ignis, glacies et pertinacia

Posts Tagged ‘Natasha Campbell-McBride’

Candida Die Off

In Autism Research Unit, Department of Nutrition, Food diary, Unforgiving Minutes on May 26, 2010 at 10:00 pm

A few lost days recently, and mainly to Candida Die Off. Probably I have mentioned this before, and certainly I will mention it again. It may be that the mechanism for it is not yet quite fully understood and that it will not in future be described as Candida Die Off, but since the self-styled hard-nosed scientists who ridicule such ideas provide no better hypothesis for how and why I come to feel so shite before I come to feel better following the imposition of a strict dietary regime after a lax spell or the ingestion of probiotics, and since they get many details wrong when they swagger into the fray, since indeed those who talk of Candida die off, off-puttingly flaky though they may be, describe perfectly how I feel and give the only plausible reason why I should feel it, Candida die off it remains.

So, the hypothesis goes something like this:

Because of the increasing prevalence of highly refined carbohydrates and sugars in our diet, because of the high-yeast fast bake process, because of the shift towards milling of flours which removes all nutritional value, because of the over prescription of anti biotics by doctors and the use of prophylactic anti biotics in animal feed, the gut flora (the balance of “good” bacteria to bad and other strains), there is increasingly a problem of Candidiasis in Western populations.

Candida albicans is a common yeast-like microorganism which, given the right environment, and in a dearth of more desireable “gut flora”, can flourish, literally threading itself through the gut lining of suffers.

In itself it can cause a problem, releasing toxins. But this threading through the gut too can cause “leaky gut syndrome”, where particles that ought not to pass through the selectively-permeable membranes of the gut, can pass thorugh. Once they have done so they can in some cases interfere with the function of the central nervous system. In others, they can trigger food allergies which then further inflame the gut lining, decreasing absorption and leading to yet further problems.

To defeat this an anti-Candida diet has to be employed. I have benefitted from this myself, though I have never found myself able to persist in its strictures which involve the exclusion of all refined carbs (I couldn’t give up exercise, for one thing, which makes me crave carbs, I often say that if I had the organisational capacity to carry out the diet, I wouldn’t need it, and I have poor/non-existent impulse control besides). In addition, pro-biotics are important, to build up the immune system against the invasive organism.

While these necessary measures are being taken, though, something called Candida Die off occurs in which, depending on which theory you go for (to me the results are the same and so it makes little odds) either A> dying Candida releases the toxins that would otherwise be left inside or B> the Candida, now that the environment is more challenging, becomes more aggressive in order to bed itself into body tissues. In the process, you experience something called Herxheimer reaction (which also may or may not be the correct nomenclature). Essentially, this is toxic overload. You feel like hell, have all the symptoms of flu, including tingling skin (check), lethargy (check), sleepiness (check), and feeling cold.

Mine came on first a few days ago when I began eating home-made probiotic sauerkraut and took a probiotic capsule or two. I wasn’t quite getting it right. These measures should be rolled in slowly after the strict following of an anti-Candida diet. I hadn’t quite done this. My priorities and obsessions shift so much that I tend to be all or nothing most of the time, and I had come on too strong with the probiotics after too loose an interpretation of the Candida diet. (Another reason I have for believing this hypothesis incidentally, is the severity of the symptoms and the way they corrolate with how lax I have been in applying the diet, how quickly I move from eating badly to eating well – with or without probiotics – and how aggressively I introduce probiotics.)

In addition, I woke up this morning after sleeping badly last night, feeling like I had a cold. Though I had been shaky all day yesterday and knew I was coming down with Herheimer/Die off, I went for a fell run race starting at 19:15 and ran 4 miles with an 1100 feet climb. I came down and felt better than I had all day, but by the time it came to go to bed, I felt alert. My head was spinning. I couldn’t sleep until late, another symptom, now I look back, of Herxheimer. Exercise too helps to kill the Candida and I had ran pretty hard.

And so I have been achy all day, had loose stool (sorry), and felt too crabby for company.

Still, good and bad news. The good: I’ve still got a long way to go. The bad: I’ve found something that works, Sauerkraut and the fermented foods Natasha Campbell McBride believes to be so effective against such problems and the mental difficulties they can cause.

The only lingering bad in all of it, perhaps, is that tomorrow I’m off to do some Dry Stone Walling again and had hoped to chat to the Chainsaw Girl I met last time and who I have been daydreaming about since, but then, since I’m still profoundly ambivalent about relationships and siding, most times, with Gibbon (as Anthony Storr described him in Solitude) who said he often dreamed of being coupled, but was invariably glad to wake up from the reverie and find himself untethered, maybe that itself is no bad thing. All I’ve got to ensure is that I manage to cook something tomorrow morning!

