Not the ruling leader of Russia, but my amazing Nutritionist. Without Catherine over the past few months I am not sure I would be in the situation I am right now… completely functioning and feeling 90% better.
I made an appointment with Catherine when I was first diagnosed with RA, but I found it hard to cut out certain ‘possible problem food’ at that point. This was simply because I had no will power due to feeling so ill with the methotrexate and everything else that was going on in my body. Once the crash had happened after explant, I wanted to find out if there was anything else underlying within my body that would help me heal … and preferably quickly!
I wanted to test my gut for candida and parasites as I had read that a lot of women who have toxicity from breast implants also suffer with leaky gut, parasites, inflammation of the gut and gut dysbiosis, which is a disturbance of normal bacteria in the gut. I went back to Catherine to ask if this was a test she could do.. and it was.
A few days later I received my Comprehensive Parasitology and Bacteriology test. As I was on probiotics, I had stop taking them and then wait for at least two weeks before I could start collecting my poo samples. It actually wasn’t as bad as it sounds. Each morning, first thing I would collect tiny samples of my morning poop and store it in a test tube. After day three I shipped them back to the lab for testing.
I had to wait a few weeks for the results to come back and so in that time I read an incredible book called ‘GUT’ by Scientist Giulia Enders, so I could fully understand the workings of my insides. The way she writes and explains how our gut works, is simple and incredibly easy to comprehend. Highly recommend this book to anyone.
So when my results finally came in, I was even more fascinated by the results, as I had more of an understanding of what they found….
It showed that I was lacking in Lactobacillus, in fact I had no growth at all. This should be at 4+ but the results showed that they couldn’t culture any from my stool sample. Lactobacillus is a beneficial bacteria that we all need, as it helps to support the right pH in the bowel for digestion and food breakdown. It also helps break down lactose (sugars in dairy) and absorb nutrients. When beneficial flora are missing the decrease in intestinal pH means the pathogens (the bad bacteria) can thrive in the alkaline environment. This can cause an overgrowth of non beneficial bacterial or pathogenic microorganisms (dysbiosis) and so the good guys, like Lactobacillus get wiped out. If an individual, like me, has low beneficial bacteria it may present itself by showing chronic symptoms such as IBS, bloating, gas, chronic fatigue, headaches, autoimmune diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis) and sensitivities to a variety of foods.
As you can see from my results, I had dysbiotic flora and it was a 3+ which was high and not good. Dysbiotic flora can occur for a number of reasons including, consumption of contaminated water or food; daily exposure of chemicals that are toxic to the beneficial bacteria; use of antibiotics; medications; poor fibre intake and high stress levels. Dysbiotic flora release their own toxic substances which can cause inflammation or damage to the brush border of the intestinal lining. If this continues and is left unchecked, it causes that beautiful list of chronic symptoms I mentioned above.
Completely blown away with my results, it gave me so much hope this was another reason for me being so poorly. From what I have learnt so far, I knew that silicone implants are made from a load of chemicals. So, could it be that the slow release of these chemicals have caused a toxic build up in my body over the years? Could that be the reason that my good gut bacteria has been wiped out and allowed the bad bacteria to flourish, causing an autoimmune response in my body?
The lack of Lactobacilli also meant that I had an overgrowth of yeast, aka candida. This has its own list of symptoms which included, brain fog, fatigue, bladder infections, sensitivity to smells, mood swings/depression, sugar and carbohydrate cravings, gas/bloating and contraptions or loose stools. As you know, I ticked most of those symptoms too. The only way to find out and slowly piece the puzzle together, was to try and remove the bad guys and build up the good ones again. Cue Catherine The Great…
Now I wouldn’t have understood any of the above in a million years, if it wasn’t for Catherine. After my consultation with her going over the results, she then sent me a four page report explaining exactly what was wrong and what I needed to do next to try and heal my very unhappy body.
First stop change my diet. I had to avoid all cakes, biscuits and chocolate, anything with refined sugar, which to be honest I had already cut out. Refined white carbohydrates, dried fruit, melons, pineapple and mango. No dairy, no nightshade plants; tomatoes, potatoes, aubergine, paprika, peppers etc..
I was allowed, sweet potato, rice, meat, fish, 2 small portions of fruit a day and a teaspoon of manuka honey. I was to eat lots of garlic, coconut oil, coriander, spinach, kale, pumpkin seeds, leeks, onions and ginger…
I was given a list of supplements to take:
PHASE ONE (lasted one month)
- PharmEPA Restore – to support cell detoxification and modulate inflammation
- Super Adrenal Stress Formula – to support the adrenals
- Lactobacillus GG Culturelle – to support the levels of beneficial bacteria
- BioBifido BacT
- Saccharomyces Boulardii – a beneficial yeast probiotic with helps to raise levels of Secretory IgA, which is your main gut immune compound. This helps support good gut integrity.
- Kappa Rest – to help reduce inflammation in my body
PHASE TWO (to last three months and in conjunction with the above supplements.)
- Berberine and Grapefruit seed Extract – To remove unwanted bacteria from the gut
Over the next four months, I found it hard to know what to eat at times. Food was quite limited, especially when we went on holiday or out for dinner. There was so much I couldn’t eat, even when it came to gluten free stuff, because it’s actually full of sugar or potato starch. The fact it was summer was a bonus as I used the BBQ most evenings to add flavour to my dinners and made huge salads and homemade dressings. Breakfasts could be the hardest, as I couldn’t have a quick piece of toast or cereal. I started making my own nut milks and butters, cereals and even attempted homemade GF bread, but even to this day I still haven’t mastered that, it always turns out yuk!! I bought numerous recipe books to help inspire me and spent hours in the kitchen cooking up, what I hoped, would be a taste sensation. Sometimes it was and sometimes it was quite vile.
