Leaking gut is a growing problem that is now affecting millions of people. Experts indicate that this is a growing problem and estimate that a significant population in the US has the condition. Not only does this condition cause gastrointestinal problems, but also has an impact on your cognitive ability and your body’s immune system.
Indeed, many researchers have concluded that the condition is responsible for many manifestations of illnesses such as thyroid disease and joint problems. People with the leaky gut syndrome often have low energy levels and report feeling constantly lethargic.
In many cases, the leaky gut syndrome affects your ability to think clearly which has an impact on productivity. Gastrointestinal conditions such irritable bowel syndrome have been identified as among the top causes of absenteeism in the workplace. It can cause physical and mental distress that prevents one from performing important day-to-day tasks.
The leaky gut syndrome can have a big impact on your quality of life. This article outlines all the important steps you need to take to treat the condition and improve your overall health.
What is the Leaky Gut Syndrome?
The leaky gut syndrome is a term used to describe a gastrointestinal condition that causes a lot of diseases and illnesses. The gut lining has a mechanism that acts as a sieve only allowing certain substances to pass through. When the gut’s capacity to perform this function is compromised certain substances can get into your system and can potentially trigger inflammation and a wide range of other health complications.
Some of the toxic substances that can pass through the lining include certain types of bacteria, gluten, unwanted chemicals, etc. When these substances get into the bloodstream through the intestinal lining they cause your immune system to react unfavorably.
Warning Signs and Symptoms
The leaky gut condition is not very easy to diagnose. It shares the many similar symptoms with other diseases. Scientists have still not fully understood how the gastrointestinal system works. However, there are symptoms and warning signs that could indicate you have the condition. They include:
- Joint pain
- Persistent stomach discomfort
- Food allergies
- Increase in weight
- Lethargy and fatigue
- Clouded thinking
If you find that you have any of these symptoms you should consider getting a leaky gut test. There are several types of tests you can take and they are designed to test specific factors such as the autoimmune response from leaky gut.
However, if you can’t take a test, you can still adopt some of the remedies proposed here. They include simple but effective ways to address the effects of a leaky gut. If you have any of the symptoms above, you should seek to understand what causes the condition and how to cure it or prevent it.
What Causes Leaky Gut?
- Chronic Stress: Mental conditions such anxiety and depression which causes stress can cause gastrointestinal disorders.
- Poor Diet: Certain foods such as unsupported grains, legumes, sugar and some commercial dairy products.
- Constipation: When you have chronic constipation it irritates the intestinal lining and eventually causes the barrier to give in and allow stool and other unwanted substances into the blood stream.
- Alcohol Abuse: Overconsumption of alcohol will affect the permeability of the lining. It inhibits hormones that prevent inflammation in the intestinal lining.
- NSAIDS: NSAIDS (Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) can also trigger the leaky gut syndrome especially if consumed excessively or for a long period of time.
- Beneficial Bacteria and Probiotics: Your gastrointestinal system has trillions of microorganisms. Some of these microorganisms are beneficial to your digestive system. Without these good bacteria, it is difficult for your body to maintain a healthy digestive system free from inflammation. Adopting a good diet will alleviate some of the symptoms.
Lectins and The Leaky Gut Syndrome
Lectins are chemical compounds found in plants that many species use as a mechanism to protect themselves from being eaten. These compounds do not cause any significant harm when taken by animals or humans. However, in large amounts, they can cause a wide range of health issues including the leaky gut condition.
Lectin is designed to cause irritation in the digestive system. Animals can be immune to the effects of a certain plant depending on how long it has evolved with the species.
A lot of grain that we take today is not designed for our digestive system. Many grains contain a significant amount of lectins that can lead to adverse effects in the gastrointestinal system. There are also new forms of wheat such as bread wheat which contain lectins that can cause the lining of the intestine to break.
Lectins are not designed to be digested by the body. They, therefore, cause an unfavorable autoimmune response. The body releases antibodies in an attempt to rid the body of the unwanted substance. Researchers have suggested that most of what was diagnosed as bacterial poisoning in the past, is actually lectin poisoning.
