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When someone mentions the term “leaky gut,” it may sound like your stomach is about to start dripping gross bits out of your body, but luckily that is not the case! Leaky gut is caused when the areas inside your intestinal wall become looser, and more permeable. This can allow toxins and bacteria to cross through your intestinal lining into your body and your bloodstream. If you are concerned about leaky gut, give Ozark Holistic Center in Fayetteville a call today to schedule a checkup. We specialize in nutritional counseling, chiropractic adjustments, myofascial release, and other forms of holistic healing. We’re here to help you, and we love to see our patients return to optimal health!
What is Leaky Gut?
Much of your body’s defenses are tied up in the gut. Our entire digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus, is exposed to the outside world through the food we eat, the liquids we drink, and even the air we breathe. Creating a healthy gut biome that is rich in probiotics and prebiotics is imperative to your overall health and wellness. In the gut we have a barrier system that is supposed to only allow certain substances to go through. This barrier protects from foreign invaders and microorganisms, while also allowing essential nutrients and substances to flow through it.
These layers in our gut are constantly working and adjusting themselves quickly to absorb nutrients. The tight junctions in our intestines are in place to respond to your body’s needs and keep harmful substances out of your bloodstream. When we have poor diet, food sensitivities, pesticides, herbicides, excess stress, and other pathogens introduced to our systems, it can cause increased intestinal permeability. This is what is commonly known as leaky gut.
One of the culprits that causes tight junctions to be opened irregularly is a substance called zonulin. While it zonulin’s precise physiological role is yet to be determined, it is clear that it is involved in the movement of fluid macromolecules and white blood cells in the body. When there is too much zonulin in your system, it allows the tight junctions in your body to remain open and creates opportunities for bacteria and large proteins such as gluten to find their way past the barrier.
Who is at Risk for Leaky Gut?
All of us! To a certain extent, everyone already suffers from leaky gut. Since the barriers in your gut are not entirely impenetrable, there will always be some bits of bacteria leaking through. However, some people have a higher risk due to their genetic makeup. Those that find they have a more sensitive stomach, or are allergic to some foods, may be in more danger of contracting severe cases of leaky gut than others.
Genetics are not the only thing to blame, however. There is more research coming to light that suggests that our diets can have a large impact on the effects of leaky gut. Diets that are high in sugar and refined seed and plant oils, and low in fiber and plant matter, can increase the risk of the barriers in our intestines not working properly, leading to dangerous forms of leaky gut.
How Leaky Gut Affects Your Whole Body
When foreign and unwelcome substances start to permeate your bloodstream through your gut, they are targeted by your immune system. The more bacteria and toxins that make it out of your gut, the more your body will fight them. This can cause inflammation, which can lead to your intestinal barrier breaking down even further, and compounding the problem. While occasional inflammation is not a long-lasting problem, if it is left untreated, leaky gut can cause or intensify autoimmune disease. In some cases, the toxins that are flowing through your bloodstream can find their way to your brain and start affecting your moods by causing depression and anxiety. If your brain becomes affected, it can also cause a harmful condition called leaky brain. This is similar to leaky gut, as it allows problematic bacteria and toxins to cross the blood-brain barrier. Leaky brain can also occur independently of leaky gut, but their treatments are very similar since they generally share causes.
Leaky gut can be difficult to diagnose right away because it is often associated with, or increases the effects of other various diseases. Some warning signs that you may be affected by leaky gut include:
- Food sensitivities
- Digestive issues
- Skin problems
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact Ozark Holistic Center right away! Our doctors will always work with you to find the source of your problems and create a comprehensive treatment plan to return your body back to peak condition. If you are worried about leaky gut, come see us in Fayetteville to find solutions for your physical concerns and ailments.
The Causes of Leaky Gut
As we have already discussed, leaky gut can often be caused by poor diet that is low in nutritional value. While that is the leading cause, let’s take a look at some of the other sources that can lead to leaky gut.
- Food intolerance — when your body is not prepared to effectively break down all of the necessary substances in your diet, a food intolerance can form and aggravate or begin the process of leaky gut forming.
- Infection — if there are not enough good microorganisms in your system to destroy the harmful ones, infections can form which will start to break down the barriers in your gut and start allowing more harmful material into your bloodstream.
- Environmental toxins — there are toxins all around us! From the foods we eat to the products we use, there are pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, and more that can damage our bodies and decrease the effectiveness of our intestinal barriers.
