You’ve likely heard of leaky gut if you’ve found yourself on this blog today. At the root of many digestive issues (physically) is a permeable gut-lining, which can show itself in a variety of ways. If you didn’t know, the digestive system is the foundation to physical health – it is a central station for the network that is our internal organs or organ-izations. Therefore, what occurs in the digestive system can easily show up in other areas of our health, such as:
- Mental imbalances like depression, anxiety and poor cognitive function.
- Adrenal Fatigue
- Digestive disease like IBD, IBS and Crohn’s
- Food intolerance
- Autoimmune disease
- Yeast infections
- Joint pain
- Skin problems
Causes of Leaky Gut
The trickiest thing when it comes to tracking down causes of dis-ease is trying to answer the age-old question, which came first? When we explore the working of the digestive system, we see clear as day that the mind and body are interconnected. On one hand, we see that adrenal fatigue or CFS can be caused by leaky gut. On the other, we see that adrenal fatigue can cause leaky gut.
If we dig a bit deeper we see that bacterial overgrowth is what causes leaky gut. And bacterial overgrowth is more likely caused by a few factors:
- Over eating
- A diet of processed food refined carbs and sugar that feed pathogenic bacteria
- Poor digestion resulting in undigested or partially digested foods
- STRESS. The number one cause of all digestive problems. To keep it brief, when we are stressed out constantly we find the adrenal glands are over worked from being in a constant sympathetic state. We need healthy adrenals to produce stomach acid and poop. So if the adrenals are taxed via too much stress, then the digestive system fails and the gut suffers! We will not digest our food properly and the result will be pathogenic take over and a eventually leaky gut.
Any of these symptoms are a signal from your gastrointestinal tract – pay close attention to what it’s trying to tell you.
The good news is that the body is a self-repairing organism – with the right care, the gut can heal itself. In severe cases, the damage to the intestinal wall can be so intense that it will need much greater attention and time for healing. This is the case were very therapeutic forms of diet become useful.
The Anatomy of the Digestive Tract
In case you didn’t know, the intestinal epithelium is the largest mucosal surface in the body. Though the intestinal tract is tucked away from plain sight, it actually serves as a barrier system – protecting the entire body from the external environment. When its functioning properly, the epithelial barrier of the intestinal tract works to discriminate between what comes in and what stays out.
There are two ways in which a substance makes its way through the digestive tract:
- Paracellular: This is a phrase that describes when raw substance sneakily passes between the epithelial cells, which are usually connected by what are known as tight junctions.
- Transcellular: This is a pathway for material that is across an epithelial cell.
A problem occurs when there is tissue damage or antigen exposure, which create food sensitivity. When there is damage or inflammation of the intestinal lining intestinal permeability occurs. If this happens, a number of triggers can cause antigens to pass through the gut, wall causing an immune response. This is the phenomenon known as autoimmunity and is also what attributes to the symptoms listed above.
If an antigen sneaks pass the gut lining – aside from triggering an inflammatory immune response – it can cause a central neuroinflammatory response. Once the central nervous system (CNS) gets the signal of systemic inflammatory, the epithelial cells of the blood-brain barrier start to diminish in integrity – causing a “leaky blood-brain barrier” and the result is neuroautoimmunity. This is how neurological disorders can be caused by a damaged gut.
To say the least, if the gut is damaged or permeated, the health of the entire body diminishes.
Tips For Repairing the Gut Lining
With anything else in life, if we are to find a solution, we must first locate the problem and then the cause of that problem. From there, the rest follows rather easily. Considerations are always senior to mechanics. That is why so many people fail at the mechanics of “living healthy” – we must first get our state of mind right.
That being said, as long as you are aware that ultimately, a healthy mind will produce a healthy body, then there is plenty we can do to help the body. And as we touched on earlier, if we help the body, it can lead to greater mental clarity and even spiritual gains.
Of the many different mechanical strategies for gut repair, diet is of course a major influence. In my course, Perfect Digestion, I out line in complete detail exactly what to eat and what not to eat in a step-by-step protocol.
