Doesn’t necessarily sound like something that could start in your digestive system—and yet, this can all be attributed to something called ‘leaky gut’.
Think I’m crazy? Take a quick read and see if this sounds like something YOU’VE been experiencing lately… but haven’t quite put your finger on the cause.
What Is Leaky Gut?
Leaky gut—also known as intestinal permeability—is a condition in which the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged, causing undigested food particles, toxic waste products, and bacteria to “leak” through the intestines and flood the bloodstream.
In turn, this prevents nutrients from being properly absorbed and causing serious toxicity throughout our bodies.
Symptoms of Leaky Gut
Unfortunately, many doctors overlook or won’t even consider leaky gut a real issue because so many of its symptoms aren’t obviously related to the gut. But wasn’t it Hippocrates who famously said, ‘All disease begins in the gut’?
Yep, he sure did… and WOW, was he onto something.
Symptoms of leaky gut go far outside our normal understanding of what gut issues should be. Instead, leaky gut can affect all of our bodily systems, with symptoms such as:
- Brain fog
- Memory loss
- Excessive fatigue
- Skin rashes such as acne, eczema or rosacea
- Abnormal cravings for sugar and/ or carbs
- Arthritis or joint pain
- Autoimmune diseases (Such as Crohn’s… and some studies even say lupus or MS.)
- Acid reflux
- Sleep issues
- Weight fluctuations
My Experience With Leaky Gut
I really started to notice this about a year ago after my dad died unexpectedly. To that point, I felt like my health was in control—maybe not great, but not terrible. The stress of losing a parent (and the best guy I’ve ever known), having my mother so far away (we were still living in Alaska at the time), keeping up with my growing business and executing a move to Texas (which had its own headaches, of course) finally brought everything to a head.
I was experiencing yeast infections for the first time in my life, skin issues, massive anxiety with heart palpitations, digestive issues that mirrored gallbladder complications, and even joint pain.
While my symptoms had been accumulating, I still hadn’t put 2 and 2 together for almost a year. And I’m a nutritional therapist! Just goes to show you that it’s hard to figure things out when you are in the thick of it, even when you do have a lot of education (and certifications) under your belt.
Finally, after some muscle testing— a practice I have been using for years—I discovered a candida overgrowth, which totally made sense for the yeast infections.
I implemented a candida diet (no sugar at all, which is HARD), antifungals and high doses of probiotics to start getting my gut bacteria balanced and yeast levels under control, but I wanted to know more. I NEEDED to know more. And that’s when it finally hit me. After doing a food sensitivity test, I found that ALL… and I mean ALL… of the daily foods I was eating were causing me major flare-ups.
That’s when I dove into the world of Leaky Gut…
Healing Leaky Gut
Ultimately, leaky gut comes down to something breaking down the integrity of the cellular lining inside the small intestine. Just like a weakened immune system is affected by multiple factors, leaky gut occurs when it is under attack from a variety of causes.
The following are known triggers of leaky gut:
- Emotional and physical stress (THIS IS HUGE… and we’ll be talking about it again soon!)
- Food sensitivities (Different than ALLERGIES)
- Medications and antibiotics
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Gluten intolerances (GF eating isn’t bad, y’all, I promise!)
- Pesticides, such as from non-organic food and in our skin and beauty products
- Excessive sugar intake
- Imbalanced gut bacteria
By removing the triggers in our lives, such as avoiding gluten or cutting back on alcohol and sugar, we are able to help the cellular lining to rebuild. You should also consider increasing your healthy fats (which is known to help fight inflammation) or take a probiotic to support your gut health.
There are also some foods and supplements you can incorporate that will help to rebuild the gut lining. The ones I use regularly are bone broth, collagen peptides, L-glutamine, deglycyrrhizinated licorice root extract, marshmallow root, and slippery elm. But before you run straight to Amazon to utilize that Prime membership, DO YOUR RESEARCH. Just because something is good for me doesn’t automatically mean it’s right for you.
And if you feel something is still not right, but your doctor hasn’t considered leaky gut, bring it up at your next appointment. If you’re feeling dismissed, look into the naturopathic solutions in your area.
At the end of the day, your health is in your hands… and well, sometimes, you just have to go with your gut.