01 Mar What Causes Leaky Gut?
We’re here to give you the insight on what causes leaky gut! Once you understand what causes it, you’ll know what to do in the long term + that is what we all want, right? Below we’ll hit on these causes + more details, so you can feel empowered on understanding the holistic approach to gut health.
What Causes Leaky Gut?
Leaky gut (scientifically called intestinal permeability) is where the tight junctions along your intestinal lining are more “open” and are not “tight” when they should be. Your intestinal lining should absorb + bring in the valuable things, such as vitamins and minerals and should leave out large molecules, bacteria, and toxins. When leaky gut occurs, these things can be absorbed and start wrecking havoc in the gut and causing inflammation.
So, what causes leaky gut to occur in the first place?
While we only think antibiotics and how it affects gut health, I want to expand your mind even further. ANY medication, prescription or over the counter, can negatively affect gut health. Medications can change the gut microbiome and cause bacteria to be imbalanced leading to dysbiosis. An example: Metformin can increase levels of opportunistic bacteria, such as E. Coli and Kelbsiella.
Every medication can also deplete you of nutrients. An example: Birth control depletes the body of b vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, etc. These vital nutrients can help support gut health. Speaking of birth control, oral estrogen intake can also alter intestinal permeability. There is even a potential increase of inflammatory bowel disease with oral birth control.
So, make sure you are assessing what medications you are taking + how they could be potentially affecting your gut health.
This shouldn’t be crazy surprising, since diet can affect everything in the body. Many people are still eating close to a Standard American Diet that is filled with nutrient-void franken-foods. Without the proper nourishment, our cells aren’t able to do what they need to do (intestinal cells included!). Standard American Diets tend to be higher in sugar and those sugars can feed opportunistic bacteria + lead to dysbiosis.
Certain foods that are inflammatory to that person can cause inflammation in the gut lining leading to leaky gut. Last, but not least, we are seeing very restrictive diets the last couple of decades + these restrictive diets can starve gut bacteria that is needed to maintain a healthy intestinal lining.
We need to make sure that our diet in the long-term is diverse, anti-inflammatory, + nourishing!
While it’s easy to think about stress reduction being a cop out, stress CAN impact gut lining. Stress can down-regulate our immune system and allow microbes to be overgrown. When we’re stressed we also increase our demand for nutrients, which can leave you at a higher risk of nutrient deficiencies.
It will shift blood flow away from the gut and towards other areas of the body that need it, like muscles, heart, brain. It does this in response to a fight or flight response.
As you can see, stress reduction recommendations aren’t a cop out, but an important way to support your gut health.
Someone’s environment can actually determine their gut health. Microbiomes have been found to be different if someone lives in a city or a rural area. Certain chemicals that we are exposed to in our environment can change intestinal lining quality. Pesticides can alter gut bacteria as much as it can alter pests in the environment.
Hygiene + living partners can also influence our gut microbiome. This is a huge category that has many pathways, which is why we like to learn more about you + where you’ve been in your life when you become a client!
How To Test Leaky Gut
The best way to test for your leaky gut is a comprehensive stool analysis. This test will not only test for intestinal lining quality, but also your bacteria, parasites, yeast, digestive enzyme markers, inflammation, + more!
If you’re ready to take back your gut + work with a practitioner that will help guide you to what YOU need to do for your gut, head over to this page + book your free 15 minute-call with our team. On this call, we will learn more about you, see if we’re a good fit for what you’re looking for, + come up with a game plan! Our gut health dieticians are ready to help you!