Leaky Gut + Autoimmune: Part II

April 3, 2013

in ABC's of Healing, Recipe, Tips & Tricks

Last week I wrote about the connection between Leaky Gut and MS, and so I thought in order to complete the thought I’d talk a little bit more about how you may have developed leaky gut and what you can do to maintain and restore a healthy gut.

How you got here…

As you may recall, Leaky gut happens when the cells that line the small intestine malfunction and let incompletely digested food molecules pass through.  Once there is a flow of toxic substances “leaking out” into your bloodstream, inflammation hits the roof and your immune system can become confused and begin to attack your own body as if it were an enemy (autoimmunity). Many things can damage these cells, causing leaky gut or making it worse. 

Here are my top 4 leaky gut trouble makers:[1]

1) Diet

A diet high in refined sugar and flour, processed & packaged foods (anything that comes in a box or can), chemical food additives, alcohol (yes, ALL alcohol), soda and caffeine act on the body like toxins.  They overburden body’s immune system and liver, and irritate the intestinal lining.

2) Pharmaceuticals:

Steroid drugs such as Solu-Medrol and Prednisone
Antibiotics
Birth control pills
Antacids
Aspirin and other NSAIDS-such as ibuprofen, and acetaminophen
Chemo Therapy

3) Lifestyle Factors

A high-stress lifestyle keeps the blood from flowing to the gut, and pumps free radicals into your body which damage the intestinal lining.
Nicotine from smoking. No way around it, you have got to give up smoking.

Sound familiar? I know… I was guilty of at least 4 of these before I was diagnosed. but wait, there’s more……

4) Disease

Food Allergies (most commonly dairy, gluten, soy, corn, eggs and shellfish)
Candidiasis or candida overgrowth (I’ll write a separate post on that one)
Various parasites, bacteria, mold and mycotoxins

Ugh, I know. That’s a lot.

Truth is if you participate in just a few of these behaviors over the years, it really stacks up. Add to that the fact that you’re genetically predisposed to having a weakness in some part of your body and BAM! you’ve got an Auto-Immune disaster.

When that gut lining becomes compromised, the first thing you gotta do is figure out a way to seal it back up and keep more unwanted crap from getting out and causing immune system freak outs.

What now? Here are 4 things you can do to start healing from leaky gut:

1) Eat Bone Broth

Sounds delicious, right? It’s an unfortunate name but this kind of home made broth is filled with free amino acids that heal the gut, and as an extra bonus provides a bunch of minerals our bones need to thrive. Anyone suffering from a ‘leaky gut’ has got to make bone broth a big part of their healing cocktail.

Here’s how you make it:[2]

Ingredients:

Bones (can be chicken carcass, pork chop bones, ribs or a soup bone with marrow in it from the butcher)
Chicken feet, shrimp tail, or clam/mussel shells (all optional bone alternatives)
½ to 1 tsp powdered kelp or dulse flakes
1 to 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
6 to 10 cups of water
**This is also a great way to use any leftover vegetables from earlier in the week or in the refrigerator that may be getting stale.**

Directions:
Put all the ingredients in kettle or crockpot over low heat. Let simmer without boiling for several hours or several days. Strain out the bones. Strain out the vegetables or put them through a high-speed blender.

2) Chew your food

This stimulates the production of your own digestive enzymes and gastric juices and will ensure that food is broken down adequately

3) Add a Probiotic + Multi Vitamin

Many people with leaky gut syndrome have a bacterial imbalance– they have too much of the ‘unfriendly’ bacteria (e.g., candida) and not enough of the ‘friendly’ bacteria (the intestinal flora), and become deficient in some basic vitamins and minerals because foods are not properly digested.  A food based multi-vitamin-mineral formula can help restore nutrient balance and provide the vitamins and minerals the body needs to build healthy mucosal linings and gastric juices.

4) Cut the crap

Alcohol – There’s no way around it. Alcohol is sugar and sugar is horrible for the intestinal lining If you MUST have a drink, consider having a low sugar cocktail such as my personal favorite (once every 3 years!) Tequila on the Rocks with a splash of lime.

Caffeine – irritates the gut and dehydrates the body :-/ Personally, I allow myself Green Tea or Yerba Mate because the benefits of all those antioxidants outweigh the consequences.

Drugs – Aaahh drugs. I mean the over the counter ones. They do a number on your gut bacteria and cause a bacterial imbalance that leads straight to a leaky gut.

Junk Food – this stuff is a freaky cocktail of sugar, fake hydrogenated fats, sodium, artificial colors and flavor enhancers. How is that even food? This stuff stresses your immune system and provides no nutritional value. Rule of thumb: If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, there are more than a few OR your grandmother wouldn’t recognize it as food, it’s JUNK!

Refined Sugar – is the DEVIL! Hate to be so dramatic, but sugar lowers immunity, irritates the intestinal lining, and stresses the pancreas, liver, and heart. And if you’ve got auto-immune issues, it really has got to go. no question.

I hope gives you an idea of the comprehensive approach you really have to take if you want to heal your gut and in turn heal yourself from Auto-Immune Diseases such as MS. It seems like a daunting task, I’m sure, but the payoff is huge.

Feel like you would like some more guidance in this process, contact me for a FREE strategy session. I would love to help guide you back to your healthy self.

Source: [1] Leaky gut and autoimmune diseases.Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology, Volume 42, issue 1 (February 2012), p. 71 – 78. Humana Press Inc, New York http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22109896

[2] Wahls, Terry L. Minding My Mitochondria: How I Overcame Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Got out of My Wheelchair. IA City, IA: TZ, 2010. Print.

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