When Hailey found Ixcela, she was a busy biology major in the third year of her collegiate long-distance running career. Since high school, Hailey had struggled with intense nausea and stomachaches before every big race and after eating. Although she had seen doctors about her GI issues, she hadn’t yet found a solution. She suspected that her symptoms stemmed from nerves and the prospect of letting her coach and teammates down. Hailey knew that her body needed more fuel for performance and recovery, but her GI distress made her hesitant to eat anything before racing except fruit gummies and water. She would push herself to compete, even if it meant her nutrition practices would suffer.
Juggling her roles as a top runner on her team, dedicated student, and lab technician put Hailey under a lot of stress. She often struggled to find time to prepare balanced meals, take care of herself, and get a good night’s rest. Her reduced food intake had started to affect her hunger cues, and she found that she would often go an entire day without eating a balanced meal, even on practice and race days. Hailey was excited to learn about her Ixcela results so she could start feeling better, maintain her position on her team, and prepare for future seasons. Fortunately, knowing what was going on in her gut was just what Hailey needed.
Hailey’s Ixcela results showed that she had a gut bacterial imbalance and her serotonin was below optimal levels. Her Ixcela Registered Dietitian explained that about 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut, and serotonin plays an important role in:
The bacterial imbalance was also an important part of understanding Hailey’s gut health. A balanced gut is necessary for nutrient utilization, which supports recovery and maintenance of the cells that produce serotonin. Hailey and her Ixcela dietitian discussed how a balanced gut microbiome would support her athletic performance and help with:
Before her Ixcela results were posted, Hailey assumed her test would show that her gut microbiome was imbalanced and causing her GI distress. She was not aware that the gut is also connected to emotional health, physical stress, sleep, and inflammation. She was excited to learn that Ixcela could also help her improve her emotional balance, recovery from exercise, and sleep quality. She was relieved to finally know what she could do to start feeling better.
During Hailey’s results review session, she and her Ixcela Registered Dietitian discussed how focusing on nutrition and recovery habits to support her serotonin levels and gut microbiome could help her reduce GI symptoms and better manage stress.
Hailey and her Ixcela dietitian messaged weekly to make small changes in her current routine. These targeted changes would help Hailey balance her gut bacteria and support her serotonin levels during her 90-day program. Because her schedule was already packed with school, work, and athletics, she needed realistic goals.
During the first 6 weeks of her Ixcela Program, Hailey worked to include the following habits consistently:
During the last 6 weeks of her Ixcela Program, Hailey worked to consistently practice the following habits:
|Hailey’s Ixcela Experience||BEFORE Ixcela||AFTER Ixcela 90-day Program|
|Stomach issues outside of training||Every day, 7 days a week||~1 day per month|
|Feeling nauseous before racing||Every race||No races|
|Sleep||~ 6 hours per night||~ 8+ hours per night|
|Energy||Had to set several alarms to get out of bed||Got out of bed with 1 alarm|
|Getting enough protein||0 days per week||5 days per week|
After six weeks, Hailey’s sleep and energy improved and her nausea decreased! Because of Ixcela testing and weekly guidance from her dedicated Ixcela dietitian, Hailey had the targeted plan and the support she needed to feel better during and outside of training.
After her first session with her Ixcela Registered Dietitian, Hailey felt motivated and excited. She finally understood why she was feeling the way she was, and she had the action plan she needed to improve her symptoms.
Hailey’s second test results showed an improvement in metabolites that reflected the population and diversity of her gut microbiome. Her data also showed improved serotonin levels. These improvements helped her understand that small, consistent nutrition and lifestyle habits make a big difference in energy levels, motivation, and GI distress.
When Hailey put more effort into preparing balanced meals, she began to feel better, which gave her more energy and supported her training. She noticed that her hunger was increasing and she was able to better fuel her training and performance. With her increased hunger, she also noticed the nausea that she had felt daily after eating had diminished, and she rarely felt nauseated after eating.
Hailey had understood the importance of sleep before working with Ixcela, but she thought that she could make up for lack of sleep on weekdays by sleeping more during the weekends. Hailey’s efforts to get at least eight hours of sleep each night paid off and she noticed that it was easier to wake up in the morning and maintain her energy levels throughout the day.
Note: Hailey experienced the Personalized Accountability Program with Dedicated Ixcela Expert Support.
I was having gut issues and Ixcela was recommended to me. My goal going into this was to figure out why I was having GI distress after eating. I also wanted to be able to recover better from workouts. The testing data helped me learn how much stress can impact the gut as well as the ability to recover after workouts. The reason I recommend Ixcela is because you can find out so many things from a simple blood test that can improve your quality of life. Ixcela helped give me the answers I’ve been looking for after seeing so many doctors that said there was nothing wrong with me.
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