The Mystery of Leaky Gut
A leaky gut is a medical diagnosis still largely shrouded in mystery. Most doctors will diagnose you with a leaky gut if you suffer from symptoms such as bloating, gas, cramps and food sensitivities for which no other cause has been established. Often, patients diagnosed with leaky gut complain from aches and frequent pains as well.
Some of the signs that might suggest you have a leaky gut include autoimmune disease (recently linked to damaged integrity of the intestinal barrier), inflammatory bowel disease, thyroid problems, malabsorption and others.
The cycle of Leaky Gut
The cycle of Leaky Gut starts at Intestinal inflammation > Nutrient malabsorption > Immune response > Gi Distress & Multiple food intolerances > Autoimmune disease
What Causes It?
Not much is known about what causes the leaky gut syndrome but one potential explanation is increased intestinal permeability. The barrier between the interior of the gut and the rest of the body is covered with a single layer of cells, which primary function is to absorb nutrients and prevent larger molecules and germs from passing inside the gut.
Below is an image of what the microvilli in your gut look like. Microvilli are tiny finger-like projections in the lining of the gut (small intestine) that increase the absorption of nutrients.
If the barrier is damaged – alcohol, stress and certain painkillers have been demonstrated to have such effects – it might damage the seal between the cells and make the barrier-less effective and “leaky”.
It’s said that things such as the following can cause Leaky Gut
- Food particles
- Organ malfunction (because everything’s connected isn’t it?)
Could be the Root Cause of Most Diseases
Even though not recognised officially by most medical specialists, leaky gut syndrome occurrence is rapidly growing and affecting millions of people around the world. Some studies have linked it to food allergies and researchers suggest that a wide range of health issues such as low energy, joint pain, thyroid diseases such as Hashimoto’s and graves disease are conditions that may be rooted from a leaky gut.
According to Dr Axe, even such skin conditions like dandruff, eczema and acne can stem from this gut condition and imbalance. I know myself personally having gone through this illness and being well again that this resonates. I have seen skin stuff heal when I healed my leaky gut.
Dr Axe, for instance, claims that if left untreated, the leaky gut syndrome leads to food intolerances which exacerbate into immune system issues and can finally lead to severe autoimmune conditions causing symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, acne and digestive problems, weight gain and even syndrome X.
What to Avoid if Suffering a Leaky Gut
- Refined Sugar
- Toxic body/personal care products
How to Heal a Leaky Gut
Hippocrates once said “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” and this is very true, however, it’s important to know that you are only as healthy as the good foods you’re absorbing and if you have leaky gut then there’s a good chance you’re not getting the full benefits from the healthy foods you eat.
Fortunately, there is a way to heal your leaky gut. The most efficient strategy involves a four-step process which includes removing all foods and factors that damage the gut (GMO foods, conventional meats and dairy, sugar and grains), replace them with organic and safer alternatives, and add specific supplements such as probiotics and other gut-healing supplements to your menu.
Specialists recommending cutting down your caffeine and alcohol intake as well as steer clear of any drinks and foods that might further irritate the gut such as sodas, chocolate and cocoa.
To heal a leaky gut, an expert may put you on an elimination diet. The best way to identify which foods are irritating your gut is by eliminating a specific food group for two weeks, then reintroduce it and keep a note of the effects.
You may even like to try the GAPS diet - a specialised diet to heal all gut issues and many other health problems such as allergies, autoimmune disease, mental health issues and more.
You may wish to add in fermented vegetables to your regular diet which are known to restore the intestinal pH.
They may advise starting taking digestive enzymes and probiotic supplement to support the gut – and they may say to try to take them before mealtimes, as this gives your digestive track a ‘jump-start’ and can alleviate issues such as bloating and stomach cramps. Probiotics are especially important as they encourage the growth of gut bacteria crucial for the proper digestion.
What Else Can Help Heal Leaky Gut?
Hydrolyzed collagen is meant to be incredible for healing a leaky gut as it has the potential to help repair tissue. Don't just go and grab any old collagen, be sure that it's pure, certified glyphosate-free, free from GMOs, fillers, chemicals, hormones and other such nasties such as this one.
Change your lifestyle and introduce these dietary restrictions and supplements to your menu – your gut will thank you.
It’s important to note: this is not health advice and one should see their health practitioner such as a qualified naturopath for expert advice.
Share your leaky gut or another story with us about any issues you may have had with your gut, we’d love to hear from you and it just may help another? Please leave your comments below.