Leaky-gut syndrome, also known as increased intestinal permeability, is a condition that has been linked to a variety of health problems, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Symptoms may spread throughout the entire body, which is oftentimes attributed to a multitude of lifestyle factors.
IBS is attributed to gaps in intestinal lining which widen from inflammation. When your immune system attacks particles that escape into the bloodstream, regardless of whether they are harmful or not, the fighting system cells inadvertently attack healthy cells in the process, unfortunately creating more inflammation throughout the body.
While immune cell memory is primarily a blessing because it records each fight with viral and bacterial infections so that we are able to duplicate the winning strategy against the same sickness later on. However, when it remembers benign particles, such as wheat or pollen, it continues to put up a fight and causes disruption of your body chemistry.
Here are the 5 Things to consider when checking the symptoms of yourself or someone in your family.
1. Food Allergies or Food Intolerances
Food sensitivities are the main cause of symptoms associated with leaky gut. Food sensitivities create a vicious cycle in that they continue to degrade your ability to absorb digesting food (prominent reactive ingredients are often gluten and dairy) while causing a worsening of symptoms, as well as, the severity of symptoms suffered. This vicious cycle can only end after carefully removing all sources of reactive foods and chemicals, which not only eliminates symptoms but also allows the gut to finally heal. (Related Article: Why is Gluten so Bad) (Related Article: 5 Tips for Going Dairy-free)
But this is easier said than done for a number of reasons: Food sensitivities are often intake-dependent, with symptom onset delayed by many hours, and there is usually a multitude of reactive foods, not just 1 or 2 as in food allergy. And just like each person has a unique fingerprint, both food sensitivity symptoms and trigger foods are different from one person to another. In other words, in two gluten sensitive people, gluten may cause digestive problems in one person and migraines in another. And in 10 migraine patients, there could be 10 different sets of trigger foods. Because of this, there is no one-size-fits-all diet.
The unexpected and unfortunate truth is that even so-called healthy foods like salmon, blueberries, garlic, or broccoli can become triggers that lead to unwanted symptoms. It’s a very challenging puzzle that requires an expert approach to figure it out.
Although research proves that leaky gut exists, there is no perfect test to diagnose it, diagnose its cause, or determine if a particular therapy is effective in treating it. What is known is that diet and stress are two things that play a significant role in causing leaky gut. It’s also known that certain supplements can help decrease inflammation in the gut and help heal the lining of the gut. Therefore an individually prescribed diet, reduction of stress and supplement plan are a big part of the solution.
2. Chronic diarrhea, bloating, constipation or gas.
One of the bodies more obvious reactions to Leaky-gut syndrome is an irregularity in how well your food is digested, absorbed, and the relative consistency of the output/waste. Constantly reoccurring trips to the bathroom due to abdominal discomfort, unfamiliar queasiness, and/or urgent need to relieve pressure is often a sign that something in your food diet is affecting your normal digestion and excretion.
Some of the reasons for this diarrhea are:
- Fat malabsorption
- Intestinal hypermotility
- Hypersecretion of bile
- Pancreatic enzymes and secretin in small intestine tissue
- And increased intestinal transit time
This is basically saying that your digestive system is running on high and this super speedy processing results in wasted food and loose stools.
In contrast, constipation is thought to be due to slower intestinal peristalsis, which is the movement of food and waste through our intestines. If the cells that control this have a lowered metabolism due to fewer hormone signals, the waves are slower and/or less powerful.
3. Excessive fatigue
It is common to feel worn out, from your immune system constantly fighting (visible or otherwise anywhere in your body). That’s because when the gut is leaky, it is like having tiny holes in your intestinal lining. Undigested food travels through these holes and into the underlying space where it triggers the immune system to try and protect you by launching an attack on the pieces of food that shouldn’t be there.
4. Inflammatory Skin Conditions.
Leaky gut syndrome (or increased intestinal permeability), sets the stage for myriad health problems, including rashes and skin problems, like eczema and psoriasis. The skin is the body’s largest elimination organ so it’s not surprising that it exhibits symptoms when toxins increase throughout the bloodstream. A skin rash or eczema is a sign that the body is trying to slough out these toxins. Some people will also experience an increase in acne or be told they have “rosacea”. The body is trying to eliminate the problem the best way it knows how, and unfortunately you may see the nasty effects of leaky gut manifest in skin problems. (Related Article: 10 of the Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods)
5. Mood and mind issues such as Depression, Anxiety, ADD, ADHD
The rates of mood disorders and use of mood stabilizing medications have skyrocketed over the last several years. This is both alarming and heartbreaking for a number of reasons. It frustrates me to think that so many people are struggling with these issues and that so many patients and doctors often feel their only option is to turn to prescription medications.
So what are the root causes of mood imbalances and how can you overcome them? The number one cause of mood imbalances is gut health issues. This may sound surprising at first, but it makes complete sense once you know that 95% of your serotonin, the key neurotransmitter for regulating mood, is produced in your gut. It’s one of many reasons there is a saying, “the gut is the second brain!”
How Candida Causes Mood Swings, Anxiety, and Depression
Candida is a fungus, which is a form of yeast, a very small amount of which lives in your mouth and intestines. Candida’s job is to aid in digestion and nutrient absorption. Typically the good bacteria (flora) in your gut, as well as your immune system, prevent your Candida population from overgrowing.
When the balance of good bacteria to yeast is disrupted by either taking a round of antibiotics (which kill off the good bacteria), eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates, drinking too much alcohol (which feed the yeast), chronic stress, or numerous other lifestyle factors that disrupt your microbiome, Candida is able to multiply unchecked. If the yeast starts overpopulating the lining of your intestinal tract, it will also suppress your ability to produce or secrete your serotonin.
A deficiency in serotonin can cause milder mood imbalances such as mood swings as well as more severe issues, including anxiety and depression. In fact, the majority of antidepressants work by blocking the brain’s serotonin receptors, freeing up more of the chemical to remain present in the brain.
If left unchecked, Candida also breaks down the wall of your intestine, which can lead to worsening leaky gut, and penetrates the bloodstream, releasing toxic byproducts into your body
Finally, understanding and recognizing the collective symptoms of Leaky-gut is often the key to repairing and restoring your health and wellness. There is soooo much-processed food, high fructose corn syrup, chemicals, and even doctor prescribed antibiotics that can cause havoc with your stomach’s delicate microbiome (Related Article: Why Antibiotics can Cause Leaky-gut). Knowing what is causing you or a family member Leaky-gut is the key to making the right food choices, so if your not sure, get tested or do an elimination diet to figure out the root cause(s) of your Leaky-gut!! (Related Article: What to Eat to Heal your Gut)
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