When the doctor said he specialized in restorative health, it truly caught my attention. Could I really restore my health by fixing my leaky gut? The doctor said his message was especially for me if I was battling the following issues. He further pointed out that most people don’t even realize that these symptoms are often associated with their digestive systems.
I started reading through the list:
- A sub-optimal immune system
- Brain fog
- Crohn’s disease
- Food cravings
- Heartburn flare-ups
- Hormonal fluctuations
- IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
- Joint discomfort and joint issues
- Mood issues
- Skin issues
What In The World Is Leaky Gut Syndrome
Honestly, at that point I really had no clue what this doctor was talking about. But I knew that I fit the criteria; I’d had all but one of these symptoms over the course of my 64 years on this earth. And I knew for certain that I was interested in restoring my health.
Chances are you’ve heard the term ‘leaky gut syndrome’ before. But you might not know exactly what a leaky gut is. I’ve learned a lot about it since that original doctor visit. Here is a quick explanation about leaky gut syndrome and how it’s related to so many health-related issues we suffer from today.
Picture your skin on the outside of your whole body. In essence, take this skin and turn it inside out. Then imagine this going from the inside of your throat all the way down to your colon. This is your intestinal lining. This lining has an incredibly important protective job to do. It keeps all the bad things out of our chest and stomach cavity.
I go to great lengths to take care of my skin from head to toe. If I get even a small cut or abrasion, I take very good care of it. I clean it and cover it. I focus on keeping it free from any foreign material so that I don’t get an infection. Then I watch for any signs of infection, such as the area turning red, pussy, or getting swollen.
Our ‘inside skin’ (the intestinal lining) gets abrasions, too. We just can’t see them. These abrasions damage the intestinal wall, which causes leaky gut. The signs of ‘infection’ on the inside are the symptoms you feel– like the list from the doctor above.
The Gut Biome
The small intestine is where our gut biome is located. The wall of our gut is lined with villas that are like little fingers. This gut lining is the barrier that serves to protect the rest of your body against toxins. It is impossible to avoid all toxins, and our bodies are programmed to try and get rid of them. (I hope that you are not shocked that there are lots of toxins and harmful bacteria in your poop.) When exposed to too many harmful toxins (known as endotoxins), the gut begins to break down. That’s when the really bad consequences happen.
These toxins begin to ‘leak’ into other systems of your body through the bloodstream, which can contribute to a whole host of serious problems, including the list described at the beginning of this blog.
Here’s the harsh reality: those endotoxins are microscopic pieces of ‘poop’ leaking into the rest of your body through a compromised, porous gut lining in the small intestine… ultimately creating inflammation and wreaking havoc on the rest of your body.
Some of the Causes of Leaky Gut
- ‘Lectins’ are contained in foods that were not part of the human diet until fairly recently, or their growing methods have been modified, including sugar, modified wheat, corn, pasta, rice, potatoes, peanuts, and even vegetables like squash, tomatoes, and peppers. Since our ancestors did not eat any of these foods, our digestive systems cannot process them without causing significant disruption to the gut lining tissue.
- Nutrient deficiencies, such as vitamin D and zinc.
- Modern toxins in personal cleaning products, the air we breathe, cleaning products, and much more.
- Periods of high stress.
- Not enough good microbes or probiotics in the gut
- The pesticides, herbicides, and GMOs that are in our food.
- Excessive alcohol consumption.
- Previous bacterial infections, such as food poisoning.
My Journey to Healing My Leaky Gut
The first step for me was accepting that lectins are for real. When the doctor whose practice was restorative medicine listed the foods I needed to take out of my diet, I literally laughed out loud. He reminded me I was there because I wanted to stop the chronic pain in my body, and I stopped laughing. Between the foods I was eating and all the over-the-counter pain relievers (NSAIDs) I was taking, my leaky gut was causing many painful problems for me.
It’s a vicious cycle between the lectins and the NSAIDs. The lectins you eat damage your intestinal wall. This causes pain. Then you take a pain-reliever, which damages your gut even more. It was hard, but within several months I had stopped taking all NSAIDs and started removing the lectins from my diet. From May 2018 to the end of September 2018 I was in so much pain that I almost gave up. Then came October 18th, a day I won’t forget. My pain level dropped from a daily 8 to 10, on a scale where 10 represented the worst pain, down to a level 2 to 4. It honestly felt like a miracle had occurred.
No More Pharmaceutical Drugs
It’s been two and a half years since then, and I am off all pharmaceutical drugs for pain. It is truly incredible! One of the best parts is that my brain fog has disappeared. I think clearer, and my pain is almost nothing every day. I am so grateful to my wife Carla that went back to school to become a Functional Nutrition Counselor. She is my biggest support and works hard to create meal plans that keep my gut biome healthy. Together we focus on foods that help us to become More Than Healthy.