A Leaky Gut occurs when the protective barrier that keeps bacteria and waste in the intestines is breached, allowing these substances, together with partially digested food, to enter into the bloodstream. As a result of this breach, the body’s immune system is flooded with foreign substances, leading to systemic inflammation as well as the development of multiple food allergies.
Over time, the immune system turns on itself in various areas, including muscles, tendons, ligaments, bone, cartilage and nerves, resulting in an all-out autoimmune response. The inflammation results in less effective digestion, causing compromised nutrition and loss of vitamins and minerals. It also leads to a reduction of healthy bacteria in the gut, which may develop into an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and yeast. A Leaky Gut also leads to persistent and chronic pain.
If a Leaky Gut goes undetected or untreated, it will cause havoc and widespread inflammation may occur by initiating any number of immune responses in the body. These may include bowel disease, skin issues (eczema), arthritis, hypothyroidism, depression, anxiety, adrenal fatigue and mal absorption, amongst others.
A Leaky Gut is caused by chronic irritation and the resultant inflammation of the intestinal lining. Potential stressors that initiate this process can be divided into three main groups: physical, chemical and emotional. An example of a physical stressor is when you eat an allergen every day. It acts as a constant aggravating factor that disrupts your digestive system and prevents it from functioning properly and ultimately results in inflammation (e.g.: gluten intolerance). In the case of chemical irritation, there may have been a repeated need for antibiotics at an early age, which may have upset the healthy bacterial balance in the gut, again leading to conditions that then may lead to inflammation. Then mental or emotional stressors surpass your threshold for stress tolerance and begin to affect your daily life. If these are not properly processed or resolved, your body may initiate an inflammatory chain of events that may result in a Leaky Gut.
HEALING FROM A LEAKY GUT
In order to deal with a Leaky Gut, we need to look at the body as a whole and try to identify the stressors that are exacerbating the inflammation of the gut and increase hyper-permeability of the gut lining.
Physical stressors need to be eliminated by removing any possible food intolerances from the diet. One also needs to make sure that the balance of healthy gut bacteria is boosted by taking a probiotic especially formulated for this type of condition. It needs to be taken over an extended period of time to give the gut a period of renewal in regards to these healthy bacteria.
Chronic emotional stress and trauma need to be addressed, as this is often the primary source of inflammatory conditions. This type of stress has been shown to disrupt the interaction between brain and gut, leading to increased intestinal permeability. Stress affects the body’s ability to repair itself and also suppresses the immune system in its response to disease.
Getting enough restorative sleep is critical. With inadequate sleep, the body’s cortisol levels are affected, which reduces our ability to tolerate negative stimuli. Our ability to heal may then become compromised, limiting the rate at which the gut lining can heal.
Getting enough exercise is a natural way to enhance your immune system and help manage daily stresses, as well as directly improving the intestinal barrier function. Studies show that regular aerobic exercise improves metabolic processes and reduces systemic inflammation. Exercise need not be excessive. Start slowly and choose something you will enjoy.
An optimistic attitude towards your health can play a large role in your treatment and recovery, as it reduces stress, supports the immune system and promotes your natural ability to heal. Letting go of health problems and everything that accompanies them in itself is part of the healing process.
Quit smoking, as it is a well-known fact that smoking promotes inflammation in gut disorders.
TAKE SUPPLEMENTS THAT ASSIST THE BODY IN ITS HEALING PROCESS:
- Glutamine assists in strengthening and improving the integrity of the gut lining, and lessens the systemic inflammatory response.
- Probiotics are used as it is extremely important to have the healthy gut bacteria in the right balance to help maintain healthy gut permeability. They also assist with the breakdown of foods into more manageable particle sizes, and also synthesis certain vitamins and nutrients for the body. They are essential to helping heal digestive disorders and gut hypermobility.
- Prebiotics are a food source for healthy gut bacteria. Therefore, supporting the growth of these bacteria helps to restore the integrity of your gut immunity.
- Essential Fatty Acids specifically including DHA, has been shown to protect the intestinal wall from inflammatory stimuli and help maintain the integrity of the gut barrier while supporting gut barrier function. DHS and EPA help increase the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, which promote the normalisation of gut function.
- Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and has strong anti-inflammatory effects that have general systemic as well as gut health benefits. It has the ability to reduce inflammation and also assists in normalizing gut function.
- Zinc is a mineral cofactor that supports the integrity of the cells lining the intestines, which is very important in reversing a Leaky Gut. It also assists normal immunity and supports energy production and hormone metabolism.
SUPPLEMENTS ARE AVAILABLE WHICH HAVE BEEN ESPECIALLY FORMULATED TO ASSEST IN THE HEALING OF, AS WELL AS IMPROVING THE INTEGRITY OF THE GUT LINING.
The body is often deprived of these nutrients due to the compromised digestion and mal absorption experienced when dealing with a Leaky Gut.