Seeing as the other major PFS forum appears to be dead now, and that is where Chi’s most important recovery account was posted, I am assuming it was lost to us PH users. If I am mistaken and it has been republished on this forum, my apologies and by all means delete this. But I have searched for some exact phrases from it on here and found nothing. I saved it in a Google doc and am reposting it below.
The Google doc didn’t clearly format between questions posed to Chi and his answers, so I hope it is reasonably clear.
The following account was not written by me, it was written by @Chi, so please don’t question me on it
I will follow this up with several sets of bloods from Bouloux’s lab in 2011 and then recent ones from 2016 shortly, then add the same post to PH. I will also add some photos from when I suffered and today.
PFS is essentially severe CFS with the root cause lying in the gut. For one reason or another finasteride disrupts the micro biotic balance in the gut and damages the gut lining. This results in malabsorption of nutrients and a prevalence of pathogens (not parasites). Pathogens are essentially disease causing bacteria (whereas parasites are organisms which can live off the body but be completely harmless).
The downstream impact of problems in the gut is on the whole endocrine. For example Serotonin, a neurotransmitter and hormone found almost predominantly in the gut, is completely suppressed. Adequate serotonin is required for deep sleep, calming anxiety and relieving depression. It also assists in memory, regulates appetite, cell growth, wound healing, sexual desire and mood. On the contrary low serotonin causes anxiety, fatigue, insomnia and a host of other awful symptoms. This is just one hormonal impact of a dysfunctional gut, but there are others.
The reason only a sub-set of finasteride users get affected is because this sub-set of people have a weaker than optimal gut, diet and immune system before the occurrence. Note it is also possible to feel completely normal, yet have a weaker than optimal gut and immune system before the finasteride related issues, at least if that is the way you have felt your entire life or the process of decline was so gradual as to be undiscernible.
Our weaker than optimal gut and immune systems was susceptible to decline and deteriorating health conditions anyway, however that doesn’t mean we would have suffered discernible or deteriorating health in our lifetime. It took the introduction of a potent chemical to completely throw a delicate balance out of whack – for many the crunch point was cessation of the drug – which in itself would have constituted a change in chemical balance. Others suffer at different times dependent on lifestyle, diet and existing health factors.
My symptom List (no particular order)
- Shrunken balls
- Insomnia / poor unrefreshing sleep
- Low or no libido
- Poor or no erections
- Penis curvature to left
- Muscle wasting (particularly back of shoulders, upper/lower arms, wrists and fingers)
- Mild gynecomastia
- Pain/flare ups in gyno lumps
- Cuticle recession
- Low tolerance to stress
- Long refractory period
- Low tolerance to light
- Poor memory
- Poor focus
- Hair thinning (particularly pubic and lower legs)
- Slow wound healing
- Skin ageing (wrinkles forming under eyes)
- Sunken eyes
- Blurring vision / focus
- Bloodshot eyes
- General weakness
- Facial changes, more feminine at times
- Increased susceptibility to colds and sneezing
- Lowered body temperature
Today I do not suffer from any of these symptoms and in fact I am healthier than I ever have been. The only thing I have is some lines under eyes, but then I am nearly 30 now (I became ill at 24) and I don’t deem mine to be any worse than friends my age, in fact better because I don’t really drink alcohol.
Nutritionist & Tests
- Gillian Hamer - London
- Comprehensive Parasitology (checks Pathogens)
- Bionutri Ecobalance (inner 2 at breakfast, outer 2 at lunch)
- Bionutri Tyro-plus
- Bionutri Tara-cyn
- Biocare Liquid Vitamin C
- Biocare Liquid Trace Minerals
- Biocare Liquid Multivitamin
- Spatone Iron sachet
- Ionic Zinc
- Viridian Digestive Aid
- VSL3 probiotic or Primal Nutrition Probiotics (spore forming)
- Lugol’s Iodine (occasionally)
- Swedish Bitters
- Breakfast = Steamed Vegetables (preferably fresh/home-grown/cruciferous)
- Lunch = Salad + Meat/Fish
- Dinner = Meat/Fish + vegetables
- Intermittent fasting 1 day p.w.
