leaky gut functional medicine

Leaky Gut

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Have you been told you have “leaky gut syndrome”? 

You’re experiencing symptoms of bloating, constipation, gas, discomfort, dehydration. 

Your mood is all over the place and you cannot seem to stay focused. 

Perhaps you have a skin issue that is just not going away.

Have you been told a pathogen, toxin, or bacteria has perforated the intestinal tract lining and made its way into your bloodstream?

Besides the discomfort and impact of these symptoms, the information itself can feel frightening. How does this happen? Can you fix it?

What’s Really Going On?

When you eat, the food travels down to your stomach where it is met by hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes, ready to digest your food. This process is usually pretty seamless if there are proper levels of hydrochloric acid (HCl) in your stomach.

When HCl becomes low, your food doesn’t fully digest in your stomach and won’t get broken down enough to properly absorb all the nutrients. The undigested food will stay there and eventually create ammonia gas which results in those symptoms you may be experiencing. This gas has the ability to go into your bloodstream. Here is where we are introducing the idea of a “leaky gut”. In reality, there are no holes in your intestines, but rather a buildup of ammonia gas from undigested foods is causing bloating, constipation, discomfort. It can also result in skin issues, impaired sleep, and anxiety.

Causes of HCl reduction

  • A huge, if not the greatest, reason for decreased HCl production is adrenaline. Adrenaline is produced in response to emotions and situations. Here, it is important to consider stress, feelings of anxiety, anger, guilt, depression as adrenaline-producing instances. Chronic stress, depression, or emotional upset can heavily reduce the amount of HCl our bodies make, decreasing our ability to digest foods properly.
    • Where are there areas/people/situations in our life that are particularly stressful? 
    • Do we take stress home from work?
    • Is our household stressful?
  • Prescription drugs as well as the overuse of NSAIDS (Advil, Motrin, Alleve) are harmful to the gut lining and reduce HCl.
  • Poor diet choices- foods containing higher amounts of fat and sugar, especially combined in cakes, cookies, ice cream, whole milk, can reduce the body’s HCl. These foods require more work to be digested and place a good deal of strain on our guts.

What Can you Do?

  • Avoid eating under stress or under pressure. I’m talking to you, Miss Eating While Driving. Because I was you. I told myself there wasn’t enough time to “sit and eat”. Prioritize this time.
  • Remove heavy metals- prime food for bad bacteria. These metals can release neurotoxic gasses.
  • Remove inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, corn, soy, canola, eggs as these are foods that harvest the growth of pathogens.
  • Support the liver- when dealing with gut issues, the liver acts as a backup and aids in the delivery of nutrients. A sluggish liver can become clogged with toxins and release them back into the body, weakening the digestive system and HCl more – not a good cycle.

Consider some reparative supplements such as a multi-strain ProbioticActivated CharcoalDigestive EnzymesLicorice Root (two weeks on, two weeks off).

Been told you have leaky gut and don’t know where to start?

Tried a few things on your own with little results? Let’s do this together. I will walk you through the steps needed to help you reduce inflammation, maximize HCl production, and support the absorption of nutrients to get you feeling better.