I’m sure you’ve probably heard the term ‘leaky gut’ sometime in the past few months or so. Right now, you can’t get away from…and rightly so! A leaky gut might even be considered an epidemic given that is being shown to be a common factor in the development of many diseases which are on the increase.
What is ‘Leaky gut?’
Leaky gut or “increased intestinal permeability” (as medical professionals like to call it) is what happens when your intestines develop tiny holes which allow food particles/proteins to leak into the blood stream. These food proteins obviously shouldn’t be in the blood stream and so your body starts attacking. Your body creates an allergic or inflammatory reaction which can show up as migraines, fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel, eczema and much more.
The damaged intestinal lining is then irritated and unable to make the needed enzymes for food breakdown and absorption which contributes to nutrient deficiencies and a weakened immune system.
Causes of Leak Gut
Leaky gut can be caused by eating foods that you have an allergy to. The most common allergens include dairy and gluten (but also consider soy, corn, sugar, caffeine). Additional causes of leaky gut include antibiotic use, steroid drugs, aspirin, tylenol and other drugs which irritate the digestive lining and contribute to inflammation. Parasites and infections are another common cause of leaky gut. Think about it this way, anything that is ‘foreign’ to your body, either because it is an actual toxin (think drugs or parasites/viruses) or because your body deems it ‘dangerous (like a food sensitivity) is going to cause damage
Leaky Gut & Autoimmunity
So, we’ve already talked about how your body mounts an immune response to these foreign proteins. However, an even deeper problem is that these proteins cannot be killed by your immune system because they ARE NOT viruses or bacteria and therefore do not need to be/cannot be killed! The crazy thing is that your body is made up of many different kinds of protein…so your immune system goes on the hunt for other proteins that appear similar to the protein it has been attacking. Unfortunately, certain proteins in your body’s normal structure appear similar to these foreign proteins that your body is attacking – “Voila!’ It starts attacking itself! For example, gluten proteins look similar to your thyroid and so your immune system starts attacking your thyroid gland! NOT GOOD!
Do I have a leaky gut?
A leaky gut is an insidious thing. Oftentimes before symptoms are present you can have a leaky gut. It’s just that the attack and the resultant inflammation isn’t bad enough to be noticeable…and this can go on for years! This is often the case in autoimmune diseases! So yes. It is most likely that you have a leaky gut in need of healing!
How to Heal a Leaky Gut
Healing your leaky can be a time consuming process in the sense that it is going to be a few months of careful, nutritious eating. You need to get your immune system to stop attacking your own body…which means you need to stop eating the foods that you are allergic to, you may need to do a parasite cleanse or figure out other ways to manage your symptoms (besides medications) if they are things contributing to a leaky gut! You need to start eating foods that heal your gut lining and take additional supplements to promote healing. Put simply, you want to eat as fresh and natural as possible with as much variety as possible. Staying away from grains, gluten and dairy is often required due to the highly allergenic nature of these foods. Stay away from animal proteins (no meat or eggs) and eat good quality fats (nuts, seeds, avocados, olives). You also need to provide the proper bacteria to support a healthy and functional gut. And obviously, you NEED to stay away entirely from any food allergens/sensitivities. Even one small ‘cheat’ day will undo any healing you are aiming for!
What will healing a leaky gut do for my health?
Well, the thing is, a leaky gut creates nutrient deficiencies and further down the road contributes to digestive issues, mental health issues, and other physical symptoms of inflammation. Chronic inflammation creates a weakened immune system and contributes to the development of many diseases especially autoimmune diseases!
Healing your gut is an essential step in the process of managing symptoms and curing an autoimmune disease. It’s worth every bit of work it takes because the results can be life-changing for you: think better mood and sleep, increased energy, the ability to exercise again, freedom from pain and a life free from disease!
If you are interested in finding out how a health coach can help you heal your leaky gut get in touch today for a free 20 minute consultation!
Disclaimer: In no way am I suggesting you make the decision to go off your medications. That decision needs to be made in conjunction with a medical professional.