What Is Leaky Gut?
You may wonder why your gut is making the headlines lately. This is mainly because scientists are discovering that your gut is the true gateway to your health. If gut health is ignored, you run the risk of experiencing serious health issues that you may not realize originated in your gut.
According to the National Institute of Health nearly, ¼ of 70 million people suffer from digestive issues like diarrhea, constipation, nausea, gas, and bloating. And the reasons? They indeed lie in the gut.
Here's a complete guide to everything you need to know about leaky gut, and how you can achieve optimal health by healing your gut.
What is Leaky Gut?
A leaky gut occurs when the tight wall that surrounds your intestines develops small holes. In a healthy gut, this protective wall is semi-permeable which means it allows micronutrients to pass through your intestines into the bloodstream. This is basically how your food gets used by your body.
However, external factors like inflammatory foods, stress, certain medications and toxins can create tiny holes in this gut lining, and allow substances that typically don’t reach the bloodstream to leak through the protective wall into the body.
And what happens then?
The body’s immune system detects these invaders (undigested food and microbes) and triggers an immune response. Your immune system identifies these escapees as pathogens and creates riot combats.
Let's look a little deeper into what happens if you have a leaky gut.
Causes of Leaky Gut
The modern lifestyle is likely to blame for the high prevalence of leaky gut. To state it expressly, here are some of the reasons why you may have a leaky gut.
Gluten triggers the release of zonulin in your intestines. Zonulin is a protein that opens your gut wall and allows harmful toxins to enter your bloodstream. In some cases, excessive intake of gluten can also lead to a disease called celiac disease. This disease has the potential to over-stress your immune system. Here are some of the foods that have high gluten content:
- Baked goods
- Soup and gravies
Common gut infections include intestinal parasites, Candida overgrowth, and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Another common issue is dysbiosis, which is an imbalance of bacterial colonies in your gut. If these are not taken care of, they can lead to a leaky gut.
Environmental toxins include mercury, pesticides, and BPA from plastics that can be found not only in our food, air and water, but in medications like Advil, birth control pills, and acid-reducing drugs.
Whether it is physical or mental, chronic stress has one of the most significant impacts on your body. As a result of this, ongoing stress will weaken your immune system and make it harder for your body to fight off harmful bacteria and viruses that can cause a leaky gut.
Signs of Leaky Gut
Gut imbalance is linked to hormonal imbalances, autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and Hashimoto's thyroiditis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, eczema, and rosacea that can eventually deteriorate your health.
Here are nine signs you may have a leaky gut:
- Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Food allergies or food intolerances
- Brain fog, difficulty concentrating, ADD, or ADHD
- Mood imbalances such as depression and anxiety
- Skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or eczema
- Seasonal allergies or asthma
- Hormonal imbalances such as irregular periods, premenstrual syndrome, or polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, lupus, psoriasis, or celiac disease
- Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
The good news is that if you do have a leaky gut, you CAN reverse it.
Repairing Leaky Gut
There is a common debate between functional medicine and conventional medicine regarding whether a leaky gut can affect other parts of the body. According to a groundbreaking study done by Dr. Alessio Fasano, there is a link between the openings in the gut wall, autoimmunity, and chronic inflammation.
The best way to heal a leaky gut is to try to get to the root cause of this autoimmune condition. This 4R approach has been used by many people worldwide and has proven results.
Remove: this is where you recognize the things that can trigger leaky gut. This includes stress, allergenic foods like corn, soy, sugar and gluten, gastric irritants like caffeine, alcohol, or medications, and pathogens like bacterial and yeast overgrowth. Silver, as a natural supplement, can be very helpful in eliminating pathogens.
Replace: now you need to replace stomach acid and digestive enzymes, which may be lacking in your gut. Lab tests, such as fat absorption tests and gastric analysis, can help determine what factors need to be replaced.
Reinoculate: for six to twelve weeks, reinoculate your gut with good bacteria to help regain a healthy microflora balance. Go for fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut, plain yogurt, kefir, and take prebiotic and probiotic supplements that contain beneficial bacteria to repopulate the healthy microbes in your gut.
Repair: now that all the toxins have been removed, you need to repair the lining of your gut with good nutrition. You can add Omega 3 fatty acids, glutamine, vitamin D, zinc and vitamin B5 which will help restore your gut lining.
How Do You Know Your Leaky Gut Is Repaired?
To know if your hard work is paying off, there are numerous lab tests that you can take to track your progress.
But here are a few good indicators you are on the right track:
Digestive issues disappear: the usual symptoms of a leaky gut are constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, and acid reflux. Once you start to notice these symptoms disappearing, you'll know you're on the right track.
Less sensitive to food: after you have started the repair process, you will notice that you can eat some foods that were once problematic..
Skin issues clear up: you will soon start to see a difference in your skin, with problems like acne, dandruff, rosacea, rashes, and eczema fading away.
Autoimmune labs improve: after going for a few lab tests, you will see positive autoimmune lab markers.
You are your optimal self: a good indication that your repair program is working well is when you see an increase in your energy, start to lose weight, and begin to feel like the best version of yourself.
Recognizing a leaky gut and setting yourself on a new path can be highly rewarding. Rediscover your best self and you will look and feel like a new person!
Ameo Life supports you on your path to a healthier version of yourself!