|80% of the population has issues with gut health. This is a HUGE figure, and it just goes to show how broad the spectrum of this illness can be. Surely this many people can’t be experiencing the same thing!
Then, why are they all receiving the same medical treatment??
The main organ affected by leaky gut is the small intestine. When functioning properly, the internal wall is semi-permeable. In other words, it is selective in what it allows in and out. For instance, nutrients are allowed to pass through, but toxins and undigested food particles are blocked. With leaky gut, however, the pores of the small intestine are widened and toxins, undigested food particles, and bacteria are allowed to exit the small intestine to eventually enter the bloodstream.
In response, the immune system goes into overdrive as it recognizes the foreign substances and treats them as invaders. This produces an inflammatory response and further health complications throughout the body.
What’s the cause, and can I treat it naturally?!
Gut health does not stop at digestion. In fact, numerous studies in recent years have explored the gut-brain connection. This relationship is crucial for maintaining positive mental health and combatting many common mood disorders. the We’ve always suspected our bodies and minds were intricately intertwined, but now we have proof!
For additional reading, check out this study on how the gut and brain communicate: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3845678/?_escaped_fragment_=po=2.13415
The damaging effects of leaky gut on overall health is often overlooked. The functional medicine field, however, sees these health issues as the true damage they impose on one’s body and aim to treat the problem, NOT just the symptoms.
Functional medicine has realized that many elements of the standard modern American diet are to blame for the increase in the leaky gut diagnosis. Regular constipation and imbalances in gut flora (healthy bacteria) are both prime causes of leaky gut – both of which stem from poor nutrition.
Digestion is much more than just the food we consume. It includes absorption, assimilation and the breakdown of molecules before waste is expelled. Optimizing these elements of digestion BEFORE the onset of leaky gut is a preventative measure everyone should implement. One of the best (and tastiest) ways to do this is incorporating fermented foods into your diet. For example…
Kombucha is a great probiotic source and has been proven to help boost both digestion and absorption of essential nutrients! You can buy some at your local grocery store or make some for yourself. Here is a great instructional video to brew your own: