Dr. Michael Ruscio, DC is a clinician, Naturopathic Practitioner, clinical researcher, author, and adjunct professor at the University of Bridgeport. His work has been published in peer-reviewed medical journals and he speaks at conferences around the globe.
Juan’s recovery from inflammation and joint pain.
Juan was facing an autoimmune arthritis condition, gut issues, and infertility. After trying a prescription drug that made him feel worse, he turned to healing his gut and mixed fasting with the elemental diet. In taking these steps, Juan was able to eliminate his symptoms—like joint pain, fatigue, and inflammation—and his wife became pregnant. The elemental diet is a liquid diet in which the contents are broken down into essential elements that can be quickly absorbed by the gut. Elemental Heal is the elemental diet formula that Juan used. If you’ve already tried diet, lifestyle, probiotics, and other interventions and still have lingering symptoms, personalizing the elemental diet (explained below) may be a good option to explore.
Dr. Michael Ruscio, DC: Hey everyone. This is Dr. Ruscio. I’m here with Juan who’s had some really good results with Elemental Heal. He was kind enough to share his story with us. So, we’re here today to expand on that. Juan, thank you so much for being here.
DrMR: Can you tell people a little bit about what you were suffering with?
Reversing Infertility & Autoimmunity
Juan: Yeah. After six years of trying to have babies with my wife, I was diagnosed with infertility. In the same week I was also diagnosed with an autoimmune condition. Some kind of arthritis that the doctor couldn’t really put her finger on, because of some blood work.
So I started taking Plaquenil (I don’t know how you say it in English because I’m from Guatemala). And it didn’t do much. It just made me feel worse. It made my gut symptoms—because I also had a lot of gut issues—feel worse.
I tried something similar to the protocol you put in your book. At that time I was reading another bunch of books on natural medicine and natural approaches to these kinds of conditions. So I did something similar and it helped a lot. Three months later, my wife got pregnant.
Juan: Yeah, with just following protocols, changing to a paleo diet, doing a bunch of herbs. Very similar to what you suggest in your book. But even though the gut issues and the joint issues were better, they were kind of coming on and off. I didn’t do the last part of your Great-In-8 protocol… I don’t remember what you call them.
DrMR: Microbials or the feeding approach?
Juan: No, the point where you can keep everything moving.
Juan: The prokinetics. Right. That’s what I was missing, I think. One of the things I was missing.
But anyways, I repeated blood exams and they all came back negative after seven or eight months. The blood work on the autoimmune condition. So I reversed, supposedly, all the blood work as well.
DrMR: Power of the gut. It’s true.
Juan: It’s incredible, you wouldn’t believe it. I have a bunch of theories, but yeah.
Escalate with Fasting & Elemental Diet
But some joint issues kept on coming back and some gut issues as well. It wouldn’t heal completely. So I finally read your book. I’m going all the way with my testimony, but if you want to interrupt me at any point…
DrMR: No, this is great. Because what you’re describing is, I think, a really important concept for people to understand. Which is, you can go through some of the book protocol, starting with dietary and lifestyle interventions, and things like probiotics and antimicrobials. And for some people that will get them close to full remission, but not all the way there, like you’re describing. They’ll still have some of these gut symptoms, joint symptoms, or whatever symptoms, coming and going.
That’s exactly why one of the things you can next escalate to in the Healthy Gut, Healthy You protocol is the elemental diet. And I guess that’s what you’re coming to next.
Juan: Exactly, yeah. I also read a bunch of theories about how fasting helps your body in general. Fasting is an amazing ancestral way of healing. I did a couple of three-day fasts. They kind of got me there, but they didn’t really get me there. The third day I was always fishing for food. It was really hard.
Juan: Then I bought the Elemental Heal and I was like, “All right. I’ll try this, but I’ll try the fast first. Later I’ll do the Elemental Heal. I’ll try to do like Rambo, just go all the way. Dive in.” So I did the fast and on the third day, I thought to myself, “I’ll keep on going. I’ll just use the Elemental Heal to keep me going on the really hard…” because the third and the fourth day are the hardest days.
DrMR: So you were going from a strict water fast. Then you started getting hungry. You put the Elemental Heal in place of the water, essentially?
