Friday, April 29, 2005

Fermented Cabbage Recipe - for correcting malabsorption

Here is a recipe for fermented cabbage, a very powerful natural probiotic, and very helpful with digestion. I believe this recipe was the major factor in the reversal of my very severe malabsorption problem.

1. Purchase vegetable culture. I get mine from Mercola, but there are other sources. Some people say that cabbage will culture on its own also because there is acidophilus on the plants already, but I always use a commercial culture.

2. Purchase FOS (fruit sugar) powder (or you can use sugar to start the culture – I get FOS from, I use the FOS because I am very sensitive to regular sugar)

3. Purchase 4-5 quart jars and lids (or you can get special fermentation jars that are heavier, but I use quart jars all the time and they work fine.

4. Cut up a head of cabbage (organic if available, but regular works also) into thin strips. When I want a big batch I use two heads of cabbage. Save a few pieces of cabbage whole, to roll up and use in the tops of the jars (more on this below). If you have sensitive or pickiness about taste, you may add seasonings, garlic, other vegetables, etc. I am not selective about taste and like the regular fermented raw cabbage. Some people can not stand that flavor though and need to create a nicer ‘recipe.’

5. Prepare about 1 cup of culture solution, this is one packet of veggie culture mixed with one scoop of FOS (or about 1 tablespoon of sugar if you don’t use FOS) in a half cup of warm water. Let sit for about 20 minutes, to get the culture started

6. Then puree about a cup of cabbage in a blender, and mix in with the culture solution

7. Mix the culture/puree in with the sliced cabbage (this is best in a very large bowl) until the cabbage is all moistened with the culture.

8. Put the cabbage into quart jars, and smash down to eliminate air and get as much cabbage as possible in each jar. Usually one large head of cabbage will make 4-5 quarts. Put a rolled-up piece of whole cabbage in the top, to act as a type of filler and keep the fermenting cabbage compressed as much as possible. You want as little air as possible in the fermenting cabbage.

9. Put the lid on tight (but not too tight or you may have difficulty opening it again because leakage will tighten the ‘seal’ a bit!). If you are using a fermentation jar with a metal clamp on the top the lid will be very tight, but you can more easily open it because it uses downward pressure on the lid and not a screw-top. But you don’t need to use a special fermentation jar or jug, an inexpensive quart jar, or even a used mayonnaise jar, works just fine.

10. Set aside for one week, at room temperature. It will ferment. Every few days, turn the jars upside down for a few minutes to re-moisten the cabbage well. I like to place mine on the tops of the kitchen cabinets, where they will stay nice and warm, be out of the way, but also remain visible so I remember to retrieve them after a week!

11. Refrigerate the jars after a week, this slows down the fermentation, but does not completely stop it.

12. Eat about 1 tablespoon with each meal, this is the most powerful probiotic I have ever found, and I have taken a LOT of them. For the first few days there may be some burning sensation in the intestines as the cabbage changes the terrain. If this is intolerable, stop for a day, or take a half teaspoon or less with each meal, then work up slowly.


The effect of this is quite amazing. I had severe muscle wasting and had lost all my body fat, and immediately started gaining weight again. I already was on a good diet, had taken supplements many times for dysbiosis, and had worked on stress reduction, and probably those measures also were important. Also, I make and take Kefir with each meal which probably helps as well. But it was the fermented cabbage that made the big difference. My wasting did not reverse until I started using this.

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Role of Adrenal Exhaustion and Cortisol in CFIDS/Lyme

One of the apparent results of my long-term chronic infection is adrenal exhaustion. This is a complicated problem that must be addressed in order for more complete healing to take place. The primary symptom of exhausted adrenals for me is that energy ‘runs out’ early in the day (say, around 12-2 PM), I feel horrible when I get an ordinary virus – like I might die, and any stress at all saps so much energy that I must lay down. Also, sleep problems and chronic kidney-area pain or lower back pain whenever I lay down and relax. There are others but I would say these are primary. Here are some of the things I have learned about the adrenals and treating this problem.

