When there is imbalance in the gut it can speak to us in a number of different ways… Bloating, excess gas, loose stools, abdominal pain, constipation (the list goes on). One person can be running to the bathroom 10+ times a day others are lucky if they go once a week. Garlic may trigger an IBS symptom flare up but it can also be an incredible herb for balancing the gut bacteria in others.
Why is it so different from person to person? Well, for anyone with an ‘official IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) diagnosis this verdict comes not from a specific lab test, but from process of elimination. What this means is; all tests are coming back normal so it ‘must be ibs’. Unfortunately for most this isn’t a ‘phew! I finally got it figured out and now I know exactly what to do!’ It’s an ‘Ok, but now what?!’ because there is not a single treatment plan that works for every single person.
And the reason for this is that there are many root causes for chronic digestive inflammation so pinpointing yours is essential for establishing your unique protocol. Today I am going to be exploring the world of leaky gut as it can be a huge contributing factor to a number of ongoing gut issues.
What is Leaky Gut (aka: Intestinal Permeability)
Cells line the intestines and in between these cells are tight junctions. In a happy healthy belly these junctions do an amazing job at letting properly digested food molecules (nutrients) through and into the bloodstream while keeping harmful bacteria, toxins, yeasts, etc., out. However, in an inflamed gut these tight junctions can develop gaps allowing larger food proteins and pathogens into the body that should not be there. Your body sees these foreign invaders and launches an attack (inflammatory response). Over time your body remembers and builds a library of these intruders and you may find yourself reacting to more and more foods. This is actually how food sensitivities are born.
What causes Leaky Gut?
There are many things that may cause your gut to start leaking like; certain medications, antibiotic use, high chronic stress, high sugar or heavily processed diets and exposure to unknown food sensitivities or toxins.
Some signs of Leaky Gut
You may have one of more of these…
You struggle with IBS symptoms like; bloating, gas, diarrhea, etc
You had an IgG food sensitivity lab test come back with a ridiculous amount of positive foods
You have one or more food sensitivities or intolerances
You struggle with skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, acne, or skin rashes
You battle seasonal allergies every year
You have an autoimmune condition like celiac or hashimotos
You are exhausted no matter how much sleep you get
Your emotions are all over the place and/or you struggle with depression, anxiety, poor memory or trouble focusing
How to Heal from Leaky Gut
For starters you need to remove the things that inflame your gut like foods your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food, refined sugar, food sensitivities, and talk to your doctor or naturopathic doctor if your medications are known to cause gut inflammation (PS: even simple ones like ibuprofen do!)
Going forward you may need some extra guidance from a Certified Nutritional Practitioner or someone trained in functional medicine to support your healing completely but imagine your life with an absolute blissful belly and I promise you that it is worth the effort.