Review: How L-Glutamine Helped Me Fight MCS and Reclaim My Gut, Part 5

Review: How L-Glutamine Helped Me Fight MCS and Reclaim My Gut

Review: How L-Glutamine Helped Me Fight MCS and Reclaim My Gut

Continued from a series of articles about my terrible bout with MCS since the end of Summer 2015. Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4. This is the conclusion of my journey to stabilization before the birth of my first child.

In the last installment, I related how Prescript-Assist helped tremendously in some complications of MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) I’d been experiencing. It alleviated my severely exacerbated allergies following excess mold exposure in my home, and thus allowed me to go back into said home, which had in the intervening time been remediated with dehumidifiers and air purifiers.

Knocked on My Butt by a Bombshell

To my dismay, after 3 weeks of bliss in the safety and warmth of the indoors, I got severely hit with a dose of formaldehyde or acetaldehyde wafting off a queen-sized blanket from K-Mart, along with another surreptitious dose of that construction dust from across the street. This took me almost all the way back to where I’d been before discovering Prescript-Assist. I started to wake up with bad stomach aches and a racing heart again, and I even experienced some very scary symptoms of nerve trauma that are often described in early MS.

I hypochondriac you not—it was really happening. Just sitting Indian style while eating or using my PS3 (with wireless disabled and a wired remote), I would start to experience pins & needles that descended into painful stabbing sensations in the backs of my legs (not just your standard numbness). I even began to have severe sleep disturbances that made me have to start sleeping in my car again, and I was at an almost complete loss as to what I should do.

All of this was happening 2 weeks before my wife was going to give birth to our first child! I slowly but surely fell into a silent but utter panic.

So I did what I could, which is all you can do when you are allergic and your body reacts to so many things in your environment. I tried to remediate all possible sources of sleep disturbance, starting with the formaldehyde/acetaldehyde, moving on to EMF (leading to a successful petition for my parents to finally remove their wireless router–YAY!), and continuing on to the dust. It’s hard to say which of these three external stimuli had managed to retrigger my insomnia. Probably a combination.

It is always hard to tell which allergenic/toxic stimuli are causing MCS, exacerbating it, or being worsened by it. So the only logical thing you can do is approach the suspect sensitivities and eliminate them one by one—or you can elminate all that you suspect, then reintroduce (which is usually a more effective approach, because when you’re in such a state, you don’t take chances).

Formaldehyde/Acetaldehyde 

So let’s start with aldehydes. New items from stores have a lot of formaldehyde/acetaldehyde used to disinfect and “sweeten” their smell. They became a serious issue for me all of a sudden due to the influx of baby gifts as my wife’s due date approached. I had previously determined that formaldehyde exacerbated my condition, as well as became more offensive to me because of my condition. Having identified the heaps of new baby stuff as a problem, I promptly removed as many of the pungent Target and Kmart bags as I could from the house, relocating them to the garage to air them out. Having the added aldehydes out of the vents bought me some serious extra Z’s, but I was still having some problems.

EMFs

Quickly moving on, I targetted EMFs, which had proven in the past to consistently disturb my sleep and exacerbate existing sensitivities. Like mold and formaldehyde, I believe EMFs can be both the cause and a symptom of the problem, as they are known to kill bacteria (therefore they most likely compromise the gut). I have speculated before that I believe EMFs’ main mechanism of harm to a sensitive individual is devastation of the gut microbiome. EMFs are known to encourage mold and yeast growth. Also, I have pinned down very distinct digestive symptoms upon exposure to two routers at once. My approach for dealing with these biologically offensive frequencies, which helped immediately, was to finally get the entire household to go completely wired! I had to really lobby for this, but ultimately I was shown mercy by the heavy wireless users of the household, and I quickly went about throwing together a workable (albeit spaghetti-like) Internet infrastructure consisting of:

  • 8-port wired router (not “switch”)
  • 25′ and 50′ ethernet cables
  • ethernet cable extenders
  • velcro wire bundlers

ethernet collage

True safety involves necessary trip hazards, because avoiding EMFs is of paramount importance.

