When I first announced I was going to start blogging through a post on Facebook I said that it was going to be all over the place. In a way, it has been, but at the same time, it has had some order. So far everything I’ve gone through has been relevant to me as a personal trainer in Portland. I went over shoulder mobility warm-ups, exercises to strengthen your whole core and how my dog has been an amazing force to get me outside. In the past I’ve had very tight shoulders, I have a back injury that has taken strengthening my whole core to rehab, and I got my first dog almost a year ago which has been a positive experience that I felt was worth sharing. I want to go through all the topics that have played a role in my life before I break off and talk about subjects that I haven’t experienced. It’s a different kind of understanding when you haven’t just read about it but went through it yourself. I think it’s been a good place to start. Hopefully, it also serves as a way for someone who doesn’t know me to get an idea of who I am. So get ready because in this blog I’m going talk about an issue that is affecting a lot of people. It’s something that I’ve dealt with and gotten through, poor gut flora and inflammation/ Leaky Gut!
Ever since I can remember I’ve had issues with my stomach. I think having an upset stomach from time to time is normal but I had been dealing with it on such a constant basis it became apparent it was the real problem. Poor gut health (Inflammation/ Leaky Gut) is an issue that I think more people deal with they know. It can lead to a ton of different problems. Diet is obviously the root of the problem. How it can manifest doesn’t always lead us to believe that its an issue related to what we eat or the state of our gut. I had heard the saying “you are what you eat” but I never knew that anxiety and depression could be a symptom of a poor diet or bad gut health. BUT IT CAN, AND IT IS VERY REAL!!!
So what is Leaky Gut and how does it affect us? I want you to think of the lining of your intestines as a mesh net with extremely fine small holes. This lining is critical to your health in that it works as a barrier. It keeps out the real big particles that can damage our system while letting small particles that are good through. When someone has leaky gut which is also known as intestinal permeability, this net in your digestive tract becomes inflamed. As it becomes inflamed it also becomes leaky which causes bigger gaps and holes to develop. This lets things that normally can’t pass, through. When these bigger particles enter into the bodies circulatory system it causes a massive inflammatory response. These particles can be viruses, bacteria, foreign hormones and a bunch of other stuff. When this happens your immune system works to fight off these foreign particles which over time, can cause damage in a lot of different ways.
So what causes Leaky Gut?
Having a balanced diet is important. Loading up on any one thing regularly can be hard on your digestive system. Consuming too much alcohol, gluten, refined sugars, refined flours and acidic foods can put a lot of strain on your digestive system and lining of your stomach. Eating excessive amounts of foods with artificial flavoring is also hard on the gut. Artificial flavoring contains high amounts of chemicals which are seen as toxins by the body.
• Diet: Having a balanced diet is important. Loading up on any one thing regularly can be hard on the digestive system. Consuming too much alcohol, gluten, refined sugars, refined flours and acidic foods can put a lot of strain on your digestive system and lining of your stomach. Eating excessive amounts of foods with artificial flavoring is also hard on the gut. Artificial flavoring contains high amounts of chemicals which are seen as toxins by the body.
• Chronic Stress: Chronic stress and the overload of cortisol in the system weakens the immune system which prevents it from doing its job properly. This results in the immune system getting overrun with pathogens which lead’s to gut inflammation and permeability of the intestinal lining.
• Medications: Many over the counter and prescription medications irritate the intestinal lining. Pain relievers containing Asprin or Acetaminophen are of the most popular that can have this effect.
• Yeast: Yeast is found in the flora of the gut but when it reaches a certain level it mutates into a fungus. This fungus alone can create measurable holes in the lining of the stomach.
• Lack of Zink: Having normal amounts of zinc is critical to maintaining a thick intestinal lining. A deficiency of vitamins particularly zinc can lead to the intestinal lining losing strength and becoming prone to developing holes.
Common symptoms of Leaky Gut?
• Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
• Vitamin deficiencies
• Inflammatory bowel disease
• Becoming increasingly sensitive to different foods
• Autoimmune disease
• Cystic acne
• Joint pain
I found the main cause of my leaky gut was dairy, excessive amounts of acidic foods, and chronic stress. When I realized what was going on it was a pretty easy fix. I added in more vegetables (alkaline) foods into my diet along with drinking a fruit/vegetable smoothie a day. The smoothies were a huge turning point for my recovery. So far as long as I have a smoothie a day, I have absolutely no stomach issues unless I eat something that is really bad for my stomach. I also took a probiotic in the beginning to re-balance and build up a healthy gut flora. To keep that healthy gut flora I built back I still drink 4-5 kombuchas a week. I have absolutely fallen in love with the company Soma. They make the best kombucha that they claim has 4 trillion probiotics in a bottle, and I believe them. I also obviously stay away from things that I know bother my stomach, especially dairy. Dairy really tears my stomach up!
So here’s an easy 4 step plan to heal your leaky gut.
• REMOVE foods and factors that damage the gut
• REPLACE with healing foods
• REPAIR with specific supplements
• RE-BALANCE with probiotics
I hope this blog can be helpful to someone. The uncovering of this problem in my life was HUGE! I am a much less stressed person because of it!! I am all around a happier person. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms I’ve listed here I would suggest trying to change up your diet and see if it helps!!
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