“Health begins in the gut” is not a new concept and it is definitely true.
The walls in the intestines are made up of single-layer cells called enterocytes. The gut is made up of three major parts operating together: (1) the enterocytes and tight junctions (responsible for sealing the gut wall to avoid permeability), (2) the mucosal lining, which acts as a barrier to protect the intestinal cells and control the bad bacteria from spreading and (3) the good bacteria which are vital for digestion.
If one of these malfunctions, it can lead to chronic inflammation and since most of your immune cells can be found in the gut, the risk of triggering the immune system is high. Once it is triggered, it will target everything from food particles (think food sensitivities), pathogens, or even healthy body cells (think autoimmune issues).
CAUSES OF A “LEAKY GUT”
1. Poor diet and inflammatory foods
As always, food is a big factor when it comes to leaky gut. Processed foods, alcohol and saturated fats can increase inflammation and injury in your intestines but the main offenders are sugar and gluten. Food sensitivities or food allergies can also lead to leaky gut.
Sugar can cause a boost in various cytokines (an immune system messenger) that causes inflammation, triggering poor gut function.
Guess what? Consuming gluten can boost the production of zonulin, a protein that can lead to loose junctions around the gut wall!
Stress boosts cortisol levels which can damage the tight junctions, decrease the number of good bacteria and trigger inflammation in the gut lining.
3. Lack of Sleep
Without proper sleep, the body will be more likely to produce cortisol. High levels of cortisol affect digestion and absorption of food and nutrients and can cause irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which can lead to leaky gut!
4. Low fibre diet
Low fibre means low levels of short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate. Butyrate is vital for a healthy digestive system and for fighting inflammation. It is also the main source of energy for the gut lining.
5. NSAIDS and prescribed medicines
These medications create “holes” in the mucosal lining which causes the gut to become even more exposed to the effects of toxins.
6. Alcohol consumption
Alcohol can help deteriorate the mucosal lining of the gut making it weaker and easier to break.
7. Environmental toxins
Environmental toxins like heavy metals, plastic, food additives, antibiotics, and pesticides can cause oxidative stress and inflammation. These will also boost the levels of bad bacteria in the gut.
8. Gut Dysbiosis
If you lack good bacteria, bad bacteria can easily multiply and cause digestive issues such as IBS, constipation, diarrhea, or bloating. All of these can lead to leaky gut…
You have to be very careful when it comes to the foods you put into your body and being cautious with medicine is just as important! Food is a basic need for all humans but most of the time, it is also the cause of unwanted diseases.
It is not easy to heal a leaky gut; it will take time and proper guidance from a professional. That is what integrative health practitioners like me do. I ask “WHY”. The gut is the foundation of your health and it directly impacts every other part of your body.
Always remember the 4 R’s: Remove, Replace, Repair and Rebalance. Remove everything in your diet that is not good for your health. Replace it with healthy, natural and organic foods. Repair not just your gut but your overall health and mind. Rebalance means making a lifestyle change: eating healthy, meditating, exercise, controlled stress, good quality sleep, etc.
Healing from leaky gut requires a specific supplementation and nutrition plan such as my GI Protocol but lifestyle changes are just as important.
In terms of lifestyle changes, I have already done the work for you and put everything together in Synergised Nutrition which will guide you on how to switch to a healthy way of living!
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