Aside from diet, one of the many questions I get about digestive health is on the topic of supplements. In my course, I explain again, in detail, where supplements can be of value or not. I will say though, they are not as of equal importance compared to far greater influences such as sleep, mentality, emotional wellness, sunshine, oxygen diet and exercise.
If you are well on your way though with these other areas and looking for some supplemental support, L-glutamine is one the most important nutrients that you can could consume for supporting the repair of the intestinal lining.
L-glutamine is the actually a fuel for the small intestine, providing energy via nitrogen. There’s plenty of research to support the beneficial impact of L-glutamine on the intestinal epithelia. It has the ability to regenerate and repair the lining of the gut. L-glutamine also increases the quantity of cells in the small intestine, as well as the number and integrity of the microvilli on the gut lining. This means better nutrient absorption.
If you’re looking to try implementing Glutamine into your diet then I highly suggest the product Vitality SuperGreens. It has a patented L-glutamine that is highly absorbable. Many other forms of glutamine are questionable but this one has stood up to the test. This particular product has glutamine that is covalently bonded, meaning that it is in a form bonded to other amino acids on a oligopeptide chain making it way more absorbable. Plus, this product tastes great, has adaptogen herbs to help with stress, probiotics for greater immunity and even fermented algae for a mega dose of nutrition for the adrenals and thyroid.
More tips for healing leaky gut:
- Follow a therapeutic diet. For a while, it will be very beneficial to take extra care of what you put into your digestive tract. An abused digestive tract needs some tender love and care. Start by removing pro-inflammatory foods from the diet like; sugar, gluten, alcohol, and any processed foods. Also, as we are each unique, keep an on out on foods that you a personal sensitivity to. If your gut is in bad shape, you’ll have to be strict for a while, until you manage your stress, get enough rest and build back up immunity and the gut lining. For a full dietary protocol see my comprehensive course Perfect Digestion.
- Add in real probiotic foods. Considering that we are more bacteria than human, it only makes sense that we make sure majority of those bacteria are life promoting, beneficial bacteria. If you’ve been turned onto probiotic supplements, ditch them, here’s why. Instead, get some real probiotic foods, like kefir or sauerkraut. The microflora content in these foods are far superior to any supplement and much more cost-effective. You can learn to make your own for pennies. Probiotics protect the gut lining from becoming leaky by keeping pathogenic bacteria (that eat holes through the gut lining) from over growing. They also work with the immune system to reduce systemic inflammation.
- Use therapeutic doses of high quality L-glutamine. So the verdict is in, high quality L-glutamine can be majorly beneficial to healing permeability and reducing inflammation of the intestinal lining. Vitality SuperGreens delivers up to 10 times more glutamine than L-glutamine so a little goes a long way. And there’s no potential serve side effects of glutamine, even in extreme cases the worst that would happen is short-term dizziness, headache, runny nose, dry mouth, stomach pain, gas, vomiting or nausea. Vitality SuperGreens provides the right amount. And if your body needs healing, it’s likely you could use the extra glutamine. One the gut is in better shape, you may not need to consume it anymore, or at least not as much.
Cultivating Perfect Digestion
The real cure to digestive problems lies in mastering our stress levels. However, it’s important to know what stress is. Stress can come on many levels – it can come from exercise, poor nutrition, little sleep, toxic overload from environment, electromagnetic like this computer screen, mental and emotional resistance and essentially anything that causes pressure on the body. Stress is just resistance, pressure or force. It if force-counter-force.
So to fix the digestive system, we need to find the major sources of stress or pressure in our lives and either build resistance to these things (ideally) or remove the source or pressure (surrender, non-resistance). To help you achieve this, I have put together a program called Perfect Digestion that helps you remove many physical stressors from the body to give it a break from all the pressure.
The course contains a simple to follow protocol that will help your body heal with the help of nutrition, proper lifestyle habits like sleep and movement and I even get into the mental and emotional aspects to help remove major root causes. I am also currently working on a small video series for busting mental/emotional stress that will be in the course soon, taking it beyond a fully comprehensive course for healing the digestive system. If you want to learn more about it, you can do that here.