Leaky gut syndrome. Gut flora, stomach acid, food intolerance, immune system and autoimmune diseases
Leaky gut syndrome is also called leaky gut or leaky gut.
How do you know if you have leaky gut?
People with leaky gut syndrome often have digestive symptoms such as constipation or gas and bloating after eating. But not everyone has intestinal complaints. Would you be surprised if I told you that leaky gut isn't a gut problem? It is a systemic condition with consequences such as pain, joint complaints, brain fog, inflammation, fibromyalgia, etc.
Is it possible to have a leaky gut without intestinal complaints?
It's also possible to have leaky gut syndrome and have absolutely no digestive symptoms. Instead, you may feel your hands and feet swell after eating, your muscles are tight and stiff in the morning, and you have brain fog and trouble thinking after eating certain foods.
These symptoms are the result of so-called systemic inflammation, which simply means that irritating molecules flow through your body after you eat certain foods.
Even if you get symptoms that are irrelevant to your intestines such as joint pain or headaches, these complaints may be caused by your diet.
Healthy intestinal flora and the immune system
A lot of research has been done on the bacteria that live in the gut, how they grow, develop and make our immune system function properly. It appears that early childhood gut flora plays a huge role in helping your immune cells develop properly and in the right balance.
Good bacteria are the main players in the relationship between your immune system cells, both in the first line of defense and in the second.
Beneficial bacteria also stimulate the production of a protective antibody, which is one of the main defense mechanisms in your gut. It's called immunoglobulin A, a substance made by the immune system to fight off foreign substances.
A link between leaky gut and autoimmune diseases
Good bacteria in the gut also make short-chain fatty acids, which nourish and strengthen all cells in your digestive tract, keeping them healthy.
They also help form your gut wall, the protective barrier that helps keep food in your gut and not share it with the rest of your body when you eat.
These good bacteria work in tandem with your immune cells to immediately protect you from harmful infections and maintain the function of that barrier so that unwanted foreign proteins and infectious particles cannot enter the bloodstream.
If this barrier is compromised, you can develop so-called leaky gut syndrome, a condition that can lead to autoimmune diseases such as MS, Sjogren's syndrome, Addison's disease, lupus, celiac disease, vitiligo, rheumatoid arthritis etc.
Leaky gut & gluten in autoimmune diseases
Our good bacteria also make enzymes that improve digestion. In particular, they help the body break down gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, spelled, rye, and kamut.
Gluten is a highly toxic protein that often triggers an allergic reaction or other immune response and is a major problem for people with autoimmune diseases.
A link between stomach acid and the immune system
Gastric acid produced in the stomach helps activate your digestive enzymes.
Food from the stomach travels to the upper part of the small intestine called the duodenum. This is the area where the enzymes of your pancreas and the bile of your gallbladder come together with the food to further digest proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
These enzymes need a low pH to work properly. If your stomach acid or digestive enzymes don't do their best, they won't finish their job and partially digested food continues to travel up the intestines.
Letting these particles travel where they don't belong increases the problem of leaky gut syndrome and increases the risk of food sensitivities and autoimmune reactions.
Have studies even shown that people taking antacids (stomach protectors) and proton pump inhibitors have an increased risk of developing food sensitivities
Now you can see why antacids, which many people think help their stomach, actually do the opposite and harm your immune system.
Effect of antacids / stomach protectors on the immune system
So if you take the antacids regularly, try to taper this off slowly. Do not worry. You don't have to choose between heartburn and the stomach with the right acidity. There are other ways to treat heartburn.
What is commonly known as heartburn is caused by a stomach lining (called the mucous membrane) that has worn out, leaving it raw and sensitive to the amount of acid that should be in the stomach.
There are many causes that can damage the stomach lining, including stress, alcohol, stomach bacteria, H. pylori, infections, and medications.
When the stomach lining is damaged, you can feel the acid. You wouldn't feel it if the mucous membrane was thick and healthy. Surprisingly, many people with reflux or heartburn actually have too little stomach acid, a condition called hypochlorhydria.
For example, researchers at the University of Antwerp of Belgium that people with type 1 diabetes and autoimmune thyroid disease were three to five times more likely to have autoimmune gastritis than those who had neither condition.
Example from my practice and the leaky gut
A few years ago, a woman came to my practice to lose weight. She had tried everything she said and nothing seemed to work. After asking a lot of questions (which I actually do to get a broader picture of the possible conditions). She had no physical complaints, no intestinal disorders, only her hair fell out.
That is an alarm from the body that something is not right! Nutrients are not absorbed, but why?
Through feces and food intolerance studies we found that she had high intolerances to gluten, lactose, eggs and apples. Now if you can understand that she had leaky gut syndrome.
First we started with the elimination diet, then we removed what did not belong in the intestinal flora such as pathogenic bacteria, fungi and parasites.
Finally, we have rebuilt intestinal flora. After 6 months we had another examination done, the leaky gut was gone and so the loss of her hair. In addition, lost a few kilos as a gift!
Has the leaky gut been recognized by mainstream medicine?
Leaky gut syndrome is not yet a recognized diagnosis in the medical community - but I am confident it will one day be recognized, thanks to the vast number of studies already conducted worldwide.
If you have leaky gut symptoms, I advise you to consult an orthomolecular or naturopathic specialist about the options for treatment.
What are symptoms for the leaky gut?
Common symptoms for the leaky gut:
- food sensitivities
- digestive problems
- autoimmune disease
- thyroid dysfunction
- poor absorption of nutrients
- inflammatory skin conditions
- brain related problems such as depression and autism.
More leaky gut symptoms read here
The leaky gut recovery plan. The diet and supplements.
If you can understand there is no solution to the leaky gut complaints.
Work together with a specialist, someone who has experience and can guide you well. Most orthomolecular therapists have a good understanding of and experience with leaky gut syndrome.
* More about testing, the leaky gut diet, food intolerance and supplements read here.
Finally functioning intestines?
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