How I overcame low energy, difficulty concentrating and digestive challenges in 4 steps
I’ve already shared on this blog about some of the health challenges that I’ve experienced over the past seven years, following an exposure to mold. Today I want to talk about what supplements I took that I believe were most important for my healing process.
Again, I can’t recommend working with a provider highly enough to tailor a custom treatment plan as every single body system is different. I’ve talked about the people that helped me the most here. My main providers were Marek and Molly, and each one helped me in different ways what exactly to try, and when, and how to pivot based on what we learned through the process.
This discussion can get to be a little long, so here’s the basic structure of this article:
step 1: vitamins and minerals that bolstered my system
step 2: the absolutely most important supplement
step 3: rebooting my digestion and the second most important supplement
step 4: diet changes
Step 1: Bolstering my system with vitamins and minerals
When I first started working with Marek, without seeing my blood test results, he predicted several likely nutrient deficiencies. When I began digging through my test records, these did show up in blood tests a few years after my exposure.
The following were the supplements I used to boost my system back up again:
Coenzymated B1 – I took this as sublingual under my tongue for 20 mins (or more). This had an immediate effect of boosting my clarity of thought and cognition. I stopped noticing as dramatic of an effect after a week or so as I developed a new baseline.
Active B6 (as P-5-P) – this helps with the absorption of other vitamins, and methylation of b12.
Molybdenum – this seems to help people with detox issues, like me.
Glutathione – The trick to this one was opening the capsules in my mouth to create a sublingual experience, on a budget (relatively).
Step 2: The Star of the Show – DIM
When Marek first turned me onto DIM, I was pretty amazed by the prospect. Basically, the theory is that individuals who have had chronic immune stress, such as exposure to mold can experience an exhaustion or crash in part of the immune function (called the NRF2 immune response).
The idea is that DIM can revive this immune response at the epigenetic level.
Another very interesting piece that I learned though this process is that the foods and supplements that we think of as antioxidants actually are not antioxidants at all. They are instead mild irritants that offend our cells to make them produce antioxidants.
This is usually totally fine, unless one has an exhausted immune function (as I did). Then it becomes a further source of depletion. Hence, until I was able to tolerate 200mg of DIM daily, I held off on taking any antioxidants. Once I could tolerate them, I added bio-available curcumin.
Step 3: Fixing my digestion
The next phase in my healing process was to fix my digestion.
What I learned was that it’s not uncommon for digestion to stop working properly after mold exposure due to the cascading effects of zinc deficiency.
The thought around the issue goes like this: when we get exposed to mold, we can become deficient in zinc because it all gets used to aid our immune response. But it’s important to have enough zinc as it signals the body to release stomach acid. And without enough stomach acid, we don’t break down our food very well, and we can develop deficiencies in vitamins and minerals because we are not able to absorb them from our diet.
I have no idea why the body would do this, but the end result is that the body can stop producing enough stomach acid and bile. This seemed to have happened in my case.
After 5 years after my exposure to mold, I developed a pain in right side. My skin broke out, I began getting regular migraines, and it got so bad I basically couldn’t eat anything but cooked vegan food.
My acupuncturist molly helped to diagnose the issue, and got me onto HCL, which is basically supplementary stomach acid. When I had tried this earlier, I had badly burned my stomach, and had been hesitant to try again. I strongly recommend getting professional help for this one, because it can be very bad if the supplementation goes wrong!
Step 4: Diet Changes
My last and final step was a trialing of the ketogenic diet. At first I was very hesitant to give it a try, and while it wouldn’t have worked while my digestion was very challenged, it was the perfect last step to recovery. I’ve been shocked by the extra resiliency it seems to have given me to mold.
The general explanation is that keto allows for more fasting, which allows the body to produce more detox elements, and it also lowers inflammation considerably, which means there’s less stress on my immune system, and more availability to fight intruders, such as molds.
I’ve also been happy to find that I can do a mostly pescatarian keto, which surprised me. I had thought that I would need to eat grass fed meat and bacon, but I seem to have had no issue staying in keto while consuming whey isolate, egg yolks, cheese, oysters and salmon as my protein sources.
The main thing I’ve learned through this process is that there are an amazing number of solutions out there for health challenges, and many of them (relatively) natural, if one is willing to look (and continue to look) for them.
It took considerable devotion to healing in a natural way to make all of this work, because it did require considerable consistency and compliance. This whole process was so hugely worthwhile, not only because I ultimately restored more functionality in my body than I had before I had even gotten sick, but also because I learned about some of the amazing healing capabilities of the body.
I couldn’t have possibly have healed without the help of my excellent health practitioners, of whom I’ve listed here. These folks helped me in so very many ways.