Leaky Gut: What it is and what to do about it.
Leaky gut is something that doctors and scientists have just recently starting paying attention to. This is because leaky gut shares symptoms with many other disorders, so it is hard to diagnose properly. So what is leaky gut?.
The gut is supposed to be permeable. This allows the body to absorb nutrients that are being digested in order to use them in the body. However, sometimes the tight junctions keeping the lining of the intestines intact can be broken apart and much larger things can be absorbed into the bloodstream.
It’s the job of the intestines to direct bad things out of the body like toxins, indigestible foods and other things. When the lining becomes more permeable, this means they can leak out into the body and cause damage. The immune system can fight these things off, but sometimes you get side effects, and these are the symptoms of leaky gut.
People with Celiac’s disease can get leaky gut because gluten can help break apart the intestine lining. They’re not the only ones in danger of this however. Age and stress can also break the junctions of the lining. An imbalance of the gut flora can cause leaky gut as well as too many toxins such as pesticides, mercury and some medications like painkillers and antibiotics. Inflammatory foods such as dairy and sugar are also culprits.
Symptoms to watch for if you suspect leaky gut:
To begin with, some general symptoms are general stomach issues such as gas, cramps, and bloating, as well as sensitivities to foods and pain, as well as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. As you can imagine, this makes it hard to diagnose leaky gut versus a digestive problem. IBS can be its own issue or a symptom of a leaky gut.
Other seemingly-unrelated symptoms include:
- seasonal allergies
- chronic fatigue
- skin problems such as acne
- mood disorders such as depression or anxiety
- hormone imbalances such as PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome
- even the diagnosis of lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or Celiac’s disease
These are all problems in themselves but they can all point at a larger issue like leaky gut syndrome. If you suffer from one or more of these issues, you might want to look into leaky gut.
Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, had said that all diseases begin in the gut.
Leaky gut has been linked to countless medical problems. The proliferation of leaky gut has become a real problem, mostly thanks to the modern world and its stresses, diet and problems. People are working more hours to get by and not having time, energy or knowledge to nourish their bodies with the right foods. Combine that with the food industry pushing unhealthy foods on the population and leaky gut has almost become an epidemic.
Studies show that leaky gut can also have an effect on conditions that are acquired as a baby; such as food allergies and autism.
What does leaky gut have to do with these symptoms and how can you tell if you have it?
Food allergies and sensitivities can originate from leaky gut syndrome. When toxins enter the bloodstream and are fought by the immune system, a casualty of that fight can often be nutrients from certain foods like dairy and gluten. The body is stressed and more susceptible to the parts of these foods that can cause problems.
Leaky gut can cause mood disorders because the inflammation as a result of leaky gut can also trigger the release of chemicals that cause disorders, which are also inflammatory. This is how depression develops and a host of other mood disorders.
Some problems are caused by not getting enough nutrients, and that can be caused by leaky gut as well. As the gut is permeable and not working properly, it is not doing its job of absorbing key nutrients such as magnesium and B12.
People with bowel problems are often found that the colon is the source of the leaky gut and permeability problems.
What can you do about it?
Unfortunately, there is no official cure for leaky gut. Doctors have just recently found out that it exists, and it is not taught in medical school. There isn’t enough direct research to figure out proper treatments for it.
Modifications to lifestyle are the best ways to treat leaky gut at this time, besides treating any conditions that may be causing it. Celiac’s disease and bowel problems can be treated, but it’s a case of treating the problem or treating the symptom. If this disease caused leaky gut, like Celiac’s can, then treating it will cure it. But if leaky gut caused the bowel problem, it is likely not going to be fixed until the underlying condition is fixed.
When there isn’t any underlying condition or it hasn’t been found, changing the lifestyle is the best way at this time to treat it.
Stress is a big cause of leaky gut. Chronic stress can stress out the body and cause the permeability problems. While stress has been found to not be the main cause of ulcers, it is thought to increase production of stomach acid. It stands to reason that this may be a factor in developing leaky gut. Reducing chronic stress could not only have a factor in healing leaky gut, but also be generally healthier for you. Chronic stress weakens the immune system.
The best way to heal leaky gut is through the diet.
Diet is the best way to heal leaky gut that has been found so far. If your diet is filled with inflammation-causing foods, it’s good to reduce and remove these from your diet in order to reduce inflammation. Limit your dairy, especially processed milk, refined sugars and gluten, if not remove them all together for a period of time.
Focus on meats, fruits and vegetables. Cultured dairy products like yogurt and kefir can help repair the gut by restoring a balance of good bacteria that protects it. Certain medications, especially antibiotics, can unbalance the bacteria.
Eat your vegetables but especially fermented vegetables such as kimchi and sauerkraut. These also help the good bacteria. Vegetables and fruit also contain beneficial fiber that can help the body digest food properly.
Leaky gut is a very common problem in the modern world thanks to our increased stress and reduced nutrition. While there is guaranteed cure, taking care of your body again can help heal leaky gut. Eating a balanced, real-food diet as well as making sure you get some good supplements can also help prevent leaky gut as well.
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