The gut is the controlling power behind your body’s overall health. If the gut is healthy, then most likely the person is healthy. If the gut is not healthy, then the person typically has health issues. There is also a condition affecting nearly 80% of the population according to Josh Axe, certified nutrition specialist—DNM, DC, CNS and it is called leaky gut. This condition is uncomfortable and sometimes painful. For many, the pregnant, bloated result of the wrong foods and the leaky gut reaction is embarrassing in addition to painful.
What is Leaky Gut?
In layman’s terms, leaky gut is when there are holes in the intestinal wall that allows for toxins, food particles, microbes and more to leak out from the intestines and travel by way of the bloodstream throughout the entire body. Since these substances are unknown to the body, the immune system automatically detects them as foreign invaders and begins to attack them.
How Does Leaky Gut Happen?
There are many causes of leaky gut, but one of the biggest culprits is the gluten protein called zonulin, which breaks down the intestinal lining’s tightened junctions. Antibiotics, infections, age, stress, foods and toxins are also known causes for breaking apart the tight junctions of the intestinal wall lining.
Sugar, dairy and alcohol (all in excess) foods are suspected culprits of causing leaky gut. Infections causing intestinal wall damage includes intestinal parasites, candida overgrowth and (SIBO) small intestine bacterial overgrowth.
Toxins come from a whole slew of sources. Everything from everyday pain relievers like Advil and Motrin to antibiotics treating infections are toxic to the intestines. An array of environmental toxins like pesticides, air pollutants, BPA from plastics and mercury may contribute to a gut filled with holes. Steroids and acid-reducing drugs also play their own part in breaking down the tight junctions of the intestinal wall.
After the tight junctions are broken down or apart, the result is a leaky gut.
The immune system responds in a number of ways to the foreign invaders escaping from the confines of the intestines. If you are experiencing some or all of these 10 signs of a leaky gut, then you probably have some form of the condition and should see your medical physician.
10 Signs You Have a Leaky Gut
- Digestive issues; such as bloating, gas, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or diarrhea
- Outdoor/Indoor – Seasonal Allergies
- Mood/Mind disorders; such as anxiety, ADD/ADHD or depression
- Hormonal imbalances, such as PMS
- Autoimmune disease diagnosis; such as celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, lupus or thyroid disease
- Food intolerances/allergies
- Skin problems/issues such as eczema, rosacea or acne
- Candida overgrowth
- Diagnosis of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue
Healing the Intestinal Wall
First and foremost, it is critical to remove all toxins and inflammatory causing foods from your diet to stop the endless cycle of chronic inflammation. Don’t eat these foods for at least a period of three weeks. The goal is to remove the bad things from the GI track that is negatively affecting the environment there. This includes infections, toxins and bad foods/drinks.
Replenish your body with all the good stuff your gut has been missing out on. Start adding in all the critical ingredients your body needs for proper digestion and absorption. This includes bile acids, hydrochloric acid and other digestive enzymes. Beneficial bacteria must be added back to your gut in order for the balance of good bacteria to be restored. All items are found in your local health food store or supplement provider.
Foods & Supplements for Healing Leaky Gut
Supplements and Herbs
- Probiotics – minimum 50 billion IU daily
- Digestive Enzymes – two with every starchy meal or meat meal
- Herbs such as ashwagandha, licorice root and ginseng
- Coconut oil
- Goat’s milk kefir
- Bone broth
- Sweet potatoes
- Pure olive oil
- Seafood/salmon (rich in Omega-3s)
Don’t Ignore Leaky Gut Signs
Although you may think that since nearly 80% of the population may be suffering from leaky gut that it isn’t that big of a deal and can be ignored. Not so! Leaky gut and chronic inflammation goes hand in hand. What happens? Disease. Chronic inflammation leads to a plethora of unpleasant and even untreatable conditions and diseases, so leaky gut is definitely not something you need to ignore or you put your overall health and life at risk.