On this blog we deal with a great deal of mind and emotional work, and for good reason since our beliefs, thoughts and habits have a huge impact on our physical being as well as our place in this world.
There are times however when we must pay attention to our physical body acknowledging that without health we can have a tough time undergoing any other type of self-improvement.
I know this first-hand, some 20-years ago as a very young man I hit a rock bottom from a health perspective that shocked me, took every ounce of my energy and emotional focus to combat…I couldn't think of anything else in life at this time except overcoming the various illnesses that seemed to strike out of nowhere.
I later came to find out a big part of what I was going through was Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Symptoms Of Leaky Gut?
What makes leaky gut such a tough thing to diagnose is how varied the symptoms can be, but here are some of the more common ones:
- Poor digestion manifesting itself as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), acid reflux, bloating, cramping, constipation, being able to eat fewer and fewer foods without it bothering your digestive tract
- Fuzzy brain which can manifest itself as spaciness, lack of focus, extreme fatigue, forgetfulness, even a sense of aura's or dizziness is not uncommon
- Allergies…we all wonder why all of a sudden we become allergic to the environment, a certain food, wine (sulfites), gluten (wheat), or a whole host of other things we used to be able to eat…often this is due to having a leaky gut
- Reduced immune system…when I had leaky gut syndrome I seemed to catch every cold, virus or bacterial infection going, there seemed to be just a few weeks between illnesses when I would go much longer in the past
- Numbing of the limbs or even partial paralysis…this is what finally shocked me into getting help, it came to a day when I simply could not get off the couch, my legs were tingling, then would go numb as would the fingers on my hands
So What Causes It?
Equally mysterious are the causes behind leaky gut syndrome, what we do know is that inflammation and internal infections in the small intestinal lining are the prime culprit allowing otherwise contained toxins through the intestinal wall, leaking out into the bloodstream and even into our lymphatic system. Some good evidence points to some of the following:
- Antibiotic use (even many years ago) which has disrupted the normal bacterial/chemical mix in your gut leading to an overgrowth of candida or other unhealthy parasites which leads to inflammation, swelling and even ulcers
- Stress, especially for some people, seems to lead directly to inflammation and unhealthy gut which opens the door to leaky gut syndrome which then creates a vicious circle of more stress and more leaky gut
- Poor diet…when you combine too much toxicity from cigarettes, alcohol, sugar, carbohydrates over a long period of time this will disrupt the flora and lead to leaky gut
- An especially toxic environment…when I was young I worked in a poorly ventilated building supply store surrounded by chemicals and toxic material (many of which are now banned) – when I finally sought help for my various illnesses I had large stores of arsenic and mercury in my system (which could be traced directly back to that time in my life) which certainly added to the toxicity level in both my digestive and circulatory system
- Parasites – infections from third world countries or even from pets have been shown to cause major disruptions in digestive functions leading to inflammation that can then lead to leaky gut syndrome
The fact is that somewhere north of 50% of people today are walking around with some degree of leaky gut which can easily be traced to the growing issues of digestive problems, chronic lower back pain, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue and muscle issues (fibromyalgia), poor sleeping habits, chronic stress and perhaps even a portion of diabetes, other diseases related to inflammation such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and cancers.
What Can You Do To Treat Leaky Gut Syndrome?
1. Leaky Gut Diet
One of the first things you can do to help bring leaky gut syndrome under control is to radically alter your diet away from sugar, alcohol and simple carbohydrates for 1-2 weeks focusing mainly on vegetables, legumes and protein (chicken, beef, etc…) The unhealthy state of your gut thrives on sugar and foods high in glycemic index, so you want to "starve" your unhealthy gut to begin the process of healing. Most people can eventually begin to return to a normal diet a few months in, so this is often temporary.
2. Nutritional Supplements
A few common supplements often used to help treat leaky gut syndrome include L-Glutamine – an essential amino acid that helps reduce inflammation and coat your gut to prevent further irritation. In addition, you are most likely lacking in essential digestive enzymes that help to digest foods such as dairy, fats and complex proteins…often 4-6 weeks worth of these enzymes can help replenish the gut to get you well on the way to feeling much better.
In addition, you want to introduce plain yogurt (as well as possibly a probiotic supplement), fermented vegetables such as Sauerkraut or Kvass.
Finally, many people with leaky gut syndrome also have an over-abundance of system yeast (candida) in their system – to help kill off this overgrowth of candida you can use either a nutritional approach with a supplement such as this, or use a homeopathic approach to reducing your candida – I have used both and they work extremely well. (Note – anyone that goes through a yeast "kill-off" will experience 1-2 days of "die-off" where the excess candida creates a temporary toxic overload until it is flushed from your system, this can often feel like a very bad hangover for those that go through it. Drinking plenty of water and limiting sugar during this time is critical.
3. Manage Stress
Stress is a major factor involved in causing and prolonging leaky gut syndrome, try deep breathing and meditation to help bring your stress under control. This is important, while the steps above will work to give you temporary relief from leaky gut, managing your stress is key to returning to a normal digestive health and also the key to getting back toward a normal diet as quickly as possible. Ignore stress management and you will most likely end up back in the same situation 6-months from now.
If you experience any of the symptoms above you are most likely struggling with leaky gut syndrome, the good news is that by using a combination of diet, nutritional or homeopathic support and learning to manage stress you can get your life back feeling better than you have in years. It happened for us, let us know how this works for you.