95% of the good microbes in your body are in your gut. When in balance, these tiny organisms work together with your body to support many important systems, such as your immune system. In fact, 70-80% of your immune cells are in your gut! The tiny ecosystem of microbes in your stomach and intestines is known as your “gut microbiome”.
A problem occurs when the good microbes are overpowered by bad microbes. This creates a state of imbalance known as “gut dysbiosis”. Since your gut microbiome is so essential to the proper functioning of many of your body’s systems, gut dysbiosis is linked to various diseases- even brain diseases- such as:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
What affects your gut microbiota? Stress, alcohol, certain foods, the use of antibiotics can all harm the good microbes in your gut, leading to gut dysbiosis. Gut dysbiosis can also cause inflammation, which can lead to what we call “leaky gut”.
The lining of your intestines is important for keeping most material inside your gut, while also letting things like water and nutrients be absorbed through it. In order to let certain things through the barrier, your intestine lining has to be somewhat permeable by having gaps between cells. However, when the gaps become too big due to inflammation, bigger particles can seep through. This is how leaky gut starts.
Food particles that escape your intestinal lining cause more inflammation. This is why leaky gut can is linked to inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
The backbone of our immune system lies in our gut. When we have gut dysbiosis, leaky gut, and inflammation, our immune system can become dysregulated. This leads to a loss of tolerance for certain foods, environmental substances such as chemicals, and eventually our own cells.
3 Red Flags for Leaky Gut
Healing Leaky Gut With Functional Medicine
As a functional medicine office, our focus is to dig deeper and address chronic health concerns by getting to the root cause. Because leaky gut is often the root cause of most inflammatory disorders and autoimmune diseases, our care is very gut-focused.
One of the most common questions asked in the natural health community is, “How do I fix my gut?” The problem is that this is not exactly a one-size-fits-all situation! Our personalized plans are designed to find and remove your specific triggers, which are not the same for everyone.
Since gut dysbiosis is a factor contributing to leaky gut, it is beneficial to add healthy bacteria back into the gut to “take up parking spots” and out-compete bad bacteria. Dr. Ian Hollaman uses advanced GI testing to identify exactly which strains of probiotics will be most beneficial for each patient.
Sometimes, before adding in good bacteria, the gut needs to be cleared of an infection, or overgrowth, of bad bacteria. Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a difficult monster to tackle, but we have successfully helped many of our patients get it under control.
Eating a fiber-rich diet gives the good bacteria in your gut plenty of good food! This is another way to help their populations grow.
Polyphenols are antioxidants that help reduce stress on your body’s cells, therefore reducing inflammation. A recent study found that eating a polyphenol-rich diet for 8 weeks helped change the gut microbiota and therefore reduced intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut). This study used polyphenols from cocoa and green tea.
Dr. Ian’s proprietary supplement ImmunoXym contains caffeine-free green tea extract for its polyphenol content along with a specially formulated blend of probiotics and a slew of other vitamins essential for your immune system to regulate itself.
Glutamine supplementation has been shown to dramatically and safely reduce symptoms in IBS patients that have leaky gut.
The Dr. Autoimmune Difference
At Dr. Autoimmune, we use a functional medicine approach to address the root cause of leaky gut and all other gut issues. Our solutions are always natural, always personalized, and always backed by science. If you are ready to change your life, click the “Start Your Journey” button at the bottom of this page!