A 42-year old female patient sought the help of Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. because she was having severe chronic gastrointestinal discomfort. Patient Ada came to Advanced Health with a desire to learn more about the nutrient-dense foods she could safely incorporate into her diet. She wanted to stop experiencing recurrent debilitating abdominal pain after eating. Historically, she had landed in the hospital for small and large intestine obstruction plus SIBO (also called Small Intestinal Bacterial Growth) and given many rounds of antibiotics.
Ada is a self-employed lawyer with a heavy workload and limited social support. She found it difficult to take sufficient care of herself such as cook healthy, home-made meals, get sufficient sleep,and regularly exercise. She would often eat most meals out, live on caffeine, and work until late night.
During Ada's initial consultation with Dr. Bhandari, she rated her health with a 1, on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = poor, 5 = excellent). Dr. Bhandari M.D. discovered Ada suffered a drear form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, also known as IBD. Her entire digestive tract was “on fire” and leaking toxins into the bloodstream. It was associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, chronic colon infections, malnourished dehydrated cells, and an enlarged dysfunction enlarged thyroid with multiple nodules.
The Physical Examination
When Dr. Bhandari examined Ada, she discovered Ada had low blood pressure from severe dehydration. She was short of breath and extremely tired with minimal exertion. She experienced moderate levels of stomach pains caused by difficulty digesting most foods and causing recurrent chest pain. Dr. Bhandari noted a thick white film on Ada tongue which represented significant gastrointestinal (GI) dehydration, dysbiosis, and low production of digestive enzymes.
Dr. Bhandari noticed Ada's breathes were slightly shallow since she was unable to fully engage her abdominal muscles and take deep breaths. Upon palpation of her abdomen, Dr. Bhandari felt a mildly enlarged spleen associated with a tense, non-distended, and non-tender left flank. Her liver was also mildly enlarged and indicated long-standing chronic liver congestion.
Review of Ada's recent blood report demonstrated low hematocrit (39) and red blood cell count (3.98) while the specific white blood cells, PMN’s (polymorphonuclear neutrophils) and monocytes, were very high. This indicated how compromised Ada's immune system was with extremely high levels of inflammation. Her urine was very acidic with evidence of bad bacteria overgrowth in the bladder and underlying bladder inflammation. The blood inflammatory marker, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein was extremely high at 73.4 where the normal range is less than 1.0.
Road to Recovery
Dr. Bhandari was able to determine the root cause of Ada's health issues through viewing her complex medical history, doing a comprehensive physical exam, and reviewing all of her diagnostic test results. Dr. Bhandari concluded that Ada had extremely high levels of gastrointestinal (GI) dysfunction with severe dysbiosis and leaky gut syndrome. She was unable to properly digest any food because of insufficient production of digestive enzymes, severe underlying dehydration and malnourishment. Ada's GI tract had become severely compromised by repeated antibiotic use which had killed all of her good bacteria and weakened her immune system. Her chronically acidic diet further destroying her digestive tract since normal cell function occur around a pH of 7.4 (not Ada “normal” blood pH of 3-4). Ada's high demand for cortisol production led to further tissue breakdown and poor healing.
Explaining the implications of IBD, Dr. Bhandari devised a comprehensive list of solutions and activity guidelines Ada could safely follow. She began with an alkaline liquid diet consisting of drinking an 8 ounce, warm water solution of Physician's Elemental Powder mixed with a tiny pinch of salt, baking soda, the spices coriander, fennel, and turmeric. She would also have an 8 ounce, warm water solution of Inflama-GI with the same mixture noted above. This nourishing dietary approach consumed multiple times per day formed the foundation for the rest of Ada's treatment.
At first Ada could only tolerate diluted coconut water with the above drink mixtures. She slowly graduated to vegetable broths cooked green juice, and cooked mung dal water. We began adding magnesium citrate and Vitamin D3 powder to the green juice for optimal absorption, along with Glutamine Forte powder for increased intracellular antioxidant production, increased GI motility, and decreased inflammation. Ada was advised to eliminate most sugars, flour, bread, and animal protein from her diet since an intense acidic reaction and reversing the healing process.
Once the acute GI inflammation subsided and Ada was out of the critical zone, Dr. Bhandari shifted Ada to a plant-based alkaline diet, consisting of only cooked, mushy meals mixed with a touch of oil (i.e., avocado, coconut, olive). All meals and beverages had to be consumed slowly, in small quantities, and primarily during the day. Timing was critical with this diet, as a majority of consumption had to occur before 6 p.m. Dr. Bhandari also advised Ada to allocate a great deal of time to rest at night and also periodically during the day. Otherwise, her excess demand for cortisol would not stop.
To optimize sleep quality and increase deep, restorative sleep, Ada had to finish her last meal by 6 p.m. At 8 p.m. or earlier, she took Melatonin in the powder form of Sleep Reset in warm water. Ada had to turn her electronics off in order to prevent deactivation of Melatonin, and instead begin her bedtime routine.
In the morning Ada would Innate’s Inflama-Complete in order to decrease the excess inflammation within her body. She added cordyceps mushroom and Reishi spore powder and sublingual liquid B.
Within a few weeks, Ada felt a significant improvement in her digestive health and felt more comfortable increasing the amount of solid food consumption. She began feeling better and stronger every day and said “This feels like a cleanse that has been great for my body.” As Ada's condition improved, Dr. Bhandari’s was able to introduce more spices, green vegetables, small beans, and ancient whole grains into Ada's diet. Dr. Bhandari also advised Ada to abstain from VATA-stimulating items, such as high consumption of sugar, salt, dry, cold, crunchy items since they may easily collapse her digestive function and cause rebound symptoms. To help Ada relax, Dr. Bhandari encouraged her to avoid electronic exposure in the evenings and take a pinch of Sleep Reset with Valerian tea each night followed by Tranquil Response at bedtime. Optimal sleep is critical to the healing process.
Dr. Bhandari specializes in the digestive and immune systems, and often encounters health issues such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), dysbiosis, cancer, and weak immune systems. By taking care of the whole person and understanding the root cause of a disease, Dr. Bhandari deals primarily with the most complex health situations. Her expertise and experience dealing with patients who have seen many different specialists and unfortunately are either not getting better or do not have a diagnosis, is transformative. Patients are empowered with hope and consistently get better within days to weeks. Together, our team at Advanced Health helps patients get well and continue living life to their fullest potential.