As I said in the last post, otitis media is the most common childhood illness. At least 80% of children experience OM. The most prescribed treatment for OM is antibiotics. This medication does not discriminate, it wipes out all biotics, the bad and the good. In order to maintain a healthy gut you need the good biotics. In the 1950’s Dr. Orian Truss began exploring ways of treating what he called “antibiotic syndrome” and published his book, “The Missing Diagnosis”. Candida yeast is this missing diagnosis, caused mainly by antibiotics.
Leaky gut seems to be the result of poor gut health. Leaky gut is recognized as common in Autism and present in Crohn’s and Celiac disease as well. In cases where autism has been reversed or “improperly diagnosed” it is always the leaky gut and sensory processing disorder that has been remediated. Leaky gut is usually addressed by an elimination diet. Dr. William Crook wrote a series of books on this topic (hence the graphic for this post). In his books he lists the common triggers for yeast that should be eliminated. He also discusses how to properly implement an elimination diet. The problem is this method is fraught with challenges as it is very hard to find foods that are acceptable that your child will eat (as they are now a sugar addict, as will be explained below). Doing a blind broad elimination diet is unnecessarily taxing. To do a pointed diet, testing is required. Proper testing follows Dr. Bock’s model of identifying toxins and triggers. One of the most common toxins identified is (candida) yeast. This toxic level of yeast is usually due to the person having taken antibiotics, which wiped out the good biotics (also called flora) that would have kept the yeast in check.
If you have ever baked bread or yeast cake then you know that the fastest way to check if your yeast is good is to proof it in water and a pinch of sugar. The fresher the yeast the faster it will rise. By faster I mean that within two minutes the cup will be overflowing. Now imagine that in your gut. It will quickly take over and the more sugar you eat the worse it will be, often leading to obvious yeast infection of the genitals or mouth (thrush) or even eczema. (Eczema can be cultured to test for yeast.) People who have geographical tongues or a white tinge to their saliva should have their mouth cultured for yeast as well. Gut yeast can be tested in urine and stool testing, but it can be challenging to find a practitioner willing to do so as insurance will not cover this.
As the knowledge of the yeast problem has become more commonly known a plethora of probiotics and prebiotics have become available on the market. As Dr. Crook discusses, this is insufficient. These products can certainly help relieve some of the symptoms such as itchiness or the pimply or cracked skin of eczema, but it does not eliminate the yeast problem or relieve the neurological impact of leaky gut. If we go back to our remediation model, taking supplements without eliminating the toxin is like limiting yourself to compensation rather than engaging in rehabilitation. This makes you a prisoner to a lifetime of managing the above conditions instead of healing and moving on. The masking of yeast by probiotics is of such concern that when doing urine and stool testing a knowledgeable doctor will tell you to be off those products for 2 weeks before submitting a sample for testing.
Once we eliminate the toxin, in our case yeast, we can resume eating trigger foods as they can no longer trigger a toxin that is not present. The information you have obtained here should also tell you that A) Don’t take antibiotics indiscriminately – the side effects are more potent than appreciated. B) If you need to be on antibiotics take it with an accompanying sugar free diet. C) As soon as you have finished with the antibiotics start a regimen of probiotics. Yogurt might be what your doctor recommends, but it does not have a high enough content of probiotics and if you are having a flavored yogurt you are giving the yeast sugar, which cancels out any benefit from the probiotics in the yogurt.
Artificial sweeteners come with their own host of negative side effects. Currently, only stevia, xylitol and monk fruit are considered healthy alternatives. Better to acquire a taste for savory foods and cut down on your overall sugar consumption. Sugar is an addictive substance, it is the core of Overeaters Anonymous which is a support group for people who recognize they are addicted to carbs i.e. simple sugars (let’s be honest, no one emotionally eats celery sticks).
Once we have resolved the gut issues, the brain will be able to receive the needed nutrients. You do have to have a healthy diet to ensure you are supplying the necessary nutrients. This will allow for optimal learning.
If your child has or had thrush (they can be born with this!), urinary tract infection, yeast infection or eczema with or without a history of having taken antibiotics you will want to test for yeast as a toxin.