Health Update: Leaky Gut Diet and Micronutrient Testing at Bulletproof Labs
Hey Beauty Bunnies! It’s been more than three months since I started my leaky gut diet, and I wanted to give you guys an update. I’ve been VERY strict with my diet since January, and it’s paid off in a lot of ways. I’m still working on my overall health and wellness, and tweaking my diet and exercise plan, but I’m on a good path! I’m starting this article by reminding you that I’m a health warrior but not a doctor or health professional, so none of this should be taken as medical advice.
The gut health diet I’m on is similar to paleo (and kind of like autoimmune paleo or an elimination diet) but slightly more strict. You can read more about it here. I was VERY strict for the first two months, but in the last month I have started to add some things back. I just added mushrooms and fermented foods (like sauerkraut and coconut yogurt) and I’m so excited about that!
I’ve lost fifteen pounds, which is the most weight I think I’ve ever lost at one time! I’ve never lost more than a handful of pounds on any other diet EVER. I’ve even tried Nutrisystem and other calorie restrictive diets and I promise – I’m not a cheater. Still nothing ever worked before. I’m feeling better, and I only have inflammation and swelling when I eat foods that my body doesn’t like. On this diet, I’ve discovered foods that I didn’t know I was sensitive to – like tomatoes for example. I also found out that I can tolerate egg yolks but not egg whites, which is great because there are lots of B Vitamins in the yolks! There really is nothing like an elimination diet to figure out what foods your body can’t tolerate!
This diet has been great, but I’m still dealing with anemia, some headaches and muscle aches. I have MTHFR and other SNPs (more info on that here). And I’m just crazy sensitive in general. I call myself a fish tank, because anyone who has had an aquarium knows that if you don’t get the water and the pH and all that stuff just right, the fish die. If my nutrients or hormones are just slightly off, I feel awful! Fish tank is not the sexiest nickname, I know! My mom has the same problems and sensitivities as me, and my dad calls her an orchid (for the same reason). MUCH NICER NAME right? LOL!
So because I’m uber sensitive, I decided to get micronutrient testing done at Bulletproof Labs (operated by Next Health) in Santa Monica. I have been following Dave Asprey and his wellness and biohacking podcast for many years now. I was super excited to learn that he set up Bulletproof Labs (next door to Bulletproof Cafe) here in Los Angeles last year. They have all kinds of biohacking equipment that can help with fitness, health and beauty. In the photo above, the team is using their giant Light Stim bed (and you guys know how I love me some Light Stim for anti-aging and clear skin!). I was even more excited to learn that Bulletproof Labs offers micronutrient testing!
I went in to Bulletproof Labs on a Saturday for a quick blood draw with the super sweet Caysie. She was very kind when I told her I am scared of needles, and she even tolerated the multiple photos we took while we were there. She took three small vials of blood and told me she would spin it and send it off to the lab. Results would take about 3 weeks to come in and then I would go over it with someone from the team.
The micronutrient test basically looks at the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids and other nutrients within your white blood cells. Even if you’re eating healthy foods, minimizing stress, taking a multi-vitamin and working out regularly, your body can have nutrient deficiencies. Everyone had different nutrition needs depending on genetics, age, where you live, how active you are, stress level, what prescriptions you take, etc. For example, you may need more B vitamins when you’re stressed, living in a hot climate, working out heavily, taking birth control or if you have a genetic mutation that requires it. But taking too much can have adverse consequences too!
I got my test results back and went over them with a nurse on staff at the Next Health location on Sunset Blvd (in the shopping center with Trader Joes and Veggie Grill) in West Hollywood. I was super impressed with the depth of knowledge that the nurse, Megan, had. She knew all about methylation and MTHFR, which is impressive all by itself. She is a former ER/trauma nurse, and has worked at Cedars Sinai hospital, so she has legitimate experience with Western medicine and alternative medicine.
So what were my results? Some stuff I knew, and some was surprising to me. Turns out I’m EXTREMELY deficient in Vitamin B1 – like there’s hardly any B1 in my blood at all. It’s weird because that’s usually associated with alcoholism, IBS or people who eat a ton of carbs, and I’m not in any of those camps. I’m assuming it’s genetic or maybe related to the leaky gut issue. I’m also crazy low in Vitamin K2 and Inositol. I’m a little bit TOO high in calcium, which could be related to my moderately low Vit D levels. I’m also moderately low in Vitamins B5, B6, B12, and C. I also need more asparagine, glutamine, cysteine and glutathione. I was actually surprised to see that my folate, magnesium, iron, zinc, and Omega 3 & 6 levels are all good! It did say I should up my Omegas 3s just a bit to make the 3/6 ratio a little better, but Megan told me that since most of my Omega 6’s are from nuts and seeds (as opposed to canola oil), I should be good.
Megan gave me a through overview of my deficiencies, recommended some tests from my regular doctor (thyroid and iron panel), and a day later I was sent pricing on custom supplements (based on my needs) from their 3rd party compounding pharmacy. You don’t have to buy these supplements unless you want to do it (it’s convenient but a little pricey in my opinion). I had a lot of them already actually.
There really is no one size fits all, and taking multi-vitamins or supplements without measuring the nutrient levels in your body can be quite dangerous. For example, taking zinc is great for acne, but did you know it can deplete your iron stores? Too much copper can deplete your zinc and vice versa. There are a million ways to screw up when you start throwing supplements into your mouth without testing and listening to your body. Overdoing it on one nutrient can throw off another and most of the time you won’t even realize it until you start getting really deficient. You may also need to space your nutrients out, so you aren’t taking two that compete with each other at the same time.
But, that being said, your requirements may vary, so even when you test your micronutrients, you still need to pay attention to your body. You may show normal levels of B12, but have symptoms of B12 deficiency. When you take B12, you feel better. That should let you know that you need higher levels than the “average” person.
This is all complicated stuff, and it’s why I recommend working with a nutrition expert like the Next Health team at Bulletproof Labs. They can work with you to correct any deficiencies without creating new ones. If you feel like crap, stop guessing and go get tested already!
I’ll give you guys an update after I start fixing all my micronutrient deficiencies!