DrMR: Which is also a great point. One of the concepts I discuss in the book is, theoretically, if we could have you water fast for two weeks that would probably be great for your gut. That’s going to be hard to do from a compliance perspective. Most people I just don’t think are robust enough to be able to handle a one or a two week fast, which is what’s so nice about having the nutrients available in the Elemental Heal. It’s about as close as you can get to a fast, because the ingredients absorb so quickly in the intestinal tract. But you don’t have to go hypocaloric and labor under that, feeling tired, hungry, and irritable, and not sleeping well, like if you’re trying to do a prolonged water fast.
Juan: Exactly. That’s exactly what I did. I used the Elemental Heal to keep me going. Then the hardest days were the third and the fourth, as I was saying. I kind of cheated, if you can call it that. But I used a little bit, only at night. I did two scoops of Elemental Heal and just drank it. It was delicious, especially when you’re fasting. It’s like heaven on earth.
Also, I used it and I did the seven-day water fast. I kept on going just with water after that. All the issues went away, of course. I didn’t have any gut issues because I didn’t go to the bathroom after a couple of days.
On the seventh day I started with the Heal again. So I prolonged it a little bit, and started with the healing protocol to start bringing food into my system again. I started with the Elemental Heal and it worked perfectly. All the symptoms stayed away. The gut issues were the only thing I had a little bit of a hard time getting back to with the Elemental Heal, because it’s liquid. I didn’t go to the bathroom every day. And I wasn’t sure, but I just let it be whatever it was. But I felt wonderful.
Then after the three days of Elemental Heal—the protocol you suggest on the bottles—I started incorporating some easy-to-digest organic chicken broth and easy-to-digest veggies and stuff. Man, I can tell you my life before then and after that. It was a huge change.
I bought three Elemental Heal bottles. I still had a lot of it, so I used it for intermittent fasting.
DrMR: Sure. How were you using that? Were you sipping on an Elemental Heal shake throughout the morning and then having lunch and dinner or…?
Juan: No, I skipped dinner. I prefer to eat in the morning.
DrMR: Yeah, everyone has a different application.
Personalizing the Elemental Diet
There’s so many great things here. One, I just want to bookmark the fact that you don’t have to use the Elemental Heal according to a really rigid guideline. Sometimes people have a hard time with, “Well, I’m either going to use it for two full weeks to treat SIBO, or if I’m not doing that, then how am I supposed to use it?” There’s not necessarily a right way, or a wrong way, or a black-and-white box that you have to use it in.
In your case, the water fasting was something that intuitively felt was going to be a good therapy for you. You weren’t able to fully do that on its own, so you added the Elemental Heal as a way to help get you there, which is perfect. It’s really listening to your body. It’s personalizing the use to what seems to work for the individual.
Then from there, you went into what I would call the hybrid approach. Where you have some food and some elemental diet, a.k.a. using it in an intermittent fasting approach. You use it at dinner. Some people use it in the morning, but just a great reminder that you can listen to your own body and let your intuition guide you a little bit.
As you’re a perfect testimony that, on the other side of that, you can experience significant healing. Even if you didn’t do it exactly as it’s typically recommended to do.
Juan: Right. One thing I want to add about it is that I think fasting, or using Heal in a prolonged way, is a great opportunity to also go inside of yourself and deal with the cravings. Deal with your emotional issues.
I don’t remember if you put it on your book or if I’ve seen it—because I’m a big fan of your website and the interviews you give—but I think it’s something that might help people out. To put their minds on the fact that the emotional issues are also treated when you do that. All the connections you have with your gut and your emotions. With your life and your health in general. You deal with that when you do these kind of protocols. For me, that was very intense and a very powerful tool as well. It was great.
DrMR: Well, awesome.
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Very, very happy to hear that. Glad that you found the book, found Elemental Heal. You’ve used it successfully.
Is it fair to say that your symptoms are pretty much all gone now? I mean, I don’t expect you to feel perfect, because I think perfect is sometimes this ideal that we strive for but can never fully reach. No one feels perfect. We’re not machines, we’re humans. We have ups and downs. But I’m assuming, like you alluded to, there’s this night-and-day difference between then and now. So, now joints are good? Gut is good? Sounds like emotionally you’re feeling well?
Juan: Right. My joints are good. The only thing that I still have an issue with is my knee. My right knee, but I had surgery because I had a trauma there. That has nothing to do with what we were talking about. But then the rest, I’m feeling awesome. I’m feeling really, really good. Yeah.
DrMR: Awesome. Are you still using it in this intermittent fasting hybrid application? The Elemental Heal?
