Alright. First things first. THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. I am not a medical practitioner. I am a Nutrition Coach and someone who has multiple gene mutations including MTHFR and has traveled to 20 countries as well as eaten pork. I have parasites. So gut cleansing is like second nature to me these days. I started this natural protocol last year after I was hospitalized and reduced to eating nothing but bone broth and organ meat… and after a year I have been able to re-incorporate seafood, lamb, some fruits and (fermented) vegetables along with purple sweet potatoes, coconut yogurt and keto chocolate! Hooray!
Below are some basic reasons that someone might need a gut cleanse… but gut cleanses are also just sensible. And good sense is something to aspire to, right? I have only been to a few places where good sense seemed to be of high value… Sweden off the top of my head… and yeah… maybe that is about it. So, that being out of the way… there are some reasons you might want to talk to your doctor about a gut cleanse.
Two years ago despite a Hashimoto’s diagnosis I was in probably the best fitness of my life. I had come back from Ireland the winter previous overweight (for me) and was misdiagnosed by a well meaning Nurse Practitioner who thought it was in my head until I very firmly requested a blood test and an ultrasound. She found my TSH levels were in fact off, and I had cysts in my ovaries. I researched and tried to heal myself naturally on my own but didn’t improve until I went and saw my Naturopathic Doctor. He ran blood tests, food allergy tests, and gave me the full run down. It was thorough. He diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s and a slew of food allergies I had to avoid for a while and so I managed to shed the pounds and started feeling really good again. That summer I proudly stood in a bikini thigh deep in a lake fishing and I felt really good. I could see my abs. I could outpace my three kids and I was doing HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) regularly and starting to get into kettlebells. I struggled with inflammation and anxiety but otherwise I was doing pretty well. During our camping trip, I had an incident with some not completely sealed bratwurst floating around in my cooler with the vegetables though and after that trip my health starting to decline swiftly. I started becoming intolerant to more and more foods again and my inflammation was through the roof. The only thing I could find to help with that was full spectrum CBD until I became allergic to the small amount of THC present in it. I found some help with Broad Spectrum (THC-Free) CBD from Joy Organics after that (they have just announced a full spectrum blend as well).* It was a struggle to say the least and I felt like I was fighting for my life again, more on that in this post. I was unable to eat most foods, I was sleeping 18 hours per day and my hair was falling out. I read the Hashimoto’s Protocol from Dr. Izabella Wentz and it was mind blowing. I took it to my Naturopathic Doctor and he worked with me to follow the protocols and make sure I was testing on track. At the end of the book Dr. Wentz plainly states that if you haven’t seen improvements then it is likely you have Blastocystis Hominis, H. Pylori, or another gut infection. Well… that blew some whistles and took my back to my post exchange student days when I had tested positive for about a dozen parasites, including B. Hominis. So… I decided to start her gut cleansing protocol, which was meant to be 60 days. My Naturopath warned me though that with some of these bugs having been in my system for 20 years, that it was going to take a long time. Maybe years. But definitely not 60 days. He had run my raw dna data from 23andme through PureGenomics.com and found I had not just one MTHFR but a double copy amidst 10 other gene mutations having to do with methylation and detoxification. I was a mess… and I had never stood a chance to fend off my illness in our modern world. (If you would like me to run your raw DNA for a breakdown, contact me for a Telehealth Consultation. This is a service I offer as a Nutrition Coach to help construct dietary, exercise and supplement regimens) At least not without a freaking amazing probiotic and a great amount of care and knowledge about toxins. So… I started the 60 day Gut Cleanse Protocol (listed below) and let’s just say I was glued to the toilet for the better part of a month. It was not fun. I have pictures. I spent many days sitting in an epsom salt bath with lavender and balming my bum. The second month was slightly better… I could leave the house for a couple hours at a time but was still weak. But come Thanksgiving I was able to eat my first vegetable: the lovely asparagus. I can share more about all that later and my journey since but this post is about the importance of cleansing the gut so your health can stand a chance. Because any parasitic infection at all drains your body of nutrition and therefore life. Get rid of the parasites and malicious bacteria… and your body can function. So read on if this is for you. xx
How do you know if you need a cleanse?
