Do you suffer with annoying bloating? Leaky Gut could be the cause.
Leaky Gut is a term coined by natural therapists decades ago but it actually refers to the condition of elevated gut permeability. Within our digestive tract are cells that line the small intestine, the area of our gut where we absorb nutrients from our food. These cells are joined together to form a barrier with “gates” in between each cell.
We have this barrier present in our small intestine to govern the absorption of nutrients from food into our blood stream. These gates are almost always closed except for two known circumstances; exposure to gluten or a microbial infection.
In recent years there has been a discovery of a chemical called Zonulin that acts as the middleman to open these gates. This chemical, when stimulated via gluten or microbial infection, opens these gates. This is the mechanism that underlies gut permeability.
Why is this important to health?
In most circumstances the digestive tract absorbs small chemicals; nutrients required for growth and repair. If the gates in the small intestine are open, then large undigested food particles can “leak” through to the blood stream. The body does not like this and will initiate an immune response as these undigested foods look like invaders. Elevated immune activity is a risk for autoimmune conditions and also contributes to fatigue. This is the mechanism that the latest research is now linking to autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroiditis, and many others.
Having a permeable gut and having large undigested food flowing into the blood stream can stimulate the immune system to develop food allergies. Normally the immune system would never come in contact with these particles due to the fact that they can’t get through the digestive tract. In a permeable small intestine they can, and the immune system will start to develop a chemical attack against these food particles leading to possible allergies. This is also the mechanism that can exacerbate seasonal hay fever.
Gut permeability is one of those conditions that has far-reaching effects on your health. It has even been linked to presumably irrelevant conditions such as obesity, acne, eczema, and asthma. With the naturopaths and nutritionists at NatMed, gut permeability is an important underlying health issue that we concentrate on and is easily overlooked in conventional medicine. We can test for gut permeability in-house.
If you would like more information on this complex health issue please give NatMed a call for a free phone consultation.
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