How Your Food Sensitivities Are Associated With Leaky Gut Syndrome
Your gastrointestinal tract influences both the brain and your bodies immune system. Your immune cells are widespread in the gastrointestinal system, particularly in the lining of the small intestine. It is in this intestinal lining that the normally leak-proof lining allows for the absorption of proteins, fatty acids, and carbohydrates (as simple sugars).
Sometimes there are abnormalities in the intestinal lining that normally cause the sieve to become leaky, allowing for bigger particles of food to pass through. This is called “leaky gut syndrome”
When this happens, larger particles of food pass into the bloodstream, causing an immune response that leads to various diseases like food sensitivities and autoimmune diseases. The intestinal lining is only one cell layer thick so that can become damaged fairly easily. When this layer becomes damaged, the holes in the sieve become bigger so that larger molecules of fat, carbohydrates, partially digested protein, and undigested protein can pass into the bloodstream.
Some of these undigested food particles enter the liver, which needs to metabolize it. The rest just circulates through the bloodstream, stressing the immune system and other organs in the body. Leaky gut syndrome has been associated with ADHD, food sensitivities, and autism, among other problems.
True Food Allergies only affect 1-5% of adults and 3-7% of children, which involve allergic reactions usually occurring immediately after exposure to food allergens. They are caused by the release of the chemical histamine and other inflammatory compounds from specific immune cells. They can cause symptoms such as swollen lips, hives, difficulty breathing, itchy eyes or stuffy nose or anaphylaxis.
Food Intolerances affect a far higher percentage of people, perhaps as many as 75% experience other adverse reactions to food. These can be classified as either food intolerances or food hypersensitivities. Food intolerances generally refer to nonimmunological reactions to foods such as those that occur when food is improperly digested. A common example of this is lactose intolerance with gas bloating or diarrhea or headaches and flushing experienced by people eating MSG
Testing for Leaky Gut
If you want to know if you have leaky gut syndrome, you can undergo a lactulose-mannitol intestinal permeability test that is usually done by a medical doctor that specializes in nutrition. The test is cheap but isn’t covered under most people’s insurance policies. Even so, the test may be worth having done, as it is the only way to find out if you have the disorder.
Causes of Leaky Gut
Leaky gut can be caused by several factors. Trauma, drug use (such as antibiotics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), stress, parasites, bacterial infections in the abdomen, eating junk food, and alcohol abuse can all contribute to getting leaky gut syndrome.
Starchy foods, sugary foods, and foods that are high in hydrogenated vegetable oil are particular culprits behind getting leaky gut syndrome. This can lead to leaky gut syndrome and food sensitivities.
It just takes a single binge-eating episode on junk foods or a course of antibiotics to cause the gut to become leaky. This why you should eat more whole and natural foods and less junk foods. Whole foods communicate with the brain, leading to a sound mind-body connection when junk food doesn’t do this.
Leaky gut syndrome may also result in a deluge of wrong information to be sent from the digestive system to the brain and body. Foods like milk (which contains casein) and wheat protein (which contains gluten) are exorphins that act like morphine in the brain. These exorphins can build up, leading to food sensitivities and toxicity to the brain.
There are three steps you need to take in order to have fewer food sensitivities, less ADHD, and less autism: 1) normalize the gut flora; 2) take care of the leaky gut; and 3) manage inadequacies in nutrition.
Breast fed infant s have fewer food sensitivities and also have greater amounts of Bifidobacterium in their GI tract. Kids who aren’t breastfed have more food sensitivities, less Bifidobacteria, and have a decreased chance of having chronic medical conditions (like asthma) when compared to breastfed infants.
Those people who have Lactobacillus in their gut have a decreased chance of having food sensitivities and a decreased chance of having chronic medical conditions, such as ADHD and asthma. They also have a decreased incidence of having a leaky gut and the problems associated with having it.
Foods that contribute to having a leaky gut include things like deep fried foods, fast food, canned foods, overcooked food, and junk food. These foods increase the size of the pores in the gut, allowing for increased leakage of undigested food to enter the blood stream and allow for more food sensitivities.
How to Stop Food Sensitivities
There are changes you can make in your diet that can decrease your risk of having food sensitivities and a leaky gut.
