“The gut is the root of the tree. If the root is sick, the tree cannot be healthy.”
– Dr. Nirala Jacobi
In general, we live in a mutually beneficial relationship with the microbes that make up over ⅔ of our body.
They tend to stay in balance as long as we are eating enough fiber, getting regular sunshine and exercise, managing stress, and getting 8 hours of sleep nightly.
But when they are out of balance there can be significant and far reaching impacts on our health. Healing the gut and restoring balance to the microbiome is the most important step toward health.
My first session with Kate began by her sharing her heart wrenching story of struggle.
Kate had been battling her weight for years. Just recently her doctor diagnosed her with fatty liver and metabolic syndrome (rising blood sugars, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol).
She was baffled by her worsening health, and desperate to turn things around but doubtful that she could.
She had tried EVERYTHING to lose weight. Every diet, every exercise program, every magic pill promising weight loss. Nothing worked and her health continued to spiral.
She didn’t know what to do.
Clues From Kate’s Past
As I explored Kate’s medical history, I learned that she had experienced a severe food poisoning episode while traveling abroad during college. Since then, she had struggled with constipation and weight gain.
As I put the pieces of her health history together, a constellation of symptoms began to emerge that indicated her gut microbiome was out of balance:
- Constipation Dominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS-C)
- Weight gain
- Metabolic syndrome
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver
When sulfate-reducing bacteria (a normal part of the gut microbiota) are abnormally elevated they can contribute to obesity, constipation dominant IBS, Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD), and metabolic syndrome.
I suspected an overabundance of these microbes might be contributing to her current health challenges.
Our next step was to take a deeper look at the balance of her microbiome. A comprehensive stool analysis confirmed that she had elevated levels of sulfate-reducing bacteria.
In fact, every condition she was dealing with could be tied back to a microbial imbalance on the report in front of us.
- She had high levels of proteobacteria, which release endotoxins that can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver.
- Her populations of Akkermansia were very low. Low populations of Akkermansia are associated with obesity and insulin resistance.
- Her Faecalibacterium was also low, which is associated with depression.
So many pieces of the puzzle were coming together. Fortunately, we had the tools to shift these populations to improve her health.
I created a therapeutic plan with targeted changes to her diet and lifestyle that helped restore balance to her gut microbiome.
After three months of nutrition coaching, Kate felt for the first time like she was in control of her health. And she had experienced significant traction with all of her health goals.
She achieved these results by feeding the beneficial microbes in her gut with prebiotic rich foods and supplements, resistant starches, polyphenol rich foods, and strain specific probiotics.
In addition, she worked hard on improving her sleep and consistently getting 8 hours nightly. She managed her stress with a regular yoga practice and 10 minutes of guided meditation nightly.
These were strategies that she found enjoyable and easy to sustain.
It was a pleasure to walk with Kate on her healing journey.