“All disease begins in the gut.”
In Gut Health Part 1, we learned of the importance of gut bacteria. In Part 2, we discussed how to avoid what can compromise this micro-system. Part 3 showed its crucial connection with the brain, learning, and memory. Now we will explore its connection with food allergies and leaky gut.
First, Leaky Gut: 80% of health-challenged people and 30% of healthy people have leaky gut.1
What is it? Wikipedia’s definition: “Leaky gut syndrome, or increased intestinal permeability, is a proposed condition of an altered or damaged bowel lining; however, the syndrome is not a recognized diagnosis. It is hypothesized to be caused by increased permeability of the gut wall resulting from toxins, poor diet, parasites, infection, or medications. The leaky gut then allows substances such as toxins, microbes, undigested food, waste, or larger than normal macromolecules to leak through an abnormally permeable gut wall. Proponents suggest that these out-of-place substances affect the body directly or initiate an immune reaction.”
Food proteins can escape their bounds in the intestine and get into the blood stream. Our body then sees these as the enemy and attacks them. This immune response can then lead to the body seeing good food as bad, leading to food intolerances. Leaky gut can also lead to skin problems like rosacea and acne. The body often tries to get rid of toxins by pushing them out through the skin.
In her video clip, Reversing Food Allergies,” Ann Marie Michaels says that 99% of food allergies are reversible. She refers to the GAPS diet and the 3 steps mentioned there—
- Stop Eating Foods (and other things )that Damage Gut Flora and Gut Lining
- Repopulate the Good Gut with Probiotics and Fermented Foods
- Rebuild the Gut Lining with Bone Broths
Then slowly reintroduce the offending foods. Some people may get better in months, some in years.
I know first-hand how a leaky gut and food allergies can affect one’s health. I have suffered from headaches for years. Homeopathy lowered them from migraines to “just a headache,” but my progress in getting rid of them completely seemed at an impasse. This summer I did a food allergy blood test and found out my offending foods. My highest reactive food was yogurt! This was a surprise to me, as yogurt is a good food, but not if it is leaking into my blood stream.
Suddenly things started making sense. Whenever I went on a long car trip, I always ended up with a headache. I had attributed it to shoulder tension from the long drive, but now I knew the real reason—we always bought Gogurts for the trip. I was eating my highest reactive food and it was giving me a headache.
I am originally typing this in the car as we return from a 2-day driving trip to the mountains. For about 2 weeks now I have been following a diet which eliminates my reactive foods and guess what?! I didn’t get a headache on the way out, or the way back! Not only did I not get a headache, I also didn’t have the massive nosebleeds I always get in the high altitudes. I have lost 10 pounds so far and I have started exercising again—something I have not felt like for years. How exciting!
My plan is to eliminate the foods for a certain number of months while healing my leaky gut. I am so excited about the results, I don’t even care about avoiding certain foods for a period of time.
I believe my leaky gut started in college when I had a massive gut infection from a clash of 2 medications. I was on some very powerful antibiotics which stopped the infection, but left me with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) I didn’t know then about the impact of antibiotics on gut health and how to go about replenishing the good bacteria. Hopefully this series of posts on gut health will help you avoid the problems I have had, or shed some light on why you may be suffering ill health.
The next few articles will tell how to choose a probiotic and how you can make some gut-replenishing foods like kefir, kombucha, and bone broth.
1 “Could I Have Leaky Gut” by Glen Depke http://www.askdepkewellness.com/2011/02/could-i-have-leaky-gut.html