All humans are unique in terms of biochemistry, metabolism, anatomy, genetics and what we are exposed to in the environment. Our internal environment differs in gut flora, integrity of the intestinal wall and the immune system. All of these affect our ability to process foods, absorb nutrients and detoxify and expel wastes.
Improving your diet by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and drinking plenty of filtered water is a good start. Unfortunately depletion in our soils, green harvesting and cold storage can effect antioxidants, vitamins and mineral content of the food we eat. So can foods that are highly processed and overcooked. Nutrition plays an important role in virtually every medical condition. It follows that correcting nutritional imbalances is fundamental to the prevention and treatment of many common conditions.
Taking the correct nutrients at appropriate doses can increase or decrease the levels of important chemicals in the body’s biochemistry. Nutritional medicine has evidence for reducing inflammation, toxicity, managing oxidative stress, correcting hormonal imbalances, improving immune function, altering genetic expression and reducing coagulation of blood. In effect, nutritional medicine may assist in the correction of many underlying biochemical problems that contribute to chronic degenerative disease states.
Gut health – is important to the absorption of nutrients. It is also important to immune system function and brain health. Poor nutrition through poor diet and or poor absorption can affect your mood, sleep, weight, libido, inflammation and the ageing process. Gut flora balance and proper elimination are also essential to your nutrient and health status.
This is where the intestinal lining has become more porous, allowing larger, undigested food molecules and toxins that your body normally doesn’t allow through, to flow freely through the gut wall and into your bloodstream.
The intestinal lining is the first mechanism of defence for our immune system. The lining of the intestinal wall is made up of epithelial cells connected by structures called tight junctions. These stay closed during digestion forcing all molecules to effectively be screened and only pass into the blood stream through the mucosa cells. If the tight junctions become open or permeable, large size molecules can flow directly into the bloodstream. At the tips of these cells are the microvilli, which absorb properly digested nutrients and transport them through the epithelial cell and into the bloodstream. If these are damaged then digestive enzymes that are needed to break down food for proper digestion can’t be properly manufactured. The resulting condition allows food molecules to flow into the bloodstream that have not been completely broken down into the nutrients your body needs.
When this happens your liver has to work overtime eliminate all the particles that your intestinal lining has allowed through. Unfortunately it can’t keep up and this initiates an inflammatory response from your immune system in an effort to try to contain the breech in the system by these unwanted molecules.
Now, your body will begin to produce antibodies to fight against these foreign objects (which can be things such as the Casein protein from the milk you’re drinking, or other proteins in nuts, grains, or eggs). This may lead to severe food allergies.
Nutritional deficiencies are from the improper breakdown of food in your intestines. Chronic diarrhoea and constipation are signs of inflammation of the intestinal walls from Leaky Gut. Skin rashes are your body’s way of trying to eliminate toxins through the skin. Your immune system will be suppressed and you will get sick more easily. Headaches, brain fog, memory loss, and excessive fatigue are common side-effects. You may have cravings for sugar and carbs, gas, bloating, and anxiety and yeast overgrowth (Candida).
What Causes Leaky Gut
Diet: high amounts of refined sugars, processed foods, preservatives, refined flours, and insufficient fresh fruit, vegetables.
Inflammation: Any type of inflammation in the gut can lead to leaky gut. This can be brought on by low stomach acid (which passes undigested food into the small intestine irritating everything it passes by), yeast overgrowth (Candida), bacteria overgrowth, infection, parasites and excessive environmental toxins.
Medications: Any medication that may irritate the intestinal lining and decrease the mucosal levels (a membrane produces mucus on the intestinal lining as a natural protective measure).
Yeast: Candida can hook into the intestinal lining making holes in the lining.
Low Zinc: Zinc is a critical piece of maintaining a strong intestinal lining. A deficiency of the vitamin can lead to the mucosal lining losing strength and becoming more permeable.
Treatment is necessarily individualised. Food intolerances must be tested for and eliminated. Food intolerance testing either through Igg, IgA or IgE testing will help to eliminate foods that are specifically pro-inflammatory to you personally and should be eliminated from your diet. Sugar, polyunsaturated oils and refined and processed foods are all considered to be pro-inflammatory foods and should be limited in your diet.
Nutrients that you are personally deficient in must be re-instated. Omega 3 fish oils help improve the condition of the intestinal mucosal lining and reduce inflammation. The correct probiotic replacement for you personally is important. Good bacteria help to eliminate bad bacteria and yeast, heal the gut lining, help nutrients get absorbed. Digestive enzymes are critical to properly breaking down the foods you eat. They are found naturally in the raw form of foods to help break them down. Cooking denatures digestive enzymes so it may be important to replace them so that food ca be properly broken down preventing large undigested molecules from irritating the intestinal lining and increasing nutritional uptake.
Additional gut repair supplements may also be necessary.