Dust

The next thing I dealt with was that construction/soil dust from the housing development across the street, which in retrospect was probably the main culprit for my newfound sleep disturbances. This issue took me the longest to suss out through event correlation analysis. You see, when I first got home from Memphis, I ran a sprint across my lawn barefoot (trying to catch up on some much-needed HIIT). Instantly, I felt that same numbness and tingling in my legs and feet that I’d felt as an allergic reaction to things on the Memphis trip (e.g., dogs and rubber). Clearly, there was still something going on with my lawn. Even before this, I had had at least a half dozen negative reactions from doing yoga or just sitting on the grass in the front in the past couple of months anyway. The lawn also had a certain bitter, dusty smell to it that wasn’t sitting right with me.

This was, I believe, the last element keeping me from sleep. So how did dust from across the street get into my house? It’s a great example of how things tend to descend into chaos quickly when you have this condition. You see, thinking nothing of it, my Mom had sprayed a very powerful and irritating antibiotic aerosol spray to clean (never do this) the back bathroom for our use after the baby was to arrive. The smell (and chemical action of it) was so strong that it made me feel very sick almost instantly. To air out that smell, we opened the front door (where the dust had settled prominently in our front yard) and the door to the exhaust fan–free bathroom where the aerosol lingered, and just let the wind blow in a crossbreeze. It didn’t hit me for several sleepless nights that the particulate had probably blown in the front door and deposited along the floors and on various furniture.

My solution: It was 1 week before Rachel’s due date, and I vacuumed the floors as much as possible and mopped everywhere along that path (especially my sleeping space) with a solution of Dr. Bronner’s castille soap and hydrogen peroxide. That very night, as I was working on making our floor shiny and clean, Rachel went into full-on labor. We slept as much as we could through the night, and at about 8 in the morning, we headed to the birthing center, only to have the baby about 3 hours after we got there. She came fast and furious! That’s a story for another blog entry. When I returned home, I had recovered my ability to sleep through the night inside of the house.

L-Glutamine

I did have some supplemental, internal assistance along the way. I figured out that heavy doses of l-glutamine in powdered form (building up from 5 g to 25 g/day) were extremely effective in dealing with the abdominal intestinal pain I was having from my sensitivities. I would get this awful gurgling painful sensation in my gut, and a significant dose of l-glutamine would make the pain dissipate instantly. I believe this amino acid is a crucial tool for those suffering from MCS, and really any autoimmune disorder for that matter. It is like a secret agent that goes in and specifically repairs your intestinal lining so that proteins don’t get through (from leaky gut). I will be writing a complete article about my experience with this supplement soon. In the meantime, look over this article written by Steve from SCD Lifestyle. It tells you everything you need to know about this miracle cure.

Results!!! (A Light in the Overwhelming Darkness)

As a reward for my diligence in dealing with these myriad hidden sources of kryptonite, as well as for finding two perfect supplements that deal with my gut problems, I was able to do this at my leisure after the birth of my beautiful daughter:

ramona and daddy sleep

Victory can be so sweet.

Disclaimer: Don’t worry, we don’t co-sleep very often, and when we do, we try to make sure the other parent is awake so that we can monitor and avoid “roll-overs.”

About Rob 69 Articles
Rob was the valedictorian of his high school (his last claim to fame), but now believes that academics are overrated. He is a musician and former copy editor, and is now studying independently as an amateur nutritionist, businessman, and writer/rocker against world government and for liberty. He is also attempting to obtain a PhD in squats, deadlifts, shoulder raises, rows, bench press, dips, and pull-ups.

7 Comments

  1. I find it kind of confounding that you attributed walking on your grass to your health problems, but at the same time found benefit from Prescript-Assist, which is from the earth, the soil.

    Did you see dust in the grass? If it was in the grass, then I would think it was everywhere. I don’t mean any insult, it just doesn’t make sense to me.

    • The manufacturers of Prescript-Assist go through a rigorous process of isolating probiotic strains of bacteria from soil and combining them with leonardite from uncontaminated soil. They don’t just dig up some dirt from their backyard and put it in a bottle.

      You can’t really trust dirt in your own yard, in fact, even if there isn’t construction across the street that has dug up deep soil with potential contaminates from ’60s agriculture (which could include DDT and Agent Orange (PCBs)). I was more concerned with these elements from the dust from across the street than anything in my own soil, though, which had never bothered me.

