Healing Your Gut After Mercury and Mold Exposure - Dr. Michael Ruscio, DNM, DC

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Healing Your Gut After Mercury and Mold Exposure

How Julie Discovered Her Root Causes and Found Digestive Relief

When Julie came into the clinic, she was doing many things right – like cutting out certain inflammatory foods and managing stress levels. However, her symptoms of diarrhea, abdominal pain, and distention were disrupting her life. 

Dr. Joe Mather, medical director of The Ruscio Institute for Functional Medicine, focused on finding the root causes of her symptoms to help formulate a treatment plan and help her feel better.

Some of these treatments included eating an anti-inflammatory diet, incorporating a gut-healing supplement powder, and beginning a binder protocol to detox from mercury and mold exposure.

If you’re trying everything to heal and are still not feeling better, you may, like Julie, need to trust what your gut is telling you and dig deeper to find the root cause of your symptoms. 

Watch Julie’s story and learn how the specific dietary, supplemental, and environmental changes we recommended improved her digestion and overall well-being.

In This Episode

Episode Intro … 00:00:45
Julie’s Background & Health History … 00:01:40
Initial GI Program & Elemental Heal … 00:03:27
Supplement Clean Up … 00:06:57
Mycotoxin Testing, Binder Protocol, and Detoxification … 00:09:37
Episode Wrap-Up … 00:14:19

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➕ Full Podcast Transcript

Episode Intro:

Welcome to Dr. Ruscio Radio, providing practical and science-based solutions to feeling your best. To stay up to date on the latest topics, as well as all of our prior episodes, make sure to subscribe in your podcast player. For weekly updates, visit DrRuscio.com. The following discussion is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. Please do not apply any of this information without first speaking with your doctor. Now, let’s head to the show.

Dr. Joe Mather:

Hello and welcome. This is Dr. Joe Mather, medical director of The Ruscio Institute for Functional Medicine. I’m here with the wonderful Julie. Julie – we’ve been working together since June of 2021, and you were gracious enough to come here and share your story. So, Julie – hi and thank you for being here.

Julie:

Hi. Thank you for having me.

DrJM:

I just want to emphasize how much we really appreciate getting you on here. It really helps us reach patients. Patients don’t really listen to doctors, but they do listen to other patients. With that background, thank you for sharing your story. I think it will help a lot of people.

Julie:

Thank you.

DrJM:

When we get started here and I think about your case, you were really similar to a lot of our patients. You had a fair number of GI issues that had been going on for a long time. Can you bring us back to what you were feeling like before you got started with us?

Julie’s Background & Health History

Julie:

Yes. Back in March of 2021, all of a sudden I started having to run to the bathroom – to say it in a nice way – every day. It started in March and it did not let up for several months and that’s what led me to you. I’ve been in the functional medicine realm for a while, and so I knew the low hanging fruit. I knew to eliminate foods that in the past had given me issues, so I did that. I looked at my stress and tried to evaluate that. I did fasting. Fasting in the past had always helped clear up digestive issues and that didn’t help either. It got to the point where it was affecting my daily life. It’s not fun when you don’t know when you’re going to have an episode and have to run and find a bathroom. That’s when I did some research and found The Ruscio Clinic and brought me to y’all.

DrJM:

You were absolutely doing such a good job on your health before coming in. And there’s nothing worse than when you’re eating a healthy diet, trying to exercise, you know about stress, and you’re getting your sleep regular, but you’re still hurting. It’s awful.

Julie:

Yes. It was very frustrating.

DrJM:

… to put that work in and not get the result. You came in already at a high bar, and I will say that I think that’s part of the reason why you did so well. You were doing the fundamentals and all we had to do was then really just work on the gut and let us really focus in on a good treatment plan.

Julie:

Yes.

DrJM:

Let’s go to that. Can you talk a little bit about your experience with the initial GI program that I gave you?

