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  • Charity Lawson, Nutritionist

What is Leaky Gut? How You Can Take Control of Your Second Brain

Have you been hearing how many health issues go back to the gut? There's been a lot of research coming out in the last decade about the leaky gut (also called intestinal hyperpermeability). Many have nicknamed the gut "the second brain" due to research pointing to a direct line of communication between the gut and brain.

Leaky gut isn’t something our grandparents had to worry about much. So then why is it more prevalent today? The simple answer is that our world is more toxic than ever before. Our foods contain more chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides. We take more medications and have a more stressful lifestyle than those that came before us. A leaky gut doesn’t happen overnight. It is often due to a combination of these things causing inflammation and wreaking havoc on the intestinal lining.

So how does the gut become leaky? Inflammation. A healthy gut has tight junctions that hold our cells together in the lining of our GI tract. When we have high levels of inflammation due to diet, medications, and lifestyle factors, these junctions break down. When these junctions do break down as a result of these triggers, the spaces between your cells widen. The larger space allows toxins, bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, and undigested proteins to creep in. These unwelcome organisms cross the intestinal barrier and move through the bloodstream. A healthy gut would be able to remove these organisms through your GI tract. This abnormal influx of toxic waste into circulation creates a hyperactive inflammatory response. Your immune system then perpetuates the cycle of inflammation and leaky gut. This cycle can cause immune dysregulation and the development of autoimmune diseases.

Scientists and doctors have linked leaky gut to several autoimmune diseases. Namely, the ones where the body makes antibodies against its tissue. This happens when undigested proteins (which mimic the body's proteins) cross the leaky gut barrier. This sets off the immune system to attack its tissues.

Common Causes of Leaky Gut

  • Infections – fungal overgrowth, parasitic infections

  • Drugs like NSAIDs and chemotherapeutic agents

  • Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis

  • Celiac disease

  • Chronic alcoholism

  • Strenuous exercise

  • Food allergies

How to Heal Your Leaky Gut

First things first….cut the toxins that are damaging the gut. It doesn’t do much good to add in supplements if the toxins are not first eliminated from entering the GI tract. You should drop these first to reduce damage to the intestinal barrier:

  • Food sensitivities,

  • Gluten,

  • Alcohol,

  • Antibiotics,

  • NSAIDs,

  • Chronic stress,

  • and Other toxic chemicals.

The clinic offers tests to test gut dysbiosis and intestinal permeability. A positive IgG food sensitivity panel can show a person has a leaky gut. When paired with a stool sample, we can address dysbiosis and inflammatory markers like IgA and zonulin.

We work with our clients to decrease inflammation and support intestinal repair. If you would like to improve your gut and immune health, we can help you. Call the clinic at (830) 992-3042 to schedule an appointment today.

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