Monday, 13 February 2012

Leaky gut/Digestive health

One of the most noticeable changes I've seen after switching to a paleo diet is that I no longer get stomach cramps, bloating or gas after eating. I grew up seeing my mom consistently having the same kind of symptoms, and supposedly my grandpa had a "sensitive" stomach too, so I just thought that I was destined to have the same unhappy stomach. These symptoms all went away within a couple days of switching over, and now only when I sway from paleo do they return.

I also noticed this past December that eating too many high carbohydrate foods caused my face to become inflamed and puffy and I also get very irritable and cranky. These could very well be related to my sugar cane allergy too.

I think it is true to say that I do have a sensitive stomach because I always had an upset stomach, and some people I talk to can't even relate because they've just never experienced stomach discomfort. From all of the research I've been doing, healing my gut should be my number one priority because all of my symptoms appear to be related to a leaky gut.

Research is suggesting that health and illness is predicated on the health of the intestine. Our gut is filled with about 5-7 pounds of microflora, both pathogenic and beneficial. The beneficial microflora are extremely important for our immune system and maintaining the integrity of the gut wall. But there are ways that the pathogenic microflora can take over. Poor diet with refined foods and carbs feed the pathogenic microflora but also antibiotics, hormones and birth control imbalance these microflora.

The digestive track is a barrier that determines what gets in the body and what comes out.  We want good nutrients that nourish and fuel cellular processes in, and toxins and waste to stay out. The gut makes this discernment of the good things we ingest and filters them through the bloodstream, making sure the waste is excreted. A build up of toxins can damage the intestinal track making it permeable, that is leaky gut. What happens is when these particles cross the gut barrier and move out into the blood stream, the body thinks they're toxins and start making anti-bodies to attack them.

Basically anything that damages the gut lining, be it bacteria, virus, grains or dairy, can predispose you to neurological and autoimmune conditions, psychiatric symptoms, allergies, depression and more.

Two great podcasts about digestion and gut health:

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