Here’s a hint: not supplements
Many recent floxies have been hitting me up quite frequently to tell me that they’ve been floxed, that my blog has given them hope, and to ask me how I got better.
First of all, everyone heals at their own pace. Every human body is different. Some people have a gradual onset of symptoms. Some are permanent and some are temporary. Some people experience a reaction right after they take a fluoroquinolone, some don’t experience a reaction until the third (or 15th!) time they’ve taken a fluoroquinolone, and some won’t get sick until 6 months after they take the antibiotic. I, personally, didn’t experience a noticeable reaction (minus extreme fatigue) until a month later and I had an extreme set of symptoms that hit me all at once, left me temporarily disabled. I had full-body neuropathy, tendon damage in all parts of my body (including the back of my eyes…weird), mitochondrial damage which resulted in extreme fatigue, muscle twitching, severe anxiety and panic attacks that came out of nowhere, and the scariest nightmares I’ve ever had in my entire life.
Yes, nightmares are a symptom of fluoroquinolone toxicity. Isn’t that strange? They are super terrifying. Mine included watching my best friend kill herself as an angel after I “died” and another one included watching someone tear their skin off, a la Black Swan. Pretty messed up if I do say so myself.
I was lucky, though. My internist knew what it was right away and diagnosed me with fluoroquinolone toxicity…maybe I didn’t want to believe him, but he was right. That gave me ample opportunity to research the heck out of this and take action ASAP. I am forever grateful to my doctor for essentially saving my life. Here are the things that helped me the most:
1 – Organic, wild offal
What is offal? It’s another word for “organ meat.” Organ meats contain the highest natural levels of CoEnzyme Q10 (CoQ10) which is known to heal mitochondria damage. I ate venison liver and heart that my family had hunted and kept in the freezer. You can find chicken liver for very cheap at Whole Foods and your local asian supermarket.
This cured my severe fatigue.
2 – Bone broth
Bone broth seems pretty nasty now, but it’s been a staple in soups, stews, and ancient medicine for centuries. The collagen and other good properties found in bones, marrow, and joint tissue are great for healing tendons, muscle, and joints. You can find it here or make your own.
This cured my tendon damage (and made my teeth whiter!).
3 – Reading
It may not seem like much, but reading every day for pleasure really helped me. It eased my anxiety and gave me something to relate to. My personal favorites were the entire Harry Potter series, the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, and…. *drum roll please* Adult Connect-the-Dots. You have no idea how much distracting yourself can help you deal with strange mental symptoms like panic attacks. Also, can I just say something about Adult Connect-the-Dots right now? This is so vastly underrated. Connect-the-Dots is SO GOOD for your mental health. It is so relaxing and so much fun. I am obsessed with it. I did mine with different colored markers.
Reading treated my anxiety.
4 – External Magnesium
I had taken magnesium supplements every day since fluoroquinolones left me extremely magnesium deficient. My favorite supplements were Magnesium L-Threonate from Life Extension. However, that wasn’t enough. My tendons ached, especially at night, and I needed something topical. Enter Magnesium Oil. This stuff changed my life. I still use it! I used to put it on my aching tendons every night, wash my hands immediately afterward (otherwise they become dry and itchy). Then, I would go to sleep. Another great thing for my tendons was epsom salt baths. It’s not as effective as the oil, but it gets the job done.This healed my tendons.
5 – Bach’s Rescue Remedy
This stuff is seriously the best stuff in the world for anxiety. It’s a dropper full of flower tinctures that calm you down in an instant. It’s not just for neurotoxic anxiety, either. It can work for regular anxiety, depression, and mania too. If I didn’t have this, I don’t know how I would have survived those terrifying four months. The tincture blend usually runs for about $15-20 USD, but it’s on sale on Amazon right now if you want to get it for less.
This helped my anxiety.
