When things do not seem to be going right

In this post I want to clarify that the model that I am using is re-entrant (a computer term). This means simply that you can stop at any time and restart at any point later without a problem as long as you are rotating probiotic and anti-infection agents (herbs, antibiotics, etc).

Some people report a smooth progression with greater energy and activities. Other people have severe reaction from a probiotic or herb or vitamin that very few have problems with. Your DNA and your very unique microbiome determines that.

There is NOT a protocol that you must keep religiously too. There is no magical path of taking a set of supplements. Many supplements have studies reporting that the average person improved / reduced symptoms. When you read the studies, you will find that 80% improve, 15% have no change and 5% had adverse reactions. Your odds are 16:1 that any change will be to the better, not worst. Worst does happen… so what should you do?

The answer using the model is simple — significantly  cut back on everything (even stopping everything is fine). Give your system an opportunity to stabilize itself, then add back one item at a time  — no more than one a week. Yes, you are impatient for recovery but going too fast may sabotage your recovery. 

The approach that I would use for myself after stabilizing is to resume with the last item added. I would take this in the evening –likely with an evening snack.  Then I would note if there are any of the following changes:

  • Longer or shorter sleep
  • Dreams – more often or less often
  • Night sweats
  • Do I wake up more or less refresh.

There is no preferred answer to the above — the important thing is that a change occurred. My preferred scenario is deeper more solid sleep, with night sweats and waking refresh. Other times, I went to a shorter deep sleep and notices more energy and alertness in the morning. There is no magic set of symptoms to look for — what is important is the change.

If the response is uncomfortably too severe, then I would stop. In 6 months, I may try again because my microbiome may have changed enough that this response may not happen then.  Effectively we are dealing with a constantly moving target and responses.


Let me take a look at some simple examples.

  • Vitamin D
    • if you supplement at 10,000 IU or more, you should have your levels check every three months — some people report that their level stayed low and suddenly jump high – why, I do not know.
    • this accumulate in the body — stopping supplement simply stops the level building (and it may naturally reduce)
  • Minocycline
    • Our goal is not to eliminate all of one bacteria with this — it is reduce those that are sensitive to it.
    • The next herb or antibiotic will likely work better in eliminating those left than more of the same antibiotic. It’s mechanism will likely be different and the bacteria will have to adapt again.

There is an excellent article in the Economist explaining what antibiotic resistance is


“The genes needed for resistance can thus be quite readily available. But like any biological attribute, resistance is not a free good. Building extra bacterial bilge pumps or special drug-smashing enzymes costs a micro-organism energy and materials; changing the shape of molecules to make them drug-proof is likely to leave them working less well than they did. Simply copying the DNA of the resistance gene imposes a metabolic load. And different antibiotics require different resistance genes; the more a bug needs to use, the greater the costs.

By frequently changing the anti-infection agent (antibiotics, herbs, probiotics) we attempt to saturate it’s defense mechanisms.

Bottom Line

Be kind and nice to yourself, herx only to the degree that you are comfortable with — ideally for only part of the day. Herbs and antibiotics are likely to have a peak herx within an hour and then reduce to nothing. Probiotics may keep going if the probiotics successfully establishes itself.

There is nothing that is required.  I look for items with good odds, but nothing has perfect odds.