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Itchy Scratchy and Batshit Crazy


There is a whole living garden of microbes in your intestinal tract. Some of these are benevolent and some not so much. When your immune system is not working properly, the bad kinds of microbes, usually yeast, can overrun the good kinds and cause symptoms.

Most people, and many doctors see this as a one-time occurrence and all you need to do is kill off the yeast. But it does no good to treat this like a war you can win with heavy weaponry. Killing off all the yeast too fast will cause some really unpleasant symptoms. The Mercury Detoxification Manual describes this “Herxheimer reaction” as all the yeast in your digestive tract dying off at once and rotting (p. 103). And after this unpleasant experience, the yeast may very well just reoccur even stronger than before. When you kill off everything in your gut some nasty, opportunistic organism may move in to the empty field.

If you have an ongoing toxicity that affects the balance of your gut you will very likely have to deal with dysbiosis as a chronic problem. A balancing act campaign to control yeast and build up beneficial bacteria will have to go on until the toxicity issue that is the underlying cause is resolved. When that happens, your body will be able to maintain the proper happy mix in your gut on its own.

There are really three ways to control yeast and depending on how bad your case is, you can go with one, two or three or all of them at once.

Diet Control

The first remedy to try is diet control and the first form of diet control is to eat all organic. Some chemicals and hormones that are found in modern food can exacerbate yeast. If this first step is sufficient then lucky you!

The second dietary intervention is to remove everything that yeast likes to eat which is mostly sugar and refined carbohydrates. There are many diets you can look at to help, including the Atkins Diet, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and the Body Ecology Diet. It is also worth noting that yeast likes high-thiol foods. Many mercury-toxic people can’t tolerate high-thiol foods anyway, so for them, giving up thiols will help with other symptoms as well as the yeast. The high thiol food list can be found in The Mercury Detoxification Manual (pp. 126-127). Both butter and coconut oil, by the way, are good for yeast control.

Crowding Out

In my storied past, I ran a hummus manufacturing business, and in order to figure out why my product was exploding in the supermarket coolers, I took a class in food microbiology. It is here that I learned about the concept of “crowding out.” A pathogen won’t do very well if it has to compete for resources with a whole lot of other microorganisms. In the case of what is going on in your gut you can “crowd out” the bad guys by keeping yourself loaded up with “probiotics,’ or the good guys. In order to do this, you need a whole lot of the good guys, at least 100 billion organisms a day. That is expensive to get from a capsule and I have always been a fan of the “do it yourself” probiotic products, like homemade SCD yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables. These fermented foods are hard on people who are thiol sensitive, but you can try fermenting some low thiol vegetables like green tomatoes and carrots.

A lot of alternative practitioners emphasize taking this or that special probiotic for its magical powers. But for the business of “crowding out,” lactobacillus and bifidobacteria do the job very well. The important trick is to get enough of them. Also, taking them on an empty stomach will increase their chance of sneaking by the stomach without setting off the acid which is produced in order to kill pathogens and digest your meals.

Yeast Killers

Finally, if option one and two have not been enough there are yeast killers, both prescription and OTC. It is really important to supplement probiotics while you are using yeast killers because many of them will kill off everything in your gut, not just the yeast. And take the probiotics away from the yeast killers. You don’t want to kill off the good guys before they have a chance to establish themselves in your system. Some doctors will advise you to rotate yeast-killing remedies. This is not a good idea because the yeast can become resistant. It is a better to use one remedy until it no longer works and only then to switch.

It was a revelation for me to learn that yeast overgrowth in children along with itchy scratchiness can manifest in their acting like little drunkards, bouncing off the wall and laughing inappropriately. In adults the symptoms are different and can be pretty miserable. I sometimes think, however, that people unfairly blame yeast for their suffering. The symptoms I so often hear described sound the same as those that mercury causes. Perhaps, rather than yeast problems being the source of your misery, mercury is causing you a bunch of symptoms, among which your gut dysbiosis. Mercury is more apt to be the underlying “mother symptom” than yeast. If your candida, or your Lyme or your whatever is just not getting better with treatment, you need to question if these problems are really the “root cause” of what ails you. Educate yourself about chronic mercury poisoning.

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