GMO grains are also another potential risk for leaky gut syndrome due to biochemical alteration. You should also consider quitting sugar if you are experiencing digestive problems. Sugar feeds the bad bacteria and damages your gut.
How Leaky Gut Affects Brain Function
The leaky gut syndrome causes many diseases and complications. Unfortunately, the condition also has a significant impact on our behavior and how we think. One of the symptoms of a leaky gut is clouded thinking.
Scientists now believe that the gastrointestinal system is more closely linked to the brain that was previously thought. Your gastrointestinal system is a series of neural tissues and neurotransmitters that act as a “second brain” that controls the complex digestive processes. They are more than 100 million neurons that control the movement of an intestinal muscle to push food, absorption of nutrients, and expulsion of toxic waste from the system.
When there are problems within these systems the second brain triggers an emotional response. This is probably why people with leaky gut syndrome experience clouded thinking. The sense of fatigue and lethargy that people with this condition get is also caused by anomalies between the brain and the gastrointestinal signaling system.
A good diet rich in probiotics, and fibers can, therefore, go a long way in keeping your mind sharp and boosting your brain function. Researchers have found that patients with gut conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome can benefit mentally and physically if they incorporate probiotics in their diet.
Researchers also believe that a good diet that promotes gut health can have a positive impact on patients dealing with autism. A study on animals with characteristics similar to autism showed that it helped to alleviate some symptoms and behavior abnormalities common with the condition.
Healing Leaky Gut
Fortunately, leaky gut can be cured. These are simple practical steps that include diet, lifestyle changes, and supplements. The steps outlined here are tested and scientifically backed methods to heal your gut and improve your quality of life.
- Remove unwanted foods that cause inflammation
- Replace with healthy food that promotes gut health
- Repair damage with supplements
- Restore your system with probiotics
Remove Unwanted Foods
The first step is to eliminate from your diet all the foods that may be causing problems for the gastrointestinal system. Sugar, grains, and legumes contain lectins which cause an autoimmune response. You should consider limiting the consumption of these foods or removing them from your diet completely.
You also need to keep an eye on conventional meat, commercial dairy products, and GMO foods. NSAIDS and antibiotics are also triggers that people with the condition should be aware of. Using NSAIDS for more than two weeks significantly increases your risk of developing a leaky gut condition.
Replace with Healthy Food
The next step is to replace your food with healthier options. Here are some of the best foods that can help alleviate symptoms of the condition.
- Bone Broth: Bone broth contains important proteins and amino acids such as collagen, glycine, and proline. These amino acids act as healing compounds that repair the cells on the ruptured intestinal lining. Bone broth contains important nutrients that support the immune system and facilitates a favorable inflammatory response by the body.
- Fermented Food: Fermented foods will introduce trillions of beneficial microorganisms into your system. They also limit the number of bad bacteria that taking over your digestive tract.
- Cultured Dairy; Dairy products that contain healthy cultures have probiotics that improve your gut function. You, however, need to note that not all dairy products contain these healthy cultures.
- Coconut Oil: Coconut oil will also be beneficial to people with gastrointestinal problems. They contain a chain of fatty acids which include lauric, caprylic, and capric acids which have antifungal and antiviral properties. Coconut kefir can promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your stomach. For the best results, you should ensure the coconut products are organic and the coconut oil should be extra virgin and cold pressed.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: This tonic contains important compounds that can facilitate the digestive processes. It has enzymes and organic acids that regulate inflammation in the body. It kills off bad bacteria and can prevent stomach ulcers. You can add apple cider vinegar to your meat and vegetable dishes.
- Sprouted Seeds: You should consider taking flaxseeds and chia seeds. They contain fiber that helps to increase the number of healthy bacteria in the body. These seeds contain omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids prevent inflammation and can facilitate the GI tracts healing process.
Repairing Damage with Supplements
There are many supplements that you can use to restore your system. Here are some of the most effective supplements you can use.
L-Glutamine: This is one of the most important supplements you should have if you want to heal your gut. It has been shown to be one of the key factors that preserve the intestinal lining. This amino acid is one compound that your gut needs to repair the damage. It is an anti-inflammatory agent that can also protect the cells in your gut from irritants, therefore, can prevent the risk of developing a leaky gut in future.
