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Probiotic Overgrowth
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auri Offline
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Probiotic Overgrowth
Hi James,

I'm new here (obviously). I found you by following a trail from CZ & Mountain Mist Botanicals, and am glad to be here.

My question for you revolves around probiotic overgrowth, but it is actually much more complex than that. So if you'd prefer to answer only one question, I would ask: What would you recommend for someone who has wound up with SIBO/lactic acidosis symptoms from taking high-dose probiotics, and who can't tolerate adding any more acid?

If you'd prefer a bit more background, here's a brief version of my life over the past three years:

1. Mother died, lots of stress; also on a high-dose progesterone birth control and began having gut issues (mostly IBS-D type). also during this time period, took an antibiotic for a UTI. Started having loads of seemingly unrelated symptoms.
2. Was told by doc that I was pre-diabetic. Began eating low carb.
3. Started taking probiotics
4. Began having SIBO/lactic acidosis symptoms, but did not recognize them as such
5. Was given an antibiotic for an unrelated condition. This stopped the lactic acidosis symptoms, but gave me thrush and eventually, intestinal candida overgrowth
6. After trying many treatments, eventually found that high-dose biotin controlled the candida overgrowth. Began being constipated.
7. Took high-dose probiotics again, which helped the constipation, but eventually led me back to SIBO/lactic acidosis symptoms (this time around I figured out the unifying cause to all the seemingly unrelated symptoms).
8. Am taking antibiotics, but they are not stopping the lactic acidosis issues to the point where I can eat anything more than very low carb. Still taking high-dose biotin, because every time I try to wean off of it I have horrendous histamine/allergy type issues: hives, itching, itchy eyes, sniffles, you name it.

So now I'm caught in a catch-22. If I stop the antibiotics, or eat any sugars (natural or otherwise), the lactic acidosis comes back with a vengeance. If I try to back down on the biotin, the candida issues rush back in. Basically, in trying to control everything, I've lost control.

To add to the problem, I can not tolerate betaine HCL or any other strong acids (acetic, malic, etc.). Even in small doses, they give me muscle burning like you would not believe - undoubtedly an additive effect to the lactic acidosis I'm struggling with.

And I'm naturally leery of anything probiotic - e.g. kefir - because probiotics have also contributed to my problem.

There are a thousand other tiny pieces to this puzzle, but I'm trying to be brief.

If you were me (which I know you'd never do something so stupid as back yourself into this corner, but...), what would you do?

Thank you in advance for your assistance, and thank you for taking your time to create and maintain this site! As a webmaster myself, I know how time consuming it can be.
07-20-2012 07:30 AM
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James Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Probiotic Overgrowth
(07-20-2012 07:30 AM)auri Wrote:  Hi James,

I'm new here (obviously). I found you by following a trail from CZ & Mountain Mist Botanicals, and am glad to be here.

My question for you revolves around probiotic overgrowth, but it is actually much more complex than that. So if you'd prefer to answer only one question, I would ask: What would you recommend for someone who has wound up with SIBO/lactic acidosis symptoms from taking high-dose probiotics, and who can't tolerate adding any more acid?

If you'd prefer a bit more background, here's a brief version of my life over the past three years:

1. Mother died, lots of stress; also on a high-dose progesterone birth control and began having gut issues (mostly IBS-D type). also during this time period, took an antibiotic for a UTI. Started having loads of seemingly unrelated symptoms.
2. Was told by doc that I was pre-diabetic. Began eating low carb.
3. Started taking probiotics
4. Began having SIBO/lactic acidosis symptoms, but did not recognize them as such
5. Was given an antibiotic for an unrelated condition. This stopped the lactic acidosis symptoms, but gave me thrush and eventually, intestinal candida overgrowth
6. After trying many treatments, eventually found that high-dose biotin controlled the candida overgrowth. Began being constipated.
7. Took high-dose probiotics again, which helped the constipation, but eventually led me back to SIBO/lactic acidosis symptoms (this time around I figured out the unifying cause to all the seemingly unrelated symptoms).
8. Am taking antibiotics, but they are not stopping the lactic acidosis issues to the point where I can eat anything more than very low carb. Still taking high-dose biotin, because every time I try to wean off of it I have horrendous histamine/allergy type issues: hives, itching, itchy eyes, sniffles, you name it.

So now I'm caught in a catch-22. If I stop the antibiotics, or eat any sugars (natural or otherwise), the lactic acidosis comes back with a vengeance. If I try to back down on the biotin, the candida issues rush back in. Basically, in trying to control everything, I've lost control.

To add to the problem, I can not tolerate betaine HCL or any other strong acids (acetic, malic, etc.). Even in small doses, they give me muscle burning like you would not believe - undoubtedly an additive effect to the lactic acidosis I'm struggling with.

And I'm naturally leery of anything probiotic - e.g. kefir - because probiotics have also contributed to my problem.

There are a thousand other tiny pieces to this puzzle, but I'm trying to be brief.

If you were me (which I know you'd never do something so stupid as back yourself into this corner, but...), what would you do?

Thank you in advance for your assistance, and thank you for taking your time to create and maintain this site! As a webmaster myself, I know how time consuming it can be.

It would help to know what symptoms you are experiencing, but I agree there is going to more to this.

For one thing simply generating lactic acid should not be causing all these problems as the body has various means to deal with acidity. Respiration is the primary means. Bicarbonate and excretion of hydrogen ions through the kidneys are the secondary means of acid reduction. There are other lesser means of acid removal as well, which is why it is so hard to develop acidosis. Although it can happen for several reasons such as the excess consumption of acids. The acids from the lactic acid forming bacteria should have been buffered or eliminated if everything was working properly, which leads me to believe that one of your other acid buffering/elimination systems is impaired. I am curious if you have had your kidney function tested recently? Antibiotic use can lead to kidney damage/failure, which in turn can contribute to acidosis by inhibiting the renal excretion of hydrogen ions.

As far as the allergic responses you are experiencing I have a few suggestions for you.

First in the bioflavonoid quercetin. Not the QBC (quercetin, bromelain and vitamin C), but rather straight quercetin. Quercetin is a natural antihistamine.

Secondly is the methyl donor trimethylglycine (TMG), derived from beet leaves. TMG helps to reduce histamine by increasing the level of antihistamine epinephrine. And even though TMG helps to increase stomach acidity TMG itself is alkalizing.

I also like the herb nettle leaf, which reduces acids in the blood. Nettle leaf also reduces histamine due to its content of quercetin and its support of the adrenal glands that produce the body's epinephrine. Nettle leaf is also very supporting to the kidneys.

If the issue is not with the kidneys then the other likely culprit would be with the pancreas, which stores bicarbonate for the body to buffer acids. Kidney issues from the antibiotics are still much more likely.

http://www.MountainMistBotanicals.com
07-20-2012 11:34 PM
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auri Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Probiotic Overgrowth
Thank you so much for your response! I have done a little more research of my own, and my responses to your recommendations and questions are below.

(07-20-2012 11:34 PM)James Wrote:  For one thing simply generating lactic acid should not be causing all these problems as the body has various means to deal with acidity.

You are probably correct that lactic acid alone is likely not the entire problem. I think I have an overall acidity problem from multiple sources, and the intestinal bacterial overgrowth is just the thing which pushed me over the edge into untenability. I know a low carb diet is acidic on its own, and being unable to eat any fruit (thanks to it causing my bacterial overgrowth to flare) I haven't too many options for raising my internal pH. I have found that pure dextrose, 1/4 tsp after each meal, seems to absorb high enough up in the digestive tract that it incites few symptoms, and it serves to keep my ketosis from becoming too severe, which I'm hoping also lowers my overall acidity.


Respiration is the primary means.

Understood. In fact, breathing changes (if I'm paying attention) are usually my first sign that I'm becoming overly acidic. If I'm distracted or otherwise occupied, though, these are easy to miss. You also asked about symptoms - muscle pain is a big symptom, and one that can either flare suddenly (if I take a betaine HCl, for example) or build up over days (if I stop my antibiotics or eat wrong and let the bacteria get a better foothold). I've found that supplementing methyl B12 and acetyl-l-carnitine help with this, but never seem to erase it completely.

There are also muscle spasms, deep muscle cramps, headaches and POTS-type symptoms (racing heart and high BP on standing). I've found I can counteract all of these with minerals, but when symptoms are at their worst, that raises my mineral intake well beyond DRI levels. I take about 1000mg of magnesium daily, and calcium on more of an as-needed basis, but it usually runs at least 1000-2000mg daily, but have gone as high as 4000 on a bad day. I get potassium from my food, particularly several ounces of avocado daily.