6 – Infrared (or Dry) Saunas
I had never been into saunas (or steam rooms) until I tried a dry sauna. Every sauna just made me feel like I was breathing in other people’s sweat and I felt like I was suffocating in it. It just felt super gross to me. Dry saunas aren’t like that. They’re usually fit for only one or two people. They run hotter than regular saunas, but somehow feel less hot. Using a dry sauna helped ease my anxiety, dull my tendon pain, and it even helped my neuropathy. I also assume that it helped me sweat out any excess fluoroquinolone residue or toxins left in my body… at least a little bit. Either way, highly recommend. You can find one by searching for “dry” or “infrared sauna” on Yelp. Many times, you can find them at spas or gyms. A 30-minute session is usually enough. If you have recently been floxed, I recommend purchasing a package deal if you can afford it. I tried to go at least once a week and it cost me about $20 every time. You can also buy your own… if you’re into that and have a bazillion dollars to spend. That’s like, a dream for me. Actually, I don’t know. A thousand bucks is kind of a steal.
Helped my anxiety, tendon damage, and neuropathy.
7 – Probiotics
Not any low-quality ones, either. You need to get the refrigerated probiotics that you can find at the health food store. This stuff helps you digest and enter good bacteria into your gut to make up for all the ones you lost thanks to the antibiotic. You can also find high quality probiotics in kombucha, kimchi, apple cider vinegar, and other fermented foods. Try to avoid probiotics in dairy. Many times, dairy is difficult to digest, and consuming it won’t really help your digestion much (cheese is sooo good though, I know).
Helped re-balance my gut flora.
8 – Avoiding Fluoride and Eating Fluoride-Binding Foods
What sets apart fluoroquinolone antibiotics from regular antibiotics is a fluorine ion that is highly reactive considering it’s only a single ion. This means that it can bind to anything in your body that has one free spot. Uhhh the GABA receptors in your brain are an example. So, I decided to fight fire with fire and although I’m not sure if it worked (because fluoride technically has a different chemical structure than fluorine), I found that selenium (found in Brazil nuts) and tamarind both bind to fluoride. I avoided all fluoride in my water, toothpaste, etc. It seemed to help. It didn’t seem to hurt, anyway.
9 – Antioxidant-rich Foods
Some of the most antioxidant-rich foods are red berries. Did you know that? You know that people will drink cranberry juice before a blood test. Well, did you know that tart cherry juice, pomegranate juice, and acaí juice also have many antioxidants? Antioxidants eliminate toxin by-products created by oxidative stress in your body. This helps eliminate mitochondrial damage from oxidative stress and in turn will also help you avoid any kind of toxic reaction, many cancers, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. You must make sure the juice is organic because otherwise, you’re getting juice with toxins already in it. Goji berries have the highest amount of antioxidants found naturally. I would eat them by the bag.
10 – The Wahls Protocol
This is unfair that this is at the end, because this book has changed my life completely. Not only did it guide me through diet changes to help heal my body, but Dr. Wahls’ book was the reason I had tried the infrared saunas, the reason I found out I had celiac disease before I got floxed, and it definitely saved my life. I can’t recommend it enough. In fact, this is probably the 8th time I’ve mentioned it on this blog. READ THIS BOOK. EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK.
I took as many of the supplements as people recommended. I was buying new supplements left-and-right. I think Vitamin D, folic acid, and alpha lipoic acid helped me the most out of that list of supplements everyone tells you to take, but really, the above list is what helped me the most. Just because this is what helped me, does not mean it will help you. Keep trying until you find what works best for you and remember to listen to your body. Your body knows what’s best.
Photo Credit: my mom
Disclaimer(s): I am not a doctor and this is not intended to be considered as medical advice. This blog post is not intended to cure or treat any illness. It merely serves as a recounting of what has worked for me, specifically. Some of the links in this post are affiliated links and The Barefoot Aya may receive a percentage of the item purchased. This does not mean that Amazon supports The Barefoot Aya nor does it mean that I do not fully recommend these products. I would never link to a product unless I fully recommend it.