In my last post, I highlighted how gut health affects the immune system. So, one of the major impact to the immune system is a leaky gut.
What is leaky gut?
Our entire digestive tract is lined with a layer of mucosal lining. This lining accounts for 80% of the immune system. It forms a barrier, preventing microorganism, and foreign bodies from entering into the blood and circulates around the body systems.
Leaky gut happens when the mucosal lining of the digestive tract is worn away. This affects the microvillus, which is the finger-like projections, responsible for secreting digestive enzymes and absorption of nutrients. Tiny gaps in between microvillus becomes widen and allow larger unwanted particles such as undigested food, toxins, parasites and microorganism to enter into the blood stream.
The avalanche of foreign bodies that enter into the blood triggers inflammation and immune response. This also increases the pressure on the liver to detox and becomes overworked.
What are the symptoms of leaky gut?
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle cramps
- Food allergies
- Chronic fatigue
What causes leaky gut?
A diet of highly refined carbohydrates, processed foods, chemical food additives such colorings, preservatives and artificial flavoring. Refined carbohydrates are food source for microorganisms such as yeast to thrive. Processed food and chemicals food additives irritate the mucosa lining.
Regular or prolong intake of antibiotics, NSAID ( e.g aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen), birth control pills, steroid drugs and antacid.
3) Nutrient deficiencies
- Zinc and Vitamin B6 helps to maintain the intestinal wall.
- Vitamin A helps build healthy mucosal lining
- Glutamine helps to repair of the gut.
- Inflammation of the intestine caused by Crohn’s disease, colitis, celiac disease are conditions that can increase the permeability of the intestine.
- Cancer of the gastrointestinal tract
- Food allergies increase inflammation and immune responses.
How do you manage leaky gut?
1) Reduce refined carbohydrate in the diet. Convert to whole grains and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, as they are high in fiber that helps to reduce the transient time of wastes in the colon.
2) Reduce the use of antibiotics and steroid drugs. Use natural antibiotics from raw garlic, onion and leek.
3) Take sufficient antioxidants to increase the immune system so that you don’t fall sick easily and reduces the need for drug usage.
4) Take lactobacillus acidophilus regularly to increase the level of friendly bacteria in the gut.
5) Use natural herbs to expel worms. Black walnut hulls, cloves, liquorice, are some examples of herbs that can be used. After taking the drugs that kill worms and parasites, you need to expel the dead parasites in the faeces.
6) Take foods that have natural digestive enzymes. Example papaya, pineapple, mango, kiwi and avocado. Aloe vera helps to condition, nourish the gut and prevent inflammation.
Leaky gut is pretty tricky to diagnose, as the symptoms are very general. However, if you take care to eat healthy diet and don’t drink excessive amount of alcohol and drug usage, you should be fine. However, if you are experiencing the above symptoms, then follow the steps above.
Do you have other ways to manage leaky guts? Share with me in the comment box below.
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