Functional Medicine/chronic pain and fatugue


QUESTION: Hello! I have a question aalst chronic muscle and joint pain and fatigue. I do have leaky gut and am working to correct this. I eat very healthy, clean diet. No grains or refined sugar. Lots of protien, fruits, veggies and water. I started adding in more probiotics and it seems this increases my pain and fatigue symptoms. It doesn't seem like a candida die off. This is because some initial symptoms resolved (like digestion distress) as time went on, while the pain and inflammation type symptoms only seem to remain consistent and may even be worsening. I have tried various probiotics brands as well as getting it from clean food sources like seaurkraut, kombucha, or coconut water kefir. Muscle stiffness, aching, and popping joints seem to be an unfortunate result. I'm wondering what your thoughts are on this, if your aware of such a side effect and why this occurs. I'm also wondering if there's an obvious remedy that might resolve the issue? I seem to not be alone in this issue:

ANSWER: Hey Angela!

I grew up in WI, the Milwaukee area! :)

Anyway, sorry you are suffering as much as you are. I would need to know more details to have a clearer picture.

For example, how long have you had the symptioms and when did you start making dietary changes?

It sounds like you are taking the right steps, because refined carbs, wheat and other grains often cause digestive and immune issues. Chronic wheat intake can drive leaky gut, and all those refined carbs often increase inflammation, cravings, weight gain, hormonal imbalances, etc.

Are there some issues with excess weight, especially in the abdominal area (that cal also drive chronic inflammation)?

As for probiotics, the ones you are trying might be the wrong mix. Just changing your diet over several weeks can begin to alter your gut microbes and function. But it can take time to reform the gut. If the probiotics cause more symptoms, I wouldn't worry about those for a while. I'd skip them.

What medications do you take, as the side effects can be wide ranging and dibilitating!

How about stress, sleep and activity, as all those lifestyle areas affect your overall health right down to your genes and all areas of digestion, metabolism, hormonal balances, organs and even brain and mood (I have lots fo links I could send but I want to gather more info first.

I'll be in and out today, but I'll try to respond later (BTW, was the 6th word in your info "about"?).



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Yes, the word was "about"...sorry for the typo.

I've had symptoms for more than 15 years. I am 32. I realized food sensitivity was a leading issue about 5 years ago and started making diet changes at that time. I cut out grains a year ago and basically eat paleo now, leaning toward the autoimmune paleo protocol. This certainly helps, but hasn't completely resolved the issues. I also deal with seasonal allergies, both indoor and outdoor (grass, trees, mold, dust, dust mites...)

I am a normal weight for my height, no excess in the abdomen. Bloating, yes, but not excess weight.

I wasn't sure what you meant by "If the probiotics cause more symptoms I wouldn't worry about those for a while. I'd skip them." Do you mean you'd ignore the extra symptoms and see if it adjusts longer term? How long do you think would be a good timeframe to keep testing? Or do you mean you would skip consuming the probiotics?

I stopped taking a probiotic supplement that my allergist has had me on for a few years. I ran out during the winter and noticed I felt a bit better, so tried not taking it for a while since it seemed like an interesting coincidence. I started consuming kombucha, sauerkraut, and coconut water kefir instead about three weeks ago and noticed that pain and weakness had returned.

I don't take any medications. I try to make food my remedy. I sleep 8-9 hours a night, do yoga 2-3 times a week, take walks and get out in nature at least a few times a week. I do have anxiety and reoccurring stress and try to manage it with the other lifestyle factors to balance it out. It seems these emotional/mental issues often go hand-in-hand with gut issues.

If there's any other info you'd find helpful let me know.

Okay, the 15 years is important as it will take some time to heal and repair the gut.

The allergies may be connected and may play a role. I also had terrible allergies. I got tested and they said I had something all year as well (dust, molds, mildew, pollens from grass, trees, ragweed, pet dander, etc.). Interestingly, the doctor said they know pollens, dust and the rest really arent a threat to health, just mildly irritating. He said the thinking is that allergies are connected to childhood stress, where the body associates a fall, injury or stressful situation to the allergens! The body overreacts and perceives those things to be a more serious threat, hence the strong histimine (flushing) response. I did self-hypnosis for 2 weeks and my allergies have been cut by 95%, to almost nothing! That was over 10 years ago. indeed, so much is in the mind, but all lifestyle areas can play a role.  

I'm glad the weight is normal as fat in the abdoman is highly inflammatory and can cause the immune system to simmer (among other things). Also, your age is in you favor. Your body wants to heal!

I'm glad paleo is helping but it might also cause some issues (for example, dairy and lactose can cuse leaky gut like grains can). I don't recommend paleo as a base diet (too restrictive), I'm more the Mediterranean diet, with lots of veggies/greens, some fruits, beans, fish/seafood, nuts and seeds, EVOO, etc.

Yes, I meant sugges "skip the probiotics for now." Learning to listen to your body and its signals is key to healing. So for now, I wouldn't take probiotics (even the kombucha and the rest if the body isn't responding well).

Do you take a quality milti-vitamin/mineral supplement (leaky gut can cause extra micro-nutrient deficiencies)?

Have you had your 25-hydroxy vitamin D tested (critical for immune function)?

Have you had other recent blood testing done (metabolic panel with 20+ tests, plus CBC), including a hsCRP test?

Glad to hear you're not on medications and that you are working on Yoga (I do some daily as well), and nature walks. And you are right, stress and anxiety have direct effects on genes and health.

I want you to give yourself some positive feedback about the steps you have taken. Overall, you are headed in the right direction. I think it may take some adjusting and fine-tuning, but you can heal in time, maybe just a few months more with teh right steps.


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Steven Carney


I can answer questions that involve nutrition, fitness and weight loss issues. I'm also able to answer questions for chronic, lifestyle-driven conditions, such as high cholesterol/triglycerides, high BP/hypertension, atherosclerosis/heart disease, systemic inflammation, arthritis, high blood sugar, obesity, etc.


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