Leaky gut is getting more attention by the day, and is a term often thrown around by medical professionals and health practitioners. It’s something I’ve personally suffered with and is now something I talk about on a weekly basis with my clients in clinic. If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know how passionate I am about gut health. Gut health truly does play such an important role in our overall health. Having leaky gut isn’t fun, I’ve faced many health challenges such as IBS (causing constipation and bloating), low energy, low immune system, eczema, hormonal imbalances (PCOS), sugar-addiction, food allergies and intolerance, with many of these being caused by leaky gut.
This is why I know I can help you if this is something you’re suffering from. Through my own challenges, I’ve come to understand how food affects me, my gut, my symptoms, and my overall health. After suffering for years and trying to find solutions, I took my health into my own hands, however I wished I had reached out for help sooner, because knowing what I now know my road to recovery would have been a hell of a lot faster! By changing my diet and my lifestyle habits, I started healing myself from the inside out.
This is actually the reason why I changed careers from the corporate world and went back to university to study nutrition. I was intruded with how the body works, and why my body was changing through simple diet and lifestyle changes, it fascinated me.
So, enough rambling, you now know why I’m extremely passionate about what I do, and why I’m a holistic nutritionist, because as you carry on reading when it comes to our health (especially gut health), there is a lot more to consider than just nutrition.
What is leaky gut?
When there are gaps in the gut lining, food fragments can escape into the bloodstream, leading the body to react with an immune response. This is usually caused by food allergies and what is known as ‘leaky gut syndrome.’ It often rears its head with symptoms like bloating, gas, cravings, and food sensitivities.
Here are 5 leading causes of leaky gut.
Mostly found in processed and refined foods, gluten is the sticky stuff acts as a binder in foods. Gluten can aggravate the gut lining causing inflammation which can lead to gaps in the gut lining. There have been many studies which have shown removing gluten from the diet has even helped repair intestinal function. Consider going gluten-free to help soothe a leaky gut and reduce inflammation in the body.
Most people nowadays now know that excess sugar doesn’t do our body any favours. Sugar can cause leaky gut because any amount of sugar can actually feed yeast and "bad" bacteria in the body, leading to gut irritation and an imbalance of bad bacteria to good bacteria, causing gut dysbiosis. If you’re already suffering from leaky gut, sugar will just continue to make a bad problem far worse. Here are some nutritionist approves tips to beat sugar cravings for good, or 7 ways you can take control of your sugar cravings today!
3) Alcohol & Coffee
This one might hurt (sorry!!!). But if you keep consuming either during the early stages of your leaky gut recovery, you’ll simply be treading water and either going nowhere or moving forward very slowly. For some coffee can increases the stress response causing inflammation in the gut. Alcohol is often high in sugar and depending on the beverage it can also contain yeast which both feed the unwanted bacteria in the gut and cause gut permeability, aka leaky gut.
Wherever possible, you should try avoiding unnecessary medications, NSAID, antibiotic or antacid use. Being on medications and corticosteroids for 15+ years for my eczema and asthma was one of the biggest causes of my leaky gut. Consult your doctor if wanting to cut back on any medications as immediate cessation without supervision can be dangerous.
Stress can actually change the bacteria in your gut and increase inflammation. Chronic stress is as bad as gluten for your gut! I also know that the causes of stress (work, family, financial, social, etc) can be just about as hard to avoid as gluten itself! But you have to find ways to manage stress if you suffer from leaky gut. This was another big factor that I had to work on too to heal my leaky gut. My personal favourite way to manage my stress is to put my legs up against the wall and listen to guided meditation for 15 minutes daily before bed.
There are also other factors which can irritate the gut:
Legumes (for some people), dairy, starches, processed foods, infections (parasites), environmental toxins, low stomach acid.
It can feel overwhelming knowing where to start to heal your gut, as I was once in that position. Because of my own experiences, I have a genuine desire to help others get well and stay well. I want to encourage you to take control of your own health so you can feel great every single day - and I’d love to help you! So, get in touch if this is something you’re struggling with and let’s start your journey to wellness!