Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The search for Truth

This is what makes me really crazy about all the nutrition stuff. No one really knows what the truth is. The real absolute single sole truth that works for everyone. Here are some examples:

1. Resistant starch
So we've been eating a little bit of beans lately, which, on the whole, seems to be making us feel better. So, beans and legumes... bad on a low carb diet or not? Well, one opinion would be here, from Laura Dolson on, who seems to do an excellent job of summarizing low carb info. Her take? Beans are the least-glycemic carb source plus they have this magical resistant starch, which is supposedly good for you for a pile of reasons (you can read them; I'm too lazy to summarize. On the other hand, you can read Dr. Mike Eades' take on this here. I have absolutely nothing but huge amounts of respect for Dr. Eades, and his take is basically that this is all nonsense. So do you believe one and dismiss the other? Which one?

2. Yeast/Candida
Something I heard the other day made me put a few things together and start wondering if Michael's odd tongue irritation lately might be thrush, which is a yeast-related infection. And researching that made me also remember a few things that I once read about yeast infections and this notion that some people may suffer from candida overgrowth... essentially a systemic yeast infection. Well, Michael has a few things going on... chronic skin infections that just won't clear and the dermatologist said were yeast, some toe fungus stuff, etc.... plus a host of symptoms that seem to fit right in with the list for this. Of course, this is a vague enough list that you could make yourself fit a lot of these things, but still... Anyway, I did a bunch of reading about this, and this seems to be another one of those two diametrically opposed opinions things. Some people (including Dr. Jonny Bowden, who seems to me to be a credible source) seem to buy into it (he talks about it in his natural cures book, which is a very good book in my opinion). Others think it the worst kind of junk science, and that opinion is reinforced in my mind by the fact that there are billion sites out there that would be really happy to sell you a lot of VERY expensive stuff to take care of this problem. I'm always suspicious when there's a big money connection, and this thing is packed with this sort of site... in fact, thus far it's been hard to find much of anything that isn't riddled with ads that look like snake oil sales. But most of the stuff that you're supposed to take for this, if you believe the alternate medicine guys, is pretty innocuous. Probiotics... hard to argue with that. Garlic... good for a host of things. Oil of oregano... how bad could that be? And so on. So I figured, what the hell, we could spend a month trying a super cocktail of these things and see what happens. Worst, we're out about $50 in supplements (some of which we would have taken anyway). Best case, we feel better.

So... Friday (I think!) we started taking the additional probiotics and garlic, and Monday, some of the other stuff. Result... well, thus far kind of hard to determine, but oddly, Michael's skin and feet look better than they have in ages. And there are odd subtle changes in things like sense of taste and so on. I sort of find this whole notion a little... not incredible, but I suppose that things that explain too many symptoms make me kind of suspicious, too. But one of the things that supposedly happens is that you get something called die-off, which is sort of the release of various dead yeast gunk into your body, and it's supposed to make you feel terrible for a while. And, kind of like clockwork, we both started feeling awful yesterday. Grumpy as hell mostly, but also achy and lethargic and, ok, kind of flu-like, which is one of the terms often used. So... conclusion of all of this? I don't know. The jury is out. Way out. But I figure it's worth a month or so to figure out whether there's a real effect.

Now, if this blinding headache would just go away....

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