What is Leaky Gut?

Leaky gut is a condition which is also known as increased intestinal permeability.  This is the part of the digestive tract which becomes damaged over time and starts to allow proteins such as gluten, undigested particles and bad bacteria to pass into the blood stream.  These particles over time can cause an immune reaction and systemic inflammation.  Leading to digestive aliments and much more which I will discuss later.

Leaky gut starts within the small intestine of the digestive system.  This organ is very important as most vitamins and minerals are absorbed here from the foods we eat.  For us to be able to absorb these important vitamin and minerals the small intestine contains some very small openings so that each nutrient can be transferred into the bloodstream and deposited via the blood around the body.  This is possible due to the fact that the intestinal wall is considered semi-permeable.  This means that it has lots of little pores within the wall which allows certain things to enter into the bloodstream but it also blocks other things from entering the bloodstream.  Therefore nutrients and specific molecules are allowed to pass through the wall and large food particles and toxins are stopped.

When a person has leaky gut, the pores of that person’s small intestine are much wider a bit like finding a large hole in a fishing net. Therefore, the larger undigested food particles and toxins can now enter the bloodstream and be deposited around the body.

Your body then becomes inflamed and reacts with an immune reaction.  So your body will start to see certain foods as toxic and every time you eat them it will trigger an immune response within your body.

If this process continues, leaky gut can then progress to autoimmune disease.

Some of the first symptoms of leaky gut are:-

*          Feeling tired and sluggish
*          Suffering with heartburn, bloating and gas
*          Frequent indigestion
*          Food sensitivities  from foods, which you have                      eaten for years but have now become a problem.
*          Persistent brain fog, lack of focus, a cloudy memory
*          Dark circles under your eyes
*          Eczema
*          Psoriasis
*          Acne

If left untreated you may start to develop more serious aliments and diseases such as:

*          Chronic fatigue
*          Adrenal exhaustion
*          Lethargy
*          Arthritis
*          Crippling pain
*          Inflammatory Bowel Disease
*          IBS
*          Thyroid conditions

According to research which has been conducted on animals and humans and published in the journal “Clinical Gastroenterlogy and Hepatology and Gut, leaky gut syndrome has been linked to the following symptoms and conditions.

Alzheimers Disease
Anxiety and Depression
Candida and Yeast Overgrowth
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Crohn’s disease
Type 1 & 2Diabetes
Polycystic Ovaries
Restless Legs syndrome
Rheumatoid arthritis
Ulcerative colitis
Allergies and food sensitivities

Why is this happening to our Guts?

Sugar and processed food have become more available over the last 20 years or so and we eat more of them on a daily basis.  Gluten has found to be one of the biggest problems causing Leaky gut.  Studies have shown that once the body has absorbed gluten the body undergoes an inflammatory response and it eventually releases a protein called Zonulin.  This protein unlocks the tight junctions and keeps the gates of the gut wall wide open for as long as the protein is circulating in the blood.

Another key factor is environmental toxins such as pesticides being sprayed on our crops, food additives and preservatives.  Our beauty products and household cleaners all contribute to a dangerous toxic load on our bodies and has taken its toll on our gut health by degrading it.

Stress of a modern life plays it part and emotional stress is one of the main factors that takes its toll on our gut health.  Studies have shown that if you lead a stressful life it can decrease our probiotics in the gut.  A decrease in our gut probiotics allows for over growth of yeast to appear in the gut.  Stress also lowers our immune system over time, which makes us less able to fight bad bacteria and viruses which enter the body.

Our microbial balance has been affected by over processing food, treating every aliment with antibiotics has killed off many strains of beneficial microbes which are used to strengthen our immune systems and help it to fight against pathogens, allergens and any other threatening factors within the environment we live in.    All of this contributes to the rise in related chronic disease, auto immune diseases and of course antibiotic resistence (this I have experienced myself becoming allergic to many antibiotics)

Overuse of medications such as pain killers, prescription medications, antibiotics have all damaged our gut which in turn has killed off our beneficial bacteria  found in the gut.  For example Antibiotics can wipe out 50% of a baby’s gut flora  in approximately 4 days.

This all said we have all at some point in our lives have swallowed pain killers for a headache, washed our hands excessively with antibacterial products, eaten processed food, taken antibiotics when we have been ill and experienced some form of chronic stress in our lives.    Any one of these on its own will have damaged or changed  our gut flora but put a few of them together  we are all prone to Leaky Gut Syndrome.

I have been researching Leaky gut for a while now and it appears that most information informs us that we are made up of 90% of microbials.  This means we don’t just live on the earth – the earth lives in us (taken from Dr Axe)  So we need to back to our grandparents times when there were countless strains of bacteria, viruses, parasites and other microbes around us all the time and they were our friends they lived in our guts and they protected us against disease.    We need to take back our microbial gut flora and to do this we need to be around bacteria, soil, dust, plant oils.  These micro exposures keep a steady stream of good bugs entering the body which mix with our genes and help to give us a stronger immune system.  This teaches our gut how to work with the world we live in today.

So all we need to do is:-

Get back to eating seasonally food  instead of buying foods from overseas in our supermarket stick to British seasonal foods being sold at the right seasons.

Hug our pets once they have been rolling in the mud and leaves on the beautiful mother earth.

Let our kids make mud pies like we used too.  Let them play in the playground without antibacterial gel being applied to their hands afterwards.

Don’t freak out about germs and sanitise every worktop or surface daily.

Use  homeopathy or another natural form of medicine instead of taking a pill for every ache or pain or infection we get.

By doing all of this our microbes within our gut can repopulate the gut and bring it into balance helping us to restore our health.

If you would like to start your healing journey for your gut today, then why not contact me for a 1-1 free 15 minute consultation on how I can help you on your road to recovery.  07968 292785 michelle.wilkinson@holistichealthsurrey.co.uk