When adrenals are exhausted they have actually lost some of their capacity, and therefore a person with exhausted adrenals is living with a condition that is basically a sub-clinical form of Addison’s Disease. I believe that a LOT of late stage Lymies have this and do not realize that it is an actual injury to the adrenals that should be addressed separately.

Also, one of the most telling symptoms is to lose all body hair from the lower legs, and eventually the upper legs as well. This is a strong indicator of adrenal exhaustion, but it reverses when the adrenals heal. BTW, my adrenals are slowly healing on salt/c, but I still have to treat them, and I must support them well during bad herx cycles.

There are several tests, the most useful is the Adrenal Stress Index (ASI), which is a very simple saliva test you take at home and send to the lab. You take several samples over a 24-hour period. This shows the levels of many adrenal hormones, and compares them to normal. A typical person with adrenal exhaustion has levels about half of normal, although sometimes there are reverse levels also (one time of day the cortisol is too high, another time of day it is too low), which show general regulation problems from chronic infection load. Most doctors who are ‘into’ natural medicine know about this test.

Cortisol is a hormone that is involved in adrenaline production, it is a safe supplement to take, but if a person takes too much the body may become dependent. However, there was controversy over this drug early on because its over-use caused problems. Then a Dr. Jeffries proved a number of years ago that a level not exceeding half the biological dose is safe and will not alter the body’s metabolism in any negative way. Taking too much is a problem because when we have high adrenal levels the immune system is depressed. There was a lot of misinformation about this about 20-30 years ago, and that still persists in the minds of many medical practitioners.

One interesting study showed that people with chronic fatigue syndrome may have adrenal glands that are half the size they should be based on body mass. I don’t think the reason is clear yet, either atrophy or genetics, but it was a surprise to learn this. Some people just seem to have low adrenal capacity. And as adrenals are taxed heavily with chronic infections, this is a big issue. (reference: Psychoneuroendocrinology 1999 Oct 24(7):759-68, Small adrenal glands in chronic fatigue syndrome: a preliminary computer tomography study. Scott L V, Teh J, Reznek R, Martin A, Sohaib A, Dinan T G [8 patients tested] )

There are other ways to boost the adrenals, such as licorice root and salt. Because I have chronically exhausted adrenals and probably have lost some adrenal function (For now anyway) I must take adrenal support every day. On days when I go off salt (I try to take a day off now and then to rest the kidneys), I must take cortisol (Cortef) or a lot of licorice. The typical healthy adrenal gland makes 40mg of cortisol per day. I usually take 5-10mg of cortisol on days off salt, or days with high stress. Many people take 20mg daily, and for some this has completely reversed their health problem (usually chronic fatigue type issues).

Historically, licorice was the natural treatment for Addison’s, because it acts as a re-uptake inhibitor for adrenaline. Some people treat only with licorice and adrenal extracts. I use very small amounts of licorice only because large quantities of licorice increase estrogen and lower testosterone levels. But in small quantities it does not seem to be a problem.

There are many other herbs that can be helpful in treating adrenal exhaustion. If you are serious about this topic I would recommend reading the book 'Adrenal Fatigue' by James Wilson (he is unique, he is an ND and DC with a PhD in nutrition). There are dozens of books on the subject but this one seems to be one of the most highly regarded, and his program does help many people, without using cortisol.

A good place to get the ASI test based on a phone consultation is – they have reasonable rates and are a non-profit treatment center for adrenal-related issues.

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Friday, April 22, 2005

Using Intuition Methods to Help Treatment

From time to time I have used various Intuition Methods to help identify which supplements or treatments might be good for me, or to find new treatment directions entirely. I now use this as a helpful way to provide insights, and sometimes to guide, but not to replace my rational and logical approach to problems. The primary method I will describe here is a form of muscle-testing or kinesiology. This intuition method has been helpful in learning to manage my illness, although there are some limitations.

