Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Spondylitis and the brain - hope, depression and meditation

The mental side of the equation came up on kickas recently..


If you read my story (link in navbar) you would know that when I was still on NSAIDs I was miserable as heck as the disease gradually worsened and I knew that eventually I was going to be bed ridden. I had lost all hope for my future.. I felt doomed and even questioned the value of living in such a state. It would have to be one of my worst moments in life.

As soon as I worked out the gut <-> inflammatory relationship, after a bit of a mishap with some bad food and a big nudge in the right direction from dragonslayer (on kickas.org)... at that point I was no longer miserable, as I knew that my health would ultimately be in my hands. Hope for the future had returned. Thinks might not have been all roses and sunshine, but I knew I could win this fight.


There was also an event way back when I was at uni (somewhere around 1999-2000 I would guess). I was still on NSAID drugs at that point but the disease hadn't gotten so bad yet. I joined my universities buddhist group (Macbuddhi) and went off to a monastery for a short retreat. I was still eating normally and hadn't learned how effective the NSD was at that point. 

Venerable Mahinda, a monk, led us in meditation and in particular a meditation called "Metta meditation" which focussed on generating feelings of great compassion and goodwill. It works quite well at that by the way. Anyway, that night as I stayed in the monastery I slept in my sleeping bag. What was unusual is that when I woke up I remember that I felt much better than usual and had less pain and stiffness. 

It isn't so strange when you think about it though. The immune system functions much more efficiently when we are no longer under stress, and when our emotions are in a more positive frame.

Here is my post from way back December 2005 in which I mention this experience:

A few years back I went on a short Buddhist meditation retreat and I remember that my AS symptoms improved considerably at the time. I often wanted to go back to that retreat, but somehow I never did. It was a long time ago and my memory is a bit sketchy...
The meditations centred on wishing 'loving kindness' (metta) for others, and that they "be well and happy" .. first starting with those that are most dear to us (partners, family friends), then gradually widening this to colleagues, then to those in our town, then the entire region, then the entire country, then the world, then the entire universe. 
 Here is a very similar exercise I found on the net (almost identical) :
from: http://www.fwbo.org/metta.html
Loving-Kindness Meditation

The original name of this practice is mettabhavana, which comes from the Pali language. Metta means 'love' (in a non-romantic sense), friendliness, or kindness: hence 'loving-kindness' for short. It is an emotion, something you feel in your heart. Bhavana means development or cultivation. The commonest form of the practice is in five stages, each of which should last about five minutes for a beginner.

1. In the first stage, you feel metta for yourself. You start by becoming aware of yourself, and focusing on feelings of peace, calm, and tranquillity. Then you let these grow in to feelings of strength and confidence, and then develop into love within your heart. You can use an image, like golden light flooding your body, or a phrase such as 'may I be well and happy', which you can repeat to yourself. These are ways of stimulating the feeling of metta for yourself.

2. In the second stage think of a good friend. Bring them to mind as vividly as you can, and think of their good qualities. Feel your connection with your friend, and your liking for them, and encourage these to grow by repeating 'may they be well; may they be happy' quietly to yourself. You can also use an image, such as shining light from your heart into theirs. You can use these techniques - a phrase or an image - in the next two stages as well.

3. Then think of someone you do not particularly like or dislike. Your feelings are 'neutral'. This may be someone you do not know well but see around. You reflect on their humanity, and include them in your feelings of metta.

4. Then think of someone you actually dislike - an enemy. Trying not to get caught up in any feelings of hatred, you think of them positively and send your metta to them as well.

5. In the final stage, first of all you think of all four people together - yourself, the friend, the neutral person, and the enemy. Then extend your feelings further - to everyone around you, to everyone in your neighbourhood; in your town, your country, and so on throughout the world. Have a sense of waves of loving-kindness spreading from your heart to everyone, to all beings everywhere.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Beer, one more cultured food to explore ;-)

Just another step on my journey into cultured foods eh. And apparently this brand, besides being preservative free, is also unpasteurised. 

So.. hope you're not thinking that I've sold out! :-p

"..Naturally conditioned ales, such as Coopers, are not pasteurised and contain live yeast that mops up dissolved oxygen. As a result, these naturally conditioned ales age and have a far longer shelf life than lagers.."
Source: http://www.australianbeers.com/beers/interview/timcooper/cooper.htm


Well, beer is an interesting one and I am not so sure whether it has worthwhile benefits.

