Gelatin and DL-Phenylalanine – healing the gut and feeling dope!!

About 5 months ago I had another break through. I had been half-heartedly drinking broth because of the whole GAPS diet thing because it’s supposed to heal your gut. I’ve been buying turkey necks/wings and making soup but only drank it a few times and not much at each sitting. Last spring, however, I went to fairway after they just restocked or something because they had tons of fresh turkey parts, which are sometimes hard to find. I made an enormous pot of soup but ran out of containers to freeze it in so there it lay in the fridge. I vowed not to waste it so I downed about a quart twice a day for 5 days. I didn’t notice much of a change until I got a little stressed and decided to eat a bag of K-toos (allergy free cookies) and nothing happened. I mean, usually I get a little bloated and feel like shit, but my reaction was so slight it was ridiculous.

I read journal articles about the protective effects of glycine and proline, the main amino acids in gelatin, that protect and help the cells of the small intestine heal from everything like viral induced diarrhea to radiation (the things they do to test animals). I’ve been making broth a couple times a month since then and now take a glycine/glutamine mixture every morning in addition to my vitamins. I’ve noticed a definite difference and now regularly eat starch, usually corn, (in small doses) and sugar without worrying that it will destroy me.

A couple of months after starting I noticed that my acne pretty much disappeared. I have had acne my entire life and would especially break out before and during my period. It’s gone. Yes, I get the occasional pimple, but even after eating straight chocolate I don’t breakout the way I used to. Very strange. Also, for 2 months now I’ve been on a 28 day cycle which never happens to me – could be a total coincidence, but I’m usually 23 to 34 days.

I also added DL-Phenylalanine to deal with dopamine deficiency and discovered something very interesting. Having too much is just as bad as not having enough. The standard dose is 500mg and when I first took a dose I felt great then it stopped working after a couple of days and I started to get anxious. I took it every other day and saw some improvement. Then I ordered the powdered form (from and took about 20-50mg per day depending on how I felt and didn’t take it at all during my period or a day or two after and low and behold—IT WORKED! It calms me down, reduces anxiety, jacks up my sex drive and replenishes my dopamine reserves after dosing on caffeine to get work done. It’s too bad because I suggested it to some people and they said the same thing…it worked for a couple of days, then no more. I tried to explain the dosing thing but I’m sure they just gave up… Anyway, I highly recommend it if you know you’re dopamine deficient. Before I realized that I was I experimented with things that jack up serotonin (SAM-E, ginseng) and started to get muscle twitches and panic attacks with tiny doses, so listen to your body…or see an orthomolecular doctor to find out what you’re deficient in.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Update! Food allergies, autoimmune disease, parasites and the orthomolecular approach

Well, since my last post, I did on my health, “Food allergies and autoimmune thyroid disease” I’ve gone through many health changes.  I adopted the Paleo diet, avoided foods with lectins by following the Blood-type diet, I’ve cut down on sugar and fruit intake drastically to try to kill the Candida and avoided allergens.

Still something was wrong.

I reacted to food, but sometimes reacted to drinking water or exercising by bloating up like a pig.  Finally, in October, 2011, I saw a parasitologist (Dr. Kevin Cahill) who performed a sigmoidoscopy and found out I had Trichuris trichura (whipworm) and Giardia lamblia.  By the way, I got 2 stool tests in the 2 years prior to this and everything was negative – they don’t work!  You need to have them scrape your intestinal wall or you’re wasting your time.  I took all the meds and then got meds for Candida because it was out of control and…I felt better.  My running improved (again) and I had more energy…but still something was wrong.  The brain fog would come back occasionally, I had trouble focusing and my memory seemed to be getting worse.

Next I tried a hair mineral analysis in January, 2012 and was prescribed with severe adrenal fatigue.  Big surprise.  I was told to take a ridiculously large amount of vitamins and did for 1 month but was turned off by the fact that the amounts seemed to be arbitrary.  I tried enquiring from the guy who did the analysis about how each would benefit me and affect the others I was taking but got nothing.  I did feel a little better but stopped taking them – I can’t do a treatment without understanding why I’m doing it.

After that, I was desperate to focus and do my work so in May, 2012 I got a prescription for Adderall and took it for a couple of weeks.  It worked great but the withdrawal from it was wretched.  So I started taking L-Tyrosine, DL-Phenylalanine and other amino acids to jack up my dopamine and serotonin without becoming a drug addict.  It worked a little.  After reading books on ADHD and Asperger’s which I probably have some traits of each (though not full blown), I optimized my amino acid intake and started taking zinc and B6 which people with these afflictions often are lacking.


