As a GAPS practitioner I see a large number of clients coming to with digestive problems accompanied by anxiety, fatigue and hormonal imbalances. It is often interesting to trace the cause of the gut being out of balance. The most common reasons that your gut may be playing havoc may be a result of one or a combination of the factors below. The good news is that the gut lining has an incredible ability to heal and regenerate, which means that when we remove the triggers for the leaky gut our symptoms of fatigue, anxiety and auto-immune condition can heal and even reverse with time and the proper care.
- There is more and more research pointing to the importance of parental gut flora in determining the health of your gut. When we are born, we take on the gut flora of our mother so if our mother had been suffering from stress, poor lifestyle or diet then we will unfortunately begin our life slightly disadvantaged with respect to our gut health.
- Our gut health will largely be influenced by our history of bugs and parasites as children. Should we have been unfortunate enough to have been exposed to unclean water or food sources or grown up in an underdeveloped region we are likely to have had worms or parasites attack our gut, depleting us of our beneficial gut flora. Worms, parasites and viruses are likely to also be accompanied by high doses of antibiotics which further assault the gut’s delicate eco balance.
- Taking pain killer, several courses of antibiotics and the oral contraceptive pill will also shift the balance of gut flora leading to the depletion of the gut lining.
- We are often responsible for “eating holes in our gut”.
- Our modern diet being high in grains, dairy and sugar is a primary reason for much of the damage that occurs to our gut lining.
- Grains containing gluten contain anti-nutrients and proteins called lectins which have been known to damage the gut lining. Dairy protein contains large molecules which can trigger an inflammatory and auto-immune response in the body when they cross the gut lining barrier. They have also been shown to link to opioid receptors in the brain, hence blocking the function of the body’s neuroreceptors and creating mood disturbances.
- Chronic stress is often underestimated in its impact to cause inflammation and a “Leaky Gut”. Cortisol is the main stress hormone that plays havoc in with the gut lining.
- Cortisol plays a critical role in immune system and in the body’s ability to control inflammation. Modern life translates to adrenal fatigue which not only tears the gut apart, most people have no idea that it is happening
- Cortisol can lead to a vicious cycle of poor gut health. It can affect immunity, which makes the body more susceptible to gluten and dairy intolerance, further depleting the gut lining. This inevitably creates aches and pains which leads to the taking of drugs to address inflammation – hence creating the perfect storm of the leaky gut.