What is Gluten and Leaky Gut

October 27, 2016
Lyndall McAlpine

Gluten free products are swarming the supermarket shelves. So why are so many people becoming gluten intolerant and what is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

How a healthy gut works

When food you eat reaches your intestines, the walls of your gut have an Verdauung im Winterimportant job deciding what particles can enter the blood and what must stay in the gut to be excreted. The lining acts as a net which is just permeable enough to allow selected very small molecules like vitamins, minerals, sugars, amino acids, peptides and fatty acids to pass through and enter the blood. If your gut wall is healthy large food particles, harmful macro molecules such as pathogens, metabolic waste and toxic heavy materials etc cannot cross into the blood, helping your immune system from needing to do extra work.

What is Leaky Gut?

Leaky gut is when the tight junctions in the intestinal wall break apart, making it possible for those much bigger unwanted molecules to leak into the blood stream. The body recognises that these molecules are not supposed to be there and the immune system attacks the harmful intruders, resulting in chronic inflammation.

Gluten is one of these molecules that results in an immune response, especially within the last 50 years where refining, hybridisation and genetic modification of grain crops has created newly modified gluten molecules that are foreign to the human digestive system and consisiting of much higher gluten content hence the reason why so many of us are becoming gluten sensitive. A serious side effect to gluten sensitivity is that this protein is similar to protein in the thyroid and joints resulting in the body also attacking those tissues which can lead to inflammatory auto immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, hashimotos disease and if genetically predisposed coeliac disease.

Why gluten?

Gluten is a specific type of protein, found in wheat, rye, and barley.  Around 99% of our genes were formed around 10,000years ago. Wheat, as we now know it, and high grain intake as we now have, was not part of our diet until the development of agriculture. So we are not designed to consume a lot of grains, and our digestive tracts have difficulty breaking down this protein. To make matters worse  the spraying of herbicides and pesticides such as glycophate not only poison our bodies but has actually been classed as a type of antibiotic which has a harmful affect on our important gut flora, as explained >>here<<.

So, what can cause Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Common conditions that can cause the cells in the gut wall to break apart include

  • Gluten  – may increase zonuli, a protein made in the body that influences the wall’s decisions as to what can pass, making gut more permeable.
  • Excessive consumption of inflammatory foods such as dairy, sugar, caffeine and alcohol
  • Medications – such as antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) eg iboprufen and aspirin, and antacids can damage your gut lining.
  • Contraceptives and antibiotics affect the ratio of good and bad bacteria, allowing harmful bacteria to damage your gut wall
  • Infections such as candida, intestinal parasites, and small intestine bacterial overgrowthNutrient deficiencies – in particular Vitamins A, D, magnesium, zinc and calcium, omega 3s, glutamine and probiotics which all assist in gut lining health.
  • Chronic stress and sleep deprivation – creates inflammation in the gut lining

How does Leaky Gut affect your health?

LGS weakens your system, making you more susceptible to a wide range of issues. It has been directly linked to or pinpointed as a potential contributing factor in ADD/ADHD, Anxiety, Asthma, Autism, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Depression, Eczema, Fibromyalgia, Food allergies, Fungal disorders, Irritable bowel syndrome, Migraines, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sinusitis and  Type 1 diabetes.

What can you do to hep LGS?

You can help the body to restore the intestinal wall’s integrity and improve the role in the immune system by:

  1. Eating foods that heal such as:
  • Bone broth which has exceptional intestinal healing power – see >>here<< for more info
  • herbal teas
  • Getting plenty of Vitamin A and D , magnesium zinc, calcium, certain amino acids, glutamine, fatty acids (3 and CLA)
  1. Flooding your system with good bacteria by:
  • using high quality Probiotics and Digestive enzymes and
  • eating fermented foods such as lassi, kefir, kumbucha, kichi and sauerkraut (easy recipe >>here<<),
  1. Eliminating foods that cause intestinal inflammation such as:
  • Sugars and sweeteners, processed foods and gluten.

Other foods that that may irritate the gut include eggplant, eggs, fodmaps, grains, legumes (especially soy), mushrooms, nuts, potatoes, seed oils, tomatoes.

A good way – and by far the cheapest way to pinpoint exactly which foods actually do affect you is to do a 14 day elimination diet. I can assist you through this process, with a full meal plan and support and guidance to re introducing each food back, click  >>here<< for more details


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