In Ancient Greece, Hippocrates had already claimed that all diseases began in the gut. Nowadays, modern medicine is establishing a link between our immune system and our intestine and showing how this connection helps us fight off disease.
The terms "leaky gut" or "intestinal hyperpermeability " are now commonly used, but what precisely do they refer to? Let's have a closer look at our insides!
Gut and Facts
Our intestines contain intestinal mucosa as well as the microbiome, and most of our body's immune system.
The mucosa is lined with a layer of cells that are held together by tight junction proteins. This lining needs to be in perfect condition as it hosts the immune cells and therefore serves as a barrier to prevent molecules from outside such as bacteria, germs, viruses, undigested or undesired food particles from getting into the bloodstream. It plays an essential role in the functioning of the immune system with an army of well-orchestrated bacteria sending their "immune response messengers" (white blood cells and inflammatory cytokines) to destroy any invaders. It is also through the intestinal mucous membrane that essential nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream.
Our microbiome represents the bacterial ecosystem living inside our gut. It needs to be in perfect balance to guarantee the proper working of the digestive system as well as our immunity and hormonal response mechanisms.
The slightest dysbiosis or attack on the mucus layer will bring about this "hyperpermeability" of the gut, make the gut more permeable, meaning that the tight junctions loosen. A leaky gut is an open door to invaders and invites an attack on the whole gut microbiome population. This is when inflammation occurs! Your immune response is a state of constant alarm, bacteria are no longer able to metabolize the nutrients, and hormone production is impaired.
Symptoms of Leaky Gut
What are the signs to look out for? Listen to your body whispering before it starts yelling at you!
What do food sensitivities, sleep and mood disorders, asthma, skin problems, infections, chronic bowel disorders, muscle, and joint pain have in common? They all are a manifestation that something inside is going wrong, and these signs are to be taken seriously.
Medical literature is now widely assessing the link between genetic predisposition, leaky gut, autoimmune diseases but also thyroid malfunction, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, Parkinson's disease, and celiac disease.
Stay in tune with your body and learn to make changes while it is still time. When children are concerned, act now, bodies have a spectacular power of regeneration!
Remedies for Leaky Gut
How can I heal a leaky gut?
- Keep away from foods that might cause inflammations, such as added sugars, refined carbs, and foods containing additives and pesticides.
- Use drugs only if it is really necessary. If you need to take medicine, make sure to detox and complement your diet with probiotics.
- Avoid chemicals found in plastic, non-organic foods, aluminum, detergents, and cosmetics.
- Manage your stress load and clear your life of toxic emotional or physical stress factors.
- Pay special attention to your sports nutrition and recovery products in case you're an athlete.
- Go for a healthy balance of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids.
- Eat plenty of fiber-rich and fermented food having soothing action.
A leaky gut can be treated with time, proper nutrition, a harmonious lifestyle, and great support from supplements such as probiotics, prebiotics, omega 3, and other all-natural methods like guided detox programs.
If this article strikes a chord within you, it is important to consult a specialist such as a nutritionist or a naturopath or an ayurvedic doctor who could advise you on the best way to heal.
Author: Marie-Noëlle Bourgeois, nutritionist
Micronutrition et Fibromyalgie, ne nourrissez plus votre douleur,Denis Riché, Septembre 2017