Ever had that gut feeling? Have you regretted ignoring it? I’ll guess you answered yes to both.
Your gut instructs you how to feel in more ways than just ‘intuition’. It’s a key factor in your overall physical and mental health. Provide your digestive system with the right nutrition and you feel good, energetic, alert, balanced, and well. Provide it with the wrong nutrition and problems arise, like lethargy, clouded thinking, irritability, sleepiness, and more.
What about when long-term bombardment with poor nutrition has a stronger effect on the digestive system? Some people develop ‘leaky gut syndrome’. It’s a difficult enough issue for a doctor to understand, which makes it even tougher for sufferers to grasp and solve.
Here’s some information about leaky gut signs and symptoms.
What is Leaky Gut?
It’s not an official diagnosis, but a handy umbrella term for complex issues that need closer inspection. As food is digested, a healthy small intestine allows good nutrients to be absorbed into the body, while also keeping other substances (like toxins, bacteria or undigested food particles) from being absorbed. If the intestine becomes damaged, its functions can be disrupted and unwanted substances may pass through the lining into the blood stream, causing nasty problems. One of the most common types of damage that can occur in the intestine is leaky gut. This means the intestinal lining has become permeable, allowing substances like toxins, bacteria or undigested food particles to pass through into the blood. Then the immune system has to work overtime to fight these invaders in the blood and it often (but not always) can result in clear symptoms.
The cause of leaky gut is widely debated, but there is some level of consensus that the following contribute to this condition:
- A diet high in refined sugar, processed foods, preservatives, flours and flavorings.
- Chronic stress, which can suppress the immune system.
- Gut inflammation which can be brought on by low stomach acid, yeast overgrowth (Candida), infections from bacteria and parasites, and excessive toxins.
- Some medications are also thought to cause leaky gut.
- A lack of necessary nutrients, like zinc, may also disrupt the integrity of the intestinal lining.
Leaky Gut Signs and Symptoms – Look for Clusters
Look for clusters of symptoms, not isolated ones, and always see your doctor to ask questions:
- Poor nutrition. It’s not a sign of leaky gut, but it can be a huge cause. Eat a diet consisting of fresh, whole foods (no processed or deep fried junk), avoid alcohol, and be sure to take a leaky gut dietary supplement with probiotics.
- Stomach issues. If you experience constipation, diarrhea, excessive gas or bloating several times a week, your digestive system is telling you in no uncertain terms that something must change.
- Poor immunity. This include autoimmune diseases like Celiac, Crohn’s, lupus, and more. The 3,000 different species of bacteria in your gut are intricately balanced and not welcome elsewhere. Should some leak into your blood stream, you can be certain your immune system will be compromised by trying to fight them off.
- If it strikes regularly, something is very much amiss.
- Brain fog. If you often feel lightheaded, or get headaches, or experience diminished mental/memory capacity, you must examine all possibilities. If these symptoms coincide with several others on this list, ask your doctor about leaky gut.
- Skin troubles. Rashes, itches, acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema and so on.
- Joint pain or arthritis. Some pain and forms of arthritis are autoimmune problems and can be caused by gut issues.
- Mental illness. There are many mental illnesses and they can be caused by a variety of factors – including leaky gut. Some cases of depression, anxiety, ADHD and ADD can be traced to gut and dietary issues.
For a complicated issue, there is one simple part: when your gut’s not well, you’re not well.
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