Leaky Gut Protocol
Contributed by Serena

I think you might be interested in the parts about treating heavy metal poisoning (starting with the paragraph, "Because my case was severe"). Heavy metals are the reason I've needed charcoal as part of my treatment plan. This condition calls not only for replacing metal fillings and using charcoal, but also a number of other measures that people may not be aware of. It's a condition that can cause acute depression and physical suffering (for example just getting one filling replaced caused me to detox enough metal through my skin that my fingers couldn't bend without 'paper cuts' opening up all over). Most cases aren't that severe, but mine's put me through a war of sorts.

  My doctor says heavy metal poisoning is like a rain barrel that fills up over the years, and once it's full it takes time and a number of measures to detox those metals. This is why metal fillings were banned in Europe 17 years ago. Also, my naturopath says heavy metal poisoning often coincides with leaky gut (I'm guessing that's because leaky gut pollutes the bloodstream so that one tends to store up more metals - also present in the blood from fillings etc.- store up more metal in one's tissues rather than be able to pee them out as much as someone without leaky gut, and therefor a cleaner bloodstream,  would be able to).
Here's my experience with leaky gut and heavy metal poisoning as a difficult dual condition........

My leaky gut symptoms were weak digestion, bloating, food allergies, chronic fatigue and brain fog. To be able to eat 3 meals a day I needed high potency digestive enzymes, and even with these they had to be small meals. Doctors said that I either needed to eat more or see a counselor to talk about stress. When I ate more I'd lose weight. None of the many doctors I saw ever mentioned leaky gut as a possibility.

Leaky gut can cause eczema, so when my eczema started spreading an herbalist told me to do a thorough liver cleanse. I did, not suspecting I had leaky gut. I drank a lot of water during the cleanse and sweetened it with honey, not knowing the sugar packed honey was exponentially increasing the bad bacteria that leaky gut already propagates. My gut became much worse and started 'leaking' so much poison from bad bacteria into the bloodstream that it was showing all over as eczema. I was barely alive after the liver cleanse.

I found an alternative medicine, environmentalist doctor, Dr. Bernhoft, who also nearly died of the same two things as me (heavy metal poisoning and leaky gut). He asked if I'd ever taken a lot of antibiotics, and I had throughout high school. He said I'd taken antibiotics far too long to get by with only eating yogurt (to restore bacterial balance) and instead needed a high potency pro-biotic.  To diagnose me Dr. Bernhoft did a gut test (the 'poop' test) to see which of the bad bacteria were out of control. He found 0 friendly bacteria and high levels of;
1. Candida
2. Enterococcus
3. Staphylococcus

 I had the worst case of leaky gut he'd ever seen. He has me taking two things for it:
1. A natural antibacterial- there are a number of natural antibacterial medications, and Caprylic Acid is one that treats all three mentioned above.
2. A pro-biotic-  to restore the friendly bacteria that antibiotics wiped out. I'm taking Ultimate Flora's high potency formula Critical Care. It has the two types of bacteria recommended by Dr. Bernhoft, which are Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. 

Known causes of leaky gut, in my case:
1. antibiotics
2. sugar
3. stress (by increasing acid)

Because my case was severe, and was complicated by acute heavy metal poisoning, I didn't make progress until I'd tried a number of other things. Here are some tips from my experience, which will also be helpful in less severe cases as some of them are standard practice for both heavy metal and leaky gut treatment. These efforts are geared towards easing the overall burden on my bloodstream as there was too much metal and leaky gut poisoning for me to be able to safely kill-off the bad bacteria. Before doing these things I would always develop difficulty breathing, swelling etc., every time I tried to treat my gut, or heavy metals, as my blood would become too thick with poisons and toxins.

1. colloidal silver - often cases with bad eczema involve sores and thus skin infections. I only take a tiny drop per day as this acts like antibiotics by harming the gut if taken excessively. If I stop taking it I start to feel much sicker after a few weeks, but for now am not worried about the slight gut effect as the pro-biotic counters it. (recommended by a naturopathic doctor).

2. sugar reduction- eating only as much fruit as I need, rarely eating high sugar fruits (Dr. Bernhoft agreed)

3. slowly replacing metal fillings with enamel fillings (Dr. Bernhoft recommended getting them all out at once, but I have to go very slow with this)

4. activated charcoal- to protect me from toxic metals and high poison levels (health adviser)

5. pure salt brand- our brand contained aluminum (Dr. Bernhoft says to switch out all metal containing products)

6. stopped taking Zantac - was taking 300mg/day (Dr. Bernhoft agreed)
7. clean water - drinking and shower (shower filter)  (strongly recommended by Dr. Bernhoft due to heavy metal contamination)

8. oatmeal  - helps gut rid itself of bad bacteria die-off, etc.  (internet testimonial)

9.  sweating - poisons in tissues are excreted this way, speeding recovery (recommended by Dr. Bernhoft)
To avoid getting too sick and itchy from bacterial die-off, a person may need to start with a small dose of the antibacterial and pro-biotic, and build up at whatever pace is tolerable.
After being disabled for 20 years from chronic fatigue, due to these conditions, I'm gaining back strength, stamina, mental clarity, an increasing sense of calmness and can digest fatty foods again, like nuts. Soon I hope to say I've made a full recovery. Though leaky gut's not the easiest condition to treat it's worth it.
Good luck!
August 2012

Editor: Serena contributed her story of Leaky Gut and Chronic Fatigue in the 2011 Your Stories page - scroll down.