Your gut barrier is a gateway to your body that controls and permits the absorption of helpful substances. A healthy gut barrier is tightly regulated, allowing only important nutrients to pass through and protecting the body from potentially harmful substances (toxins, food particles, unwanted organisms).
The gastrointestinal (GI) tract must continuously defend against such substances that, if allowed entry into the body, can promote inflammation to the gut barrier. Constant exposure to these substances and the resulting inflammation makes the walls of the intestines become vulnerable to intestinal permeability. This is what has been known as leaky gut syndrome.
With leaky gut syndrome, the tight junctions that hold the intestinal wall together become loose. While it is naturally semi-permeable, certain factors make the spaces between the gut cells larger, allowing unwanted substances to escape into our bloodstream. Factors that can contribute to leaky gut include:
Poor nutrition from overconsumption of processed, high-fat or high-sugar foods.
Not enough fiber or too much “pro-inflammatory” foods (gluten, grains, dairy, soy, alcohol)
Gut microbial imbalances from an overgrowth of unwanted bacteria
Yeast or parasite infection
Ingestion of toxins, including medications, heavy metals, pesticides, mycotoxins or microplastics.
LEAKY GUT AND AUTOIMMUNITY
As more and more unwanted substances make their way into the bloodstream, the immune system is always forced to attack. However, over time, the immune system will become overstressed, overworked, and function less effectively, to a point where our own tissues get caught up in the attack. This is known as autoimmunity. Put another way, your immune system fights off substances it sees as “bad”, but it's not always fool proof and it can target our own body’s cells. If left untreated, it can worsen symptoms and lead to further health complications.
HEALING YOUR GUT
Healing leaky gut starts with healthy nutrition and lifestyle factors, and targeted supplementation.
Glutamine can help to strengthen intestinal cells
Probiotics, with Saccharomyces boulardii to help fend off unwanted organisms and maintain normal microbial balance.
Immunoglobulins to help bind and remove harmful toxins from the gut barrier and boost immune function.
Phytonutrients to help calm inflammation in the gut lining
Digestive enzymes to help break down food particles and prevent triggering food sensitivities or immune responses.
Besides supplementation, there are also dietary changes to be made.
Remove gluten, dairy, or soy from your diet
Eat more whole, unprocessed foods, increase fruits and vegetables
Reduce stress levels with regular exercise and improved sleep
The road to gut healing can be back and forth, but ultimately the end result will be a reduction in symptoms. Improved digestion and skin, greater energy and mental clarity to name a few. By taking the steps to repairing your gut first and taking a more natural healing approach with functional medicine, you can feel like yourself again.
Leaky gut syndrome is a complex topic that requires careful consideration during treatment; which is why we have a structured program aimed at repairing and restoring the GI system. Learn more about our approach and get started on the program today. We look forward to working with you.