Researching ways to improve health will most likely lead to results that include addressing leaky gut, also known as intestinal permeability. Leaky gut happens when contents from the small intestine spill into the sterile bloodstream through a damaged and “leaky” intestinal wall. This creates a foundation for chronic inflammatory and autoimmune health disorders.
Intestinal inflammation damages the inner lining of the small intestine making it very porous. This allows overly large compounds like partially digested foods, bacteria, yeast, and other pathogens to contaminate the bloodstream.
The immune system targets these compounds as hostile invaders that don’t belong in the bloodstream and launches an ongoing attack against them, increasing systemic inflammation. Some of these compounds are very toxic (endotoxins). Wherever they take up residence throughout the body, they trigger more inflammation.
At the same time, excess intestinal mucous and inflammation from the damage prevents much smaller nutrients from getting into the bloodstream. This can lead to nutrient deficiencies as well as poor cellular function.
Your unique genetic predispositions will determine how leaky gut manifests for you. However, symptoms associated with leaky gut can include fatigue, depression, anxiety, brain fog, poor memory, joint pain, chronic pain, puffiness, asthma, seasonal allergies, fungal infections, PMS, migraines, arthritis, and many more.
Medicine finally recognizes leaky gut
Information and protocols for treating leaky gut have long been dismissed by conventional medicine as quack science and alternative medicine folklore. However, given that newer research has established it as a legitimate mechanism, pharmaceutical companies are now working on creating drugs to address leaky gut.
Current studies have established links between intestinal permeability and many chronic disorders including inflammatory bowel disorders, food allergies and sensitivities, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes, and psoriasis.
The gut is the largest immune organ, powerfully influencing the whole body including the brain. Therefore, it is vital to include a gut repair protocol in overall treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.
How to mend leaky gut
A healthy diet is foundational to repairing leaky gut. Sometimes, all that is required is to simply stop eating inflammatory foods. Other times, the solution is more complicated. What is most important is determining what is causing the leaky gut.
Intestinal impermeability is often caused by blood sugar imbalances from consuming a standard US diet of processed foods and excess sugars. Food intolerances, especially a gluten intolerance, also contribute significantly.
A leaky gut diet, also known as an autoimmune diet, has helped many people repair intestinal permeability. One of the goals of this diet is to stabilize blood sugar. This requires avoiding too many sugars and carbohydrates as well as eating regularly enough to avoid energy crashes. Regular exercise is also vital to stabilizing blood sugar and promoting a healthy gut.
Another cause of leaky gut is failing to eat enough fiber. Our intestines, along with our entire body, depend on a healthy and diverse gut microbiome to function properly. To nurture a healthy gut microbiome, it’s important to eat at least 25 grams of fiber a day from a wide and rotating variety of plant foods.
Leaky gut can also be caused by antibiotics, NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, excess alcohol, hypothyroidism, autoimmunity, and much more.
A leaky gut diet can help you nurture your well-being by relieving symptoms, boosting energy, making you happier, and clearing your brain fog. Contact my office to learn more about how you can improve your health by implementing a leaky gut protocol.
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