In case you missed, it, here’s the first part of this two-part post. And now for the thrilling conclusion…
The Real Reason I Megadose
While I feel the aforementioned two factors are reason enough to supplement a bit above the DRI amount for many nutrients, they don’t really get at the heart of why I supplement at the megadose level. My personal reasons are related primarily to my gut. Simply put, my gut is a train wreck with a side order of catastrophe..
If you’ve read my story, you know about my run-in with hormones, oxalates and diarrhea. I don’t think I mentioned the antibiotics in that tale, but there were some of those mixed in as well. After all, don’t most of us go to the doctor complaining of a UTI when we first encounter oxalate issues?
Of course, I was practically raised on antibiotics as well. When I was a kid, you were given antibiotics for every cold, sniffle and flu, to take in order to prevent a “secondary infection.” So I’m no stranger to the fun of allergies and other autoimmune complaints. But it wasn’t until after I developed oxalate issues that I had my first run-in with thrush (oral candida infection) as a consequence of antibiotic use. And it only got better from there!
Which brings me to why I megadose on biotin supplements, and probably will until the day I die. After some research (and reading several personal reports of high-dose biotin helping folks on the TLO group with candida), I tried it. At that point, I actually had a pretty good case of biotin deficiency going. I had the angular chelitis (cracking at the corners of the mouth), considerable ongoing hair loss, and continually fluffy, yeasty stools. Lo and behold, the higher I went, the better I felt. And not only did these and other long-term symptoms resolve, but my fingernails eventually grew in stronger than they have ever been in my life.
Here again, I have very clear deficiency symptoms when I don’t supplement with this. I get depressed, my lips peel, and ohmygosh you wouldn’t want to witness my mood swings (irritability). As with most supplements, I start with a relatively low dose, and keep raising it until I feel better. Then I can back down to more of a maintenance dose (unless I notice symptoms creeping back in).
That’s Great, but…
What’s all this got to do with my gut, you ask? Here’s what your doctor won’t (and probably can’t) tell you: your gut bacteria are little vitamin factories. The reason we humans can get away with diets built around low DRIs and crappy food, is because our gut bacteria take that crappy food and use it to make huge quantities of our vitamins for us. Just in case you doubt me, you can see here where they make biotin, and here where they normally manufacture B6. And those aren’t the only two vitamins our gut bugs make for us; not by a long shot.
So to me, it only makes sense that people with an inadequate collection of gut bugs would need supplementation of nutrients that they are not getting from their intestinal flora. And apparently these bacteria (when present and functioning properly) make far, far more of these nutrients than the DRI. For instance, in the case of Biotin, I’d say a minimum of 1,000 times more. I base that on the fact that the DRI is 30 micrograms per day (give or take), and I take 30 milligrams per day just to keep a basic level of functioning. From micro to milli is a factor of 1,000, so that’s how I come up with that estimate.
So Why Don’t I Just Take Probiotics?
Simply put, probiotics don’t contain the right strains. I can tell you straight up that there ain’t any probiotics containing e. coli (at least not intentionally)! And guess what bacteria are best known for synthesizing biotin and B6? Yep, e. coli. While it’s possible that some strains in probiotics produce some vitamins, the research in this area is woefully lacking. Basically, probiotics have been designed with the most obviously “safe” bacteria, and are predictably missing the hundreds (or thousands) of other species that populate a healthy gut. So I could take probies all day, and not get anywhere with these deficiencies.
So What’s a Girl Like Me to Do?
You mean, besides megadoses? I’m working on that. The only thing I know of right now is FMT, or Fecal Microbiota Transplantation. For those of you who missed this discussion on the TLO group, it’s pretty much what it sounds like – a poo transfusion. Gross, right? But trust me, when you get desperate enough, it sounds less gross every day. What I need to know is this…
I’ll leave this poll open for a while; at least a week or two, so that I catch any stragglers.
And if you vote “no,” I would love for you to leave me a comment telling me what you’d rather hear about!