Do you have gut issues, do you keep getting sick, have skin issues, fatigue, pain or autoimmunity? Then you might have heard about leaky gut. You maybe even asked your doctor about it and it’s possible that they told you it doesn’t exist! Well, it does and here’s an answer to the questions: What is leaky gut? Why does it happen? And what can I do about it?
Leaky gut is the informal name for intestinal permeability. Because there aren’t many scientific studies that mention leaky gut syndrome it’s not an official medical diagnosis. But there’s a ton of research on it’s official name: intestinal permeability!
Gaps in the wall of the small intestine
The wall of your small intestine is only one cell layer thick – less than paper thin! – and it’s protected by a mucus layer. That one cell layer thick wall is the barrier between the outside world – the food that you eat is in your gut – and the inside world, your blood that transports those nutrients to all your cells. This barrier should be in great shape and only let through the smallest particles of the foods you eat.
If there are larger gaps in that wall, larger food particles and even bacteria and toxins can slip into your bloodstream. Not good! Your immune system recognises them as ‘foreign’ and will mount an attack. Because that’s what the immune system needs to do: protect us against invaders. This constantly triggers inflammation and can eventually confuse and overburden the immune system. And your body will let you know.
You can see what this looks like in the short video I made
What are the symptoms?
Because leaky gut affects the whole of your absorption and because it creates inflammation, there are many symptoms and diagnoses that are connected with it:
- Digestive issues like IBS, IBD, gas, pain, diarrhea and bloating
- Hormone imbalances
- All autoimmune diseases
- Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia
- Food allergies and sensitivities
- Joint pain
- Skin problems
- Mood isssues like anxiety and depression
What can make your gut leaky?
There are many different factors that play a role:
- Chronic stress
- Dysbiosis: imbalance in gut microbiome
- Environmental toxins
- Over consumption of alcohol, (history of) binge drinking
- Poor diet: low in nutrients, low in fiber, high in additives
- Emulsifiers – mainly in processed food
- Gluten and dairy
- Medication: ppi’s (that’s medication for acid reflux), oral contraceptives, NSAIDs (painkillers), steroids
- Eating too much sugar!
- Deficiencies in vitamin A, vitamin D and zinc
- An imbalanced microbiome: not enough beneficial bacteria, too many harmful ones and parasites
- Yeast overgrowth
What to do?
- Most important – stop the mediators: stress, toxins, poor diet, gluten, dairy, medication – if you can…
- Support digestion: chew well, eat when relaxed, use digestive enzymes if needed
- Build your microbiome
- Foods that help:
- Bone broth
- Lots of vegetables
- Probiotic foods
- Soothing foods and herbs: licorice tea, slippery elm, marshmallow tea, linseed tea, aloe vera
- Not eating things you know you are sensitive to
- Schedule a free call with me so we can look at how I can help you heal your gut through my online anti-inflammatory course or through working with me privately Really looking forward to our conversation so don’t be shy and book that call!