- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Your Leaky Gut: The Reason Behind Allergies and Other Health Ailments
Many people suffer from allergies, acne, and other ailments that are usually treated with temporary fixes such as over the counter medications or steroid injections. The actual problem is they’re never really dealt with. It’s a little known fact that your gut is strongly intertwined with your bodily functions. It’s not only about digesting your food; there is significant communication with your brain that tells your body how to react to certain things and carry out functions.
What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
In the digestive track, the small intestine has a protective lining to guard the bloodstream from undigested food particles, enzymes and other microorganisms that can be dangerous if not digested through the small intestine properly. The lining of the small intestine is delicate and requires a high amount of nutrition to stay intact. Once this lining is damaged a gap is created, allowing the larger particles of undigested food, debris, carbohydrates, and fat to pollute the bloodstream. These particles not only travel through the bloodstream, but they go to other organs such as the liver and get processed and circulated throuout the body. Once the particles are in the bloodstream and processed by other organs, the immune system is under strain and pressure to react to defend the body which causes allergic symptoms such as seasonal and food allergies.
Allergies and Intestinal Permeability (Leaky Gut Syndrome)
Allergies and Intestinal Permeability
Your digestive system has a more direct effect on your body than you may think. Besides digesting food, the digestive system serves as an immune barrier for the body; in other words, your gut protects your body from outside intruders that can make you sick. The digestive system also has very strong ties with your respiratory tract; so when one system is affected the other can easily react. When those undigested food particles and other toxins sneak into your bloodstream through the damaged small intestine lining, the immune system flares up causing the following:
- Digestive prolems
- Autoimmune disease
- Chronic pain
- Seasonal allergies
- Food allergies
Seasonal allergies are the most common symptom of Leaky Gut Syndrome. The respiratory and immune systems have gone into “attack mode” in an attempt to eliminate the particles that have entered into the bloodstream. That’s why there’s sneezing, itchy eyes, and runny noses during certain times of the year.
Do you suffer from seasonal allergies?
Histamine is a chemical produced by your immune system to fight off invading elements trying to enter your body. It's a very important part of the immune system because it transmits messages to the brain to put the body on alert and get in defensive mode to keep out "intruders". The histamine levels flare up to flush out foreign elements from the body. All of the itching, sneezing, runny nose and drained feeling you may have is the body's natural response to locate and eliminate diseases from your body.
Leaky Gut Syndrome throws off your immune system because the food particles haven't been broken down properly - because the intestinal barrier is not intact to keep certain items out of the bloodstream. Once the poorly broken down particles enter the bloodstream, the immune system doesn't recognize them and treats them as a disease trying to enter the body. This causes the histamine levels in your body to skyrocket and create the reactive symptoms described earlier. So the high levels of histamine causes the inflammatory reactions that contribute to allergy symptoms.
Food and Your Brain
Tells brain to produce more neurotransmitters
citris fruits, red bell peppers, stawberries, garlic, spinach
Signals cells to calm down with inflammation
walnuts, sardines, salmon, flax seeds, cauliflower, brussel sprouts
Links to other conditions
Because the systems of your body are so intertwined, a leaky gut can bring on other health ailments in addition to seasonal allergies. These include:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Skin conditions such as acne and eczema
- Arthritis/joint pain
- Memory problems
- Celiac disease
The reverse also takes place – other conditions to the body can contribute to a leaky gut diagnosis. They include:
- Oversized meals
- Incomplete chewing
- Imbalanced bacteria in gut
- Medications – frequent use of over the counter aspirins and ibuprofen can weaken small intestine lining
Increase your knowledge on preventing inflammation in your body
Leaky Gut Syndrome is identified as a common cause of food and seasonal allergies, but it is not the only cause. Consult with a health care professional to be sure of your condition and know what treatment is best for you.The syndrome is also a condition that can exist in the body for years without detection.
Because leaky gut can go undetected for years, it can be difficult to be tested for it. Depending on if you have other ailments or not, speak with your doctor or physician to see if samples of blood or urine is needed to test for levels of antibodies or bacteria in your body. Tests you can ask about:
- Lactose/Mannitol - urine test to screen lactose and mannitol which are two sugars associated with leaky gut
- Food allergy - caused by systemic inflammation of the intestinal barrier which produces symptoms such as inability to digest certain foods; a skin test is usually performed to determine a diagnosis
- Bacterial Dysbiosis test - determines your pH balance that affects growth of certain bacteria levels in your body.
On a broader scope, diet has been linked to having a leaky gut and all the listed conditions that go along with it. Here are ways you relieve symptoms of leaky gut:
Eliminate alcohol from your diet - you will need to cut out alcohol for at least 30 days to see an improvement of your condition
Stop using non-sterile antiflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), aspirin and ibuprofen - using these as a relief to your allergy symptoms can be detrimental in the long run and effect your overall immune system.
Make changes to diet - there are no "superfoods" you can eat to guarantee healing from leaky gut. However, it has been shown that the following foods can make a difference:
- Sweet potato
- Water chestnuts
- Meats - fish and chicken; preferably organic and anti-biotic free
- Caffeine-free herbal teas
If you're diagnosed with a food allergy, of course you will have to eliminate that food from your diet. Be sure to check with a doctor or dietitian to determine which foods are safest for you.
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Galland, L. (2007). Leaky guy syndromes: Breaking the Vicious Cycle. Retrieved from http://mdheal.org/leakygut.htm
Morris, M. (2011). Leaky gut. The Root of Health. Retrieved from http://www.therootofhealth.com/leaky-gut/