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.
Susanne Jakubowski is a holistic nutritionist, yoga teacher, Thai Yoga Therapist, and cancer survivor.