Martina was fed up with taking medicines for ten years that weren’t working, but she was afraid to quit. At the time she was taking an antidepressant, as well as a non- steroid anti-inflammatory for chronic pain in her arms and legs that had previously been diagnosed as fibromyalgia. In reviewing her history, I noted that she began to have issues with depression in her early 20s but hadn’t started medication until her mid 40s. She had been born naturally but not breastfed. She had been on multiple courses of antibiotics as a child for throat infections that culminated in a tonsillectomy. During her teenage years she had been placed on the antibiotic tetracycline for eighteen months because of acne. Bowel movements had always been a problem; Martina said she’d suffered from either chronic constipation or diarrhea for “as long as I can remember.”
My first order of business was to order some laboratory studies. That’s when I found out that she was significantly sensitive to gluten. Her vitamin D level was low, and her LPS level, again, a marker of gut permeability and inflammation, was sky high.
I explained that our main mission moving forward was to restore the health of her gut. I recommended a gluten-free diet and, in addition, an aggressive oral probiotic program along with prebiotic foods and vitamin D supplementation. I made several other suggestions, including regular aerobic exercise and more hours of sleep.
I saw Martina six weeks later and even before our conversation began, it was clear that she had been transformed. She looked radiant. In our clinic we photograph all of our patients at the initial examination. I took another picture now and we looked at them side by side. It was truly a remarkable comparison.
Though I hadn’t recommended it, she had stopped her antidepressant four weeks prior to this appointment and was now off all medications. “I feel like the fog has finally lifted,” she reported. And her chronic anxiety had vanished. She was sleeping well, enjoying her exercise, and for the first time in decades, having regular bowel movements. I asked her about her fibromyalgia pain and she said that she hadn’t mentioned it as she had forgotten all about it.