Holy cow it has been NINE MONTHS since I updated this blog, you guys! That’s kind of amazing. I have a lot I want to catch you up on and so much I want to say. I am recording some new Wednesdays with Karla videos now that will catch you up on the big health events of my life in the past year, and I’ll write a few blogs here soon to go with them.
But for NOW, I wanted to answer a question that I get asked a LOT (and frankly, one I always wanted to know when I was really acutely ill with Lyme disease and coinfections):
What are you doing to STAY WELL?
The answer to this question will differ for everyone, of course. I am sharing what’s working for me, but what you need could be entirely different. As always, be sure to talk to your medical team before starting anything new. But this is a complex illness and we all get ideas from one another on what to do and where to start, so I wanted to share my list.
Now, if you’ve read my blog or watched my videos, you know I believe AS ALWAYS in a multi-pronged approach to achieving wellness. There is no magic pill you can take or one type of life change you can make that will keep you well. Supplements and medications, while they’re the focus of this post, are only one part of a larger lifestyle that I believe is keeping me well.
I’ll get into each of these in later videos and blog posts, but my main big buckets are:
Keeping a low stress lifestyle
This includes healing past trauma, setting boundaries, saying no, exiting toxic relationships / jobs / commitments, expressing yourself authentically, taking a lot of downtime, and deliberately increasing joy, connection, purpose, pursuit and community.
Keeping a clean diet
Whatever this means for you but likely reducing processed foods, sugar and allergens while increasing fruit and vegetable intake. I am gluten / dairy / egg free. I go really low in sugar, grain, legumes and oils. I choose organic / grassfed / wild, and I eat 9-12 cups of fruits and vegetables a day.
Finding conventional and holistic meds that help you
For me, this means taking my thyroid meds, anti-virals and MS meds (whole video coming about that). It also means taking supplements. Read on for greater detail!
My list of prescription medications is actually really short these days. I am on four: 1. Thyroid medications (mine are T3 only; this took me years to dial in), 2. antivirals as needed for zoster visuses (cold sores) 3. a Kyleena IUD and 4. Ocrevus for multiple sclerosis.
Now, onto the part I think you’re probably all more curious about: Supplements! This is an evolving list. I am always learning more, trying things and rotating things in and out. But this is a well-rounded group of supplements I feel strongly about and am committed to for the time being. Without further adieu:
- Proteolytic enzymes – 3 caps / day
- L-Lysine – 3gm / day
- Magnesium Glycinate – 240mg / day
- COQ10 – 200mg / day
- Calcium – 800mg / day
- ALTERNATING EVERY OTHER DAY: Chlorella – 4 tabs / Spirulina – 3 tabs
- B Complex Plus – 1 cap / day (AM only)
- Methylcobalamin – 1000mcg / day (AM only)
- HiBiotin – 300mg / day
- MSM – 3,000mg / day
- Selenium – 200mg / day
- Zinc – 30mg / day
- Alpha Lipoic Acid – 600mg / day
- Vitamin E – 400mg / day
- Vitamin D3 – 1000mg / day
- Fish Oil – 5120mg / day
- ROTATING: Probiotics – 4 varieties, 2 pills each, 2x a day
- Lionsmane – ½ tsp / day
Obviously, this is a LOT of supplements. From a daily management perspective, I take pills 4x a day. I do this for two reasons. First, my thyroid meds, the proteolytic enzymes and L-Lysine are all better to take on an empty stomach, whereas the others are more comfortable with food. Secondly, for any supplement that has multiple pills per dose, I split them up; the smaller quantities of a given supplement are easier for a body to manage than one big dose all at once.
To me, four doses of pills a day is still a heck of a lot less than the number of times I was taking meds when I was actively treating Lyme & Co. But keep in mind, I am a health optimizer and sort of an overachiever, so please don’t feel like you need to take as many supplements as I do or in as many divided doses to be well. I am SURE that’s not the case.
It might help, as you decide which supplements you might want to talk to your doctor about and maybe try yourself, to look at them by category. Here is why I take each of the supplements I do:
- B Complex Plus
Inflammation / pain:
- Proteolytic Enzymes
- Magnesium Glycinate
- Alpha Lipoic Acid
- Alpha Lipoic Acid
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin D3
- Lions Main
The supplements I am using to help with issues related to Multiple Sclerosis are new to me and I have to say, I am absolutely fascinated by what I’ve learned. Alpha Lipoic Acid, for example, is a great antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress and supports our immune systems. It’s also really helpful with neuropathy. Within a few weeks of taking it, the tingling in my feet improved dramatically. Vitamin E is another one we should be paying attention to. It helps protects the myelin sheaths around our nerves (the very tissue that the disease mechanisms of MS destroy). And vitamin D deficiency, of course, has long been linked with MS.
The two I am MOST excited about in relation to MS are high doses of biotin and lion’s mane extract. High doses of Biotin, for instance, are appearing to slow down disease progression in some studies! BIOTIN! Acting much like a disease modifying drug. This is a supplement I was taking for my HAIR, people! Mine blown.
And lion’s mane is getting a lot of attention in all sorts of health circles, for good reason. Studies are suggesting the mushroom extract improves memory, focus and concentration; reduces depression and anxiety; improves energy; reduces brain inflammation and helps regenerate damaged cells; supports gut and cardiovascular health. It’s no wonder the MS community is going mad about it.
The probiotics also deserve a bit of a special mention. I started taking probiotics whilst I was treating my infections with high dose and rotating antibiotics. I was on those for almost FOUR years and because I was diligent about my probiotics, I never had a single GI or C.Diff event.
The keys for this were:
- Always always always staying on Saccharomyces Boulardii
- Adding 2-3 other probiotics (variations of different strains) and rotating these every 2-3 months
- Taking the probiotics at least 2 hours away from antibiotics
- Using high doses (I took 2 pills of each 2x a day; talk to your doctor about what’s right for you)
Now, I used to think of probiotics as being purely preventative; I took them as a means for preventing GI complications of taking antibiotics. And when I finished antibiotic therapy, I thought, “I’ll use these for a few more months and then I’m done.” (6 months was my goal, by the way, to restore my gut flora.)
However, as I learn more and more about gut health, leaky gut, and how much of our immunity is made up in the gut, I have come to suspect that my super high dose probiotics may have been more of a primary treatment than I realized.
I have dropped down to just 2-3 types of probiotics per month now (including SacchB), and I don’t rotate as often, but I think probiotics will remain a core part of my supplement plan indefinitely.
Alright! How’s that for a check in?? Ha! There is more content coming, so if you’re not following the blog, this is a great time to subscribe to updates. I also really encourage you to like and follow Wednesdays with Karla as season 2 videos will be coming live soon. And as always, if there’s something you want to hear about or questions you have, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get it addressed as best I can.
Stay healthy out there everyone!