Leaky Gut Symptoms & Healing Strategies

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Your digestive tract is loaded with trillions of microorganisms that form a natural ecosystem commonly called the gut flora or gut microbiome. This ecosystem is designed to be symbiotic in that it benefits you, the individual and the microbes. However, certain lifestyle stressors throw off the natural symbiosis and cause a rise in pathogenic microbes, chronic gut inflammation and damage to the gut lining.

leaky gut symptoms

Healthy Gut Bacteria

You see, your intestinal track is a dark, moist environment that provides a steady stream of fluid and nutrition and is therefore an optimal breeding ground for microbes of all different types. There are approximately 500 different species of microrganisms within the gut.   They actually make up anywhere from three to six pounds of your total weight. The vast majority of these microbes are beneficial. They help to metabolize food particles and form highly absorbable nutrients for the person to digest.

This internal ecosystem is dependent upon certain beneficial microbial species being widespread and in control. These good bacteria are progenic (offspring supporting) in that they support life. These bacteria provide a protective barrier that guards the intestinal wall against pathogenic bacteria, parasites, fungi, viruses & environmental toxins. These organisms also create anti-microbial substances that destroy pathogenic organisms.

They are very powerful natural anti-biotics, anti-virals, & anti-fungals. Humans would be unable to survive without a rich array of good bacteria. The critical species are the Lactobacteria that predominate the small intestine and the Bifidobacteria that predominate the large intestine. Humans depend on these organisms to absorb nutrients and fight against infection. These organisms also support the mucous membranes of the reproductive tract, respiratory system and sinus cavities. These organisms produce what is estimated to be about 83% of the bodies immune system!!

leaky gut symptoms

Your Mom Really Loves You!

We initially inherit and acquire our initial gut microbiome from our mother. The most important meal a newborn has is the exposure and inoculation of microbes as the baby travels through the mucous membrane of the vaginal canal. These microbes travel into the warm and moist areas of the baby and begin to form large, healthy colonies that support the formation of natural immunity. Gut flora continues to transfer over to the baby through breast milk.

The microbial foundation of the baby is determined by the microbial balance of the mother. Mothers with poor bacterial balance give their children inherently poor survival ability from the start. These are typically the children that are constantly sick, have food & environmental allergens as well as neurodevelopmental & sensory processing disorders. Bottle fed children are at the highest risk for poor gut function due to the toxic ingredients in typical bottle based formulas. Breast-feeding, eating a whole-food based diet and natural toxin free lifestyle offer a significant defense against leaky gut syndrome.

Don’t Let Your Gut Get Bullied

When the gut flora is damaged from environmental toxins such as antibiotic usage, chlorinated water, industrial meat, processed food & drinks, etc. it allows for the pathogenic species to take control. This would include Staphylococci, Streptococci, Bacilli, Clostrida, Candida Albicans, Enterobacteria & other parasites.   These pathogenic species eat through the intestinal wall and cause gaps in the gut lining. These gaps allow for large food particles, yeast, bacteria and environmental toxins to cross into the bloodstream.

This is known as Leaky Gut Syndrome.

These particles travel through the blood stream and lodge into joints and neural tissue such as the brain, the liver and other major organs. The immune system reacts by creating an inflammatory response in these areas. Due to the gut opening, the toxins continue to pour into the bloodstream, making their home inside the body and therefore begin to drive chronic inflammation. This destroys brain, organ and joint tissue, rapidly aging the body.

Keep Your Arms Healthy

The gut flora has two major arms. The first arm senses our environment by reading the environmental toxins that are coming into the body.   When these environmental factors, such as dust, chemicals, animal hair & pollen, fall on the mucous membranes, the progenic (offspring forming) bacteria sense and react to them.

The second arm is responsible for immune activation and inflammatory based reactions. When the first arm is damaged the second arm begins to become hyperactive which leads to autoimmune reactions. Depending upon the genetic tendencies of the individual this can result in asthma, allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto’s or Graves thyroiditis, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease etc.

Increase The Good Guys

The beneficial microflora digest our food and produce enzymes that metabolize protein into absorbable amino acids. These key enzymes also transport key vitamins, minerals and other nutrients through the intestinal wall and into the blood stream where they are effectively carried to cells that are in need of these nutrient packages. These beneficial species also help the body produce and metabolize vitamin K2, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, folic acid & pantothenic acid. Without adequate microflora production the body will suffer from poor calcium metabolism, neuromuscular function and chronic inflammatory conditions due to deficiencies in these very important nutrients.

Boosting the good bacteria in your gut is a great way to prevent leaky gut syndrome. Check out our article HERE for tips on how fermented food can heal your gut and HERE for some more info on leaky gut and how you can heal.

The Good, The Bad and The Really Ugly

Antibiotics are the most lethal thing for our microbial balance. After a round of antibiotics it will take at least four to eight weeks to reestablish the gut. This time period is an opportunistic window for parasites to establish themselves on the gut wall. Eating conventional meat, dairy and poultry products can be as dangerous as taking antibiotic prescriptions due to the amount of antibiotics present in these products.

A diet high in fermented foods and essential fats and low in sugar and other toxic food sources will speed this process up. Probiotic supplements are especially important to speed the re-inoculation time, meaning faster production of good flora.

Medications of all types including contraception pills and corticosteroids are extremely hazardous to the gut flora. Dental fluoride treatments and fluoride based toothpastes are also highly damaging to the microbial balance of the gut. What you may not know is that chlorinated water is particularly dangerous to flora health, as it sterilizes our gut. Repeated exposure destroys the progenic bacteria in the gut.

leaky gut symptoms

Dr. Accurso’s Hack Notes:

There are many factors today that damage the beneficial gut flora.

Antibiotics and penicillin have a devastating affect on beneficial bacteria not only in the gut but in other organs and tissues as well. It takes between 4 to 8 weeks depending on the species of beneficial bacteria to re-establish in the gut. This gives a window of opportunity for the bad bacteria, the disease causing bacteria, viruses and fungi to establish themselves on the gut wall. The contraception pill, prolonged stress, dentistry work and exposure to toxic substances all damage our friendly bacteria.

Diet has a large impact on the gut flora. Convenient processed food affects the gut flora as well. Drinking milk and eating meat from animals that are routinely given antibiotics, steroids and other drugs damage our valuable gut flora, consume only organic milk and meat when possible.

Too much sugary foods and processed carbohydrates increase the number of bad flora and create a habitat for a number of different fungi. Processed and sugary carbohydrates (white bread, cakes, biscuits, pastries, and pasta) promote an ideal habitat for worms and other parasites. Avoid where possible for optimized gut flora.

Remember:  The Intestinal Tract is called the Second Brain of the Body because apart from your brain, that’s the bodies primary defense for fighting disease. Gut health is at the center of 21st Century autoimmune diseases. The most common examples include: Celiac disease, Multiple sclerosis (MS), Graves’ disease and Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The body cannot thrive without a well functioning gut flora.

It is essential that we take care of our gut as it holds the roots to our health!


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