Something changed.  First, I felt crappy – no appetite, headache, really moody – then I started to emerge from this fear and anxiety cloud that has been plaguing me forever.  And I started to remember my dreams, not just the nightmares, the good ones too!  (B6 supposedly does that).  I then read about Pyroluria, a genetic disorder that results in chronically low zinc and B6 and figured I should be tested.  Without zinc and B6, it’s difficult to digest food properly, leading to chronic Candida, leading to leaky gut syndrome, leading to autoimmune reactions (thyroid, food allergies), all of which lead to vitamin deficiencies.  Oh, and there are plenty of links between ADHD, Asperger’s, food allergies, Candida and Pyroluria.  Start searching, you’ll see.

The only problem with taking zinc and B6 on my own was that I had no idea how much to take and in large doses both can be toxic to a normal person.  So in June, 2012, I ordered a pyroluria urine test through the mail from Bio Center Labs.  They told me not to take supplements for 3 days then do the test.  I did.  It came out negative (kryptopyrroles = 3).  Now what?

I was taking a cross-country motorcycle trip in August, 2012 so I decided to pass through Chicago and stop at Mensah Medical to get a full Orthomolecular workup.  That is, redo the pyroluria test, get my serum copper, zinc plasma, blood histamine and ceruloplasma levels checked and talk to some doctors who might have a clue.  This time I fasted from vitamins for more than 3 weeks to totally clear my system.  Results were as follows: positive for pyroluria (kryptopyrroles = 14.75), blood histamine was low, serum zinc was low and copper was normal.  I’m a slow oxidizer according to the hair mineral analysis –maybe that’s why it took so long for all my supplements to get out of my system.  All my values were borderline abnormal (nothing too extreme), but they still help explain my symptoms and why zinc and B6 seemed to help.

So, I started a strict, twice daily vitamin regimen on September 10th 2012 which includes: B1, B2, P5P, B6, Niacinamide, Biotin, C, D, E, Folic acid, Evening Primrose Oil, Chromium Polynicotinate and Selenomethionine.  I’m dopamine and GABA deficient so take GABA and L-tyrosine occasional to calm my ass down and focus.

Everything was going great for 5 days, then it was downhill.  Anxiety increased, stopped recalling my dreams, I slowly withdrew from people (again), got headaches and periods of brain fog.  All I could think was…what the fuck???  So what did I do, after 3 weeks of hell and getting progressively worse I did what any red-blooded American woman would do…I made brownies.  Healthy ones – Dark chocolate, hazelnut flour, Jack Daniel’s, applesauce, etc.  I felt much better….emotionally anyway.  As I was working, still on my chocolate high, I got a strong cramping feeling in my bowels.  I kept checking my belly, expecting to see a scene from “Alien” but nothing happened.  I got the distinct feeling that I was not the only one enjoying my delicious brownies.

Soooo, last Thursday (October 11, 2012) I went BACK to the Dr. Cahill (parasite dude) and got another sigmoidoscopy.  Turns out I now have Entamoeba histolytica, (a nasty amoeba) which I probably got from drinking bad water in Manitoba (it was one sip by accident…what are you gonna do?).  I actually did an over the counter parasite cleanse (ReNew Life Paragone) when I returned from the motorcycle trip because of that sip of water, but as you can see….IT DIDN’T WORK.  The only sure way to get rid of these bastards is to get your ass probed and then get medication – sorry folks!

I’m halfway through the Doxycycline and Paromomycin – 5th day – and am just starting to feel better.  The intense anxiety is starting to wane and I am getting more work done.  On a more positive note, I always suspected that my hair was thinning from the thyroid issues, but now I’m sure – because it’s growing back!  Just around my hairline, my hair is thicker with new growth (1-2” hairs everywhere).  Pretty cool!  I have not had my thyroid antibody levels rechecked but this is very encouraging.  Now, I wait to see if I return to feeling good like I did for those 5 days from the vitamins and minerals once the parasites are expelled.

I’m not sure when this ends, but I think I’m still making progress.  If anyone has any comments, suggestions or explanations that might help me understand this further, I would love to hear them.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

A long distance motorcycle trip with the Paleo diet, blood type diet and food allergies

So, how did I stick to all these food restrictions on the road for 3 weeks?  I didn’t – it’s fucking IMPOSSIBLE…but I came damn close!  Actually, it’s the best I’ve done on a motorcycle trip thus far so I wanted to share it (and document it so I remember for the next one).

