Leaky Gut: Is it Becoming an Epidemic?
Leaky gut is a condition that causes many health problems, yet it’s rarely talked about in the media or in doctors’ offices. As a matter of fact, many people have this condition but have no clue! Here’s a look at what leaky gut is, how it occurs and what you can do to create a healthy gut without the use of pharmaceuticals. Many of the doctors and health practitioners that are talking about and diagnosing leaky gut are saying that almost 80% of the U.S. population has some degree of leaky gut.
The leaky gut issue starts in a very important organ, your small intestine. The small intestine is so important because most of the vitamins and minerals in the foods you eat are absorbed there. In order for the vitamins and minerals to be absorbed, the small intestine contains microscopic pores so the nutrients can be transferred into the bloodstream. Once transferred, the nutrients are then shuttled and deposited all around the body by the blood.
The wall of the intestine is considered semi-permeable. This means it only allows certain things to enter the bloodstream and block other things from entering the bloodstream. For instance, specific molecules and nutrients are allowed to pass through but toxins and large undigested food particles are blocked. When you have leaky gut, the pores in your small intestine widen and this allows undigested food particles and toxins, that would normally be blocked, to enter your bloodstream. These particles and toxins aren’t recognized and the immune system goes into attack mode because they are not supposed to be in the blood. In essence, the immune system literally recognizes these undigested particles as dangerous. This can lead to allergies and much worse conditions. These particles that shouldn’t be there cause an immune response and build up antibodies to protect–it is just basically doing its job. The problem is the immune system doesn’t just build up antibodies to the food particles; it attacks your healthy cells, too. This is one of the ways food allergies and autoimmune disorders develop.
Keeping in mind that 70% of our immune system is in our gut, doesn’t it seem important to have a healthy one?
Let’s back up a bit and discuss some of the reasons why we are having a leaky gut epidemic? Why now? What has changed?