Initial GI Program & Elemental Heal

Julie:

Yes. The first time I met you, you recommended several different testing things that we did. And one of them was a mycotoxin test. I remember that when you talked about it, I was thinking, “No. This has nothing to do with my GI, of course not, but we’ll try it.” I’ll get back to that in a minute, but in the meantime you had me start Elemental Heal. And again, I was skeptical just simply because I’ve been doing this for a long time and I didn’t think there was a product that could actually clear me up that quickly. However, I did a four day Elemental Heal where I just purely had Elemental Heal and sure enough, I was shocked. Everything went back to normal. I will sing Elemental Heal’s praises to the mountain tops. If you’ve experienced diarrhea or constipation or you’ve had any GI issues that are persistent and won’t go away, it is such a relief to finally be normal again. That’s something we take for granted. Or I did before and so to be regular again, after Elemental Heal, was just a huge relief. And so we did that. I was already eating pretty healthy, but you had me eliminate dairy. I’m strictly gluten-free, but you also had me eliminate some other grains so that was helpful to reset. My gut health has been pretty awesome since then. I did a second two day Elemental Heal a couple months ago just to reset. I’m going to keep that in my toolbox for the future to do it every so often to help.

DrJM:

My recollection of the timeline was that after the initial therapy, which was elemental diet, small tweaks to the diet, and probiotics, you were about 90% better with the bloating and the irregular stools. The first thing to put an emphasis on is that’s a great response to elemental healing. We see that often. It’s not always as magical as you experienced, but frequently enough so that I really wanted to give you a trial early on. And I do this often with patients because if they get that miraculous ‘clouds part and the sun comes out’ reaction and their GI symptoms are down, we want to be able to have that tool in our pocket. So, a few months later, some of that bloating crept back in and I said, “That’s okay. Just do another two days of Elemental Heal.” And I think that was pretty helpful in just getting you back to the baseline, right?

Julie:

Yes it was. I’m glad you mentioned the bloating. It’s been so long that you forget the bad stuff, but my bloating was nearly every day. It was extremely painful. It looked like I was well into my second trimester, which is kind of cruel because I’m struggling with infertility. It hurt. It was very, very painful. That was another major symptom I had and not just the running to the bathroom.

DrJM:

That abdominal pain and bloating definitely stood out to me as something that really needed to be worked on first before anything else. And that’s what we always like to do – the low hanging fruit and the first things first, and then you move on after that.

Supplement Clean Up

DrJM:

You were on a bunch of supplements when you first came in and I had you stop everything. What was that like for you?

Julie:

I was so nervous, but I decided that if I was going to see a doctor, I was going to follow everything you said. Every morning, lunch, and evening, I was taking a pile of supplements which I thought were all great for me. I thought I was doing a good job of my health. It was funny… when you had me stop them, I was really expecting to notice some detrimental side effects and I didn’t. And the wonderful thing about that is first of all, we’re saving money because we’re not buying all these supplements every day. And second of all, anytime we put something in our bodies, even if we think it’s not harmful, I have to imagine there is some kind of effect long term maybe. I’m glad to have cleaned up my supplements, but it was definitely something I was nervous about.

DrJM:

It’s funny. I have to convince my patients and poke at them a little bit to clean things up at the beginning. But if you stop something and you don’t go backwards, it wasn’t doing anything. Or maybe it was back then, but you didn’t need it now. The practical point was you came in and you were really suffering, so we needed to do something different. Thank you for being so willing and a great patient to take the jump off the cliff with me. And I’m so glad that you survived it.

Julie:

Me too.

Dr. Ruscio Resources:

Hi everyone. If you are in need of help, we have a number of resources for you. Healthy Gut, Healthy You – my book and your complete self-help guide to healing your gut. If you’re not a do-it-yourselfer, there is the clinic – The Ruscio Institute for Functional Medicine – and our growing clinical and supporting research team will be happy to help you. We do offer monthly support calls for our patients where I answer questions and help them along their path. Health coaching support calls every other week. We also offer health coaching independent of the clinic, for those perhaps reading the book and/or looking for guidance with diet, supplementation, et cetera. There’s also the store that has our elemental diet line, our probiotics, and other gut health and health supportive supplements. And for clinicians, there is our FFMR – the Future of Functional Medicine Review database – which contains case studies from our clinic, research reviews, and practice guidelines. Visit drruscio.com/resources to learn more.

