An Insight into the Gut
The gut refers to your entire gastrointestinal tract that is responsible for digesting, absorbing and excreting food, liquid and medications. It is contained within a mucous membrane made up of billions of cells that are held together by tight gap junctions. This lining separates the contents of the gut with the blood stream and rest of the body. Only restricted substances such as nutrients and minerals are allowed to diffuse into the blood once absorbed.
What is Leaky Gut?
When irritants such as environmental toxins, food allergens or pro-inflammatory substances enter the gut, it can cause tares within those tight junctions, resulting in a compromised mucous lining. From here, food particles or other substances that are normally restricted from entering the bloodstream are now able to do so.
What Are the Implications of Leaky Gut?
When substances begin to leak into the bloodstream, the immune system can recognise these particles as "invading antigens" and attack them causing further inflammation in the digestive tract, leading to an array of both digestive and systemic health issues. Common conditions that can result include psoriasis/eczema, microbiome imbalance, autoimmune disease, allergies and intolerances, digestive issues but also mental health/neurological function can be significantly impacted.
What can Cause Leaky Gut?
There are many possible causes and contributing factors for the development of leaky gut: -Imbalance in microbiome -Stress -Inflammatory diet -Medications -Toxins -Alcohol and smoking.
How can a Naturopath Help?
Looking to heal the compromised lining of the gut through herbs, nutrients and diet modifications is a key treatment aim for leaky gut. Investigating some main triggers and removing those aggravating factors will also be important. Restoring optimal function by dampening the inflammatory responses, modulating the immune system, supporting the microbiome and nervous system and addressing nutrient deficiencies/intolerances are all elements of the naturopathic perspective on leaky gut!