Monday, February 14, 2011

Could I Have Leaky Gut?

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

Absolutely you could have leaky gut. It is estimated that approximately 80% of health challenged individuals are struggling with this, and very surprising that approximately 30% of what we would consider healthy individuals, are also struggling with leaky gut. This really grabbed my attention as I was researching this further and further; recognizing that I had many of the red flags and mechanisms for this challenge myself. I would consider myself to be more in the upper percentile of healthy individuals, so how could I have leaky gut?

If you are health challenged or consider yourself healthy, I would recommend looking at leaky gut as a possibility and if you are a health profession, it is suggested that you look for this challenge with your patients or clients. If this is missed, you may be missing a significant component to slow or halt the healing process.

So what is leaky gut? First of all, I would suggest that it is really leaky small intestines. This creates a situation in your small intestines whereas the tight junctions that typically allow the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and coenzymes to be absorbed through are now compromised. This will allow large undigested compounds, toxins and bacteria to be absorbed and assimilated. If you guessed that this would create some substantial challenges, you guessed right. These undigested proteins create an undesirable reaction in the underlying intestinal immune system, which promotes exaggerated immune responses. This then creates a viscous cycle of further intestinal inflammation and even further loss of integrity within the small intestines.

There are many mechanisms that can lead to leaky gut and I will list them below. Do you find that many of these initial mechanisms are currently a part of your life?


o Excessive alcohol

o Gluten

o Processed foods

o Excessive sugar

o Fast foods

· Medications

o Corticosteroids

o Antibiotics

o Antacids

o Xenobiotics

· Infections

o H-pylori

o Bacteria overgrowth

o Yeast overgrowth

o Intestinal virus

o Parasitic infections

· Stress

o High cortisol

o High CRH

o High Cat

· Hormonal

o Low thyroid hormones

o Low progesterone

o Low estradiol

o Low Testosterone

· Neurological

o Brain trauma

o Stroke

o Neurodegeneration

· Metabolic

o Intestinal inflammation

o Autoimmune

Based on the mechanisms that create leaky gut, you can see why this would be such a challenge overall in our culture. There are many health challenges that are directly associated with leaky gut as listed below.

· Fibromyalgia

· Chronic fatigue

· Depression

· Chronic inflammatory conditions

· Chronic Pain

· Inflammatory bowel

· Autoimmune disorders

· Multiple food sensitivities

· Chronic yeast overgrowth syndromes

· Brain fog

· Extreme sensitivities

Basically, if you are fatigued, depressed or inflamed it is important to address the possibility of leaky gut.

So how do you know if you have leaky gut? Well, if you are like me and you are feeling the symptoms and you have the mechanisms you can be very confident that this is a challenge and implement the dietary and supplement protocol to heal your gut. If you desire confirmation, I would recommend testing the will assess permeability/dysbiosis, epithelial cell damage as well as tight junction damage. Many labs only test the tight junction damage which may be incomplete for you if you are attempting to absolutely confirm leaky gut.

What is a person to do if they know you have leaky gut? First of all, you definitely want to fix this. Don’t think you can do this half _ _ _, if you know what I mean. Depending on the severity and longevity of this challenge you may be on a leaky gut protocol from 10 to 90 days. For an acute repair after let’s say antibiotic treatment or a night of far too much alcohol, you can use a 3 day protocol. Sometimes it is best to be preventive when you know the mechanisms are ripe for you.

This requires a specific diet to completely avoid all foods that are fueling the challenge, regular probiotic use, supplements to repair the gut lining as well as supplements to address the secondary gut challenges tied into leaky gut.

I cannot use words strong enough to point out the necessity of addressing leaky gut and the high percentage of individuals currently living with leaky gut.

If you would like to discuss my approach to leaky gut with me, Depke Wellness offers a complimentary 20 minute initial phone session to understand our approach of getting to the core of your health challenges. Visit here to register for your complimentary session.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to post this below and I will answer them personally.

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