Leaky Gut Syndrome
Do you suffer from fatigue, eczema, asthma, chronic infections, dark under eye circles, gas and bloating, bowel issues? You could be suffering from a food reaction. It is believed that 60-70% of Americans, healthy or sick, suffer from symptoms associated with food reactions. Food reactions, whether allergic or intolerance, are the leading cause of Leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut Syndrome also causes food reactions leading to a vicious cycle that the body in unable to recover from.
There are two types of food reactions, allergic and intolerance/sensitivity. Allergic reactions to food evoke an immune response. An immune response could include hives, difficulty breathing, nausea, diarrhea, intestinal cramping, chest pain, runny nose, and swelling of the airways to the lungs. Food intolerances occur when there are lack of enzymes to digest a food or a food irritates the digestive system which then causes an intestinal response. When a food eaten irritates the intestinal lining the resulting symptoms include nausea, stomach pain, heartburn, cramping, gas, headaches, irritability/nervousness, diarrhea and vomiting. Both types of responses lead to increased intestinal inflammation, damage, and permeability leading to Leaky Gut Syndrome.
What is Leaky Gut Syndrome you ask? Leaky Gut Syndrome is when the intestinal lining is more permeable or porous than it should be. When the intestine is constantly offended by foods that are irritating, it begins to produce mucous to protect itself. This protective mechanism is also the leading cause of the damage. The increased mucous results in not only decreased nutrient absorption and malnutrition but inflammation as well. It is this inflammation that breaks down the barrier between intestinal cells allowing particles that are too large and not properly processed to enter the blood stream. This is when food reactions occur; either the immune system mounts a response, or the intestines respond to the irritation. As you can see the cyclical relationship between the two poses a challenge to get rid of the uncomfortable symptoms.
80% of Americans get their calories from the same 11 foods. These foods are often the most likely to cause a response; such as dairy, wheat, eggs, soy, peanuts, corn, and potatoes. By identifying whether or not any foods are affecting your body can help to decrease your risk for many conditions associated with inflammation. These conditions include eczema, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, asthma, psoriasis, and other immune conditions.
Treatment goals include identifying the cause (offending foods), removing the obstacles to cure, reducing inflammation, addressing weakened systems, and reintroducing intestinal flora. Please consult your local Naturopathic Doctor for help.
Dr. Teresa Richter
Dr. Teresa Richter is a graduate of Bastyr University. She completed her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine as well as a Bachelor of Science in Herbal Sciences at Bastyr University.