Jenny was starting to feel like she could no longer trust her body. This busy athlete and athletic performance coach often didn’t want to eat because of her daily bloating, cramping, constipation, and upset stomach. Although she had gone through food elimination diets in the past, Jenny felt they were ineffective and hard to stick with. To further complicate her struggle, she had trouble sleeping, she felt stressed, and she found it difficult to keep up with her demanding work schedule, which frequently required traveling and eating on the go.
To be an effective coach and pursue her own athletic endeavors, she needed clear data and guidance about her health—and she needed to start feeling better. She wanted to learn why she was having these symptoms and what she could do about it.
Jenny came to Ixcela because she needed solutions.
Jenny’s Ixcela results indicated that her indole-3 acetic acid (IAA) was above the optimal level, which reflected that she had a gut bacteria imbalance (also called a gut bacterial dysbiosis). Because IAA is known to affect GI distress, inflammation, sleep, digestion, and more, this out-of-range metabolite was likely causing Jenny’s symptoms. IAA can be above optimal because of diet, low-strain probiotics, antibiotics, stress, and/or GI issues such as diarrhea. Above-optimal IAA can lead to recurring GI distress, skin inflammation, or a weakened immune system.
Jenny’s total indoxyl sulfate (IDS) levels were also above optimal. Like IAA, IDS can reflect a bacterial imbalance. It is often caused by dietary habits, low-strain probiotics, antibiotics, and/or stress. When IDS is above optimal levels, it acts as a uremic toxin. Uremic toxins have been shown to contribute to chronic kidney disease, oxidative stress, and inflammation.
Jenny met with her Ixcela registered dietitian to better understand her results and decide what to focus on first. Jenny and her Ixcela dietitian reviewed her diet in detail. When discussing possible reasons why her IAA and IDS could be above optimal, Jenny shared that she was eating fewer than three servings of vegetables a day and she rarely ate fermented foods. Her typical diet consisted of eggs and toast for breakfast followed by snack bars, sometimes salads, and chicken and rice or frozen meals for dinner.
Jenny and her Ixcela registered dietitian reviewed the importance of eating fiber-rich foods and fermented foods that improve digestion and encourage the growth and metabolic activity of gut bacteria. Jenny’s Ixcela registered dietitian also advised her that variety is key because a diverse diet supports a healthy gut microbiome that helps to regulate digestion and recovery and protects against (and even corrects) dysbiosis.
The Ixcela registered dietitian’s explanation helped Jenny realize there were gaps in her current diet. She hadn’t realized that the lack of fiber and fermented foods in her diet could contribute to her GI distress and poor sleep. She also came to realize how much her high levels of stress, compounded by intense exercise and poor recovery, were impacting her gut health. She was happy to finally know which areas she could improve so she could start healing her gut and feeling better, and she was excited to learn new strategies for reducing her GI distress and improving her sleep. She couldn’t wait to get back on track.
Together, Jenny and her Ixcela registered dietitian created a plan that would heal Jenny’s gut and also fit her lifestyle.
To improve her gut bacterial imbalance, Jenny decided to do 3 things:
Include 1 serving of fermented food, such as plain Greek yogurt or kombucha, per day.
To support her gut health and her recovery from exercise, Jenny would:
This would help balance out her high-intensity workouts and assist in lowering her stress, which she noted was high.
Because the changes she had made based on her Ixcela recommendations were achievable and realistic, Jenny didn’t feel overly restricted as she had with past diets. After just a few weeks of implementing her plan, Jenny reported that Ixcela had changed her life!
She had begun sleeping better, and in fact, she was sleeping through the night. Her confidence and energy received a boost, and her stress was reduced. She also had less bloating and cramping. Jenny attributes a lot of her progress to Ixcela’s lifestyle approach, which helped her focus on restorative movement and supplements as well as nutrition. She also acknowledged that the support and accountability she received were key to keeping her on track with planning her meals and taking time for recovery practices. Jenny is appreciative of the strategies and guidance she received from Ixcela.
Note: Jenny benefited from the Complete Package Program.