So many people are dealing with food sensitivities and digestive issues these days, it seems that there has to be a reason why. Leaky gut is a common issue that natural health care practitioners are seeing more and more everyday. Here are some facts that will help you understand why so many people are struggling with digestive issues and leaky gut…
Leaky gut, also called increased intestinal permeability, is a condition that occurs when the tight junctions that make-up the wall of the intestines become inflamed and allow undigested food proteins, bacteria, and toxins to leak across the lining and into the bloodstream.
Once this protective barrier is compromised, the immune system reacts and triggers body-wide inflammation. When the condition is severe, everything that a person consumes becomes an irritant and drives persistent, systemic inflammation, which also increases the risk of developing other chronic diseases. Because nothing happens separately in the body and all our body systems are interconnected, when one is malfunctioning others are also affected.
Leaky gut can manifest as many different ailments, making the diagnosis a challenge for health care practitioners. And, unfortunately, most medical doctors don’t seek the root cause of illness but simply treat the symptoms. Listed below are some conditions associated with leaky gut.
Which conditions are linked to leaky gut?
◦ Autoimmune disease
◦ Digestive disorders (IBS, Celiac disease, Crohn’s) and food sensitivities
◦ Skin disorders such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema
◦ Chronic fatigue syndrome
◦ Parkinson’s Disease
◦ Kidney Disease
How do people get leaky gut?
1. Grains (especially gluten): Grains are an anti-nutrient that promote inflammation. Grains quickly turn into sugar in the body, spike blood glucose, and elevate insulin. Elevated insulin leads to accelerated aging and increased risk of chronic disease.There is simply no reason to eat grains for good health. Glutinous grains like wheat, barley, and rye, specifically pose a problem. Clients with compromised gut health typically need to remove all grains to start healing.
2. Sugar: Even worse than grains, is refined sugar. It lowers your immunity, promotes inflammation, irritates your intestinal lining and feeds yeast, candida, and bad bacteria. Since 80% of our immune system lies in the gut, we need to avoid feeding sugar to gut bacteria in order to heal leaky gut and improve any immune-related conditions. Incompletely digested sugars like to hang out in the gut, fermenting and acting as food to bacteria and other microbes which destroy the intestinal wall.
3. GMOs: GMO consumption increases the risk of multiple chronic diseases and likely triggers leaky gut. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Round-up, is the herbicide used on Roundup Ready crops which are genetically engineered to withstand glyphosate. When sprayed on crops and consumed by us, glyphosate kills our beneficial gut bacteria, like bifidobacteria and lactobacillus, and leaves the bad guys, like E. coli, salmonella and botulism, intact.
Furthermore, GMOs impair digestion by decreasing digestive enzymes, damage the intestinal wall and may contribute to gluten sensitivity. GMOs are one of the greatest threats to humankind. Avoid them as much as possible by choosing organic foods, and steering clear of gluten and the foods most likely to be genetically modified, including soy (and soybean oil), corn (and canola oil), sugar from sugar beets, zucchini, yellow squash, Hawaiian papaya, and alfalfa.
4. Toxins: Ubiquitous environmental toxins are wreaking major damage on our gut health. Heavy metals like mercury and lead, mold, toxic body care and cleaning products, and pollutants in the air and water all impact our bodies to varying degrees. Reducing your toxic load by choosing non-toxic body care and home products, drinking clean water, and eating an organic diet will go a long way towards improving your gut health and will support detoxification on a daily basis.
5. Medications: Overuse of antibiotics can disrupt the delicate balance of gut microflora. In 2001 by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that nearly 90% of the total use of antimicrobials in the United States was for non-therapeutic purposes in agricultural production. That means, that by consuming conventional meat and dairy products, we are being exposed to antimicrobials regularly. Other drugs that wreak havoc on the intestinal tract are Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID’s) which cause inflammation to the intestinal lining, Birth Control Pills, Protein Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s) and Selective Serotonin Reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s).
How can leaky gut be fixed?
It takes time to heal the gut completely, but working with a naturopath or natural health care practitioner who is familiar with leaky gut, is the first step to getting on the right track. The second step is to avoid grains, sugar and GMO’s and limit exposure to medications. Thirdly, eat more whole foods that help rebuild and repair the intestines. These foods include green smoothies (or juice), organic whole milk plain yogurt and bone broth.
The more I practice clinically, the more I see that there is a cause for every issue and nothing happens randomly in the body. In addition, many illnesses start in the gut. The good news is, we have the power to change and improve our health by reducing refined foods, limiting toxin exposure and eating whole organic foods.
If you are dealing with digestive issues or think you have symptoms synonymous with leaky gut, call the office today to set up your first visit with me, 517 721 1904.