What is a Leaky Gut?
Leaky Gut: What Is It and How Do You Heal It
Perhaps you’ve heard of this newly emerging phenomenon if you follow health blogs or keep up with academic medical journals. However, in the off chance, this is your first time stumbling across this illness than more than likely, you’re asking yourself, and presumably guessing from its namesake alone, what leaky gut syndrome is. As the name suggests, leaky gut is an issue that stems from digestive tract problems. Understandably, our digestive system is responsible for converting sustenance into energy as well as expelling waste byproducts. Within our stomachs, food is broken down through the aid of stomach acid, which helps break down the food into absorbable nutrients or molecules. These molecules, in an optimally working digestive tract, are absorbed through the gut lining as intended by our bodies. The molecules then are absorbed into the bloodstream allowing for organs and tissues to receive nutrients to function correctly.
In the case of those suffering leaky gut, the gut lining, usually a very tight barrier, loses the ability to properly regulate what molecules are absorbed into the blood. Essentially, the gut loses the ability to break down food and distinguish between nutrients and harmful molecules like toxins and bacteria. The usually tight intestinal lining of the gut falters by loosening up; without a tight barrier in place, harmful molecules can slip by and be absorbed into the bloodstream where they travel throughout the body. These toxins and rogue molecules lead to inflammation and trigger reactions from the immune system as the body attempts to purge itself of foreign invading molecules. Consequently, this results in a variety of ailments people
experiencing leaky gut have. As the digestive system suffers from improper absorption, essential nutrients from foods are wasted, resulting in not only hormonal imbalances but a weakened immune system as well.
As these foreign molecules travel from the bloodstream to tissue and other organs, harmful effects begin to manifest that is symptomatic with the tell-tale signs of leaky gut syndrome.
How Do You Develop it?
There’s a reason why there’s an emphasis placed on enjoying a diverse and healthy diet. The constant over-consumption of highly processed foods, especially those high in sugar, have adverse effects on the body’s gut flora (crucial microbiotas that only recently are being
recognized for a wide range of positive health contributions in the body). Sugar weakens the gut lining’s ability to work as a tight barrier and causes harm to gut microbiota. Furthermore, alcohol in moderation is fine, but abusing it can as quickly contribute to the weakening of the gut lining.
Other harmful contributors are overusing NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen and experiencing chronic levels of stress.
Do I have Leaky Gut?
If any of those contributing factors possibly hit close to home, then the best way to identify whether or not you’re ailed by leaky gut is to recognize the top ten tell-tale signs:
- Constipation, chronic diarrhea, gassiness, and bloating
- Feelings of extreme fatigue though there have been no changes to lifestyle
- Nutrient deficiencies
- A weakened or compromised immune system
- Exacerbated mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or ADD
- Daily headaches or fogginess (trouble with recall)
- Dermal problems such as skin rashes, acne, and eczema
- Joint pain
- Extreme cravings for sugar and carbs
- Lastly, developing autoimmune diseases like Lupus or Crohns’
How to treat it
To resolve leaky gut syndrome and related symptoms, treatments begin with rebuilding and cleansing the gut lining; this rehabilitation of the gut lining is contingent on overhauling and changing one’s diet from either processed or inflammatory causing foods to more natural products. Cutting back on alcohol intake and the use of NSAIDS is also beneficial for the intestinal lining. In conjunction with improving diet and lifestyle, Vitality Aesthetics & Regenerative Medicine offers detox and cleansing options to rid the body of unwanted and harmful toxins that are leaking through the gut. Body-cleanses will work towards reversing the accumulated damages of leaked toxins throughout the body.