Is Stress causing you to have Leaky Gut?

The gut microbiome: a hot topic in biomedical research right now. As Hippocrates once said, “All disease begins in the Gut,” and if we have an imbalanced gut flora or increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut), than we are setting ourselves up for long term health complications.

Right now with COVID19 affecting our world it is natural to feel scared, worried and stressed out! However when we are in a relentless ongoing state of stress we are doing significant damage to our gastrointestinal (GIT) systems thus our overall health. In this state we increase the gaps within the intestinal wall also known as the lamina propria. It is these gaps in the tight junctions which allows bacteria and undigested proteins to enter your bloodstream and react with our underlying immune system, triggering an immune response.

Other factors equally relevant that cause damage to your GIT include regularly taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (nurofen), antibiotics, oral contraceptives like birth control or other hormones, make poor food combining choice and excessively drinking alcohol.

Did you know that around 80% of your immune system is surrounding your intestinal wall? So when there is disturbance in this barrier stemming from any of the above mentioned, undigested proteins and bacteria can seep through that barrier, the body reacts by mounting an inflammatory cytokine response in the bloodstream since it realises that something is out of place.

Ideally, our body selectively absorbs macro and micronutrients through the intestinal wall (the good stuff) and keeps all the bacteria and waste (the bad stuff your body doesn’t want) in that digestive track tubing to be excreted through the anus.

You can picture this as your sewage system backing up and leaking into your water supply. Overtime, the plumbing builds up and has a cumulative effect, resulting in a larger immune response and more widespread chronic inflammation.

If the immune system becomes hyper-vigilant because of all the proteins and bacteria moving through the body, your immune system becomes hyper-active and starts to attack all these proteins and pathogens that it sees as foreign because it’s not supposed to be there.

This can result in new food intolerances, autoimmune disease, digestive issues, (IBS/colitis/Crohn’s), thyroid dysfunction, joint pain, malabsorption, brain fog, fatigue, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, eczema/psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions. When we talk about getting to the underlying “root cause” of disease, ‘leaky gut’ is often the underlying issue for many.

So how can we help ourselves throughout this stressful period?

Additional to implementing stress reduction techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing, changing your diet and eliminating the foods that your body treats as toxic will help reduce symptoms of ‘leaky gut’. A good place to start if you have any ‘leaky gut’ symptoms is to remove gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol. Adding foods to your diet such as healthy fats, fish, coconut and olive oils; avocados will help. Supportive supplements including probiotics to restore the healthy bacteria; zinc; and L-glutamine (an amino acid that rejuvenates the lining of the intestinal wall), maybe be extremely beneficial.

So if you are feeling the stress getting to you, maybe drinking a little more than usual or eating more than you should, it’s a good idea to get on top of it before that collateral damage takes place, get in touch with us for a free 15 minute health review. Seal the gut to fix your health!

Jess x

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