Why is supporting my gut important?
- An intact intestinal mucosa acts as both the barrier to a hostile environment and transport mechanism
- It produces ¾ of your body’s neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, GABA and norepinephrine, which are key brain mood regulators to support mental well-being
- Contains over 2/3’s of the body’s immune tissue
- Has greater metabolic activity than the liver
- More than 70% of Americans have gut or gut-related symptoms of diseases related to a dysfunctional gut
The bottom line: The most effective clinical outcomes across all diseases can result from normalizing the gut function.
What can cause a leaky gut?
- Genetic pre-disposition, eg., to celiac disease
- Environmental factors, eg., toxin exposure, poor dietary choices
- Infections, dysbiosis (having an imbalance of good vs. bad bacteria (microbiome) that supports a healthy gut)
- Nutrient insufficiencies
- Medications (eg., NSAIDs, antibiotics, etc.)
- Low stomach acid
- Food sensitivities and allergies
- Immune activation
The bottom line: Alone or in combination, chronic exposure to these can cause leaky gut and increase your risk for disease.
What happens if my gut mucosa is no longer intact?
- A leaky gut can result from both damaged villi in the gut mucosa and cell junctions
- This can allow particles which normally are prevented from going through the mucosa, to leak out of the gut and get into your blood stream
- A leaky gut results in inflammation and activates your immune system
What kinds of diseases or conditions may be linked to a leaky gut?
- A chronic leaky gut can lead to autoimmune disease (eg., Rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Fibromyalgia, Diabetes, Parkinson’s)
- Gut diseases or conditions like celiac, ulcerative colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Small Bacterial Intestinal Overgrowth (SIBO)
- Inflammatory skin
- Mental diseases, Alzheimer’s
How would I know if my gut may be leaky?
- Weight gain
- Weak immune system
- Depression/Mood swings
- Brain Fog
- Lab tests (eg., Zonulin or lactulose tests, IgG food intolerance test, stool tests, lactulose mannitol test)
What can I do to keep my gut healthy or to address a leaky gut?
- Understand your and your family history of disease
- Eat whole foods and eliminate processed foods
- Eat organic
- Get enough fiber in your diet
- Avoid foods where you have food sensitivities or allergies (gluten and dairy are common triggers)
- Minimize alcohol consumption
- Reduce refined sugar intake
- Avoid exposure to toxins
- Promote relaxation to reduce stress and get adequate sleep and rest
- Eat healing foods such as bone broth, healing herbs/spices, omega-3 fatty acids, pre-biotic rich foods, fermented foods as your condition allows and provider recommends.
- Use/take supplements, essential oils, digestive enzymes as directed by your provider
- Work with your functional medicine provider, dietician, and coach to get your body back on track to address or to address causal factors, reduce symptoms, heal a leaky gut, and restore the balance of gut bacteria (a healthy microbiome). A specific food plan may be recommended.
The Bottom line: You have the power to chose to work on keeping yourself healthy and/or to address a leaky gut. If you develop a disease, where a leaky gut is a factor, it’s not too late to work on your gut!