Quercetin: Quercetin is a flavonoid that has beneficial anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects. It protects the gut function by sealing it from the effects of substances released from adjacent cells.
Curcumin: Is a compound derived from turmeric. This compound is known for its anti-inflammatory and immune enhancing abilities. Its antioxidant mechanism helps to prevent cell and tissue damage which affects the permeability of the intestinal lining. Clinical trials show that it is effective in treating a leaky gut. You can gain by using turmeric to spice your foods, or supplement with 1000 to 2000mg of curcumin.
Digestive Enzymes: Digestive enzymes break down the food we eat so that it can be absorbed into the bloodstream. People with leaky gut can benefit by supplementing with digestive enzymes. When food is broken down into smaller compounds by the digestive enzymes it results in reduced irritation in the intestines. This helps to improve the healing process. The other benefit of digestive enzymes is that they remove toxins and damaged cell as they pass through your bloodstream and mucosal lining. Your body’s capacity to produce these enzymes can be affected by aging and by conditions such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease and other conditions that affect the GI tract.
Licorice Root: This is a herb with adaptogenic properties that help the body cope with environmental, mental, and physical stressors. The herb can heal the entire gastrointestinal system. It is particularly beneficial for people who have a leaky gut and are also experiencing emotional stress. People with high blood pressure or who respond negatively to starchy foods should seek the doctor’s advice.
Restore With Probiotics
Probiotics can help restore your system by facilitating the healing process and protecting your gut from harmful microorganisms. Probiotics support the digestive processes. This support helps to improve communication between the brain and the GI tract.
Probiotics perform other equally critical functions. They limit the growth of bad bacteria and yeast in the stomach, they boost the immune system and have a positive impact on overall physical and mental health.
They communicate with cells and signal them to protect the intestinal lining. They protect the mucous membrane using a similar mechanism. They break down harmful microorganisms and prevent immune system unfavorable inflammatory responses.
People supplementing with probiotics to treat the leaky gut syndrome usually notice positive effects within one month. Avoid taking too much as you can stress the system and cause unwanted effects. You should limit your intake to about 50 billion units per day.
Even as you take supplements and make the necessary dietary changes, you need to appreciate other factors that could be contributing to your problem. One of those factors is mental stress.
People who have stress or depression have a high risk of developing complications in the gastrointestinal tract. The gut and the brain can communicate back and forth. This means that when there are complications in the gut, the brain will be affected and vice versa.
When you experience stress frequently, your body releases hormones which can have unwanted effects on the body. These stress hormones can cause harmless microbes to turn and become pathogenic. It creates a situation where the body is more prone to infection.
You can manage stress using the following proven methods:
- Sleep: You need to ensure you are getting enough sleep. It is recommended that you should sleep for 7-8 hours a night to maintain your physical and mental health. Have a predictable routine to condition your body and mind and improve the quality of your sleep.
- Physical Exercise: Make a point of incorporating 30 minutes of exercise every day. Physical activity helps to regulate the stress hormones. You don’t have to go to the gym, you can take a walk in the park, skip rope, or stay indoors and dance to your favorite songs. Exercise also improves your capacity to handle stress in the future.
- Meditation: Meditation has immense benefits to your physical and mental health which is backed by decades of research. Mindfulness meditation is one of the simple techniques you can adopt to alleviate stress. It can prevent the risk of heart attacks and stroke by about 50%. Meditation also reduces the risk of getting cardiovascular diseases. There are many useful articles and tutorials that you can read if you want to start meditating.
- Journal: Another way to deal with stress is to keep a journal. This may sound like a simple technique but there is scientific proof to show that writing down your feelings can significantly boost your mind’s ability to regulate stress. By stating explicitly what you are feeling you improve your ability to deal with negative thoughts and emotions. You can write a journal every time you anticipate getting into a stressful situation.
You need to maintain healthy habits in order to treat and keep your gut healthy. The steps outlined in this article should help cure your gut and boost your overall mental and physical health.
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