I always like to start with the gut as the starting point for many of my clients… Chances are if you have a healthy gut you are relatively okay! However if your gut is off it can lead to a number of serious problems.
Today I’m going to discuss “Leaky gut” the possible root issue behind chronic fatigue, bad digestion and nutritional deficiencies? But what exactly is it…
Leaky gut is really, exactly as it sounds…! It’s a condition in which the intestinal lining becomes too porous. This results in larger, undigested food particles and other toxins “leaking” out into the bloodstream. This is a huge deal because the intestinal lining is the first line of defense for our body’s immune system. The body calls on the liver and then the immune system to fight off these foreign invaders. They likely won’t succeed and the foreign bodies are absorbed into tissues in the body resulting in inflammation (an immune system response). In turn, the body starts producing antibodies to fight off the invaders.
A common culprit of leaky gut is gluten but other things such as infections, toxins (from internal substances such as antibioticas, drugs, steroids and then external environmental toxins like pollution, BPA from plastics, mercury and pesticdes) things we are exposed to everyday even if we intentionally do our best to avoid them. Stress and age — can also play a huge part. I also believe that other inflammatory foods like dairy, refined sugar and excessive alcohol, are suspected as well. Many people feel uncomfortable after eating a sugar laden gluten treat, they may even feel an allergy to it and this is a prime example. The root cause of many food allergies is the leaky gut, not the food itself because those floating food particles are your allergies. The allergy is sometimes simply a by product of the body’s attempt to fight off the leaky gut culprits.
How do I know if I’m living with leaky gut?
It will vary from one person to the next but symptoms can include multiple food sensitivities, nutritional deficiencies, diarrhea or constipation, skin rashes, Candida and brain fog. Below I hae listed the main leaky gut symptoms.
1. Digestive system issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
2. Seasonal allergies or asthma.
3. Hormonal imbalances such as PMS or PCOS.
4. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, psoriasis, or celiac disease.
5. Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia.
6. Mood and mind issues such as depression, anxiety, ADD or ADHD.
7. Skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or eczema.
8. Diagnosis of candida overgrowth.
9. Food allergies, food sensitivities or food intolerances.
10. Poor immune system
11. Arthritis or joint pain
How can I heal leaky gut?
I would recommend starting by removing and replacing.
An elimination diet is a great way to take out the bad. The goal is to get rid of things that negatively affect the environment of the GI tract, such as inflammatory and toxic foods like gluten, dairy, sugar, fried foods, processed goods etc. Think most store bought treats, deli meats, sugary condiments and e numbers/additives, anything that is foreign to our bodies.
Begin by bringing in more of the good stuff, lots of fresh fruit and veg, your digestion needs fibre from wholefoods in there simplest and purest forms. Try gluten free grains some of my favourite are quinoa, millet and buckwheat. Replace your regular pasta with a pea, lentil, chickpea, or brown rice version. Make a conscious effort each day to incorporate a smoothie into your routine, full of greens, some fat (nut butter/avocado) protein (hemp seeds/flaxseeds/chia seeds)
It’s crucial to ensure you are giving your body the essential ingredients it needs for proper digestion and absorption- I will suggest supplementation further down but you can be incorporating gut healthy foods into your day very easily. Sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, coconut yoghurt, tempeh, fermented veggies, apple cider vinegar, these are all brilliant additions you can add into your diet that will benefit you massively.
To support your new anti-inflammatory diet (This is the most important factor what you are and aren’t eating) it’s essential to provide the nutrients necessary to help the gut repair itself. One of my favourite supplements is L-glutamine, an amino acid that helps to rejuvenate the lining of the gut wall. I would also suggest a vitamin D, a zinc, some really good quality probiotics I like symprove every morning or reknew life and also some digestive enzymes.
Remember to also de stress and be aware of your surroundings damage to the gut can be casused from internal disruptions but also external.