Ugh. One month after discovering Truvia had been wrecking my gut, I ate over someone’s house only to be gifted with food poisoning. That night everyone except my daughter Coral became ill. Two days later I was informed that the humus we’d eaten had been tainted. For a change I was glad that Coral hadn’t eaten her vegetables.
After that mild food poisoning, half the time I ate anything I would get bad indigestion, followed by intense stomach pains, followed by everything being flushed out of my system from my stomach on down. This was happening a few times a week, and I had a lot of intense stomach pains and indigestion in-between the really bad bouts.
Everything I read said food poisoning should clear up on its own in one to four weeks. I waited. Six weeks later I was still suffering. So much for my summer plans of fun and productivity.
I was feeling normal maybe one day a week. The rest of the week I experienced some level of miserable. I decided it was time to talk to my doctor. He ran tests and found no infection. He said inflammation from the food poisoning was likely causing temporary lactose intolerance, but it should clear up after a few weeks. When I mentioned it had been nearly two months he said that there was really nothing more he could do diagnostically other than send me to a gastroenterologist to snake scopes through me. When I was first having digestive issues with Truvia I had that done, and like a mechanic that couldn’t solve a sporadic car issue, the gastroenterologist told me there was nothing wrong even though I still had symptoms. It seemed like a last resort to try that again. Instead, I decided to run some experiments. I asked my doctor about taking enzyme or probiotic pills. He said he knew nothing about enzyme pills, but that probiotic pills might be a good idea.
First up, I tried the probiotics. The ones I had on hand included enzymes for breaking down proteins. They gave me terrible stomach pains every time I took them, and would trigger one of the really bad bouts I mentioned earlier. Obviously, I didn’t need more biotics growing in my gut right now, pro or not. I counted these out.
Next, I started paying attention to what I ate to see if I could find trigger foods.
I was definitely lactose intolerant in nasty ways I’d never been before! Even with lactase enzymes a dollop of whip cream on some strawberries would totally wreck me. It was very repeatable. All dairy was removed from my diet.
One cause down, but I was still reacting.
I started recognizing some of the things I could tolerate and used these foods to guarantee some good days before testing suspect foods.
Prior to getting food poisoning, I had been researching fructose malabsorption. About 30% of westerners and 10% of Asians have insufficient enzymes to fully digest fructose. Undigested fructose enters the intestines and overfeeds bacteria causing digestive problems. To test this I bought some pure fructose powder and made a lightly sweetened lemonade. My glass had about 25% of what a healthy person could tolerate, which is about half of what is in a typical can of pop (soda or cola for those not living in the Midwest.) Twenty-four hours later I was a total wreck. I repeated the test with the same result. I went on a low fructose diet.
These two issues were both known to be caused by enzyme deficiencies. I started taking a full spectrum enzyme pill with each meal. By the second day all pain was gone!
Next, after a few days had passed, I decided it was time to try replenishing my gut with good biotics, so I tried taking probiotic pills again. This time I used one that didn’t include any enzymes, since I wanted to restrict the enzymes to only before meals. I’m taking the probiotics on an empty stomach when I wake and at bedtime. I’ve had no digestive issues doing this.
While I was no longer in pain, I’d say it took maybe a week to start feeling like a healthy person. I’ve been feeling good for a week without any reactions, so I think it’s solved. I’ll be sticking with the enzymes and probiotics for a few more weeks and then I’ll start weeding off them. I’ll redo the lactose and fructose tests in a month or two to see if my enzymes are working correctly.
Hopefully soon I’ll post about things other than digestive issues, but I’ll probably put up one last post about fructose malabsorption before moving on. For now, stay away from the salmon mousse… and the tainted humus!