Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Probiotics and Leaky Gut

The last few weeks have been marked by steady progress. I've had less all-consuming sick days and more normal days, which is super encouraging!!

And this time I can say definitively what's behind my upswing: probiotics.

I've taken a small dose of probiotics for the last couple years, but I never gave them much credit or placed them very high on my priority list. While I've always known that in some ambiguous way they are good for my intestinal flora, I never equated them directly to any symptomatic relief. Everyone around me seemed to have intestinal disturbances, while my stomach aches have always been specific to my upper GI. Since my bowel moves, colon health just hasn't been on my radar.

It turns out probiotics do a lot more than promote healthy intestinal flora and good digestion. They actually balance and heal the immune and nervous systems.

Depending on whom you ask, 70 to 85 percent of the body's immune system lies in the gut, and 90 to 95 percent of the brain's serotonin is produced in the gut, and still a majority of the nervous system resides in the "second brain" — the gut.

Those of you who are long-time readers of my blog know my worst symptoms stem from overreactive nerves. I have what's coined "neurological Lyme disease" because my nervous system is damaged from the spirochetes and other pathogens.

During a recent conversation with a Lymie friend, I was reminded that, by default of having neurological Lyme, I have a condition called "leaky gut syndrome". This isn't as gross as it sounds. It just means you have weak intestinal permeability and molecules pass through your digestive tract into your bloodstream — which they shouldn't — causing immune responses like inflammation and allergies.

Further worsening leaky gut syndrome are things like persistent infections, parasites, overuse of antibiotics, stress, and overuse of sugar, gluten, caffeine, and alcohol. (And I can check "yes" to all of the above).

My friend explained to me how important it is to heal a leaky gut in order to heal the immune system and nervous system. By healing the gut, a person will have less immune and neurological reactions, which seem to have been my biggest issues all along.

There's a big, huge world of information out there on healing leaky gut with bone broths and fermented foods, and probiotics are also touted as a major contributor to intestinal health because they actually help heal the gut lining. Being "good" bacteria, they're also known to naturally kill bad bacteria in your gut by essentially moving in and replacing them.

Since I've tried about a zillion supplements over the last two years — and have been told dozens of conflicting things by many health professionals ranging from MDs to chiropractors to homeopaths — I didn't put too much credence into this probiotic thing. But nonetheless I decided to increase my daily dose of probiotics threefold and add in some new kinds. (Note that there are many types of strains out there each with their own purposes).

It's been a few weeks and I already feel a lot better in surprising ways. It seems the severity of each of my symptoms has been reduced. I'm mildly to moderately calmer, more clearer-headed, feeling happier and less moody, less sensitive or reactive to chemicals, and overall more productive. I definitely still have chronic fatigue and aches and pains — so I still have a long way to go until I reach remission — but this is the first significant improvement I've felt in a very long time!

All thanks to..... not a doctor or medical practitioner of any kind. Just a friend. And considering the fact that doctors have put me on way more harmful than helpful medications in the past, I feel like it's about time I no longer follow any medical practitioner's advice like a blind sheep walking off a cliff.

It should also be noted that I haven't taken any methylation supplements in over a month and I think those accumulated toxic waste dumps are all finally out of my system.

It's too soon to say if this upswing holds any long-term promise, but it's a start in the right direction. It's about damn time, too.

I'm really surprised that probiotics have had such a good effect on me. I never would have guessed that they could help so much. All this time, I've thought, "Good bacteria? Whatever. I don't really want that but I'll take a bit." Oh, how little I knew. My body really needed a lot more of this good bacteria than it was getting!

Speaking of which, if you're in a similar situation as me and you're looking to add probiotics to your diet, skip the Activia yogurt cups — which have hardly enough probiotics in them to do anything — and go for some legitimate supplements. The following are the products I've taken so far and like, although I'm sure there are many more out there that I have yet to discover. You can try one or try all of them on a rotating schedule.



  1. Hi Leila,
    I found your blog via a web search on Hashimotos and Lyme. My heart goes out to you and I am so glad the probiotics are working for you!!!
    I have been treated for Chronic Lyme in the past, got asymptomatic enough, and backed off of treatment for 2 years. I recently began to spring a few leaks and went back to my LLND. We began treating for mycoplasma with herbs and it turns out I have Hashimotos. I am just beginning to get educated about it... ANYWAYS...I love the eloquence and sincerity in your posts and I feel for and with you. This is a rough and bumpy road that is exhausting to navigate and I just want to say hello and let you know that I completely relate. I admire your blog. Just to add a little anecdotal validation. After my Lyme therapy, I went on high dose probiotics because of gut issues and I felt really good on them, healthiest I had been in a long time. I was diagnosed in 2008, and did most of my treatment with a LLND. Please contact me if you are so inclined. If I have anything to offer you, I'd be happy and honored to share.

  2. Hello,
    Thank you for your informations. I'm interested too with probiotics because I discovered that spirochetes live in the intestines. I don't know if it's the same with borrelia species that live in the USA and are maybe be more articular located, but I think in Europe (I'm from France) it's mostly the case.
    My question is what strains of probiotics bacteria has given you the best results?
    If you want to see, it's a video I have done with a microscope I bought. It's spirochetes taken from intestines, in mucus : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MJFl4kgqwU
    I hope you can answer me, thank you, Romain

  3. Thank you for this great post - it has become so incredibly clear to me the last few weeks how sealing the gut will alleviate Lyme and how inflammation esp neuro issues is directly related to the gut permeability. I personally take mega doses of colostrum to heal the gut in record time. I highly recommend it (it's the first milking a mother cow gives to a calf) and it rebuilds everything that is compromised in the gut. The one exception is that colostrum doesn't contain probiotics so one will need to supplement those. Seal it and heal it! Thanks again for the great article.