Leaky gut: a case study

Leaky gut: a case study

Life can be ironic.

I’m not talking about hipster ironic, I mean eerie coincidence ironic. This story is full of so much simultaneous bad and good luck, it might blow your mind.

My husband stuck with me through my whole IBS battle, never understanding my pain because of his own iron stomach.

But now I’m healthy and helping him heal his gut.

On December 21, 2012 my husband was riding his bike home from work. He was struck and then run over by a girl who didn’t have a driver’s license and had never driven before.

She ran over his chest with her Toyota and by some miracle (THANK YOU UNIVERSE!!) he survived with only a few broken ribs and crushed muscles.


Here’s the crazy part.

The pain medication and antibiotics he was given during his recovery actually created more long term damage to his health than the accident.

While he was on his medication (powerful, pain-fighting Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) he became extremely constipated. This is normal and the constipation passed once he got off his pain meds.

My husband returned to his demanding job a month after his accident, but after about 6 months, he started having chronic diarrhea.

When the diarrhea began, he was transitioning from his old job to a new one. He also began a demanding, year-long life coach training at the same time. He was stressed and overwhelmed with all the challenge and transition.

Because of this, I chalked up his chronic diarrhea to stress overload.

He had no history of digestive issues or any other telltale sign or symptoms so I assumed it was a reaction to stress. He was also tired frequently, but considering his schedule that was no surprise.

I thought his diarrhea would pass as he settled into his new routine.

But it didn’t.

Six months later, I was in the midst of starting my business. I too was stressed and overwhelmed and it took me a little while to process what was going on. At the same time I started reading a lot about intestinal permeability (aka: leaky gut) and got very suspicious.

The causes of leaky gut

One of the major causes of leaky gut is taking NSAIDs and antibiotics. Check. Check.

And stress. Major check!

The third cause is a diet that is full of sugar, processed chemicals and pesticides. Luckily, his diet was pretty good. He had given up refined sugar a year ago and that’s probably what kept his symptoms from getting much,much worse. It also made it less obvious to diagnose him because he only had a few of the common symptoms, which were  joint pain, fatigue, rashes, headaches and constipation/diarrhea.

The most common symptom of leaky gut is food allergies. He didn’t think he had any food allergies, but I wanted to test it.

I put him on a gluten and dairy elimination diet. It turns that after a few weeks his joint pain vanished along with the mild bloating he didn’t realize he had until it was gone.

He was devastated about giving up his favorite foods, but I told him he could enjoy them again after he was healed.

The leaky gut suspicion was totally confirmed after his recent over reaction to a spider bite. The bite blew up into an intense rash and was so itchy he couldn’t sleep. I was also bitten but didn’t have the same reaction. That’s when I knew.

And looking back at it I saw all the subtle signs. The occasional head aches, upset stomachs and all the colds he caught this winter.

But, my husband was in luck. I knew exactly how to heal him.



So thankful my hubby doesn’t eat sugar, because that would be the first thing to go. He unknowingly did the best thing he could for his gut health when he gave it up while ago.

Also, he has already been off gluten, dairy and soy for more than a month and feeling better because of it.

He occasionally eats gluten-free grains at lunch time but I’m slowly moving him towards a grain-free diet. I don’t want to stress him or his body out by taking out too much at once.

The most important dietary shift is adding in grass-fed gelatin and bone broth. These superfoods mend intestinal lining and close the loose intestinal junctions that let food particles pass into the blood stream. This bloodstream invasion is what causes the immune overreaction and food allergies associated with leaky gut.

Unfortunately my husband can’t stand broth, so I need to come up with creative ways to hide the flavor. That means I’ll be sharing my many bone broth recipes with you this fall and winter.

Fortunately my husband likes the gummy, jello dessert I made for him with 5 tablespoons of grass fed gelatin, a cup of fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice, a touch of maple syrup and some blueberries. It’s super tart.

I’ll also sneak gelatin in smoothies and grain-free muffin/”bread” recipes.

leaky gut cure


This really is the toughest factor because my husband has a leadership position and very demanding job. To combat the stress I assigned daily meditation. Since he already knows how to meditate, learning this practice won’t add extra stress to his day.

I’m also assigning a restorative yoga or yoga nidre class (both very passive and relaxing) once a week to get his nervous system into deep healing mode.


My husband does not like taking supplements. So I narrowed it down to the most essential ones, just  3 or 4 a day.

The supplements are L-glutamine, a strong probiotic pill and fish oil to fight the inflammation. He also takes a daily vitamin, because leaky gut can prevent nutrient absorption.

I’ve added probiotic foods like sauerkraut and water kefir to his daily diet in case the probiotic supplement is not very powerful.

Toxin free lifestyle

Because tap water is a hidden source of beneficial bacteria-killing toxins we’ve installed a good water filter.

We clean our house with green products and I buy mostly organic, non GMO food.

I’ve also started him on morning lemon juice to support his liver’s detoxification pathways.

Let the healing begin

History repeated itself.

More than a decade ago, my heavy antibiotic use healed my Lyme disease but set the stage for IBS.

In my husband’s case it wasn’t just the drugs, but a combination of drugs, trauma from the accident and work stress that created holes in his intestine.

For this reason I believe the most powerful cure for his leaky gut is stress reduction. That means getting the nervous system into a parasympathetic state as frequently as possible. I’ve heard from people with more severe cases of leaky gut that the supplements they take can make them feel worse.

Supplements have a lot of filler and bi products that can irritate the gut. My philosophy is simply to remove the things that prevent healing like processed foods, gluten, sugar, soy, and dairy. Then add bone broth/gelatin and mediation/relaxation and let the body do the rest.

So, when will we know that my husband is healed? When his fatigue and diarrhea have dissipated.

It amazes me that the universe works in such mysterious ways, by putting hardships in our path but also giving us the tools to overcome them.

Thank you universe, for giving me the wisdom to spot this problem before it turned into something much more serious and the resources and knowledge to heal it completely.


angelafavheadshotAngela Privin is proof that IBS is NOT an incurable disease or a disease at all. IBS is a body out of balance. It’s an invitation for change. After solving her own IBS mystery more than a decade ago Angela trained as a health coach to help others.

Angela uses both science and intuition to help people figure out what’s out of balance in their body. She works with lab tests, dietary changes, supplementation and nervous system rebalancing. Get help rebalancing your digestive system and solving your IBS mystery here.


    • Sorry to hear that Joni. Happy to talk to you about it if you ever have any questions about it. Take care and I am sending you huge healing vibes and a big hug.

  1. Thanks for sharing this – what is the latest news on your husbands condition?

    • He has just started his treatment and drinks his morning cup of broth like a champ. He is also gluten and dairy free but I am hoping he goes fully grain free. He already feel better in terms of a reduction of his body aches and joint pain and bloating but the challenge for him will be reducing his stress load which is high right now. I will keep you posted with a follow up blog in a few months.

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