Cravings are a big flag: parasites, pathogenic bacteria and bad microbes want sugar, toxins, chemicals. Yay! Feed us! Your good microbes crave clean organic greens and foods… but often if you are in need of a cleanse, you’re already reacting to these nutritious foods as well as the bad ones. This means your body is in distress and reacting to everything because it is under attack. My body had long since stopped tolerating wheat, sugar and things like packaged foods, but it came as a shock to me when my system could no longer tolerate kale. What?! Kale? Not okay. Plants come with all sorts of lectins, phytates, indigestible proteins and chemicals that they put off to ward off predators and protect their babies: seeds, leaves and stalks. Some seeds are meant to be eaten and carried elsewhere for a plant to survive (think the fruits of the plant: apples, berries, snow peas, squash) whereas some are not and can be inflammatory if you have an already unhealthy gut. I sprout and ferment most of mine which takes care of a lot of those issues by breaking down those difficult to digest proteins.
Other big flags are bloating, unexplainable weight loss or weight gain, headaches, anemia, nausea, brain fog, dizziness, anxiety, heart palpitations, fatigue, hair loss. The above image is a great example. Often these things can be resolved with a gut reset, but sometimes they are signs of underlying disease. So if you go through a cleanse and find you’re still struggling, please see a Naturopathic Doctor and have your blood levels checked as well as check for food intolerance. A Gut Analysis can also be ordered (poop test).
Cleanse your liver first! I always recommend an environmental detox for 2 weeks to allow your liver time to process all that it may be backlogged with… you don’t want to start flushing if it already has a lot to deal with… it is a bit like adding a big pile of papers to an already overworked admin’s desk. It’s just more paper. (source: Izabella Wentz, M.D.) Once you’ve done your environmental liver detox you may follow it with 2 weeks of gentle liver cleanse.
Cut out toxins from your home and personal products: consult ewg.org/skindeep for help or message me.
- Take your shoes off at the door: your shoes walk through all sorts of toxins during the day while you are out and about including carcinogens like glyphosate found in round-up. If you then wear those shoes around in your home, your pets, children and sometimes you, will be coming in contact with those toxins via your skin. (think, rolling around on the floor with your kids)
- Scan your personal care products with the EWG app or look them up on the skin deep database. Avoid anything with unidentified “fragrance“, PEG’s, phlatates, parabens and if you can go without makeup for a couple weeks, do, unless your makeup is EWG verified or under a 2 toxin rating like Beautycounter, Everyone or most Acure Organics. An easy place to consult for decoding your products is Beautycounter’s Never List, which is a list of 1,800 chemicals the company has vowed never to use in our products because they are known to cause harm to human health.
- Switch out your plastics to glass where possible and swap out any teflon pans and plastic utensils for cast iron, stainless steel and silicone. Personally, I prefer Lodge cast iron as it is inexpensive, lasts forever (if you care for it properly!) and gives your body a boost of iron, and not least of all it makes everything taste better!
- Switch out toxic/household cleaning products for either Branch Basics or Norwex for cleaning without chemicals. I’m a big fan of the mop (it rivals my old steam mop), the laundry detergent gets out all the kid smells and the envirocloth and cleaning paste is a multipurpose must.
- If you are not allergic to all the things, then try this liver detox. If you are, on the other hand, you might want to stick with some simple supplements to assist liver health like Milk Thistle and Benfotiamine. I have taken cilantro extract as well, although it doesn’t taste nice. Available in my Wellevate Practitioner Dispensary.
- Avoid sugar and grains as these feed bad bacteria, fungal infections and parasites.
- Feed your beneficial bacteria with plenty of prebiotic fiber found in greens. There are some great ones from Amazing Grass available & Amy Myers MD in my Wellevate Dispensary.
- Once you have been supporting your liver for a couple weeks, feel free to add in super greens like spirulina or chlorella or YourSuper Green Blend. But if you jump straight to this and you have a backlogged liver you can experience an array of uncomfortable symptoms, so it is best to play it safe.
- Cut out sugar, grains, dairy and alcohol and keep carbohydrates to a minimum. Parasites, fungus and cancer all live and thrive and reproduce on the same fuel source: sugar. Grains and dairy turn to sugar in your body as well as being highly inflammatory if not prepared properly so it is best to take a break from them if you are serious about starving these little suckers out and supporting your good microbes that are responsible for your life and health. Feed the good microbes, starve the bad ones.
- Add in humic & fulvic minerals to help detox the liver as well as replenish minerals from cleansing. Microbe Formulas makes one called BioActive Carbon Minerals that is good. I also use Ion Biome from Wellevate and another good one is made by Coseva (the home of TRS Toxin Removal System).
Get things moving!
Either route I would recommend including the Microbe Formulas Mimosa Pudica as this is the best Mimosa Pudica I have found on the market. It is a sticky herb that wraps itself around parasitic organisms and helps pull them out of your system.
