What is Leaky Gut and How Does this Affect You?

Do you experience chronic pain, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, headaches, migraines, allergies, bronchitis, asthma, skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, hives, fatigue, weight gain, diabetes, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, joint pain, brain fog, anxiety, depression, emotional ups and downs, irritability, food cravings, multiple food and chemical sensitivities, wrinkles, frequent infections, candidiasis, urinary tract infections, endometriosis, osteoporosis, thyroid conditions, and/or one or more autoimmune diseases such as Celiac, Crohn’s, Colitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Sjogren’s, or a different one?

I know this is a long list, but if you experience any of these, chances are you have leaky gut.

You have a lot of company. It is reported that 80% of people have leaky gut, otherwise known as gut permeability, and its inevitable counterpart, inflammation.

What is Leaky Gut?

Leaky gut is a breakdown of two crucial components of the small intestine: the gut barrier and the microbiome.

The Barrier

Picture the barrier as a line of soldiers standing shoulder to shoulder.In a healthy gut, this barrier protects our GI tract by keeping out foreign invaders. It also lets small food particles into our bloodstream to nourish us. This is the ideal, healthy situation.

Specific adversaries make these soldiers fall out from their tightly cohesive line, and leave gaps in their wake.

The culprits that cause these gaps in the line are:

  • Antibiotics
  • Antacids
  • Aspirin and Ibuprofen
  • Gluten
  • Food Sensitivities
  • Pesticides
  • GMOs
  • Environmental toxins
  • Birth control
  • Low HCL (hydrochloric acid) and digestive enzymes
  • Stress (constant physical, psychological, emotional, even perceived stress)
  • Chronic Constipation
  • Diet and lifestyle: too much fat, sugar, and protein in your diet, constant dehydration, consumption of too many sodas or caffeine, inactivity, and lack of sleep can all increase inflammation in your body and contribute to leaky gut

These culprits, along with large food particles (that do not get broken down in normal fashion,) and opportunistic pathogens enter the gaps between the soldiers and invade the blood stream. The body screams SOS.

Our immune system then mounts an attack against these dangerous invaders in the form of antibodies. But it does not stop there. It also attacks our healthy tissue.

Inflammation ensues and if chronic, offsets the balance in our body.

The stage is set for a greater susceptibility to aging, the myriad of symptoms mentioned above and disease.

The Microbiome

We have an army of trillions of microorganisms in our small intestine which help fight viral, bacterial and parasitic infections and keep our immune system strong. These allies actually outnumber the cells in our body.

They neutralize toxic substances and poisons and inactivate many carcinogenic substances. They also create neurotransmitters that affect our mood and help our brain think and function properly.

The truth is we all have good and bad bacteria in our digestive system. When our gut flora is in balance the bad bacteria pose no threat.

But, when the bad bacteria outweigh the good, irritation and inflammation occur. This causes the soldiers to fall out and the intestinal wall to open up.  Bad bacteria, along with other pathogens such as parasites, fungi, and yeast take the opportunity to proliferate, resulting in a  domino effect of metabolic chaos.  The last thing to appear are the symptoms you are experiencing.

Diagnosing Leaky Gut

We test and don’t guess. Foundational lab tests we run reveal hidden healing opportunities in the body that are the result of leaky gut and inflammation.

Specifically, they reveal imbalances in hormone, immune, digestion, detoxification, energy and neurological functions.

For example, I ran a lab test called the GI Map on myself. It reveals the health of the microbiome. In my case, it showed I had an overgrowth of H. Pylori.

This stomach bacteria contributes to inflammation and the development of ulcers and sometimes stomach cancer. H pylori is present in 50% of adults over 50 years old and in 20% of adults under the age of 40. The test also revealed more dysbiosis and that gluten was causing inflammation in my body.

I probably had this infection for a long time, even though I exhibited no obvious symptoms. I did not want to wait until I developed a stomach ulcer or stomach cancer.

How I Healed My Gut

love your gutI followed a natural protocol which addressed lifestyle changes in the areas of Diet, Rest, Exercise, Supplementation and Stress Reduction.

Five months later, when I ran the lab tests again, I was clear of the H.Pylori, my dysbiosis was improved and inflammation and gluten sensitivity were reduced.

Curious About the Health of Your Gut?

Simply put, you cannot be healthy if your gut if leaky and microbiome is unbalanced.

Hippocrates knew this over 2000 years ago when he expressed, “All diseases begin in the gut.”

Over the last 10 years, holistic practitioners have begun to understand that a properly functioning digestive system (gut) is critical to good health.

With up to 80% of our immune system and 90% of our neurotransmitters (think mood, anxiety, depression) located in our gut,  gut health is a pretty big deal.

Your body wants to be healthy.  Removing what is interfering with your gut and cultivating what supports it is the recipe to your best health.

Are you curious if your gut is healthy? Would you like to be experiencing something different than your current health complaints?

 

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