• Caroline O'Hagan

Leaky gut. It's Exactly what it sounds like...

Updated: Sep 20, 2018

In recent years, a new understanding about the digestive system has come to light. It is no longer just considered to be just where food goes in, gets churned up and comes out, now it is known to be a significant player in our protection against pathogens and bacterias, as well as being inextricably linked to the brain - the enteric nervous system is a relatively new discovery, but was discovered as the missing link between what we eat and our health - especially our mental health.

Not my image - Credit to https://juicing-for-health.com/how-to-heal-leaky-gut

Intestinal permeability or "Leaky gut" occurs when the tight Junction cells that make up the lining of your digestive tract or mucosa, begin to malfunction and break down causing tiny gaps or holes. Undigested food, bacteria and essentially toxic waste can then leak through these holes and enter the blood stream. In a person with significant health problems like multiple organ failures it can be seen that their gut mucosal lining is severely impaired. Links have been found to many chronic diseases such as IBS, chronic fatigue syndrome, ulcers, allergies, inflammatory bowel diseases, heart failure, inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, skin conditions, mental health issues, autoimmune diseases and metabolic syndromes among many others. Nutrient malabsorption, the leakage of wastes and toxins into the blood stream, and pathogens entering the circulation through contaminated food are all culprits. Harvard Medical school published this article about leaky gut last year. Here is another academic article about intestinal permeability and its connection to autoimmune diseases.

So what causes Leaky gut? There are likely to be many factors involved in the development of Intestinal permeability, including genetics, lifestyle choices such as poor diet, alcohol consumption, and lack of exercise, as well as other theories that researchers are still working on, so watch this space! Overuse of antibiotics, pain medications such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, and other prescription medications are also likely culprits.

Each time you take a course of antibiotics, they may or may not eradicate the suspected harmful bacteria in your gut, but they definitely will damage and possibly eradicate the good bacteria that usually live in your digestive system, protecting your gut mucosa from harm... such as what occurs to cause leaky gut syndrome.

In the meantime, the good news is that it is possible to undo the damage, repair the leaks and repopulate your digestive system with healthy bacteria who will protect you from all sorts, if you treat them right! Even if you don't have any of the symptoms or conditions listed above, it is likely that you have some level of impairment to your mucosal lining - most people do until they realise and begin to undo the damage.

A combination of good foods, fermented foods and drinks, probiotics and some supplements and herbs to repair the damage done to your gut lining, along with a reduction of inflammatory foods and substances such as refined sugars, trans fats, alcohol, caffeine and possibly wheat and dairy depending on your personal needs and conditions, can heal your gut lining and restore your health - thought it will take time.

There are so many considerations when healing the gut, and a professional opinion (like mine!) is always advisable. Buying some kombucha and a bottle of probiotics isn't going to be enough on its own, and can be discouraging if you don't see the results you are hoping for. Talk to me about how we can get you on the path to wellness again!

Book a consultation today and let the healing begin!!

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