Is Leaky Gut a Medical Mystery?
September 5th, 2019
Is leaky gut real? It’s all over the media, yet many in the medical community treat it as a medical myth. The truth is that while the symptoms may seem puzzling or confusing, leaky gut is far from mysterious. It’s a serious, proven health concern. With some simple steps, leaky gut can be both prevented as well as reversed. In fact, I used Leaky Gut Revive® to help thousands of my patients prevent and reverse leaky gut over the last decade in my clinic.
In this article, you’ll learn why your gut is so important and what a leaky gut is. I’ll also cover how to take back your health if leaky gut does occur.
Why is Your Gut so Important?
People often ask me why is the gut so important. The answer is simple. Your gut is the gateway to your health. It’s a major part of your digestive system and it’s also a key player in your immune and nervous systems.
When your gut health is compromised, your entire body can be affected. Your immune system suffers, and you increase your risk of developing chronic inflammation throughout the body, leading to autoimmune diseases, and other chronic health issues.
Intestinal Permeability vs. Leaky Gut
Intestinal permeability is a term that describes how your gut controls materials passing from inside your gut through the tight junctions in your gut wall into your bloodstream to the rest of your body.
Within your gut, there are the tiny projections called villi. They look like little fingers covered with hairs called microvilli. The villi grab micronutrients floating in your gut that have been broken down from the food you eat. The villi and the microvilli push these micronutrients toward tiny openings in your gut wall directly into your bloodstream. Then your blood carries this nourishment to all the cells in your body.
When you eat an inflammatory diet and are exposed to environmental toxins, infections, and stress, the toxic overload becomes too much for your body. As a result, the tiny openings in your intestinal wall break open. Microbes, toxins, and undigested food particles that should have been passed out of your body enter your bloodstream. Once this happens, the intestinal permeability that is the healthy functioning of your body becomes leaky gut.
Leaky gut can compromise your overall health and increases your risk of inflammation, leading to chronic disease. It is often the root cause of unexplained gastric problems such as gas and bloating as well as issues throughout the body from skin problems, and brain fog, to joint pain and other nagging health problems.1,2 ,3
Traditional Medicine and Leaky Gut
Leaky gut may be all over the media, yet it remains a controversial topic in the traditional medical community. Scientific evidence in controlled studies has shown that “increased intestinal permeability,” or what we call leaky gut, plays a role in various gastrointestinal diseases, including Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.
However, one of the biggest debates in the medical community is whether or not leaky gut plays a role in other health issues.4 The groundbreaking work of Dr. Alessio Fasano, an acclaimed Harvard researcher, proved a protein called zonulin breaks open the tight junctions of the gut wall,5 allowing large particles to pass through and cause inflammation. He also proved that certain infections and a component of wheat called gliaden stimulate the production of zonulin. Finally, he was able to show a link between the opening of the gut wall, chronic inflammation, and autoimmunity.
You might think that most physicians would be delighted with this information. It’s a relatively straightforward explanation for a whole host of common ailments. Unfortunately, the traditional medical community doesn’t move very fast. In fact, it typically takes an average of 18 years for new research to make its way into clinical practice.
And although gastroenterologists may recommend removing known gut irritants such as gluten for people with celiac disease or even a liquid diet for Crohn’s disease,6 traditional medicine’s approach is generally treatment with harsh drugs including immunosuppressants and steroids.
In fact, at least one pharmaceutical company is in late-stage clinical trials to develop a zonulin-blocking drug.7 However, even Dr. Fasano cautions this creates a false sense of security. A drug such as this may temporarily help prevent gut wall openings from widening, but it will not close a hole blown in the wall by toxins or parasites. The drug will not get to the root cause of the problem.
Having been trained as a conventional medical doctor before I became a functional medicine physician, I have seen how new medications come to market. Once a drug is developed to treat a condition, its producer — generally a large corporation — will be interested in creating a market for it. I’m very confident the traditional medical community will be pushed to suddenly “believe” in leaky gut and prescribe a costly medication to treat it, rather than address it through diet and lifestyle adjustments.
The 4Rs to Repairing a Leaky Gut
As a functional medicine physician, I take a different approach. Dr. Fasano’s research proves that infections and your diet, among other factors, lead to leaky gut. Leaky gut, in turn, leads to the inflammation that can cause a range of issues from gastric problems, acne, and dandruff to, at its most extreme, autoimmune diseases such as lupus and multiple sclerosis.8
However, you can take back control of your health without harsh medications. The all-natural “4R” approach can help you repair your gut and return you to optimal health.
1. Remove the Bad
Your goal is to get rid of anything that’s harmful to your gut. I can’t stress enough that a gluten-free diet is critical to your gut health. In addition to avoiding gluten, you’ll also want to ditch dairy, as most adults are lactose intolerant or sensitive to the casein proteins in dairy products.9,10,11 Other gut-destroying and inflammatory foods including alcohol, corn, soy, refined sugar, GMOs, and highly processed foods need to be removed from your diet.
You’ll also need to eliminate any gut infections you have, whether caused by Candida overgrowth, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), or parasites. Finally, learning to manage stress and avoiding toxins are pieces of the puzzle you’ll need to address.
2. Restore What’s Missing
Restore what’s missing from your gut. Adding digestive enzymes and HCL to your regimen will help support optimal digestion and nutrient absorption, as well as assist your body’s intestinal repair and inflammation responses. Follow a nutrient-dense diet with plenty of organic greens, vegetables, and fruits, healthy fats, quality proteins.
Repopulate the beneficial bacteria in your gut with the help of probiotic supplements to create a healthy gut flora balance that protects your gut wall and your immune system as a whole.
It is an excellent source of L-Glutamine to nourish your gut cells. L-Glutamine is an amino acid that is not only involved in your immune system, it also has a specific role in helping to build your gut lining. Anyone who is concerned about autoimmunity, food sensitivities, and inflammation, should be paying attention to L-Glutamine to help keep potentially allergenic and inflammatory proteins from entering your bloodstream where they can trigger an immune response.
Leaky Gut Revive® also includes aloe extract to help restore your gut’s normal mucosal lining as well as licorice extract to soothe the stomach and intestinal lining. I made sure to combine those with larch arabinogalactan to promote healthy gut microflora and gut mending fatty acid production. Slippery elm and marshmallow root maximize gut repair and mucous membrane health.
No other supplement combines these ingredients in this physician-designed formulation to enhance your gut lining and support your immune function.
With a nutrient-dense diet, healthy lifestyle, and Leaky Gut Revive® you can take back your health, restore your vitality, and have the energy you need to live your best life.