Leaky gut is a hot topic these days and I think it’s a good thing. The medical term for leaky gut is intestinal permeability. When I was first diagnosed with Celiac disease back in 2008, I also had severe intestinal permeability. This was all before I went to school to do what I am doing now, so when I heard the term, “Celiac disease” followed by, “you have leaky gut,” I was, let’s just say, sort of grossed out by the whole thing. Me being a curious cat, I asked how the heck I ended up with these two things at once! When did all of this start? That’s what jump-started me into my years of research, healing and now practicing functional nutrition to help those who, like myself, had no idea why they were feeling so bad all the time.
If you read last week’s blog, you are aware of the importance of gut health. The gut is the pathway from the outside world to the inside world and if that inside world is not ready to fight off some things from the outside world, it puts you at a higher risk for autoimmune diseases.
Autoimmune diseases start as leaky gut, aka, intestinal permeability. There are 3 factors that determine risk, your genes, environmental triggers and intestinal permeability. If you aren’t aware, foods are the primary cause of genes turning themselves on and turning themselves off. Environmental triggers are food and chemicals that you are ingesting into your gut. IF you are eating foods that contain large amounts of chemicals and additives that you cannot pronounce, they are more than likely turning on those mutated genes, causing a slow and steady level of inflammation. At the same time, you are exposing your entire body to these foreign items that will, in turn, cause your gut to become inflamed.
Inside of our intestines is where all of the absorption takes place from the foods that you eat. IF you gut is irritated, things start to get a little loose in there. So, for example, we have these little shag carpet like things that line our intestines called micro-vili. In between the micro-vili at each junction, it’s covered with what looks like cheese cloth. If we eat things that are foreign, take a lot of anti-inflammatories, have been on antibiotics several times, have uncontrolled stress and unknown nutrient deficiencies, this cheese cloth tears. When the cheese cloth tears, it lets macro molecules into your blood stream. When these macro molecules enter the blood stream, genes are turned on and turned off. Usually the one that gets turned on is the inflammatory gene, which triggers your immune system to go into over drive. This, in turn, puts more gas in the fire that doesn’t need to be there. This is how the mechanism of auto-immune diseases starts. Auto immune disease mechanisms begin long before we start to feel symptoms. For me, I probably started to develop Celiac disease somewhere around the age of 18, but was diagnosed at 21. Symptoms of auto immune diseases are just smoke, the fire has already started. According to Dr. Fasano, one of my favorite researchers in the Celiac and gut health world, you must have leaky gut (intestinal permeability) before an autoimmune disease can start.
Here are a few symptoms that are associated with leaky gut…. How many are you checking off??
- Seasonal allergies
- Difficulty losing weight
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Muscle pain/ achiness
- Heart Burn
- Itchy Skin
- Brain fog
- Chronic headaches
- Difficulty gaining weight
- Any autoimmune disease diagnosis
- Food allergies
- Joint pain
- Low sex drive
- Itchy ears
- Ringing in your ears
- Sinus pain
- Post nasal drip
- Canker Sores in your mouth
These are just the start of the symptoms that point to increased intestinal permeability.
If you have checked off more than one, it’s time to start paying attention to what you are putting in your mouth and possibly get some guidance from a specialist. I specialize in this and I am happy to help, but there are also many other functional nutritionists and doc’s out there that also specialize in gut health.
You know that saying, “You are what you eat?” It’s true! Your cells are made up of what you eat. Are your cells made of Twinkies and brownies or blueberries and green smoothies?
You can start today getting yourself back on track with a few supplements. However, if you have multiple symptoms checked off above, I HIGHLY recommend you see your doctor or I would be happy to help you, simply reach out to me here.
I recommend, cleaning up your diet. Keep it simple people! Eat. Whole. Foods. Simple isn’t always easy, but it always works. If you are eating out all the time, I recommend you start experimenting in the kitchen. There is something about cooking your own food that your health is automatically taken care of. It does not have to be complicated. Next, PLEASE start taking a probiotic and add some vitamin D supplementation. At least 95% of my clients are super deficient in Vitamin D when I first see them. This plays a HUGE role in the health of your immune system and has the power to turn on and off autoimmune genes. Last, but not least, fish oil! All three of these are going to help you no matter what. I take have been taking all of these daily since I was diagnosed in 2008.
IF you want to live a long, healthy life, take care of your gut. It’s your second brain. It will take care of you, if you take care of it!
If you are thinking that maybe you need to get some help in this department, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I would love to help you gain insight on your own body and how you can take control of this and heal yourself.