Intestinal Permeability…What the Hell(th)!
So, you’ve been feeling under the weather lately. Tired and bloated (especially after meals), suffer from gastroesophageal reflux (better known as GERD), experience brain fog or memory loss. And your eczema/acne is really cramping your style! You crave sugar/carbs and you feel as though you’ve been tired nay exhausted since 2003. Your joints are stiff, aching and don’t even get me started on the daily headaches! You might just pass it off as “getting old” or “I’ve always been like this” Maybe you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s, Rheumatoid Arthrtis, Coeliac disease or another autoimmune disease. Sound familiar? Put down the Neurofen and step away from the donut, we need to talk about Intestinal Permeability!
What is Intestinal Permeability?
Intestinal Permeability a.k.a Leaky Gut, is when the usually tight junctions of the gut wall become compromised allowing for proteins, toxins, undigested food particles and other pathogens like bacteria, yeast and parasites (gross) to sneak through the gut wall and into the blood stream. This sets off an immune response, activating the immune system to seek and destroy (or remove but that sounds far less bad ass) the toxins. Overtime intestinal permeability leads to increased food sensitivities, especially to gluten, dairy and soy. A compromised immune system resulting in allergies, asthma, eczema. Nutrient malabsorption; vitamins D, K, B12, magnesium (which opens up a whole other can of worms) and increased risk for autoimmune diseases including Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
What causes intestinal permeability?
The majority of the population is suffering from intestinal permeability to some extent. Some of the common causes of include antibiotics, birth control, stress, highly processed foods, excess consumption of refined sugar (chocolate, lollies, donuts, soda, I’m looking at you!), artificial sweetener (“don’t get mad, get Equal”…or get mad because the Aspartame destroyed your gut), alcohol, caffeine (it pains me to write this because coffee is my soul mate, so as a disclaimer I’ll say excessive caffeine and we’ll blame it on coke and energy drinks because they combine caffeine and sugar, double whammy), food sensitivities, NSAIDs (neurofen, ibuprofen, anti-inflammatories) and a whole bunch of other things we ingest/encounter in everyday life, like fluoride & chlorine in our drinking water!
Can I fix my leaky gut?
Feeling rubbish is just the start. If we ignore the signs and symptoms of intestinal permeability or put a bandaid on it (prescription medication, special shout out to one of the most prescribed drugs in western medicine, Nexium), studies have shown Intestinal Permeability may be associated with serious diseases including Alzheimers, Type 1 Diabetes, Dementia, Chronic Fatigue, Asthma, Mental illness and certain types of Cancer.
But all is not lost wellness warriors; you can heal and reverse the symptoms of Leaky Gut with some simple lifestyle changes!
First things First
Cut back on inflammatory foods; dairy, gluten, highly processed foods and refined sugars.
Limit caffeine & alcohol (it's not for ever, I promise)
Increase green, leafy and cruciferous vegetables including broccoli which is high in Sulforaphane, an antioxidant that protects the gastrointestinal tract, reduces inflammation and supports liver detoxification.
Get rid of chemicals; artificial sweeteners, NSAIDs and invest in a good water filter.
Incorporate some stress reducing techniques into your day (yoga, meditation) and aim for 8 hours of sleep per night.
It may be helpful to seek professional advice to identify food sensitives, heal and seal the gut and then introduce a quality probiotic to restore your microbiome.
If you have suffer from any of the symptoms above or have any questions please feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m here to help.