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 bloodstream 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 it can lead to developing other health conditions too, like food allergies, autoimmune 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 intolerances
- 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 in this article, then you should take a test to see if you have leaky gut, it’s likely that your partially digested food and even toxins could be making their way into your bloodstream which can cause an allergic response if it is left untreated it 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 as it protects them from being eaten but it is not so great for our bodies.
The digestive lining is covered with cells that contain sugar that helps break down your food, the problem is lectins tend to attach themselves in the same area as these cells which eventually causes damage to the gut and paves the way for leaky gut.
Sugar can cause all sorts of problems with your digestive system, 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.
Candida has a crafty little built in survival mechanism, where if you try to kill it off the candida will manipulate you into eating sugar by giving you sugar cravings, super cool but it’s not super cool for you if you are experiencing an outbreak of candida overgrowth.
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 garbage, we have absolutely no idea what is in anything that has been made in a factory, everything is altered and processed with far too many preservatives and chemicals and there is nowhere near enough research that says eating this crap on a daily basis 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 defence system for plants, it protects them from outside invaders like mould parasites and anyone trying to eat them, this is good news for plants but bad news for your body. Lectins are found on many food,s 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 body’s, leaving us with deficiencies.
Sprouting and fermenting grains will reduce the number of phytates and lectins, making them easier to digest, but if you want to heal a leaky gut you must avoid eating grains altogether, more so grains that contain wheat and gluten as they cause the most damage.
Other things that Cause Leaky Gut
Chronic stress can cause all kinds of havoc within your body, it can also weaken your immune system over time making it difficult to fight off viruses and bacterial infections which can in turn cause inflammation and leaky gut, managing your stress levels is very important when you are trying to heal your body.
You can manage your stress levels
- Take gentle exercise
- Spend time outdoors
- 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 ingesting external toxins by
- Drinking good quality bottled water (not tap water)
- Try natural remedies over prescription medication
- Introduce natural herbs
- Use essential oils
- Eat pesticide-free food
- Limit the use of cleaning products
We all have small amounts of candida in our bodies, over time this candida can take over and cause systemic candida overgrowth when this happens bad bacteria takes over which can seriously damage your gut, treat candida by:
- Drinking good quality bottled water (not tap water)
- Avoid taking antibiotics
- Eat more food high in probiotics
- Take an oral probiotic
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
- Liquorice 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.