Articles, Blog

Understanding Leaky Gut Syndrome

September 2, 2019


– The wide world of wellness. So many topics, so much information and sometimes misinformation. We’re going to explore the complicated and sometimes confusing
trends in wellness. Welcome to How Wellness Works. (upbeat music) Today, we’ll be talking
about leaky gut syndrome, what it is and how to address it. Leaky gut also known as
increased intestinal permeability or intestinal hyperpermeability
is a condition in which the tight junctions
between the intestinal cells in the gastrointestinal
tract tend to weaken. In a healthy individual,
cells that make up the intestinal lining form a
selectively permeable barrier that allows the body to
absorb water and nutrients from food during the digestive process. This provides us with
the nutrients we need to survive and thrive,
but also acts as a defense from potentially harmful pathogens. A degree of permeability is
both normal and necessary. However, when these tight junctions between the intestinal
cells weaken and get, well, wider in a sense,
resulting in increased intestinal permeability,
this may allow entry of potentially harmful substances, like partially digested
food, toxins, bacteria, and other pathogens right
into the bloodstream, hence the name, leaky gut. When these substances pass through the single-cell thick intestinal layer, they meet the immune
system on the other side, resulting in a wide variety of symptoms, including, but certainly limited to, food sensitivities, digestive issues such as chronic constipation or diarrhea, nutrient malabsorption,
inflammatory skin conditions, cognitive issues such as memory problems or brain fog, fatigue,
headaches, joint pain, and even autoimmune diseases. While leaky gut syndrome is well-known in the naturopathic and
integrative medical field, the condition has yet to be recognized in conventional practice. And you are still unlikely to hear the term used in your MD’s office. However, we are now seeing
new research emerging indicating a relationship
between increased intestinal permeability and a
number of health conditions. These include irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases
such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, Celiac disease, chronic inflammatory
conditions like arthritis, obesity, and Type One diabetes. What causes leaky gut and
what can we do about it? While genetic predisposition
may play a role, several other factors
that may affect gut health and contribute to increased
intestinal permeability are things like irritants
including certain foods or components of food
like gluten, which is a protein found in wheat
and some other grains, also, certain medications like NSAIDs, acid blocking medications
or immunosuppressants, excessive alcohol consumption
or excessive antibiotic use. There’s other things like
environmental toxins, a poor diet, nutrient
deficiencies, infections including bacterial,
viral, yeast infections, and poor gut health or
bacterial imbalances. And of course, there’s also chronic or excessive stress that
may contribute to this. The good news is apart from genetics, many of these factors are
totally within our control. And the best way to
address the leaky gut is to follow the four Rs. You wanna remove, replace,
reinnoculate, and repair. So first, remove pathogens
and inflammatory triggers. Removing things like
parasites, yeast or bacteria may involve treatment with medications, antibiotics, and anti-microbial
herbs and supplements. It is also important to
remove inflammatory foods such as processed foods,
refined carbohydrates and sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and potential foods sensitivities. If you’re not sure what’s
causing a reaction, an IgG or IgA food sensitivity test, or an elimination diet
can help you uncover any potential food sensitivities
for each individual. Replace, replace with essential nutrients to reduce inflammation and
support digestive health. Nutrient-rich vegetables and fruits, anti-inflammatory herbs and spices, sprouted seeds and legumes, bone broth, wild-caught fish, consume
plenty of high-fiber foods to support digestive health as well. Supplements to support
proper digestion include digestive enzymes, hydrochloric
acid, and bile acids. All right, and then there’s reinnoculate. You’ve gotta reinnoculate
with beneficial bacteria. Probiotics can help
ensure a healthy balance of intestinal flora, that’s
the bacteria in your gut. Try including fermented foods in your diet like yogurt or kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha, which
all contain probiotics. And then our final R is repair
with gut healing ingredients. Ingredients that can
help soothe and repair your GI tract include zinc carnosine, L-glutamine, arabinogalactan,
omega-3 fish oils, vitamin A, C, and E and
herbs such as aloe vera, deglycerized licorice,
something known as DGL, slippery elm and marshmallow
root can also be beneficial. You think you have leaky gut? There’s actually zonulin
and lactulose tests that may be able to provide some answers. Consider seeing an integrative
health practitioner to help determine the
cause of your symptoms and provide the best treatment options. Also, if you’re experiencing
this, certainly like this post and comment below ’cause we’re gonna keep
this conversation going. (upbeat music)

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