8 Common Causes of a Leaky Gut

Now that we known some of the symptoms, let's take a look at some of the most common causes.

1. Chronic inflammation

Whether it be stress, IBS, or a food allergy, chronic inflammation is one of the biggest causes of a leaky gut.

2. Food Sensitivities/allergies

Food sensitivities can cause inflammation and worsen a leaky gut. Food sensitivities are also symptoms of a leaky gut because once our digestive tract becomes permeable, additional food sensitivities may develop.

3. Damage from taking large amounts of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)

Certain pain relief medications can be detrimental to our bodies, especially when taken frequently. Consult your medical practitioner for a less caustic pain reliever.

4. Cytotoxic drugs

Used to treat symptoms of arthritis, these medications can wear on our intestines.

5. Radiation

Used to treat cancer, radiation can weaken our systems.

6. Antibiotics

7. Excessive alcohol consumption

8. Compromised immunity

This can be a result of small intestine bacteria overgrowth, chronic stress, or intestinal infections. It is important to take even small infections seriously. If not addressed immediately, they can grow.

5 Easy Steps: Mend that Leaky Gut

A leaky gut sounds menacing, but they can heal with time and effort. Here are three easy steps to get you on your way.

1. Get a Food Allergy Test

Your leaky gut can only heal once you know what foods are harmful to you. Food allergy tests are simple, straightforward, and inexpensive. Removing trigger foods is a great start.

2. Easy on the Pill-Popping

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen often contribute to gut irritation. Ask your medical practitioner for a pain reliever that is more gentle on your digestive system.

3. Twenty-Chew Challenge

Chewing each bite twenty times until it becomes a liquid means less work for your stomach and digestive system. Eating your food slowly also has been proven to help people enjoy food more and eat less.

4. Get a Little Help from your Supplement Friends

A leaky gut generally indicates an imbalance between good and bad bacteria in the small and large intestine. There are plenty of supplements out there to help replenish good bacteria. Ask your medical practitioner for a recommendation that's right for you.

5. Don't Make a Mountain out of a Mole Hill...

...and by that we mean treat minor infections, such as candida, immediately and completely. Letting these infections fester forces the immune system to be constantly alert. This is physically exhausting and increases inflammation throughout the body, including the gut.

The 7 Most Common Systemic Symptoms of a Leaky Gut

How do we know if we have a “leaky gut”? Since 70% of our immune system is located in our digestive tract, poor digestion and absorption becomes a systemic problem. Our whole body feels the effects. This is why discovering and treating a leaky gut is so important.

While the following is not an exhaustive list of symptoms or systems affected by a leaky gut, here are some of the most common:

1. Digestive System

-        abdominal pain

-        indigestion

-        diarrhea

-        constipation

-        bloating

-        gas

2. Respiratory System

-        asthma

-        shortness of breath

3. Muscular System

-        chronic joint pain

-        chronic muscle pain

4. Integumentary System (skin, hair, nails)

-        skin rashes

-        acne

-        eczema

-        psoriasis

5. Nervous System

-        confusion

-        fuzzy or foggy thinking

-        mood swings

-        nervousness

-        poor memory

-        aggressive behavior

-        anxiety

-        fatigue

-        feeling toxic

6. Immune System

-        poor immunity

-        recurrent vaginal infections

7. Urinary System

-        recurrent bladder infections

-        bed-wetting

If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, the best course of action is to speak to a health practitioner that is familiar with leaky gut syndrome.

Leaky What? Gut Basics Explained

This month's blogs will focus on Leaky Gut Syndrome. We will cover gut basics, symptoms, causes, and easy steps to take to improve intestinal health.

 

The concept of a leaky gut is confusing and odd-sounding. It evokes an image of a tin pail riddled with holes, or a faucet with a constant drip. How can our guts be leaky?

Snapshot #1: Healthy Gut

Let's start with normal digestion. Our intestines are not solid barriers, as tin pails and faucets tend to be, but are permeable, like filters. Your digestive tract serves as a filter system, much like the ones people use in their homes to purify water. The digestive tract is essentially providing the same service for our bodies. The gut absorbs healthy bits and pieces of the food we eat and allows them to pass through to the blood stream. Larger molecules-  such as partially digested food, bacteria and toxins- that are too big to properly filter through are shuttled to the large intestine where they are expelled.

Snapshot #2: Leaky Gut

Have you ever gone camping and tried to purify water that was filled with sludge and particulate matter? Even if you haven't, try to imagine filtering drain pipe run-off in your Brita. It probably wouldn't be something to serve to friends. Those with leaky gut syndrome have malfunctioning intestinal filters. Often, however, these intestinal filters are malfunctioning because of what they have been forced to filter. Over time leaky guts develop gaping holes that allow toxins and undigested food to enter into the blood stream. This triggers an immune response complete with attacking white blood cells and flaring inflammation. What may have initially been only one food allergy or sensitivity could turn into many. You could even develop an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis.

“Gutting” it Right

Yikes, that last snapshot was a little gross. No worries. Keeping your gut healthy is relatively easy with a bit of awareness. In this month's blogs we will give you some great tips on keeping those filtering systems sludge-free.