First some clarification:

Food allergies – I’m very allergic to gluten and casein.  I’m mildly allergic or very sensitive to soy, most grains (except corn), shell fish, eggs, ginger, coffee, strawberries, and others.  Note: amaranth and Quinoa are seeds, not grains.  I was never tested for buckwheat – but don’t seem to react to it.

Paleo diet – Includes meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts – no grains, dairy, legumes, sugar; no starch unless right after vigorous exercise (of which I did none on this trip).

Blood-type diet (type A) – avoid potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cabbage, coconut, beef, bison, lamb, pork, frog legs and many others

Long-distance motorcycle trip – from New York to Thompson, Manitoba (and back) on a 2011 BMW F650GS (800cc twin); ~4,400 miles round-trip.  From Thompson I flew up to Churchill, MB where I did fieldwork collecting polar bear hair (noninvasively) in western Hudson Bay for 10 days

To prepare, I broke out the food dehydrator and started making lots of jerky – bison and turkey.  I dried it at 105 degrees F for many hours until very dry then stored it in freezer bags with 10-gram silica packets.  Protein done.  Weeks before the trip, I put in an order for freeze-dried fruit and vegetables ( – peas, spinach, red-bell peppers and blueberries.  I also got air dried pineapple and blueberries.  I made pemmican, which is a Native American concoction for sustenance while traveling or when food was scarce.  I prepared it as a mixture of equal amounts of rendered grass-fed beef fat and ground up turkey jerky with some pulverized freeze-dried blueberries mixed in.  After refrigerating it, I sectioned out little portions of it and shrink wrapped it in case it became messy (which it did) when it heated up in my saddle bag.

I supplemented this paleo feast with some carb-rich stuff that I normally don’t eat but after hours on the bike I knew I would crave.  I baked cookies/crackers made from shredded coconut, hazelnut flour, coconut milk, raw cacao nibs and a tiny bit of honey.  I made another batch with just amaranth flour, coconut milk and goji berries.  Both were very tasty, trust me.

On the road, I ended up buying peanuts, especially when the jerky and pemmican started to run out.  I also bought ~85% dark chocolate bars and a Nature’s Path cereal made from corn, amaranth, Quinoa, buckwheat and a little sugar.

After a couple of 12 hour days riding, I started craving French fries …think it happened after passing the 50,673rd McDonalds, I don’t know.  After I gave in, the cravings for espresso soon followed…I’m weak, what can I say.  I avoided all my major allergens, especially wheat and dairy… except for gluten traces on French fries cooked in contaminated oil.  Gluten-ease pills took care of that.  But I also ate eggs, which like coffee, I have a moderate delayed sensitivity to (IgG4).  In the past year, I avoided these items almost entirely in hopes of eliminating my reaction to them, but don’t know if it completely worked.  Eggs with ham or bacon were an easy, filling protein fix in the mornings, especially up in Churchill, so I indulged often.  It also allowed me to save my jerky for fieldwork and riding.

So, I stuck to most of my restrictions fairly well but keeping to the blood-type diet was the most difficult.  Clear violations were the bison, pork, beef, potatoes, red peppers, coconut and, yes, I tried frog legs up in Churchill – not bad.  I ate more sugar and starch than I’m used to which gave me some energy on the bike but also resulted in blood sugar fluctuations causing me to be hungry every 2-3 hours.  Very annoying.  I also started getting really intense sugar and starch cravings likely from Candida overgrowth that, even 2 weeks after returning from the trip, I am still fighting.

The biggest surprise was the pemmican.  I absolutely loved it!  It looked like puke mixed with dirt but the taste was surprisingly delicious.  After eating it I felt great:  full, not bloated (despite all the fat) and sustained energy for hours.  Those friggin’ Indians know their shit!  It’s only after I finished the pemmican (didn’t bring enough) that I overdid it with the carbs and ran into energy issues and cravings.

Although I am going through a slight recovery period – I’m a little bloated – overall I would say the trip was a success and food issues were minimized.  Yippee!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Food Allergies and Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

The purpose of this post is to help others draw a possible connection between food allergies and autoimmune diseases. After being diagnosed with autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s), I researched possible causes and food allergies kept coming up, gluten in particular. I searched and searched for a solid causal link between food allergies and hypothyroidism but all the research studies were correlative and no one could relate one personal story (that I found) of a definitive connection. The proof that I was looking for was a substantial lowering of the thyroid antibodies, thyroid peroxidase and anti-thyroglobulin, in response to eliminating certain foods from the diet. So, I performed my own little study…on myself.

