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insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
03-26-2013, 07:37 PM
Post: #1
insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Subject: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Author: tamara

For the past six months, I've been suffering from cyclical insomnia. It lasts for about 3-4 nights, then I'm able to sleep well for 1-2 nights. I can fall asleep without problem. But I wake between midnight and 3 or 4 a.m. and am wide awake. Melatonin, Chinese herbs, Valerian, protein upon waking (goat milk or cashew usually)....tried it all, nothing helps! Cannot drink the occassional glass of red wine I used to enjoy, bc the alcohol seems to make the insomnia worse.

Interestingly, over the past year, I've had a strong ammonia odor in my armpit perspiration.

Maybe I shouldn't have quit taking probiotics? Bc this correlates with the ammonia odor onset. I was prescribed probiotics by a ND 3 years ago, after being diagnosed with a giardia "infestation". This is all after travelling in India. Perhaps I still have some unfriendly hitch-hikers in my intestinal tract causing the ammonia armpit odor and this more recent insomnia???

My diet is really healthy: organic, whole foods. Ayurvedic influenced. Cooked/steamed veg. Animal protein from meat 2-3x/week. Goat milk daily, approx 8 oz. Green tea. Black tea when the insomnia is bad. No coffee.

2 months ago diagnosed with hypothyroid. Now on 25 mcg levothyroxine. And feeling good. No overmedication symptoms.

Nobody (ND, Chinese Med, MDs) seems to have a clue about the insomnia or ammonia odor. This is the first lead I've found!!!

* Response...

Subject: Re: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Author: Polly

Hello Tamara,

The ammonia can be from bacteria acting on protein. Ammonia changes the balance of your amino acids such that more tryptophan enters the brain where it is turned into serotonin. Serotonin is needed to fall asleep, but too much will keep you awake. So, since you eat meat 2 or 3 times a week, have you noticed that the sleep deprivation is on the days that you eat meat?

* Response...

Subject: Re: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Author: Polly

Here is a previous post about ammonia.

Ammonia can cause sleep disturbances. The most likely mechanism is by increasing the turnover of serotonin in the brain. Ammonia also interferes with the cell’s mitochondrial energy production. This would cause fatigue and it would make it difficult to think. (Your brain needs a lot of energy to function well.) The ammonia will also alter the use of neurohormones by the brain.

Certain intestinal bacteria produce a lot of ammonia when they degrade protein. If a person were unfortunate enough to harbor these particular bacteria, she would be exposed to more ammonia than normal. Also, when there is poor intestinal flora, the pH inside the digestive tract can be thrown off. If the pH is too alkaline, then more ammonia is absorbed from the intestinal tract.

Bifidus and other good intestinal bacteria help prevent the absorption of ammonia by keeping the colon acidic. Prebiotics like lactulose and FOS will help promote the growth of Bifidus and will help reduce ammonia production. However, you must be careful with these prebiotics. They will also increase the growth of various yeast and other bacteria that might be harmful. They will also make a small bowel bacterial overgrowth problem worse. If the small bowel contains a lot of bifidus, this will deconjugate your bile and interfere with your fat soluble vitamin absorption.

Yeast make very little ammonia, so they don’t directly add to the ammonia burden. However, yeast produce a toxin that lowers the amino acids that are required to remove ammonia. (The body may also be having trouble removing ammonia if the liver is unhealthy.)

If you eat the wrong balance of amino acids, this will increase the ammonia burden on the body. Amino acids are components of protein. Different protein has different proportions of amino acids. For instance, the skin and joints contains a lot of the amino acid called glycine, but little or no tryptophan.

