What is a Leaky Gut?
A healthy gut is the foundation of good health. The gut (small intestine and large intestine) is the organ that digests food and absorbs nutrients into the body. In a healthy gut, the cells should fit together nice and tightly so there is a good barrier between you and the food that you eat. After a meal, your body produces enzymes that break down food to the very smallest particles of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and nutrients that then get actively transported into the blood stream. That healthy gut is a good barrier between you and the food that you eat … a nice clean system.
When a person experiences excess stress (physical, emotional, chemical, etc.) two things happen. First, the digestive enzymes are not produced in the amount needed to appropriately break your food down to those smallest particles, thus leaving larger, less digested particles. Secondly, stress results in inflammation in the body. Inflammation in the gut causes the cells of the gut to swell. This results in microscopic holes in the wall of the gut that then allow those larger proteins to ‘leak’ into the blood stream. This leak can be the causative agent in many illnesses.
Since many more toxins are able to get through that “leaky” barrier, the body is then burdened with an excessive toxic load. This overworks the liver. And, since the nutrients haven’t been broken down into useable sized particles, the liver and body are not getting the appropriate nutrients they need to work optimally. The result is that liver is “overworked and underpaid”. This can result in hypoglycemia, hormonal imbalance, and toxic overburden on the body.
Another consequence of poor digestion is the development of food sensitivities or, as some people call them, “allergies”. When those larger proteins (improperly digested pieces of your food) leak into the blood they stimulate the body to mount an immune response against them. This means that the body manufactures an antibody to bind to the antigen (that protein that leaked through). Once those antigens have been formed, they will recognize that food any time it gets through the barrier. Now when you eat that food, your body is actually fighting against it which is why you may not feel too well.
Now, when that newly formed antigen/antibody complex is floating around in your bloodstream, eventually it will bump into and adhere to a mucous membrane in the body and cause more inflammation. Depending on where that happens, the result can be asthma, arthritis, constipation, diarrhea, ulcerative colitis, depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, headaches, or many others. If you think of a place where you have inflammation, you have to wonder if it has anything to do with the health of your gut.
It is important to know that your gut can seem healthy yet still be ‘leaky’. Luckily there is an easy way to test your gut to truly see how healthy it is. Food allergies and chronic inflammation should not exist. Your gut is your foundation. It should support your health and vitality. If it is leaky, it can be the reason why nothing works and why you have to work so hard to feel simply okay.