Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Leaky Gut and the Paleo Diet

“All Disease Begins in the Gut” ~ Hippocrates, Father of Medicine

Hippocrates said it more than 2000 years ago, but we are finally realising that this is most definitely the case!

The intestinal lining is the first line of defence for our immune systems. The outer layers of the intestinal cells are connected by structures called tight junctions. At the tip of these are microvilli which are very important for absorption of nutrients and transporting them into the bloodstream.

During normal digestion, the tight junctions stay closed, meaning everything “screened” and can only pass into the bloodstream through mucosa cells.

Sometimes these tight junctions can become permeable due to stress, processed diet, antibiotic treatments, imbalanced gut flora and NSAIDS which means foreign bodies such as undigested proteins can enter the bloodstream. This is known as leaky gut or increased intestinal permeability. This causes our immune system to react to fight these perceived “invaders” causing a heighted immune response and inflammation to occur in the body. 

Symptoms of Leaky Gut
·         Stomach complaints
·         Diarrhoea or constipation
·         Brain fog
·         Learning disabilities
·         Irritability/Hostility
·         Allergies    
·         Food Intolerances 

The Role of the Paleo Diet in Leaky Gut
The Paleo diet can be a great way to help to repair this delicate intestinal membrane and improve our health over all. 
Removes all common allergenic foods such as gluten and dairy. Gluten is known to increase intestinal permeability so removing it is obviously a good thing! 
Encourages the use of bone broths which is very important for healing and sealing these tight junctions making the intestinal wall less permeable.
Encourages the use of fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimichi which play an important role in gut bacterial balance and therefore intestinal wall health. 
Reduces inflammation which helps offset the increased inflammation created as a result of leaky gut. 
Lifestyle promotes movement outside hence increasing Vitamin D levels. 

If you have any of the symptoms above it is so important that you sort out your gut. If our gut is permeable, it leads to increased immune reactions which in turn may lead to the body attacking itself: autoimmune disorders. Leaky gut has been linked to many chronic diseases and in particular autoimmune disorders such as MS, Diabetes, Lupus, Thyroid issues and Rheumatoid Arthritis. The body literally attacks its own body systems. Not something we want to happen! 

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