John had been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in his teens. One day, for no apparent reason, he’d started passing blood and mucus in his stool.
Since that day, he’d been taking drugs to suppress his colitis, which is a form of inflammatory bowel disease.
A keen soccer player, John actually felt ok. His energy wasn’t too bad and his sleep, mood and other health parameters were good.
However, he desperately wanted to live life without needing to take medication and was worried about the long-term effects of using pharmaceuticals to suppress his colitis.
John agreed to run a stool test so we could investigate possible triggers for his colitis. After all, nobody develops inflammation without a reason.
The first thing his stool test showed was a virus called Norovirus, which can cause acute gastroenteritis and is associated with outbreaks worldwide.
It is not common to see viruses appearing in stool tests, so I felt the Norovirus finding was worth investigating.
I found some research information associating Norovirus with colitis, but it was quite sparse.
Most importantly, the below excerpt shows how several environmental factors may contribute to colitis or other forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD):
Modification of bacteria through genetics and environment (diet, exposure, public health, infections or antibiotics) may affect the host immune response. Transient environmental triggers are important… IBD has been linked to single episodes of gastroenteritis, suggesting that enteric pathogens in those with IBD susceptibility genes can initiate abnormally regulated, early inflammatory responses resulting in chronic inflammation and injury. Evidence for this has been shown in ATG16L1-deficient mice, where norovirus infection in the presence of commensal bacteria led to a CD-like disease, whereas wild-type mice remained normal. Norovirus has also been isolated from patients undergoing flare-ups of their IBD during immunosuppressive therapy. Exacerbation of IBD can be induced by bacterial, parasitic or viral super-infection, with C. difficile and cytomegalovirus being the most important.
Next, John’s stool test revealed some bacterial imbalances in the “good bugs” that should be present in the GI tract.
His Enterococcus level was high, and Lactobacillus was low. Lactobacillus is familiar to a lot of people because it is in yoghurts and probiotic supplements.
Well, it turns out that people with colitis tend to have lower Lactobacillus and other related bacteria than healthy people.
It is not clear whether low Lactobacillus levels are due to colitis, or whether they trigger the onset of the disease. However, I felt this finding was also relevant.
Perhaps the most interesting finding in John’s test centred on his intestinal health markers as opposed to his microbe markers.
When people do stool tests, I find they are often preoccupied with knowing what “bad bugs” they have, but that sometimes these are not the primary issue.
If you look at John’s intestinal health markers, below, you can see that there are three “high” markers.
His calprotectin is high. This marker is always high when patients have an inflammatory bowel disease, so it was no surprise to see a high level.
His b-glucuronidase was also high, which to me usually indicates bacterial imbalance in the intestine. Some bacteria produce b-glucuronidase as part of their normal metabolism (I’ll write a special article on this, as it’s important).
Finally, you can see that his anti-gliadin IgA is high, at 543. This was a tremendously important marker.
Anti-gliadin IgA is a marker that indicates gluten sensitivity. Gluten sensitivity leads to intestinal inflammation. Colitis is a form of intestinal inflammation.
John’s anti-gliadin IgA wasn’t just high – it’s the highest value I’ve seen in a very long time. I feel that a value of 200 is extremely high, so his 543 level was outrageous!
John was eating bread and other gluten-containing foods most days; could gluten sensitivity be causing his colitis?
Anecdotal evidence and some studies show improvements when colitis patients embark on a gluten-free diet, as you can see in the box.
“In this large group of patients with IBD, a substantial number had attempted a GFD, of whom the majority had some form of improvement in GI-symptoms.”
Furthermore, there is quite a lot of evidence to suggest that cow’s milk intolerance can also trigger colitis-like inflammation.
According to Leo Galland, M.D., a functional medicine pioneer:
“Controlled studies of diet for ulcerative colitis have not been performed, but observers who have published uncontrolled studies have estimated that 15 to 20% of patients with ulcerative colitis have food allergy or specific food intolerance, with cow’s milk protein being the leading offender.”
The trouble with colitis and other inflammatory bowel disorders is that western medicine treats them as incurable.
