If you look at the picture above, the intestinal tract is a tube over 25 feet long and is lined with cells that fit tightly together like interlocking bricks. The cells act like a “sponge” to absorb the nutrients from the food you take in and fit together like a “steel wall” to keep out any pathogens and toxins. As food travels down the tube, it absorbs through the wall into the bloodstream to be distributed to all areas of your body – this is the whole point of eating!
“Leaky gut” occurs when the the cells of the “steel wall” start to break apart and separate and food particles that shouldn’t get through the wall into the bloodstream start getting through! So what, why does it matter?
It matters because these food particles are not recognized by the body so when they enter the bloodstream the immune system goes on high alert and sets off an inflammatory cascade leading to bloating, pain, fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, muscle aches, allergies, eczema, psoriasis, asthma, IBS, arthritis, and autoimmune issues. You cannot feel or perform at your best if this is going on!!
What causes it?
Chronic stress, cortisol burnout, poor diet, high sugar/low fibre foods, physical overexertion, over-training, food sensitivities, toxic overload, bacterial imbalance, excess medication use.
What can you do?
You need to remove the stimulus that is the underlying cause for you specifically (see the list of causes above). Repair cortisol, improve diet, reduce stress, adjust your training schedule or add more rest and recovery, eliminate any food sensitivities you may have, be selective with medication use, flush toxins from the body. Removing the stimulus for at least 30-45 days will allow the intestinal lining to start to repair because the cells regenerate every 4-5 weeks. You can maximize that regeneration and repair with some key nutrients like NAG, glutamine, quercetin, digestive enzymes, and probiotics. Foods like bone broth, sprouted seeds, fermented vegetables and coconut products will also help in healing and repair.
Intestinal health is critical for optimal health and performance!!
Remember this quote from Hippocrates the Father of Medicine – “Gut health determines your overall health”.