Curiosity led us to wonder what “Leaky Gut” was all about and why it seemed to be the newest disorder in the news. When we came across this self-test to check if you have the risk factors for leaky gut, we just had to take it. http://my.draxe.com/hlg-9-warning-signs

Know what? It came back positive for a higher than normal risk factor for almost all of us. Talk about an awakening!

So now came the questions we had about this new disorder like:

  • What does it mean to have a leaky gut?
  • Why are we just hearing about this condition now?
  • How do we know if our gut is leaking?
  • What do we do to fix/prevent it?

What does it mean to have a leaky gut?

leaky-gut-affects-bodyAccording to Dr. Weil, Leaky Gut “is the result of damage to the intestinal lining, making it less able to protect the internal environment as well as to filter needed nutrients and other biological substances. As a consequence, some bacteria and their toxins, incompletely digested proteins and fats, and waste not normally absorbed may “leak” out of the intestines into the blood stream.” http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA361058/what-is-leaky-gut.html

Why are we just hearing about this condition now?

Actually, this one is easier to answer because having “intestinal permeability” has been a medical term for quite some time. It is only very recently that technological advances has made it possible to identify the many different strains of bacteria. This has led researchers to linking certain bacteria to certain disorders. The frequency of these strains and of identifying undigested proteins outside of the digestive tract created the term, “leaky gut”. With the rise in cases of celiac disease, IBS, arthritis, asthma, diabetes and Autism (yes, that’s become strongly link to this condition too – more in a later article), the term leaky gut has become more widespread in the general mainstream news.

How do we know if our gut is leaking?

To connect this to our study on inflammation, basically the immune system of anyone who has this condition is called to action as soon as the toxins, food, waste and bacteria begin escaping into the surrounding tissue. This results initially in gas, cramping and bloating. As the immune system gets overused and weakens from the constant battling of these leaking toxins, the symptoms worsen. Now there may be joint pain, skin rashes, and bowel changes. The worst is that there will definitely be an autoimmune disease reaction in the area of the body where heredity has created the weakest link. That’s why this disease is so difficult to treat – it shows up in different places for each person. The overall consensus is that if you have any autoimmune disease – you have a leaky gut!

Here’s the 9 most common symptoms:

  • Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Allergies or asthma
  • Hormonal imbalances, thyroid conditions and candida overgrowth
  • Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, psoriasis, or celiac disease
  • Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
  • Mood and brain issues such as depression, anxiety, ADD or ADHD, Autism
  • Skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or eczema
  • Food allergies or food sensitivities
  • more on this infographic can be read at http://draxe.com/4-steps-to-heal-leaky-gut-and-autoimmune-disease

What do we do to fix/prevent it?

So the most important question – what can we do now? There are a multitude of causes for leaky gut:  

  • chronic inflammation
  • food sensitivity
  • taking too much nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) cytotoxic drugs, radiation or certain antibiotics
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • compromised immunity

There are 3 steps to healing it:

  1. Diet Change – remove the foods that are irritating your intestinal lining. The most damaging foods are grains, sugar, processed foods and alcohol. Taking these out of your diet makes the biggest change. If the damage is severe or longstanding, then you may need to follow an elimination diet such as the Specific Carbohydrate Diet or the Myers Elimination Diet.
  2. Rebuild the Intestine – first use digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid and bile acids; then add probiotics and prebiotics; in the later stages of healing use resistant starches to build up the good intestinal bacteria. This will also lower the acid level of the intestinal fluid which will support good bacteria and slow the growth of the bad bacteria. Immune system can now eradicate them with much less work.
  3. Add in Supplements – The ones that are the most recommended are L-Glutamine, an amino acid that is fundamental to the well-being of the digestive and immune systems, Betaine hydrochloride (HCL) supports protein digestion and absorption of minerals and other nutrients such as vitamin B12, and Quercetin and Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) both help reduce the size of the holes in the intestine, Omega 3 Fatty Acids repair the gut lining.   
  4. Other Additional Things – stop drinking alcohol for a while and then, if able, add it back a little bit (creates an acid environment that irritates the lining), stop using NSAIDS and other anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), Naproxen (Aleve), Diclofenac, Celebrex, Aspirin, and medications, and reduce stress (meditation, walking, yoga, etc.).  

Cauliflower Moment…indigestion is more than just a bit of gas and bloating.