My Discovery of Intuition Methods
Learning the best role of intuition methods was an interesting experience. When I first started using this and other related methods, I got quite excited about the ease of getting 'answers' to difficult questions. And I did find help in some new directions, particularly working through the emotional side of this disease, resolving some past problems and developing better coping strategies for dealing with the stress of the illness. I started feeling that I might be able to use intuition alone to get better. But then I had a negative experience where I followed advice from an intuition method without thinking things through enough rationally, and stopped several treatments all at one time. Basically, rather than evaluating carefully what 'made sense' I followed the intuition blindly. The result was a complete reversal of my progress and an immediate decline, I became bedridden again in one week! I learned a powerful lesson from this. Although I had benefitted significantly from intuitive methods, in this case I should have spent more time reasoning through what I learned and thought carefully about whether it was a good idea to stop so many useful treatments all at once, and start an untested treatment without carefully thinking things through. After some introspection I made a major shift in my use of intuitive methods, and put the rational mind back in control. I adjusted my perspective about the role of these intuitive methods and now I am more comfortable with their value. I realize now that I should have tested the new ideas more carefuly. My final conclusion from this experience was that intuitive methods are like advisors or consultants from an unknown source. Sort of like getting free advice over the Internet :). Intuitive methods help us better perceive our own deepest feelings, impressions, or intuitions, and maybe are indeed reflective of a higher wisdom connected with our inner being. But I think we should be cautious about taking literally the suggestions from these methods. Intuitive inputs can be helpful in pointing out things we might not have considered, and sometimes they can help us get through tough times. But we may not want to put these methods 'in charge' of key decisions.

I realize now that I came to over-rely on intuition out of frustration with this disease. After using a rational approach for many years with little success I tried to switch my emphasis on finding solutions to intuitive methods, and probably expected too much from intuitive methods. Now I realize that we should only use intuition as an input to our reasoning process in decision-making. I like to think that the mix of reason to intuition should be about 10:1. We need intuition, but it should not control our destiny alone. Therefore, I now restrict intuition to a 10% role, meaning it contributes 10% to the decision-making process. I still need to base 90% of my decision on logic, reason, and then use hard work to make things work, to get well. Nature gave us both reason and intuition, and I believe we need both. Ignoring either intuition or reason altogether is foolish, because human reason often needs the guidance of intuition (or conscience), and human intuition needs the logic of reason in order to accomplish good things. Ok, enough philosophy, on to the methods!

The Preliminary Stuff
There are many books and websites devoted to muscle testing. What I present here is a synthesis, based on a year-long search and learning experience. These methods work well for me and for others. I will describe them in simplistic terms because I think they are simple. Someday when I have some time I may add some pictures to this, but really, the instructions should be easy to follow, anyway I hope so.

One warning. While I do believe in the value of systematic intuition methods, I must warn that the results can be somewhat subjective. In research conducted with muscle testing, the general conclusion is that a large number of tests by a broad group of people can produce completely consistent information on simple questions of value (see Power Vs. Force). However, on an individual basis, it is not completely reliable. Some people may be better suited than others to succeed with Intuition Methods, one must be able to be completely objective and let the intuition speak without hinderance. And there are some unknowns about the source of the answers. However, with those caveats, I can say that it has been helpful to me.

Definition of Muscle-testing
Here are a few of my own thoughts, from my experience with the intuition method of muscle testing. I view muscle testing as a method of enhancing your intuition about the truth of statements related to your health. Muscle testing is based on the idea that our human energy patterns know the truth of all things related to our life, particularly regarding health. I like to think of it as a similar phenomenon to that measured by a polygraph, or lie detector test. A polygraph measures physiological changes such as blood pressure, EEG, or heart rates after a truth statement or a question is posed. Research has shown that these semi-autonomic responses often change when a person makes a false statement. I believe that the negative response of a person's energy polarity may be one of the causes of the changes measured by a polygraph. Like a polygraph, muscle testing involves the use of a physical response to determine the truth of a question. And like a polygraph, some sort of invisible energy is likely involved. So really, this is not as much of a fringe science as might seem, at least in this interpretation. Muscle testing may simply be a form of polygraph-like measure of truth that relies on kinesthetic response...

