What is Leaky Gut Syndrome and how do you fix it?

It sounds pretty odd doesn’t it? From someone with a medical science background when I first heard the term leaky gut, I thought it had something to do with loose bowel habits (sounds like dumping syndrome). But it actually does not imply that at all. In fact, it is an evidence based term that  is better described as ‘intestinal permeability’.  This is a term that is not generally accepted YET by conventional medicine, however there is plenty of evidence to back up the definition of leaky gut, as well as people who have experienced profound improved physical health, as a result of applying the specified diet.  Remember depression was not considered a diagnosis years ago? And now it is.  Here is an example of a medical abstract on the subject:

Intestinal Permeability in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Pathogenesis, Clinical Evaluation, and Therapy of Leaky Gut https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26582965

Definition of Leaky Gut in laymans terms Taken from Dr Weil:

“Leaky gut syndrome or intestinal permeability refers to the result of damage to the intestinal lining, making it less able to protect the internal environment as well as to filter needed nutrients and other biological substances. As a consequence, some bacteria and their toxins, incompletely digested proteins and fats, and waste not normally absorbed may “leak” out of the intestines into the blood stream. This triggers an autoimmune reaction, which can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal bloating, excessive gas and cramps, fatigue, food sensitivities, joint pain, skin rashes, and autoimmunity. The cause of this syndrome may be chronic inflammation, food sensitivity, damage from taking large amounts of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), cytotoxic drugs and radiation or certain antibiotics, excessive alcohol consumption, or compromised immunity. Leaky gut syndrome may trigger a new or existing disorder, or worsen such disorders as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma.”

I would like to add to Dr Weil’s definition of symptoms.  Brain problems can manifest from leaky gut.  Depression, migraines, anxiety, ADHD, and brain fog for example can all be attributed to leaky gut.

(Graphic property of Apex Energetics, creators of Repairvite Diet)

Notice the loose junctions at the 2nd vertical junction.

intestinal-barrier

If you have brain problems, stomach issues, or skin disorders, chances are you have leaky gut.  There are expensive tests you can take to find out, but why not do the diet and experiment on yourself? Here is a link describing the tests. Either way, some people would rather know to have a specific motivation to do a diet as strict as this. I would highly recommend working with an naturopathic doctor, a chiropractor, a functional medical doctor, or a health coach who specializes in leaky gut, to have supplements tailored to your symptoms/labs/you. My reason for doing this diet?  I have an autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s that I am trying to manage, and also it is Dr’s orders!

In order to begin healing the gut, there are a few protocols that are designed to help. There is the autoimmune protocol or AIP, there is the Repairvite leaky gut diet, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) or the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet.  You can easily google these other diets to find out more about them.   They each differ in specific ways, and I think its good to know your options because if one is not working for you, then maybe some food is still keeping you inflamed. I will be using the Repairvite diet for my experiment, since my Dr wants me to do this one. The curious thing about leaky gut, is that when you are working to heal it, you really cannot ‘cheat’ on bad foods or you have to start over.  It can really derail and unravel all of your progress. This is what I find to be the most challenging of this kind of therapeutic diet, but I think when one comes to the end of a rope, they really just decide what is important to them.  Do you want to get by, or do you want to be optimal?  Another important thing to remember, is that this is not a long term diet. It is short term, meant to be like an deinflammatory and elimination diet, and much care must be taken to add foods back in strategically, as to note what you might be reacting to so you can stay away from it. This can actually be the hardest part of the diet, as it can take a long time to add foods back in and it takes a lot of discipline which is necessary to be able to accurately pinpoint the offending foods that could be causing your symptoms.  Wouldn’t it be great to know exactly what is triggering your body? It is not easy, but I encourage you to join me if you are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Nothing worth having comes easy.

I will explain the details of the Repairvite diet in another post. I will document my journey and findings as I go through this.  Hope you enjoyed this post. Please comment if you have any specific questions I could address in the next post!

 

 

 

 

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