Have you heard the term “leaky gut”?
I hadn’t until just a few years ago when I saw my very first Naturopath.
I ended up in her office as a last resort when a whole slough of Western medicine docs gave me no answers as to why I was losing my vision.
My naturopath suspected my vision loss was related to a condition called “leaky gut”.
It turned out that she was right.
She put me on a 30-day leaky gut protocol and after just 7 days my vision had returned and I’ve never had an episode of vision loss since.
NOTE: I want to be very clear in saying that leaky gut takes a LOT longer than 30 days to fully heal.
In my case however, and in that of many clients, there is often a major relief from symptoms by simply starting on a leaky gut protocol for a short period of time.
What is “leaky gut”?
Leaky gut is when undigested food particles in the GI tract – proteins in particular – are not fully broken down into their individual amino acid constituents before entering the bloodstream.
This is also known as intestinal permeability.
The digestive system is basically a big tube in the middle of our bodies and functions to allow things in or out of the more delicate parts of our bodies where our other organs reside.
There is one opening north (the mouth) and one opening south (the anus).
We eat food at the north end, and then its up to our digestive system to break things down into small enough particles that our body can use for fuel and as the building blocks for various organs, glands, cells, and processes in the body.
The stuff that we don’t need (un-needed food particles, pathogens, metabolic waste products) leave through the southern end of this tube.
This is a highly specialized process requiring the work of MANY different factors: proper signaling from the brain, secretion of enzymes from the pancreas and cells inside the stomach and intestines, bile salts from the liver and gallbladder, and healthy bacterial colonies in the gut.
Ideally, our digestive systems should be breaking down our food into very small constituents within the GI tract and only fully digested foods would be allowed to cross this barrier separating our digestive system and the rest of our bodies.
This way once the nutrients from our food get into our bloodstream and lymphatic tissues, our bodies have the ideal nutrients to utilize straight out of the gates allowing our bodies to repair themselves, detoxify, and be properly energized.
Unfortunately with as many stressors as our bodies are faced with this day in age, our digestive systems are taking a major hit.
Many of us are dealing with low-grade to more severe leaky gut issues, meaning that the lining of our digestive system is compromised and that undigested food particles are crossing the gut lining.
Undigested food particles that are allowed to cross the delicate barrier between our GI tract and the rest of our body cause a host of problems and manifest in various symptoms and conditions.
Common Symptoms and Conditions of Having A Leaky Gut
Leaky gut is at the root of MANY, if not all, chronic illnesses.
It is common knowledge in the functional medicine world that leaky gut is at the root of all autoimmune disorders. And if you are dealing with symptoms related to leaky gut, this should be taken very seriously and addressed as you are at high-risk for developing an autoimmune condition if left unaddressed.
The most simple way to explain why leaky gut leads to autoimmune conditions is that when we are constantly exposing ourselves to undigested proteins (which are allowed to cross the barrier undigested), we are keeping our immune systems in panic-mode.
The whole system gets overwhelmed. Eventually our bodies begin to attack our own viable tissues and biological processes, mistaking them for “foreign invaders”.
Here is a short list of some of the most common symptoms and conditions that can be attributed to having leaky gut:
- Skin problems (rosacea, hives, acne, psoriasis, ecxema, etc.)
- Digestive issues: bloating, IBS, diarrhea, constipation, pain after eating
- Food sensitivities
- Hormone dysregulation (irregular periods, severe PMS, PCOS, etc.)
- Blood sugar dysregulation (hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, Type II Diabetes)
- Thyroid and adrenal problems
- Joint pain (minor all the way to severe arthritis)
- Vision loss
- Weight gain
- Autoimmune disease of any kind
What causes leaky gut in the first place?
This is such an important question and there are a host of contributing factors that can lead to a leaky gut. Some of the most common ones include:
- Chronic infections (candida, food poisoning, SIBO)
- Prescription drugs (especially those taken long-term)
- NSAIDS (IBUprofen, Advil, other pain killers)
- Alcohol abuse
- Poor quality food (sugar, conventional produce, processed grains)
- Seemingly “healthy” foods that are not properly prepared (grains, legumes, seeds, nuts that have not been soaked and sprouted)
- Exposure to environmental toxins (molds, pesticides)
- Toxins in beauty products
What can I do to treat leaky gut?
If you suspect that you have some degree of leaky gut there are some great protocols out there to begin addressing the issue and healing your gut.
The even better news is, if you are experiencing symptoms related to leaky gut, you will likely see results fast!
I told you my story in the beginning of this post – I got my vision back in just 7 days!
Again, I don’t want to mislead you into thinking that my leaky gut was 100% healed and back to normal in just 7 days. That is far from the truth, and in fact, I am still working on healing my leaky gut today.
The good news is that leaky gut protocols are easy to follow, have a lot of options as far as food goes, and continue to bring loads of positive side-effects over time.
Here are the basic components of any leaky gut protocol:
- Stop “feeding the fire”: The first step is to reduce exposure to the things that are contributing to your leaky gut.
- Follow a gut-healing nutrition plan: in other words, replace the damaging foods with foods that work to correct the problem instead.
- Supplementation: While the first 2 steps are the most important for allowing the body to heal, supplementation can often come in handy when working to heal the soft tissues of the intestinal walls.
- Balance the gut flora: taking probiotics, eating probiotic-rich foods, and including prebiotic foods in your protocol are essential to regaining good digestive health and fully healing a leaky gut.
Join Us Inside Free-Spirited Foodie And Begin Healing Your Gut TODAY!
If you suspect you might be dealing with leaky gut issues, you can get started today on a leaky gut protocol!
I am available 24/7 inside Free-Spirited Foodie.
All LIVE and recorded classes are available upon signing up, and you can ask me questions 24/7 to get coaching around doing your own cleanse and following a leaky gut protocol.
I have meal plans, tons of gut healing recipes, and amazing handouts and resources to lead you through an effective leaky gut protocol, while getting your questions answered and receiving high-vibe coaching all along the way.
I hope to see you soon inside the Free-Spirited Foodie Online Community!!