Operators of polygraph equipment learn how to read each person's responses, asking simple questions at first and learning how their body will react. With muscle testing a similar principle is involved. You must first ask a few questions, and then determine whether the testing will work for you. Generally you should first ask questions that reflect simple truths, such as "will muscle testing work for this question?" Or, "Is the sky blue today?" Then progress to questions like "Is this supplement good for me to take right now?" Or, "how much of this should I take, one tablet?" Or even "do I have a Candida problem today?" You can muscle test a wide range of questions, people have even studied history, learned about the relative importance of various human attributes, and even studied the level of maturity of religions through muscle testing. Most people who have studied muscle testing agree that you can not get accurate results if you ask about the future (sorry, no accurate data will be given on tomorrow's stock market prices, this has been tried already...).

Muscle testing is believed by many to be a result of communication from a higher intelligence present within the body energy. Thus, muscle testing can be viewed through the lens of belief in a higher intelligence in the universe that communicates with us through our own bodies. But even if you do not believe that, muscle testing still appears to work! Even skeptics can use muscle testing. Research shows that the level of belief in the test is not a factor in obtaining accurate results. I usually meditate silently for a few seconds before muscle testing and try to feel at peace, just to be sure that the proper feelings are involved and I will learn the truth. You should try to develop an unbiased feeling toward the question before muscle testing, as strong feelings towards the question could interfere with the body's response. If you doubt the answer, test again, or try again at a later time when you are in a different mood. Or ask someone you trust to test the question for you.

My 5 Favorite Forms of Muscle Testing
There are many forms of muscle testing. Some people succeed with one form and not another form, and some people can not succeed at all. The common forms I have tried are arm, finger rings, foot swinging, and leaning. I have also invented one form of my own, which I call the heart test. There are other forms as well. Here is a brief description of five forms I have tried. A few of these work better for me than others, but each person is unique, so you may want to try them all and determine what will work best for you:

Arm testing takes two people usually, although some people can succeed alone. For an arm test, you hold the arm out to the side, steady, and another person makes the 'truth statement' and tries to lower the arm by pressing a few fingers lightly on it. The person being tested should be the person with the health problem if possible, although you can ask any question about anything. For example, in the book 'Power vs. Force' this type of testing was used determine the level of maturity of various world religions, and the relative importance of a list of human characteristics. This method works for me sometimes, but I find it difficult because I have a hard time discerning how much force I am using. Maybe some people are more coordinated in this area. This is the original form of muscle testing and much is written on this (books).

Finger rings are probably the simplest and quickest. You make a ring with thumb and forefinger of one hand, and then make the truth statement and try to separate the thumb and forefinger with the other hand. Separating the thumb and forefinger can be done either by placing the thumb and forefinger of the other hand inside the finger ring and trying to spread them apart, or simply by placing one finger from the other hand inside the ring and trying to push or pull that finger out of the finger ring. The ring will be quite solid with truth, and hard to open. The ring will be easier to separate after making a false statement. One variation on this is to make two interlocking finger rings and try to pull them apart, again hard to separate is true, easy to separate is false. This works sometimes for me, but I am often not certain, maybe I am just not coordinated enough for this method, hard to say.

Foot swinging works well for young children, it also takes two people. You have them set with feet dangling about 10 inches apart, and then you hold their feet in your hands. You extend both thumbs and make the truth statement then swing the feet together gently. If true, your thumbs will touch easily, if false, you will have difficulty touching thumbs on the first swing. This is a complex form and I have heard a good explanation of how it works based on energy polarity. This method does not work well for me because I can not hold my thumbs out very long, but some people use it almost exclusively.

Leaning works by holding a supplement, or a paper with a word or question over your heart, then relaxing and making the truth statement about the object (for example: 'this supplement is good for me now'). The relaxing part is very important, that allows your body to talk to you. I take a few seconds and make sure the shoulders drop and are relaxed. Before making the truth statement, think clearly about the possible responses, and then identify where you will lean if the answer is true or false. For example, imagine that you will lean forward for a true answer, and lean to the left for a false answer. Then make the statement and relax. If you find yourself leaning forward, your body is saying yes and if it leans to the left, your body is saying no. No movement means no preference, and movement to any other area means that you have not asked the right question, or the answer is neither yes nor no. You may ask additional questions to know more. Also, you may define more possible responses any way you like. For example, when testing how much of a supplement to take, you might in your mind view the lean as if you were standing on a clock, and each hour of the clock could be the number of tablets, or servings to take. Leaning is a versatile test; you can use this in a store, office, etc., to see if something is right. This is also a very useful test because of the larger number of possible answers and flexibility.

