Causes and symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Learn how to restore gut health,
with Shine N16 Nutritionist, Mara Calvi.
In around 400 BC, Hippocrates the father of medicine introduced the idea that “All diseases begin in the gut” and he was not wrong. We know now that a healthy gut is indeed the foundation of overall good health.
In fact, the gut is involved in the following:
· Creating a strong immune response.
Our gut is the second line of our immune defence. It protects our body against the pathogens and bacteria that we ingest. The healthier the gut is, the quicker the body can generate a suitable immune response.
· Breaking down the food that we eat to absorb the nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and amino acids) and pass them through the distribution channels, so that they can be used by the body’ systems to perform their functions.
These two crucial functions make us understand that our gut should always be healthy. Unfortunately, nowadays we’re seeing an increase in gut issues throughout the world. These issues cause discomfort and symptoms that can lead to the appearance of more important chronic conditions. A good part of these issues can be attributed to “Leaky Gut Syndrome”.
What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
In its normal and healthy state, the gut has a protective lining that is made by tight junctions attached together. These tight junctions, make sure that the only elements that can pass from the gut into the bloodstream or lymphatic system, are the nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, that the body needs to perform its functions. Problems start to happen when cracks appear in the gut lining, causing the tight junctions to widen, letting in particles other than the nutrients through the gaps. These can be exceedingly small particles of foods, parasites, toxins, and bacteria. When these reach the bloodstream and lymphatic system, they start to cause inflammation in the body, leading to gut issues. This is what we call “Leaky gut syndrome”, as the gut leaks.
What are the possible symptoms of leaky gut syndrome?
· Auto-immune conditions
· Skin issues
· Food intolerances
· Depression, anxiety, brain fog
· Joint pain
· Abdominal discomfort
What can cause Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Leaky gut syndrome can be caused by:
Poor food choices – Processed foods, ready meals, and sugar play a big part in leaky gut syndrome. They raise inflammation in the body which reduce the protection of our gut lining. On top of causing inflammation, these foods are void from any nutritional value and therefore are not useful to the body. One of the big markers to understand gut inflammation is zonulin that can be tested through functional analysis.
Alcohol consumption is another cause of inflammation and it’s important to consume it in moderation.
Coffee, tea, and soda drinks are corrosive to the gut and contribute to the appearance of leaky gut syndrome. Coffee and tea also play a role in dehydrating the body and reduce the ability to absorb nutrients. Soda drinks are very high in sugar and should be avoided.
Medication can cause leaky gut syndrome especially if used long-term. These can be PPI’s, antibiotics, or steroids. When on medication, it’s important to make sure that we eat as many wholefoods as possible, to counteract the medication’s side effects on the gut.
Smoking is also very harmful on the gut causing the destruction of the protective lining.
Food intolerances can increase gut inflammation. The major ones are gluten and dairy. Gluten can be the subject of a big debate as it goes through a big range of chemical processes before getting on our plates. It is considered that gluten intolerances have more to do with the chemicals used during the process than the gluten itself. In terms of dairy, human beings have not been programmed to drink milk or intake dairy in big quantities throughout their adult life. Most of us, when we reach adulthood, stop producing the enzyme that breaks down dairy products. Therefore, at times we may find it difficult to digest dairy and we could become intolerant to milk-based products.
Genetic predispositions can play a role in the leaky gut syndrome.
Stress and poor sleep can cause gut inflammation and create hormonal disruption.
What can leaky gut syndrome lead to?
When left unresolved, leaky gut syndrome can lead to several chronic conditions, such as:
· Crohn’s disease
· Ulcerative colitis
· Gastric reflux
· Auto-immune conditions – rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimotos, coeliac disease
· Headaches and migraines
How can Leaky gut syndrome be resolved?
The key to regaining a healthy gut, is an appropriate and personalised nutritional protocol, tailor-made for the individual, designed to remove their symptoms, reduce their condition, and restore the gut. The nutritional protocol can be enhanced by naturopathic disciplines depending on the case. These could be hydrotherapy, tissue salts, Bach flowers and several others.
These nutritional protocols can be accompanied by non-invasive functional tests, that can be taken in the comfort of one’s home. They are very quick to do and provide a wealth of information.
Some of these are:
Lactulose/Manitol test – gives information on how wide the tight junctions gaps are. This helps to determine what kind of particles pass from the gut into the bloodstream.
Comprehensive stool analysis – reports how high the inflammation is in the gut. It helps to understand the performance of the digestion and absorption. It gives information on the metabolic markers and gut microbiology markers such as parasites, good bacteria, fungi and yeast.
Food intolerance tests – help to pinpoint what ingredients one must avoid as they are working on healing their gut, the ones that they can consume with parsimony and the ones that are acceptable to eat.
There are many other tests that can be explored but to help you start your gut healing journey, I offer for the month of July a discount on the Premium Food Intolerance test. With this test you can find out whether you have a sensitivity to over 200 food & drink ingredients. It’s as simple as taking a finger-prick blood test and returning in a Freepost envelope.
The benefits the test can bring:
• Optimising your diet & lifestyle by knowing which foods you are reacting to.
• The test measures all four subtypes of food-specific IgG.
The test is usually sold at GBP 199 but for the month of July I will be offering it at GBP £125.
You can find additional information on my YouTube channel.
For July I will also offer my Nutritional Programmes at a reduced cost .
1-2-1 Wellbeing coaching – 16 weeks – £750.00 Reduced to £600.00
1-2-1 Nutritional coaching – 8 weeks – £390.00 Reduced to £290.00
Optimised wellbeing programme – 3 months – £280.00 Reduced to £250.00