What are Leaky Guts?
The bacteria in our guts start growing inside our intestines when we’re born, the mix of bacteria is pretty much determined by what we eat (breast or bottle makes a difference) and who we live with, pets included. Based on the numbers, you are 10% human, 90% bacteria. We have several hundred microbial species in our intestines. This microbe population is estimated to be at about 100 trillion and weighs about two pounds.
Let’s take a look at how they impact us:
- Good bacteria are related to diet. Having them improves digestion and absorption of food and enhances our immune system. Good bacteria are also involved in our ability to manufacture vitamins, enzymes, and neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) like feel-good serotonin (imbalanced = depression and/or anxiety).
- Bad bacteria are also diet-related, a product of junk foods, processed foods, and foods treated with chemicals and antibiotics. They rarely cause actual infection, but they do inflame and damage the delicate intestinal lining. This constant low-level damage leads to the intestine becoming excessively permeable to digested food molecules aka leaky gut. Leaky gut then predisposes us to food sensitivities, weight gain, diabetes, a variety of autoimmune diseases including inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis), chronic hives and other chronic skin conditions like psoriasis.
That’s right, you didn’t misread the weight-gain part. Chronically overweight people carry bacteria that actually cause excessive amounts of food to be absorbed into the body.
Damage from bad bacteria and the subsequent Leaky Guts can trigger a steady state of body-wide chronic inflammation. One result? Your arteries become inflamed, making them susceptible to premature buildup of cholesterol plaques.
Typically, if you take a single course of antibiotics, your bacteria can quickly restore itself to baseline status, meaning you get your old microbiome back. However, multiple courses of antibiotics make full recovery difficult. Unfortunately, most of us have been on dozens of antibiotics throughout our lives, as well as, the foods we consume that have also been treated with antibiotics.
Explore Ways To Positively Influence Your Gut Microbiome
Avoid antibiotics unless absolutely necessary, and then taking them for the shortest period possible. Eating antibiotic-free foods is a good choice too. Some 80% of all antibiotics used in the US are given to livestock, mainly to help them put on weight (some fruit trees are also sprayed with antibiotics too). Think about that for a second, that connection between taking antibiotics and gaining weight and you’ll definitely have an “aha” moment. The big business gives antibiotics to livestock not only to prevent or cure the infection but rather to deliberately change the animals’ intestinal bacteria. It changes it to the species associated with obesity. Now, let’s take that one step further and make the connection of you eating the antibiotic-laced meat, your intestinal bacteria will change and be identical to that of the very animal you’re eating. Rampant antibiotic use has also contributed to the superbugs we hear about in the news. In other words, the bacteria are fast becoming resistant to antibiotics.
- Increasing the fiber in your diet. Variety is the spice of life. Recognize there are many kinds and your microbiome needs a varied menu in order to maintain a healthy balance.
- Relaxing the sanitary regime in your home. Stop wiping everything down with hand sanitizers, antibacterial soaps, and antibacterial wipes. In other words, let your kids play in the dirt. However, washing hands with plain soap (not antibacterial) and water after using the toilet and before meals are non-negotiable.
- Eliminate processed, low-fiber foods that really aren’t foods!
- Add more fermented foods to your meals: yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, Kombucha (a tart, refreshingly cold tea), and other pickled veggies. Beware—living foods don’t sit in jars on grocery store shelves. Instead, they’re found in the refrigerated section. Or try making them at home yourself! Keep in mind anything “pickled” in vinegar doesn’t qualify as a fermented food. We help our patients learn to recognize fermented foods at the grocery store during our popular Optimum YOU Shopping Tours!
- Eat more complex carbs: fruit, veggies, quinoa, brown rice, and legumes. Cook them lightly to preserve the fiber content.
Want To Find Out if YOU Have the GUTS To Be Healthy?
Optimum Health Rehab utilizes various diagnostics to determine if you’re suffering from an unhealthy bacterial balance, leaky gut syndrome, and/or food sensitivities. Call us at 877-704-1761 or fill this form to schedule a complimentary consultation at one of our convenient locations in Alpharetta, Buford, Cumming, Sandy Springs, Grayson, Dacula, Hiram, Morrow, Dalton, Suwanee, or Woodstock.Wellness, Gut Health