Leaky Gut has sadly become incredibly pervasive. Worst still, many of us have it without even knowing about it.
Other, less fortunate individuals, have a slew of debilitating symptoms, making them fully aware they have a serious digestive disorder. But, even so, the symptoms are diverse, and so it’s often difficult to pin down the route cause.
This article will assist you in interpreting your aches and pains, and other symptoms, to help you to determine your digestive status.
Symptoms Of Leaky Gut
Leaky gut is often characterised by:
- Discomfort during the digestive process
- Lower back pain
- Digestive disorders such as IBS, aka Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s and Diverticulitis etc…
Leaky Gut also causes secondary nutrient deficiencies which severely compromise the ability of the gut to produce and regulate hormones and neurotransmitters.
Sufferers of Leaky Gut are unlikely to have all of the following symptoms. But, those with symptoms, will be suffering from a selection of the symptoms listed below.
- Chronic diarrhoea, constipation, gas or bloating
- Memory loss
- Brain fog
- Fatigue / exhaustion
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Poor immunity
- Skin problems including Acne + Eczema + Psoriasis + Rosacea
- Craving sugar or wheat based products / processed carbs
- Joint pain & inflammation
What Is Leaky Gut?
Leaky Gut is effectively a condition where our intestinal integrity is compromised. It is also appropriately referred to as Intestinal Permeability.
Our intestinal lining is only one cell thick, and can become easily compromised. When this happens, it means that pathogens, toxins and undigested foods leach out of the gut, ending up in our blood supply.
When leaky gut occurs, our body mounts an immune response to contend with all of the material that has escaped. This results in increased heat in the body, inflammation and pain, and fatigue. It also results in brain fog, irritability, and an array of emotional issues.
We may also feel bloated, and we will sometimes experience cramps.
Causes Of Leaky Gut
The causes of leaky gut are many and varied, just like the array of symptoms experienced, after leaky gut has developed.
There are often a number of co-factors operating at the same time, making it difficult to determine the best course of action.
Elevated toxicity is indicative of a poor functioning immune system, and over-burdened detoxification pathways, such as an over-taxed liver.
Heavy metals in the body, from the air, water, eating large fish, amalgam fillings and injections, etc, all accumulate in the body, and negatively impact us at a systemic level. Heavy metals attract co-infections, and undermine our body’s ability to produce energy.
With insufficient energy to fulfil all of our bodily maintenance requirements, our gut lining is neglected in favour of more important functions. It, thus, begins to lose its integrity, resulting in Leaky Gut or Gut Permeability.
Microbiome & Enzymes
The microbiome, which resides in our large intestines, is required for the proper digestion of our food. The microbiome is made up of friendly bacteria, yeasts and viruses. Diversity of the microbiome is key. The more strains of good bacteria, yeasts and viruses that inhabit our large intestine, the better able we are to digest our food, ensuring optimal nutrient uptake.
We also need to produce sufficient enzymes in order to properly break down our food into its beneficial components to feed the body.
Things like antibiotic use, a reliance on NSAIDs, (anti-inflammatory pain relieving drugs, such as ibuprofen), a sugary diet, rich in refined sugars and /or alcohol, all destroy a healthy microbiome.
Even foods that are touted as health foods can have a deleterious effect on our microbiome if we are intolerant, or allergic to them.
Sadly, something as simple as taking a course of antibiotics can set us up in a vicious cycle. The antibiotics destroy gut flora, (good bacteria etc.), reducing the diversity of our microbiome, making it more difficult to digest our foods. The stress this causes the body, coupled with poor absorption, creates a downward spiral of events, which can ultimately lead to leaky gut.
Other pharmaceutical drugs, other than antibiotics and NSAIDs, which cause gut permeability include, steroids and cancer treatments.
Food allergies are often a consequence of leaky gut, but food allergies can also precipitate leaky gut. Once food allergies are established, but remain unaddressed, our leaky gut issues are compounded in an ever worsening state of affairs. This will lead to the development of autoimmune conditions, a steady deterioration of quality of life, and a shortened life span.
*Also see intestinal infections for more examples.
