What causes your gut lining to destruct?
Medical professionals are still trying to figure out what causes leaky gut. What we know is that a protein called zonulin is a regulator of intestinal permeability and when it is released into the gut it can lead to destruction of the gut lining. It pokes holes in it allowing toxins to seep into our blood.. If gluten or bad bacteria are added into the mix this disintegration of the lining may be more severe. It is believed this process is more likely to happen if you have a genetic predisposition to this process or have celiac or irritable bowel, but does happen to everyone if the lining is continually attacked.
As always, it is never one thing that causes imbalance in the body. It is believed that the following factors play a role in destroying our gut lining and poor digestive health:
Dysbiosis - a bacterial imbalance in the gut or more specifically the gut microbes. Too many harmful bugs and not enough helpful bugs exist. This can be a result of many factors but the use of antibiotics is a main factor.
Food/nutrition - a diet consisting of proteins that are found in unsprouted grains such as gluten, corn, soy and oats irritate the lining of our stomach. Dairy, GMO foods and sugars do the same.
Processed, fast or junk foods are filled with sugars, corn, soy and grains that are detrimental to your gut microbiome and your overall health. They also contain chemicals and pesticides that are foreign to our body resulting in inflammation.
Stress is always a causal factor in illness as it weakens our immune response. Harmful bacteria and viruses invade our body during these times.
Refined vegetable oils - now thought to be even more hazardous to our health then sugar due to their toxicity levels. Vegetable oils are mostly rancid by the time they get to your table or into your food. They are highly processed, are high in omega 6’s, and create free radicals in the body all of which triggers the body to produce pro-inflammatory chemicals leading to illness.
Artificial anything but particularly artificial sweeteners.
Gluten - grains such as barley, rye, bulgur, seitan, oats, spelt, kamut, contain gluten and are a main contributor to inflammation and disease. Everyday we are learning more about its detrimental effects.
Toxins by way of food, household and beauty products Your skin is the largest organ in your body. Whatever you lather on ends up being processed by your liver and kidneys.
Pesticides, GMO foods and non-organic foods.
Nutrient deficiencies - the majority of individuals are in some state of deficiency especially if you have health issues. In this state the body does not have the tools to repair itself or fight against the constant attack by toxins and irritants.
Common drugs are one of the biggest causes of leaky gut including antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, acetaminophen and aspirin, oral contraceptives, chemotherapy drugs, and proton pump inhibitors (PPI) also known as acid reflux medications. As it turns out, these pills for the tummy do way more harm than good and are ineffective after long term use.
As outlined here, there are many causes of leaky gut! I wonder how our gut even has a chance. However, let me tell you, you can restore your gut! I have done it and I have helped many clients do it but you must be willing to make changes in your diet and lifestyle. If you are not sure it is worth it, you are so wrong. There is nothing more important than your gut health. It affects every aspect of your existence from your physical, mental and spiritual life.
Do You Have a Leaky Gut?
Do you have a leaky gut? We have been told by many experts that all disease starts in the gut and that the health of our gut microbiome (the amount of good versus bad bugs) is the key to our mental and physical health but most mainstream medical professionals do not recognize leaky gut as a condition even though there is scientific evidence to support its existence.
Leaky gut is often referred to as a condition of “ increased intestinal permeability”. It involves bacteria and toxins being able to leak through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. This happens when the tight junctions of the wall becomes loose allowing the leakage to occur and resulting in inflammation
When asked about digestion, many of my clients deny any issues but on a further examination we see that the symptoms of a leaky gut exist. Their symptoms are gas, bloating, food sensitivities, digestive issues such as heartburn, constipation or loose stools, and skin issues. If you have any auto-immune conditions, migraines, thyroid abnormalities, mental health issues, skin conditions or food sensitivities you have a leaky gut.
Do you have a leaky gut? Ask yourself:
If you have digestive distress include gas, bloating, heartburn, indigestion, constipation or loose stools.
If you have recurrent vaginal or bladder infections.
If you have skin rashes including eczema, or psoriasis.
If you have seasonal allergies or asthmatic symptoms.
If you have any auto-immune condition like chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, lupus, arthritis.
If you have candida or yeast overgrowth (fungal) infection.
If you have hormonal imbalances like PMS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
If you have mental health issues including anxiety, depression and irritability.
If you have an intolerance to consumed fats.
If you see undigested foods in your stool. You can do a transit time test by eating corn, which does not digest and mark the time of the first residue and the last residue. Long transit time indicates poor digestion.
If you have smelly bowel movements - your stools should not smell after immediately releasing into the bowl.
If you have a weak immune system and are always catching colds and flu.
If you have any of these conditions your health may depend on fixing or at least improving your gut.
In my next blog I will outline what is ruining your gut lining and how to fix it. In the meantime, keep a bowel movement journal. Track what you ate, your mood after consumption and what your stools looked like that day. It will help you understand your condition and where you need to make improvements.
Please share and stay tuned for more on gut health.
Susanne Jakubowski is a holistic nutritionist, yoga teacher, Thai Yoga Therapist, and cancer survivor.