Juan: No. I finished all the bottles I had. Now I’m just doing the intermittent fasting with water at night, three times a week. I look better than ever naked. Haha.
DrMR: Haha. That’s a plus!
Juan: Yeah, but that’s health, you know? Healthy is beautiful. Anyways, just doing the water intermittent fasting because I don’t have the Heal anymore.
What To Try If You’ve Regressed
One thing I’ll just add in, in terms of thoughts for the road forward. If at some point things feel like they might regress—which they may, they may not—it tends to happen when people are traveling. They may go do a location wedding and they don’t have control over their food or their lifestyle. They’re not sleeping well. There may be celebrating, drinking alcohol. They feel like their gut gets a little bit banged up from that process.
That’s always when you can revisit a short course of a couple days on the Elemental Heal, just as a touch-up. You probably have already gathered that from your prior experience and just learning from what’s worked for you in the past, but just a little note to make there.
Juan: All right. Thank you very much. Do you recommend also repeating the herbs to heal the gut after awhile? Is this a recurring thing as well or not really?
DrMR: Great question. It really depends on the individual. Some people will go through the gut-healing protocol and they’ll never look back. Then some people will have to periodically revisit some of what worked well for them in the past. And there’s no real right or wrong answer there. But what I encourage people to do is reflect on what they felt worked best for them in the protocol, then revisit that.
For example, some people do very well on the probiotic protocol. They can revisit that. For other people, the probiotic protocol may not have gotten them all the way there. They may have noticed the most cathartic changes when they did the antimicrobials or the Elemental Heal.
Revisit what seemed to give you the most results. But you can also decrease the dose and the duration. Just using an arbitrary example here: if you had to do two weeks exclusively on the elemental diet to finally get better, and then you’re feeling way better, but six months, a year later, you feel like you’ve maybe regressed by 20%, you don’t have to go to the full two weeks again if you’ve only regressed slightly. You might be able to get away with four days.
So listen to your body there. If at four days you’re feeling fantastic, then you can transition back to food or that mix and match hybrid approach, where you have, let’s say, four days exclusive. Then you could do another four days where you’re doing half food, half Elemental Heal. Then slowly taper off as your body indicates.
Juan: All right. That’s very intuitive and logical.
DrMR: Yeah, good. Let’s just recap your symptoms one more time. There was joint pain. Was there also fatigue or… I don’t want to say depression, but it sounds like your moods are better now? So I’m assuming maybe your moods weren’t quite as bright initially?
Juan: Well, I’ve got to say the depression came when I got the results of the exams. I went to the actual doctor and they told me what I supposedly had.
That’s when the depression really kicked in. But before that, analyzing, I had joint pain. I had fatigue. I had a lot of phlegm. I had gut issues. My eyes were itchy. I felt like I was swollen. Like an uneasy feeling all over. My mouth felt strange, like, dry.
DrMR: That’s the broad impact that irritation in the gut can have. That really, in my opinion, is one of the main seats of inflammation for the whole body. What that sounds, to me, like you were experiencing is systemic inflammatory response, which can manifest dermatologically or in the eyes, in the nasal cavity. It can also manifest dermatologically in the joints. It can even manifest with things neurologically.
This is a great example of how inflammation in the gut can really lead to a broad spectrum of global symptoms. It can be tempting to want to try to treat each one of those. Eye drops, your joints. But really what we want to focus on is getting to the root cause of the issues in the gut. Then we can see all these symptoms ameliorate.
DrMR: Fantastic work. Really, really happy for you.
Juan: Thank you.
DrMR: And thank you so much for sharing your story with us.
Juan: Sure. Thank you for doing everything that you’re doing. And I’m using your book to help a bunch of people because I’m a nutritionist now. I’m helping people go through stuff, so I use your book quite a bit to guide them and to help them out. Thank you as well.
DrMR: Awesome. Absolute pleasure. It makes me feel good about what I’m doing to hear that. Again, thank you.
For everyone at home, if you haven’t tried the Elemental Heal, one option for you on your gut-healing journey.
Juan: All right. Thank you.
DrMR: Thank you.
What do you think? I would like to hear your thoughts or experience with this.
I care about answering your questions and sharing my knowledge with you. Leave a comment or connect with me on social media asking any health question you may have and I just might incorporate it into our next listener questions podcast episode just for you!
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