Did you know your gut plays a vital role in the inner workings of your body? Not only does it break down the food we eat but uses the nutrients to support bodily functions including energy production, hormone balance, mental health and helps eliminate toxins and waste. Another important role your gut plays in keeping you healthy is with your immune system, as nearly 70 % of the immune system is found in the gut. All can be well when your gut is working properly, but sometimes the gut lining may have cracks or holes that can trigger unhealthy problems. This is called leaky gut.
What is a leaky gut?
The intestinal lining covers more than 4,000 square feet of surface area and if it is damaged, food particles, toxins and other bacteria can “leak” through to the blood stream. These substances when entering the blood, can cause an autoimmune response triggering inflammation and allergic reactions. According to recent research, these responses can also play a role in the development of many common chronic diseases including cancer and type 2 diabetes. While researchers continue to understand this relationship, they are uncovering how it plays a larger and more complex role.
What are the symptoms of a leaky gut?
There are many signs that can indicate a leaky gut, but here some of the most common ones:
Digestive system issues; gas, bloating, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Poor immune system
Seasonal allergies or asthma
Headaches, brain fog, memory loss
Skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or eczema
Mood and mind issues such as depression, anxiety, ADD or ADHD.
Arthritis or join pain
Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease or Crohn’s
What causes leaky gut?
There are multiple triggers that can lead to a leaky gut, but most commonly it is caused by diet. The standard American diet (SAD) is low in fiber and high in sugar and saturated fats. This factor, along with alcohol use and excessive stress, can disrupt the balance in the gut causing these symptoms. It can also be aggravated by certain medications including antibiotics, steroids, proton-pump inhibitors, and over-the-counter pain relievers.
What to do if you have leaky gut?
The first step is addressing your diet. There are plenty of supportive wellness practitioners who are knowledgeable about leaky gut; however, not all holistic practitioners have experience advising patients. Always check to see if your practitioner has experience. The book The Plant Paradox by Dr. Steven Gundry goes into detail about how leaky gut manifests, which foods and medications can cause it, and which foods can heal it. NAET (Nambudirpad’s Allergy Elimination Technique) is highly effective at reducing inflammation and food sensitivities associated with leaky gut, especially when paired with healthy, gut-healing nutrition.