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What caused a 29-year-old lawyer’s gut health emergency?


Photo: Chelsea Francis/Stocksnap
Photo: Chelsea Francis/Stocksnap
Photo: Dr. Frank Lipman
Photo: Dr. Frank Lipman

Welcome to the launch of Wellness Council, our handpicked holistic health squad: a tightly curated group that gives the best advice this side of your own personal guru. 

In his debut article, integrative medicine pioneer Frank Lipman, MD, is opening up his case files for us to share the story of a patient with some strange symptoms and how he solved them.

What he writes about next is up to you—tell us what what you’re dying to know! Send questions and ideas to [email protected].

The patient

A 29-year-old female lawyer (let’s call her Laura), who had recently moved to New York City from South America, leaving family and friends behind.

The issue

She was excited to be in NYC, but she was also overwhelmed with life and work in the busy city, and within a few months she had gained 20 pounds and was struggling with a variety of digestive issues, including uncomfortable gas and bloating. Laura said things had gotten so bad that she now had shin splints and knee pain and a three-week cold that wouldn’t go away.

Her habits

Even though she exercised regularly at night and ate pretty well, she had a really hard time losing weight. To help relieve her stress, she said she would exercise intensely at night and then eat a late meal, and most likely some ice cream, before going to bed. She often would pass out exhausted but then wake up again in the middle of the night, head racing, unable to fall back asleep.

What we did

After Laura came to the office—the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center—and revealed all these challenges to me and health coach Katrine van Wyk, we scratched our heads about the diversity of these symptoms and tried to think about them holistically.

Katrine and I agreed that some meditation and breathing exercises would be a great idea. Laura said she would attend a yoga class on the weekends when she had time. I also suspected that her nightly workouts could be making her too amped up and wired before bed, so I advised her to move her workouts to the morning instead. Before leaving that day, I also gave her some acupuncture to address her knee and shin pains.

I suspected that her nightly workouts could be making her too amped up and wired before bed, so I advised her to move her workouts to the morning instead.

Her gut issues, while we weren’t sure yet, could be due to an overgrowth of yeast and bacteria and food sensitivities. To test the theory and get to the bottom of which foods were causing her problems, I suggested she do the Be Well Cleanse. Because the cleanse includes an herbal anti-microbial supplement, it would help kill off any overgrowth of bad bacteria, and the digestive enzymes provided would help her better digest her food. The L-Glutamine pills would also be very helpful for someone like Laura who was struggling with such intense sugar cravings.

I also gave her the Stress Support supplement, which contains adaptogenic and adrenal tonic herbs to help the body better handle and recover from stress. And I suggested she try some L-Theanine, which is a neurotransmitter that can be taken when needed to calm down if feeling anxious and overwhelmed.

Laura had never done a cleanse before and was sad to give up her ice cream, but she knew it was time that something needed to change.

The results

After two weeks of doing the cleanse and switching up her routine, Laura had lost 4 pounds and was feeling better—the knee pain was gone and her stress levels improved. She still had some digestive issues, and, during the reintroduction phase of the Elimination Diet, she discovered that she had a severe sensitivity to gluten. In fact, as soon as she tried eating gluten again, her knee pain came back.

Since Laura was loving the structure of the plan and the improvements she’d seen, she decided to do the Be Well Cleanse for another two weeks to address more of the digestive issues. She is on the right path and continues to discover more about whichi healthy habits and foods she needs to feel her best.

A pioneer and internationally recognized expert in the fields of integrative and functional Medicine, Dr. Frank Lipman is the founder and director of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City and the creator of Be Well by Dr. Frank Lipman, a proprietary brand of dietary supplements, detoxifying cleanses and health coaching services and a New York Times best-selling author of Total Renewal—7 Key Steps to Resilience Vitality and Long Term Health, Revive—End Exhaustion and Feel Great Again, The New Health Rules—Simple Changes to Achieve Whole-Body Wellness, and 10 Reasons You Feel Old and Get Fat

What should Dr. Lipman write about next? Send your questions and suggestions to [email protected]