is there for months sometimes.

    Iíve been to several dermatologists about this, but the remedies they prescribed (ointments/creams) did nothing for me. I looked inwards.

    Convinced I had candida, I did(summer of 2012) a pretty strict diet for about 6-8 weeks, low carb with lots of Oil of Oregano and other antifungals, with subsequent zombielike fatigue (herxheimer?) for about 2 weeks. Once that passed, I felt great. Still unsure whether it actually was a candida overgrowthÖ

    I have tried cutting out the following to no avail, giving it at least 6 weeks each;
    Nuts & Seeds

    I recently discovered that coconut fat/oil does me no good (stomach gurgling), and I had been eating 1-2 tablespoons a day since I started my modified Paleo diet.

    These are the supplements I take;
    Vitamin D (D3) around 4000IU a day
    Vitamin B12 1000Ķg a day
    Occasionally omega 3, and a combination of calcium-zinc-magnesium (perhaps twice a week)

    digestive enzymes (13 different in one pill)
    probiotics (6 billion, 10 different strains)
    naturally fermented pickles, homemade kimchi, homemade and storebought sauerkraut

    Eggshells for the calcium
    Recently started eating oatmeal, either soaked or fermented with raw cocoa (the oatmeal is gluten free, and since i don't feel strange after eating it, I go for it)

    Whatís strange is that when I exercise (mostly with weights) I sometimes start yawning in the middle of it, and have to push myself through it as a massive fatigue comes over me. But once Iím finished, I feel great, my mindís lucid and my whole body is happy.

    I have tried figuring out the cause/causes of this, asking myself whether it might have been any of these things;
    Antibiotic treatment for acne repeatedly as a teenager (from age 13-16) which damaged my gut flora
    Impaired organ/organs due to the MS meds
    Nutrient deficiency
    Food allergy/sensitivity
    Candida or other fungi/bacteria behind it (behind the MS?)

    All thoughts are greatly appreciated, since I feel like Iím at a dead end.

    Thanks for your time

    Best wishes


  • #2
    Well, first- congrats on putting your MS into effective remission. I've watched Dr. Wahl's video and it's amazing what she's accomplished. It's great to know that another individual put her ideas to work and achieved similar results. Do you eat as many vegetables each day as she does?

    A few years ago I had desperately dry skin. My thighs were so chapped that they burned and itched all the time. This isn't primal but for me what worked was to add in Flaxseed oil to my diet. I began using flaxseed oil instead of olive oil in my salad dressings. Voila, no more dry skin. Just like that. Now my guess is that it was merely a need for more Omega 3's, so odds are you could achieve the same thing primally by adding in cod liver oil, krill oil or a good quality fish oil that's had the impurities removed.
    High Weight: 225
    Weight at start of Primal: 189
    Current Weight: 174
    Goal Weight: 130

    Primal Start Date: 11/26/2012


    • #3
      I was thinking Omega 3s as well for dry/flaky skin... wondered why you only take it twice a week? Maybe add some good fatty fish and take the supplement on days that you don't eat fish?

      For fatigue & other symptoms, have you had your thyroid hormone levels checked? Dry skin & fatigue are common hypothyroid symptoms, just wanting to rule that out.
      Jen, former Midwesterner, living in the middle of nowhere.


      • #4
        I think taking cod liver oil or krill oil daily would be very beneficial for you. I would take 1 tablespoon of CLO (I don't know the krill equivalent of that) daily. At the same time I would watch out for any omega 6 in your diet that you could cut down on. Nuts? Olive oil? Tracking your food intake on something like Cronometer would allow you to see what your omega 6 : 3 ratio is.

        Dry skin brushing can really help. It is obviously not fixing what is wrong inside, but still worth adding in to your routine.

        I do think you have gut imbalance and that is probably the primary cause of your remaining issues. It sounds like you might not be getting enough nutrition from your food, probably due to the gut issues. I would cut out fruit if you are doing that (just while healing) and starting out slow... I would take a probiotic with soil bacteria in it. I like the Garden of Life Primal Defense. Start with 1-3 capsules a day and work up to 12 daily. Once at the 12 daily level, stay there for 3-4 months before backing off to a maintenance dose of 1-3 capsules a day. Fermented foods are great, but I don't think they are enough to heal a badly damaged gut. Drink some homemade bone broth daily, or put it in a soup. That is very healing to the gut too. Watch your fat soluble vitamins to make sure you are getting lots. Try making ghee for cooking with from something like Organic Valley PASTURE butter.

        Do you still have the vertigo? I don't know if this might apply to you, but my mother had terrible vertigo that turned out to be a chocolate sensitivity.

        How much protein are you getting? I don't believe a person needs a ton but slow healing is sometimes not enough protein, certainly low nutrition (because your gut is damaged) can be a huge part of that as well.
        PaleoMom's Diet Recovery Journal


        • #5
          Hello again

          I try to eat a lot of greens, but it doesn't really accumulate to Dr. Wahls quantities...

          The reason I don't eat more Omega3 is that I eat fish maybe 1 or 2 times a week, so I don't want to overdo it.
          But I'll definitely look into upping my omega3, either with flax or cod/krill.

          Thankfully the vertigo has virtually disappeared since i started this paleoish diet. That's a nasty side effect of chocolate though...

          I eat a fair amount of protein since I work out maybe 3-4 times a week with weights. Whether too little or too much, i've never really thought about it...

          I'm gonna check my thyroid and cook up some bone broth!

          Thank you all for your replies!