Harman’s case is one that really pulls at your heart strings. At only 24 years old, she came in to my office debilitated by brain fog, to the point she had to take medical leave from her job. At our first visit she broke down with tears in her eyes in frustration and fear regarding her health. While we had to personalize her treatment to avoid reactions, ultimately she was free of all her symptoms in only 3-4 months. How? By healing her gut. This is a shining example of the gut-brain connection.
Dr. Michael Ruscio, DC: Hey, guys. This is Dr. Ruscio. I’m here with Harman or Harmanjeet. We’ve had quite the road over the past four months. Do you want to tell people a little about what you came in with and your experience?
Harman: So actually I started off reading your book because I just had insane brain fog. I went to like a million doctors, had a lot of food intolerances. I went to 7 doctors at Kaiser. And I went online. I started searching up. I found candida and SIBO and stuff. And I actually found you on Yelp, which is where I found your book. So I started reading your book. I went through your book. And then that’s kind of when I realized I needed a little bit more than what the book had. And that’s when I contacted your office. And I came in with insane brain fog, depression, which I was a really happy person. So that was new for me.
DrMR: You seemed constitutionally happy when you came in. You seemed like a happy person. But you cried during our first visit. And I could tell that you were really kind of debilitated. I think the brain fog was the most detrimental symptom, right?
Harman: That was the worst for me. I couldn’t even concentrate at times. So then, I came to you. And you helped me step by step.
DrMR: And it’s been about, I’d say, 3 or 4 months now. And your brain fog is pretty much gone.
Harman: It’s gone. Yeah.
DrMR: And your reactivity to food is pretty much gone. So my heart broke for you when you first came in. And as someone who suffered from brain fog myself, I understand how it just debilitates you because you’re at work and you’re saying things and you’re doing things. And then in the back of your head, you’re saying, “I really don’t feel like I’m making any sense, and I really don’t feel like I can concentrate. I really don’t feel like I’m fully mentally present.” And so I get how frustrating it is.
And it didn’t take a tremendous amount to get things moving in the right direction. We modified your diet. There were some food triggers. We used some antimicrobials. We used some gut-healing compounds. But you said something that I thought was interesting, which I wanted to showcase, in particular, which was I encouraged you to expand your diet as we were working into this process because I had the sense that you were working yourself into this restricted dietary corner. And do you want to share with people what you had said to me?
Harman: So I was only eating chicken and carrots. And then last time I came to see you, you told me it was okay to try things even if I had a slight reaction to them. And that opened so many doors for me because I kind of lost that fear of having even a small reaction, and now I’m eating so much.
DrMR: And correct me if I’m wrong. But I think you were so concerned about having a reaction to food that if you only had a slight reaction, that in and of itself wouldn’t have been that bad. You got so worried about that reaction that you exacerbated it and made it worse. Is that fair to say?
Harman: Yeah, exactly.
DrMR: So this is one of the reasons why I take a soft stance on dietary restrictions because people take the hard stance on dietary restrictions literally, and they get really worried. So these are some of the living, breathing examples of why I am not super dogmatic of any kind of dietary restriction because people need to live with flexibility.
And also why I encourage people and clinicians not to overexaggerate their diagnosis because I think people have the tendency to go to the worst possible interpretation of anything. So as the clinician, if you make that worse, you’re really exacerbating the situation, whereas if you can be a bit more conservative and cautious with the mentality or the prognosis or the picture that you paint, you can help prevent that situation where I think you were not feeling bad from food, but maybe you were noticing a slight bloat. And you were probably just freaking out inside.
And I can see the things that you would think like, Oh, my God. Does this mean I have inflammation in my gut, inflammation in my brain? And you start just freaking out, and that stress is really unhealthy.
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DrMR: And now you’re eating more foods. You had gluten-free pizza the other day.
Harman: I did. And it was really good. And I didn’t have a reaction to it.
DrMR: Good, good. So, I just wanted to share this with people, a couple of key things. Some well-constructed anti-microbials, we used the antimicrobials that we use in the book, Biota-Clear 1a and 2a, combined with some gut-healing compounds, some adrenal support, essentially kind of a FODMAP restricted diet, but without really tight boundaries, and using her response to dictate what to eat and what not to eat.
And it’s only taken, really it’s been about 3, 4 months. And you’re pretty much out of the woods. We’re going to follow up one or two more times to make sure that we maintain this trajectory. But you’ve done an awesome job. I am really happy for you because I could see how distressed you were when you came in. And is there anything else you want to share with people in close?
Harman: Well, first of all, you’re a great doctor. And I’ve trusted you completely. And you’re just so knowledgeable. I just want to tell people don’t be scared. Come in!
DrMR: Well, thank you. I really appreciate that. I appreciate you sharing your story. And I almost wish we had done a pre/post because you can see, you can feel how—and that’s why I gave you a hug at the end of our first visit—because I felt for you because I could see how much it was really just affecting your life in a negative way. So I’m so happy that you’re feeling better. So thank you.
Harman: Thank you.
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