Elemental Dieting Provides Relief from C. Diff

Improving C. Diff Diarrhea with George.

Meet George, who is using an elemental diet to relieve his C. difficile symptoms of chronic diarrhea and food intolerance. George shares his story, we discuss FMT and probiotics for C. diff, and I answer his question about how to reintroduce food after an elemental diet.

In This Episode

Exclusive Elemental Diet for C. Diff … 00:01:11
Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT) for C. Diff … 00:03:36
C. Diff and Probiotics … 00:04:30
Reintroducing Food After an Elemental Diet … 00:08:58

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  • George developed C. difficile infection, likely as a side effect of antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease.
  • George reacts to almost all food, and started using the Elemental Diet after reading Healthy Gut, Healthy You. Elemental diet relieves most symptoms.
  • Three probiotics together may help further relieve the C. diff symptoms.
  • To reintroduce foods for highly sensitive people, start with more restrictive diets, and slowly broaden diet as symptoms resolve.

Sponsored Resources

Hi, everyone. Let’s talk about probiotics, which helped to make this podcast possible. Functional Medicine Formulations contains a line of probiotics that I personally developed, and I’m super excited to be able to offer you the same probiotics that I’ve been using in the clinic for years and are a byproduct of an extensive review of the literature plus my own clinical experience.

Elemental Dieting Provides Relief from C. Diff -
Elemental Dieting Provides Relief from C. Diff -
Elemental Dieting Provides Relief from C. Diff -

In this line, you will find my favorite three probiotics in all three of the main categories that work synergistically to help you fight dysbiosis, like SIBO, candida yeast, and H. pylori, help to eradicate parasites, help to reduce leaky gut and repair the gut barrier, and can improve gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and may even improve mood, skin, sleep, and thyroid function because of the far-reaching impact of the gut. You can learn more about these at drruscio.com/probiotics.


➕ Full Podcast Transcript

Intro:

Welcome to Dr. Ruscio radio. Providing practical and science-based solutions to feeling your best. To stay up to date on the latest topics as well as all of our prior episodes, please make sure to subscribe in your podcast player. For weekly updates, visit drruscio.com. The following discussion is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. Please do not apply any of this information without first speaking to your doctor. Now let’s head to the show.

DrMR:

I’m here with George and Rose. George has had some help from Healthy Gut, Healthy You, and also using our elemental diet amongst other things. He’s not fully to where he’d like to be, but he’s definitely making some steps on the road to recovery. And he was kind enough to share his experience with us today. George, Hi. Thanks for sharing your story.

George:

Hi Doctor. Thank You.

DrMR:

So tell us a little bit about the road to now.

Exclusive Elemental Diet for C. Diff

George:

Well, I’ve had a lot of troubles with my stomach. I have struggled with it what seems like my whole life. I have problems with heartburn and I’ve been on all sorts of medications for that. It was maybe six years ago where it was discovered that I had Lyme disease. Through that, I figured out how to eat properly and changed my diet and learned how important the gut is to your health. Since that time though I haven’t been able to get better. I recently found out that I’ve got C. diff. So now I’m struggling with C. diff and clearing that out. So my wife found your book and we’ve read through it. I started using your elemental diet and it has been a lifesaver for me. I mean, it truly feels so good in my gut when I get it in there. It’s amazing. I’m actually on it now for probably over three months.

DrMR:

I’m assuming you’re kind of doing a mix and match where you’re having some food and some elemental?

George:

I’ve been trying to mix in food, but with the C. diff, it kind of hasn’t been allowing it. I’ve pretty much been on the elemental diet for that amount of time. I’ve been trying to throw in baby food as much as I can, but not having much success. So right now I’m on my third round of antibiotic treatments and starting to have some success where I’ve started to eat some food, but I still need those liquid diets to get me through and to get calories in me.

DrMR:

Gotcha. So if not for the elemental diet really everything goes right through you, so to speak?

George:

Yup, with severe stomach cramps and stomach pain and everything that comes with it.

DrMR:

Sure, sure. Okay. Are you using probiotics in conjunction with this?

George:

Yes, sir. I have been. We also came across, Michelle Moore. I think her information in regards to C. diff and what to use. I was using a lot of her protocols for it all in conjunction with the antibiotics. I mean, I believe in herbal medicines and all that also.

DrMR:

Sure.

George:

But I was on her stuff for about four months, and was still having problems and still tested positive. So that’s kind of why I’m now back to my third round of treatment and still just trying to get my gut and intestine right.

DrMR:

Gotcha.

Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT) for C. Diff

DrMR:

Well, I’m not sure if you heard the discussions that we’ve had on the podcast before or if one of your doctors has made you aware of an option that you could consider down the line, once you have exhausted antibiotic therapy. It’s called FMT or a Fecal Microbiota Transplant. Is this something you’ve heard of?

Rose:

Yeah. We are taking all the steps to get there but we have to do the protocols first.

DrMR:

Yep, you have to follow the protocols

George:

I mean, that would have been my first go to be honest with you. I don’t have any problems with that, but the insurance has a different plan, so we have to try this first, because they reserve that for the last treatment. So if I fail after this third antibiotic round, then I’m allowed to go in and do that. I don’t understand why, but you know…insurance.

DrMR:

Now you have been using antibiotics, I’m assuming historically, somewhat regularly for the Lyme. Is that what you think led up to this?

C. Diff and Probiotics

George:

I think that’s what ramped it up, yeah.

DrMR:

Were you using probiotics at the same time you were using antibiotics historically during the Lyme treatment?

Rose:

On and off but not regularly.

DrMR:

Gotcha.

Rose:

The last few years, not enough, for sure.

