by Dr. Michael Boss, DC
Arthritis? Allergies? Depression? Chronic Fatigue? Brain Fog? Autoimmune Disease?
One of the most common issues that I see and treat with patients is a leaky gut. It is a bit of a “mystery disease” and can show itself as a bewildering array of other conditions and symptoms. Because of this, most people who suffer from Leaky Gut Syndrome do not realize it.
I’ve seen it reported that more than 100 million Americans suffer from some gastrointestinal or digestive issues. One out of every two Americans suffers from some chronic condition. Many go from doctor to doctor and from test to test and from prescription to prescription with little to no results. This is because they may be missing the real cause of the problem: a leaky gut.
What is Leaky Gut?
Because it tends to connect apparently unrelated disorders, Leaky Gut Syndrome is one of the most misunderstood concepts in healthcare today. It is not a single disease or syndrome. It is a pathological and dysfunctional process that occurs as part of many different diseases or problems.
The term “leaky gut” refers to an abnormal increase in the permeability of the small intestine. The small intestine is the place we absorb the nutrients and compounds from the food we eat, the liquids we drink and other things we ingest like medication, vitamins, etc. We absorb these compounds through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream.
In the case of the leaky gut, the intestinal wall allows the passage of components that should not enter the bloodstream. Once these elements enter the bloodstream, the immune system becomes involved and responds to what it considers “invaders.” This is where the issues arise. It can be equated to having a bad coffee filter that allows coffee grounds through and ruins a nice tasting cup.
Conditions Associated with Leaky Gut
Leaky gut has been linked to a number of conditions including arthritis, allergies, depression and anxiety, skin conditions (eczema, hives, psoriasis, acne), fibromyalgia, autoimmune disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ADD/ADHD in adults and children, liver issues, food allergies and more.
If you suffer from any of these issues, you may have a leaky gut. Getting a proper functional evaluation of your status and condition will help you find the most effective solution to your condition.
Connecting Leaky Gut and Inflammation
The small intestine is the largest organ in your body, and 80 percent of your immune system is connected directly to it. The small intestine continuously activates the immune system by sampling the compounds that pass through its lining.
Leaky gut allows entry of inappropriate molecules into the bloodstream. When this occurs, the immune system responds, and the result is inflammation. Leaky gut activates the intestinal immune system to produce chemicals called cytokines that spread inflammation through your body. Inflammation is an important trigger for symptoms like fatigue, malaise, pain, brain fog and depression. It can also lead to food allergies, systemic inflammation, and the gamut of ill health and conditions that may arise.
Determining Leaking Gut
It really isn’t too difficult to determine the presence of leaky gut. Proper consultation and questioning provides a basis for suspicion. Simple blood tests can help indicate the presence of leaky gut. Further testing can involve specialized blood tests and stool tests to confirm, if necessary.
Fixing the Leak
Treatment for leaky gut should be guided by a healthcare provider who has experience healing the root causes, not just alleviating symptoms. I personally see dozens of new leaky gut patients each month. First, we must eliminate the intake of anything that might be causing or contributing to increased intestinal permeability. Then we establish an inflammatory reduction routine. The daily intake of proper nutrients is vital to allow healing and repair.
In my practice, we use specialized nutriceutical supplements to support digestive function and proliferate healing. Finally, sustaining the appropriate lifestyle after improvement is key to avoiding relapse.
Leaky gut is becoming more and more common. Given the present climate of poor nutrition and over-indulgence in inflammationproducing foods and drinks, combined with the stressors of everyday life, it is easy to understand why it affects so many. If you suspect you may suffer from Leaky Gut Syndrome, consult an experienced practitioner ASAP.
Dr. Michael Boss, DC, has been a practicing chiropractor and wellness practitioner for more than 20 years. Dr. Boss is co-founder of Elevate Life Wellness, and he provides treatment programs that focus on functional health care, diabetes prevention and reversal, nutrition, acupuncture, exercise, hormone function and balance, chronic diseases, nutriceuticals and more. Call 210-999-5463 for an individual consultation, or visit www.elevatelifewellness.com to learn more.