Customer Story

Food sensitivity and hormone tests couldn't explain why Alex was so exhausted.


Alex was sleeping more than ten hours a night, but she still felt exhausted. This 24-year-old, health-focused college student was constantly tired and was having a hard time losing weight. She found that her body felt best when she avoided dairy, gluten, and added sugars, but she had a hard time avoiding these ingredients when she traveled or went out with friends. Because she felt certain that the foods in her diet were causing her exhaustion, she took a food sensitivity test. But the results were overwhelming. The list of foods to avoid was too long. It seemed impossible to cut all of those foods out of her diet. Alex then tested her hormones, and her results were normal. She felt confused.

Alex needed some clear data about what was going on with her body and how she could take control over her symptoms. She decided to test with Ixcela to better understand her gut’s role in her possible food sensitivities, exhaustion, and inability to lose weight.


Alex’s Ixcela results showed that her tryptophan was below the optimal level, which reflected that the nutrients in her diet were not supporting her body’s needs. Tryptophan comes from protein and gets converted into serotonin, a neurotransmitter that supports happiness. Serotonin turns into melatonin, the hormone that helps you fall asleep.

Alex’s Ixcela results indicated that she wasn’t consuming enough protein, which explained her poor sleep quality.


Alex’s tryptophan levels helped the Ixcela dietitian identify why she was having a hard time losing weight and staying consistent with her eating habits. Alex learned that because tryptophan supports sleep, getting enough tryptophan in her diet would reduce her afternoon cravings and help her feel more satisfied after meals.

With the guidance of her dietitian, Alex identified that her protein intake was not adequate. She had been skipping breakfast and her lunches and dinners contained only 15–20 grams of protein, although she needed 40 grams of protein at each meal.


Instead of cutting out a long list of foods, Alex’s primary goal was to focus on including more high-quality protein sources at every meal. Alex worked with her dietitian to come up with a plan to get started with a few simple meal adjustments:

  • For breakfast, she would eat an omelet with spinach and 2 ounces of chicken sausage.
  • Her morning snack would be 1 cup of edamame (in the pod).
  • And for dinner, she would eat a larger serving of protein (for example: 6 ounces of chicken).


Increasing Alex’s protein intake worked! She noticed an improvement in energy and her ability to focus at work, and she felt rested after eight or nine hours of sleep. Her overall Ixcela score increased from 45 to 75, and she saw substantial improvement in all five Ixcela categories of health.

Alex also found that she was able to include dairy and gluten in moderation, and her sugar cravings decreased because her high-protein meals helped her feel more satisfied.

Note: Alex benefited from the Complete Package Program. This client's name has been changed to protect her privacy.
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