Brooklyn, NY doctor explains the effects of a leaky gut
Your gut is the gateway to your health! Nearly 80% of your immune system is devoted to the gut, as does most of your serotonin (the chemical responsible for your feelings of happiness). A healthy gut can often be linked to overall health. So, what does a “healthy gut” mean, and more importantly, what does it look like when your gut isn’t healthy? In the following article, we’ll look at the effects of a condition called “leaky gut” and how that can impact overall wellness.
What is “leaky gut”?
The small intestine is a vital organ in the body. It’s where your body absorbs most of the vitamins and nutrients that are contained in the food you eat. Your small intestine is a semi-permeable organ, containing microscopic pores that allow the nutrients to transfer into the bloodstream. The blood then brings these nutrients all around the body.
When the microscopic pores of the small intestine widen it allows larger molecules such as undigested food and toxins to pass through and enter the bloodstream. Since these items do not belong in the blood, the immune system begins to attack, leading to a wide range of health problems.
Common signs of a leaky gut
Depending on the individual, the body’s response to the foreign invaders in the blood can vary. The following are the most common signs that something is wrong.
- Food Allergies or Intolerances
- Digestive issues (diarrhea, bloating, gas, IBS)
- Skin issues such as acne or eczema
- Seasonal allergies
- Hormonal imbalances
- Autoimmune diseases (celiac, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis)
- Chronic fatigue
- Multiple myeloma
What causes a leaky gut?
Now that we’ve identified the symptoms of leaky gut, let’s look at how the condition develops. One of the most common causes of leaky gut is an imbalance of the flora in the gut. Everyone has both good and bad bacteria in the digestive system. When the flora inside the gut is in balance, the “bad” bacteria do not cause issues. However, when there is an abundance of bad bacteria, it can lead to inflammation and irritation which can open the pores of the intestine.
Different things can lead to this imbalance. The biggest culprits are foods, infections, colonizations and toxins.
- Food – Gluten is the number one food-related cause of leaky gut. Other foods that cause inflammation are dairy, sugar, and alcohol.
- Infections – by various toxigenic bacteria and intestinal parasites.
- Colonizations – Small Intestine bacteria overgrowth (SIBO), candida overgrowth.
- Toxins – Certain medications such as antibiotics, acid-reducing drugs, and NSAIDS.
Healing a leaky gut
One of the first steps to repairing a leaky gut is to eliminate the main culprits. That means removing inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, eggs, sugar, and alcohol.
The next step is treating any infections and colonizations within the gut, whether its small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO), parasites, or Candida overgrowth.
Another thing that may be recommended to heal a leaky gut is to take glutamine. This amino acid can act as a barrier inside the lining of the small intestines, healing the soft tissue and improving health. It’s also important to start taking a probiotic – a microflora which will help re-establish a healthy microbiome and balance the gut flora. When avoiding dairy, look to fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi to help balance the gut flora. You can also take a probiotic supplement.
Because inflammation is one of the biggest causes of leaky gut, you can also increase Omega-3 in your diet which is known to help heal the gut. Try incorporating more fatty fish such as salmon into your diet or take a fish oil supplement.
Call Atlantic Gastroenterology today to learn more about restoring your gut health
At Atlantic Gastroenterology, we’re committed to helping patients with a comprehensive approach to wellness. The symptoms of leaky gut can have a profound impact on overall health and quality of life. If you are suffering, please give us a call at 718 521-2840 to schedule an appointment. We’ll help you get to the root cause of your symptoms and come up with a treatment plan designed to heal your leaky gut, reduce symptoms, and improve your daily life.
Alexander Shapsis, MD
Atlantic Gastroenterology, PC
Tel: 718 615-4001
Fax: (718) 615-4004
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