What is Leaky Gut?
Lots of people are talking about Leaky Gut Syndrome these days, but what exactly is this? Leaky gut syndrome is basically exactly what it sounds like. Consuming certain inflammatory foods have been shown to lead to increased production of a protein called zonulin, which is responsible for regulating the permeability of the intestinal wall. Higher levels of zonulin may cause increased permeability, which allows food particles and toxins to pass through into your blood stream and creates an inflammatory response.
When those food particles and toxins pass into your bloodstream, they can wreak total havoc on your body causing food intolerances, sugar cravings, weight gain, diarrhea, constipation, hormonal imbalances, and even autoimmune disease.
Sometimes, it’s tricky to determine whether or not you have a leaky gut because it can have so many different symptoms. Here are some classic signs to look for.
- Developing new food sensitivities
- Inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, or eczema
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Irritable Bowel Disease
- Autoimmune diseases
- Hormone imbalances such as thyroid disease
- Mood disorders such as depression
Leaky gut is relatively common. As I’ve already mentioned, symptoms of leaky gut can range from digestive discomfort and food sensitivities to full blown autoimmune disease. In fact, leaky gut has been linked to celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis (MS), autism, cancer… and more.
There are a couple of reasons that leaky gut is associated with chronic illness, with the primary one being that the majority of the human immune system is located in the intestines. Second, the chronic inflammation caused by leaky gut is thought to be the cause of autoimmune diseases.
Obviously, leaky gut isn’t a condition to be taken lightly, but the good news is that it can be improved and there are measures you can take to prevent it from leaking in the future.
What are the causes of leaky gut?
- Conventional dairy
- Wheat and gluten
- Highly processed vegetable oils
- Refined Sugar
- Additives and preservatives found in processed foods
- Artificial sweeteners
Now that you’re aware that these foods aren’t good for you, replace them with healthier options to reduce inflammation and start to heal your gut.
A constant high level of stress can weaken your immune system, and a weakened immune system has a hard time fighting off bacteria and viruses that can attribute to leaky gut. Control the stress in your life and consider the following:
- Get more sleep
- Do some activities that help you relax, such as yoga, swimming, and meditation
- Schedule some fun into your week
- Hang out with positive, inspiring, and uplifting people
Decreased Beneficial Bacteria in the Gut
A lack of good bacteria in the digestive tract is typically caused by an overuse of antibiotics and a poor supply of probiotics. Probiotics are know to strengthen the healthy bacteria in the gut and help heal leaky gut. Supplementing your diet with fermented foods is a great way to replenish probiotics.
Increased exposure to toxins
Everyday we are exposed to toxins like chemicals, heavy metals, pollution, additives and preservatives. It’s difficult to control our exposure to some toxins, but we can minimize what we can by reducing the use of certain products and eating organic foods.
Thank you for reading my blog about Leaky Gut! I hope you’ve found some value and I cannot wait to share more information that I’ve learned with you in the rest of this series!
Prebiotics are good food for the good bugs (probiitics). These are starches that cannot be broken down in the stomach & make it to the small intestine to feed the good bugs. Some examples are green bananas and unmodified potato starch.