Monday, April 10, 2006

An interesting comment

Stumbled across the following on Amazon whilst look at the reviews of Breaking the Vicious Cycle. I have Pimintel's book, but havent had time to read it as yet.

"I'm a 35 year-old male with very good health, at least up until about 2 years ago when I started experiencing IBS symptoms (particularly gas/bloating in the lower abdomen soon after eating, as well as irregular bowel movements, stools and general fatigue). Like many, I was tested by the docs with no conclusive diagnosis other than "IBS," and no useful guidance for improving my situation.

I'm embarked on research to "heal thyself" and came upon this book, along with several others I'll mention. The protocol I've adopted based on these and other sources has put me back to perfect health in less than a few weeks. I suspect the key is Pimentel's SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) theory.

My main resources have been Pimentel's book here, Gottschalls' Specific Cardbohydrate Diet (SCD) and Cordain (and others') work on the "paleodiet," which is very similar to SCD. The upshot is that my symptoms (esp. the gas/bloating) were the result of excessive bacteria in the digestive tract; the gas/bloating being the byproduct of these bacteria working on certain foods I'd eat-most particularly complex sugars and starches.

The approach I developed consists of 3 main parts:

1. Step one: Starve the bacteria. This is the contribution of SCD/paleodiet. By denying the bacteria the specific carbs they thrive upon, they have nothing to feed upon. I noticed a dramatic decrease in my symptoms within 12 hours of adopting the SCD diet. I will say that some of Gottschall's "prohibited" foods make no sense to me (e.g. chickpeas), and I didn't have to be nearly as strict as SCD suggests to see a great improvement. Obviously your mileage may vary, but I was feeling back to 75-80% heath the first night after adopting the SCD diet.

2. Step two: Kill the bacteria off. This is where Pimentel's specific protocol comes in. He recommends specific antibiotics to do this (as I recall non-systemic ones that do a better job of staying within the intestinal tract). I simply used a 10-day course of METRONIDAZOLE (FLAGYL) (500mg 3x daily), and then a 10-day course of ERITHROMYCIN (500mg 2x daily).

3. Step three: Re-build beneficial intestinal bacteria. Concurrent with the antibiotics, I took probiotic supplements (timed so as to not be taken within 2 hours of the antibiotics). I also bought a cheap Salton yogurt maker and started making my own yogurt (which I `supercharged' by adding the powder from a few probiotic capsules before beginning the fermentation process).

Whether these ideas are bunk I cannot say. All I CAN say is that it has been a little over three weeks since I started this "plan," and I've never felt better. My energy has returned. My workouts are once again productive and strong. My bowel movements are like clockwork and as "normal" as they've ever been. I will say, however, that overall I believe that Pimentel's SIBO theory is closer to the truth (at least in my case) than SCD. I say this because there have been several times that I have gone "off the wagon" with SCD-prohibited foods, and I've suffered no ill effects whatsoever.

In any case, I share this not to start a debate. Others with more severe IBS may find none of this works for them. In my case, however, the results were amazing. And since the strategy/investment is minimal, I would recommend anyone at least trying this approach and judge the results for yourself."

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