Your digestive tract is actually a tube. If you place a marble in your mouth and swallow it, it will go down the esophagus, pass though your stomach, go into your small intestine, go through the large intestine until it reaches the rectum and exits through the anus. In a sense the marble never actually goes into your body, but stay in the tube all along. Many substances we ingest are not mean to go into your body. An example is fiber, which is meant to stay in the tube (digestive tract) and act as a brush to clean the colon.
The way it works is that only the nutrients that the body needs to grow and repair pass through the lining of the intestinal wall to reach the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream the nutrients can reach every part and organ of the body. What is not meant to go inside the body stays in the intestines until it is evacuated through the anus.
A Leaky Gut is when the cells forming the lining of the intestines allow particles which are not meant to go into our bloodstream to pass into the bloodstream. When this happens, our immune system, which is our protector, detects the foreign elements and acts to destroy and eliminate them. Part of the action of the immune system is to create inflammation or internal heat (fever) to kill microorganisms that are detrimental to our state of health. The immune system is doing its job.
In the case of allergies and food intolerances, the cause is often due to proteins which entered the bloodstream via the leaky cell walls of the gut. The immune system fights these foreign particles, creating inflammation which produces symptoms which we identify as an allergic reaction.
Proteins are healthy and our body needs them, but they need to be broken into Amino Acids by the action of digestion, and only the Amino Acids should be small enough to go through the lining of the intestine to reach the bloodstream. Proteins are not meant to be circulating in the bloodstream. The chemical digestion necessary to break them down happens in the digestive system, not in the bloodstream.
Causes that lead to our Gut becoming ‘Leaky’:
The wheat and grains that we eat today were chemically engineered over the last 30 years. Our body was okay with wheat and other grains 40 years ago, at that time our body identified the grains as food. Today the body does not recognize wheat and other grains as food, because the molecular structure had been changed.
There is an increase in chemicals in our foods. Not only do chemicals damage the lining of our intestines, but chemicals also feed bad micro-organisms and destroy the goods one that are in charge of keeping the integrity of our intestinal wall intact.
Dysbiosis is another problem. Dysbiosis is when we have more bad bacteria in our guts then good ones. We all have an average of four pounds of microorganism in our guts, which we live in symbiosis with. Having more healthy or ‘good’ ones increases our chances of being and staying healthy. Having more of the ‘bad’ ones affects our health in a negative way.
These ‘bad’ micro-organisms pass the intestinal wall and find their way into our bloodstream. If they are not destroyed by our immune system they will continue their travels via the flow of blood until they reach a place where they stop, which can be our kidneys, spleen, brain, etc. Once they have found a new home, they continue to feed, multiply, produce and eliminate their toxins. Depending upon where they lodge themselves, these toxins will create a wide range of symptoms in you.
Chronic dehydration is another common problem. Lack of water causes the content of the intestines to dry up thus less toxins being flushed out of the digestive tract.
Use of Antibiotics, extremely widespread in our society, will kill the good and the bad bacteria in the gut. This is why eating plenty of probiotics after the use of antibiotics is really important. It can take as long as six months for a healthy quantity of good bacteria
to re-colonize your gut.
Overabundant Sugar intake is at epidemic proportions in North American. Sugar includes all carbohydrates (CHO) like pasta, bread, cereal, bagels, pizza, noodles, rice, potatoes, etc. which are converted into glucose during the digestion process. All these carbohydrates feed the bad microorganisms in your gut and allow them to multiply.
· Kill the bad bacteria by starving them. This means decreasing their food supply of carbohydrates (CHO) and sugars.
· Heal the Guts. One way to do that is to make your own bone broth from organically grow animal bones. If you are using bones with marrow, it is ok to eat the marrow when your broth is ready. I place the bones and water in a slow cooker, then I let them steam for 18 hours at low temperature. Adding 1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar will draw more minerals from the bones. Strain everything at the end and drink the broth as a tea or add a non-starchy vegetable to it (celery, onions…) to make a great soup.
· Feed your body with probiotics. Any food that is fermented will add good bacteria to your guts. Here is a short list of some of the most common fermented foods: Sauerkraut, Yogurt, Kefir, Kombucha, Cottage Cheese, Miso, Natto, Kimchie. Be brave, get out of your comfort zone, visit your Health Food Store and try those foods. Having a variety of those foods every day with your meals will benefit the health of your guts.
· Be smart with the choice of food you put in your mouth. Remember that your Health is your biggest Asset! YOU are the only one responsible for your health. Every time that you are ready to eat something, look at it and decide if this is a wise choice for your body.
YOU are the Responsible one. Don’t expect to be healthy while eating lousy food. When you become sick, the medical system will only offer drugs to suppress your symptoms. YOU will have to live with the effects of bad food choices: with your organs and body parts that are under distress because lack of proper nutrients, with the side-effects of the drugs (which often feels like going from bad to worse!), with a life that is limited.
Your body will carry you to a very old age if you take good care of it. Remember, your health is YOUR CHOICE.