Are you one of the thousands diagnosed with “leaky gut syndrome”. Every time a client comes with this diagnosis (along with their long list of supplements they have been told to take) I have to count to ten. Leaky gut is synonymous with irritable bowel for the symptoms it generally presents with. It’s an umbrella term for a group of ailments that may beset the gut. It’s not a diagnosis, it’s a term, and as the causes may be manyfold then treatment can be a bit hit and miss.
“Leaky” simply means that the gut appears to be more permeable to undigested foods. This will happen if your diet is so poor in quality or if you’re under so much stress that the gut can’t regenerate itself, which it needs to do every 3 to 4 days, or if you have inflammation at the gut. Inflammation can be caused by pathogens, including candida, parasite and nasty bacteria, food allergy where histamine is released which makes the gut permeable, or food intolerance, such as in gluten sensitivity, which induces an inflammatory reaction. So it’s a mine-field finding out exactly what the problem may be. If you can pin-point the problem, then the gut can usually fix itself very quickly without medications, unless there is infection from on-going conditions such as diverticulitis.
“Tracey came to me with digestive problems. She was suffering bloating, flatulence and irregular, loose stools. She was diagnosed with irritable bowel by her GP and leaky gut by her naturopath. She spent a lot of money on digestive enzymes, probiotics, glutamine and also made significant dietary changes. In fact, she was getting worse and noticed that her eczema was breaking out more frequently. The cause of her IBS and/or leaky gut was due to an allergy to sulphur dioxide, a common preservative. Once foods containing this were removed, Tracey’s digestive problems resolved without taking any products.”
The other problem I see is when patients have had expensive tests to find out which of the 300 or so foods (sorry if this is an exaggeration) they may be intolerant to. They receive a print-out and discover that the foods they are intolerant to are exactly the foods that they are most fond of.
So they faithfully follow the guidelines and have another expensive test done 3 months later to discover that they are no longer intolerant to the original foods, but now to a new set of foods – the ones they are currently consuming. It doesn’t make sense.
This is because the main culprit or irritant is probably still there, and you are simply leaking this new set of foods into the system, which may also give symptoms. The trick is to identify the main culprit, and once you remove this you will find that the gut will heal fairly rapidly, and the foods you thought you were intolerant to, suddenly don’t give any problems.
I have had patients that have suffered bloating and gas with carbohydrates, especially juices. This can happen, but in many cases, it may not be the juices they can’t digest, but there exists another problem with another food. Wheat can be a major culprit and therefore if you have a problem this should be the first thing you remove (and possibly oats, rye and barley), and if you have mucus build-up with dairy then remove this also. The food additives will tend to aggravate the liver detoxification pathways up (as they did in the case of Tracey) and this can lead to symptoms of food allergy in the rest of the body – so having a clean, unprocessed diet is also a must. This means no bottles or cans of anything that contains preservatives, colourings or flavourings!
If your problem still exists then you may need help – but try this first as you may save yourself a lot of time and money.
Dietary Healing, the complete detox will offer you a complete program for dealing with chronic conditions, and there is an excellent discussion on food allergy and intolerance.