Gastro consultants prescribe medications to control patients’ intestinal inflammation, and patients are told nothing else can be done.
In serious cases, or when medications do not suppress a patient’s symptoms, surgery is recommended to resection the intestine.
I’m not against these measures, but when there is substantial evidence that diet, infections, toxins and other factors can trigger colitis, isn’t it wise to investigate them first?
John’s organic acids test
Organic acids testing is a great adjunct to stool testing. This home urine test reveals chemical footprints left by “bad bugs” in the gut.
In John’s case, the test revealed some Candida and bacterial overgrowth, as evidenced by high readings for markers 7, 9 and 10, below:
Again, if we look at the literature, we see some links appearing between intestinal Candida and colitis, especially in animal studies.
“This was consistent with the report that C. albicans could exacerbate DSS- induced colitis  but demonstrated that an indigenous Candida population could drive disease.”
Trends Microbiol. 2013 July ; 21(7): 334–341. doi:10.1016/j.tim.2013.04.002.
The overall pattern
From John’s lab testing, we uncovered several possible reasons for his colitis:
It was time to begin dealing with everything and restoring optimal balance in his gut.
John’s action steps
I asked John to join my online 90-day nutrition program, which I call The Digestive Reset Plan so he could work through the process of optimizing his diet and lifestyle to promote gut healing.
I ran a coaching session with him to provide detailed education about the possible impact of cow’s milk and gluten on his bowel.
John immediately got to work on following a gluten-free diet, and eliminating cow’s milk products from his diet, too.
We agreed a specific nutritional strategy around his soccer training and games to ensure the physical activity didn’t interfere with his recovery (this is important because heavy exercise causes gut damage).
I also prescribed an herbal protocol to help remove the virus from John’s digestive system. Baicalin, Artemisinin, lauric acid, Andrographis and other proven anti-viral compounds, were used.
I also included herbs to reduce John’s Candida levels, including Berberine, Oil of Oregano and Undecylenic acid.
Even though John initially felt pretty good in terms of energy, and mood, he noticed that his new diet and lifestyle habits made him feel even better.
Most importantly, his digestive system began feeling much calmer.
He felt like food was being digested more effectively and there was a notable reduction in gurgling and achiness in his abdomen.
Getting off his meds
John visited his GI specialists and told them about the work he and I had been doing together.
The specialist gave John free rein to stop taking his colitis medications. Thankfully, to date, John hasn’t had a relapse of his condition.
We can’t say John is completely “out of the woods” just yet, but the results are very promising.
Why I shared this case study
The main reason I shared this case study is to show how a disease labeled “incurable” by the medical system can respond nicely to an alternative approach.
All we did was get honest about nutrition, while deeply investigating other factors that might be causing John’s immune system to kick up a fuss in his intestine.
We found viruses and fungi, and once these were eliminated alongside application cleaner diet, John got his rewards.
Had he not taken the plunge to investigate his condition and step outside medical dogmatic thinking, he may have been on his medications for life – medications with side effects such as increasing the risk of developing cancer.
I’m not saying every case responds this well to an alternative approach, but it has to be worth a try when long-term health is at stake.
You can achieve the same results
When I wasn’t feeling very well back in 2007, a wise man said to me, “Nobody is forcing anyone else to be unhealthy and that goes for you, too.”
He was right.
Even though I’d known for several years about the kinds of testing described above, it took my more than three years to actually take the plunge and do them.
It was silly, really, as within 90-days I felt great again. It was a big lesson.
Marina didn’t know about these tests until her friend mentioned she make contact and, sadly, many other people remain unaware just how helpful they are.
I am certain that a stool test will help if you are not feeling well – no matter how long, and no matter what your doc has said about your condition.
If you’re tired of your symptoms and just want to get your life back, I really do recommend you order a home stool test.
Yes, it’s not cheap, which is why I’ll gladly soften the blow with a money back guarantee.
If the stool test fails to detect meaningful information, I’ll refund every penny or cent for you.
So give it a shot – the results could astonish you.
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