I realize, of course, that Candida is more a symptom of a weakened immune system than a cause of ME/CFS itself. But, since December, I've had the pleasure of watching my Candida antibody levels gradually drop. Not as fast as I'd like, but the trend is encouraging. Here's the progression of all 3 antibody types, from December to April (where "positive" is anything over 1.0):
Dec. Feb. Apr.
IgG 1.3 1.2 1.2
IgA 3.7 3.3 2.6
IgM 1.4 1.3 1.2
The drop from December to February was, I believe, mostly from a change to a low carbohydrate diet. The drop from February to April was aided by two months of Nystatin, which I will be continuing for at least another two months. The real test will come when I quit the Nystatin. But I think that as long as I stick with the low carb diet and probiotics, these numbers should continue to fall.
Epstein Bar Virus
Unfortunately, I've only ever had Epstein Bar Virus (EBV) tested twice, and using two different assays, so the results are not directly comparable. But the recent results are encouraging. In July, 2011, my IgG antibody levels were 2.71 (where >1.10 is positive) on a VCA test, and >5.00 (where >1.10 is positive) on an EBNA test.
In April, I had EBV tested again, using an IFA test. The IgG antibody level was 1:160 (where >1:10 is positive). That number is way below what most people consider to be the threshold for a reactivated infection. I've read anywhere from 1:640 to 1:1280 as the threshold.
So based on this evidence, I'm less convinced that EBV is a significant factor in my ME/CFS.
High bilirubin isn't typically considered a component of ME/CFS, but it is the hallmark of a genetic condition called Gilbert's syndrome, which many sufferers claim has the same symptoms as ME/CFS. I have Gilbert's syndrome.
Bilirubin levels above 1.2 mg/dL are considered high. Throughout my entire life, whenever my blood was tested, my bilirubin levels were in the 1.5 to 1.6 range. In a March blood test, it was only 1.2, and in April, only 1.1. I'm normal! I believe this is due to the milk thistle supplement I now take 3 times a day for liver health.
My vitamin D3 levels also improved from 40 ng/mL in December (very low), to an ideal 73 in February. This coincided with the major reduction in shortness of breath. It is also supposed to improve immune function.
With other pathogens, I haven't been as lucky. HHV-6 was tested for the first time in December and was 1:320 (IgG), which is considered right at the threshold of a reactivated infection. In April, it was exactly the same (1:320), and this was after two months of the antiviral Famciclovir, 500mg 2x/day. I will continue to take the Famciclovir for another two months at least, if not much longer.
In April, I was tested for Coxsackie B for the first time, and tested positive for Coxsackie B4. I haven't even begun to explore treatment options for this with Dr. C yet.
My Mycoplasma Pnuemoniae numbers also remain very high, although that's not surprising because I haven't done anything to treat it yet. In April, the IgG levels were 1:512 (where greater than 1:64 is positive). Dr. W wants to treat it with two fulls months of the broad spectrum antibiotic: Cipro. This is heavy-duty antibiotic and many people report strong side effects, so I am leery of this suggestion. I've filled the Rx, but haven't begun taking the pills yet. I plan to do a little more research before diving into two months of Cipro.
Finally, Dr. C tested the four subclasses of IgG antibodies generally (i.e. not looking at antibodies for specific pathogens). Three of the four subclasses were normal, but subclass 3 was a paltry 12, where normal is 22-178 mg/dL. Dr. C says this "may be my Achilles heal." We'll see if the Equillibrant can change that.
So I've had some good new and some bad news lately, but the overall trend is positive. I'll report on the Equillibrant later this week....