Autoimmune diseases, allergies, depression, anxiety, cancer, and so many other health issues are much more common today than they were just fifty years ago, but why? There are several causes for the rise in chronic illness, but poor diet and exposure to environmental toxins are arguably the main reasons. Poor nutrition, continuous exposure to toxins in our food, air and water, and overuse of prescription and over-the-counter medications all contribute to a condition known as leaky gut syndrome. This is the name given to a condition in which the lining of the gut becomes permeable, allowing food particles and toxins to pass into the bloodstream which causes the body to mount an immune response. So many people struggle with this condition, but most have no idea.
An immune response might not sound like a bad thing, but leaky gut can cause a continuous immune response. Food particles, toxins, and other substances that you consume are meant to stay in your gut. Your body has a digestive lining that is supposed to only allow certain things to pass through, but this lining can become “stretched out”, allowing things to pass through into your bloodstream that were meant to stay in your gut. Your body recognizes these substances as invaders that it must get rid of, causing it to attack. When your immune system is constantly attacking something it can get end up getting “tired”, or it could lose its ability to differentiate between bad and good cells. This can lead to autoimmune problems as your body can no longer tell what is healthy tissue, so it may begin attacking healthy tissue like the thyroid gland, joints, etc.
Food particles that manage to get through the gut lining are also recognized as invaders, and the immune response can come in the form of allergies to certain foods. This is how leaky gut is linked to allergies, and it may help explain the sharp increase in food allergies/sensitivities in recent years. Leaky gut can also lead to poor nutrient absorption, making it difficult for your body to break down and absorb vitamins, minerals, and other vital nutrients.
Leaky gut can cause many different symptoms, and they may mimic the symptoms of other illnesses. Often times, people are diagnosed and treated for an issue that leaky gut actually caused. Leaky gut is often mistaken for IBS or other digestive problems due to the overlapping symptoms, and IBS often does not get better until leaky gut is addressed. This is why it is necessary to identify the root cause of your issues so you can truly heal them, instead of just managing the symptoms.
Leaky gut can cause many symptoms like fatigue, headaches, eczema, acne, weight gain, digestive problems, bloating, food allergies, and many others. If leaky gut is left untreated it can worsen and contribute to more severe problems like autoimmune diseases, IBS and many others.
Leaky gut is treatable, but you have to be dedicated and consistent. The first step is to eliminate foods and drinks from your diet that contribute to leaky gut and inflammation. This includes grains (especially the gluten-containing grains wheat, barley, triticale, some oats, and rye), conventional dairy products as in dairy products you find in a typical grocery store, sugar, GMO products, non-organic produce, and processed food. You should drink mostly water and unsweet tea (no soda), but you should consider the quality of your water. Tap water typically contains heavy metals, chlorine, fluoride, and even antibiotics and other medications that were unable to be filtered out. These and other harmful substances found in tap water should be eliminated, so investing in a high-quality water filter or finding a source of clean water is important.
After eliminating these foods and drinks, you should replace them with nutrient-rich and easy-to-digest foods and liquids like organic fruit, cooked organic vegetables (raw vegetables are usually harder to digest), bone broth, fermented vegetables, good fats like olive oil and coconut oil, grass-fed meats, and wild-caught fish. These foods are an important of a healthy diet, but they are essential when trying to heal leaky gut.
Recovering from leaky gut is possible, so try eliminating these foods and adding in the good ones. Give these supplements a try, and see how much better you feel!