24 hours a day, 365 days a year, I was in constant pain. My right knee ached, my left hand could not be opened and closed without severe pain, and from my tail bone to my neck, I suffered a grade 8 pain level from arthritis. That did not include my peripheral neuropathy which left my feet feeling like they were on fire. The collection of x-rays accompanying this post is a true visual of the inflammation that I used to deal with every day of my life. I wish that someone in the medical profession had recognized that this miserable combination of chronic inflammation was due to leaky gut syndrome.
When I described the pain and symptoms to my doctors, they would write out prescriptions for serious pharmaceuticals for pain reduction. It did not even dawn on me to ask what the underlying cause of my pain was. Neither I nor the doctors I saw throughout this chronic pain journey ever considered my diet as the real cause. Over time, this physical pain turned into emotional pain.
Inflammation is Not Supposed to be Negative or Destructive
In a balanced and healthy body, the inflammation cycle is a chemical protection system. The immune system becomes aware of viruses and bacteria, and a response is triggered. Acute inflammation is a natural way to protect and heal the body. In my case, however, the chronic inflammation was debilitating and discouraging.
Through my research, I learned that chronic inflammation was clearly a sign that I had a leaky gut. Upon further research, I discovered that chronic inflammation was also causing my brain fog. How could Leaky Gut Syndrome cause so many issues from head to toe in my body?
How Leak Gut Creates Chronic Inflammation
A leaky gut is the result of the weakening of the small intestinal lining. Like the chicken and the egg, I have continued to ask myself, “Which came first? The leaky gut or the chronic inflammation?” Was it the NSAIDs or Gluten/Food Sensitivities/Sugar/Dairy that weakened the tight junctions of my intestinal walls? As I have learned more about Leaky Gut Syndrome, I’ve come to believe that my chronic inflammation/pain was a direct result of developing a leaky gut.
Just in case you are unfamiliar with what happens when the intestinal lining of your gut is compromised, let me briefly describe it for you. Cracks and holes in the lining allow food particles, bacteria, and toxins to break the barrier and get into the bloodstream. Your body then sends an army of soldiers to destroy these foreign invaders. This army is the body’s immune system, which triggers inflammation in response.
Inflammation Typically Signals That We Need to Fix a Problem
Over the last century, what have we been conditioned to do when we experience pain? Right now I bet you can find multiple over-the-counter pain-reducing medications in your medicine cabinet. Advil, Naproxen, Aleve, and others are in the class of NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) that we take like candy for most pain. If you have bloating, gas, acid reflux, or stomach pain, you probably have Rolaids, Tums, Pepto Bismol, or other antacids in your cabinet. All of these were in my home and used on a daily basis.
Each one of these masked the real problem and aggravated both chronic inflammation and my leaky gut. Toxins from my gut leaked into my bloodstream and seriously compromised my health. My immune system responded with more inflammation. Thus began a painful and vicious cycle. In 2018 I began to start looking in the right direction. What I learned would eventually cure my compromised immune system and leaky gut.
Natural Leaky Gut Treatment Focuses on Healing the Gut in all Aspects
My gut wall sustained unbelievable damage. In 2018 I kept denying the first doctor’s prognosis that I had to completely give up gluten. At first, I tried to do the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time I would not eat gluten, and then I could have a cheat meal. Finally, when blood work confirmed my severe gluten intolerance, I complied. The next step was admitting that my addiction to large amounts of sugar was further damaging my gut wall.
I did additional blood work to confirm the first doctor’s diagnosis. The second doctor found that in addition to gluten and sugar, I had 30 other food sensitivities. These foods were leaking through the gut wall into my bloodstream and causing inflammation. At the time I was taking 6 drugs to deal with pain and stomach issues. We made a plan to help solve my debilitating condition. First, I had to stop taking NSAIDs. Second, I needed to remove all foods I was sensitive to from my diet. Third, I had to remove all toxic beverages (like soda) from my diet as well.
Inflammation and Leaky Gut Mystery Solved
Over the course of 3 years, I was able to wean off all 6 drugs. During that time period, I was in severe pain even while taking high doses of Lyrica, Cymbalta, and NSAIDs. By October of 2020, I was off of all the drugs. Since healing my leaky gut, my pain level now runs between a 1 or 2 (on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being unbearable pain), even with no pain medications.
Working with Carla, who is a Certified Functional Nutritionist, we removed foods and beverages that were causing my leaky gut. We eat amazing meals from recipes she has created that are gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free. It sounds unbelievable, but I am a living testimony that chronic inflammation and leaky gut can be healed naturally.
Thanks to my strong “Why,” this miracle has blessed me with personal optimal health. It is my hope you can have the same successful journey in your life. Each one of us deserves to live a life free from pain caused by toxic pharmaceuticals and foods/beverages that compromise our auto-immune systems.