Maybe you have Leaky Gut?
Leaky gut has been a bit of a trend word over the past few years, however since the inception of IBS as an explanation of most digestive problems, some of us have forgotten what Leaky Gut is, and instead we’ve turned our focus onto blaming our gut issues on IBS. This can/and has left humans misdiagnosed and untreated, which is quite dangerous considering that unless a leaky gut is treated, it can graduate into IBD. So, how do we know if we have a leaky gut?
As you know, the digestive system is where the food is broken down and nutrients are absorbed. It also acts as an important role in protecting your body from all the bad arse substances. The walls of your intestines act like barriers, controlling everything that enters your bloodstream.
Ok so, let’s start with the basics. What is leaky gut?
Leaky gut, or also known as ‘intestinal permeability’ is a condition in which the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged. This causes undigested food particles, toxic waste products, and other bacteria to ‘leak’ through the intestines, before flooding the bloodstream. This can cause widespread inflammation and possibly trigger a reaction from the immune system – which can lead to migraines, irritable bowel, eczema, chronic fatigue, food allergies, and arthritis.
As soon as the leaky gut process begins, the damaged cells in your intestines stop producing the enzymes needed for proper digestion. Therefore, your body cannot absorb the essential nutrients, which can lead to further complications like hormone imbalances and a weakened immune system.
What causes leaky gut?
Unfortunately, the medical system is yet to recognize its diagnosis (primarily because there’s no black or white solution to the problem), which is leaving some of us with messed up guts and no real definitive answer.
In many cases, however, leaky gut is caused by diet. There are certain food groups that are now scientifically proven to encourage inflammation within the digestive tract, and they are corn, dairy, gluten, and soy. The body responds to those food groups as ‘invaders’. And if you think about it, how often do you feel full or bloated after eating gluten/dairy heavy meals? More often than not, that’s when people tend to complain.
These trigger foods can cause an immune response that causes symptoms like bloated stomach, nausea, headaches, joint pains, fatigue, and loose stool.
Leaky gut can also be caused by medication and antibiotics, or over the counter pain relievers. When you take medication like this, it can irritate the intestinal lining and damage protective mucus layers. This irritation can start or continue the inflammation cycle that leads to leaky gut.
So what are the signs of leaky gut?
There are many different signs that indicate a leaky gut. We do however suggest that you try to get diagnosed with this type of inflammation before trying to treat it. And we will include way’s in which you can tackle that a little further down. Otherwise, these are some of the symptoms that you need to look out for:
- Headaches, brain fog, memory loss
- Excessive fatigue
- Chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas or bloating
- Skin problems: cystic acne, eczema, rosacea
- Bad immune system
- Cravings for sugar or fried food
- Arthritis or joint pain
- Mood swings: depression & anxiety
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Autoimmune disease
How can we heal from a leaky gut?
First things first, you need to make sure that you actually have leaky gut, as these symptoms can also lead to multiple other health conditions. There are two tests we highly recommend:
- Zonulin test
- Lactulose test
Zonulin controls the size of the openings between your gut lining and bloodstream, so high levels of zonulin can cause these openings to become too large.
Otherwise, the key to healing is through diet. Eliminate food groups that your body treats as toxic. Start with the basics of gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar and caffeine for at least 6 weeks, then assess the results. Include high (good fat) foods, like salmon, avocado, olive oils, coconut, etc. to help rebuild intestine lining. Add a glutamine supplement to your daily regime, to restore muscle damage and find a probiotic that can help support your microbiome.
If you’re still not feeling better, then we advise that you speak to a health practitioner to further examine you, including blood tests and allergy tests to determine what else might be causing the inflammation.
Once you start to figure out what your body needs, you will begin to notice the results of feeling less tired, more energetic and overall healthier!