I first eliminated gluten, then milk, then all grains. I read the book on the specific carbohydrate diet by Elaine Gottschall, designed to help people with Crohn’s disease and gave that a try (minus the yogurt). After reading a bunch of articles by Loren Cordain, I purchased the “Paleo Diet for Athletes” (I run) and decided that made a bit more sense for me in the long term. The paleo diet basically consists of meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts and eggs. Mind you, this is without knowing what the hell was really wrong with me. I didn’t have a lot of the severe GI problems that others complain about but there were signs that something was wrong besides developing Hashimoto’s disease. For one, I could never wear women’s jeans. I’m petite, (5’3”, 108 lbs) and have always been athletic, but if my jeans fit well around my legs, they were always too tight around my waist – so I started wearing boys jeans which I figured fit with my tom-boy persona anyway. What I didn’t realize was that I was bloated – all the time, for as long as I could remember. Not knowing this made it difficult to distinguish exactly what foods were making me ‘sick’.

After 6 months on the paleo diet, without consuming grains, dairy, legumes, soy, starch and refined sugar, both of my thyroid antibodies went down 60% and my Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) levels dropped to the lowest level (2.06) they had ever been in the 2 years that I had been getting blood tests. I had also just tested ‘positive’ for rheumatism 6 months earlier and after the diet changes, the test returned to ‘negative’. I also deflated – the bloating subsided and I developed a very lean, muscular build. I had way more energy, did not get sick once and my running even improved (injury free).

These results gave me a great deal of confidence and convinced me that I was, indeed, healing. I proudly reported these results to my friends and family who by now thought I was slightly insane for making the drastic diet changes that I did. My elation didn’t last though. On the subsequent blood test, after I returned from a 2.5 week long motorcycle trip, my levels went back up slightly despite sticking to my diet. I was once again bloated up like a pig. I presented my situation to a gastroenterologist and requested some tests, but he was skeptical that any of my symptoms were related to food. After everything indicated that I was in perfect health, I started to think I was going crazy. At the suggestion of a friend, I saw a clinical nutritionist (and fucking brilliant man), Dr. Robert Pastore, who requested a panel of both IGE and IgG4 blood tests to identify food allergies. Having an IGG/IGA panel done by Quest Diagnostics a year earlier and everything coming up negative I was skeptical that it would work, but he assured me that this lab (Metametrix) was different.

It took 6 weeks to get an appointment for the blood test with Dr. Pastore, so I decided to flood my body with any possible allergen to give the blood tests the best chance of working. Pizza, ice cream, bagels, soy burgers, bean burritos and lots of chocolate cake – I enjoyed eating it but started to feel horrible after about a week. I developed keratosis, hot flashes at night (I’m 39), canker sores all over my mouth, gas all the time, acne and had fits of depression. I had developed Raynaud’s condition about a year before this, but it got worse over the course of the month of binging – it spread in my hands and started to show up in my feet. Still, I forced that last bagel down my throat the morning of the blood test. I was thrilled when it was over.

For the next 3 weeks as I awaited my test results I went back on the paleo diet, and started to experience severe withdrawal symptoms – cravings, brain fog, mood swings from hell and so much bloating. Upon walking into Dr. Pastore’s office for my results he said, “Well, the good news is that you are going to feel a whole lot better after this…” then he hands me blood test results that I could not believe. It turns out I’m allergic to practically everything – wheat, soy, casein (milk), all grains except corn, eggs, coffee, almonds, beans, mustard…even ginger…and the list goes on. The paleo diet was the way to go for me, but I never excluded everything. Especially on the road, I was pounding eggs, coffee and slathering mustard on everything! At home I was having herbal teas laced with ginger all the time. I occasionally splurged with gluten-free cookies made with rice flour and other grains – all of which I’m allergic to. I was never completely allergen-free.