• You should stop drinking coffee and should decrease the amounts of starches, sugar, and dietary fat in your diet.
• Replace sugary soft drinks, fruit juices, and coffee with green tea, water, or herbal tea.
• Eat more whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains as these cause fewer food sensitivities and can decrease the risk of having leaky gut syndrome.
Avoiding junk food and sticking to a diet rich in whole foods, organic fruits and vegetables and whole grains is a lifelong commitment to your good health.
This leads to less, or no Food Sensitivities, a healthy brain, a healthy body and a new positive outlook on life.
Whole Foods that Heal Leaky Gut And Helps Improve Digestion
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Most people don’t think about their digestion and don’t realize that whole foods are necessary for good digestion and better health. Whole foods are those foods that are easily digested and that give you the energy it takes to get through your day.
Homemade, whole foods: fruits, veggies, nuts, cooked–not canned–legumes and beans: any foods in their ‘closer to nature’ form is going to have the best vitamin and mineral content, as well as proper enzyme activity to help the body break down the nutrients needed for better health.
When possible, choose organic over commercially grown foods, as pesticides, and GMO’s used in conventional farming can irritate and damage the body.
Here are some whole foods you will want to try if you want to have good digestion and energy, too!
Pineapple. Pineapple is a whole food that contains bromelain, which is a protease. This is a natural digestive enzyme that helps aid digestion. Try to eat pineapple on an empty stomach or at least 3 hours after a meal, as this is when digestion is maximized. This is a fruit that digests quickly so that it you eat it with other foods, it will just ferment, which would be bad for your digestion.
Not everyone feels better after eating pineapple, so you will have to experiment a little to see if it helps. If you can’t seem to digest pineapple, you can always take a bromelain supplement, which will do the same thing.
Mint. Mint is an excellent digestive aid. It can help relieve gas, bloating, inflammation, and indigestion as it contains menthol as its active ingredient. Ideally, you should eat fresh mint but there are other ways to get mint for better digestion. Mint can be gotten by chewing spearmint gum, chewing minds, eating peppermint, or by using any type of food-grade essential oil containing mint.
Apple Cider Vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is another great digestive aid. All you need to do is to drink a tablespoon of fresh apple cider vinegar just before eating. If you don’t like the taste, you can always mix it with another type of food.
Buy raw apple cider vinegar as this can help decrease gas, lessen bloating, and will give you a flat stomach through its great digestive properties.
Ginger. Ginger has a long history as a digestive aid. Choose fresh ginger, although you can also drink lemon ginger tea or chew some ginger chews. It also lessens bloating and helps to relieve gas. It is notorious for helping nausea so have some around for those times when your stomach doesn’t feel so good,
Papaya. Papaya is a lot like pineapple. It contains healthy digestive enzymes that break down the proteins in your body. Instead of bromelain, papaya contains papain, which is another excellent digestive enzyme. This enzyme helps you digest your protein, turning long chain proteins into its component parts (amino acids).
Like pineapple, you should eat it without taking in other foods. They also make a papain supplement that you can take after eating in order to better digest your meal.
Does Eating Whole Foods Improve Leaky Gut?
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Fennel. Fennel is a spice that helps alleviate nausea, abdominal cramps, indigestion, bloating, and gas. It tastes like licorice and comes from a plant. You need to try to eat the fennel raw but you can try eating the raw seeds or roasting the plant to aid digestion.
Fennel tea is another good option for better digestion. Fennel tea may be hard to buy at your local whole food store but you can always purchase it online.
Lemons. Lemons make a good thing to drink with water when you first get out of bed in the morning. It cleanses the body and stimulates your digestive system so that, when you eat, your foods are better digested.
Just mix lemon with a glass of water and drink up! Lemons help to flush toxins out of your system, especially when you drink a hot tea made with a half a lemon and a cup of water.
Bananas. Bananas are both good for digestion and keep you energized at the same time. They contain a lot of good carbs and natural sugars that will improve digestion and give you energy. Bananas contain complex carbohydrates rather than simple sugars and carbohydrates that have been processed, so your blood sugar won’t skyrocket after eating them.
