As much coverage gut health and probiotics are receiving in the media and health newslines, I would think some might venture further to explore the link between probiotics and our current escalating food intolerances & sensitivities. Upon some preliminary and followed by more detailed research, I managed to find some rather informative information that will help you understand how the two connect and what to do to create a happy healthy clean gut that ultimately might just allow you to eat those foods you became intolerant to. It’s not something that happens overnight though and you might have setbacks as I’m currently having when I thought I had fully healed my digestive system, but only to realize that “not so fast….”, symptoms of the food intolerance would continue to surface every time I ate this food item (wheat related/and or gluten).
Many of us in our society have what is called “Leaky gut.” If you are like me and have never understood this term, you immediately have a false image (and unpleasant) image in your mind of what this is; however, it actually concerns small openings in your intestines that allow food particles, proteins and toxins to make it through to your blood, causing your antibodies to identify these particles as invaders, attack and then the whole process of inflammation develops which can manifest in your joints, hair follicles (we have a large amount of inflammatory cells in our scalp), facial cysts and acne, slowed digestion, depression, anxiety and overall fatigue.
LEAKY GUT SYMPTOMS:
- Anxiety and/or depression
- Digestion problems with gas, bloated belly, constipation or diarrhea
- Brain Fog
- Food Sensitivities/intolerances
- Weight Gain
- Hair Loss
- Headaches and poor concentration
- Arthritis and Joint pain
- Chronic Fatigue & autoimmune diseases
- Malnutrition (malabsorption of nutrients)
- SIBO– Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth
- Candida overgrowth
- Diagnosis of IBS
What I’ve discovered also in my own experience and in other research is that while food sensitivities may seem to be the cause of your “leaky gut,” it is actually “leaky gut” that causes your food sensitivities in the first place; however, if you are trying to heal from a “leaky gut,” eating anything that you are “sensitive to” that results in negative collateral damage to your body will delay the healing of the “leaky gut” and will thus seem to be the cause of the issue. Chicken and Egg syndrome. About a month ago I thought I was healed when I ate a french baguette sandwich or two within 3 days as I didn’t have any side effects, but then after eating yet another sandwich or two within that week, I then noticed the side effects and was a bit deflated to learn I had not healed my “leaky gut” yet after all. I’ve read that it takes a full 2 years to heal “leaky gut” and eating anything that triggers your immune system (food sensitivities) will aggravate the healing and take it that much longer.
Dysbiosis where you have a microbial imbalance that can lead to leaky gut. The beneficial bacteria are outnumbered by the negative bacteria and in particular, often this results in SIBO which is small intestinal overgrowth in the ilium and the end of the juncture between the small and the large intestine called the ileocecal junction. I will post another article more in depth on the importance of tackling SIBO as it relates to leaky gut syndrome and the originating cause – Food poisoning, aka. post-infectious IBS.
Further, medications, low levels of stomach acid (hydrochloric acid), a depletion of pancreatic enzymes to help break down protein molecules and absorb nutrients, medications, alcohol and large meals that overwhelm the digestive system can also cause and aggravate “leaky gut” syndrome.
Stress is a huge one that many people don’t often associate with their overall body and digestive health. Chronic stress will deplete a gastrointestinal immune protein called Secretary IgA, allowing easier access to the blood system for protein molecules. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)- stress & digestive problems are related to spleen deficiency with often the symptom of “overthinking” involved. The spleen in Chinese medicine does not literally mean the spleen organ, but rather the group of organs involved in our digestive process – stomach, spleen, liver, small and large intestine.
Much of our society is spleen deficient as a result of constant stress involving work, obligations and finances along with our increasingly multi-tasking technological society. The best thing to do is to stop worrying, obsessing, and overthinking issues in our lives and to instead, rely on legitimate research (with a time limit), meditation, body/mind stretches such as yoga, walks in natural environments, and trusting that all will work out (this is where journaling and prayer comes in). It’s so easy to build up anxiety levels even further once you are seeing and experiencing “leaky gut” symptoms that take away the “real you” from you such as hypothyroidism or adrenal fatigue symptoms involving hair loss, weight gain, and brain fog. Unfortunately, I can very much relate to this frustrating circle of cause and effect in relation to anxiety. I am a research hound and this can be to my deficit when it comes to continuing to research beyond of what is needed and obsessively looking up the same thing again and again on different days. I’m sure there’s some of you out there that can relate.
What we need to remember is to satisfice (accept available options as satisfactory). This doesn’t mean don’t think or research for yourself. By all means, please do so as it is quite apparent that we ought to know our bodies more than any outside physician would. What I mean is, once you have found relevant and helpful data that will take you down a better path – then you just need to say “that’s enough” or at least “that’s enough” for now. You don’t become obsessive about it or that will make the symptoms that much worse not to mention take away time to complete your other obligations in life which again, makes the anxiety symptom (and cause of issue) worse if you fall further behind on them. I acknowledge, this is easier said than done.
Of course, it would be so much easier if we had access to professional competent functional doctors instead of allopathic ones who are terrible at treating chronic diseases and functional disorders. By access, I mean funds to afford to see these types of people as generally, they are not covered under insurance. Fortunately though, there are TCM low-cost community programs for group acupuncture (another method to support weakened spleen and organs) as well as statewide health programs for those who cannot afford or are offered group health insurance with employment. Americhoice (20 + states) UnitedHealthCare Community Program (ie. Medicaid) is one such program that has Naturopathic (ND) as well as Osteopathic Doctors (DO) listed under their coverage; check state by state and of course, call the doctor’s office to ensure they are still accepting patients with this insurance as many times I’ve found that the doctor’s website coverage and the insurance companies coverage details don’t match. Otherwise, check with your state’s own provided health care program for low-income residents if this applies to you.
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