Customer Story

This former football player's mood was influenced by past concussions.


Juan came to Ixcela because he wanted to improve his mental and emotional well-being. He had been feeling low and not like himself. His mood caused him to stay home more often and avoid social outings with friends and family.

Through high school and college, Juan had enjoyed snowboarding and playing football. He shared that, through the years, he had experienced several mild concussions.

Although Juan’s digestion was regular and seemed to be unchanged by the types of foods he ate, he had learned how important gut health is for supporting brain health and emotional well-being. He knew that his previous head injuries could be playing a role in his current state of mind, but he wanted to know if his gut was also part of the problem.


Juan’s Ixcela results reflected that his kynurenine was above optimal levels.


Juan was fascinated when he learned that kynurenine, a stress marker, is often elevated in individuals who have experienced a concussion. The Ixcela dietitian explained that kynurenine within optimal levels can support brain health, but kynurenine above optimal levels can increase the risk of brain fog. Learning about his metabolites gave Juan extra motivation to support his gut health and therefore his kynurenine levels.


To support his kynurenine levels, Juan needed to prioritize habits that would support his gut health. His Ixcela dietitian recommended that he increase the variety of fiber-rich foods in his diet by eating a salad with at least three varieties of vegetables for lunch or dinner every day.

Juan and his dietitian decided to also add a fifteen-minute mindfulness practice, including breath work, journaling, and meditation, to his routine at least four days per week.


Juan’s second Ixcela test showed that his kynurenine levels had improved.

Understanding the long-term effects of elevated kynurenine motivated Juan to make the necessary changes. Seeing his kynurenine levels improve made him feel like he had something to work toward and a clearer understanding of why he had been feeling down. He embraced the slow pace of breath work and was able to use mindfulness and meditation to reduce stress.

Note: Juan benefited from the Kickstart Assessment Program. This client's name has been changed to protect his privacy.
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