What is leaky gut?
Leaky gut syndrome or increased intestinal permeability as is medically known affects the lining of the digestive tract, a normal digestive tract has lots of really small holes these holes are there to allow certain nutrients through from the food we eat, think of your gut as a net allowing the good stuff through and keeping the bad stuff out.
In people with leaky gut syndrome the holes in the net get bigger allowing the things that wouldn’t normally be able to, out of the digestive tract, things like bad bacteria, undigested food, and proteins like gluten. these toxins can leak from the intestinal wall directly into the blood stream causing all kinds of trouble. Leaky gut affects millions of people, many of them may not even know they have it.
Leaky gut syndrome affects the digestive system but because the gut is the centre of our immune system leaky gut can lead to other health conditions too like food allergies, auto immune diseases, low energy, joint pain and even thyroid problems.
Symptoms of leaky gut
Leaky gut causes inflammation throughout your entire system and can cause symptoms like:
- Weight gain
- Food sensitivities or intollerances
- Digestive problems
- Thyroid conditions
- Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease or Crohn’s
- Chronic diarrhoea, constipation, gas or bloating
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Poor immune system
- Headaches, brain fog, memory loss
- Chronic fatigue
- Skin rashes and problems such as acne, eczema or rosacea
- Cravings for sugar or carbs
- Joint pain
- Depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD
If you are someone who has never experienced food allergies or sensitivities and all of a sudden you start experiencing any of the symptoms we have listed out of the blue, then you should take a test to see if you have leaky gut, because its likely that your partially digested food and toxins could be making their way into your blood stream which can cause an allergic response and left untreated can lead to more severe health problems.
What Causes Leaky Gut?
- Bacterial imbalance
- Poor diet
- Toxin overload
- Chronic stress
Things that cause damage to the intestinal lining
The most common ingredients in food that can cause damage to the intestinal lining are:
Proteins found in un-sprouted grains
Un-sprouted grains contain large amounts of nutrient blockers called phytates and also lectins. Lectins are sugar binding proteins that act as a natural defence to protect the grains from outside invaders like parasites and mould, this is great for plants but not so great for our bodies.
The digestive lining is covered with cells that contain sugar that help break down your food, the problem is lectins tend to attach themselves in the same area as these cells which then causes damage to the gut and eventually paves the way for leaky gut.
Sugar can cause all sorts of problems with your digestive system because sugar is the main food source for candida, if candida starts to take over it kills off all the good bacteria in the gut damaging the intestinal tract allowing toxins through.
GMO – genetically modified organisms
We are no longer eating real food, we have become a nation of people who are eating genetically modified food stuff, manufactured processed chemical laden garbage, we have absolutely no idea what is in anything that has been made, altered and processed and there is nowhere near enough research that says eating this crap is safe.
The A1 casein protein in cow’s milk can cause harm to your gut, this is because the process that milk goes through during pasteurisation destroys vital enzymes that we need to be able to digest lactose, some people find dairy that comes from A2 cows, goats, sheep and buffalo easier to digest as it doesn’t have the same proteins that make it difficult to digest.
Lectins are sugar-binding proteins that act as a natural defense system for plants that protect them from outside invaders like mould and parasites, this is good news for plants but bad news for your body. Lectins are found on many food not just grains and some foods have much higher amounts, you should avoid eating:
- Gluten containing grains
Phytates actually bind to the magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron in your intestines and it takes them out of our bodies, leaving us with deficiencies.
Sprouting and fermenting grains reduces the amount of phytates and lectins, making them easier to digest, but in order to heal leaky gut you must avoid eating grains altogether, more so grains that contain wheat and gluten.
Other things that Cause Leaky Gut
Chronic stress can weaken your immune system over time, making it difficult to fight off viruses and bacteria ect which causes inflammation and leaky gut, managing your stress levels is very important when healing your body
How to manage stress
- Take gentle exercise
- Spend time out doors
- Get more sleep
- Take time out to relax
- Avoid negativity
Toxins can have a devastating effect on our immune system and can also cause leaky gut, chemicals like medication, pesticides and chlorine are three of the ones most likely to cause problems.
Avoid the risk of toxins by
- Drinking good quality bottle water (not tap water)
- Try natural remedies over chemical medication
- Introduce natural herbs
- Use essential oils
- Eat pesticide free food
Candida over growth
We all have small amounts of candida in our bodies, over time this candida can take over and cause systemic candida over growth when this happens bad bacteria takes over and can seriously damage your gut, treat candida by:
- Drinking good quality bottle water (not tap water)
- Avoid taking antibiotics
- Eat more food high in probiotics
Leaky Gut and the Brain
It has been proven that leaky gut affects your brain, serotonin for instance is also created in the gut, serotonin is what makes us feel good, without it we get depression and other psychological disorders like anxiety, and bipolar which makes perfect sense because if your gut is damaged then so will your brain.
How do we heal leaky gut?
- Eat real food
- Avoid food and toxins that cause damage the gut
- Replace the bad food with gut healing foods like fermented food and vegetables
- Repair your gut with supplements
- Introduce probiotics which add in good bacteria
- Maintain your new healthy lifestyle
Foods that heal leaky gut
- Bone Broth
- Wild-caught like salmon
- Omega-3 fats grass-fed beef
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
Supplements that heal leaky gut
- Digestive enzymes
- Licorice root
If you stick to doing everything listed in this article you are well on your way to healing your leaky gut and enjoying a happy healthy life again.