Heart testing is my favorite form and it is powerful. I discovered this quite by accident and it is very useful. I always use this form for the hardest and most important questions. I like to use the knuckles of one hand to keep track of my options while using heart testing. This allows you to focus more easily on the different options or choices that face you, by using each knuckle to represent a different choice. You then touch each knuckle with the forefinger of the other hand, reviewing in your mind a different option or choice for each knuckle. For some reason, this closing of the circuit of the right and left hands often enhances the power of this test, and placing different options on the knuckles makes it more concrete to the mind/body, and enhances the separation of the sensations of the answer in the heart chakra area (just to the left of the physical heart, in the chest). The answer takes the form of positive (warm, comfortable) or negative (cold, uncomfortable) feelings in the chakra region. I usually take a few seconds and take stock of my feelings and sensations in the heart charka after each knuckle is touched, there is often something to learn even from the wrong answers. This method has helped me a lot.

Final Thought
With ANY of these tests, remember that muscle testing is only a method to help you access and better understand your own intuition. And as with all intuition, it is important to run the results through the filter of reason, and make sure the results makes sense before acting on them. As I discussed above, one good way to look at the muscle testing, or any intuitive method, is as an advisor or consultant. We are still the main character in our life story and I believe we are intended by nature to make our own decisions. I don't believe nature provided intuition as a replacement for logic and reason, but rather as a natural 'force' that should work together with reason and contribute to our personal and social progress.

Good luck!

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Do spontaneous temporary remissions provide clues about CFIDS?

A number of years ago I experienced a spontaneous remissions of virtually ALL of my CFIDS symptoms. I have had waxing and waning of symptoms before but this was quite different. I had taken a medicine to treat pinworms because of a family member with an infection (they treat the whole family for this). We were told to take a medicine called 'Vermox' two times, a week apart. The continual heavy fatigue, insomnia and other symptoms just vanished about 12 hours after the first dose. This lasted for a full 24 hours. I was incredulous, but did not realize that the Vermox was the cause until after the second dose a week later, when it happened again. I spoke with my doctor, an Internist, and he had no explanation. At this time I had no idea that co-infections would become a probable explanation for CFIDS, and my doctor did not know what to think. Eventually I forgot about this, because the drug is so toxic that it could not be used regularly or therapeutically. But just in the past few months I have heard other similar stories, and at first I did not connect all the dots. But now I think there are some clues here about at least one element of CFIDS, and possible infections with Helminth parasites...

Helminths are a class of parasite usually found in the third world. There are good Helminths and bad Helminths. Some can make humans very sick. Some are used to control insect populations. Several different people, including myself, have used substances that can alter or stop helminth activity resulting in partial, temporary, or even complete recovery from CFIDS.... Here are the details.

1. Hans (from Switzerland) posts to a CFS research list I monitor and participate in. Hans has CFIDS and went to Central America where he used Ayahuasca, a native narcotic drink used to stimulate visions and shamanistic healing journeys. Ayahuasca contains DMT, a hormone-like substance that is used in agricultural research to alter the metabolism of the Nematode, a Helminth. DMT is also a street drug in some places, a powerful narcotic. After taking the Ayahuasca healing drink, Hans experienced a significant 'spiritual journey' not unlike a psychedelic drug trip. Hans described this as a type of emotional purging, followed by a significant period of peace and serenity. Hans fully recovered from CFIDS for a few hours. He got his normal strength back, could think clearly, had all his faculties back, could pick up heavy rocks, etc., with no post-exhertional milase. He really did get well for several hours. Hans used the Ayahuasca three times with the same experience each time. Apparently DMT is also a natural human hormone released by the Pineal Gland in the brain. We don't understand much about its effects. Hans theorizes that we may be able to treat CFIDS with DMT, or something like that. What an incredible experience! Hans is trying to learn more about this, and so am I. I thought this was interesting, but then wondered about other possible effects of DMT. Here is what I have found so far. DMT is used in agriculture to change the activity levels of Nematode parasites, a member of the Helminth family! Here is a link to the use of DMT to alter Nematode metabolism... I believe that the DMT may have somehow altered the activity of a parasite load Hans is carrying. I can not prove this, but some other stories suggest to me that this is possible... Read on...

