Tuesday, August 30, 2011


On July 20th I learned my liver does not break certain toxins down into water-soluble molecules but instead dumps them into my colon as fat-soluble molecules, where they are reabsorbed into my bloodstream. This created the toxic back-up that eventually lead to chronic insomnia for the past six months.

To treat this problem, Dr. Ross has put me on Cholestyramine. I drink it down before meals, and once it’s in my intestines it absorbs the fat-soluble toxins as they exit my liver.

After I first took Cholestyramine I felt a little drowsy, so I lay down on the futon and took a little nap! After months of insomnia, any sleep, even for a few minutes, is a godsend. I took this as a sign the stuff was doing what it was supposed to.

I am now at the end of week four on it, and here are some observations:

The regular Cholestyramine you’ll get at your drugstore tastes like Tang—one of my favorite drinks when I was eight years old. Yum! From the label, I saw what I was drinking was actually about 40% Cholestyramine and 60 % sugar, preservatives and flavoring. If, like me, you are taking Cholestyramine to support your liver, this is not a good thing. Probably, like me, you have chemical sensitivity and you can’t tolerate sugar or food additives.

(Under normal circumstances, I would not come near anything that tastes remotely like Tang. Anything that even smacks of a food additive—and that includes the “natural flavors” that are in the ingredients list of practically every packaged food, including organic foods—makes me feel ill. But for prescription medications, what can you do?)

After a week at a half dose of Cholestyramine, it was giving me a little headache each time I drank it. At three-quarters dose, the headache was intense and round-the-clock.

It turns out you can get Cholestyramine from Clark’s Pharmacy, in Redmond, WA, without all the sugar and additives, and thus without the accompanying headaches. I ordered mine as soon as my naturopath told me about it, and was never so happy to get a package in the mail.

In it’s pure form, Cholestyramine is a white powder that smells like fish. When you mix it in water, it’s the consistency of wet cement. In your bowels, it turns into dried cement. All around, it’s a very pleasant medication!

The best thing I’ve found to mix it with is tomato juice, or Knudson’s Organic Very Veggie Juice. It’s pretty pulpy, so it suspends the cholestyramine and ameliorates the sandy consistency. If you add some cumin and cayenne pepper, it’s a pretty tasty drink!

Once you have a few rounds of cholestyramin in your intestines, you can feel pretty uncomfortable. I’m already on Vitamin C, magnesium citrate and the coffee enema to prevent constipation, but there have been days when I still felt like I had my whole street’s worth of sidewalk paving squares in my bowels. I’m now taking fiber capsules with Very Veggie concoction, and that helps. My naturopath has also told me to take up to four capsules of magnesium citrate 30 minutes after swallowing the cholestyramine. I’m trying it today.


Anonymous said...

Did the magnesium citrate help?

Naomi said...

Actually, it didn't work too well-- upset my digestion. But adding fiber into the cholestyramine and juice is a good trick. Even better has been taking bentonite clay at the same time as the cholestyramine. Bentonite is also a great binder/detoxifier and it seems to conteract the constipation effect of the cholestyramine.

Thanks for your question! I'm still working through the Shoemaker protocol, hope to update the blog soon.

Anonymous said...

You should take cholestyramine away from supplements, medications and meals by 1 1/2 - 2 hrs as it will absorb and bind to medications, supplements and nutrients. If you are taking it right before each meal, you are not receiving the nutrients from that food.

Unknown said...

I take cholestyramine light nightly and mix it with one spoonful of citrucel. This has been a perfect balance. I use it for post cholecystectomy diarrhea

Michelle Dennie said...

I take cholestyramine light nightly and mix it with one spoonful of citrucel. This has been a perfect balance. I use it for post cholecystectomy diarrhea

Anonymous said...

I take cholestyramine at least an hour after breakfast. You need to take note of one problem in that it removes vitamin K from your body. Vitamin K is needed as a clotting factor in your blood. Been on this since 1986 and has been a godsend for diarrhea.

Nikki Dunbar said...

Have you had any troubles swallowing it since using seltzer water? I have tried juices and plain water, but the problem is that it feels like my throat instantly closes up when I drink it. If I sip with a straw it just gets on my tongue and feels like it stays there, but if I try to chug it it feels like cement powder in my throat and makes it so I can't swallow (even normal water). My first time trying the chug method I started throwing up and I couldn't breathe because my throats closed up.

I have been taking 8 grams of the Compounded form from Clark's in 1/4-1/3 cup unsweetened organic apple sauce. Looking to cut back on the sugar though, so I'm wondering if anyone has gotten around this problem??! Thanks!

Noelle Catharine Allen said...

Hi Nikki: Actually, I have never drank it with seltzer water. It is Very Veggie Juice that I mixed it up in, back when I took it regularly. That is, the organic version of V-8 juice. You could also try Tomato Juice. Much lower sugar. You can add fiber capsules too. I hope that works for you.

Unknown said...

Hi Noelle, I've been looking into doctor shoemakers theory and protocol. Did cholestyramine benefit you any?