The fiber in bananas is also good for digestion because they keep your blood sugars stable and keep the bowels moving. Eat them alone or in a smoothie, where they ad viscosity to the smoothie.
Avocados. Avocados are high in monounsaturated fat that help digestion and add energy. They are also high in vitamin B, which are also healthy for you. Add avocado to smoothies, soups, and salads, where they provide you with a creamier texture.
Avocados add fiber so they are good for the bowels and will energize you.
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Hopefully, this will give you some idea of the whole foods you can eat for better digestion. Whenever possible, you should experiment with these whole foods to make sure they don’t upset your stomach.
Herbs For Leaky Gut That Can Help The Body Digest Food And Absorb Nutrients
Your Intestinal linings cannot heal themselves if your leaky gut is harboring excessive bad bacteria such as Candida overgrowth, and/or parasites. Not only do these pathogens leak into the bloodstream and create havoc with the immune system, they can attach to the intestinal walls and create inflammation.
Many people have digestive problems that lead to poor digestion of essential nutrients and symptoms of poor digestion, such as irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, excess gas, and constipation.
The stomach is important to good digestive health. It contains powerful enzymes and hydrochloric acid that break down proteins and starches that are then more easily digested.
If you don’t have enough of these important substances in your gut, your digestion will be poor and you won’t absorb nutrients properly.
Herbs for Leaky Gut
There are many herbs you can take that can help ease digestion so you can get the proper nutrients you need in your diet.
Some of these herbs include the following:
Gentiana lutea. This is a bitter herb that is extremely popular among Westernized herbalists. It is used quite often in Europe, where a supplement of this bitter herb is taken just before eating in order to stimulate digestion and allow for the passage of food quickly through the digestive tract. These types of herbs can reduce indigestion, food allergies, bloating, and gas. Other similar herbs that taste bitter include dandelion, barberry root, and artichokes.
Fennel, Cardamom, Dill, Cumin, lemon balm, and caraway seeds. These are called “carminative herbs” that keep the digestive tract warm, so that digestion is speeded up and digestion is more thorough. It can also reduce the amount of gas in the GI tract.
Senna leaf, aloe leaf, and cascara. These are natural stimulant laxatives that promote digestion and help food pass through the GI tract more quickly. They are especially recommended for cases of acute constipation and aren’t recommended for long-term use as the gut can become dependent upon them.
Flaxseeds, oat bran, and chia seeds. These contain fiber that absorb the moisture in the gut and increase the size of the stools so that you have less constipation and easier passage of stools. You can also increase your fiber intake by eating lots of dried legumes, vegetables, and fruits.
Psyllium seeds. These make for a good bulk fiber laxative that relieves the pain of irritable bowel syndrome and helps to balance the function of the bowels. Psyllium seeds are also good for diarrhea as they absorb fluids in the lower colon. Psyllium creates a mucilage that soothes the GI tract and relieves abdominal cramping.
Marshmallow root, mullein leaf, and slippery elm bark. These are mucilage-creating herbs that soothe the lining of the GI tract and allows for greater slipperiness of the stool so that it passes more quickly through the intestinal tract. Try taking a tablespoon of any of these herbs and mixing it with a bite of food at each meal.
Turmeric root. This is a spice found in curry. It helps with inflammation of the digestive tract and has anti-inflammatory properties. It also decreases the amount of substance P in the body so you experience less pain.
Licorice root. This root helps the mucous membranes of the digestive tract by causing an increase in the amount of mucin in the gut, protecting the lining of the gut from digestive juices and the high pH of the stomach acid.
Peppermint. This is a common digestive herb that helps relieve a variety of stomach problems. You can eat peppermint or take a peppermint oil extract in order to stave off dyspepsia. Peppermint oil also relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract, preventing diarrhea.
A Few Leaky Gut Therapies To Help With Nutritional Absorption
There are certain therapies that help improve digestion and the absorption of nutrients. These include the natural mineral, magnesium, which draws moisture from the large colon and helps to soften the stool try taking in about 1200 milligrams of magnesium daily.
Probiotics involve the healthy bacteria in the lower colon.
They help improve gut metabolism and improve the absorption of nutrients. You can take a probiotic supplement or eat yogurt containing live cultures in order to replace bad bacteria with good bacteria that improve the absorption of nutrients.
