Leaky Gut Syndrome

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Being a whole foods advocate, I'd like to bring to your attention a condition that I believe many people eating the Standard American Diet suffer from.

Leaky Gut Syndrome

Do you suffer from any of the following?

Chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas or bloating       Nutritional deficiencies     Weight gain
Constant sinus infections, colds         Headaches, brain fog, memory loss      Excessive fatigue        Skin rashes and problems such as acne, eczema or rosacea     Cravings for sugar or carbs       Arthritis or joint pain           Depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD         Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease or Crohn's     Food sensitivities      Thyroid conditions      Joint pain       Headaches     Digestive problems

Leaky gut syndrome or "hyperpermeable intestines" is a condition where the lining of the small intestines has become damaged and more porous. When this happens undigested food particles and other stuff like toxins, bacteria and yeast can leak through the intestinal walls and flow into your bloodstream. This obviously is a bad thing.

Once in your bloodstream, your body recognizes these molecules as foreign substances and the liver starts to do its job of filtering them out. In most cases, the liver has no chance of keeping up with the overwhelming flow of waste into your blood and all the toxins, undigested food molecules, and other pathogens start to accumulate in your body.

With the liver working overtime, it is time for more help. Your immune system begins to kick in. The immune system fights hard to remove these toxins from the body. When the immune system gets overwhelmed too, the toxins and foreign bodies begin to absorb into the tissues throughout the body causing inflammation.

Inflammation is an immune response and causes even more stress on your systems. Now your body is focused on fighting the large war, and the little battles are starting to be ignored, like filtering out the blood, calming inflamed areas of the body, fighting bacteria, regulating the gut, etc. This process then can lead to your body fighting itself and developing an array of autoimmune diseases such as Chronic Fatigue, MS, IBS, Ulcerative Colitis, and Fibromyalgia.

graphic: leakycutculture.com

What causes leaky gut syndrome?
The majority of the time, leaky gut is caused by your diet. Yep, hate to tell you that! 

When you eat a lot of refined sugar and flour, processed foods, preservatives, flavorings, sodas (especially diet with aspartame), artificial sweeteners and food coloring (just to name a few), you are consuming a lot of chemicals that the body sees as being toxic. The body is an amazing thing, but it can only do so much when you are filling it full of toxins. Too many toxins and the body systems can not keep up and you end up with chronic inflammation which leads to a weakened immune system. This then leaves you very susceptible to sickness and disease.

Other things that contribute to leaky gut syndrome are chronic stress, prescription medications like antibiotics and over the counter medications. All of the above can irritate the gut lining leading to inflammation of the lining which leads to the increased permeability of the lining.

How to heal a leaky gut
Obviously you want to remove as much of the toxic load on your body as you can. Remove the refined products and processed foods. A good detoxing of the body would do much for healing. You may want to give your gut a break from gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol also. There are supplements available that are good for healing the gut and some foods are good for healing the gut. 

Before you reach for medications to aid in relief of the symptoms at the top of the page, consider what you are putting into your body. Feed your body clean whole foods and give it a chance to heal itself.



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