Other symptoms I have include a burning or scraping pain in my small intestine, and near-constant constipation. The intestinal pain is scraping when I become constipated, and burning when I'm not. I can relieve the constipation with powdered magnesium citrate in water, but have found it nearly impossible to do so without inducing flat-out diarrhea. I am also in a constant battle with low vitamin D (confirmed by testing), so I lay out in the sun almost daily, and take oral vitamin D supplements during the non-sunny times of year (which cause their own issues with constipation...sigh).


Bicarbonate and excretion of hydrogen ions through the kidneys are the secondary means of acid reduction.

My mineral intake is my attempt to fortify my bicarbonate buffer system. I tried doing it directly (bicarbonate of soda, sodium citrate), but that just made my bacterial overgrowth flare, which of course caused serious rebound acidity - muscle pain, the whole nine yards.

There are other lesser means of acid removal as well, which is why it is so hard to develop acidosis. Although it can happen for several reasons such as the excess consumption of acids. The acids from the lactic acid forming bacteria should have been buffered or eliminated if everything was working properly, which leads me to believe that one of your other acid buffering/elimination systems is impaired. I am curious if you have had your kidney function tested recently? Antibiotic use can lead to kidney damage/failure, which in turn can contribute to acidosis by inhibiting the renal excretion of hydrogen ions.

Admittedly, no, I have not had my kidney function tested recently. I do keep an eye on my urinary pH, though, and try to consume enough minerals to keep it near neutral (7.0).

As far as the allergic responses you are experiencing I have a few suggestions for you.

First in the bioflavonoid quercetin. Not the QBC (quercetin, bromelain and vitamin C), but rather straight quercetin. Quercetin is a natural antihistamine.

I have some of this on hand, because I tried it once before and did not find it helpful. I may give it another go. I'll tell you what did help (then and now) is eating only meat that is either freshly cooked, or frozen right after cooking. I don't eat a lot of high histamine foods otherwise, but given my low carb diet, meat was one thing I couldn't forego.


Secondly is the methyl donor trimethylglycine (TMG), derived from beet leaves. TMG helps to reduce histamine by increasing the level of antihistamine epinephrine. And even though TMG helps to increase stomach acidity TMG itself is alkalizing.

I did not realize that there was a non-HCl version of betaine. I will have to pick some of this up and see if it helps. Any suggestions as to a dosage to try to work up to? I'm 37yo, 155lbs, 5'5"


I also like the herb nettle leaf, which reduces acids in the blood. Nettle leaf also reduces histamine due to its content of quercetin and its support of the adrenal glands that produce the body's epinephrine. Nettle leaf is also very supporting to the kidneys.

I had no idea about nettle leaf being alkalizing. What form do you recommend? Tea, extract, powdered whole herb?

If the issue is not with the kidneys then the other likely culprit would be with the pancreas, which stores bicarbonate for the body to buffer acids. Kidney issues from the antibiotics are still much more likely.

I am inclined to agree that the pancreas is a strong candidate for a culprit. Despite the fact that it seemed to get happier when I went low carb (both my insulin and my glucose levels dropped into reasonable ranges), I get the feeling it isn't working correctly. Hence I've been supplementing with pancreatic enzymes at the beginning of each meal, but I'm unsure what else to do to support it.

More likely still, would be that my entire digestive system has just broken down. I do recall using antacids pretty heavily back around the start of this whole ordeal, which I've since learned can ruin your body's first line of defense against unwanted intestinal bacteria. In more recent times, I've been treating heartburn (when it occurs) with a few drops of a vinegar-based hot sauce. Not ideal, but most times it works.

I hate the thought of the antibiotics I'm taking causing kidney issues. I'm taking doxycycline now, because it is the one that seemed to work last year. I was also fairly comfortable with it because many people are on it long-term with no noted side effects (e.g. chlamydia pneumoniae and cfs/fibromyalgia patients). I should probably note that I did try non-prescription antimicrobials first (GSE, OLE, OoO, EVCO) with no noticeable impact.

