Its about time I talk about what has been happening with me on the health front.
After being diagnosed in 2011 with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease and facing the possibility of developing Lupus, another autoimmune disease in the near future, I decided to try manage my illness holistically to see if I can improve my health this way before I take medications that my Rheumatologist suggested I take which would also come with a multitude of side effects.
Removing processed foods, gluten and dairy from my diet and making sure to eat nutrient rich whole foods while adding certain supplements at the recommendation of my functional doctor improved my health tremendously. Starting a meditation practice just pushed my recovery to a point of wellness that I had not experienced in years. I was not 100% yet but I was ok with that as I did not expect to heal my chronic illness overnight, I knew disease takes years to set in, so I was prepared for the healing to take a while as well. The fact that I had improved so much just only with the changes I had made to my lifestyle in less than 6 months was encouragement enough to make me keep going on this path. Best of all, I did not develop Lupus so far. My blood tests mirrored what I felt – my antibodies and inflammation markers came down. You can read my story towards recovery here and here.
Fast forward to 2015, the time I like to refer to as when sh*t hit the fan. Sorry for that analogy but really that was what I felt like after ingesting copious amounts of green smoothies in an effort to get healthier and get more nutrients into my body but instead I think I lost more nutrients in the toilet bowl than actually absorbing them. Since I was already eating lots of vegetables in my diet, adding smoothies on top of that proved disastrous in my case. Too much fibre – that ended up feeding the latent Candida that was residing in my gut. Guess what – bad bacteria and candida needs the same fibre to thrive just like the good bacteria. Unfortunately, in my case Candida won that battle against the plentiful good bacteria I already had in my gut hands down. If you want to read more about my descent into Candida land read more here.
My stomach started getting bloated, I developed various food sensitivities from the major leaky gut caused by Candida, toxins from the Candida overgrowth overwhelmed my body causing me pain and worst of all Candida brought along two monsters with it – mercury and histamine intolerance. To be fair Candida did not create heavy metals in my body but Candida absorbs them and releases them during a detox thus my major die off symptoms. Although it is turning out to be Mercury which could have kick started my autoimmune disease and is the reason why my body has not been able to get Candida in check.
A recent test showed that I have too much mercury in my body which I can attribute to a number of vaccines I had done just before I got really sick in 2008 and was subsequently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in 2011. Some vaccines contain a mercury based preservative called Thimerosal and also a diet heavy on tuna and farmed fish definitely did not help me either. Did this chronic exposure to mercury kick start my autoimmune disease? Possibly. Stress, genetics, diet and environmental factors all had a role to play in my case but chronic exposure to Mercury is definitely a big factor. What I know for sure is that as long I have toxic levels of mercury in my cells, I will not be able to restore my health to its healthiest.
Detoxing Mercury out of the body may sound like an easy thing to do but it is not. As Mercury is being detoxed out of the cells it goes back into the blood plasma which is then processed by the liver and finally out to the digestive tract to be excreted. Unfortunately, with my compromised gut with plenty of Candida wreaking havoc in there it is not a good scenario for detoxing Mercury. If done improperly Mercury can also be reabsorbed back to the cells instead of being eliminated out of the digestive tract. I am working together with my functional doctor on this.
Why is Mercury bad? It hinders many enzymatic functions in our cells which attributes to practically every single organ in our body functioning well. Mercury is a known endocrine disruptor which controls the hormones in our body and studies have also linked Mercury to Autoimmune diseases which was the Aha moment for me – Hello Hashimoto’s! Research has also shown that Mercury induces inflammatory media release from human mast cells AKA histamine. Which brings me to my next problem….Histamine.
I have had some sort of minor histamine intolerance all my life but Candida and its best friend Mercury brought it on in a major level.
Histamine is produced by mast cells in our body in response to allergens, toxins, virus, bacteria as part of a normal inflammation process but when our body is constantly exposed to toxins and proteins that our gut and body (as in the case of Candida overgrowth and high mercury levels) recognises as allergens, the normal inflammation process becomes chronic creating havoc in our body.
Apart from that, foods that we consume contain histamines as well. A simple explanation of how histamine intolerance can develop would be – when histamine “builds up in the bucket without being cleared and starts to overflow”. Histamine intolerance is really not a disease but a symptom of something that is not working quite right in our system either due to genetic, heavy metals or pathogens being some of the reasons.
Detoxing my body from mercury, getting rid of Candida overgrowth and continuing to heal my gut is top priority right now. I know I can only stop my immune system from attacking itself and my thyroid if I address the above issues, especially mercury which is particularly toxic and a precursor for both like Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Candida Overgrowth. It is my opinion that once I address the toxic levels of mercury in my body, my current issues with Candida Overgrowth and Histamine intolerance will become much easier to resolve.
Despite this minor setback of Candida overgrowth and worsening of existing issues of histamine and mercury, I choose to see the positive – I know what the problem is and what works for me and also the wisdom to know that there is no cookie cutter approach to healing & diet protocols so what works for someone else may not work for me and may even worsen my symptoms. Healing is always about the individual as a person so focusing on bio-individuality and listening to how our body responses to any dietary changes, alternative therapies or holistic/medical interventions is key. Our body will tell us what works and what doesn’t when we simply take a moment to stop and listen.
Change only happens when we do something about that which is not working.
The fact that I have not developed lupus as per my prognosis in 2011 and my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is STILL in check with my antibodies being low and my inflammation markers consistently down and decreasing is a testimony to how capable our bodies are at healing given half the chance. Even with Candida overgrowth I am still thriving, my body is coping and yes, I may not feel well some days but my health is improving. I am grateful for that.
Coming this far from being chronically ill everyday has only been possible with the lifestyle changes I have made of not only nourishing my body with clean organic real food but also nourishing my mind and spirit as a whole.
I have been knocked down a couple times during my healing journey but I have always picked myself back up and kept on walking. After all the challenges that I have overcome in my life, candida overgrowth, histamine intolerance and mercury toxicity are just boulders for me to climb over before I see the horizon again.