Allergies, lethargy, auto-immune disease, cancer… Can they be related to ‘Leaky gut’
The world seems to be filled with more and more people suffering allergies, autoimmune diseases and digestive ails. Could this be over diagnosis? Hypochondria? Fashion? Or are we actually suffering more?
Over the last one hundred years technological evolution has far outridden human genetic evolution. Our diets have vastly changed from seasonal, local, organic and whole, to gene-tically modified, processed, colouring and additive filled, with
increased amounts of sugar and salt, as well as eating food that is flown from every corner of the planet so that we can eat the same thing every day! We are also bombarded with chemical and toxic waste in water, in the air we breathe, and in the food we eat. There are the microwaves, wifi, mobile phones and other invisible enemies, that seems to be causing harm…and let’s not forget that we are also far more sedentary, with tele-vision, computers and other gadgets in our work and home, and with an increasing number of people now owning cars, so walking is of the past! It is hardly surprising therefore, that we are having more problems with our health. Our bodies are simply not evolved enough (yet) to deal with this bombardment of harmful agents, and so strange things are happening to us.
In the last article, we looked at the whole digestive system, and I briefly described ´leaky gut´ which is classified by malfunction in the intestinal tight junctions in the digestive tract, allowing larger-than-usual particles to pass from the digestive system into the bloodstream. When this occurs, the balance of inflammatory immune responses is disrupted, leading to chronic inflammation and poor immunity.´ (Ref. https://draxe.com/7-signs-symptoms-you-have-leaky-gut/). This means that a person with allergies, asthma, autoimmune disease, cancer, or any other disease known to stem from inflammation and disruption of the healthy immune system could have leaky gut, and this may well be the underlying cause of the disease. For this reason treating the gut can lead to alleviating symptoms, and see a return to health.
What causes the intestinal membrane to become impermeable? Zonulin is a protein that causes the tight junctions between the cells open. This allows larger particles (toxins, bacteria, gluten etc) to enter directly into the blood stream, causing local or whole-body immune response.
What are the symptoms? Bloating, cramps, gas, pain, food sensitivity, autoimmune diseases, skin problems, thyroid problems etc. are just some of the signs of leaky gut, but this is not an exhaustive list, and as you can see these symptoms could be confused with many other issues. Are there any medical tests? There are tests that can be performed to test the permeability of the intestine wall. These include testing for zonulin levels in a blood sample; a simple mannitol-lactulose test, that uses sugars to test whether the gut wall absorbs these sugars (that it should not do if the gut wall is healthy); the for food sensitivities – the more you have, the more likely your gut is not working properly.
What can cause a leaky gut? There are many things that can cause a leaky gut, and these include: poor diet, stress, lectins (a protein found in seeds, grains and potatoes), unhealthy bacteria (dysbiosis – more bad bacteria than good!), antibiotic use, infections, alcohol, radiation exposure, formula milk in new borns, aging and several vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
How to heal a leaky gut? There are several adjustments that you can make to your lifestyle and diet that can greatly help a leaky gut. Remember to get help from a professional. What is really important is to cut out those foods from your diet you know are not good for you! Ditch the processed, ready-made foods, and go for wholesome, home cooked goodness. Here in Tenerife we are spoilt for delicious veggies, so go out to those local markets and enjoy! Include exercise and meditation to your daily routine, as well as drinking plenty of water. If you have serious health issues, the healing process will take longer, and you may find food adjustments hard, but you can do it!
Remove lectin from your diet, as well as any other foods you may have a sensitivity to. Gluten and lactose can be big players in poor gut health, so try cutting them out for a while to see how you feel. You may want to supplement with vitamins A, D, B complex, zinc and iron.
Introduce healing foods: Bone broth, kefir, a probiotic that gives you healthy bacteria in your gut; fermented vegetables, other probiotics that provide organic acids that allow good bacteria grow; coconut oil; wild caught fish that has high amount of omega 3 that is easy to digest; sprouted flaxseeds; steamed vegetables like coli flour, cabbage, broccoli, squashes.
As you can see, gut health is vital for our whole body – only recently is main stream medicine catching up with this, which is quite unbelievable. I am sure that we will see more scientific evidence being published in the future that will influence greatly treatment guidelines in main stream medicine in the future. I certainly hope so! This article is just a top line of information, and hopes to provide food for thought!
In the next article we will look at detoxing the liver.
For more information on my cooking and nutrition work-shops or consultations you can go to Kaos Factory Project in facebook, or email me at KaosFactoryProject@gm-ail.com
Author: Gemma Ortiz Genovese, BSc (Hons), MSc, Kaos Factory Project