Alright folks, get your giggles out now. Today we're talking about the fave topics of every fourth grade boy. Poop. Gas. Diarrhea. We're going big or going home.
Ever notice how whenever you turn on the TV there's always a commercial for some random
medicine claiming it will help some random symptom going on in your bod? Stomach cramps, bloating, insane pain all over your body, constipation, diarrhea, headache, joint pain. None of these sound like anything you wanna go near, but the truth is LOTS of people deal with this crap (ha!) every day. And throwing medicine at it is basically putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound. It might fix it for a bit, but the underlying problem is still there and it's not getting any better.
Any of those symptoms sound familiar? Maybe you or someone you know has been told they have IBS--Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Cute name, I know. Have to run to the bathroom right after eating? Can't predict whether or not that pizza or ice cream is gonna make you feel like death? This can easily get diagnosed as IBS because doctors generally can't find a cause for symptoms like that. How about chronic fatigue or generalized pain? Day time TV is fiiiiiiilled with commercials for meds that are promising to combat those. But again, band-aid, meet the gunshot wound. If we never know WHY all of these things are happening, we can never do anything to actually fix it. If nothing changes, nothing changes.
Did you know that 80% of our immune system is in our gut??
Our gut (or intestines) is where a majority of our absorption happens for nutrients and energy, and it's also the place where the the body makes the decision to keep something because it's useful or send it down the shoot. (You know, poop.) When gut health gets wonky, that's when stomach pains, bloating, cramping, etc. come in. But it's not all tummy trouble. An unhealthy gut can actually lead to headaches, joint pain, bloating, thyroid problems, even brain fog!
So what's causing the gut to be damaged in the first place and how do we even fix it?! Glad you asked.
The food we're eating is actually the culprit here. Lots of different things can damage the gut or cause it to become "leaky." (And it actually varies from person to person, so I highly recommend getting a comprehensive blood test so you can scope out exactly what your triggers are. More on that a little later.)
Most of the time, grains are to blame. Grains contain different proteins that affect the junctions
between our intestinal cells, the most common of which is gluten. Going "gluten-free" has become such a fad right now, and truthfully, most processed gluten-free foods are just as bad for you. I will hear very often that someone has removed gluten from their diet and felt some improvement, but definitely still has symptoms. That's because grains contain other proteins along with gluten that cause the same damage. We also need to look at all of the other non-bread, processed foods we are eating (even if they are gluten-free.) Basically anything in the center aisles of the grocery store. They contain processed chemicals that are disrupting the microflora (good bacteria) our guts need to do their job. And not only are they killing the good bacteria but they are then taking over with their bad bacteria in our guts as well! There's a constant battle going on in your gut and you've gotta have the good bacteria outweigh the bad, or else it can turn into an out of control rager pretty fast.
Lemme explain how, but first, I've gotta get a little sciencey up in here.
Zonulin is a protein in our bodies that opens up the spaces between the cells of the intestinal lining. This has to happen in order for nutrients and other molecules to get in and out of the intestine. However, when leaky gut is present, the spaces between the cells open up too far allowing larger protein molecules to get into the bloodstream where an immunologic reaction can take place. It's allowing literal microscopic food particles in your blood stream. That seems like that would make anyone feel terrible.
The two most powerful triggers to open the zonulin door are gluten and improper gut bacteria in the small intestine. Gluten causes zonulin levels to increase and as the zonulin level rises, the seal between the intestinal cells breaks down. Think of it like the bouncer at a night club who is supposed to keep trouble makers out but falls asleep on the job! Now food molecules are allowed to pass through to the immune system. The immune system thinks they are foreign invaders and will initiate an immune response leading to food sensitivities. On top of that immune response, the gut becomes damaged andinflamed, leading to even more permeability or “leakage” and overloads the liver’s ability to filter out the garbage. As if THAT is not enough, the microvilli that line the intestines and absorb nutrients become damaged, leading to other nutrient deficiencies too.
Before you vow to only eat leafy greens for the rest of your life, slow your roll. There is good news: we actually know how to fix it! With the combination of diet changes, supplementation, and hydration, you can have your teenage body back--well at least the gut health of a teenager. But notice that I didn't say "take this magic pill one time and then you can eat whatever you want!" It will take commitment on your end to decide to change your lifestyle once and for all.
The scary truth about leaky gut is the medical world has not quite figured it out yet. When these symptoms present in their offices, the answer is usually surgery. They go in and cut 6 inches of your intestines out since they are inflamed and causing the pain. But guess what? In a few months, a new section of your gut will be inflamed and the whole process starts over again. Band-aid, gunshot wound. We have to eliminate what is causing the inflammation and gut lining deterioration. If nothing changes, nothing changes remember?
At Back to Health Anthem, we are committed to help you figure this out. We have an amazingly comprehensive blood test called a Wheat Zoomer, where the antibodies in your blood are tested to see specifically what types of grains and flours are causing your leaky gut. We can help you make changes TODAY that will get you on the road to recovery. Give us a call at (623) 551-6677 to get on the schedule so we can work together to get your body back to running at its peak performance.