To avoid some of these causes, it is always important to be aware of what we are putting into our bodies as well as the products we are using. Always make sure you are eating a healthy diet that is rich in anti-inflammatories and healthy, natural food. When you are purchasing new products, be aware of the materials it is made from, and how those materials can negatively affect your body. Common items like carpets, mattresses, and more are treated with flame retardants that can greatly damage our bodies.
Diseases Linked to Leaky Gut
Increased intestinal permeability has been found to negatively affect or cause several serious diseases and chronic problems. These include celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, eczema, and chronic fatigue.
Gluten is a staple in most diets, so it is very prevalent in our systems. Many of the pesticides that are used in harvesting wheat can increase gluten sensitivities in our bodies. Because of these factors, gluten is often one of the first organisms to cross the leaky gut barriers in large quantities. In some cases, we have seen these glucose imbalances lead to various health issues. Some, like eczema and chronic fatigue, can be easily treated, while others can manifest into serious and ongoing health problems like celiac disease or ataxia.
When your intestines become more permeable, there can be a link to type 1 diabetes. If you are experiencing beginning stages of type 1 diabetes, it can be extremely beneficial to start a gluten free diet. In some cases, this can reduce the symptoms and is a good alternative option instead of administering insulin. But of course, this is not always possible considering type 1 is often diagnosed after the fact in young children. Though type 1.5 or adult onset type 1 may be prevented.
One final disease that has been linked to excess gluten in the system due to leaky gut is multiple sclerosis. This disease can increase gut permeability in individuals, and has been connected with other autoimmune diseases and brain disorders.
As you are trying to live a healthy life, do your best to maintain a healthy diet so you can avoid these harmful health issues as well as all other symptoms and health problems that are linked to leaky gut.
Leaky Gut Support Plans
If you have been diagnosed with leaky gut, the next step is revising your routine to create a healthy gut biome that will begin to heal itself and reduce the inflammation and other symptoms above. The first step we always recommend is changing your diet to one that is nutrient dense and rich in anti-inflammatory substances. These diets are based on whole foods with certain restrictions. The goal is to get back to our roots, and eat clean foods the way our ancestors did. When you come to Ozark Holistic Center, we will work with you in depth to create a health plan that is tailored to you specifically. We can diagnose the damage caused by leaky gut in your system, and target specific ways to heal your body using natural methods and diets.
How to Prevent Leaky Gut
In many indigenous cultures around the world and throughout history, they were not often affected by chronic diseases. Their diets are typically rich in vegetables, fruits, grass-fed meats, fermented foods, and occasionally they are high in animal fats. The processing that abounds in current western food and diet is harming our bodies, and the old adage of “you are what you eat” is becoming more and more prevalent. Removing inflammatory substances from your diet will go a long way in preventing leaky gut and reducing its symptoms. Some of the diet items to avoid are:
- Processed foods
- Certain medications
- Foods that you are allergic or sensitive to
The more you are able to balance your gut flora with healthy, natural foods, the better off you will be. If you have leaky gut already, it is absolutely possible to work to rebuild your gut lining through a diligent diet that will focus on gut health. If you need help finding the best diet for you, get in touch with Ozark Holistic Center today! Our physicians are experts in balanced diets, and love working with individuals to find a meal plan that will help them achieve fitness goals and keep their guts flourishing.
Choose Ozark Holistic Center
Many of our patients come to Ozark Holistic Center because they have had years of unsuccessful medical interventions for their various conditions. Every individual is unique, and we will always have your best interests in mind as we work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan to help heal your ailments.
Dr. Orie Quinn and Dr. Gabriel Ariciu are incredible healers. They have personal experience with chronic health conditions, and they overcame these devastating obstacles. Dr. Quinn had daily seizures and fatigue, but eventually looked to alternative medicine and found the solution. Dr. Ariciu had very painful migraines that were caused by a previously undiscovered gluten sensitivity. They both chose to treat their conditions by finding the source of their pain, rather than masking and treating the symptoms. They now use this type of treatment to strategically fight thyroid problems, autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue, depression, and other serious afflictions. Together, the pair has helped hundreds of people in the Fayetteville area.
When you visit Ozark Holistic Center, we will do everything we can to successfully treat your condition. Once your treatment has been effective, you will have some wellness checkups to make sure that no new symptoms have developed, and your pains or illness have not returned. Aside from leaky gut, some of our services include:
- Applied kinesiology
- Lyme disease
- Chiropractic care
- Myofascial release
- Nutritional counseling
- Direct holistic wellness
- And more!