Customer Story

This busy mom wanted to make sure her diet was supporting her power-lifting progress.


Christina, a working mom who enjoyed power-lifting and high-intensity workouts, came to Ixcela looking for ways to improve her energy and fitness/physical performance. Although she felt she was following a balanced diet, she was curious if her protein and overall intake were meeting her body’s needs. She had always been interested in gut health and she wanted to learn what else she could do to support her health.


Christina’s Ixcela test results revealed that although she was getting adequate tryptophan in her diet, not enough of the protein she was eating was converting into serotonin, a neurotransmitter that supports mood, sleep, and digestion. This can be due to a gut bacterial dysbiosis (gut bacteria imbalance). Dysbiosis can be caused by diet, medications, low-quality probiotics, stress, and other factors.

Christina’s indole-3 propionic acid (IPA) was also below optimal levels, which was another indication of dysbiosis. Below-optimal IPA can also be an indicator of intestinal permeability (also called “leaky gut”), which can lead to food sensitivities and GI distress.


During her results review session, Christina admitted that she felt her diet was fairly balanced, but as her life had become more hectic, fruit and vegetable intake had become less of a priority. She was only eating two or three servings of fibrous fruits and vegetables per day, and not with every meal or snack. Typically, she ate oatmeal for breakfast, chicken and veggies for lunches and dinners, and nuts and fruit for snacks. She also noted that sometimes her meals would be on the smaller side, and she wasn’t sure if she was eating enough.

Christina’s Ixcela Expert explained that fibrous foods help to regulate the digestion and absorption of nutrients in the diet and contribute to a diverse, balanced gut microbiome. Imbalances in the gut microbiome can lead to poor nutrient utilization and deficiencies in the tryptophan pathway.

After talking with her Ixcela Expert, Christina felt motivated to get back on track.


Christina worked with her Ixcela Expert to come up with a plan that both honored her holistic approach to health and was reasonable for her lifestyle.

To support her gut lining and her body’s ability to utilize the protein in her diet, Christina decided she could:

  • Include 2 different colors of fruits or vegetables with each meal.
    • This would ensure that she was getting adequate antioxidants, polyphenols, and fiber to assist with her tryptophan metabolization.
  • Add more variety to her diet.
    • An easy-to-make green smoothie with acai powder and flaxseed for breakfast would help Christina start her day with important nutrients and diverse fiber.

  • Practice restorative activities 5 times per week to complement her strength training. She would:
    • Take at least 1 or 2 rest days per week.

    • Continue to meditate and add journaling to her routine.


Christina checked in with her Ixcela Expert three months after her results review session. She shared that Ixcela was instrumental in helping her find the energy to pursue her athletic goals while juggling work and family demands. Since her results review, she had become more mindful about scheduling rest days and she was focusing on creating balanced, diverse meals with a combination of protein and fruits or vegetables. She was eager to retest and had shared her success with her family. She hoped to help her loved ones optimize their health as well!

Note: Christina benefited from the Kickstart Program. This client's image has been changed to protect her privacy.

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