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Off to Africa - will my paleo diet help me to deal with side effects of anti-malarials?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 06, 2012 at 5:59 AM

I'm off to Kenya, Tanzania and India for 6 weeks (three weeks on each continent) and my travel doctor has given me doxycycline to take during and for one month after the trip - that means 10 weeks on anti-malaria tablets. I'm dismayed at the list of side effects (not to mention the DEET chemical spraying I'll be doing), however I'm wondering if my new Paleo diet lifestyle will be able to help me out somehow.

There may not be much I can do about the nausea, headaches etc. but I'm hoping my fat intake will help with the photosensitivity. I know this might be a long shot but has anyone taken anti-malaria tablets before and after starting Paleo, and found that it has made a difference? Are there any supplements I should stock up on? Thanks!

6f560350ec191c302a27573c3a81ece1

(220)

on September 06, 2012
at 07:59 AM

Thank you! My doctor did not warn me about the thrush risk, which will be a problem for me unfortunately. Will look into getting Malarone.

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3 Answers

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Medium avatar

(2923)

on September 06, 2012
at 07:18 AM

If it's not too late (and if you can afford it) try to get your doctor to switch you to Malarone -- much nicer on the side effects BUT a fair bit more expensive ...

Doxycycline is basically a broad-spectrum antibiotic and it will leave you feeling tired and exhausted just like any other antibiotic regimen will as well as doing a fairly nasty job on your gut flora and killing off the bacteria that keep fungi in your body in check (noticed the thrush and yeast infections listed in the side effects?).

Best luck I've had dealing with doxy is the usual traveler's regimen -- multivitamin, vitamin D (to counter doxy's sun sensitivity), and probiotics -- with the probiotics, you're basically trying to sandbag the doxy flood, but the longer you can stave off doxy's symptoms, the better. Keep up your usual supplements but I would recommend a shelf-stable probiotic (like Jarro-Dophilus), a Saccharomyces Boulardii supplement (also shelf-stable, a fungus that keeps other fungi in check), as well as the old traveler's standby, local yogurt (assuming you can handle dairy).

As for the DEET, try to get hold of a picaridin based repellent instead (both sprays and wipes available) -- doesn't smell anywhere near as bad, doesn't melt plastic, and doesn't play games with your central nervous system ...

For any other travel questions, check out Lonely Planet's ThornTree forums, plenty of advice and tips and what-to-expect from other hardcore travelers ...

Oh! And ginger (fresh, dried, candied, gum, tea, or supplements) does wonders for nausea!

6f560350ec191c302a27573c3a81ece1

(220)

on September 06, 2012
at 07:59 AM

Thank you! My doctor did not warn me about the thrush risk, which will be a problem for me unfortunately. Will look into getting Malarone.

0
193f00d53ebcb13940c7a55afc78ad17

on September 07, 2012
at 02:06 PM

You may also look into permethrin applications for your clothing (companies like Sawyer Outdoor Products sell them). It's used commonly in travel clothing (Exofficio's BuzzOff line) and military BDU's. It's a naturally derived compound that acts as an insect repellent. Treat all your clothing and then you only need to DEET exposed skin (much less exposure is good, no?).

As for diet, I doubt it will affect things significantly. While Doxy will give you all the fun side-effects of a borad antibiotic, it will also protect you from more than just malaria, so I'd argue that your doctor made a good call there. Enjoy your trip and be safe!

0
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32566)

on September 07, 2012
at 01:54 PM

Make sure your D3 blood level is sufficient (50-60 ng/ml.) As cerement said, it will definitely help with photosensitivity. Don't supplement D3 blindly.

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