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Case Study

Health coach uses genes to discover unexpected root of gut health issue

Essential Takeaways

Client “John” is experiencing severe IBS and is seeking a diet to relieve his symptoms.
The health coach used a gene-based approach to discover a COMT variant related to IBS when experiencing stress.
John’s health coach created an action plan to relieve stress, which in turn relieved his IBS symptoms.

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The client is dealing with IBS. He has tried several diets and supplements, but his symptoms persist. 

Using a gene-based approach, a health coach discovered that John carried a COMT gene that increased his risk of IBS symptoms when experiencing stress.

Despite the client not believing he was particularly stressed, the health coach recommended John add meditation into his routine. Within months, he relieved IBS symptoms and they have yet to return. 

Although it can’t be said for certain, it is likely that the client’s COMT gene was at the root of this issue. Both the client and health coach confirmed this is their overwhelming suspicion. 


The client “John” is a 45-year-old male. John is dealing with gut issues and believes that he has IBS. He has dealt with this for the majority of his life but has had much more severe symptoms this past year. 

John has actively tried to relieve his IBS symptoms with different diets and supplements. 

None of what he tried worked and some “solutions” actually exacerbated the problem. Now, John is reaching out to a health coach who partners with SelfDecode in hopes of relieving his symptoms. 

Background Information

John maintains a healthy weight and BMI. He does not abuse alcohol or smoke. He drinks two cups of coffee per day, which is down from a few months prior when he was drinking three to four cups per day.

When asked about stress levels, John admitted that he works a stressful, high-pressure job. Last year, he got a promotion that was accompanied with much more responsibility. However, John said that he doesn’t let the stress affect him. 

John has tried the FODMAP, gluten-free, and keto diets. His IBS symptoms have persisted. He’s not adhering to any strict diet currently but is seeking suggestions. 


John brought his last three lab reports to his coach. When adding them to SelfDecode Labs, the health coach found that although his levels were considered “normal,” John’s LDL-cholesterol and non-LDL-cholesterol were above the optimal range. His levels weren’t high enough to alarm his health coach, but she kept it in mind. 

When looking at John’s IBS DNA Report, one of the top dietary recommendations was to add more fiber into his diet. This has proven effective for IBS in carriers of his ASB1 gene. 

The most alarming gene that John’s health coach discovered was a COMT Val158Met variant (26% of the population). Carriers of this variant are more likely to develop IBS symptoms when experiencing stress. 

Although John said he didn’t let the stress of his high-pressure job get to him, his health coach had a suspicion it may be affecting him more than he believed. And because of his COMT variant, John’s health coach added relaxation techniques to his recommendations. 


John’s health coach recommended he add more fiber to his diet and begin practicing relaxation techniques (in John’s case, meditation). 

John was reluctant at first. He believed that his IBS had to be diet-related and didn’t think that simply adding fiber would make enough of a difference. He also didn’t believe that his COMT gene was at the root of his issue since he didn’t believe he was stressed in the first place. 

But to appease his health coach, John practiced meditation. At first for 5 minutes per day, eventually working up to 30 minutes per day. 

In only a few months, John felt completely relieved of his IBS symptoms. But that’s not the only benefit. John now enjoys a much higher quality of life, dealing with his stress – the stress he didn’t even know was there since it was such a normal part of his life. 

John’s cholesterol levels decreased and returned to optimal within a few months, suggesting stress may have played a role in that as well. 

If you’d like to see how you can use SelfDecode Pro to improve your own practice, book a free 30-minute demo call.

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