If the dietary amino acids are not balanced, the liver will have to burn or get rid of some of the amino acids that are disproportionately high in the diet. When the liver burns these amino acids, it produces ammonia. Eating the wrong balance of amino acids would be analogous to someone delivering a truckload of nails to a construction site for every truckload of lumber delivered. It would be a big waste and disposal problem. For the body, this disposal problem creates too much ammonia.
What the body needs to be healthy is all of the dietary amino acids in the correct proportion. If all we eat from the animal is muscle meat, we are eating the wrong balance of amino acids. For better health, we should be getting protein from the whole animal—all the organs, skin, muscles, cartilage and bones. One way to help balance the dietary protein intake would be to eat some gelatin anytime meat is consumed. Gelatin is made from bones, skin, and cartilage. Most people are not consuming this on a regular basis. We used to get gelatin in the soups and broths that we ate. Few people bother to save the animal’s carcass, boil it for hours, and create these foods today.

* Response...

Subject: Re: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Author: Polly

Have you been taking glutamine as a supplement?

Here is a previous post about glutamine and ammonia as posted by Mary in Pennsylvania.

I had major brain fog from all the ammonia created from pathogenic bacteria and candida in my gut. Then when I started to use the glutamine it got even worse, but I didn’t realize it was the glutamine making me worse (even the doctor didn’t know). It was this forum that helped me get the situation under control. I used some supplements that targeted getting rid of the excess ammonia. The supplement that helped me the most was alpha-ketoglutarate, plus I stopped taking the glutamine for a while. Now I take it but sparingly. I might take a teaspoon of the powder that is the equivalent of about 5 grams once or twice a week.

One more thing about glutamine. I do a lot of research on supplements before I just start using them and I never saw anything about the excess ammonia that is created. The only caution that I saw in print was supplementing with glutamine pulls water out of the colon and therefore it was necessary for people to take high fiber and drink lots of liquid to overcome possible constipation. Oh, I do remember one article but can’t find it now that indicated the doctors’ concern on excess (I think) hydrogen or nitrogen impacting the brain. This whole thing has taught me a very valuable lesson…Keep a journal and track ALL symptoms. Then you have a better idea of what supplement is causing what symptoms.

* Response...

Subject: Re: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Author: tamara

I've never taken glutamine in my life.

The only supplements I take are a multi-vitamin and iron supplement (both formulated by my ND). But these are both only during the past 2 months. Whereas the insomnia has been increasing in severity over the past 6 months.

* Response...

Subject: Re: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Author: Polly

People with fibromyalgia have horrible sleep patterns. They also have the worst bacterial overgrowth in their small intestine. A neck injury can interfere with the way the intestine works and will sometimes cause the fibromyalgia. The fibromyalgia / sleep problems may occur several months after a car accident. I think it is because it takes that long for the bacteria to set up shop in the small intestine once the intestinal cleansing wave motion is not working correctly.

* Response...

Subject: Re: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Author: Polly

So, I guess my question is, "Were you in a car accident 9 months or a year ago?"

* Response...

Subject: Re: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Author: tamara

No, I've never been in a car accident...never had whiplash.

* Response...

Subject: Re: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Author: Polly

That is good news. I'd definitely try the taurine because that helps some people with their sleep. Take it with a meal though, because it will increase stomach acid secretion.

Here is another rather long post about ammonia.

A lack of biotin can lead to excess ammonia, muscle pain, sleepiness, acidosis, and depression. Biotin is also important because it serves as a carrier of carbon dioxide. Yeast overgrowth can cause a real and a function deficiency of biotin. However, you might want to wait on biotin supplements until after you have brought any concomitant yeast growth down; biotin can encourage yeast growth. Sometimes rather large doses of biotin are needed, on the order of 1 to 5 mg. Large doses of biotin need to be balanced with inositol to protect the liver.

