Why is it that our favourite foods, the ones we have enjoyed freely since a young age suddenly start to trigger digestive problems? Symptoms may include:
Suddenly we are eating these every day foods knowing that we’ll spend the rest of the night either in the loo, or trying to conceal embarrassing gas, uncomfortable bloating, or even mysterious skin rashes.
There are many reasons why gut health problems, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), come about and I've talked about that before in another blog post here.
But the single biggest reason you keep experiencing gut health issues could be that you’ve got a leaky gut. Have you heard of 'leaky gut?'
The single biggest reason you keep experiencing symptoms could be your 'Leaky Gut'.
What is leaky gut and how can I help prevent it?
Put simply, our gut is delicate and is easily damaged by our lifestyle (diet, stress, partying, medications). Our entire gut is protected by just one layer, which is only one cell in thickness (the epithelium). And this covers a surface area the size of two tennis courts! That’s huge!!
When this barrier becomes damaged over time (known as “leaky gut”), our immune system can start to overreact and produce inflammation. And this in turn may lead to symptoms like indigestion, excessive gas, bloating, intestinal cramping and food intolerances.
Our immune system is expecting to see fully digested foods (like proteins broken down into amino acids) but suddenly it sees foreign, (partially digested) molecules. So it does what it is designed to do – attack and defend. Our body may start to produce IgG antibodies which make us feel unwell, inflamed and anxious. Often it is these IgG antibodies that are measured in a food intolerance test.
Removing trigger foods and keeping a food journal is a helpful place to start on a gut healing journey but simply cutting out foods or starting a low-fodmap diet is not addressing the underlying issue, the lining of the gut!
Is it possible to heal a 'leaky gut'?
The good news is that the cells of the intestinal lining replace themselves every three to six days. Given the proper nutritional support your gut can repair itself quickly and you may reach a point where you can happily reintroduce your favourite foods.*
*(This refers to food intolerances only and not allergy. If you have a true IgE allergy continue to avoid the food for life). I explain the differences between food allergy and food intolerance here).
Discover how to reduce your risk of leaky gut on my group programme, Ease your gut, beat the bloat.
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