Now, I had labs test positive for Blastocystis Hominis, so Berberine is a key supplement to help combat this malicious protozoa. B. Hominis is known for causing carbohydrate intolerance, fungus and other problems and is present in more than half of women with Hashimoto’s. Berberine is also just a good sense part of a gut cleansing protocol because parasites of many types don’t fare well with it. I buy mine from Wellevate (Douglas Labs brand), because it is far less expensive and of high quality. I also take a total of 6 per day (as well as Mastic Gum for H. Pylori 6/day) but most people can start with 1 or 2.
This was my original broad spectrum gut cleansing protocol. So two things on this: 1) I did not “ease in” but it is very much recommended. I genuinely thought my parasites were going to kill me, and looking back after more knowledge I realize they probably would have, but if you’re not in such a dire situation I would recommend starting slowly with just a few things at a time with the help of your Naturopathic Doctor or Functional Medicine Doctor. 2) I HIGHLY recommend starting with a good probiotic (and a Magnesium Citrate or Glycinate blend such as Calm as well as a Mimosa Pudica supplement for “catching” the parasites and helping move them out of your body:
Broad Spectrum Gut Cleansing Protocol:
- Oil of Oregano 150mg: 2 capsules, 3 times per day for 60 days (a thyme, oregano, clove blend is recommended) GX Assist is a good choice as well as Gaia Oregano or Biocidin from my Wellevate Practitioner Dispensary
- Garlic oil: 3 times per day for 60 days+
- Berberine /Candibactin-BR: 2 capsules, 3 times per day for 60 days+ (available in Wellevate Practitioner Dispensary)
- Saccharymyces boulardii: 5-15 billion CFUs, 2-4 times per day (up to 8x) for 60 days (Bio-Xyme is a good option for AM and has S. Boulardii and heaps of digestive enzymes to break down Candida. I like Ancient Nutrition’s SBO Probiotics & FloraMend which are are available in my Wellevate Practitioner Dispensary – email me for recommendations)
- Mastic Gum 500mg: Take two capsules three times per day (breakfast, lunch, dinner) (available in Wellevate Practitioner Dispensary)
- DGL Plus: One three times per day (breakfast, lunch dinner) (available in Wellevate, message for recommendations)
- Wormwood or wormwood containing anti-parasitic (available in Wellevate, message for recommendations)
- Microbe Formulas Mimosa Pudica +
- Microbe Formulas BioActive Carbon BioTox (to bind toxins that parasites let off as they are dying… called “die off“. It is not nice, and a binder helps with the nausea.)
- I also take food grade Diatomaceous Earth along with a Magnesium Drink at night before bed because D.E. dehydrates and attacks parasitic organisms in a way that many other supplements and protocols miss. If you are on an extreme budget and know you have parasites, do this one thing: (1 tbsp D.E. + 2 tsp Calm Magnesium with hot water at night before bed) Both are available in my Wellevate Dispensary.
- Digestive Enzymes at meals to help break down food. This helps with the cleansing process, especially if you suspect candida or parasitic infection. I also recommend Enzyme Defense Pro from my Wellevate Practitioner Dispensary.
Liver and kidney support options:
It is important to support the liver and kidneys whilst doing a parasite protocol. Things to look for are milk thistle, chanca piedra & marshmallow root.
Dealing with Heavy Metals & Detoxification Support:
- Advanced TRS spray: I highly recommend TRS spray for helping the body detox from heavy metals, which are often let loose in a gut cleanse. We absorb heavy metals daily and they are often a root cause of illness. I am just beginning to discover the helpfulness of this. From the air we breathe to the water and food we consume, we take all sorts of toxins into our bodies. These toxins contribute to health problems, such as asthma, stroke, heart disease and developmental deficiencies. While there is only so much you can do to eliminate your toxin intake, Advanced TRS is helps safely and effectively get toxins out of your body. By facilitating your body’s ability to extract heavy metals and other toxins through natural processes, TRS helps you make significant improvements to your health by extracting heavy metals and toxins that your body would not otherwise. It is also useful for a gentle parasite cleanse for children. You can also use ACZ Nano; available in Wellevate. I use this in combination with CedarBear Cleanse for my kids.
