Leaky Gut :Your Immunity Depends On It !

leaky gut

“All Disease start in the gut”

Hippocrates

What is a leaky gut syndrome?

Our gut  is a barrier between the outside environment and the body. Our small intestine has a mucus lining that allows particles to be absorbed by the body into the bloodstream. In the small intestine nutrients are absorbed through a semi-permeable lining or hair like structures of the intestinal wall.  The lining of the intestine regulates what gets in or out of the body. When you have a leaky gut syndrome this regulation is lost and your intestinal lining becomes permeable which means anything will be able to get in or out , the stomach lining is damaged. Impaired digestion  leads to an excessively permeable or “leaky” gut. The  bacteria in the intestine, during the process of digesting the food will produce toxic chemicals and gas. These toxins, are called endotoxins which can damage the mucus lining which results in increased intestinal permeability. Over time the lining of the intestine erodes because of these toxins. This is called a leaky gut syndrome.

Why is important to cure a leaky gut?

A healthy gut prevents the undigested food protein or other toxins from being absorbed by the blood stream. But when this lining is damaged, these undigested food proteins create holes in the small intestine allowing all the toxins from food, micro-organisms, and other allergens leak through the mucus lining into the bloodstream, making us sick. The lining of your stomach is very important, because about more than 50% of your immune system is located in your gut. Leaky gut can cause the foods that are normally harmless, to leak into the blood stream and cause the allergic reaction, because the body perceives it as threat. It is important to heal the leaky gut to heal this auto-immune response. Did you know that stomach is actually known as the second brain, because 95% of serotonin is produced in the gut. When you have a leaky gut, the balance of serotonin is disturbed which can cause depression and eating disorders. To heal depression, or even if you have a hard time losing weight,  healing your leaky gut will help these conditions. Leaky gut makes it difficult for certain vitamins and minerals to be absorbed in the blood stream which can cause nutritional deficiencies.  Food or airborne allergies are also the caused by leaky gut. When the germs enter the nasal passages, they travel through your intestine where they are supposed to be destroyed by the acid in your stomach. But if you have leaky gut, these germs will enter your blood stream through your stomach lining making you sick.

Children with leaky gut:

Research suggests that leaky gut in kids have also known to cause Attention deficit disorder (ADD) and ADHD. Dr. Michael R. Lyon, MD who is a  medical researcher and the Director of Education and Research at the Functional Medicine Research Institute on Vancouver Island, Canada, is an internationally recognized authority on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)  tested 75 kids with ADHD found that these kids had little or no friendly bacteria in their gut. 80% of the kids with behavioral or cognitive problems had weakened immune system and 1/3 of these kids had overgrowth of yeast in their gut. Improving a leaky gut can also improve the instances of allergies and asthma in kids.

Relation between leaky gut, fatty liver and immunity:

When the toxins make their way through the barrier of small intestine because of the leaky gut, liver is the first stop for these toxins. Here the liver tries to detoxify by trying to eliminate these toxins. Leaky gut makes the liver overloaded with these toxins and it eventually becomes impossible for the liver to get rid of these toxins. These toxins then get recirculated through bile juices in the body, making the leaky gut worse. Because our body gets exposed to so many toxins combined with our liver not being able to detoxify, it becomes very difficult for our body to ward of infection. As a result our body malfunctions and immunity weakens.

What are the causes of leaky gut syndrome?     
leaky gut
  • Stress
  • Processed foods
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Bacteria and other parasites
  • Enzyme deficiency
  • Allergic foods allergies and sensitivities causing inflammation
  • Environmental toxins
  • Some prescription medicines like antibiotics, steroids
  • NSAID pain relievers, anti-acids
What are the symptoms of leaky gut?
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Stomach pain
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Heartburn
  • Skin rashes
  • Migraine headaches
  • Increased or low appetite
  • Brain fog
Conditions related to Leaky gut:
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Acne
  • Arthritis
  • ADD
  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Candida yeast
  • Asthma
  • Mental fog
  • Mood disorders
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Lupus
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Food allergies and sensitivities
How is leaky gut diagnosed and what is the medical treatment for it?

Medical community does not recognize the symptom of leaky gut. Therefore there is no standard medical treatment for leaky gut. According to conventional medicine, there is a treatment from conditions related to leaky gut is in forms of medicine and surgery. However there are some practitioners who perform a test which measure the permeability of the gut wall. This test is called the Intestinal Permeability Assessment. During this assessment, a pre measured amount of two kinds of sugars  lactulose and mannitol is given in form of liquid. Your body cannot metabolize these sugars and therefore they are disposed off in the urine. After six hours the urine sample collected shows the amount of sugars in the urine, which reflects the permeability of the intestine and can diagnose a leaky gut.

Healing leaky gut: 

We know that we are going to face these pathogens everywhere and we cannot escape them. Healing your leaky gut becomes of utmost importance. So the question is how to cure a leaky gut, well there are some things you can do to help heal your gut.

Changes in diet and healing foods for leaky gut :
  • Follow an anti-inflammatory diet for six weeks by avoiding common allergens like gluten, dairy, peanuts, soy.
  • Avoid food with additives and processed foods.
  • Eating fermented foods like Kefir, Yogurt, Kimchi, And other fermented vegetables help too.
  • Include more soluble and insoluble fiber in your diet.
  • Drink fermented tea like oolong tea.
  • Eat  miso soup for breakfast and sauerkraut as these are fermented foods.
  • Eat foods to detoxify your liver.
  • Eat alkaline foods and limit eating acidic foods.
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Exercise
  • Reduce stress through meditation and supplements.
Vitamins and Supplements for a leaky gut:
  • Digestive Enzymes
  • Probiotics and prebiotic
  • Glutamine
  • Gamma linolenic acid
  • Selenium
  • (MSM) methylsulfonylmethane
  • Omega-3 to reduce inflammation.
  • N-acetyl cysteine
  • Vitamin A (beta-carotene), C and E.
  • Take fiber supplements like glucomannan, psyllium husk
  • ALA or alpha lipoic acid
  • Zinc
Some alternative remedies:
  • Slippery Elm
  • Marshmallow root
  • Licorice or DGL chewables.
  • Milk Thistle
  • Dandelion
  • Cat’s claw
  • Ginkgo biloba

Sources:

Leaky Gut Image credit: artisticco / 123RF Stock Photo

Research at NIH

http://news.emory.edu/stories/2012/09/immune_system_compensates_for_leaky_gut/index.html

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