The first month was possibly the worst month as I was still feeling rotten and having to make every meal was a real chore. By the end of it though I had started to notice a difference in my health. I had more energy, more get up and go.
By month two, the aches were lessening and I was still feeling great, this meant I had more energy to cook as well as be mum and enjoy the summer with the kids. I did have some down days where I would cry and feel very low, but I put that all down to the detoxing.
By month three I was getting up in the morning and feeling good to go… this was a first in a long time. I would normally wake up with the balls of my feet hurting as I walked, but now even that was gone. I still had a few sore bits in my hands and wrists, but everything else was doing great. The plan was working.
During this time, Catherine got my adrenals checked and a Hair Mineral Analysis test done to see if it would flag up anything untoward.
The adrenal test showed that I had adrenal stress. This could be for many reasons, toxic overload, poor liver detoxification, lack of sleep, dysbiosis and candida overgrowth and inflammation. Well, we know that I tick most of them off as a ‘yes’ and with the results of my stool sample, disbiosis and candida were a absolute fact. To give my adrenals extra support, Catherine put me on Dr Wilsons Adrenal Rebuilder as well as continuing the Dr Wilsons Super Adrenal Stress Formula.
The Hair Mineral Analysis test showed that I had very high (off the scale to be exact) copper levels, as you can see below..
There are many reasons why my copper was so high. I had been on steroids and they can cause high levels of copper in the body. I had poor adrenal output, meaning that my adrenal signal to my liver to make the copper binding transport protein wasn’t happening. This meant that too much copper was circulating in my body instead of being bound and detoxified. Also, there is a link between silicone implants and copper. Silicone chemicals are oestrogenic in nature and so act like oestrogen in the body. When we are high in oestrogen, we collect copper.
Copper has a number of important functions in the human body. But problems usually occur when there is too much of it stored in the soft tissues and there are many symptoms associated with this problem.
As I mentioned before, when copper builds up in the body it prevents the proper conversion of thyroid hormone at a cellular level. It also interferes with the adrenal hormone production because the zinc levels have also been disrupted, which weakens the immune system. Put the two issues of the thyroid and adrenal gland function together and you get copper toxicity, which causes fatigue.
Copper toxicity also inhibits cortisol production which causes hypoglycemia and increases inflamation. It also increases aldosterone, our natural steroid hormone, which makes you feel like your mind is racing. It stimulates the nerves, leading to headaches, migraines, neuralgia, such as sciatica or trigeminal neuralgia, which is sharp pains in the face. It can cause joint pain, arthritis, IBS, digestive problems, overgrowth of candida and skin problems, such as psoriasis or acne. Because of the connection with oestrogen levels as I mentioned earlier, copper toxicity causes menstrual irregularity and hormone imbalances.
I have had every, single one of those symptoms along the way. When I started reading up on it all, it was like reading my medical records.
So it was time to get the excess copper out of my system. Catherine sent me another three page report explaining exactly what I needed to do. Unfortunately it was tweaking my diet even more. I needed to keep nuts and seeds to a minimum as they were very high in copper. Avocados that I had been eating in abundance also needed to be kept to a minimum as they contain copper too. However the good news was I could start to reintroduce potatoes and tomatoes back into my diet. It was like an early Christmas present!
Catherine also put me on more supplements to help support detoxification.
- Vitamin E Plus: containing vitamin E and selenium to help support detoxification of heavy metals and copper. As my Selenium levels were low on my test, I needed support as this is vital for detoxification.
- Min Plex B: because my zinc was a little high on my results, Catherine’s report suggested that I lacked Vitamin B6, as zinc can’t be absorbed without it. Zinc also helps to keep the copper at the right level, so if you are not absorbing the zinc correctly, the copper cannot balance correctly either. Another reason pointing to a Vitamin B6 deficiency was the high Calcium to Magnesium levels. So this easy to absorb B6, magnesium and chromium formula will help support the intake of B6 and other minerals.
- ZMC Plus: Easy to absorb zinc, manganese and vit c. This will help to support the copper detoxification and increase zinc intake.
I honestly do not know what I would have done without Catherine guiding me through all of this. I am now coming to the end of the first protocol from the Comprehensive Parasitology and Bacteriology test results. With only one week left until its finished, I still have a few tender joints, only on the side of my wrist and my thumb and middle finger. The joint is not stiff in any way and doesn’t hurt when I move it. It is just tender to touch, a bit like a knot in a muscle when you have a massage.
I have been eating tomatoes and potatoes for two months now but that hasn’t caused a trigger response within my body. Its been a joy to reintroduce them into my diet, and boy has it made a difference in what I can now eat. SO much flavour… and chips… guilty pleasure! I will be re-tested over the next few months to see how my gut microbiome is doing and also another Hair Mineral Analysis test to see if I have got rid of the excess copper and re balanced my system.
When I look back at all the tests done over the last 6 months, it really doesn’t surprise me that my body went into a state of inflammation. Having all these results and knowing I have a fighting chance thanks to diet, supplements and gentle exercise, it fills my heart and head with so much hope that I CAN fix myself and live a healthy life without any toxic medication.
Today is the 19th October 2016 and I am doing great. Everyday I heal a little bit more.
Click here to read more…..xx
I would not advise anyone taking any supplements without consulting a trained and registered Nutritionist. This protocol was based on my results and my body.