Have you ever taken antibiotics for a cold? Have you eaten conventionally raised beef, chicken, pork, etc? Do you give into temptation for those MUST have comfort foods? Is your mind a little fuzzy? Are you inflamed? Is stress an issue? Do you have health issues that just won’t seem to go away? Maybe, it all has to do with your gut…..
One of the issues we are facing today is being “leaky”; gut, brain, lungs, etc. Usually if one barrier is affected, so are the others. Possibly up to 90% of the American population has some degree of “leakiness”. This may be due to the foods we consume on a daily basis causing gut inflammation combined with the fact that we may be overexposed to antibiotics (both prescribed and the ones that we ingest everyday due to livestock rearing practices).
What do you mean being “leaky”?
We normally have a ratio of 80/20 percent of good to bad bacteria in our body. When antibiotics are used, they end up killing the beneficial bacteria responsible for aiding in the digestion and protection of the intestinal tract. This causes an increase in the ratio of pathogenic bacteria to beneficial bacteria by virtue of the fact that the bad bacteria produce chemicals that further inhibit the re-colonization of good bacteria. These harmful bacteria stay busy by stealing the nutrients we consume, causing fermentation of proteins during digestion, and secreting acid that causes the heartburn and reflux our society is experiencing.
Eventually, the toxic material produced by these bacteria cause inflammation that form holes in the walls of the bowel allowing larger food particles and toxins to enter into the blood stream. Since the body is not used to seeing the large particles of food, they are assumed to be “foreign” and the immune system mounts an attack. This causes allergies to form against that food. More and more sensitivities to foods and chemicals may develop over time as the “leakiness” continues. In addition, if we continually eat foods that we are intolerant to, they may lead to inflammation forming unnatural openings as well.
Finally, autoimmunity may develop since many of these protein fragments look like various organs in our body. The body becomes unable to differentiate the food from the organ and attacks the organ instead. For example, gluten and Hashimoto’s thyroid are highly associated in the medical literature.
How do you avoid a leaky gut?
Determining underlying food intolerances and sensitivities and hidden infections will help avoid consuming foods that cause gut inflammation.
It is best to avoid antibiotics in food by eating organically or buying foods from individuals that don’t use antibiotic feeds. If an antibiotic is taken for an infection, re-colonize the body with probiotics while on the antibiotic and for several weeks/months after it is finished or the Leaky Gut Syndrome may return.
How do you test for a leaky gut?
There are advanced functional medicine tests to determine if your gut is leaky such as the lactulose/mannitol test. Cyrex Laboratories has released an Intestinal Antigenic Permeability Screen that helps a practitioner to verify leaky gut. Many times we directly initiate the protocol below in lieu of testing.
How do you heal a leaky gut?
We use a “4R” protocol to help alleviate GI problems. This includes removing offending foods/environmental factors and detecting/eradicating infections, replacing whatever the body temporarily needs to help breakdown and digest food, repairing an inflamed gut, and reinoculating the GI system with friendly bacteria probiotics. We also utilize very beneficial yeast to improve the efficacy of these beneficial bacteria.