Anyone with any digestive issues is almost certainly suffering from Leaky Gut (also known as Intestinal Hyperpermeability), a condition where the walls of the intestines literally become leaky allowing partially digested food particles and pathogens to leak into the blood stream and travel around the body (usually leaving a wake of destruction).
Seemingly unrelated symptoms can be caused by Leaky Gut for the very reason that the blood is transporting things it shouldn’t all around the body!
So just what are some of the signs that you might be suffering from leaky gut (apart from the obvious digestive related ones)?
If you’ve been able to eat whatever you liked most of your life and suddenly experiencing sensitivities and intolerances, then it’s a pretty sure sign that leaky gut is at play. Skin rashes, headaches, migraines, itchy skin, acne and rosacea are just some of the symptoms people with food sensitivities will experience.
These sensitivities arise as a result of toxins from the gut circulating in the blood causing the immune system to produce antibodies which may make them more susceptible to antigens in certain foods.
Gluten and dairy are common culprits, as are nuts and seafood.
A simple food allergy test can help to diagnose the culprit/s then, once diagnosed, you must eliminate these foods from your diet whilst we seal and heal your gut lining. The good news is in most cases the foods can be reintroduced – this is best done under the guidance of a nutritionist or dietitian to avoid a relapse.
A leaky gut is usually a result of dysbiosis of the gut (an overgrowth and imbalance of bad bacteria). Everyone has a combination of good and bad bacteria in their guts, and under normal circumstances these gut bacteria can live together harmoniously.
The problem arises when the bad bacteria start to proliferate at the expense of the good bacteria. We then start to see all sorts of digestive complaints as well as those that are seemingly unrelated.
Mood issues are one of those that seem unrelated, until you dig a little deeper.
Western Science is only now becoming aware of the connection between the gut and the mind, and some refer now to the gut as the ‘second brain’.
These good bacteria dictate whether we are healthy, or not.
One of the most important functions of these good bacteria is the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which determine our mood. But there’s a secondary mechanism also at play with people presenting with leaky gut, and this is the production of inflammatory cytokines that travel via the blood stream to the brain causing all sorts of mood disorders, including depression and even autism.
If you have been experiencing persistent low moods or brain fog then there is a fair chance you are suffering from leaky gut.
Our skin is our largest organ and main detox pathway, so when there are toxins and bacteria circulating in our blood stream then the first place we will usually notice it is in the health of skin.
Acne, eczema, rosacea and psoriasis are just some of the types of imbalance we can experience when our gut lining has become leaky, and toxins, bacteria and partially digested food particles begin circulating through the blood stream.
As Hippocrates so wisely said so many centuries ago ‘All disease begins in the gut’. If you’ve tried everything to improve your skin then it’s certainly worthwhile looking to seal and heal the gut. For guidance on a 2 week Seal & Heal program follow the prompts on my website to book an appointment.
Once your gut becomes leaky and toxins, bacteria and partially digested food particles start circulating in the bloodstream, the immune system labels them as invaders which triggers an inflammatory immune response to get rid of them.
The leakier your gut becomes, the more pathogens circulate, and the more your immune system will respond.
Eventually, over time, the immune system becomes so overworked that it begins to over-attack and healthy tissues unfortunately become targets. It also produces antibodies to these toxins because it recognises them as foreign particles. As some of these foreign invaders look similar to your own cells, the immune system gets confused and attacks healthy tissues. This is known as auto-immune disease, characterised by the body effectively attacking itself.
Just how autoimmune conditions manifest in the body depends on which tissues are being attacked;
- Joints – rheumatoid arthritis
- Thyroid gland – Hashimoto’s or Grave’s
- Gut – Chron’s or colitis
Until we heal the gut and repair the lining, the body will continue to attack itself. If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, whilst it is quite confronting news, there is a lot we can do to repair the body and restore the immune response.
Poor immune system
The gut is the host to 70% of our immune system. Therefore, when our gut flora is out of balance, we are more susceptible to colds and flu as well as more serious and lingering conditions.
Research has shown that the good bacteria in our gut trains our immune system from an early age. How you were born plays a key role in how strong your gut flora is. If you were born via a natural vaginal birth, then your body will have been covered in your mother’s good bacteria as you transitioned from the womb. It doesn’t sound appealing, but the fact is these good bacteria formed the foundation for the gut microbiome you currently house! Studies are now finding that babies born via caesarean section have compromised gut health because they didn’t get the healthy bacteria from their Mum.
If you were breastfed, again you have a stronger chance of developing a strong gut microbiome and in turn a strong immune system.
But don’t despair, if you were born via caesarean and formula fed then there are still lots of ways you can improve your gut health and seal a leaky gut!
If you suspect you may be one of the 3 out of 4 people suffering leaky gut then head to my website to book yourself in for an introductory consultation: nikkiwood.com.au