Have you heard of the term “leaky gut” but are unsure what it is or if you may have it?
Consider this common scenario we see at Blum Center for Health.
Jane (not her real name) is a 48-year-old woman with three autoimmune conditions: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, psoriasis, and alopecia areata, a form of patchy hair loss on the scalp. The Hashimoto’s was diagnosed after her first pregnancy at 34 when she just couldn’t get her energy back postpartum. She eventually started on low dose thyroid replacement medication but every few years has had to increase her dose. The psoriasis began a few years after that on her elbows and she controls it with a steroid cream. And then last year she noticed a big clump of hair in the drain and looked more closely at her scalp only to find a bare spot the size of a quarter. When her doctor told her it’s her third autoimmune condition, she knew she needed to look more deeply for answers to why her immune system is becoming more dysfunctional.
When Jane came to see us at Blum Center, she also reported that she’d had irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, for many years. For her, that means sometimes diarrhea, sometimes constipation, occasional crampy abdominal pain, and embarrassing gas almost every day. She had begun to feel that that was just “normal,” since she’d lived with it since her 20s.
Along with increasing autoimmunity, Jane’s gut symptoms are some of the hallmarks for increased intestinal permeability, or leaky gut. When the lining of the intestines becomes inflamed even at a microscopic level by food, gut bacteria imbalances, toxicants, or stress, the intestinal lining cells start to lose their protective integrity. Instead of just letting micronutrients into the body through small “gates” that can open and close between the cells, the gates get stuck in the open position and larger and larger molecules, and even your gut bacteria, can come into the body. These large molecules and microbes weren’t meant to have access to the body, so the immune system sounds the alarm. In trying to manage the flood of disinformation, the immune system often begins to overreact leading to trouble telling what is “not me” and what is “me,” starting the autoimmune process.
The good news: we can usually fix leaky gut and along with it, improve autoimmune symptoms and markers. When we can decrease the burden on the immune system, it often begins to heal. Start by reviewing your treatment options using these tips on how to heal a leaky gut. The first step is usually to treat dysbiosis, an imbalance in the gut microbiome.
If you suspect you have Leaky Gut, or if you suffer from digestive problems, such as cramping, bloating, burping, flatulence, diarrhea or constipation our 30-Day HealMyGut Program will help bring balance to your to gut microbiome, repair your digestive tract lining and relieve these painful and uncomfortable symptoms. HealMyGut features our exclusive antimicrobial packets in addition to 3 other gut-healing supplements, a detailed guidebook with recipes from our test kitchen — everything you need to heal your gut and feel well again. → Check out HealMyGut
About Elizabeth Grieg, FNP: In her dual role as our Functional Medicine Nurse Practitioner and a teacher in our Mind.Body.Spirit programs at Blum Center for Health, Elizabeth Greig, MSN, FNP, helps treat and heal patients with complex chronic health conditions. Whether she’s treating a medical condition or leading a class in meditation, Elizabeth helps people understand that when it comes to healing, it’s more about nourishing life, than it is about battling illness. Learn more about Elizabeth’s practice.