Is your leaky gut causing you to be sick? The short answer...YES. So what is leaky gut syndrome, how did I get it, why is it causing illness and how can I treat it?
What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Hippocrates said: “Death begins in the gut”, and I quote him in almost all of my consultations. Leaky gut syndrome refers to intestinal hyperpermeability. Inside our gut, we have what we call, tight junctions, between the intestinal cells. These tight junctions play a very important role, in restricting gut permeability. That is to say, certain nutrients, vitamins and minerals, are selectively transported across our gut lining, while the tight junctions acts as ‘security doors’, preventing undigested food, toxic waste and bacteria from entering our blood stream. When these tight junctions become damaged, the ‘security gate’ flings wide open, and the ‘sewage’ that was meant to pass out of our system, leaks into our blood stream, causing massive amounts of inflammation.
Although science has yet to prove that leaky gut syndrome actually directly cause disease, it has found it to occur simultaneously with a whole host of diseases, which should give you some idea of how important gut health is in maintaining good health.
15 Signs that you may be suffering from Leaky Gut Syndrome:
- Food sensitivities, intolerances and allergies (chronic inflammation causes an increase in antibodies, which increases the chance of your body reacting to certain food antigens);
- Skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, acne (skin- gut connection theory);
- Chronic diarrhea, constipation or bloating;
- Irritable bowel syndrome and irritable bowel disease;
- Nutritional deficiencies;
- Excessive fatigue or fibromyalgia;
- Obesity or difficulty loosing weight (in-spite of healthy eating habits);
- Carbohydrate and sugar cravings;
- Joint pain or arthritis;
- Autoimmune conditions (including hashimoto’s);
- Hormonal imbalances, estrogen dominance or PCOS (Poly cystic ovarian syndrome);
- Candida overgrowth
- Depression and anxiety (Intestinal hyperpermiability causes an inflammatory response that releases pro-inflammatory cytokines that are thought to induce depression);
- ADD or ADHD.
What causes Leaky Gut Syndrome?
- Poor diet;
- Medication: the use of certain medications such as non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs, antibiotics and acid neutralizing drugs;
- Environmental toxins;
- Stress (High levels of the stress hormone cortisol, suppresses the immune system and allows an overgrowth of bad bacteria in our gut, which further destroys tight junctions);
- Age (natural ageing process) and
- Certain infectious diseases such as candida and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
How can you heal your gut?
Healing your gut is an integrative approach. Here are the crucial steps to healing your gut:
- Destroying bad bacteria using antimicrobial herbals as well as antimicrobial foods (herbals such as hydrastis tincture);
- Repairing the gut lining and healing the tight junctions (through restrictive diet, fasting and products such as slippery elm, which can help heal the gut lining);
- Preparing the gut to receive and promote the growth of good bacteria (prebiotics);
- Re-establishing the growth of healthy, gut friendly bacteria (using a very good probiotic);
- Removing foods that damage the gut, and replacing them with gut healthy foods (gut friendly diet); and
- Making use of digestive aids and enzymes for proper assimilation of food.
Sounds like a mouth full. It really is easier than you think. There are multiple gut cleansing programs available for you to follow, and various holistic health care practitioners that can assist you on this path towards wellness. Take the first step towards a healthier you, by simply removing the five most pro-inflammatory foods, from your diet, these include:
- Wheat and gluten containing foods
- Diary and diary containing foods
- Sugar and all artificial sugar substitutes
- Additives, preservatives and all processed foods
Try it, often, this is enough to have you feeling energised and healthier than before. The next step, would be a thorough gut cleanse and detox, as discussed above, which often resolves most ill effects from an unhealthy gut.
I will leave you with the words of Sherry A. Rogers: “The road to health is paved with good intestines”.