What is “leaky gut?

The digestive system plays a vital role in your overall health and well-being. It plays a major component for your immune system (in fact, about 70% of your immune system is based in your gut). Your digestive system focuses on your ability to breakdown, absorb and utilise the nutrients necessary for your body to function. When it doesn’t functional optimally, that’s when there is a negative flow on effect throughout the rest of your body.

“Leaky gut” is a term that’s been used for decades by natural therapy practitioners. I believe that is a term that’s a little out of date (although I do sometimes find myself dropping it in clinic occasionally!). More and more practitioners are now using the term “intestinal permeability”.

What does “Leaky gut” mean?

It’s a term that’s used to describe the situation where pathogens (like toxins and bacteria) are able to pass through the small intestine and into the bloodstream, causing inflammation outside of the gastrointestinal tract. It is also referred to as ‘Intestinal Permeability’.

How does “leaky gut” occur?

There are a lot of factors that can impact guy health and cause inflammation.

Examples include (but not limited to):

  • Allergies or a reduced tolerance to certain foods
  • Medications and supplements
  • Infections
  • Poor diet
  • Alcohol
  • Stress

When the cells in your intestinal tract are exposed to these (and other factors) they become inflamed.

Typically, your cells should sit nice and tight together with narrow spaces between them so they can control what’s being passed through. When these cells become inflamed, they swell and shift making the gaps between them larger. This widened gap allows bigger things, like undigested food particles, toxic waste products and bacteria to slip through.

Once they pass through the small intestine they enter the bloodstream and are then shipped off to the liver with all the other nutrients. These substances (which should have been kept within the intestinal tract) now entering the body system they can cause an autoimmune response, triggering the inflammation cascade and you could fins yourself feeling fatigued, suffering from irritable bowel, developing skin issues and more.

A double whammy with this situation is because your cells are damaged in your intestinal tract, they don’t produce the enzymes needed for proper digestion. So your body may not be able to absorb essential nutrients properly, which could lead to nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances and a weakened immune system.

What are the signs that indicate “leaky gut”?

The following may indicate that you need to look at supporting gut health:

  • Chronic diarrhoea or constipation
  • Bloating, or gas
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Poor immune system
  • Headaches
  • Poor concentration/ brain fog or poor memory
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Skin issues such as acne, eczema or rashes
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Autoimmune conditions

Does this sound familiar? Book in now for a chat

What can you do to help heal “leaky gut”?

  • Looking at your diet. Try and stick to a whole food diet with a variety of different produce. Avoid refined and processed foods as much as possible to make sure that the food you’re eating is full of the nutrients that your body needs
  • Reducing / eliminating alcohol consumption. To be blunt, alcohol is basically a drug and unnecessary for your body. In regards to inflammatory conditions like “leaky gut”, alcohol simply adds fuel to the fire, so keep the intake down to a bare minimum or avoid if possible.
  • Be mindful of what you’re eating and your body’s response to food. Take note of what you’ve eaten up to 8 hours prior to feeling really bloated or fatigued. They could be foods that you need to reduce or avoid while you look at healing your gut.
  • Don’t downplay stress. Stress can have a massive impact, not only on your mental health but also your physical health as well. The digestive system is heavily innervated so it gets affected when you’re under the pump.

If you’ve been suffering from any of the above conditions and feel like you need some help to get sorted – make a booking (either in clinic or online) and I can help you get a plan sorted so you feel SO much better!