“LEAKY GUT SYNDROME”
Although the phrase “leaky gut” was never well accepted in the medical community, research over the past two decades has revealed that gut health is critical to overall health, and an unhealthy gut contributes to a wide range of diseases including diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Ancient Wisdom Of Ayurveda …
“Due to the purification of the body, the capacity of digestion and metabolism is enhanced, normal health is restored, all sense organs start working with vigor, old age is prevented and diseases cured.” – Charaka Samhita Ch. 16 Sutra 17-19
In Ayurvedic medicine, most treatable diseases arise from the presence of “ama”, a toxic by-product of poor digestion. Mirroring this ancient wisdom is the modern theory of ‘Intestinal Permeability’ [i.e. “leaky gut syndrome”]. Intestinal permeability is the inflammatory response in the digestive tract due to a combination of insults to the gut mucosal lining. As a result, persistent GI inflammation eventually disrupts the integrity of the mucosal lining of the gut and tiny perforations allows for molecules much larger than usual to pass through this defensive barrier. As toxic by-products of poor digestion pass through this now weakened defense barrier [i.e. impaired mucosal lining] this initiates an immune response which then allows for the formation of specific antibodies towards these very toxic elemental by-products of poor digestion.
By-product Of Poor Digestion – Toxic!
“The signs and symptoms of ama are clogging of channels, sense of heaviness, low energy, restlessness, lethargy, indigestion, congestion/expectoration, accumulation of waste, loss of taste and sexual debility.” – Ashtanga Hridaya Su. 30.23
Unfortunately, the tissues which make up the body actually have antigenic sites which are nearly identical to those elemental by-products of poor digestion. After all, the body is made up from the products of digestion. As a result, when the intestinal barrier becomes permeable [i.e. leaky] then a large protein molecule [i.e. zonulin] enters into the blood and circulates throughout the body. Since these large proteins of poor digestion do not normally circulate throughout the body, the body mounts an immune response and attacks them. Studies reveal that this immune response may play an important role in the development of autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s, type 1 diabetes, among other health conditions. It is also important to note that you don’t necessarily have to have gut symptoms to have a leaky gut. For example, leaky gut can also manifest as skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, even heart conditions and of course inflammatory joint conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
“There is growing evidence that increased intestinal permeability plays a pathogenic role in various autoimmune diseases [including celiac disease and type 1 diabetes]. Therefore, we hypothesize that besides genetic and environmental factors, loss of intestinal barrier function is necessary to develop auotimmunity.” – Dr. Alessio Fasano
“Top 7 Foods For Healing Leaky Gut” – Dr. Josh Axe
The top 7 foods to get rid of leaky gut for good are:
1. Bone Broth – 8 oz 2 times a day
2. Kefir or fermented yogurt
3. Fermented vegetables
4. Coconut oil
5. Wild caught fish like Salmon
6. Flax seeds
7. Steamed vegetables or vegetables in the crockpot: broccoli, cauliflower, celery carrots, cabbage or squash are all great
Healthy Gut – Strength, Nourishment, Luster
Ayurveda has described the underlying function of digestion and metabolism in our body as Agni [“Fire”]. Regarding the importance of Agni, the father of Ayurveda – Charak stated that when Agni of the individual is balanced then that person would be absolutely healthy and would lead a long, happy and healthy life.
“Agni converts food in the form of energy, which is responsible for all the vital functions of our body. Therefore, Ayurveda considers that Dehagni as the cause of life, complexion, strength, health, nourishment, luster, ojas, tejas [vital-yet-subtle energy] and prana [life sustaining energy].
– Charaka Chikitsa 15/4
Leaky Gut – Fatigue, Inflamed and Depressed
Leaky gut and bad gut flora are far more common than we actually realize primarily because of the modern lifestyle. We can also say that if you have a leaky gut it is likely that you also have an unhealthy gut flora, and vice versa. Even further, we can boldly say that when your gut flora and gut barrier are impaired, you are Inflamed – Ayurveda would likely state this as pitta aggravation with impaired Agni and even diminished Ojas.
Factors Which Can Insult The Gut Flora:
- diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods
- diets low in fermentable fibers
- dietary toxins like wheat and industrial seed oils
- chronic stress and chronic infections
Practical Tips To Help Improve Your Gut Flora:
- avoid foods and chemicals which irritate the gut mucosal lining
- eat plenty of fermentable fibers [i.e. starches like sweet potato, yam, yucca, etc.]
- eat fermented items like kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, kim chi, etc.
- consider taking a probiotic and prebiotic supplement
“From the earth came herbs and from herbs
came the seed that gave life to humans.”
– Taittiriya Upanishad
3 Pillars To Healthy Digestion:
1. Reducing & Extinguishing The Inflammatory Cascade.
Individuals with autoimmune disorders are often in a weakened state and any additional insults can easily worsen the state of health. Therefore, extreme caution must always be considered. Therefore, management should always be under the supervision of a qualified holistic professional and always first discussing risk/benefits/alternatives with one’s primary care physician.
In conditions where the gut mucosal lining is impaired, the use of certain demulcents followed by astringent agents are often considered beneficial. Demulcent herbs are considered to be helpful in improving the integrity of the epithelial lining of the gut.
Demulcent agents include:
– aloe vera
– marshmallow root
– slippery elm
– licorice root
2. Support Liver Function + Enhance Detoxification
The importance of liver function in regards to overall health cannot be stressed enough. The liver is responsible for the detoxification of the increasing exposure to environmental contaminants and mutagens which can easily overwhelm the liver.
Briefly, just a few hepatoprotective elements include:
3. Improve The Gut Flora
By supporting a healthy gut flora we can help inhibit the overgrowth of pathogenic microbes. A simple choice may be a non-dairy derived Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum supplement.
This is strictly for educational purpose and NOT considered medical advice. Always first discuss the risks/benefits/alternatives with your primary care physician prior to considering any new changes in your health regimen.