In the May/June issue of the Red Clover Clinic Newsletter, we discussed the microbiome in your gut and how to attend to it. We used the label “dysbiosis” to describe a microbiome that is out of balance, that is, one with an abundance of harmful bacteria not managed by beneficial bacteria. The concept of dysbiosis leads us to the topic of this issue: leaky gut syndrome.
What is leaky gut syndrome?
The lining of your digestive tract is designed to be porous, so that you are able to absorb necessary nutrients into your bloodstream. When the lining becomes irritated and inflamed, the pores expand, allowing larger particles of semi-digested food to leak through the lining. These larger particles can include proteins (e.g. gluten and casein), undigested food particles, bad bacteria, and toxic waste. Ultimately the contents that leak out of the digestive tract and into the bloodstream trigger an immune reaction in the body.
What causes a gut to become leaky?
- Poor diet: sugar (feeds bad bacteria), un-sprouted whole grains (contain anti-nutrients), genetically modified foods (high in anti-nutrients and herbicides/pesticides), and conventional (pasteurized and homogenized) dairy
- Exposure to toxins: medications, herbicides, pesticides
- Dysbiosis: overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut
- Chronic stress: stress hormones trigger an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut
What are the signs of a leaky gut?
As proteins, undigested food particles, bad (disease-causing) bacteria and toxins leak out of the gut and into the bloodstream, they trigger the body’s immune system to react. If you have a leaky gut, you might notice an increase in allergy symptoms, multiple food sensitivities, irritable bowel, fatigue, achy joints, headaches, acne, eczema, rosacea, weight gain, mood imbalance, hormonal imbalance, and/or any autoimmune disease.
It is especially important to note that behind most autoimmune disease, you will find a leaky gut. This means that if you have an autoimmune disease, you must make it a priority to heal your gut first. For more information, you might enjoy reading Amy Myers’ book, The Autoimmune Solution.
How do you repair a leaky gut?
Most experts agree on four basic “R’s” to repair a leaky gut.
- Remove inflammatory foods and toxins.
- Replace with healing foods and digestive support (enzymes, hydrochloric acid, bile salts)
- Repair with supplements, such as bone broth, collagen, L-Glutamine, omega 3 fats, aloe, chlorophyll, licorice root, quercetin and slippery elm.
- Rebalance/Reinoculate with probiotics, fermented veggies, and raw cultured dairy.
As you can see, the health of your gut plays a role in many, if not most, health conditions. Eating a clean and healthy diet and recognizing the early signs of something gone awry is the best way to avoid developing chronic health problems. If you need help figuring out what is at the root of your health complaints, Nutrition Response Testing is a wonderful tool, and we are here to support you through the healing process.