Leaky Gut- What is it and How to Deal with It

One of the latest buzz words in the health community is leaky gut. When you first hear the term “leaky gut” your mind is likely flooded by images of a dripping faucet and a whole lot of mess to clean up. But what exactly is leaky gut? Well similar to your skin, your stomach lining is supposed to act as a protective barrier to your body. Our intestines are protected by special cells that are linked together by proteins that are tightly connected, referred to as tight-junction proteins.  Leaky gut is created when there is a breach in the barrier of these tight junctions, and small holes start to form in the gut lining.

The problem with this is when we consume food small pieces of undigested food can “leak” through holes and into our bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream the food can cause the immune system to be activated and can result in food intolerances – say hello to a laundry list of new foods to avoid!  As a result of this inflammation occurs in the gut and can lead to many symptoms.

So how do you know if you have leaky gut? Some tell tale signs of leaky gut include: digestive pain and tenderness (below the belly button), a growing list of foods your body reacts to, skin rashes, headaches, brain fog, joint pain, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory bowel disease and thyroid problems. If this list sounds all too familiar then you may be experiencing leaky gut! When it comes to addressing leaky gut most people’s reaction is to heal the stomach lining. All though this seems like the obvious choice, it’s actually more important to get to the root cause, in order to prevent leaky gut from developing again.

There are multiple reasons why leaky gut can occur but the number one most common reason is STRESS. Stress affects the digestive system by reducing stomach acid and causes inflammation. Other causes include overuse of medications such as advil, infections, and eating foods you are intolerant to. Once you narrow down what the root cause of your leaky gut is you can officially start the healing process.  This may be difficult to do on your own, especially if you have a busy lifestyle.  This is where our Toronto naturopath can help.  While he can recommend a natural treatment for leaky gut and some products to help speed up the healing process, we need to ensure that people understand the healing process takes time.  Not to mention some temporary diet changes to help reduce inflammation.  We usually recommend our patients follow a strict diet for a minimum of two weeks.  But don’t worry, if this sounds daunting to make dietary changes, we have just the right plan to help guide you on your path to health and wellbeing.

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