There is another product for the removal of ammonia called OKG. It is a blend of two amino acids—L-ornithine and alpha ketoglutaric acid. These amino acids should be in the proper proportions, with two parts ornithine to one part alpha ketoglutaric acid. It is pretty popular right now for the removal of ammonia. Source Naturals is one company that provides a supplement of OKG. Here is one place to purchase it. Phone (888) 437-2763 or http://www.herbsmd.com

An extract of Yucca called schidigera is used to control ammonia in animals. (See the H and S corporation website at http://www.h-scorporation.com, phone (501) 632-5323 or (800)264-0323.) Nature’s Herbs has a Yucca supplement that is available in most health stores. This site http://www.healthwell.com has many excellent articles on herbs and vitamins. In their article on yucca, they warn you not to take high doses of Yucca because this could harm your red blood cells. Also, Yucca may interfere with absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. However, a small amount is generally recognized as safe, and is in fact an ingredient used in the making of root beer. Yucca is also used to control arthritic pain. There is speculation that the yucca saponins block release of certain toxins from the intestines that inhibit cartilage formation.

If at all possible, correct the flora and pH of the intestines. This will reduce the amount of ammonia absorbed from the intestines. Lactulose is sometimes employed to feed the good bacteria and help remove ammonia. (Not everyone can tolerate lactulose, possibly because it can feed more than just the good Bifidus bacteria.) Improving the production of carbon dioxide with supplements like thyroid may also help the body remove ammonia. A limitation on protein intake and a switch to milk and vegetable sources of protein are often suggested when dealing with excess ammonia in the body. More fat in the diet may be helpful too. Don't use a lot of the polyunsaturates though because these will encourage yeast growth. Use things like olive, coconut and butter from grass fed animals.

If you have high ammonia levels, often alpha-ketoglutaric acid is depleted. Alpha-ketoglutaric acid helps remove ammonia. (The alpha-keto form of amino acids helps remove ammonia.) Also, this amino acid activates the citric acid cycle (Krebs) where energy is produced. Without sufficient alpha-ketoglutaric acid, you will be very tired. For the first couple of weeks, until your body gets used to this supplement, you might find it best to take this amino in the morning, otherwise it might interfere with your sleep. Later, you may find it is best to take it at night. You can also try citric acid to increase alpha-ketoglutaric acid levels, as suggested by Philpott. A compound of citrulline and malate is very popular among body builders. It appears to increase energy as well as removing ammonia. Or there is a supplement of OKG that contains alpha ketoglutaric acid and ornithine.

You need alpha ketoglutaric acid, B2 and magnesium to convert B6 into its active coenzyme form. The coenzyme form of B6 is needed for the enzymes that remove ammonia. Many of us with the yeast syndrome have a lack of coenzyme B6.
In Leon Chaitow’s book on amino acids, he mentions that one of the best aminos to remove ammonia is threonine. Threonine is also important because it is the most prevalent amino acid in of the gut’s mucin layer. It has another good property. It may help defat the liver. This means that your liver will eventually be able to remove more ammonia. Personally, the threonine is very calming to me. Yet I don’t know the consequences of using too much of it. Threonine is closely related to serine and glycine. The only thing that seems deleterious is that threonine will produce acetaldehyde if it converts into glycine.

Whatever course you decide, be very careful to listen to your body for clues to how it is reacting to the aminos. For instance, there may be a certain time of the day when a particular blend of amino acids are more tolerable/helpful. If any group of aminos make you tired, or increase symptoms, then perhaps they aren’t the ones for you, at least not at this point in time.

* Response...

Subject: Re: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Author: tamara

Is testing available to screen for the intestinal bacterial mentioned below?

"Certain intestinal bacteria produce a lot of ammonia when they degrade protein. If a person were unfortunate enough to harbor these particular bacteria, she would be exposed to more ammonia than normal. Also, when there is poor intestinal flora, the pH inside the digestive tract can be thrown off. If the pH is too alkaline, then more ammonia is absorbed from the intestinal tract."

* Response...

Subject: Re: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Author: Polly

The great plains laboratory would be the people to call and ask about that.

* Response...

Subject: Re: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Author: tamara

Do you by chance know which intestinal bacteria are known to produce a lot of ammonia?

Thanks for the Great Plains tip. I did a test with them 3 years ago when I had the Giardia. Might be time to for out another $300 to do another. A lot of money, but worth it for the sleep!

* Response...

