Do You Have A Leaky Gut?

Do You Have A Leaky Gut?

By Scott Howell

We’ve only recently begun to understand the extent of the gut flora’s role in human health and disease.  Let’s define gut flora as the billions of micro-organisms that populate our gastrointestinal tract. Among other things, the gut flora promotes normal gastrointestinal function, provides protection from infection, regulates metabolism, and comprises more than 75 percent of our immune system.

Unfortunately, several features of the modern lifestyle directly contribute to unhealthy gut flora:

  • Antibiotics and other medications like birth control and NSAIDs
  • Diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods
  • Diets low in fermentable fibers
  • Dietary toxins like wheat and industrial seed oils that cause leaky gut
  • Chronic stress
  • Chronic infections

You don’t have to have gut symptoms to have a leaky gut. Leaky gut can manifest as skin problems like eczema or psoriasis, heart failure, autoimmune conditions affecting the thyroid (Hashimoto’s) or joints (rheumatoid arthritis), mental illness, autism spectrum disorder, depression, and more.

The delicate intestinal barrier determines whether we tolerate or react to toxic substances we ingest from the environment. The breach of the tight-junctions in our intestinal barrier (which is only possible with a leaky gut) by food toxins like gluten and chemicals create an immune response. This immune response creates inflammation. Inflammation leads to dysregulation of our natural balance. Chronic dysregulation leads to homeostatic imbalance. Chronic homeostatic imbalance leads to disease.

Precursors to our most common diseases are:

  • Weakened immune function
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Low libido
  • Premature aging
  • Cancer and cellular damage
  • High blood pressure
  • Lipid (cholesterol) abnormalities
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Infertility

Keys to healing a leaky gut:

  • Eat real food – avoid processed and GMO foods
  • Adequately nourish your body w/ quality macronutrients – balance your macros appropriately
  • Practice targeted supplementation – we can’t get everything we need from food
  • Sleep soundly – 7-8 hours a night for optimal health
  • Exercise intelligently & w/ purpose – scrap the cookie cutter workout and find the right plan for YOU

Here’s the takeaway. Leaky gut and bad gut flora are common because of the modern lifestyle: poor nutrition, too much stress, and not enough sleep.  If you have a leaky gut, you probably have bad gut flora, and vice versa. And when your gut flora and gut barrier are impaired, you will experience inflammation. Period.  Decrease inflammation and immediately experience numerous health benefits!

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