That brings me to the present – as of today I am completely allergen free for 8 days. I’m experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms now, like I never thought possible. To the list above, add diarrhea every morning and occasionally at night and during the day. As my poor husband will attest, ‘mood swings’ is beyond an understatement – I’m an absolute bitch. I am lethargic. I feel like there are lead weights all over my body. I can actually feel the gravitational pull of the earth sucking me into comfortable furniture and keeping me there despite thirst, an exploding bladder and the whines of a play-obsessed puppy. When I succumb to guilt and/or pain and do get up, I get a head rush, my body feels weak and I often forget why I got up. My memory is very short, concentration is fleeting and I feel like I am just taking up space much of the time. Naps do not help. I am sensitive to light on some mornings and am nauseous often. Oh, did I mention that I am trying to finish my PhD?

So, have I proven that there is a connection between food allergies and autoimmune thyroid disease? Perhaps not, but I am convinced – so is my doctor (Robert Pastore). I will likely get my TSH and antibody levels checked once more in about 2 years when my gut is completely healed, but it is no longer a concern of mine. I read extensively on autoimmune diseases and food allergies for almost a year and am now convinced that food was the cause of my medical problems. Based on all I read, I also believe that food allergies are pervasive, perhaps reaching epidemic proportions, and are likely responsible for many other ‘ailments’ plaguing our society including obesity, depression, some types of autism and even some mental disorders. Just like I eventually developed multiple autoimmune diseases (Hashimoto’s, rheumatism, and Raynaud’s condition), many people who have one autoimmune disease will likely develop others if they don’t eliminate the culprit from their diet or from their environment. Also, certain autoimmune diseases like those affecting the thyroid or joints are not hereditary as some doctors would like to have you believe. Instead, it is the propensity for an autoimmune response to manifest in the damage to a particular tissue or organ (like the thyroid) that is hereditary. Food (or other environmental factor) is the cause, not who you’re related to.

It all comes down to cause and effect…and the focus is more often than not on the wrong one. So much effort is put into treating symptoms and not enough on figuring out the causes. If you search the hard literature the research is being done to try to identify the causes for autoimmune disorders, but very little is passed down from doctor to patient. I tried talking to my endocrinologist about some studies looking at the prevalence of gluten and casein allergies amongst patients with hypothyroidism (peer-reviewed from popular journals) and he had no clue what I was talking about (but he was a moron, see next paragraph). There is an entire book out on how “to deal” with hypothyroidism with only one paragraph on the connection with gluten (or any food allergy) – pages and pages of information on what prescription medications to take to alleviate symptoms though. It seems like there is a hell of a lot of attention on feeling good and not enough on actually being healthy.

A short note on my experiences with my endocrinologist. He tried to convince me that my problems had nothing to do with food and said I would just have to watch my levels and wait until I had to go on Synthroid because nothing else could be done for my condition. He ignored most of the results of my blood work and was only concerned with how I felt. As if I had some terminal condition and all that could be done was to keep me comfortable till the inevitable. He was just itching to write me a Synthroid prescription and kept offering to put me on anti-depressants to cheer me up (depression was a symptom of my food allergies). I refused. Towards the end, he was ordering over $4,000 (per session) in useless lab tests – not sure how venereal diseases relate to my thyroid – undoubtedly to make some extra money off the insurance company. I kept going to him for the sole purpose of using him to monitor my TSH and antibody levels and give me printouts of the results so I could figure out what was wrong with me. He was useless – completely useless. I had to argue with him to redo my antibody tests 6 months into the new diet because he didn’t see the point since autoimmune diseases are progressive. He was surprised when they went down, but passed it off as a fluke. What a fucking moron. By the way, he is a popular doctor with many patients in Manhattan – if you want to know his name, please let me know and I’ll send it to you privately.

I have relatives and friends that are suffering with autoimmune diseases – an aunt with Sjogren’s disease, a mother-in-law with rheumatoid arthritis and friends with Hashimoto’s. I have tried to share what I’ve learned along the way with them, but when I mentioned giving up certain foods they listened…but from a distance. I’m not sure any of them would be willing to experiment with removing foods from their diet or get blood work done. I suppose when I get my final blood test results indicating no autoimmune disease at all, they might take all my rants more seriously, but I am skeptical. I feel helpless watching the people I love suffer when there could be an easy solution.

Please take my advice and do not give up, especially if a doctor claims nothing can be done for your condition. Doctors do not know everything and I think many stopped reading after med school. So that means you have to read – research studies, books, blogs, other people’s experiences, until you get the answer or at least some resolution. I implore anyone who reads this and suffers from an autoimmune disease to try this approach and consider the foods you eat as a possible cause of your health problems. Good luck!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 132 Comments