Stress is another major cause of leaky gut. Stress effectively undermines immune function and exhausts bodily resources, which ultimately leads to poor digestive maintenance.
Stress also directly negatively impacts digestion, leading to poor absorption, and digestive stress.
A diet rich in vegetable fats, (seed oils), and refined sugar, along with other processed foods, which tend to be low in fibre, all exert a negative impact on the gut. A poor diet on its own can lead to leaky gut, even without any of the other factors being implicated.
Intestinal infections are often a consequence of antibiotic use, and/or a poor diet. Excessive chronic stress can also make us vulnerable to intestinal infections.
Intestinal infections can take the form of parasites, or bacterial, fungal and viral infections. All of these things will negatively modify the nature of our microbiome.
Our microbiome lives in our large intestine, leaving our small intestine in a relatively sterile condition. When we have infections, which cause dysbiosis, (a degraded microbiome), this often means that bad microbes make their way up into the small intestine.
This then compounds our condition, as these bad microbes start fermenting the food we are attempting to digest. This is particularly true of sugary and starchy foods.
When this happens it is referred to as small intestine bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO, for short. SIBO is a major cause of IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Many people suffering from SIBO may appear a little drunk. All of that fermentation of sugars and starches can feel a little intoxicating!
Functional medicinal practitioners, integrative medicinal practitioners and naturopaths can test for SIBO quite easily. The following are variously used:
- A simple breath test to measure the gas production of the bad bacteria.
- A urine test, which measures bad bacterial by-products, after they are absorbed into our systems.
Fungal, or yeast, infections also tend to be a common cause of intestinal infection.
Yeast overgrowth issues often occur after a course of antibiotics, steroid use, or as a consequence of a reliance on acid-blocking drugs.
Other prescription drugs can lead to fungal problems, including, birth control pills, but so can excessive sugar, alcohol, or starch consumption.
Diabetes can also be a precursor to yeast infections.
Leaky Gut Outcomes
If our gut lining breaks down, or the tight junctions between the row of cells making up the gut wall are compromised, we will find ourselves feeling increasingly sick and tired, with elevated inflammation and pain levels. Brain function will also deteriorate.
All of these things negatively impact the quality of our lives, and may undermine our employment potential and negatively impact our relationships.
Our lives will be profoundly negatively impacted simply because chronic leaky gut triggers a chronic immune response which leads to system dysregulation, and all manner of illnesses.
Mood swings, mood disorders, pain and inflammation, arthritis, brain inflammation and brain fog, screaming allergies, as well as all of the bowel disorders, are just the tip of the iceberg.
Impaired gut function essentially contributes to a plethora of long-term illnesses. It is one of the leading causes of autoimmune disease, which include common neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It is also the precursor to debilitating, painful, inflammatory conditions, like Arthritis and Rheumatism, as well as, Fibromyalgia and Multiple Sclerosis etc.
Leaky gut is also a common cause of anxiety and depression.
Other Causes Of Leaky Gut
There are many contributing factors leading to leaky gut. Among the less obvious causes, we have:
- Pollutants in our air and environment
- Pollutants in food
- Pollutants in cosmetics and toiletries
- Electromagnetic fields, electromagnetic stress
Why Are So Many Of Us Suffering From Digestive Issues?
The importance of our microbiome, within Western medicine, has only been understood in recent years. And, we still have much to learn about the importance of friendly fungi and viruses that inhabit our large intestines, along with all of the friendly bacteria.
However, we know enough to understand that the routine uses of antibacterial soaps and hand sanitisers is not a good thing
And, we also know that antibiotics have a catastrophic impact on our gut integrity.
In addition, we also know that natural treatments are often gentler, yet more effective, than conventional treatments.
Another big benefit of natural treatments is that they limit our exposure to synthesised chemicals and wireless technologies.
Leaky Gut Knock-On Effects
Sufferers of leaky gut often complain of lower back pain and forgetfulness. They feel weaker and suffer from inflammatory pain. Brain fog and dwindling stamina are also very common.
Unfortunately, many of the causes of our leaky gut, also have a devastating impact on the energy engines within our cells, known as mitochondria.
