You’ve heard of “leaky gut syndrome” and even “leaky brain”. We know now that our food choices and lifestyle choices can be a root cause of illness, low energy, or hormonal imbalances. Many aspects of our modern lifestyle are harmful to our health despite the advances they’ve brought to society. As your gut gets weaker and “leakier” it can make you more susceptible to food intolerances and chronic illnesses.
So what is “leaky gut” first of all? The 4,000 square foot intestinal lining of your gut that forms a tight barrier to prevent partially digested foods, toxins, and bugs from penetrating and getting absorbed into your bloodstream. Let’s talk about a few of the things other than a poor diet that can negatively affect your microbiome.
1. Drugs :
Antibiotics have been around since 1939. That is not that long ago in the grand scheme of medical history in the US. They began to be offered as a prescription heavily in the 50’s and 60’s without much investigation on what the long-term effects were on the body. We are just now beginning to understand the way antibiotics affect our microbiome.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs like Ibuprofen or Aspirin wear away the lining of your intestines, reduce the good bacteria in your gut and change gut motility. Every time you take one for a headache, a hangover, or a muscle aches, you might need to consider balancing the damage done with extra gut-healing help like getting your daily pack of Just Add Water!
2. Toxins :There are many toxins in the environment that affect our health. From our immune system, to our endocrine system, to our nervous system. The main toxins weakening gut-health are the chemicals on food, called pesticides, and the antibacterials in our household products.
Antibacterials, which are designed to kill bacteria, can wipe out your good bacteria as well.
Non-organic food is sprayed with a multitude of chemicals created to ward off pests or insects, fungi, and weeds. Even if you scrub your fruits and veggies, the chemicals have been absorbed into the crop.
3. Stress :
Just about all sense of normalcy was flipped on its axis this past year, and as a result daily stress has been on another level. The effects of Covid-19 have ranged from depression, to actually contracting the virus and becoming ill, to losing loved ones, to losing jobs and businesses, and then for many people - being completely alone.
First of all, stress weakens the immune system through a lack of sleep, inflammation, and high levels of cortisol in the body. Stress also slows down the digestive process, which can be confusing to your body as it releases digestive juices.
We are beginning to understand the fascinating signaling between the gut and brain through the vagus nerve and how the two impact overall health. This back and forth network connection of 500 million neurons, chemicals and hormones is why we call our gut our “second brain”. Stress, depression, and even positive thinking can change the bacteria population and diversity in the gut as well as the behavior of both good and bad bacteria. These mental states also may lead you to reach for certain less healthy foods, or overeat, which can be harmful to your gut bacteria as well.
Despite the fact that you often cannot control many of these triggers, toxins, or need for helpful medications - being aware of the impact these three things can have on your gut health is vital. Attempt to reduce your exposure as often as possible to all 3, but also take action, be proactive in nourishing your good bacteria.
Try stress reducing activities such as exercise, stretching, deep breathing exercises, or meditation. Incorporate more natural home cleaning products without harmful chemicals like lemon, baking soda, essential oils or white vinegar. Avoid taking medications if not highly recommended by your doctor.
Eat whole foods and also consider introducing a daily probiotic/prebiotic supplement like Just Add Water®.
Signs You Have Leaky Gut :
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