Have you been reading all about leaky gut syndrome (aka intestinal permeability) and the more you read, the more your symptoms line up? Leaky gut is somewhat of a vague term and solutions can be complicated even where to start. Starting with digestive health and addressing leaky gut syndrome is one of the best approaches to healing from chronic illnesses, autoimmune conditions and nutrient deficiencies.
8 Clues You Might Have Leaky Gut
- Do you have digestive problems?
- Do you have bowel movements less than 2 times a day?
- Do you have chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia?
- Do you have an autoimmune disease or thyroid disorder?
- Do you have depression, anxiety, ADD or ADHD?
- Do you have gas, bloating, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome?
- Do you have seasonal allergies or food intolerances?
- Are you bloated in the afternoon but have a flat tummy in the morning?
If you answered yes to ANY of the above questions, then you may have a “Leaky Gut.”
The most common symptoms I find in the office are gas (flatulence, bloating or belching) and seasonal allergies. Yes, seasonal allergies indicate that your gut lining is inflamed or compromised. For women specifically I find bloating after eating to be the most common symptom.
So What is Leaky Gut?
The gut or intestines pack cells tightly together to keep outside invaders from passing through the lining and getting into the body. Remember that from your mouth to your anus is just a hose-like tube that allows everything in and pushes everything out. At different points along the way, the body decides what to let in and what to keep out.
When the intestines have a break down and develop leaky gut, the body no longer gets to choose what comes in and out. There become gaps or holes in the protective wall and things that the body normally would keep out are allowed directly into the bloodstream.
Normally only very small particles are allowed in, but with these larger “holes” in the barrier, larger and undigested particles are allowed in.
These things include undigested foods and chemicals, toxins and even bacteria. When these larger substances get past the protective barrier, the immune system recognized them as invaders and creates an over-exaggerated immune response, aka inflammation. This inflammation then leads to more “holes” in the intestine and things get worse and worse.
What Causes Leaky Gut?
- Diet –> Alcohol, Gluten, Casein, Processed Foods, Excess Sugar, Fast Food
- Medications –> Steroids, Antibiotics, Antacids, Chemicals, Pesticides, Plastic, etc.
- Infection(dysbiosis) –> H. Pylori, Bacterial or Yeast Overgrowth, Intestinal Virus, Parasites
- Stress –> High Cortisol, High Adrenaline
- Hormones –>Low Thyroid, Low Progesterone, Low Estrogen, Low Testosterone, Estrogen Dominance
- Neurological –> Head Trauma, Car Accidents, Stroke, Neurodegeneration due to aging
- Metabolism –> Processed Foods, Intestinal Inflammation, Autoimmune Conditions
Health Conditions Associated With Leaky Gut
Leaky gut is so popular because it can cause or exacerbate most conditions and symptoms, including:
- Chronic Fatigue
- Inflammatory Conditions (arthritis, UTIs, acne, IBD, IBS, chronic pain)
- Chronic Pain
- Inflammatory Bowel
- Autoimmune Disorders
- Multiple Food Sensitivities
- Chronic Yeast Infections
- Brain Fog
To put it simply, you may be tired, depressed and inflamed all due to leaky gut and honestly you really shouldn’t be searching for any other health problems until your gut is healed.
The Vicious Cycle
One of the worst things about developing leaky gut has to do with nutrient absorption. With leaky gut you absorb less nutrients because you are not properly breaking down foods, which can eventually lead to malnutrition. As nutrient deficiencies develop, then the body is not able to repair your gut lining because it does not have adequate nutrients. This cycle continues until you have some of the symptoms of leaky gut mentioned above.
Leaky gut is not like a cold or flu. It is not a bug that will go away with a little rest and relaxation. Leaky gut must be treated at its root level in order for your intestines to heal.
The section above, “What Causes Leaky Gut?” includes most of the root level problems that need to be assessed and repaired.
How Long Does It Take To Heal Leaky Gut?
I often get the question, how long does it take to fix leaky gut. My clinical experience would suggest not nearly as long as you think. Some people can heal in less than a week while others take a few months if we are able to discover the root quick enough.
Many physicians and nutritionists feel it may take 6-9 months to heal, but in my opinion, we are missing something if it takes that long in the majority of patients. There will always be a rare outlier whom’s gut is difficult to heal, but in general I would classify most of my patients as “outliers” and it seems to be something that can be resolved in less time than most suggest if you use proper supplementation and lifestyle changes.
Stopping the Perpetual Cycle
Leaky gut is best dietarily treated with a “real food” diet consisting of vegetables, healthy meats, fruits, and healthy oils like olive oil, coconut oil, butter and lard.
Foods that promote leaky gut and must be avoided are processed sugars, grains, dairy, soy, alcohol, lectins, coffee/caffeine and any other processed or canned food.
The dietary regimen for leaky gut is somewhat restrictive, but the benefits of eliminating leaky gut and ALL of its symptoms are countless.
Diet is just as important if not more important than supplementation. But, supplements can address the root cause of stealth infection that is often lingering. I find it is more important to treat intestinal dysbiosis than any other supplement therapy. The two most common products that I use for leaky gut are Chinese Coptis and Cistus Incanus by AMG Naturals.
Leaky gut is a real thing! In fact it may be the most important thing that you can address when dealing with chronic conditions that are related with inflammation. Working with your physician to find the actual root cause is important if you want to heal quickly.
Check out my FREE ebook on Leaky Gut for more information on supplements and ways to heal.
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