The more I learn about the gut, the more I realize it's connected to just about every area of the body… and just about every disease out there. It is said the gut is the “Mother” of the body because of how it feeds everything from our brain to our skin, in the same way a mother feeds a child. It's also called the “first line of defense” because 80% of the body's immune cells are in the gut. You get the idea: The often overlooked gut is pretty darn important! – Dr. Tom O'Bryan
What is Leaky Gut?
The definition of Leaky Gut Syndrome or Hyper-permeable Intestines is when the intestinal lining has become more porous with more holes developing that are larger in size and the screening out process no longer functions properly. the result is that larger, undigested food molecules and other things such as yeasts, toxins, and other forms of waste, which your body normally doesn't allow through, enter freely into your blood stream. The body detects these foreign substances and goes into full battle mode, fighting like hell to remove them as soon as possible.
” Any undigested foods that are absorbed into the bloodstream are now considered enemies of the state and your immune system will develop reactions to many of them, leading to food intolerances” -Jordan Reasoner
Typically the body cannot keep up with the task and a large portion of these foreign bodies will be absorbed into the tissues throughout the body, creating inflammation. This increases the levels of stress on your body. With your immune system focused on these enemies of the state, the smaller wars are going unattended. These include filtering the blood, calming inflammation, fighting bacteria, regulating the workings of the gut, etc. This can lead to your body attacking itself, know as autoimmune disease, which may include any number of diseases including Chronic Fatigue, MS, IBS, Ulcerative Colitis, and Fibromyalgia.
Symptoms vary from individual to individual based on each person's level of damage to the microvilli along the intestinal lining and what tissues are affected. Here are some common symptoms.
- Multiple food sensitivities
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Chronic diarrhea and constipation
- Skin rashes
- Brain fog
- Memory loss
- Excessive fatigue
- Yeast(Candida) and bacterial overgrowth
Here is a 3 minute quiz to see if you may have a leaky gut.
What Causes Leaky Gut?
The medical community does not agree on what causes Leaky Gut, but below are some of the commonly agreed upon causes.
- high amounts of refined sugars
- processed foods
- food additives such as food coloring, High Fructose Corn Syrup, artificial sweeteners, MSG, trans fat
- preservatives such as sodium benzoate, sodium nitrate, potassium bromate, BHA, BHT
- refined flours
- artificial flavorings
Chronic stress suppresses the immune system which doesn't allow it to do its job properly and it gets overrun with pathogens very quickly. This leads to increased inflammation in the intestines and increased permeability to the intestinal lining.
Any type of inflammation in the gut can cause leaky gut. Some of the reasons for inflammation may be
- low stomach acid
- yeast and bacterial overgrowth
- excessive environmental toxins
All medications, including aspirin, acetaminophen, and Ibuprofen irritate the intestinal lining and decreases the mucosal levels (which are your first line of defense in the intestines)
Although yeast is a part of the normal gut flora, it is when the balance with the good bacteria gets out of whack that things become an issue. The yeast will mutate in to a mutli-celled fungus that will grab onto the intestinal lining with tentacles, ripping its own holes into the lining.
Zinc is critical to the maintenance of a healthy and strong intestinal lining. A deficiency will effect the mucosal lining and allow the intestines to become more permeable.
Just like the causes, the medical community is divided in what method of treatment to use to reverse the leaky gut. Each person has different responses to the leaky gut and therefore will require individualized treatment. There are so many factors to a leaky gut; it is like a puzzle and all the pieces must fit together to have complete healing from the leaky gut. Here are some of the most common methods.
- eliminating sugars, starches, and grains
- eliminating all pro-inflammatory foods
- SCD – Specific Carbohydrate Diet
- A good multiple vitamin
- large amounts of Vitamin D
- Large amounts of Zinc
- Omega 3's
These will help to bring the gut biosis back into balance of 85% good to bad bacteria.
- These are critical to the proper breakdown of food.
- Also help remove toxins, bacteria, and damaged cells
- Bromelain and Papain
I am not a doctor, I am just putting out the information I found while researching leaky gut for myself. If you think you may have leaky gut, please seek the advise of a qualified professional.
Interested in learning more? Here is a link to available course to learn more about leaky gut. Leaky Gut Master Class