2. Kurt (me) has CFIDS and took Vermox (described above) which is another powerfulanti-parasitic for pinworm and probably other parasites (Nematodes?) and fully recovered from CFIDS for a few hours. I did this two times, a week a part, same experience both times. But Vermox is very toxic, not a long-term treatment option. Did the Vermox stop some unknown parasitic activity for a few hours, besides its killing of any pinworms?

3. Nil, another CFS experimental group member, has CFIDS and took Ketrax, another anti-parasitic with similar effects to Vermox, and 'felt human' again. She tried this also several times with the same effect. Unfortunately, like Vermox, Ketrax also is toxic and not a candidate for a long-term therapeutic agent.

4. Nancy has Lyme Disease (with CFS symptoms of course) and identified multiple Nematode parasites exiting her body when she took high doses of Salt. Here is her website, called LymePhotos which includes photos of some organisms that look like Helminths. Anyway, Nancy took salt in the theory that if Salt keeps Cows immune to Lyme (proven fact), then maybe it can help people. Nancy recovered fully from Lyme Disease after long-term use of salt. Dozens of people with Lyme are having positive effects from Nancy's protocol, and some are fully recovered, a Yahoo group is focused on this protocol (Lyme Strategies). Many of these people report similar experiences to Nancy's, including the exiting of nematode type parasites from the body during the salt therapy. Also, salt is a definite long-term treatment option, at biological doses. Although using high salt doses is controversial, most current sources agree that Nancy's dose is reasonable and tolerable by most people - humans with healthy kidneys can handle up to 30g of salt per day according to The Salt Institute.

5. Other people with CFIDS have taken Flagyl, another anti-parasitic, and had some remission, but then most have stopped because Flagyl has some 'issues' including neuropathy (Kurt also tried this but did not get nearly as much improvement as with the Vermox and had to stop with severe neuropathy). Several people on the online CFS research group have reported this.

These experiences suggest to me that CFIDS may involve a Helminth invasion. Maybe there area bad Helminths involved as co-infections in CFS/CFIDS and Lyme. OK, there are several possible alternate explanations here, one of which is that the immune system may be simply not functioning when loaded with anti-parasitics. Certainly that is a possible explanation for the Vermox, Flagyl, and Ketrax, but Nancy and others on Salt/C alternate between herx and improvement as they recover, and so clearly the immune is still alive and well for them. This leaves us with the real possibility that some, or maybe even many people with CFIDS and related illnesses have Nematode Helminths as a co-infection, or maybe even as a primary element.

But Helminths are not supposed to be a problem outside of Africa and third-world countries, right? Think again. Some species of Nematodes are considered 'harmless,' so they are used in agriculture to kill insects (huh?). They are sprayed right onto our crops.. See this scientific article on the incredible truth. We are definitely exposed to Helminths through our crops. If this is true, then we should have been told, and consumers should have been warned years ago to wash their vegetables with anti-parasitic washes (saline water or GSE work), and also to use parasite treatments occasionally (maybe a yearly cleanse), as is done in the third world. So for all you sleuths. what's goin' on here?

Do we have Nematodes that are making some of us sick? Maybe some of us do not have good natural defenses against these critters. OR maybe there is some other explanation. But something is in this data, these are strange 'coincidences.' I have wondered for years why I got well briefly from Vermox. Maybe finally the explanations surfacing. Maybe the problem has been Nematodes all along. And finally, what happens when a person has Nematode infestation? Well, for starters, Salt/C seems to help... and maybe there are other therapies that will help.

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