Mycotoxin Testing, Binder Protocol, and Detoxification

DrJM:

You did great with the GI perspective and we really got your symptoms down to where they’re at a manageable, normal place. That was really the first goal. Luckily, after we got that response for you fairly quickly, we were able to pivot to other concerns. For you, we did that primarily for two reasons. When you came in, we identified that you had been exposed to mold – number one – and this is a hugely underreported and underrecognized issue, and it really can damage people’s health. The other was that you had a history of elevated mercury levels. And so in my mind, I’m thinking, “Let’s get Julie’s GI symptoms squared away and then let’s see what we can do to clean up some of this toxic burden.” Can you share your experience in taking that next step to the detoxification realm?

Julie:

Yes. I’m sure every human watching this or who follows your show… I feel everybody right now has a lot going on with Covid and life in general. It has been a rough couple years for everybody. And so when I got those mycotoxin results in, I was not happy. It showed very high levels and I felt extremely overwhelmed. When I had that follow-up appointment with you where you suggested that the source may have been our living situation, I felt even more overwhelmed. It felt like an impossible hurdle to remove myself from the source. At the same time, I knew I could do all the healthy things in the world, but if I was still being exposed to mold every day, I was not going to get better. My husband got tested as well and his results were extremely high, as well. We figured it was our house. We were living in a mobile home at the time following a hurricane. We still weren’t convinced completely because moving out of your home just felt like such a big thing to do.

Julie:

We got a local environmental company to test our trailer and when she walked in, she said she could smell it. She immediately identified several active sources of mold that were growing. She told us, “Pack a bag, wash the bag and everything in it, and don’t spend another night here.” When we got that news, then we were like, “We’ve got to get out of here.” It felt overwhelming, but people want to help you. If you reach out to loved ones or a friend…and that’s what we did.

Julie:

We reached out to a friend and he said, “Come over here.” It was such a relief to have a place to go that night. We brought our dog and our cat. We were not an easy couple to live with because we brought all of our baggage with us. We lived with them for a few weeks. They were extremely gracious to let us just crash at their house until we could find another living place. That was a wonderful place in between.

Julie:

We had to move out. I feel that’s number one – you have to get out. In the meantime, we were doing a binder protocol you had prescribed me. It was charcoal and clay. It felt to me that it wasn’t a prescription drug, so I felt very comfortable taking those binders every night. The results have been great.

DrJM:

Thank you so, so much for saying that because I had to get out of a moldy environment to get better. You had to get out of a moldy environment to get better, and clinically your energy came back at that stage. You didn’t need naps anymore… you’re thinking more clearly. And to me, that’s what happens when patients get out of mold and then when they start binding programs. I believe we’ve had a repeat mold toxin test and having the levels drop down as a result of the binders. We love those therapies. They’re very safe and they’re needed to reset the body. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for sharing that! I know that’s going to help some people and I know it’ll make my job easier because I can point them your video and say, “See. It’s not just me telling you to get out of your house.”

Julie:

Right. Yes.

DrJM:

Thank you for that. This has been fantastic. I just can’t thank you enough for being here and sharing this. This will help a lot of people. Is there anything else you want to share with potential patients about your experience or any advice after seeing improvements in your health?

Julie:

I definitely would defer to you Dr. Joe and Dr. Ruscio and the other physicians in the clinic because obviously y’all have experience with mold and GI. If you tell a patient something drastic, it’s because it’s necessary for their health. And I feel very grateful to have found y’all and to have gotten all the help. Don’t give up. If it feels overwhelming, take one day at a time. That’s really it. I’m just really grateful to y’all.

DrJM:

Well, Julie, you are fantastic and I’m grateful to have the chance to work with you. Thank you so, so much for being here. And I know I’ll talk to you real soon.

Julie:

Thanks, Dr. Joe.

DrJM:

You’re welcome.

Outro:

Thank you for listening to Dr. Ruscio Radio today. Check us out on iTunes and leave a review. Visit drruscio.com to ask a question for an upcoming podcast, post comments for today’s show, and sign up to receive weekly updates.

 

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