Constipation, Bloating and Weight Gain are common complaints of an unhealthy gut. Leaky Gut, SIBO and food sensitivities to gluten, dairy and other foods are becoming increasingly more popular. This can eventually lead to autoimmunity. Maintaining gut health and a diverse microbiome needs to be addressed and is at the foundation to help heal the body and restore proper function.
What is Leaky Gut?
The gut barrier is formed by tight junctions that allow small vital nutrients to pass through the bloodstream, while staying small enough to ensure that larger and potentially dangerous particles do not cross or leak through the barrier.
When the gut barrier is compromised or becomes permeable it is called “”leaky gut.” The problem is when these particles penetrate the barrier they trigger an immune response as our body addresses the protein or pathogen as a foreign protein. The immune system, which 70% resides in the gut is on high alert and eventually leads to systemic inflammation.
This situation can even lead to autoimmunity as the inflammatory process continues unchecked.
Lab Test for Leaky Gut is Cyrex Array 2. The enzymes that are affected are occludin, zonulin, and lipopolysachharides.
It is of paramount importance to heal the leaky gut to help reduce the level of inflammation and potential autoimmune flare-ups.
Symptoms of Leaky Gut
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
- Food Sensitivities
- Autoimmune Issues (Crohn’s/Celiac
Often times the symptoms in the gut are silent.
Other Symptoms of Leaky Gut
- Joint Pain
- Brain Fog
- Chronic Fatigue
- Food Allergies and Sensitivities
- Skin Rashes
- Weight Gain
Four Steps To Heal Leaky Gut
- Remove: Remove the bacteria, fungus, dietary proteins
- Repair: The gut lining needs to be repaired with supplements like glutamine, aloe vera , zinc and carnosine.
- Replace: increase fruits, vegetables and fiber to improve microbiome diversity. Short Chain Fatty Acids like Butyrate are key in improving the gut microbiome.
- Regenerate: Vitamin A , D and PQQ are beneficial to repair the gut epithelial cells. We also recommend probiotics, fish oil and phytonutrients.
There are 10 trillion bacterial that live in your body, while you only have one trillion cells. Your health depends greatly on the health of your gut and microbiome.
We should have a fine balance between the “good” and “bad” bacteria. When you have bacterial overgrowth of good or bad bacteria this is called dysbiosis. Dysbiosis will cause inflammation and inflammation will continue to cause dysbiosis.
In our office we run the GI Map Test to determine if you have dysbiosis, pathogens, or inability to digest food properly.
Bacteria from the colon infiltrates into the small intestine. This can cause abdominal discomfort, bloating and gas.
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, (SIBO), as the name suggests is a situation where there is an excessive amount of bacteria in the small intestine. Generally it is a diverse range of bacteria that should normally be in the colon. SIBO can cause leaky gut, malabsorption, nutritional deficiencies, weight loss and possible osteoporosis.
SYMPTOMS OF SIBO
- Abdominal Pain/Discomfort
- Gas and Belching
COMMON CAUSES OF SIBO
- Low Stomach Acid is probably the most common cause. This can be due to an imbalance between our sympathetic (fight of flight) and our parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system. This affects the Vagus Nerve and ultimately reduces the level of HCL secretion.
- Lack of Digestive Enzymes of Bile Flow Inhibition. If our body is not producing enough enzymes from our pancreas this can lead to a build up of bad bacteria as these enzymes help to destroy the bad bacteria. Also, when the bile production decreases this will also cause a build up of bad bacteria in the gut.
- Diverticulitis or Previous Gut Surgeries
TESTING FOR SIBO
The most common test for SIBO is the Hydrogen/Methane Breath Test. This is a simple non-invasive test. The test is performed by fasting overnight and then eating a sugar that is fermented by the bacteria in the small intestine. They then measure the gases of the bacteria to determine if there is an overgrowth.
NATURAL TREATMENT FOR SIBO
- Focus on Restoration of stomach acid
- Vagus Nerve Stimulation, which is responsible for secretion of HCL from the parietal cells as well as gastric motility. We prescribe specific in office and at home vagal tone exercises.
- Herbal anti-microbials and anti- fungals.
- Specific probiotics to build up the beneficial bacteria
- Lifestyle Recommendations: Stress Reduction to balance sympathetic tone
- Diets like the Low Fodmap, Specific Carbohydrate or Lectin Avoidance Diet have been proven to be beneficial in patients with SIBO
- Oral Contraceptive Pills
- Prebiotics or Fermented Foods
Generally, the protocol takes 3-6 months as we work to support the microbiomes healthy diversity and remove the dysbiosis causing the symptoms.