DrMR:

Okay. Alright. And you’ve tried all three of the probiotics that I recommend in conjunction.

Speaker 2:

No, I have not tried your antibiotics [probiotics] yet. I was working with the MegaSporeBiotic program.

DrMR:

Okay. So that’s definitely something I would try. Using all three of the probiotics in conjunction. That may be enough to kind of tip you over the edge to where you’ll start to see some of the benefits that you’re hoping to see and that you haven’t seen yet from just one probiotic. It’s not a guarantee, but there are certainly cases, some of which we’ve documented here on the program, of people who have otherwise been nonresponsive to other therapies, including probiotics and when they finally going on all three in conjunction, they saw some improvement. You could almost think of it, to paint a loose analogy, you probably started off with one antibiotic and now they may be using a cocktail of multiple antibiotics for the C diff. It’s a similar sort of track for the probiotics. The analogy we use here is if you have a stool, like you would sit on, the probiotic is trying to support and balance in that ecosystem, in your gut.

DrMR:

What you don’t want is that ecosystem to fall over into imbalance. So a one legged stool is somewhat conducive to balance, but it’s wobbly. The three different types of probiotics together are more conducive to supporting balance in that ecosystem, in your gut. So something to talk with your doctor about and consider incorporating into the current treatment plan that you have for your C. Diff.

George:

Would I want to do those while I’m doing the antibiotic treatment? Or would I want to start those afterwards, or what order would I add those in?

DrMR:

This is definitely something you want to run by your doctor first. However, there is a fair amount of evidence showing that when probiotics are taken conjunctively with antibiotics, they actually increase the clearance rate of a given infection. This has been documented for H. pylori, it has been documented for small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO), it’s been documented for certain fungal infections. I’m not sure if this has been studied in C-Diff specifically or if it has, I haven’t seen any of those studies, but there seems to be this general trend that antibiotics and probiotics work synergistically, which makes sense when we understand that probiotics actually exert antibacterial action. So again, clear this with your doctor. But certainly the majority of the data thus far suggests that the probiotics will potentiate the ability of the antibiotics to clear out an infection and reestablish balance in your ecosystem. And can also help to reduce some of the side effects that can be associated with antibiotics.

DrMR:

Okay. So Elemental Heal has been helpful, but clearly we see here the elemental diet as almost as a rescue therapy, which certainly sometimes we need a rescue therapy. But now we need other supports to, in this case, really get the C diff under control. It sounds like hopefully with this recent antibiotic cocktail, you’re making some headway. I’m hopeful that by the addition of the additional probiotics, again, clear that with your local treating doctor, you may be able to get you over the edge into where your gut ecosystem balances out. As you already know, FMT is something that has been shown to be very helpful for those who are otherwise non-responsive.

Sponsored Resources:

Hi, everyone. Let’s talk about probiotics, which helped to make this podcast possible. Functional Medicine Formulations contains a line of probiotics that I’ve personally developed, and I’m super excited to be able to offer you the same probiotics that I’ve been using in the clinic for years and are a byproduct of an extensive review of the literature, plus my own clinical experience. So in this line, you will find my favorite three probiotics in all three of the main categories that work synergistically to help you fight dysbiosis like SIBO, candida, yeast, and H. pylori help you to eradicate parasites, help to reduce leaky gut and repair the gut barrier, and can improve gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and may even improve mood, skin, sleep, and thyroid function because of the far reaching impact of the gut. You can learn more about these at drruscio.com/probiotics.

Reintroducing Food After an Elemental Diet

George:

Another question I had for you is as I’m coming off my elemental diet, what diet should I introduce back into my diet? Should I be looking at a low FODMAP diet? I’m not too familiar with all of the terminology.

DrMR:

Great question. You know, if the food reactivity from the C. diff is so severe, it may be really hard to get a read on what diet works best for you, because you may notice you just react to anything across the board. Now, that being said, there are some diets that we know tend to be helpful for those with sensitive digestion. One is your kind of traditional elimination diet, like I talk about in the book. Or a paleo type diet or your standard kind of elimination of kind of provocating and inflammatory foods. Another could be low FODMAP, and you may want to go to the paleo plus low-FODMAP and start with kind of the most restrictive diet since you’re coming from a very sensitive place. And then over time, try to broaden your diet.

DrMR:

There are different approaches with how we can tackle this. In many cases, I recommend people kind of start working their way up that dietary pyramid from the least restrictive diets at the bottom. Then if they don’t respond to those and move up to the more restrictive diets. Since you’re coming from a really sensitive, reactive place, you may want to start with the most restrictive to try to get as much benefit out of the gate as possible, and then move down the pyramid and broaden over time. So the paleo low-FODMAP, or even the low-FODMAP with SCD, and we do have a diet pyramid in the book that lays all this out. That might be the best place to start, and then incorporate some elemental diet and meal replacements as part of your transition back to food. So you don’t go from all elemental to all food. Then over time, gradually try to expand down the dietary pyramid to more of a paleo or just a low FODMAP and try to scale back the amount of elemental heal that you’re using.

George:

Awesome.

DrMR:

So you’re midstream. Would you please let us know how the rest of the path goes and I’d love to kind of follow up with you to discuss and share with our audience what’s worked for you.

DrMR:

Yeah, will do. I’ll work on those probiotics.

DrMR:

Awesome. Is there anything else that you want to share with us? Anything else that you’ve picked up through reading the book or since using elemental heal?

George:

No, not right now.

DrMR:

Okay. Well, I’m glad the elemental heal is providing you some relief because right now I think any relief you can get is a huge win, right? And you’re still working the problem of how to get your gut back into balance. Hopefully what we’ve discussed today will help you. But again, please do keep us posted and thank you so much for sharing your story.

Outro:

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