Exercise can also improve digestion and the absorption of nutrients. Research has shown that people with a sedentary lifestyle have an increased risk of getting colon cancer.
Therefore, along with eating healthy herbs, you should try to get in at least 150 minutes of exercise per day.
Much of this should be aerobic exercise that increases the transit time of food through the gastrointestinal tract and helps the gut absorb nutrients better.
Maintaining healthy eating habits even after your digestive tract is repaired is critical to preventing future problems. Eat a healthy diet, avoid chemical medications as much as possible -this does not include supplements, take your herbs, keep up on probiotics, relax and continue good eating habits, this will all help in easing and preventing leaky gut syndrome.
Your Leaky Gut Health and Autoimmune Disease
Leaky gut syndrome is related to many types of autoimmune diseases. There is a strong body of evidence pointing to leaky gut syndrome as a major cause of autoimmune diseases, including Type 1 Diabetes. Leaky gut syndrome happens when the normal sieve that is the absorptive surface of the small intestine develops bigger holes than is normal.
This allows for the passage of larger food particles and toxins that increase the inflammation in the body and can result in the immune system recognizing normal tissues as being foreign, causing an autoimmune disease.
Things that are linked to leaky gut syndrome include celiac disease, food allergies, strenuous exercise, chronic alcoholism, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and infections of the GI tract from parasites, fungal organisms, and bacteria. This causes undigested protein molecules and undigested proteins as well as toxic waste and fat to enter the bloodstream, causing problems for the body.
The connection between leaky gut syndrome and autoimmune diseases
Autoimmune diseases are often associated with having a leaky gut. In order to heal the autoimmune disease and lessen the symptoms of the disease, you need to first listen to your gut and heal the leaky parts of the gastrointestinal tract.
Autoimmune diseases happen when the immune system fights the body’s own tissues and makes antibodies against bodily tissues, setting up an immune response that causes a variety of symptoms related to autoimmunity.
Some autoimmune diseases include hives, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, vasculitis, thyroiditis, vitiligo, Sjogren’s syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, polymyalgia rheumatica, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, alopecia areata, and lupus.
It has just been recently that researchers have begun to recognize the relationship with gut health and autoimmune diseases. Leaky gut syndrome is especially associated with autoimmune diseases because it allows for foreign proteins to enter the bloodstream, setting up an abnormal immune response.
Inflammation and Gut Health
Researchers have found that inflammation results in the spaces between the cells in the lining of the GI tract to become bigger than they are supposed to be. This allows for absorption of protein molecules that have not been completely digested.
This, in turn, causes the immune system to make antibodies against these undigested protein molecules that then become similar to antibodies against the body’s own tissues. While you may think you are eating harmless foods, these foods can contain proteins that the body sees as foreign.
In autoimmune diseases, normal human tissues have antigens and proteins on the surfaces of the cells that mimic proteins found in fungi, Candida species, parasites, bacteria, and the food you eat. These antigens made from increased absorption of these organisms and proteins are mistaken for human tissue antigens so that an autoimmune disease occurs.
Leaky Gut syndrome can lead to food allergies because the proteins we eat activate antibodies in the immune system and cause pathogenic organisms in the gut to enter the bloodstream. The liver becomes overworked trying to detoxify these pathogenic organisms and we develop sensitivities to environmental chemicals, such as cigarette smoke and perfumes.
Autoantibodies are made and the body becomes inflamed by the immune system. The autoantibodies can be to any tissue in the body, including connective tissue, thyroid tissue, joint tissues, and the pancreas.
Wherever the immune system makes the autoantibodies to, this area of the body becomes inflamed and the immune system damages the body tissues. This is the origin of autoimmune diseases.
Leaky gut syndrome generally increases the risk of various types of infections and causes a sensitivity to environmental toxins that cause ongoing inflammation. The protective coating of antibodies found in the healthy gut (also known as IgA antibodies) become damaged so that you can’t fight off GI infections as well as you should be able to.
The infection can reach the bloodstream, resulting in the formation of antibodies against the infectious organism that can be confused with antigens on the tissues of the body.