All of the accumulative damage to our microbiome and mitochondria can lead to many different negative outcomes within our body. This is because leaky gut affects us at a profoundly systemic level. Because leaky gut can be caused by so many different factors, and not just food sensitivities, toxic overload and antibiotics etc, it’s not always easy to figure out what actions to take to reverse the condition. So, it’s important to start reverse engineering how each personal case of leaky gut has been created.
Toxic overload can occur for many different reasons. The main ones are:
- Chemicals in food
- Chemicals in conventional skincare products & cleaning products
- Prescription drugs… like Statins, PPI’s, NSAIDs (e.g. Ibuprofen), all of which impair gut function
- Heavy metals, which we have also be exposed to medically… Mercury and Aluminium via vaccinations, as well as and Mercury via amalgam fillings.
*Heavy metals are in the air, rain and soil. They are consequently in our drinking water and our food.
Read Skincare Ingredients To Avoid to learn how to lessen your immediate exposure to the toxic risks of conventional skincare products and cleaning products…
Many of the symptoms of Leaky Gut directly impact brain function. This is because the same triggers that cause Leaky Gut also cause Leaky Brain.
Leaky Brain causes inflammation in the brain, brain fog and memory loss.
Essentially, foreign objects that leech into parts of our brain cause us to experience compromised brain function.
Essential Oils For Leaky Gut & Leaky Brain
There are a number of essential oils which can offer support when we are suffering from leaky gut and leaky brain. These essential oils tend to address the fundamental symptoms of these conditions, such as inflammation and disorientation, as well as many of the unsettling digestive discomforts that accompany leaky gut.
- Helichrysum Essential Oil
- Cananga Essential Oil
- Frankincense Essential Oil
- Copaiba Balsam Essential Oil
- Hemp Essential Oil
- Citrus Essential Oils
- Rosemary Essential Oil
- Peppermint Essential Oil
Read more about the top 10 essential oils for inflammation.
The first thing to do, in the process of restoring your gut lining, is to remove grains and refined sugars from your diet.
You may want to consider removing dairy products also.
Practising intermittent fasting is also deeply helpful.
Linseeds For Restoring Gut Lining
Using linseeds to help restore gut lining is a key way to maintain gut health. Soak a couple of dessert spoons of linseeds in a glass of water overnight, and then drink it in the morning, in a couple of gulps.
If you want to reap hormonal benefits from your linseeds, (recommended), then put the linseeds in a smoothie maker and blend them up into a smoothie.
*Linseeds (3tbsp) are considered to be as effective as HRT in regulating hormones in menopausal women.
Also, consider taking Organic Nigella Sativa Oil.
Nigella Sativa Oil has been shown to protect the intestinal mucosa, and suppress the growth of harmful gut microbiota.
Essential Oils For Digestive Support
Please note: It is imperative to restore your Leaky Gut prior to addressing other digestive issues, such as parasites, SIBO and other infections. It is also imperative to restore your Leaky Gut prior to performing systemic detoxification and restoring your microbiome.
This means that it is important to wait until your Leaky Gut has been restored before taking prebiotic and probiotic products and foods.
The Wild As the Wind Thieves Oil range of products is also very effective in supporting normal digestive health.
Thieves Oil preparations are antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiparasitic. Because digestive imbalances are one of the leading precursors to leaky gut, it is important to restore our microbiome as soon as possible. This means eliminating bad bacteria, and other pathogens, from our gut. The Wild As the Wind Thieves Oil range is therefore ideal.
The information provided is not intended to replace the medical directives of your healthcare provider. This information is not meant for the diagnosis of health issues.
If you are pregnant, have serious or multiple health concerns, consult with your healthcare provider before using essential oils or associated products.
If you experience any complications, or adverse reactions, contact your healthcare provider.
Wild As The Wind use a number of resources when deciding which essential oil formulas to put together for optimal healing and efficacy, as well as to support any health claims we may make.
We use the industry ‘bible’ on essential oil safety: Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals [2nd Edition] by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, to establish the safety of the Wild As The Wind formulations.