Thursday, July 5, 2012

the ThreeLac experiment



WARNING: This post may be TMI for some. Sorry, but there's just no way to discuss GI issues without... well, discussing GI issues!


I started ThreeLac in January of 2012.


I'd been discouraged about my recovery for some time as I'd seen no improvement since I'd healed my adrenals and corrected my reverse T3.

It was almost on a lark. Of course, I knew as a T2 who'd had several vaginal yeast infections over the years, that I likely had a Candida problem, and I read all the reviews on Amazon, and it would only cost $30 to give it a try, so what the heck.

NOTE: I didn't do any research before I started on it. Since that time, I Googled a lot and also emailed the manufacturer asking about bacteria count, as Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends specific levels. I wasn't able to find anything and the manufacturer never replied to my request for information. Thus I cannot claim this is a good probiotic for use with the GAPS program.

ThreeLac's claim to fame is that instead of just having microflora that compete with Candida, it contains a strain that actually kills yeast. This is why you are not supposed to need to do the diet in order for it to work.

I started out doing one satchel a day for about a week.

In order to accommodate my fatigue, I use a commode downstairs to avoid climbing the stairs to the bathroom more than necessary. As such, it was patently obvious to me that my urine contained yeast. I could not only see yeast, but it smelled just like bread-making (which I have done hundreds of times) or beer (which I have never brewed, but have drank a few times!)

I also saw big clumps of yeast in my feces, but since I do use the toilet for bowel movements, the yeast smell wasn't obvious.

After about a week on one satchel, I increased to two. This is faster than recommended. From having read the reviews, I understood that 1-2 satchels a day was considered a maintenance dose, 2-4 considered therapeutic. Given that I wanted my first $30 to show me whether this would help or not, I decided to try to increase the dose as quickly as possible.

I discovered rather rapidly that I could not tolerate two satchels. For a couple days there, I was very close to having childish accidents. My intestines churned constantly, feeling like there was a war going on in my belly.

In fact, I never got to what was considered a therapeutic dose. I found I could take one satchel a day for 4-5 days in a row, then things got loose and I'd back off for 1-2 days. I did this for six months.

My sister had a long-standing oral thrush infection that several courses of Nystatin and Diflucan hadn't touched. I recommended ThreeLac to her and she found she could get up to a therapeutic dose. Even though she appeared to have a worse problem than I did, she was able to tolerate much more.

So what is a therapeutic dose may vary a lot and I suggest you proceed slowly with increases if you try it.

I did ThreeLac for six months. During that period, I had the following improvements:

  • My energy levels increased. I was able to do a small garden this year and add a lot of cooking time to what my HHA does. In fact, I'd be unlikely to have even considered GAPS without this increase as it requires a lot of cooking and my HHA only works 12 hours/week.
  • My fatigue improved tremendously. Though I often was wiped just as much by the end of an ambitiously busy day, one night of sleep produced recovery, instead of needing 2-3 days to recover.
  • My stress response improved. One of the difficulties with fatigue is explaining to people how just making a long phone call, or having a visitor for 2-3 hours, can be exhausting. It is lonely being trapped at home by disability, but when seriously fatigued, human interaction can "cost" too much. Since ThreeLac, I am much better able to tolerate company, to the degree that I have been spending two days a week with a 10-year-old friend all summer.
  • My pain decreased. My chest has hurt pretty much constantly since it was split open like a chicken breast for my CABG. I could not lift a half gallon of milk or two-liter of soda without significant pain. A few weeks back, I went to pick up my raw milk order, and I lifted a gallon with each hand easily.
  • I lost 45 pounds. This while being completely off any kind of reasonable diet, not working to control my bG at all, nor really trying to eat TF. I ate whatever I wanted, and since I do honestly enjoy meats, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, I did probably eat better than many. But I was also eating crap too, McDonald's, grocery hot dogs on white buns, store-bought ice cream full of sugar and bad fats. So the weight loss was just surprising as heck.
  • My belly fat got all lumpy instead of solid. I noticed this a few months in, when I realized I was losing weight, but not losing clothes sizes. I have no idea if this is a good or bad thing, it's just an observation.


After six months on ThreeLac, I decided to try FiveLac, which contains two additional bacterial strains. My concern was whether they were just adding these additional strains, or whether they were reducing the original strains while adding them. This is when I emailed the manufacturer since I was unable to locate any numbers anywhere.

I have been on FiveLac for two months so far, one satchel a day, and have never tried increasing. It has never caused the war in my belly that ThreeLac did. Nor do I have to go off it for several days at a time in order to avoid loose bowels. And I no longer see/smell yeast leaving my body.

Being just one data point, I can't really tell if FiveLac contains less of the yeast-killing bacteria or if I finished healing myself up before I switched products. But given my experience, if someone is specifically trying to treat an overt yeast problem, I'd tend to recommend ThreeLac.

what I'll do next

To me, whether or not I cured a Candida problem is much less interesting than the fact that a treatment aimed at my gut made such a large difference to my health. It is part of what convinced me to try GAPS.

The standard recommendation for GAPS is Biokult, which seems to be what most people following the protocol use.

However, it's pretty expensive to take it at the level recommended by Dr Campbell-McBride, so I am likely going to order GUTPro when I get low on FiveLac. This looks like the most cost-efficient method to achieve the levels Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends.

Eventually, I hope my own homemade ferments will displace the need for a probiotic. Both Lea @ Nourishing Treasures and KerryAnn @ Cooking Traditional Foods, two well-educated and very experienced fermenters, agree that good anaerobic homemade ferments can effectively replace probiotic supplements.

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