Leaky Gut: Explained in Charlotte
Leaky gut. It sounds made up but I assure you it's very real and more importantly may be at the root cause of your health condition.
Leaky gut, also known as "intestinal permeability" can be caused by imbalances in gut flora or poor digestion and can contribute to food allergy or intolerance.
What is Leaky Gut?
Your gut runs from your mouth all the way down to your rectum. And think of your gut as a protective barrier keeping bad, unwanted things out like bacteria and toxins, yet allows things the body needs to operate in through the gut wall. Our focus will be on the small intestine. This is where the majority of nutrient absorption happens and more importantly about 80% of your immune system (the thing that protects us from the outside world) is located.
Here's how it works. The intestinal lining is the first line of defense for our immune system. The outer layers of intestinal cells (epithelial) are connected by structures called tight junctions. On the surface of all the villi are specialized cells called microvilli. The microvilli are responsible for absorbing and ushering nutrients from the foods we eat, into the bloodstream where it is carted off to specific areas of the body. This is the healthy way.
HEALTHY GUT VERSUS LEAKY GUT
But when your gut becomes "leaky", there is a breakdown of this process and a breakdown of the cells protecting us from the outside world. Certain factors like processed food, infections, toxins, pathogens, medications, and stress can all have a giant impact on the health of our gut lining. When the cells become damaged, toxins from the outside world can easily "leak" their way into our bloodstream. When this happens, specialized cells see the invasion of "foreign" substances and has to react. The immune system then jumps into action and sounds the alarm that a "foreign invader" has entered the premises and it goes on the attack to neutralize the threat.
As part of the attack, the immune system creates massive amounts of inflammation using different inflammatory cytokines. If you could lay out your gut lining flat it would cover the size of a tennis court. So having inflammation all over something the size of a tennis court is extremely harmful to our health. But it doesn't stop there. Because the gut lining has been compromised, toxic invaders have now slipped by our defenses and are now into our bloodstream wreaking havoc all over the body. Yes, causing more inflammation all over the body.
As you can now see, this can and does affect multiple systems of the body including the brain.
When this goes unchecked, leaky gut can lead to several symptoms and conditions.
Symptoms of Leaky Gut can vary from person to person depending on the level of damage and the tissues being affected. This is due in large part to how long you’ve been dealing with leaky gut.
Signs, Symptoms, and Conditions associated with Leaky Gut
- Digestive issues like gas, bloating, and constipation
- Stress, anxiety, and depression
- Skin Issues like acne, eczema, and psoriasis
- Brain fog
- You get sick a lot
- Mood swings
- Stubborn weight
- Chronic Fatigue
- Low to no sex drive
- SIBO (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth)
- SIFO (small intestinal fungal overgrowth)
- IBS, IBD, Crohn's, Celiac
- Poor Memory
- Autoimmune disease
- Yeast Infections or overgrowths
- Hormonal Imbalances
- Joint pain or anything with an "itis"
- If you have one of more of the signs or symptoms from the list above you have some level of leaky gut.
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