You might have heard the term ‘leaky gut’ thrown around lately. It’s something that’s happening more and more and it should absolutely be taken seriously. The technical term is intestinal hyper-permeability if you want to get serious, but for now, we’ll use leaky gut to keep it simple.
Your intestinal wall has to be leaky to a certain degree, that’s how you absorb nutrients into your body via your gut. There are very small junctions between each cell, normally these only allow the right things to pass through (vitamins, minerals, proteins, fat, etc) but in a leaky gut, these junctions become larger, allowing bigger molecules to pass through. These can be things like whole bacteria and lipopolysaccharides (LPS), a byproduct that bacteria make that is highly inflammatory to the rest of your body.
When you have a leaky gut you allow toxic substances to enter your bloodstream. The most serious consequence of leaky gut is that these particles can disrupt your immune system, leading to an increased risk of allergies and autoimmunity. In addition to this, if you have a leaky gut you have a leaky brain, and this leads to neuroinflammation. Neuroinflammation drives damage to the brain and is associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia and mood disorders.
A leaky gut is obviously important, so how do we fix it?
First of all, you need to remove anything that damages the gut membrane. Gluten is the main culprit but look to dairy and sugar too.
We talk about a wide range of things that can lead to leaky gut in The Shift Podcast, check it out here.
Next, we want to enhance our ability to heal our gut. Bone broth or collagen is excellent for this, but you also need to look at the health of the microbiome. We talk about this in episode 14 of The Shift.
Lastly, stress is a major driver of leaky gut and the thing that is most often overlooked. Chronic stress will literally damage your gut microbiome and lead to major issues down the line. Think about what you can do to manage stress and support your body in healing.
To work on your gut issues, you may want to become a member of our Gut Shift program. All the details are here.