I’ve been talking a lot about leaky gut lately and I want to go deeper so that you can understand why.
Your gut is the second brain center of your body. It plays a role in so many functions in the body.
Here’s a little background on the gut. Your gut:
- Produces 3/4 of neurotransmitters
- Contains 2/3 of the immune tissue
- Contains 10 times more cells than the rest of your body combined
- Has metabolic activity greater than the liver
It’s important to note that the gut is a dynamic physiologic organ system. Its primary functions in the body are:
- Digestion and absorption of nutrients
- Supports immune system
- Acts as a barrier to differentiate friend from foe
- Organize, initiate, and coordinate the metabolism of nutrients and the process of detoxification
- Assimilation of nutrients
Let’s review the anatomy/physiology of the small intestine. So here’s a little trivia:
- The gut is typically 20-22 feet long
- Its surface area is about the size of a tennis court
- It contains thousands of villi which are covered by millions of microvilli
Why is the Gut So Important?
- 70% of Americans have gut symptoms or diseases
- It is the most sensitive organ
- It’s the most prone to imbalances, leading to symptoms
- If you normalize and tame the gut, many diseases will be cured including Lupus and other autoimmune conditions.
How Do You Obtain a Healthy Gut?
- Proper nutrients
- Healthy microflora (by taking probiotics)
- Maintain immune balance for repair and regeneration
- Proper chewing
- Adequate digestive juices, enzymes, and pH via proper food combining and eating
- Maintain a healthy gut barrier
A sick gut (leaky gut) can result from:
- Poor diet
- Toxins (molds, heavy metals, additives, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics in meats)
- Inadequate digestive enzymes
- Altered pH
- Impaired gut permeability
Let’s get to know the functions of your immune system and its relationship to the gut.
Functions of the Immune System
With a sick gut, many toxins, additives, and artificial particles enter the blood stream because the barrier function of the gut is impaired due to chronic poor diet and increased stress.
As a result, your body triggers inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s response to infection, tissue damage, or toxins.
Your innate immune system is activated in an effort to kill the enemy that entered through the gut. Your body tries to get rid of it as it is naturally inclined to protect and keep you safe.
It’s similar to when you cut yourself. The area around the cut gets red and swollen with all the white blood cells rushing to the site of injury.
There is an activation of the immune system, and once the infection is under control, the body resumes its normal functions. This is known as innate immunity.
But the problem is that with leaky gut, toxins constantly enter and flood our bodies, resulting in an “acquired” immune response. This means that the inflammation remains.
So what do you do?
Healing Your Leaky Gut
You need to defend your gut from toxins by using quality probiotics.
Probiotics are defined as “live microorganisms that help maintain the ecological balance in the gut.
This kind of microflora in the gut can protect and support the immune system.
We basically have friendly bacteria on the surface of our gut lining, and this bacteria helps us to keep good balance for a healthy gut environment.
By young adulthood, humans have over 100 trillion bacteria in the distal gut. The gut flora is responsible for the following functions:
- Vitamin synthesis
- Energy production
- Immune control
- Protection from the infective agents
The interplay between the gut flora and the immune system is vast and intricate. Remember, what we eat influences the population and metabolic activity of our microflora.
If we eat bad foods, the environment in the gut will be compromised, leading to a leaky gut that can open doors to many different diseases and symptoms.
Let’s now jump to the concept of permeability. Our gut lining serves as a defense to ensure that we only allow our friends into our body, not the enemy.
Imagine your gut having holes to let the toxins pass through to be assimilated into your body.
Just like when you have a cut, your body, in its effort to protect itself, starts to unleash its immune system army to fight the toxins.
Medical research clearly shows that this increased permeability is an early sign of autoimmune condition.
Thinking back to the times of my Lupus diagnosis, I can recall mysterious symptoms due to my poor diet as a graduate student. I thought I was eating healthy but I was eating processed vegan foods, which were not delivering enough nutrients. Plus I was under a lot of stress.
It’s no wonder that autoimmune diseases are the third leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the industrialized world, surpassed only by cancer and heart disease.
The following are examples of autoimmune related diseases:
- Type I Diabetes
- Celiac Disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Systemic Lupus
- Multiple Sclerosis
So What’s the Solution?
- Remove: Begin your initial journey with an elimination diet to minimize toxic exposure through food and decrease inflammation to allow your gut to rest and heal
- Replenish: Use supplements to fill the gap of nutrient deficiencies and to accelerate healing
- Restore: Reintroduce the foods to understand which foods you’re reacting to
I’ve included an Alkaline Elimination Diet Guide here for you to follow.
Your health is your own to keep and protect. We’ve created a step by step online, 5-week Elimination Diet Guide to help you to stay focused and on track.