What causes leaky gut?
A permeable gut, commonly known as leaky gut, is not caused by one single factor. Often, several variables need to be considered while going through the process of healing a leaky gut.
When functioning properly, the gut mucosal layer protects the interior of the body from large food particles, other large molecules, and opportunistic microorganisms like bacteria, parasites, and viruses. (1)
This activates the immune system. Messenger chemicals, called cytokines, tell the rest of the body to respond. In the same way that motorists respond to an ambulance rushing down a street, sirens sounding and lights flashing, the immune system sends out biochemical “sirens”, and this alerts the rest of the body.
Usually, the response involves inflammation, which dilates vessels and creates blood flow while also recruiting white blood cells (WBCs) to fight off the foreign invaders.
This is especially true when the brain or gut is involved. The brain, or the central nervous system, and gut, or the enteric nervous system, are connected by the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is an open line of communication between the central nervous system and the enteric nervous system.
It is always important to look at the entire body for signs of inflammation, which is often marked by extreme sensitivity. For example, when the blood-brain barrier is not doing its job, there may be mental cloudiness, nausea, or disorientation with certain foods or with inhaled chemical or environmental factors. Your primary care physician will know how to test for and detect a permeable blood-brain barrier.
Beneficial Microflora to the Rescue
It has been found that beneficial microflora will actually release anti-inflammatory messages and dampen the inflammatory response. (2)
Glutamine has been found in several studies to heal and repair the intestinal tract. (3) Body Ecology Vitality SuperGreen has GlutImmune, the most bioavailable and stable form of glutamine available. It delivers up to 10 times more glutamine into the bloodstream than L-glutamine, which is the single amino acid available on market shelves.
Stress Affects Leaky Gut
Stress can be chemical, environmental, physical, or even mental. Stress includes lack of sleep, a cup of coffee in the morning, or overtraining at the gym.
Daily stress releases cortisol and causes the body to become acidic. This creates the perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria, which can trigger a leaky gut!
When the body is stressed, it releases a hormone called cortisol. When cortisol is released in excess, the body becomes more acidic. The Body Ecology Principle of Acid and Alkaline tells us that when the body becomes acidic, it is prime real estate for pathogenic microorganisms. Remember, these are inflammatory agents and can lead to permeability.
High cortisol levels also indicate that the sympathetic nervous system, otherwise known as the fight-or-flight response, has been activated. When the sympathetic nervous system is constantly running, digestive function slows down considerably. When digestive function slows, this leads to unwanted fermentation in the gut and can also create a more acid state within gut. (4)
Following the Body Ecology Diet Principle of 80/20 helps reduce the risk of unnecessary fermentation in the gut:
- Stop eating when you’re 80% full. When you stop eating just before you feel full, you support the energy requirement that your body needs to digest the food you have eaten. Not overloading your digestive tract is an important aspect of gut health.
- 20% of your meal can be animal protein, Body Ecology grains, and/or starchy vegetables.
- 80% of the meal can be any combination of non-starchy vegetable or seaweed.
- Include fermented foods in every meal! They help the digestive process along.
- Help digestion even more with one capsule of Assist Full Spectrum enzymes. This is especially important if you know that you have sluggish digestion or have not followed the 80/20 principle.
Probiotics, which are a supplemental form of good bacteria, are often delivered in a capsule when sold as a supplement. However, it is possible to increase the number of good bacteria in the gut by eating fermented foods.
The Body Ecology Diet recommends fermented foods as the primary system of delivery of good bacteria. We recommend this over a probiotic supplement because the fermented foods travel with the beneficial flora, carrying all of their plant phytonutrients with them. This ensures that the good bacteria are equipped to quickly and effectively multiply and create a community within the gut.
In order to ensure that healthy lactic acid bacteria are populating your jars of fermented veggies or coconut water kefir, be sure and inoculate these with the Body Ecology Kefir Starter or Veggie Culture Starter. Inoculating foods with the right bacteria, which are completely beneficial, deters any wild strains from growing. Ultimately, this simple step allows your inner ecosystem to flourish.
What To Remember Most About This Article:
A leaky gut or permeable gut can be caused by a number of factors. The purpose of a healthy gut is to protect your body from food particles and microorganisms like bacteria and parasites. A leaky gut can cause inflammation, which can often become systemic and affect the health of the brain.
Fortunately, beneficial microflora are anti-inflammatory, and the amino acid GlutImmune in Body Ecology Vitality SuperGreen can repair the intestinal tract. You can keep your gut in the best health by minimizing stress, which greatly affects digestion. It's also important to follow the Body Ecology Principle of 80/20 to stop eating when you're 80% full and eat 80% non-starchy veggies at every meal. This will greatly reduce the risk of fermentation in your gut that will feed harmful bacteria!
- Mike G Laukoetter, Porfirio Nava, and Asma Nusrat. Role of the intestinal barrier in inflammatory bowel disease. World J Gastroenterol. 2008 January 21; 14(3): 401–407.
- Giuliani S., et al. Intestinal epithelial barrier dysfunction in disease and possible therapeutical interventions. Curr Med Chem. 2011; 18(3):398-426.
- Liu Z, Li N, Neu J. Tight junctions, leaky intestines, and pediatric diseases. Acta Paediatr. 2005 Apr; 94(4):386-93.
- DeMarco, Vincent G., et al. Glutamine and Barrier Function in Cultured Caco-2 Epithelial Cell Monolayers. J. Nutr. July 1, 2003 vol. 133 no. 7 2176-2179.
- Masur K, Thévenod F, Zänker KS. Diabetes and Cancer. Epidemiological Evidence and Molecular Links. Front Diabetes. Basel, Karger, 2008, vol 19, pp 114–133.