This is how digestive health and your leaky gut are related to getting an autoimmune disease.
Natural Methods To Improve Digestion And Leaky Gut
Having a poorly functioning digestive tract can affect your whole body in a variety of negative ways, including leaky gut syndrome. Bad digestion can lead to immediate problems like bloating, heartburn, constipation, gas, food allergies, and result in – irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. Poor digestion can also cause you to experience asthma, fatigue, eczema, weight gain, and food allergies, to name a few.
If you don’t manage these symptoms through natural methods, your body can develop many chronic medical conditions. Improving digestion through natural ways can help heal your body, improve your energy, and maximize your quality of life.
Naturally managing your digestion can also help you use weight without having to resort to taking drugs, going on strange diets, or depriving your body of what it needs to stay healthy.
These are some ways you can begin to naturally heal your digestive system and Leaky Gut:
Chew your food carefully. Digestion begins with the saliva in your mouth. When you allow yourself to chew your food carefully, you activate amylase, which starts the digestive process. It helps keep the food partially digested so your stomach doesn’t have to work so hard to engage in the digestive process.
Eat foods that are cultured or fermented foods. When you eat fermented foods, you are taking in loads of the “healthy bacteria” your gut needs to maximize digestion. Try eating a variety of fermented foods for healthy digestion, such as Kombucha, kimchi, fermented vegetables, kefir, and sauerkraut. This usually doesn’t work right away so eat these foods for a couple of weeks to see if there is any change in your diet.
Eat foods that are real. Instead of eating processed foods that are bad for digestion, stick to eating fresh, whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Stay away from fast foods and foods that are highly processed, as they are high in processed oils, simple sugars, and refined salt. Processed foods are hard to digest and aren’t very nutritious for you. Fresh, whole foods will improve digestion and will help you feel better.
Take care of your liver. Your liver is responsible for much of the digestion, particularly of fats. By digesting your food carefully, you can help your liver work better. There are foods you can eat that are especially good for your liver, including freshly squeezed fruit or vegetable juices, leafy green vegetables, beetroots, and carrots. If you can stand the taste of bitter herbs like milk thistle and dandelion, try to supplement your diet with these, as your liver will love you for it.
Hydrate yourself. Most people with digestive problems come by it through being very dehydrated. If you can drink a lot of water every day, this can maximize your digestion and can keep you healthy. Drink at least one of the many glasses of water you should drink with fresh lemon juice or a tablespoon of digestion-aiding apple cider vinegar.
You can also try herbal teas as they taste great and are good for digestive health. Some teas you may wish to try are fenugreek tea, fennel tea, ginger tea, and peppermint tea. Stay away from coffee and instead mix dandelion tea with any kind of milk, including a milk substitute.
Reduce stress. Stress is not only bad for your mind but it doesn’t help your body and your digestive system either. There are many stress relieving activities you can engage in, including taking frequent naps during the day, brisk walking, yoga, deep breathing exercises, and meditation. By reducing stress, your digestive system will work better and you will feel better, too.
How Can You Tell If You Have Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Try glutamine. Glutamine is good for digestion as it regenerates and repairs the lining of the intestinal tract and eases any inflammation you might have. Glutamine can be found as a supplement although it can be found in whole foods, such as fresh vegetable juices, parsley, spinach, beans, beets, dairy products, eggs, fish, and meat. If you are going to take glutamine as a supplement,you should ask your doctor if it is okay for you to use it.
Detoxify your body. Gentle detoxification routines can reset the digestive system so it will work better. You can detoxify in many ways. Aloe vera juice is especially good for detoxification and there is research evidence to back this up.
Listen to your body. Instead of mindlessly dieting or following the latest food trends, listen to what your body likes best and feed your body with that. Experiment with various foods to see how it affects your digestion and write them down so you can have a good selection of foods to eat.
Take probiotics. Probiotics are the “healthy bacteria” in your gut that aid in the digestive process. When you take a probiotic, your colon will colonize with these good bacteria and will drive out bad bacteria that just make your digestive system worse.
If your health is poor, take this as meaning that your body is attempting to tell you something.
Try some of these Leaky Gut natural solutions and see your doctor if they don’t work out for you.