      No, I couldn’t see the dust. You can’t really see most construction dust, actually. The most harmful particulate is under 10 microns. This is an excerpt from the article I referenced above (I believe):
      “Air Pollution
      Construction activities that contribute to air pollution include: land clearing, operation of diesel engines, demolition, burning, and working with toxic materials. All construction sites generate high levels of dust (typically from concrete, cement, wood, stone, silica) and this can carry for large distances over a long period of time. Construction dust is classified as PM10 – particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter, invisible to the naked eye.”

    • Also, I honed in on the time my legs went numb after running in the grass, because I actually became sensitive to the distinct scent of the dust in the air on hot days when they were doing more construction. I awoke to the smell of that dust one evening when I slept in the tent and had an awful stomach ache. The day my legs went numb after sprinting barefoot on the grass, I put my head down near the grass, and could smell that very same scent. Over the next few weeks, I would “smell the grass” once in awhile just to check, and sure enough, it was still there. The dust did kind of “get eveywhere” definitely. It had settled in the grass, because eventually dust has to settle somewhere due to gravity. Wind can kick it back up again, though, and there were huge piles of this (most likely contaminated) unearthed soil across the street for about a half a year. So it was all over my front yard essentially. I could even smell it in my car for awhile from allowing the vents to run while driving past the construction site (which I had to be really vigilant about every day).

      Our bodies are very good at telling us when there are dangerous elements around.

      • Hey thanks for your reply, I appreciate it, and it makes sense for the most part. I was looking into some of the strains in Prescript-Assist and some actually degrade chemicals and plastics(!), so it’s not surprising they would help maybe degrade some of the stuff from the construction (maybe the wood was treated with chemicals, various sealents, etc).

        I agree to that our bodies are good at telling us when there are dangerous elements around, however we also have a tendency to unconsciously expect the worst, especially if we’ve been slammed by some mold/chemical/pesticide in the past. I’m not saying that’s what you did in this case at all, just to be aware of the possibility.

        The mind is powerful, it wants to protect us, keep us safe, but can get stuck in a pattern very easily, like Pavlov’s dogs, and it’s very empowering if one can catch this happening and stop it before it gets carried away.

        • Kelly,

          I am glad it made more sense to you. That is so cool to hear about Prescript Assist degrading plastics. I definitely could use that, because I’ve consumed tons of plastic in my life, and I’m sure we’re exposed to fumes, traces in the water, and other petrochemicals on a daily basis. In fact, I was just working on removing some vinyl flooring in my house, and I noticed I wasn’t feeling so great, so I went and took a PA pill, and sure enough, I’m already starting to feel a little better. I’m not going back to taking apart that vinyl though. 😉

          I’m pretty sure I don’t let my imagination get carried away when I react to an exposure. I know this because I am surprised many times when I feel just fine in a place that I was concerned I wouldn’t. I test my limits (within reason) all the time. However, while it can be valid to address the anxiety when you’re about to enter a new environment, I don’t buy into behavorial or psychological intervention for overexposure to chemicals/mold/pesticides. Well, I do think it works for things that are beyond our control (we do after all live in a seriously toxic world), but I’m really into empowering individuals to lobby for effective and real change in their environment that addresses as many sources of illness as possible. No one deserves to have to deal with these offenders on the massive scale that the problem has become. It is nothing less than a human rights issue.

          • I’m sure I bookmarked the strain in PA that degrades plastics but of course right now I can’t find it. But here’s one that degrades a variety of chemicals, including pesticides:

            https://microbewiki.kenyon.edu/index.php/Arthrobacter

            https://www.researchgate.net/publication/10988870_Metabolism_of_-hexachlorocyclohexane_by_Arthrobacter_citreus_strain_BI-100_Identification_of_metabolites

            Believe it or not, I too find it hard to believe that one’s brain could possibly be playing a role in causing some of these symptoms or chronic illnesses. But keep in mind that it’s the unconscious — not the conscious mind they talk about.

