Leaky Gut Syndrome is one of those annoying, nagging plagues of modern living. It is also known medically as increased intestinal permeability. Leaky Gut is the result of an increased propensity for your intestinal wall linings to allow bad stuff into your bloodstream.
Toxins and bacteria you may have ingested or as a result of digestive reaction are usually kept at bay and away from the blood. This is achieved by the integrity of your intestinal walls which when healthy, only allows the most essential substances to pass into the bloodstream.
Tight Junctions: Gate Keepers of the Gut
The process is mediated by what are called tight junctions. These act as inlet gates that only allow water and nutrients in. Once the integrity of this lining is compromised for whatever reason, the contents of your gut indiscriminately leak into your blood, hence the name.
The result can range from mildly irritating to chronic and debilitating to catastrophic and life threatening. This depends of course on what exactly leaks out from your gut and what sort of pathogens and toxins your leaky gut actually infects you with. It also depends on other factors at play. These include general state of health, genetics, gender and age. Leaky gut is typically accompanied by inflammation as a result of immune response.
What Causes Leaky Gut?
But what actually causes your gut to become leaky? The thing is, leaky gut itself is not recognized or diagnosed as a medical condition. It’s treated more than a symptom than an actual disease itself. This is because leaky gut can be the result of a plethora of negative health factors. It may also be because medical science hasn’t quite pinpointed the real definitive cause of leaky gut. However, a few factors have been shown to be major contributors to the onset of the condition.
Drinking excess amounts of alcohol has been proven to increase permeability of the gut lining. This is because when you metabolism alcohol, a bi-product called acetaldehyde is produced, which has been shown to increase permeability in cell membranes. Alcohol consumption also increases the nitric oxide (NO) levels in the blood. Nitric oxide is known to relax membranes from their typical state to one that is more permeable.
Stress is responsible for many tummy troubles. We often associate the feelings of stress, anxiety or nervousness with a familiar gastric response. “That sinking feeling” and “butterflies in your stomach” are all stress related gastric responses. They occur as a result of the hormonal cascade that stress causes in your body. Cortisol and adrenaline amongst others have a role to play.
The effect of stress on gastrointestinal permeability is also through what’s known as the brain/gut axis. When under stress, your brain will send signals to the gut which cause it to react different from normal. One of these reactions includes an increase in intestinal permeability.
Excess Sugar Consumption
When it comes to sugar, there are so many negative health consequences most people are aware of. But one that isn’t discussed as often is the effect sugar has on gut permeability.
This is because a chronic excess in sugar gradually results in insulin resistance. Insulin resistance has been shown to increase intestinal permeability.
Certain nutrients such as zinc, vitamin A. and D are vital for good gut health and the maintenance of suitable permeability.
Vitamin A for example, has been shown to improve defense against microbes and parasites.
Zinc is effective in optimizing the epithelial barrier and tight junctions of the intestinal lining.
General Poor Gut Health
Along with the micronutrient deficiencies mentioned, having a generally unhealthy tummy also contributes to the onset of leaky gut. This poor health is generally attributed to a lack of good diet obviously, but can also have genetic origins.
Gut health can also be affected by the intestinal flora ecosystem. If not in balance, the gut flora system can cause negative consequences. On one hand, an overabundance of bad bacteria can compromise the permeability of the intestinal wall. On the other hand, a lack of good bacteria, brought on by the use of antibiotics can also be a major problem regarding gut health.
Leaky Gut Syndrome: The Healing Process
In order to heal leaky gut, you need to pinpoint its root cause. Depending on what that cause is, the healing time and success rate will differ.
When dealing with poor diet or nutrient deficiencies, you simply need to change your lifestyle and food sources. By supplementing gut essential nutrients such as zinc and vitamin A, and probiotics, you’re on a fast track to improving permeability if that is the cause. Including foods rich in fiber and antioxidants has also been shown to have a beneficial impact in warding off leaky gut.
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Avoiding foods with high concentrations of trans fats and added sugar are also a great idea. Healing leaky gut through an optimized diet can take anywhere between a few days to a couple of months depending on how disciplined you are.Supplements and Probiotic like GI RENU can speed up this process.
When it comes to stress induced leaky gut, you may be looking at a multi factor treatment. Chronic stress often has a mental health component that needs to be dealt with before any physiological treatments can take place. This puts the healing time to anywhere between a few weeks to a few years. If your leaky gut is the result of psychological strain, its best to optimize your diet along with any other ongoing treatment.
When it comes to leaky gut as the result of your genes, it does get a bit more complicated. Type 1 diabetes is an example of a genetic disorder which leads to leaky gut amongst other things. The best way to manage this is to mitigate any complications that may result from the leaky gut scenario. Supplementing with antioxidants, especially those with immune boosting qualities likeDAILY DETOX and IMMUNE RENU is definitely a step forward.
Leaky Gut is not a disease in itself, but it is a big red flag for something that needs immediate attention. Check your lifestyle. Are you drinking too much? Is your diet deficient in essential nutrients? Are you taking in too much sugar? The answers to these questions could give you a vital advantage. Always remember to run it by your doctor or health care professional.
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