- I drink a green smoothie every day with Spirulina & Chlorella. A good one is Spectra Greens or Now Mint Chlorophyll in my Wellevate Practitioner Dispensary or the YourSuper Super Green Blend but I have used some other good quality brands as well. They also have a good Detox Bundle if superfoods are your thing. They are unsweetened, so that takes some getting used to, but they are extremely CLEAN. You can use code “CULTUREDBITE” for a discount. Alternatively you can pick up some Amazing Grass from my Wellevate Practitioner Dispensary, which is discounted 10% off retail. Send me an email for recommendations in your inbox.
- If you want an all inclusive kit to support your detoxification pathways, this doTERRA Cleanse & Restore Kit is ideal, it includes detoxification support as well as GX Assist to create an unfriendly environment for parasitic organisms, but a healthy environment for you and your beneficial bacteria.
Ways to help your body cope with die off:
- BINDERS, BINDERS, BINDERS!!! G.I. Detox, Ultra Binder from Quicksilver Scientific are both available in my Wellevate Store and Microbe Formulas BioActive Carbon BioTox
- Add to this Calm Magnesium to help get your gut moving gently. You can find it in my Wellevate Store.
- My favorite way of coping with die off is with adaptogens! You can take them as supplements but I prefer Rasa as my go to. It is less expensive than my former adaptogenic adrenal support supplement and far more potent. And it is SO satisfying! You can buy some here. I prefer the Cacao and Original flavors but the Bold is extremely potent, although a bit bitter. It helps deal with the nausea that sometimes results from die off, and is a good dose of clean energy. You can use code “MAYWELLNESS” for 15% off at checkout.
- A BioToxin Binder is important, like Ultra Binder (from my Wellevate, message for recommendations) or this one from Microbe Formulas.
- TRS helps with this as well as AZC Nano Extra Strength from my Wellevate Dispensary
- If you are experiencing die off… a sensible thing to do is SLOW DOWN. Die off is a sign that your liver is not keeping up with your cleanse so take a break if you need to, and start back up with a slower, lower dose and add some liver & kidney support like Microbe Formulas Kidney & Liver Support
- HYDRATE: lots of clean, filtered water is important! Quinton Isotonic is available in my Wellevate Dispensary and another good option is Microbe Formulas BioActive Carbon Minerals.
- And MOST IMPORTANTLY, consult your Naturopathic Doctor or Primary Care Physician for help.
* I take OysterMax, which ships from Ireland as it contains powerful natural sources of B12, Zinc, Iodine, Selenium, Copper and Omega 3’s and has helped ease fatigue, boost my strength and endurance massively and is fantastic for reproductive health and general immunity. I also recommend doTERRA’s xEO Mega blend. Plant based Omega 3’s do not work for me but if you need a good one I recommend doTERRA’s vEO Mega.
I hope this helps. This is an ongoing journey for me, but if in the very least you have realized you are not alone in any of these struggles, then my sharing is not in vain. If you’re reading this then chances are you’re searching, and researching… and that is the most important thing if you are going to advocate for your health. I often bring my research to my Naturopathic Doctor and he helps guide me, and because of that we can work together for my healing. If you are not advocating for yourself than you cannot much expect your doctor to cure you. It takes two.
I have struggled with my gut and parasite protocol for a year since my scary hospital trip in September of 2019… often wondering if my parasites were going to win out and I was going to have to say goodbye to my family. I have been biohacking my issues and have lost LOADS of parasites and biofilms (the kind of webbing/biome structures they build in the intestines that can also make you sick), and every day I feel better. I haven’t posted pictures, because that’s gross, but if you’re one of those nothing bothers you folks and that will convince you, go ahead an email me and I’ll send you a few. LOL.
If you are interested in working with me, I have launched a new gut healing program!
My 30 Day Gut-Fix program is designed to remove gut disruptors and replace them with health, bringing your body into a place of healing and balance. It is self paced but I offer a group program through Instagram as well as 1:1 Telehealth coaching in addition to the course at an introductory rate. The program includes:
- 4 weeks of suggested meals and a shopping list to guide you through buying nutritious and satisfying foods.
- 30 Days worth of recipes (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and more!)
- Email support from yours truly—I’m here to make sure you succeed!
- Handouts with simple reminders for your gut health journey
- A Food Diary so that you can reflect on how your meals make you feel and unleash your maximum potential!
- A 20 minute get-to-know-you call to determine variations to the program.
Visit www.brennamay.com/coaching to purchase the 30 Day Gut Fix program.
Again, please feel free to message if you have questions.
Cheers to your health!
*S. Boulardii actively kills off candida and other microbes so you can experience “die off” if you are not keeping up with toxin binders and liver support.