What is “gut health”?
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) definition of ‘health’ from 1948, which proposes a positive definition instead of ‘the absence of diseases’, one might define gut health as a state of physical and mental well-being in the absence of GI complaints that require the consultation of a doctor, states BMC Medicine. Gut health is related to overall health. If your gut is out of balance, so many other health issues are more likely to occur. As I mentioned earlier, it’s just not about gas and bloating, but it could be fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, sinus problems, headaches, sleep problems, weight gain, PMS, or skin problems, like eczema, acne, rashes, or psoriasis.
What is “leaky gut”?
[tweetthis]Many gut issues stem from poor diet and stress.[/tweetthis] Over the long-term, these cause something called leaky gut. This occurs when the lining of the small intestine, which is meant to be tight and act as a barrier to keep the contents of the intestines from leaking into the bloodstream, begins to break down. Obviously, this is not a good thing.
The bad thing about this breakdown is that it allows molecules of partially digested proteins (from food) or pathogens like bacteria, to flow out into the bloodstream. This can cause not only digestive issues, ut also system wide issues. The food particles get into the bloodstream and the body doesn’t recognize them because that’s not where they should be.
Guess what happens next? Food intolerances. You can become sensitive to a food and have it be hard to digest. When you eat it, you may not feel so well or find it hard to digest. This is a bit different than a food allergy. The most common offenders are wheat/gluten, dairy, soy and eggs. These symptoms would be gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, joint pain, skin issues, fatigue, brain fog, and/or headaches.
What causes leaky gut?
Eating processed foods and sugars. Processed foods cause inflammation and the inflammatory response can cause leaky gut. Sugar weakens your immune system and depletes your body of nutrients. Stress is also a factor. When you are stressed over the long term, your body slows down digestion and your food is not properly absorbed.
What are the possible effects of leaky gut?
If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, or Celiac Disease it is unclear whether leaky gut is a cause or effect, but it is clear that it is in some way involved.
So, when you have leaky gut, your body is trying to figure out what to do with the food particles in the bloodstream. This activates your immune system and it attacks them because they are “foreign” to the bloodstream. Unfortunately, those particles are sometimes mistaken as body tissue, which turns on your immune system and attacks your own body. This is known as the autoimmune response. This is why leaky gut can cause harm to your whole body.
If you have an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or rheumatoid arthritis, the root cause, or trigger may be the leaky gut syndrome. Any of these diseases on this list may be triggered by leaky gut:
- Chronic sinusitis
- Fungal disorders
Healing your gut.
Luckily, your gut can heal. It will take a little time, it’s not a quick fix and it will take a bit of effort. Given the choice of an autoimmune disease vs. making a few changes in lifestyle, I think you’ll pick the latter.
Here’s how you start.
- Cut out all sources of added sugar
- Switch to whole food, organic diet
- Do an elimination diet to find out which foods are causing the problem
- Eliminate other inflammatory foods such as alcohol, processed foods, and vegetable oils
- Use gut repair herbs and bone broth
- Supplement with digestive enzymes, probiotics and pharmaceutical grade nutritionals
- Reduce your stress (meditation, yoga, etc.). Stress depletes the body of Zinc, magnesium and B vitamins.
- Reduce the use of antibiotics and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) like ibuprofen
- Do my 30 days Clear the Way program. This supports you in doing all of the above in a simple, easy to follow system.
Leaky gut symptoms may be complicated, so it is a good idea to work with a trained practitioner or do a program like mine where I can support you. Leaky gut is not viewed as a medical diagnosis and you won’t find your average MD offering support and strategies to heal your gut. In today’s world, with the level of stress and processed foods that are consumed, it is assumed that most people have some level of leaky gut. You want to repair it before it becomes a true health issue.