Subject: Re: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Author: Polly

Clostridia is one of the bacteria that produce ammonia. It is resistant to most antibiotics, so it tends to show up after you have been taking antibiotics. You need to be careful if it is present. Some yeast will help keep it under control. If you decide to kill off the yeast, then it may make a Clostridia overgrowth problem even worse.

* Response...

Subject: Re: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Author: tamara

Hi Polly,

Thanks for the quick reply.

There doesn't seem to be a correlation with meat consumption and sleep deprivation. I just recently (during the past month) increased my meat consumption, as recommended by a Chinese Medicine practitioner to build blood. Prior to that, I was eating red meat sporadically. Poultry/eggs maybe once a week.

So, the insomnia has been occurring longer than the increased meat consumption.

* Response...

Subject: Re: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Author: Polly

To treat the Giardia, did they give you a lot of antibiotics? Are you still experiencing any intestinal symptoms? Any fatigue?

* Response...

Subject: Re: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Author: tamara

To treat the Giardia, did they give you a lot of antibiotics?
Yes- two or three rounds of antibiotics were needed to get the Giardia under control.

Are you still experiencing any intestinal symptoms?
Loose stool daily. Diarrhea is common as well. Some gas, bloating and stomach gurgling noises.

Any fatigue?
No significant fatigue since I began Levothyroxine 2 months ago. I do have an energy low ("crash") in the afternoon.

* Response...

Subject: Re: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Author: Polly

The antibiotics tend to set people up for yeast overgrowth. You may have had a bit of this yeast before and didn't realize it. Did you have any intestinal upsets before the awful Giardia problem? Yeast will deplete alpha ketoglutaric acid and taurine. These are needed to remove ammonia. I found these two supplements very helpful. http://www.kirkmanlabs.com carries the alpha ketoglutarate under their specialty products category. Taurine can be found everywhere.

The bloating suggests that you have a bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine.This bacterial overgrowth will interfere with your vitamin B12 absorption and the absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). All the fat soluble vitamins have anti-inflammatory properties. They will help you get rid of the intestinal problems. Vitamin K2 is often overlooked in supplements. Be sure to include this one as well. Get the dry fat soluble vitamins if possible. These will be more easily absorbed.

The bacterial overgrowth can deconjugate your bile salts and make them ineffective in the job of breaking up fat. The bacteria can also interfere with the liver's job of getting rid of estrogens and bilirubin. This would interfere with your thyroid. To counteract this, you could try some calcium-d-glucarate. If you try the calcium-d-glucarate, start with less than a pill per meal and gradually work up to 3 pills per meal. The reason is that this will change the ability of your body to get rid of estrogen. You don't want an abrupt change, because this could initiate a migraine.

* Response...

Subject: Re: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Author: tamara

Thanks! I'll try your suggestions, including taking prebiotics.

* Response...

Subject: Re: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Author: Polly

Since you have bloating as one of your symptoms, you may have bacterial overgrowth in your small intestine. I wouldn't take the prebiotic called FOS then. It could make the bacterial overgrowth worse.
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07-26-2013, 09:33 AM (This post was last modified: 07-26-2013 09:34 AM by Julieg.)
Post: #2
RE: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Hi guys
I had giardia 2 months ago, have been treated and re tested negative, I too now have insomnia. I can get to sleep ok but wake in the early hours... wide awake. I have noticed also that any alcohol makes it 100 times worse.( I am writing this at 4am after having a couple of glasses of bubbly wine last night). I don't think I have ammonia issues that i have noticed!? I did read on other forums that others have the same issue after giardia with some saying it can last for years. My doctor has no knowledge in this area. From reading forums it seems pills , melatonin etc are not very effective. I have read it may be caused by a depletion in amino acids, any suggestions would be great. I have a healthy diet and haven't noticed if certain food makes the insomnia worse, it's pretty constant . It is so powerful it can wake me up from a dream in a flash and then I kinda doze/toss and turn. I usually try to stay relaxed so don't get on my phone or look at the time but the thought of this carrying on longterm is kinda scary. I feel I'm on my own with this as if I go back to the doctor he will prescribe sleeping pills as a reactive measure without being proactive and looking further into the cause. I have had melatonin , in nz that cost me $50 for 30 tablets, and wasn't really helpful . I also have tried magnesium and sleeping tablets but these are not long term solutions for me . I also seem to be more alert in the day too. Just after I was diagnosed I felt wired and read giardia can deplete your b, b12 vitamins. So I take a multi vitamin, b12, B, magnesium a brobiotic and a fish oil daily. Any knowledge and advice would be appreciated,
Cheers
Julie
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08-05-2013, 08:21 AM
Post: #3
RE: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
(07-26-2013 09:33 AM)Julieg Wrote:  Hi guys
I had giardia 2 months ago, have been treated and re tested negative, I too now have insomnia.
Julie