That said, I had all of these issues before I started the doxy as well, so while I suppose that a diminution in kidney function could be contributing to my issues, I'm fairly certain that it is not the root cause. And that's what I'd really like to find - the root cause, so I can treat it and not have to worry about chasing symptoms.

Thanks again for your assistance!
07-22-2012 06:27 AM
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James Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Probiotic Overgrowth
(07-22-2012 06:27 AM)auri Wrote:  Thank you so much for your response! I have done a little more research of my own, and my responses to your recommendations and questions are below.

(07-20-2012 11:34 PM)James Wrote:  For one thing simply generating lactic acid should not be causing all these problems as the body has various means to deal with acidity.

You are probably correct that lactic acid alone is likely not the entire problem. I think I have an overall acidity problem from multiple sources, and the intestinal bacterial overgrowth is just the thing which pushed me over the edge into untenability. I know a low carb diet is acidic on its own, and being unable to eat any fruit (thanks to it causing my bacterial overgrowth to flare) I haven't too many options for raising my internal pH. I have found that pure dextrose, 1/4 tsp after each meal, seems to absorb high enough up in the digestive tract that it incites few symptoms, and it serves to keep my ketosis from becoming too severe, which I'm hoping also lowers my overall acidity.


Respiration is the primary means.

Understood. In fact, breathing changes (if I'm paying attention) are usually my first sign that I'm becoming overly acidic. If I'm distracted or otherwise occupied, though, these are easy to miss. You also asked about symptoms - muscle pain is a big symptom, and one that can either flare suddenly (if I take a betaine HCl, for example) or build up over days (if I stop my antibiotics or eat wrong and let the bacteria get a better foothold). I've found that supplementing methyl B12 and acetyl-l-carnitine help with this, but never seem to erase it completely.

There are also muscle spasms, deep muscle cramps, headaches and POTS-type symptoms (racing heart and high BP on standing). I've found I can counteract all of these with minerals, but when symptoms are at their worst, that raises my mineral intake well beyond DRI levels. I take about 1000mg of magnesium daily, and calcium on more of an as-needed basis, but it usually runs at least 1000-2000mg daily, but have gone as high as 4000 on a bad day. I get potassium from my food, particularly several ounces of avocado daily.

Many of these symptoms can be attributed to a magnesium deficiency and/or elevated calcium. Calcium is a muscle contractor, which includes skeletal muscle and blood vessels. Therefore, elevated calcium can cause muscle cramps/spasms, high blood pressure, tension headaches or migraines, etc. Magnesium is a muscle relaxant, which is why it is used to treat these problems caused by calcium.

Also keep in mind that calcium and magnesium are antagonistic to each other. I recommend lowering your calcium intake to allow the magnesium to do a better job of relaxing the muscles. Even in healthy individuals it is best to keep calcium and magnesium intake close to a equal ratio. In some cases though, such as when treating high blood pressure or migraines with magnesium the magnesium intake should be at least twice that of calcium in most cases.


Other symptoms I have include a burning or scraping pain in my small intestine, and near-constant constipation.

The scraping in the intestines can be a few things including diverticulitis or colitis.

Constipation can have various causes, but one of these again is an excess of calcium and/or lack of magnesium.

Other things that can contribute include dehydration, lack of dietary fiber, hypothyroidism, over use of stimulant laxatives and nerve damage.

A lack of flora can also lead to constipation. In your case though you mentioned having an excess of acid forming bacteria.


The intestinal pain is scraping when I become constipated, and burning when I'm not. I can relieve the constipation with powdered magnesium citrate in water, but have found it nearly impossible to do so without inducing flat-out diarrhea. I am also in a constant battle with low vitamin D (confirmed by testing), so I lay out in the sun almost daily, and take oral vitamin D supplements during the non-sunny times of year (which cause their own issues with constipation...sigh).
[/b]

Bicarbonate and excretion of hydrogen ions through the kidneys are the secondary means of acid reduction.

My mineral intake is my attempt to fortify my bicarbonate buffer system. I tried doing it directly (bicarbonate of soda, sodium citrate), but that just made my bacterial overgrowth flare, which of course caused serious rebound acidity - muscle pain, the whole nine yards.

Nettle leaf or alfalfa herb are both great for buffering acids.

