Dr. Josh Shields
Do You Have A Leaky Gut?
When the digestive system develops gaps between the cells of its membrane lining the substances which should be confined to your digestive tract can “leak” from your intestines and enter your bloodstream.
Because these harmful substances aren’t normally in your blood, your immune system recognizes them as foreign invaders and begins to attack them by releasing antibodies.
Your immune system literally attacks your own body as if it is an enemy. This continued release of antibodies causes inflammation (swelling), which accumulates over time, causing the digestive system to not work properly and lead to an array of unpleasant symptoms.
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF LEAKY GUT
Leaky Gut can cause an array of symptoms that are seemingly unrelated to the digestive tract.
Because the digestive system is the portal of entry for all nutrients into the body, digestive health can affect the brain, the joints, the skin and every other system. In fact, the list of “leaky” gut symptoms is quite extensive.
Here are SOME of the most common signs:
- Fatigue, anxiety and/or depression
- Sinus and allergy problems
- Weight gain, obesity and Type 2 diabetes
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Joint pain and fibromyalgia
- Gas, bloating, abdominal pain (irritable bowel syndrome) and multiple food sensitivities
- Autoimmune diseases (including Crohn’s, celiac, eczema, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Hashimoto’s)
- Skin, hair and nail issues (including acne, hives, dry or oily skin, hair loss, and weak or ridged nails)
- Heart disease and high cholesterol
- Hormonal issues such as PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, and low testosterone
WHAT CAUSES LEAKY GUT?
The list of causes is about as extensive as the list of symptoms and includes use of medications such as antibiotics, toxins, alcohol, stress, excessive weight, food sensitivities, lack of vitamin D, and lack of movement (exercise).
Another cause of leaky gut is poor diet. Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet, also known as SAD, really lives up to its initials. It’s the naturally occurring bacteria present in “real” food that keeps our gut healthy.
Foods that have been picked, pressed, pulverized, processed, preserved and packaged before being frozen or put in a box or bag are going to lead to an imbalanced ecology in the gut.
A growing body of research also indicates grains such as wheat might be culprits in the development of leaky gut because they contain substances that have been shown to damage the intestinal walls.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE IT?
Find a practitioner who doesn’t just look at basic lab work and use conventional therapies, but instead who looks to find and correct the underlying cause. At our practice, we offer two different types of testing to assist in determining if a patient’s problems could be stemming from leaky gut.
Our Food Sensitivity Panel is a test that measures if you are reacting to nearly 100 different foods. Remember, leakage in your intestinal wall leads to undigested food passing into the bloodstream. This test tells us if your immune system is releasing antibodies to “attack” any of the foods.
If you test positive for antibodies to a certain percentage of foods, it indicates that undigested particles of these foods are leaking from your gut into your blood. The more antibodies we find, the more your immune system is in overdrive.
I want to stress that positive reactions don’t mean you are “allergic” to these foods. It means that your body is reacting to foods that aren’t where they’re supposed to be. Once your leaky gut is healed, you may be able to reintroduce the foods into your diet. We offer follow-up testing and are also involved in national research in food sensitivity testing.
Lab testing can determine if you do indeed suffer from leaky gut and provide us with the best course of treatment to help you recover.
If left untreated, leaky gut can lead to prolonged inflammation in the body, which in turn increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and certain cancers. Also, many people suffer from chronic conditions such as coughs, sleep apnea, sinus infections and post-nasal drip that are all stemming from their gut issues!
Our clinic is here to help end your suffering and put you on the road to wellness. So many of us turn to conventional medicines, which just cover the problem and often don’t offer any real relief. Because medications fail to address the true cause of “leaky” gut, many people continue to suffer and in many cases their conditions worsen, leading to more serious diseases.
I want to share with you an example of a patient who came to our clinic in rough shape. She suffered from autoimmune conditions for which she had been prescribed steroids. The steroids led to her gaining weight and developing diabetes. She also suffered from skin issues including psoriasis, eczema and rosacea.
With treatment, as you can see we were able to heal her gut which reduced her immune response to the common foods she was eating (notice the amount of reds on the first test versus the second test). Also with her treatments we were also able to reverse her high blood sugars and get her off medications. Not only did she lose weight, but her skin cleared up, her energy level skyrocketed and she felt better than she had in years.
So, where do I begin?
I shared the above example with you because I don’t want anyone to give up hope of ever being well – even if you suffer from multiple health issues. I can’t say it enough: A digestive problem isn’t just a digestive problem – it’s an entire body problem.
It’s important you take a more holistic, natural approach to balancing your digestive problems and seek help from a board certified functional medicine practitioner (C.F.M.P.) who is trained to look at all aspects of your health. We have a clinically proven step by step process for helping our patients achieve health. Get started today and schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our doctors to learn more about how you can regain your health and get your life back.
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