What exactly is Leaky Gut?

What is Leaky Gut?

From the mouth to anus is an enfolding of our skin.  As you know, our skin contains a layer of cells and microorganisms that protect us.  The inner “skin” or gastrointestinal (GI) tract has the same.  This is a picture of a healthy lining!
Leaky gut is a term that describes what happens when our GI tract microscopic barrier breaks down and allows substances (other than the normal amino acids, vitamins, minerals) into our blood stream.  These substances can be food particles, yeasts, parasites, bacteria and other foreign bodies.  Our immune system and liver then become overburdened with all the extra work and then we elicit symptoms.

What symptoms are associated with “Leaky Gut”?

First symptoms may be gas, bloating, food sensitivities/allergies, stomach cramping after meals, diarrhea, and constipation.  Many will go for years with no noticeable symptoms at all.  More advanced symptoms are lack of concentration, fatigue, headaches, weak or tight muscles,  irritability, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and colitis.


leaky gut schematic

What causes Leaky Gut?

Things that harm the GI tract –>
  1. MOST COMMON CAUSE = NSAIDS (aspirin, ibuprofen, etc) – cause us to NOT make healthy mucus, so destroys our protection, food/acid/enzymes then irritates and causes damage
  2. Frequent antibiotics – kill our protection (good bacteria)
  3. Yeast overgrowth – due to taking frequent antibiotics
  4. Eating foods we can’t digest (food intolerance) – cause inflammation
  5. Drinking alcohol in excess – damages lining and mucosa
  6. Poor eating habits – cause inflammation, lack of nutrition = lack of tools for the gut to function normally
IMPORTANT POINT:  I use food allergy testing (NOT FOOD INTOLERANCE) as a marker.  If you have LOTS of food allergies, then your leaky gut is severe.  After treatment we test again and see that the food allergies are minimized.


What is a food intolerance?

Each individual is unique in how well we digest our food.  Based on our genetics, we simply do not have the enzymes to digest certain foods.  Celiac Disease or Lactose intolerance is the classic example.  Everyone has some degree of food intolerance.  Food intolerance leads to improper digestion which leads to food particles that putrefy (rot) in the GI tract and cause toxicity and inflammation.
What can I do about it?  Here are some ideas!
  • Get tested for food intolerance and / or stool test
  • Establish a non-processed, whole foods diet
  • Remove things that are damaging your body
  • Feed the body what it needs to heal
  • Other ideas – Professional quality probiotics daily, herbs such as marshmallow, slippery elm bark can help recreate mucus lining, zinc carnosine can help heal the gut barrier, L-Glutamine is an amino acid that is food for the enterocytes (GI cells)
Personalized treatment plans available through my office, Contact Us for more information. 

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