It’s all in your gut!
Did you know that 60-80% of our immune system is located in our gut and 90% of our neurotransmitters (the bodies chemical messengers), such as serotonin and melatonin, are made in our gut? Clearly, problems in our gastrointestinal tract can cause more than just digestive symptoms; they can be the root cause of many chronic health problems. Gut imbalances and leaky gut have been linked to hormonal imbalances, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and hashimotos thyroiditis, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, eczema, rosacea and more. A properly functioning digestive system is critical to overall health.
What is Leaky Gut?
Our digestive tracts are lined with a thin layer of cells called enterocytes that are connected by tight junctions. These cells regulate what gets absorbed from our digestive tracts into our bodies. These cells and tight junctions can get damaged from medication, stress, an imbalance in gut bacteria, or irritating foods. When they become damaged, they can no longer regulate proper absorption and either local or systemic problems arise.
Signs you may have a leaky gut:
- IBS symptoms
- Eczema, psoriasis, rosacea or other chronic skin conditions
- Autoimmune conditions
- Seasonal allergies
- Chronic fatigue
- Joint pain
- Anxiety or depression
- Headaches or brain fog
- Nutritional deficiencies
The 4 R’s of Gut Healing
This step involves the removal of anything that could be negatively affecting our gut health. This could include common gut irritants, such as coffee, alcohol or processed foods, food sensitivities, and “bad” bacteria or yeast. Food sensitivity testing or the elimination diet, along with anti-bacterial or anti-fungal herbs are often used during this step.
In this step, we work on adding back in the essential components of proper digestion and absorption that may have been depleted by a poor diet, stress, medications and aging. This includes digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid and bile acids.
We can use foods and supplements to directly heal the damaged gut lining. Glutamine, an amino acid, aids in protecting the gut lining and aids in regeneration of these cells. It can be taken as a supplement and incorporated into our diet through foods rich in glutamine, such as bone broth. Herbs, such as slippery elm, licorice and marshmallow root can soothe and decrease inflammation of the gut lining.
Probiotics are used to help restore a healthy gut bacteria population within your digestive tract. Prebiotic foods and foods high in soluble fibre can also be used to induce the growth of beneficial bacteria.
Have you been diagnosed with IBS or suffer from any of the above symptoms? Come in for a free meet and greet to discuss whether a protocol like the 4 R’s would be beneficial for you.
Dr. Vishaala Singh, ND