Hi there everyone.
Leaky Gut is a term that is being thrown around a lot these days. I figured it was probably a good time for us to talk about it as well. I’m sure it stirs up all kinds of images in your mind, maybe not so pretty. It is good to understand it and the implications on your health so let’s get started.
First of all, the proper term for this dysfunction is intestinal permeability. Permeability in this scenario refers to the ability of substances to pass through the small intestinal lining.
To help with the understanding, let’s break it down a little further. The health of our gut actually determines the health of our immune system. It is also often called our second brain. It actually has its own nervous system, the Enteric Nervous System. We are just learning so much about the way that the gut works and what happens as it breaks down. The gut is also responsible for the creating the majority of the serotonin in your body, not your brain. This is also another discussion but let’s take this thought another further. With depression and anxiety sort of like a little epidemic, could it possibly be related to the fact that 80% of us are walking around with poor gut health.
Ok, so back to the focus of this blog. The small intestine is part of our gut and plays a crucial role in our immune health. Let’s talk about the two-fold function of the lining in the small intestine.
Nutrient Absorption – this is very critical but not the topic of this blog. This is something we can discuss more in a future blog.
Protection. We rely on this lining to protect us against things passing through into our systems, keeping them where they are supposed to be and allowing them to pass through into our large intestine and out of the body. In order to do this, the cells in the lining are packed together in what we call “tight junctions” very much like linebackers in football. We call this our mucosal barrier.
Our tight junctions are not cemented together as you might suspect. The epithelial cells as they are called are just very tightly packed together and work together dynamically. Over time, the effects of our poor lifestyle, poor eating habits, chemicals, pollution, stress, metal toxicity, medications, etc. begin to wreak havoc on the gut and inflammation sets in. Inflammation begins to break down those tight junctions allowing the bacteria, toxins, waste and larger undigested proteins to make their way into the bloodstream.
You might say “So?” Well, it is kind of a big deal because the perfect little miracle that we are living in, called our bodies, aren’t meant to have all that crap running around in our blood stream. Our immune system is now on overdrive fighting these invaders creating gas, bloating, digestive issues, food sensitivities, and depending upon our genetics, autoimmune disease.
And here is another kicker. Gluten modulates Zonulin secretion in the body. Zonulin breaks down the tight junctions in our mucosal barrier. In simple English, Gluten contributes to the breakdown of the tight junctions. It doesn’t matter whether you have a gluten allergy, gluten sensitivity, or nothing at all. Gluten has the same effect on us all. It plays a significant role in Intestinal Permeability and should be eliminated if you are going to keep your gut healthy.
What does this mean for you? Well, first, this could mean that all of your good eating, supplementation, exercise, etc might not really be helping you the way you would expect. If your gut is damaged or leaking, those nutrients are not getting absorbed. Neither are your supplements, at least not well. And exercise is great for you but it isn’t going to heal your gut. I also hope it means that you are going to eliminate Gluten. And just for your information, there is no partial elimination. One gluten protein can stay in your system for up to six months creating damage. Gluten is everywhere, and contamination is very easy. Elimination of gluten is a big undertaking but very worth your while. Third, eating a clean, nutrient dense, whole food diet with the elimination of all inflammatory foods will allow your body to begin to fight back. Four, lifestyle modifications to include proper sleep, exercise, and stress management because they also play a huge role in your health.
I know, the information out there is so confusing and you want to know where to start. Well, based on the estimation of 80% having damaged or leaky guts, it is highly likely you fit into this category and highly likely that your children are headed in that direction as well. If you are serious about healing your gut and need a guide, I’d love to get you started in the right direction. You can reach me through my website. www.yourhealthmadesimple.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great rest of your day.