Leaky Gut Syndrome is an autoimmune disease associated with your gut leaking toxins into your bloodstream and toxifying your body. This occurs after the gut has been injured by: stress, toxins, over the counter medications, antibiotics, or pathogens like parasites, bacteria, and yeast. It limits your absorption of nutrients and can cause weight gain, skin issues, low energy and even depression.
Autoimmunity happens when the body starts attacking its own healthy cells and tissues. The immune system starts overreacting and sends off inflammatory responses. Maybe you have a friend or family member with hashimoto’s or rheumatoid arthritis? These are all autoimmune disorders and work in a similar way. Other common examples are: Celiac, Graves Disease, Addison’s Disease, Lupus, and Multiple Sclerosis. “The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that 23.5 million Americans have an autoimmune disease”.1
What’s the connection? The intestine is like a twisting long water pipe that passes all of the food you eat from your mouth to your rear end. Along the path, the lining of this pipe is supposed to absorb the good stuff (water and nutrients), process, contain the bad and send it away. In the end when you go #2, you are excreting what the body deems waste. Imagine that this pipe has a bunch of holes that are leaking junk into your system while losing good nutrients! With all of these odd particles floating in the bloodstream, the body is confused and thinks “Something has invaded!”, and it goes into attack mode, which drains your energy further. Our body starts to make antigens to fight these intruders. Unfortunately the immune cells also start attacking the body’s tissues – anything from your guts to your thyroid and even your brain!
In addition to helping cure autoimmunity, healing leaky gut can contribute to healing a myriad symptoms like: food allergies and intolerances, depression, skin disorders like eczema and acne, weight issues, exhaustion, ADD/ADHD, and the list goes on and on.
What are the top things that “cause” leaky gut?
- Poor dietary choices (diet high in processed foods)
- Food sensitivities
- Toxic exposure and overload from the environment
- Infection – parasites, bacteria, viruses, yeasts (present due to compromised immunity or preexisting dysbiosis)
- Small Intestinal Bowel Overgrowth (SIBO)
- Medications and over the counter drugs
- Emotional stress
- Genetic predisposition
How do you know if you have leaky gut?
- You can assume you have some of it because everyone’s gut is a little leaky…. Take a look at the symptoms associated and take note.
- Take an Intestinal Permeability test. This involves drinking a sugar mixtures with 2 different sized indigestible sugar molecules. They are measured in the urine afterwards. The ratio of their presence in the urine is an indicator of permeability and absorption levels.
What are good ways to reverse leaky gut and strengthen your intestinal track?
- Eat a diet rich in whole, organic, non GMO, and unprocessed foods
- Eliminate inflammatory foods like grains, dairy, sugar, alcohol, etc.
- Ask your functional medicine practitioner for a mucosal building protocol based on your individual needs
- Take a food sensitivity test and eliminate those foods
- Find a natural alternative to your medications
- Screen for pathogens living in your intestine
- Have your levels of SigA measured
Any of these symptoms ring true? Do you have chronic low energy? Do you want to learn more about leaky gut? Ask your functional medicine practitioner if you would benefit from a pathogen screening test, leaky gut analysis, or a custom program to meet your needs.