Food as Medicine, POTS nutrition

My Pre-IVIg (and Pre-Flight) Snacks

bruschettaBefore I get IVIg I like to eat a breakfast including some fresh salsa, guacamole, pesto, bruschetta or other food that includes crushed raw garlic.  Is it because I want others to go running from my bad breath?  Nope–it’s because crushed raw garlic might have health properties to help prevent all three of my IVIg-related fears:

  1.  Blood clots.  This is my biggest fear, and a known possible side effect of IVIg.  I try to be well hydrated and physically active for days after IVIg to help minimize this risk.
  2. Getting sick from other patients’ germs.  This isn’t the end of the world, but getting sick sometimes triggers autoimmune flares, and that’s no fun.
  3. Staph infections.  Staph is a hard-to-kill infection which can be present in hospitals, so I’m assuming it can also be present at the infusion clinic, where I get IVIg.

Garlic has health benefits for cholesterol, cancer prevention, atherosclerosis, blood pressure, blood sugar and more, but the health properties I care about include garlic’s antimicrobial and natural blood thinning effects.  According to this 2014 review, garlic helps kill viruses, parasites and bacteria, including Staph, Salmonella, E. coli, and other top bothersome bugs.  So I like having some before I visit public places, especially if lots of sick people will be present.

Garlic also appears to be a natural blood thinner, which reduces blood clotting.  I’ve never seen data on effect size, but people already taking blood-thinning medications or getting surgery are warned against eating too much garlic (this article is a good warning against overdoing garlic before surgery).

I hope there will be some research someday about best nutrition for IVIg effectiveness and safety, but until then garlic is helping me imagine I’m doing some good.




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