Bear with me a moment, I’m going to walk you through a little exercise.
I want you to imagine the trashcan under your sink. Picture it, vividly. What’s in there? If you’re anything like me, it’s probably full of last week’s leftovers, some coffee grinds, a pile of shredded junk mail, and maybe even that avocado you pushed just a little too far.
Not that that’s any big deal, right? That’s what the trashcan’s there for. You fill it up, take it out, and that massive pile of stinking, decaying garbage is picked up once a week by a garbage truck. Like I said: No big deal.
But have you ever had one of those days? You know what I’m talking about: You pull that heavy bag of trash out of the can only to discover a gaping hole (or, heaven forbid, multiple holes) in the bag. Now the liquefied remains of last week’s apple core and chow mien are oozing out of the bag and dripping into the trashcan (or, worse yet, the floor).
Well, it’s about to get worse. Because that’s basically what’s going on inside you when you have Leaky Gut syndrome, with one key difference: The garbage truck isn’t coming, and you’re constantly filling the “trash bag” with new waste; and as you’re about to find out, this can cause some serious problems.
The good news is, the damage doesn’t have to be permanent. So read on to learn more about what Leaky Gut syndrome is, the damage it can cause, and (most importantly) what you can do about it.
What is Leaky Gut Syndrome, and What Does it Do?
Leaky Gut syndrome is an intestinal disorder caused by an increase in the permeability of the gut lining. Again, think of the trash bags I mentioned above. A “leaky gut” is one with holes, allowing the waste (read: literal toxic waste) in your intestines to seep out and wreak havoc on your body.
As a whole, this condition is still being researched and, as of the time of writing, largely remains a mystery to doctors around the world. And while some claims are disputable, one thing almost everyone seems to agree on is this: Leaky Gut syndrome causes a host of seemingly-unrelated health problems for the afflicted. For example, those with Leaky Gut syndrome often suffer from:
- An interference with the absorption and filtration mechanism in their gut, making it much more difficult for your body to positively benefit from the food you’re eating,
- A break of the gut’s protective barrier, opening up your body to a host of autoimmune conditions, and
- A measurable decrease in the effectiveness of your immune system.
But it doesn’t stop there: As toxins leak from your bowels, they often make their way into your bloodstream, basically fast-tracking their access to the rest of your body. As a result, they often take up residence in both tissue and various organs. This often leads to serious and painful inflammation and swelling in addition to candida and yeast overgrowth, acne, headaches, and sometimes even kidney disease.
And it can get worse: One of the most commonly-affected organs is the liver. After all, your liver exists to purge toxins from your system; but the liver wasn’t built to keep up with the toxin output created by Leaky Gut syndrome. Eventually, the liver becomes overloaded and is forced to shut down, giving the toxins free reign in your system. Depending on the severity of the leak, this could lead to complications as simple as (but nevertheless concerning) as dysbiosis, to adrenal fatigue or even complete organ failure.
Wait: What’s Adrenal Fatigue?
Before we move on, I want to dig a little deeper into this. For many of you, the term may be unfamiliar but it’s important you understand exactly what this means. I’ll make it quick, I promise.
Right above your kidneys are your adrenal glands. These glands are responsible for producing the hormones that help balance blood sugar, regulate blood pressure, and burn proteins and fats. At least, that’s what they do on their good days. But if your gut is consistently leaking toxins into the body, their workload increases dramatically. Like your liver, they eventually get overworked and lose the ability to effectively do their job.
As a result, you begin to suffer from adrenal fatigue. Here are a few signs and symptoms you might be suffering from this condition:
- Consistent exhaustion,
- Restless sleep,
- Food intolerances,
- Imbalanced blood sugar
- Low body temp
- Trouble concentrating, and
- Poor digestion (constipation, gassiness, diarrhea).
Often, adrenal fatigue goes undiagnosed because the symptoms are written off as the result of outside factors. But when you’re suffering from Leaky Gut syndrome, that isn’t the case. The problem is internal, not external. And while these symptoms aren’t as serious as complete organ failure, each of them compromises the body’s ability to purge toxins, fight disease, and heal any damage done. Over a long enough period of time, the effects of adrenal fatigue can be devastating to the body and mind.
What Causes Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Alright, let’s get back on track.
As Leaky Gut syndrome is still not well understood, there are many suggested reasons for the permeability of the gut lining. Some of the suggested reasons for the medical condition include intestinal infections, poor gut health, high grain and soy diets, formula feeding in infancy, and environmental pollutants.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, chronic stress, a high sugar, and refined carbohydrate diet are other factors which contribute to Leaky Gut syndrome. What is important to note is that the syndrome has now been linked to many medical conditions such as arthritis, hives, pancreatic disorder, serious fatigue syndrome, ulcerative colitis (a type of inflammatory bowel disease, IBD), autoimmune diseases, some allergies, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Once the lining of the small intestine becomes injured or weak, it is no longer able to serve as a wall (the trash bag) between the gut contents (your trash) and the bloodstream (your trash can). Usually, the lining of the bowel serves as a front line of defense, in the same way, the trash bag protects your trashcan, keeping all the yucky contained. With Leaky Gut syndrome, the barrier is breached resulting in toxins and bacteria from bowel contents being able to seep in and enter the bloodstream, which cause many problems. Partially digested food, bacteria, fungi as well as other elements of the bacterium which is usually found in intestinal content now has free access to all parts of the body. As a response to this interruption, the immune system kicks in, overreacting, and starting up autoimmune reactions.
What are the Symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome?
So how do you know whether or not you have Leaky Gut syndrome? As I stated above, Leaky Gut syndrome is still very much undergoing research. As a result, it’s rarely diagnosed and many doctors aren’t yet certain how to say with certainty if someone is suffering from this condition.
That said, there are a set of recurring symptoms to have been tied back to Leaky Gut syndrome. Let me cover some of the most commonly-agreed upon symptoms of Leaky Gut syndrome:
- Autoimmune disease
- Eczema and psoriasis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS
- Type 1 diabetes
Other symptoms include:
- Joint pain
- Skin rash
- Food sensitivities
- Abdominal cramps
- Irregular moods
How to Heal a Leaking Gut
The key to healing leaky gut syndrome is healing the…gut. This process does not happen overnight, there are no “7-day diets” “overnight detoxes”, or pills to pop that will heal you magically. Unfortunately, unhealthy guts are unique to each and every individual.
But, with a few key components, you could be back on your way to a healthy gut! If you are new to the gut health world, there is a term you need to know – dysbiosis.
Dysbiosis is the first signs of trouble in the gut. So, if you are somewhere between a perfect gut and having Leaky Gut Syndrome, then you most likely have some form of dysbiosis. In order to learn how to heal the gut, you must first learn what is wrong with your gut! So, here is an article on how to get a jump start on your gut health. This article is packed with great information on what to add to and remove from your diet in order to begin healing.
We also always recommend more water and more workouts along with high-quality supplementation. Probiotics and prebiotics are a must. If you need help or direction in this area, please reach out to us and we can help you get on track!
Finding what works for you will help you in the long run. But, taking a whole body approach is going to be your best option. Start with the gut, but also focus on lowering inflammation, balancing blood sugars and regulating hormones.
If you want to schedule a one on one consultation, we would be honored to help you reach your health goals. Just follow this link. We cannot wait to meet you!
Wishing you the best health and the most happiness