Leaky gut what you need to know
The term leaky gut is a slight misnomer, our guts are designed to be leaky, that’s how we absorb nutrients from food the issue is how leaky? In a normal health gut absorption takes place in three ways passive diffusion, active diffusion and facilitated diffusion, active transport needs ATP (biochemical energy) to function, facilitated transport needs the aid of sodium or hydrogen being pumped across the membrane with it whereas passive diffusion can just cross without any energy transfer. You can imagine the intestine walls like a number of pillars tightly bound to one an other that will only allow molecules through in the normal pathways, in leaky gut those pillars become less tightly coupled and molecules can pass through the barrier without any control. Now the gaps in the pillars allow molecules to pass through at earlier stages and in a less or undigested form. Proteins are normally broken down into smaller amino acids before crossing this barrier but if they cross as a fully formed protein they will likely be seen as a foreign body and attacked like a pathogen, this causes inflammation in gut and starts a record of foods that might become seen as a pathogen to the body in future. Other molecules such as toxins, parasites, fungi and pathogens in general can also pass through, this may cause reabsorption of excreted toxins as well.
Other issues that might occur is a lack of enzymes being released or a lack of stomach acid which may one allow parasitic microbes to grow and flourish in our upper GI tract or two cause the digestion of proteins to take too long and the plant parts of our food to start fermenting too soon in our upper GI tract. This again will cause inflammation and block nutrient absorption, as the upper GI tract should be microbe free and fermentation should happen in the colon where anaerobic bacteria thrive.
Symptoms to look out for
Tiredness after eating
Heart burn after eating
Inability to eat breakfast
A key to healing a leaky gut is to first remove foods that are causing issues, such as foods you have become intolerant to, alcohol and sugars. Second to add healing elements like L-glutamine that will have anti-inflammatory effect and is an essential amino acid for repair of the gut lining. The third is to balance your gut microbiome and the fourth is to ensure you have appropriate levels of stomach acid to digest food, it’s also worth noting that all vegetables and fruits should be eaten at the end of a meal to prevent premature fermentation.
Although gut health is very important it is still usually caused by other factors so it’s very important to find the root cause of the leaky gut not just to go on a short term diet to help it heal, otherwise you will be right back at square one before too long.
Barrier permeability is strongly linked to stress hormones, by barriers I’m not just talking about your gut now I’m talking skin, gut, lungs, mucus membranes and the blood brain barrier. These barriers becoming more permeable for longer periods of time cause massive issues ranging from hay fever to Alzheimer’s. often gut troubles can be linked with adrenal fatigue which is not realistically the adrenals being fatigued but rather an over production of cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that will induce fat storage around the abdomen and cause an increase in barrier permeability to mention some of its worse traits. This will also cause pregnenolone steal which means the key building block for other key hormones will be stolen away from them to create cortisol.
Again adrenal fatigue is also just a symptom and searching for underlying causes such as neurological stress from an old injury, emotional trauma, bacterial or viral issues, heavy metals or something else can be a long and tedious road. If anyone finds themselves on this road find someone that as the knowledge to help you get on the right path quickly.