Leaky Gut Case Study by Sue Kira

Healing leaky gut and depression naturally

by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist

Client name and identifying information changed

When Ronald first came to me he was suffering badly from chronic depression. He had already been on numerous different anti-depressants and even tried electro-convulsive shock therapy (ECT). He had almost given up and at times felt suicidal, but he had much to live for with a loving wife and two small children. His wife initially visited me for her own stress support, and then on her advice, he made an appointment.

He couldn’t remember when it all started or even how, but it seemed to just sneak up on him and gradually get worse to the point where he could no longer work or look after himself. He seemed at a loss.

I said that because he hadn’t responded well to drug treatment, then there must be something else going on that had been previously missed, so I organised a variety of tests. Fortunately, his wife brought along lots of results that had already been screened by his doctors which helped to rule out many possibilities.

I tested him for pyrrole disorder (common in mental health symptoms) but that was all clear. I checked his gut function and it was a mess. He had leaky gut, food allergies and intolerances, no good bacteria at all and a few different types of bad bacteria. Luckily, nothing too harmful but it still undermined his health and gut.

The gut is responsible for about 80% of our serotonin (the happy & relaxing neurotransmitter) so it was obvious that he couldn’t get the right balance of neurotransmitters because of the condition of his gut.

The first thing to do was to remove all offending foods that came up on Ronald’s intolerance test including gluten, dairy, eggs, yeast, most nuts and chocolate (which he constantly ate to try and feel better). I also advised him of the foods that would help to heal and seal his gut.

Fortunately, he had a dedicated wife who could prepare all that he needed. He loved the bone broths and as she said, “he can’t seem to get enough of it, drinking up to 2 litres of the stuff a day”. His body was calling for it.

We also implemented a protocol of herbs to kill off the bad bugs along with some probiotics to re-inoculate the ‘good guys’ as he couldn’t use other fermented foods for a while due to the SIBO (bacterial overgrowth).

Even though he felt much better within a week, it gradually took six months for him to come back to feeling strong enough to go back to work, which he wanted to do. He couldn’t even contemplate working when he first came in.

After twelve months on the diet plus some supplements to speed things up, he was back to his normal chirpy self. I barely recognised him when he came in with his daughter for an infection a few years later. He just looked so vibrant, healthy and happy.

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