Night Gav-watchers

Gav Belcher

Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell-McBride

In Autism Research Unit, Book Review, Department of Nutrition, Department of Psychology on December 10, 2009 at 7:12 pm

I had not used the local library for about two years on account of having ran up a debt on a number of books on rape and the criminal justice system, research for a book that swelled to the size of an Anna Karenina or a Bleak House and helped to take me to the edge and which, needless to say, hasn’t be written. I had also falen out of the habit of considering libraries as one of the ways of getting my hands on a book. If I needed a book I would think E-Bay or Amazon, or, more recently, the Book Depository, and that would set me to thinking about compulsive buying and set in motion all of the strategies I have in place to stop me impulse buying Marshall stack amplifiers with power breaks for playing in my bedroom, Le Creusset casseroles, expensive language packs for Croatian, expsensive vintage typewriters and all the rest of it, but which also stops me, time after time, buying the needful things, the things which might make such strategies a little less necessary. Gut and Psychology Syndrome was one such book, indefinitely postponed by my own complex analytical filters. I had come across Natasha Campbell-McBride well over a year ago – perhaps as much as two, three years back – and it was evident to me that she came from a solid scientific background and that she had a valuable contribution to make in the field of nutritional therapy for neurodevelopmental disorders. Nonetheless, it took me a long time to get to reading her book. Anybody who suffers from the conditions she describes may understand the various shifts of priorities and the miscellaneous mishaps and the various exigencies of a life lived in a far from orderly way all of which militate against the chance of finding a window to focus on the very things which may lend order, but I can only stress that there will always be some things which are well worthy of being shoved to the front of the queue, whatever else seems imperitive, and this is one of them.

Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride is a qualified medical doctor who has worked as a neurosurgeon and also trained in nutrition. The fact that she has a child who was originally diagnosed with asperger’s syndrome also led her to look into the causes of this condition, and to question the orthodoxy that asperger’s is incurable (her son is now a fully-functional adolescent). As a consequence, Dr Campbell-McBride came into contact with the late Bernard Rimland, director of the Autism Research Institute. From him she learned that many individuals with autism recover following the implementation of a gluten and casein free diet.

Campbell-McBride, however, went deeper than this. She discovered that gluten and casein were merely two of many proteins which metabolise into potent neurotoxins in an improperly functioning gut. She discovered that all of the patients she saw who had autism, but also ADHD, dyslexia, schizophrenia, dyspraxia, and other such conditions, have abnormalities of gut flora, the bacteria and microorganisms in the gut.

Campbell-McBride developed a protocol to heal this kind of problem. For her it is the malfunction of the gut that causes the malfunction in the brain. It does not add to it. It does not exacerbate it. It causes it.

In the book, Campbell-McBride lays out her protocol, which she says she successfully used to treat her son. In so doing she takes a look at other popular forms of nutritional intervention. In this section one or two minor factual errors may creep in. She summarises the anti-Candida diet, for example, as one which permits a great deal of pastries and starch. This may be true of certain books which are written in a broadly anti-candida vein, and indeed I know people who claim to be on an anti-Candida diet who bake with non-gluten flours and with sugars all the time, and who eat a great deal of starch, and who, incidentally, are not getting well or any the less irritable by doing so. Many people who have little background in nutrition have taken up the Candida bandwaggon. Alas, what has occurred with Candida is what has occurred elsewhere where the medical establishment fails to acknowledge a problem, that is, the market has produced a glut of nonsense in what is, ironically, a parallel of the pathogenic bacteria that take up residence and start proactively squatting when the goodies move out: these people thrive in the same environment and feed on the same fuel as could sustain knowledgeable men and women with a scientific background, if only they would take up the challenge, but as they hubristically scoff and walk away the quacks move in along with the more principled alternative practitioners and genuine nutritionists. Whatever, Erica White’s more considered approach to Candida is not what is demolished here. But no matter, the fact is that most alternatives to the tough but effective protocol laid out by Dr Campbell-McBride, essentially the too-often overlooked specific carbohydrate diet coupled with the supplementation of therapeutic doses of probiotics, are ineffectual or incomplete.

This I found out a year or two too late, as is often the case, since after years of struggling to apply the more rigorous anti-Candida diet of Erica White and yahoo groups’ ‘Bee’, I cut out all grains for a while and used home-made ghee, clarified butter, instead of the normal stuff, and boosted my level of probiotics, and the changes were rapidly apparent.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and this one eats very well thank you very much. Try it.

Gav B

Sad news

In Department of Nutrition, UoG Newsletter on November 13, 2009 at 10:54 pm

Professor Gavin Belcher of the UoG Department of Nutrition has expressed his sadness over the news that Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of the influential Gut And Psychology Syndrome, has been taken seriously ill. Dr Campbell-McBride was taken seriously ill on 21st October and admitted the neuroscience critical care unit of Addenbrooks Hospital. She was kept on the critical care list for three days. So far no cause has been found for her illness. She is soon to be discharged for home care and is under strict orders not to work for three months.

Prof Belcher said “Dr Campbell-McBride’s work on gut dysbiosis and neurodevelopmental disorders has challenged the medical mainstream, the food industry, and, undoubtedly, the pharmaceutical industry. Her assertion that these problems are caused in the gut was backed up by assiduous and meticulous research. On behalf of all of those at the UoG Department of Nutrition, I would like to express our enormous esteem for her work and hope her a full and speedy recovery.”