There are other lesser means of acid removal as well, which is why it is so hard to develop acidosis. Although it can happen for several reasons such as the excess consumption of acids. The acids from the lactic acid forming bacteria should have been buffered or eliminated if everything was working properly, which leads me to believe that one of your other acid buffering/elimination systems is impaired. I am curious if you have had your kidney function tested recently? Antibiotic use can lead to kidney damage/failure, which in turn can contribute to acidosis by inhibiting the renal excretion of hydrogen ions.

Admittedly, no, I have not had my kidney function tested recently. I do keep an eye on my urinary pH, though, and try to consume enough minerals to keep it near neutral (7.0).

As far as the allergic responses you are experiencing I have a few suggestions for you.

First in the bioflavonoid quercetin. Not the QBC (quercetin, bromelain and vitamin C), but rather straight quercetin. Quercetin is a natural antihistamine.

I have some of this on hand, because I tried it once before and did not find it helpful. I may give it another go. I'll tell you what did help (then and now) is eating only meat that is either freshly cooked, or frozen right after cooking. I don't eat a lot of high histamine foods otherwise, but given my low carb diet, meat was one thing I couldn't forego.


Secondly is the methyl donor trimethylglycine (TMG), derived from beet leaves. TMG helps to reduce histamine by increasing the level of antihistamine epinephrine. And even though TMG helps to increase stomach acidity TMG itself is alkalizing.

I did not realize that there was a non-HCl version of betaine. I will have to pick some of this up and see if it helps. Any suggestions as to a dosage to try to work up to? I'm 37yo, 155lbs, 5'5"


I recommend 1g three times daily. Generally it does not matter if it before or with meals, but in your case I would say before for a more rapid absorption.


I also like the herb nettle leaf, which reduces acids in the blood. Nettle leaf also reduces histamine due to its content of quercetin and its support of the adrenal glands that produce the body's epinephrine. Nettle leaf is also very supporting to the kidneys.

I had no idea about nettle leaf being alkalizing. What form do you recommend? Tea, extract, powdered whole herb?

I prefer the herb powder. I recommend a half teaspoon three times daily before meals. It is not toxic so you can always increase it if it helps but you need more of an effect.

Alfalfa herb is also a good herb rich in alkaline minerals.


If the issue is not with the kidneys then the other likely culprit would be with the pancreas, which stores bicarbonate for the body to buffer acids. Kidney issues from the antibiotics are still much more likely.

I am inclined to agree that the pancreas is a strong candidate for a culprit. Despite the fact that it seemed to get happier when I went low carb (both my insulin and my glucose levels dropped into reasonable ranges), I get the feeling it isn't working correctly. Hence I've been supplementing with pancreatic enzymes at the beginning of each meal, but I'm unsure what else to do to support it.

[b]Juniper berries are very supporting to the pancreas, but they also drop blood sugar like crazy so you should have a little something in the stomach when using them. Here I would recommend less, such as a 1/4 teaspoon three times daily.


More likely still, would be that my entire digestive system has just broken down. I do recall using antacids pretty heavily back around the start of this whole ordeal, which I've since learned can ruin your body's first line of defense against unwanted intestinal bacteria. In more recent times, I've been treating heartburn (when it occurs) with a few drops of a vinegar-based hot sauce. Not ideal, but most times it works.

The juniper berries also help with other areas of digestion.


I hate the thought of the antibiotics I'm taking causing kidney issues. I'm taking doxycycline now, because it is the one that seemed to work last year. I was also fairly comfortable with it because many people are on it long-term with no noted side effects (e.g. chlamydia pneumoniae and cfs/fibromyalgia patients). I should probably note that I did try non-prescription antimicrobials first (GSE, OLE, OoO, EVCO) with no noticeable impact.

I don't like GSE at all. Don't know what you mean by OoO, and I there are better choices than that others. What herbs work best though depend on the type and location of the particular infection.

That said, I had all of these issues before I started the doxy as well, so while I suppose that a diminution in kidney function could be contributing to my issues, I'm fairly certain that it is not the root cause. And that's what I'd really like to find - the root cause, so I can treat it and not have to worry about chasing symptoms.[/b]

Doxycycline can aggravate existing kidney problems.

Thanks again for your assistance!

You're welcome.

http://www.MountainMistBotanicals.com
07-24-2012 09:46 PM
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