The health of our gut impacts dramatically on our overall health and even our mood, so we would all do well to make sure our gut condition is great, right? It might be time to think more about your gut heal if you live with skin problems, erratic moods, irregularity in sleep pattern, unhealthy and even crazy food cravings, intestinal symptoms from diarrhea to cramping and bloating, gas, belching and constipation, problems with weight management, an autoimmune condition(s), or you have constant and strange symptoms of any kind that you can’t seem to cure. More on the 8 signs below.
If you are dealing with any of these you need to consider that your gut health isn’t optimal.
Since our overall health is so directly linked to our health in this area, we need to ensure we are protecting it, and ourselves in the process.
80% of our immune system is in the gut. Yes, we said that. It’s in the gut. The stomach and intestines produce the stomach acid largely responsible for destroying the most harmful bacteria that forms in our GI tract.
What causes leaky gut?
There are many causes of leaky gut. Three of the top culprits, however are food intolerances, antibiotic use and toxin exposure.
Food intolerances are largely responsible for leaky gut. Seemingly harmless foods can be wreaking havoc on your intestines without you even knowing. The main culprits are gluten, dairy and eggs. For a more detailed and in-depth discussion of food intolerances, the role they play in leaky gut and how this impacts your health see: The Virgin Diet: Drop 7 Foods, Lose 7 Pounds, Just 7 Days.
Another one of the major setbacks that has assaulted our collective gut in relationship to our health care is the prevalent use of antibiotics which, while often a life-saving tool in certain illnesses, are also overprescribed and can destroy large portions of the beneficial intestinal flora that are required required for proper balance. Even a prescription taken as long as 7 years ago may still render you depleted of some of hat healthy flora if your diet or probiotic supplementation has not yet restored it. The bacteria formed in our GI tract are categorized below:
Good Bacteria: There are many strains of beneficial bacteria in the GI tract. A few are:
- Bifidobacteria – Regulates bacterial levels in the gut.
- Eschericia Coli – Responsible for the production of formation of Vitamin K for blood clotting, and also keeps harms bacteria in check. (Some forms do cause illness too.)
- Lactobacilli – Produces vitamins and other nutrients, while also boosting immunity and is an anti-carcinogen.
*Note: There are and should be many other good bacterias in the GI tract.
Bad Bacteria: Likewise, there are many strains of harmful bacteria. A few are:
- Helicobacter pylori, previously Campylobacter pylori – The most common form of harmful bacteria associated with food-born illnesses
- Enterococcus Faecallis – A common source of post-operative infection in surgical patients
- Clostridium Difficile – The most harmful of bacteria associated with antibiotic therapy and depletion of good flora.
Exposure to chemicals, environmental toxins and GMOs is also contributing to leaky gut.
A great book on the subject of digestive health is Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain-for Life.
Are you feeling unhappy?
One of the factors that predispose one to mood changes is that 95% of the serotonin (our happiness hormone) is formed in a well-functioning gut. One that is out of balance, producing the obvious GI symptoms may also be creating some seemingly unrelated problems for you.
How Probiotics Help
Enter the probiotics. Probiotics are available in supplement form but the encouraging news is that we also have super foods at our disposal that can help to restore our gut balance in the form of probiotics. These miraculous foods help us to keep the harmful bacteria in check, to aid in digestion and nutrient absorption, including vitamins and minerals contained in our foods, and even in the production of other beneficial vitamins, including B vitamins, vitamin K, folate, as well as some short chain fatty acids. and they also aid in effective immunity activity in the gut.
8 Signs You Have a Leaky Gut
In assessing whether you have leaky gut, you can see the following list of 8 indictors of imbalance in your gut, some of which are previously discussed above:
- You use or have used antibiotics.
- You have digestive disturbances and/or food intolerances or Celiac Disease.
- You get skin irritations – From acne to rosacea the skin issues often manifest as a result of leaky gut.
- Your have mood disturbances – Gut imbalance negatively effects neurotransmitters in the brain.
- You have a fragile immune system – Reflected in chronic fatigue, frequent naps, low energy, allergies and asthma, autoimmune disorders, needing of caffeine, waking up tired, mental fog, high blood pressure are all indicators that an out of balance gut may be the culprit.
- You have yeast overgrowth – a frequent bi-product of excessive refined sugar intake as well as caffeine, with symptoms overlapping in several of the above listed problems and cutting the culprits from you intake is the one remedy available.
- You have an autoimmune disorder(s) – Leaky gut is a condition precedent to having an autoimmune disorder. If you have an autoimmune disorder then you know that your gut needs to be healed as well.
- You have other “mystery” symptoms – If you have chronic or strange symptoms of almost any kind that are unexplainable and don’t seem to go away, chances are you may be dealing with leaky gut.