- Cook with coconut oil if required
- Buy high quality pasture/grass-fed and wild fish only
- No fruit (only small handful of berries every few days)
- No nuts
- No nightshade fruits and vegetables (e.g. tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, aubergine)
- No sauces
- No oils – high quality extra virgin olive oil OK occasionally on salads, but don’t overdo
- No dairy
- No carbohydrate foods (e.g. pasta, rice, potato, bread)
- No sugar
- No alcohol
- Only drink spring water
- Herbal Teas: Pau D’Arco, Nettle Leaf
- Treat: Avocado, Kale, Lemon and Spring Water smoothie
- Treat: Hot Water, Lemon, Celtic Sea Salt
- Run 5k x 3 per week
- Hills sprints x 1 per week
- Gym x 1-3 times per week, big movements only (e.g. squats, chest press, overhead press, dips, pull ups, deadlifts, clean, snatch)
- Yoga daily
- Some meditation
- Use perfume and paraben free body and hair wash
- Use fluoride free toothpaste
- Do not use deodorant or spray chemicals on body
- Wake up between 5:30-6am every day - boosts cortisol/adrenal function
- Attach a shower filter to remove chlorine
- Take freezing cold showers only, morning and night (easier after exercise)
- Do not lie down during the day to rest/sleep
- Aim to be asleep by 10:30
- Do not use electronic devices after 8pm (including TV, mobile, laptop)
- Grow your own organic vegetables – to maximise nutrition and remove risk of chemicals
- Spend time outside in the natural light
- Walk in forests and near rivers
- Go swimming in lakes
- Read books about health and nutrition
- Remain positive
- Don’t give up
- Try to see friends as much as possible
- Remove stressors
- Do not visit the internet researching your condition
- Avoid mirrors
- Cut out people that cause you stress
I just want to add that all this stuff wasn’t some wild punt in the dark and wasn’t introduced overnight. It was a 3.5year process of research, listening to my body and learning. However, I firmly believe that full recovery can happen to anyone, irrespective of the severity of symptoms and time suffered, within a few months (possibly weeks) if you can get the balance of things mentioned right. To add weight to this, 6 months before full recovery I was still having massive set-backs and terrible episodes of awfulness. However when you’ve cracked the code it doesn’t matter – everything is in your favour to recover.
Today, 5 years post crashing I feel brilliant. I can eat carbs and sugar as and when I want, but I try to limit it. I (nobody) feels good eating these shit foods. I ate plenty of cake this Christmas though and that feels good, just it’s not something I want to make a habit of knowing how bad this stuff is. It’s difficult though in our modern society – sugar and carb is prevalent – which is a great threat to health and longevity. Today I try to live a paleo lifestyle, which is in essence what the above recovery list is but with additional things thrown in. It is not so complicated, but you need to believe and stick to it. And by the way the Bionutri supplements are absolutely critical to this – I recall when I ran out on several occasions, my world started to implode again.
I really hope this helps.
I notice that you said no nuts whereas you said in your thread at propeciahelp that you used to have brazil nuts. Is this new advice post recovery or did you cut out the nuts in order to recover?
They were eaten as a treat, but nuts generally will hinder more than help. They don’t digest so easily and irritate the gut.
Is there anything you took which specifically helped with the liver?
The Tara-cyn is key for the liver.
And finally, when you were cured, are you able to have carbs and get no pfs symptoms at all (instead, just the shitty symptoms anyone would get from eating foods that arent good for you).
My lifestyle today alternates between bingeing on carbs for 1-2 days tops, followed by a long period of time spent without any carbs. My body and mind simply loves being low carb, I feel unmistakebly better, but who doesn’t get weak for tea and cake?! Recently I’ve been drinking more alcohol too (making up for lost time!), but don’t intend to make a habit of it.
Chi, how did you keep a normal weight on that diet. I want to try a mostly vegetable diet but im having trouble to keep a healthy weight even when im eating shitty since pfs. With only vegetables and some meat of fish I won’t even reach 1500 kcal. Any tips?
I lost LOADS of weight while recovering. The lowest I got was 60kg, I am now 73kg. You will need to load up on the veg + meat+fish. Don’t worry about how many calories it is, just eat until you’re full. Don’t pick in between meals, just have 3 square meals a day, but make them big. Remember this isn’t just about diet, though. Weight training also key.
How committed have you been to this protocol, and how long did it take to see sustainable results?
1 year of turmoil, 1 year of trying to exercise, 1.5 years of diet manipulation and training. However, I believe with the right protocol implemented, recovery can start within a matter of days and it’s possible to achieve full recovery within weeks. I say this because I could go from the absolutely depths of despair, but then get my shit together and feel great within a few weeks. Maintaining it was the problem, because I always took a wrong turn (e.g. eating too many nuts, fruits, or training too hard). In the end I learned to avoid all the wrong turns
Do you feel like you have to be in a mood of well being for this protocol to work, or on the contrary, did this protocol help diminish anxiety?
You need a positive mind in order to recover. Motivation is key in all of this, but this is absolutely within your control. You need to look up, keep focus and press on despite depression, anxiety, brain fog etc. Easier said than done, but doable!!