quantified self

Reversing the damage of Antibiotics on your Gut Microbiota

People with acne are intimately familiar with gut microbiota.  Having severe or moderate acne probably means you have cycled through tetracycline, minocycline, Azythromycin, and doxcycline, among others (these are the ones I have used)…

Unfortunately for us, research in the past decade is indicating that these bacteria are pretty damn important for our systemic health.  I have gone down the rabbit hole of gut testing–I have already used Ubiome (many times), American Gut (once), and the more comprehensive Genova Stool Test (results already posted).  I am not going to fool you into thinking that these are diagnostic or incredibly actionable at this point.  Most of it has been interesting, but it is still somewhat preliminary.  Have I been able to ‘target’ and change these things?  Not really.  I have been messing around with DIY fecal transplants, which I will do a blog post about soon (yes, fecal transplants are a thing but the FDA only allows it to be performed clinically for a very small number of conditions, unfortunately).

As a general rule of thumb, I always participate in research.  I recently participated in Ubiome’s mental health study.  I was very impressed and look forward to seeing the results.  I also received a free gut kit from it.

Another company that I have been really impressed with, and testing with of recently, is The Biocollective.  Martha Carlin, the CEO is awesome.  Her TED talk about the gut microbiota of Parkinson’s patients is here: http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Do-Gut-Microbes-Predict-or-Caus

Martha is  dead set on figuring out how the gut microbiome interacts with human health.  To get your gut sequenced, check out the website.  You can get the basic bird’s eye view of your gut bacteria done for free.  To get fungi, viruses, parasites, and bacteria checked, you can use the code word CAND50 for 50% off–this brings the standard kit’s price to $275– a good deal in this world.  And I am sure the price will drop in coming years as the price of sequencing continues to drop.  So if you take a shit–get tested.  It isn’t tough, the data benefits us all as we learn about us–the super-organisms that we are.

Fatty Acids– My biggest find so far!

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While there are many factors to acne, fatty acids have been the biggest boon.

EPA (the omega 3 found in fish/fish oil) and Arachidonic acid were abnormally low.   EPA is low due to poor antioxidant status (probably), and the arachidonic acid is low, perhaps due to the rapid conversion to prostaglandins and other Arachidonic acid metabolites.

Oct.-Dec. 2014: Gluten-Free Diet, Multi with Zinc and Copper, Broad-Based Probiotic, Aged Garlic Extract

There seems to be good evidence that acne correlates or is caused by a fatty acid imbalance.

Micronutrient Test #2: Antioxidants and Acne Revisited

*We are working on a better format for this website.  In short it is a collection of lab tests aimed at identifying the root cause of acne.

Spectracell 2 online

Date: 7/10/13

Lesions: 15

Medications/Diet/Supplements: NAC 1600 mg, Standard Multivitamin, Typical American Diet, Beef Liver 1x per week, Vit. D 5000 IU

There is definitely a correlation with acne, although low antioxidants can also lower Testosterone and DHT, so it could even out.  But in general, acne and low antioxidants tend to correlate in my experience.

It does seem as if this is not the root cause, because simply taking NAC or vitamin E did not do much by way of eliminating acne.