You state that you tested negative for Giardia. Testing for Giardia isn't very good. So, I'm not entirely convinced you are free of the parasite. Metametrix DNA testing is probably the best test for that parasite at this time.

Do you still have intestinal irritation? Intestinal irritation will expose you to serotonin in its free state. That will interfere with your sleep. In particular, people with a lot of gas and bloating sometimes have trouble with sleep.

The intestinal upset will have been hard on your liver. So, there is a possibility that your liver needs some support and help removing ammonia.

If you still have intestinal problems, then you need to focus on that. If your intestines seem fine, then focus on your liver and ammonia removal.

Do you suspect a problem with your thyroid?
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08-07-2013, 12:32 PM
Post: #4
RE: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Hi there,
Thanks for your response. My doctor told me the test the lab does is for higher protein in the stool rather than looking for the parasite. I am hoping I am free as it came back negative and I am not feeling unwell (I was feeling terrible), And no yellow stools. Although I drastically changed my diet during that time to foods thought to help get rid of giardia like coconut, garlic, ginger, not much sugar etc. I have had quite a lot of trouble (since giardia ) with my gut, gurgling , having to race to the toilets as it is really irritable and
loose but that seems to be getting better, in the last couple of weeks. I wouldn't know about thyroid problems? What would i be experiencing? I went back to the doctor asking about ammonia etc but he didn't know what I was talking about and suggesting many people have issues after infections and said it should come right issuing me different sleeping tabs which don't work but make me wake up groggy. I asked to be referred to a specialist so he said he will give a referral to a sleep clinic, is this the right option. He thought they wouldn't have much knowledge of giardia. I want to get some info/ leads together before I contact them. Many thanks
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08-07-2013, 04:39 PM (This post was last modified: 08-07-2013 04:58 PM by Polly.)
Post: #5
RE: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
After a stomach flu, it is quite common for a person to have post-infectious intestinal problems. That means the original infection is gone, but the gut still isn't happy. The liver may still be recovering, too. That is why your doctor seems to think with time, everything may go back to normal. This is a possibility. However, you want to do everything in your power to make sure that is the outcome. What you are doing right now with the diet is great. As soon as you can afford it, you might also add some particular vitamins that help heal the gut.

There is a good possibility that the gut's reaction to the Giardia set you up for SIBO. You may also still have SIBO. SIBO would have interfered with your absorption of B12 and fat soluble vitamins. If you don't replace those fat soluble vitamins and B12, it will be very difficult for your gut to recover. The fat soluble vitamins are A, D, E and K1, K2. All of these are important, and should be kept in balance with each other.

For good sleep, in particular, you need vitamin B12, magnesium and vitamin D. Take a look at these videos by a sleep doctor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7cbBB1c0IM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1APENOUWx...re=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JUq4fphj...re=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeb3PtkCd...re=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOUybbVOo...re=related

One common protocol for restoring vitamin D levels is the following. Take 50,000 IU of vitamin D, three times per week, for 6 weeks. Then test again. BioTech Pharmacal sells pills of 50,000 IU of vitamin D3 for this purpose. 100 pills for $20 about. If the doctor gives you a prescription of vitamin D, it will be for the artificial form called D2. This isn't that good for you, and it generally costs a whole lot more, even with prescription coverage. Once you bring your vitamin D levels up to the desired amount, you will want to cut back on the amount of vitamin D you are taking. One pill per week might be about right. It depends on how much sunlight you are getting.

