I want to share my healing journey to put things into perspective. I came to the U.S. as an exchange student from the Czech Republic when I was 18 (now 44). This meant a complete change of diet, habits and lifestyle.
After about 3 years in the U.S. (I was at college so eating only college food), I developed a severe and painful cystic acne that seemed to be getting worse every time I looked in a mirror. I went to a dermatologist who prescribed a course of antibiotics that did not help so I was prescribed different ones until I ended up taking several different antibiotics for nearly two years! Needless to say, my skin did not improve (probably got even worse), my self-esteem was non-existent and I developed other health problems, specifically digestive issues such as a chronic constipation, bloating, horrific PMS symptoms and hormonal imbalances, fatigue, anxiety and depression.
After 5 years in the U.S, I returned home (Czech Republic) and did a one year cleanse eating mostly plant based diet, some clean protein, no sugar and no dairy. My skin improved, I felt much healthier and happier. However, the digestive problems lingered, although not as severe.
Everything got worse again after I lost both of my parents to cancer. My dad died from liver cancer at the age of 48, eight years later my mom died from colon cancer at the age of 59.
About two years ago, I started getting mysterious hives that would come and go but were not severe enough. That changed rather quickly. I would get a very angry, itchy rash after nearly everything I ate. I tried an elimination diet, gut healing, different kinds of tests, changing things in our environment, etc. but nothing seemed to help. I was afraid to eat anything because I would spend the rest of the day miserable. The hives were much worse at night, I felt like my skin was on fire, burning and itching uncontrollably. I was taking allergy meds which would help a bit but sometime they wouldn’t do a thing.
Thanks to my advanced training in functional nutrition, I finally got properly tested and got some needed answers. I did an adrenal panel and a comprehensive blood chemistry panel which helped me identify nutritional deficiencies and some underlying dysfunction such as impaired methylation (detox) which I addressed with dietary interventions and supplements. I also did a GI Map test to see the state of my gut which I suspected was in a bad shape due to being on antibiotics for two years for the skin problems. The GI Map test revealed a very low beneficial bacteria, two strains of pathogenic bacterial overgrowth (E-coli and C. diff), parasites, also lots of dysbiotic bacteria (one of them considered an autoimmune trigger), gluten sensitivity, low gut immunity and some gut inflammation. None of these showed on a stool test I did prior to the GI Map test. I also did a food sensitivity test (MRT) and tested reactive to many foods I was eating on regular basis like chicken, beef, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, onions, white potato, butternut squash, cantaloupe, corn, tomato, maple, etc. None of these showed on a regular allergy skin and blood tests.
In addition to the supplements I was taking to correct the deficiencies and imbalances from the blood chemistry test and the adrenal test, I did a gut healing protocol addressing the findings from the GI Map test (eradicating the bad bacteria and re-building the microbiome) while avoiding the reactive foods as per the MRT test. After four weeks on the protocol, the hives became less frequent and less severe. And after the full protocol was finished, everything got back into balance, hives were completely gone and I was able to reintroduce the foods I was reactive to (even dairy products which were my biggest trigger). The constipation and bloating also resolved, I started to sleep better, had more energy and stable mood every day.
I am still making sure that my gut stays healthy, eating the right foods, taking beneficial supplements and doing a cleanse twice a year.
To learn more about the GI Map test, my results and interpretation, click here: