Leaky Gut and Chronic Inflammation
Leaky Gut Syndrome and Chronic Inflammation are serious buzzwords in the natural health realm. Lets break each one down and see how they are connected.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is part of the body’s immune system. It’s a biological response when something harmful or irritating affects a part of our body. The familiar signs of normal inflammation — heat, pain, redness, and swelling — are the first signals that your immune system is being called into action. The truth is, without inflammation, wounds and infections would never heal.
Different types of inflammation
Acute and local inflammation in nature is a good thing. It’s a completely normal and important part of our bodies healing mechanism. However, chronic or system inflammation, is not a good thing.
Acute inflammation is short lasting, much like a bonfire burning a few hours to days before it stops. While chronic inflammation is a long-lasting wildfire that doesn’t go out, and gets out of hand.
Chronic inflammation inside our bodies leads to destruction and disturbances throughout the body. This process happens through pro-inflammatory chemicals. Pro-inflammatory chemicals play an important role in at least 98% of conditions people suffer with, ranging from depression, weight gain, fatigue, heart disease even some cancers.(*)
Before chronic diseases, there is inflammation; but before inflammation comes gut dysfunction.
Where does chronic inflammation stem from?
While there are many contributing factors to chronic inflammation, for the purpose of this article I want to go over its roots in the digestive system. Where I believe it to be the number 1 contributing factor to chronic conditions and diseases.
While most people can understand the inflammatory process after an acute sport injury like rolling an ankle. It is less common knowledge, inflammation can be caused by a food allergy or sensitivity. Food allergies range from the common association people have when they hear food allergy. A kid swelling up like a balloon within seconds after eating a peanut. But there are actually slower and delayed allergies known as sensitivities that common effect people as the result of a Leaky Gut Syndrome.
What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Leaky Gut Syndrome is when cells that make up our intestinal lining, inside our digestive tract, are no longer linked together. Under normal conditions, these cells are tightly bound together, much like the kids game Red Rover, forming a chain by linking of proteins instead of hands. These proteins are called tight bound junctions.
As the intestinal lining becomes compromised and more porous, with holes and “Leaks”. The very-selective screening out process is no longer functioning properly. This means instead of only allowing very small molecules and vital nutrients into your body system. It allows things like toxins, microbes, undigested food particles, especially proteins into your bloodstream. This causes a cascade of immune responses resulting in full body inflammation.
If I stretch out your gut it’s the size of a tennis court. If there’s inflammation all over something the size of a tennis court, it’s directly creating a lot of harm in the body and so now here we see something like lipopolysaccharide created in the gut increasing our risk of heart disease, America’s number one killer – the gut, the gut, the gut. If we control the gut, we can control inflammation.
How our second skin is supposed to work
Our digestive tract, also known as our second skin, is the major interface to the outside world. It’s where our first line of defense as well as where our first exposure happens to the outside world. Our gut lining acts as a physical barrier just like our skin, which as we know becomes compromised when we cut or damage it.
Technically speaking. Food and molecules don’t truly “enter your body” until they go through a specific digestive and absorbing process through the gut lining. This process is highly dependent on the integrity of your digestive tract, including the tight bound junctions, the food you eat, and avoiding the common triggers of leaky gut syndrome.
Did you know 4 to 7 tons of food goes into a human being in a lifetime? That’s more food than what will fill a warehouse. Included in the food are a huge amount of protein dumped on the body that quite literally began to dictate what the immune system is going to do.
This means your immune-system will decide if you are immune tolerant of the food or inflamed by the food.
Why should you care about leaky gut syndrome and its connection to inflammation? Because research supports that inflammatory contribution from the gut results in a host of systemic (full body) conditions like
- Heart disease
- Certain Cancers
- Auto-immune diseases like MS, Lupus, Hashimoto’s
- Eczema and Psoriasis
How to slow-down the inflammatory process in the body
The best solution to this problem is adapting a more anti-inflammatory diet and appropriate lifestyle changes. Not to mention most importantly, healing your leaky gut if you have one. Learn about the common triggers of leaky gut syndrome. Try your best to avoid them.
Because of the complexity of Leaky Gut Syndrome and chronic condition you may be suffering with. I recommend you seek help from a Functional Medicine practitioner near you.
Article in a NUT Shell: Leaky Gut Syndrome is highly related to our diet and lifestyle resulting in cascade of inflammatory markers that contribute or cause chronic symptoms like arthritis people commonly suffer with.
- Change the foods you eat, focus on an anti-inflammatory diet. Eliminating common food allergy and sensitivity foods. The heaviest hitters are wheat, gluten, milk, soy, and corn. These should be eliminated before considering doing an IgG food sensitivity test.
- Research some therapies that will help build the gut lining: a leaky gut powder, healthy forms of fiber,nutraceuticals, things rich in antioxidants like resveratrol, omega3s, alpha lipoic acid; these negate and decrease the effect of antigenicity of the food. This makes it less likely for the immune system to react to foods.
- Pair up with a functional medicine physician and get appropriate leaky gut, food sensitivity and allergy testing if conditions don’t improve with an anti-inflammatory or elimination diet.