Inside our stomachs, we have an intestinal lining that covers over 4,000 sq. ft. of surface area. When properly working, it’ll form a snug barrier which controls what gets absorbed inside the bloodstream. A gut lining that isn’t healthy might have large holes or cracks, permitting partly digested food, bugs, and toxins to penetrate the tissues underneath it. This might trigger inflammation, as well as changes inside the gut flora which might cause issues inside the digestive tract and beyond. Today, the scientific world is booming with research that shows that changes inside the intestinal bacteria and inflammation might play a part in developing many typical chronic diseases.

A leaky gut: Who gets it?

All of us have some level of leaky gut, as this barrier isn’t fully impenetrable. A handful of us might possess a genetic predisposition and might be more sensitive to changes within our digestive system, however, our DNA isn’t the only one to blame. Modern-day life might actually be the primary driver of gut inflammation. There’s emerging proof that the standard diet in America, which is high in saturated fats and sugar and low in fiber, might initiate the process. Stress and heavy alcohol use also tend to disrupt this balance.

We know that an increase in intestinal permeability plays a part in specific gastrointestinal conditions like Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). The main question is if a leaky gut might cause issues some place else inside the body. Research has shown that leaky gut might be related to other autoimmune diseases, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, allergies, arthritis, acne, asthma, obesity, and mental illness. But we don’t yet have medical studies in human beings that show such a cause and effect.

Road toward a healthier gut

Even though it’s unusual to hear the phrase “increased intestinal permeability” within most doctors’ clinics, integrative and alternative medical practitioners have worked on gut healing as the first step in the treatment of chronic diseases for years. Additional cultures worldwide oftentimes suggest certain diets to make folks feel better. Even in the U.S., it’s common to view individuals changing their diets after they get sick. A common first measure some practitioners take includes removing foods which may be inflammatory and might promote changes inside the gut flora. Among the most typical are processed foods, alcohol, specific medicines, and any food sources which might cause sensitivities or allergies. In some practices, doctors oftentimes see patients significantly improve when they begin to eat a healthier diet.

Controversy is still out there on whether leaky gut leads to the development of diseases that are outside the gastrointestinal tract in human beings. But, it’s always a great idea to consume an unprocessed, nutritious diet which includes foods which assist in quelling inflammation (and stay away from foods that are known to cause inflammation), which might, at least theoretically, aid in rebuilding the gut lining, as well as bring more balance to the gut flora.

For more information on our integrative medicine clinic contact Imagine Wellness today!