As the age-old Hippocratic saying goes, "All disease begins in the gut". When your gut is unhealthy, it can cause more than just the obvious symptoms such as stomach pain, gas, bloating, or diarrhea. Gut imbalances have been linked to hormonal imbalances, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, eczema and other skin conditions, hay fever, thyroid imbalances, adrenal fatigue, poor immune function and autoimmune diseases. Between 60-80% of our immune system is located in our gut, and 90% of our happy hormone serotonin is made in our gut. So, you can see why good gut health has such a strong connection to not only immunity, but also mood and your overall health.
There are many factors that contribute to our gut health, such as a poor diet high in processed food, sugars, fatty foods, stress, poor sleep quality, and alcohol. Certain medications may also lead to poor gut health as they damage the intestinal lining and protective mucus layers. These medications include antibiotics, steroids, asprin, the contraceptive pill and neurofen.
So how do you know if you have a leaky gut?
10 signs you have leaky gut:
- Digestive problems such as bloating, diarrhea and constipation.
- Food sensitivities
- Thyroid conditions
- Joint pain
- Skin conditions like eczema and acne
- Weight gain
- Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease or Crohn's
- Depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD
How to heal your gut:
The first step to healing your gut is to remove the bad, remove all the foods and medications that are having a negative effect on your gut health. This includes, inflammatory foods, such as gluten, dairy, alcohol, soy and sugar. You may also need to treat infections such as parasites, yeast, or bacteria. Removing the infections may require treatment with herbs, anti-parasite medication, antifungal medication, antifungal supplements, or even antibiotics.
The second step is to replace the good, start adding back in the essentials required for good digestion and nutrient absorption. This includes digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid, glutamine to heal and seal the gut, omega-3 fatty acids vitamin A, C, and E, as well as herbs such as slippery elm and aloe vera.
Eating a whole food diet is also important, high fibre foods will help to eliminate the toxins through the large intestine, colourful vegetables, mixed berries, nuts, and seeds.
Restoring beneficial bacteria to in key in re-establishing a healthy balance of good bacteria in the gut. This can be done by taking a probiotic supplement that contains beneficial bacteria such as bifidobacteria and lactobacillus species. Also, taking a prebiotic (food for the good bacteria) supplement or consuming foods high in soluble fibre is important.
4. Repair and Rebalance
Once you are on the path to wellness, it is time to focus on long lasting lifestyle changes in order to ensure you stay well balanced. Eating mindfully by relaxing as you eat and ensuring your food is well chewed as this stimulates the start of digestion, calm your nervous system and ensure it stays out of flight or flight mode and is in rest and digest mode.
If you suspect you have a leaky gut and would like to take part in my gut healing program, please get in touch for more information.