Leaky Gut and GERD, they are just as nasty as they sound, one is undigested foods entering the bloodstream by penetrating an inflamed intestinal wall and the other is rancid food that’s trying to detour north with the burn of hades instead of heading due south. They are stupid and they are bad, and you just don’t want them. This is why what you eat and how you digest is so important in keeping your internal food hugs on cuddle patrol because leaky gut is an illness which can lead to so much more than digestive discomfort. So…. Who are these bad guys? What causes it? What is happening to your body when all of this angry arrives?
In short, Leaky gut occurs when food particles break through the intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream, I know… so gross.
GERD is gastroesophageal reflux disease which occurs when foods become rancid in the stomach and backflows into the esophagus causing tons of burn on its fiery journey.
What causes it?
We need healthy hydrochloric acid, aka HCL, aka stomach acid, to break down foods and kill off any bad bacteria which may have traveled with it. Think of it as a bath for your food, and this bath needs to be acidic enough to sterilize and breakdown the food so it can continue on its journey south and it can only pass through the door (pyloric valve) from the stomach into the small intestine if it reaches the right acidity. If it does not… it can just sit there… and rot…. until it reaches proper acid levels just by becoming rancid or it will travel north setting fires in your esophagus, also know as GERD. OUCH. Low HCL levels can be caused by a number of things such as poor diet, stress, excess carbohydrate consumption, excessive alcohol consumption, overuse of medications, nutrient deficiencies, and allergies.
Back to the rot. Ok so, your food has now become rancid enough to pass through the door and travel into the intestines, Eep! This rotten putrid food is now where the majority of nutrients are absorbed from food to enter the blood stream, not good. This will cause inflammation in the intestines, making them more permeable, and now this toxic, rotten, undigested foods and proteins can now break through the intestinal lining and enter the blood stream. WHOA.
OMG, what is this doing to my body?
Inflammation can lead to all sorts of problems throughout the body such as joint pain, headaches, fatigue, digestive issues, bloating, weight gain, acne, rosacea, and can exacerbate thyroid conditions.
So all of this muck has permeated through your intestinal wall and entered the bloodstream, your body will now attack these invaders along with the food which came with it. Gluten, casein, and un-sprouted grains (soak them!) are the most aggressive foods coming through your intestinal wall and when they do the body attacks and will now recognize these foods as toxic invaders hence the rise in gluten, dairy, and grain intolerances. It’s not a fad (I get the gluten “fad diet” question all the time) our bodies are developing allergies and intolerances to these foods due to the rise of processed ingredients and a decline in our body’s ability to digest. But don’t blame your body for not being able to digest chemicals, it was never meant to.
Auto-Immune Disease is when the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy cells so when you have leaky gut your overall immune system is greatly effected. Healthy digestion is key to our health and the connection between auto-immune disease and leaky gut cannot be ignored as it is almost always linked. The most common auto-immune diseases are rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease, type-1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.
What can I do?
- bone broths – rich in minerals, it’s magic
- fermented foods – supports digestion with HCL production and encourages growth of gut flora
- whole foods (not the store, but they do have lots of yums) – one ingredient foods are best
- good fats – coconut oil, ghee, avocado, fatty fish
- cooked vegetables – raw vegetables are more difficult to digest
- foods rich in probiotics – kefir
- prepare your body to digest – take three big breaths to promote the production of saliva, eat slowly, and CHEW YOUR FOOD (yup, I used all caps).
- processed foods
- refined sugar
- un-sprouted grains
- cow’s dairy
- vegetable oils
An elimination diet is a good way to restart your system and to discover what allergies or intolerance you may have within your body. Try The Basic Elimination Diet, by Robin Randisi, NTP, it will take you through the steps on how to eliminate foods, why you want to eliminate them, and how to reintroduce back into your diet to see if you have any intolerance’s. By doing this you will protect yourself against leaky gut, GERD, and poor immune health, healthy gut = healthy you!