I hope no other parasites or bad bacteria have taken up residence. Just the inflammation would encourage E. coli to take over. You would basically do vitamins, enzymes, and diet in this situation. However, it would certainly be good to get a test to find out what you are dealing with. Especially if you have Clostridia Difficile, you will need specialized treatment.

Active coenzyme B6 and taurine help remove ammonia, and they also help the body deal properly with serotonin. I would suggest, if you wish to try these, take them in the morning. Sometimes people feel agitated with their use, and you don't want that in the evening. Start very slow with taurine and let your body get used to it. 50 mg of the active B6 / P5P should be plenty for anyone. More may actually be counterproductive.

It could be just the inflammation causing the sleep problems. However, if it happens to be excess ammonia causing the sleep problems, then you might have to limit the amount of meat you are eating. This will reduce the amount of ammonia the liver has to deal with.
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08-08-2013, 12:02 AM
Post: #6
RE: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Hi there,
Thanks for all this info, I will look into the k1 and k2 as I'm not sure that they are in the multivitamin I take. Also the vitamin d as it is winter here in NZ so I won't be getting much from the sun at the moment. I am insure about sibo, my gut/stools seem less angry in the last few weeks, i have the odd spell but not pain or bloating, just gurgling, looseless and a bit of gas. Interesting about decreasing the meat consumption as I had been increasing my protein intake as I had heard this would increase the amino acids that may have been depleted. I had heard the amino depletion may be contributing to the sleep issues. So I will reduce the protein and look into the taurine and b6 combo and see if this helps. Do you think it is bad for me to be drinking alcohol? When I do drink now it is infrequent but I make a big night of it, as I know I will be tired out the next day regardless.
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08-08-2013, 07:53 PM
Post: #7
RE: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Hi there , I bought taurine today, do you know what does I should take? they are 500mg capsules and it says take 1 - 3.
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08-09-2013, 01:59 AM
Post: #8
RE: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
I watched those sleep doctor utube videos they were very interesting, my local vitamin shop were raving about vitamin d also so I got some, now I have to sort out how I can be tested.
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08-11-2013, 06:27 AM
Post: #9
RE: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
(08-08-2013 12:02 AM)Julieg Wrote:  Do you think it is bad for me to be drinking alcohol? When I do drink now it is infrequent but I make a big night of it, as I know I will be tired out the next day regardless.

The alcohol will increase the burden on the liver. The liver is probably already under a lot of stress due to the dysbiosis. So, it probably isn't a good idea.
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08-13-2013, 03:35 AM
Post: #10
RE: insomnia, ammonia & bacteria?
Hi there

I am thinking it could well be excess ammonia . These articles about role of arginine and ornithine in reducing ammonia are interesting

http://www.livingnetwork.co.za/drclarkne...eep-apnea/

From what I can work out, ammonia can cause anxiety by day and insomnia by night – it is a waste product of parasites ...so I’m not sure if this means that i still have the parasites in my stomach (and may even need another course of antibiotics?) or i still just have the ammonia in my brain as it can’t get rid of it on its own? Or is not the giardia now at all but just an excess of bad bacteria due to the giardia then the antibiotics killing all the good bacteria in my gut.

This is interesting too, about ammonia and ME/CFS but sounds like some of the stuff i are experiencing:

http://forums.phoenixrising.me/index.php...ptor.1460/

And post infectious IBS would explain the continuing tummy troubles. Sounds like this usually comes right with time.

So if ammonia isn't stored long term should I be getting retested for giardia?

Tamara.. How are things going for you 5 months on?
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