The good stuff:
I noticed that my prostatitis seemed to improve quite markedly for 6 to 8 hours after drinking half a bottle of beer. Oh and it improved my rhinitis a little - but that could just be the bubbles. Unfortunately I am not so keen on being in a perpetual stupor, so I didn't find that to be a desirable treatment plan. Also, there were two occasions where it actually seemed to make it worse. Weird. Is it relieving a root cause of this issue, or is it just masking it from my immune system?

Popping all those bottles started to give me a bit of a callous on my right thumb, but I don't care about that. It's neither here nor there.

Bad stuff:
Loads of fungal related issues all over the shop. Candida would rear its ugly head, proctitis very noticeably worsened, heavy laboured breathing (presumably due to mycotoxins), hot feet, some itchy skin here and there, and issues with night dehydration too. Even fungal issues on my scalp if I recall (and that can lead to dandruff).

In summary:
Not worth it. I will stick with Kombucha and Jun Scoby - these are so much healthier and in fact they actively fight fungal issues.

Video on gut flora and health (Dysbiosis)

Brian Walsh made this great video titled "18 Ways Gut Dysbiosis (Bad Bacteria) Ruins Health". I thoroughly recommend it:

-- Here are my notes from his video --
* LPS impacts brain function 
- lowers dopamine levels, this relates to willpower, motivation and depression
- lowers serotonin (5HT) : also relates to depression
- Hippocampus & Amydala: damages these. Hippocampus translates short term memory to long term memory
* Gut damage
- Leaky gut > undigested proteins in blood > immune reaction
- Villi. Decreased villi > decreased absorption of nutrition
* Thyroid 
- TSH lowered. 
- T4 > T3 conversion is decreased
- thyroid hormone receptors are affected
- all of the above lower metabolic rate
* Kidneys
- decreased excretion of wastes
* Graelin increased. This increases appetite & cravings
* Leptin decreased. Leptin signals satiety, thus LPS again incr appetite 
* Liver. Decreased ability to detoxify substances. 
* Cortisol increased due to stress
* Zinc absorption decreased. Thus less testosterone and less HCL acid in stomach
* Increased inflammation
* Increased oxidative stress
* Mitochondria. LPS damage these. This less energy, more fatigue. 
* Less Glutathione. 

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Eczema / Dermatitis cured with B3

My eczema disappeared permanently after taking the B3 regularly over the last few months. 

This eczema is something I've had for over 20 years. Previously it would only go away if I went starch free, and would return soon after eating starch again. 

Initially, a few months back, I was taking B3 every time the skin problems worsened .. and found it worked very well at controlling it. Haven't even needed to take B3 for weeks now.  I can now eat whatever I like and the eczema doesn't return!

Dosage: When taking the 100mg pills I settled on 700mg taken once or twice a day as being a nice and effective dosage. 1000mg was the absolute maximum, although I never had adverse reactions. 

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Research - Natto & Bacillus Subtilis

Here is a really interesting part from MarkyT's link [posted on kickas]. B. Subtilis becomes quite dormant if it is cold.
"Once the good hygienic Germans finally recovered from the shock of seeing the Arab natives gulping down warm camel dung, they quickly realized that there must be something in the dung that somehow counteracted the harmful bacteria that caused the dysentery. They questioned the Arabs, who told them that they had no idea why it worked, but that their fathers had always done so, as had their forefathers and it had always worked. The only caveat was that the camel or horse dung had to be ingested while still warm and fresh, because it had no effect on the dysentery if ingested cold.
So the Nazis began carefully examining fresh camel and horse dung. What they discovered was that it was teeming with a powerful bacterial microorganism which later came to be called Bacillus subtilis. This bacteria, it turned out, is so strong that it practically cannibalizes all harmful microorganisms in the human body-particularly pathogenic bacteria like the virulent strain which was causing dysentery in the German troops."
"According to clinical studies documented in the medical research report, Immunostimulation by Bacillus Subtilis Preparations, by micro-biologist J. Harmann, the cell wall components of ingested Bacillus Subtilis are able to activate nearly all systems of the human immune defense, including the activation of at least three specific antibodies (IgM, IgG and IgA secretion) which are highly effective against many of the harmful viruses, fungi and bacterial pathogens which regularly attempt to invade and infect the human system."

Source: http://www.life-enthusiast.com/bacillus-subtilis-story-a-3835.html