            Also worth mentioning studies that show that everyone is full of these toxins (plastics, mold, pesticides, etc) yet only a tiny percentage get sick. And it’s not due to the Shoemaker genetic theory either. An analyst over on the Phoenix Rising forums has looked into that and found that something like 90% of European-Americans have the genetics that he talks about.

            There was a study done by the University of Washington about 20 years ago that measured these things in 30 residents, including a senator, and only 1 person was ill.

            Still, I too question these so-called ‘brain retraining’ programs like EFT, or “Faster EFT”, or DNRS could work on there own. I mean, how could the brain change something like low iron or low b12 levels, or improve one’s insulin levels or function? Doesn’t make sense to me.

            But then I just checked the DNRS youtube page, and found this, which was just posted yesterday:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YtTpRokhlk

            It’s intriguing to say the least. Anyway, I understand the resistance, believe me. I’ve been sick for almost 16 years, and have tried a zillion things. I’ve read about or watched these things for like 3 years and still haven’t tried them myself. Just throwing it out there FWIW.

            On the flip side, there’s a great book that I DID read called “When The Body Says No” by Gabor Mate M.D., that shows a connection between chronic illnesses like cancer, ALS, MS, etc., and stress. But more specifically the stress that comes from thinking too positively. In fact, he points to studies and case histories that show the bizarre but strong connection between ALS and ‘being too nice’. People-pleasers, always putting everyone else first, or trying to make solve everyone else’s problems instead of working on their own. Cancer is similar, but they repress the negatives in their lives and put on a happy face, instead of addressing that repressed anger. It’s really an eye opening book.

            And when I think about it — why am I going on and on, writing to a total stranger — worrying what you’ll think and how I can help you or anyone else reading this, instead of helping myself ?

            Am I avoiding addressing the same issues in my life? Probably so. So, with that, I’ll wish you the best and who knows, maybe try working on myself!

            Good luck on your journey Rob.

          • Thank you for this well thought-out comment. I won’t even bother going down the path of looking into mental treatments for these things, because that would be like telling an allergy patient to go to psychotherapy. And those are natural things that are causing those people to react. With chemicals, these are manmade monstrosities that have no place in our ecology/biology. Yet, people who react strongly to chemicals are told that they might want to deal with their anxiety about such things.

            Why can’t people just accept that it’s an allergy? I’m allergic to certain chemicals almost exactly the same way I am to cats at times. Sometimes more, sometimes less. These are invisible threats, but they are proven empirically to cause problems. Well, so are chemicals. They just don’t include chemicals in the allergy testing. Why is that? Dare I suggest that the medical industry is looking out for the chemical industry, and if they started talking about the action of specific chemicals and prescribing that this or that person avoid certain chemicals, as they would suggest for a natural allergy, then they would be essentially stifling DuPont or Monsanto, the creator of whatever respective chemical.

            But if they tell you to avoid cats, or grass, or trees—who gets hurt? No one. It actually helps the agenda of the chemical industry and the pharmaceutical industry, because they get to sell you allergy pills as well as get you to stay inside more and use more household products and chemicals to keep your environment “clean.” It’s nothing short of nefarious.

            So, in short, chemical sensitivity should be treated at least no different than regular allergies. (Notice that my posts barely differentiate sensitivity to chemicals from other allergies I was experiencing (like mold, dust, and cat hair—my reactions to each were very similar, that’s why.) But in reality, chemicals should be taken much more seriously, and awareness should be much higher on the priority list, because the disruption is much more devastating when humans have only had a century to adapt to all of these new compounds (in new concentrations).

            As per your suggestion that there are plenty of people who have the genetics to not detox the chemicals, there are plenty of other environmental factors that explain the sensitivity of the few, like a person’s gut bacteria (which has not been sufficiently addressed in the MCS community and in research), mitochondrial function, and the coaction of other chemicals that suppress sensation. On the last of those: When I stopped drinking fluoride in particular, I started to have much keener senses of negative environmental elements. I’m not sure if that’s the key chemical that suppresses feeling, but it is known to have a dulling effect on the senses. This and a huge number of chemicals that are in the cocktail of so-called “drinking water” that comes through the tap could be the culprit. So I guess I should just drink tap water (Kool Aid) like everyone else, lol.

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