How do I know if I have a leaky gut?

If you have done any google searches on inflammation or digestive issues, you probably seen something about leaky gut syndrome. It doesn’t sound good, does it? Well it isn’t! It’s a pretty common issue but you won’t hear much about it on the news or at your doctor’s office. Most conventional health care professionals don’t even recognize Leaky Gut Syndrome.

“All disease starts in the gut”

— Hippocrates

What is a leaky gut?

Leaky gut is defined as increased intestinal permeability. Your intestines have a very large lining that is paper thin. The lining is what determines what nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream. Problems arise when the lining breaks down.

Imagine your gut lining as a tightly woven pair of tights. It holds everything in and the nutrients are allowed through. When you have a leaky gut, your gut lining is more like a pair of fishnet stockings which allows a lot more to pass through. This means partially digested food particles, bacteria, and toxins can get in through the holes in your gut lining. A leaky gut can lead to a wide variety of health problems and set you up for chronic illness. Inflammation and autoimmune diseases can be a result of a leaky gut.

What causes leaky gut?

There a lot of factors that could cause your gut lining to break down.
1. SAD Diet: The Standard American Diet (SAD) sets us up to be extremely vulnerable to getting leaky gut. Our highly processed food continues to poke holes in our digestive track. A large part of the SAD is made up of pro-inflammatory foods. These foods are high in processed sugar, low in fiber, highly processed and high in saturated fats.

Top foods that can cause inflammation in your digestive tract are:
• Gluten (wheat, barley, rye)
• Dairy
• Corn
• Sugar/ Artificial Sweeteners
• Soy
• Highly processed vegetable oils
• Factory raised animal products
• Additives, preservatives, and residual pesticides in processed foods


2. Chronic Stress: Chronic stress can also weaken your immune system and set you up for a leaky gut. With all of our fancy electronics, it makes it possible for us to work anywhere and anytime. We are bombarded with social media triggering us to keep up with the Jones. There is little room for quiet and downtime which contributes chronic stress. A leaky gut can then cause depression and anxiety. It can become a vicious cycle.

3. Exposure to Toxins: We are exposed to toxins every day. From household cleaners to our beauty products, we are bombarded with toxic chemicals. Our food is sprayed with pesticides. We are exposed to environmental pollution. Our liver works to eliminate these toxins but gets overworked. When the liver gets overworked, then things get backed up. The toxins hang out in your gut and work to break down the lining.

4. A lack of the good bugs in your gut: You want good healthy bacteria in your gut. It protects you. We’ve become obsessed with antibacterial wipes, soaps, and liquid to sanitize everything we touch. That’s how you stay healthy, right? Wrong. Without the good bacteria, your body can’t fight off the bad bacteria. You then get sick and head to the doctor. What does the doctor prescribe to make you feel better? Antibiotics. Antibiotics can be life-saving but have become overprescribed. Antibiotics wipe out good and bad bacteria alike. If your sickness was actually bacterial, then you start to feel better. That’s great! A lot of times though we are taking antibiotics to treat a virus. Taking a round of antibiotics makes you more vulnerable to getting sick again. Your gut has to have time to repair before you’re exposed to another bug.

How do you know if you have a leaky gut?

Most people have some degree of leaky gut especially if living in America and exposed to our highly processed food system.

Symptoms include:

• Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, or IBS
• Autoimmune diseases- such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Multiple Sclerosis, Hashimoto’s, Crohn’s disease, etc.
• Brain fog- difficulty concentrating, ADD, ADHD
• Food allergies or food intolerances
• Depression and/or anxiety
• Skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or eczema
• Seasonal allergies or asthma
• Hormonal imbalances such as irregular periods, PMS, or PCOS
• Joint Pain
• Get sick often
• Chronic fatigue

Okay I think I have a leaky gut…
what do I do now?

Does any of this sound familiar? Do you have some of these symptoms and can’t get them under control? If any of this sounds like you, there are steps you can take today to start healing your gut.

Remove: Eliminate (or at least reduce) inflammatory foods, stress, toxins, NSAIDs (nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs like Aleeve or Ibuprofen)
Replace: Swap processed foods for nourishing whole, organic foods
Repair: Bone Broth, Collagen, L-Glutamine, Omega 3 supplements, plus fatty wild caught fish.
Re-inoculate– Start your day with a glass of water and a probiotic to help your gut restore the good bacteria. Or eat probiotic rich foods like sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, kombucha, and coconut kefir.

As your leaky gut begins to repair, take notice of your symptoms. We started noticing better sleep, less aches and pains, and clearer thinking. Our energy levels started to get better, too.

Repair your gut and Reclaim your health

If you haven’t felt 100% for a while, it’s time to consider that a leaky gut is at the root of your health problems. It’s important to know the symptoms and causes. Once you know, you can take steps to start repairing it and reclaiming your health.

If it seems overwhelming, take it one habit change at a time. Progress is Progress.

I can coach you through the process.  Book a free 30 minute discovery session with me to see if we’re a good fit to work together.

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