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What Is A Leaky Gut?  How Your Intestinal Health Affects You.

It’s easy to feel discouraged if you’ve been dealing with on-going health issues that just won’t go away and doctor after doctor has tried everything only to come up with prescriptions that ease symptoms but don’t solve the underlying problem.

But have you considered that the root cause of the “mysterious illnesses” you or your loved ones have been suffering with could actually be right in your gut?

From hormone regulation to immunity to enzyme production that keeps the rest of our body in tip top shape, we continue to be amazed by how critical gut health is to maintaining overall vitality. One condition we are starting to learn more about, and see a lot of, is Leaky Gut Syndrome.

Leaky Gut is a condition that is linked to literally dozens of illnesses. But, because western medicine hasn’t yet learned enough about the gut to fully understand the influence it has on overall health, there are no broadly understood methods of diagnosing and treating Leaky Gut syndrome. This means that, most times, doctors resort to trying to resolve the symptoms without actually addressing Leaky Gut itself!

Time and again this leads to cyclical treatments as the symptoms are treated but the root cause continues to develop and worsen. If you’re feeling stuck in this kind of cycle, don’t worry – it’s not just you! And there are treatments…

Leaky Gut is often called a “phenomenon” that stems from issues like immunity, gut function, and the effect of diet and lifestyle.

In fact, in Canada alone, more than 20 million people suffer from digestive disorders – and that doesn’t even consider half of the symptoms often associated with Leaky Gut! It’s vital to understand the broad-reaching effects that the Standard American Diet, chronically high stress levels, toxin overload, and even bacterial imbalances can have on gut function – and that healing your gut is founded on managing these four elements.

Leaky Gut

Do you have any of these symptoms?

• Consistent bloating, gas, cramps
• Irritable bowel syndrome
• New food sensitivities
• Autoimmune diseases
• Thyroid conditions
• Inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis

You might be suffering from a leaky gut! So what causes leaky gut?

All the systems mentioned above stem from an actual malfunction of tight junctions (TJs) in your small intestine. TJs have one, very important job: they act as a barrier that selectively allows some particles – like vital nutrients – to pass through the intestines to the bloodstream, while making sure that disease-causing particles stay out.

When TJs malfunction, they create what’s known as “intestinal hyperpermeability,” which basically means your body becomes inflamed because of extra holes in your intestines. Well, we all know acute inflammation, if left untreated, scales into chronic inflammation – and that is the root cause of most diseases.

So here’s your takeaway: Sometimes health issues seem minor, but if left untreated, they can compound into much larger issues and even disease! You have to pay attention to your body as a whole and consider the way each function interacts with the others – this is called Natural Medicine and it’s what we specialize in.

Leaky Gut symptoms can often be misdiagnosed (or undiagnosed) for years! That’s why working with an integrative health team (that can partner with your other doctors to get a good sense of the bigger picture of your body’s health) can be incredibly valuable to you.

Whether it’s you who suffers from Leaky Gut, or you’re looking to proactively protect your family, here are ways you can manage the four most important factors that contribute to Leaky Gut:

1. Remove inflammatory foods and gut-damaging toxins
Common culprits of inflammation and toxins include grains, gluten, sugar, antibiotics, conventional cow dairy, GMOs, pesticides, and processed foods. Start by eliminating these from your diet and just wait to see how quickly you feel relief and freedom!
2. Add gut-healing foods
Prebiotitcs and probiotics are critical. Also consider adding other nourishing foods like bone broth, simply steamed vegetables, fermented foods, raw cultured dairy, hormone-free and antibiotic-free animal products, and healthy fats to your regular diet.
3. Reduce stress
We can’t stress this enough! Our culture constantly deals with competing priorities and we often can’t even tell how stressed we are (until we suffer the consequences). Make an intentional effort to reduce stress in your life. Take time to turn off your brain; enjoy quiet time, sunny vitamin-D filled walks, meditation, or yoga.
4. Add gut-supporting supplements
Your integrative health practitioner is the best person to consult on the type and amount of supplements that would be best for you. Ask them about L-glutamine, probiotics, digestive enzymes, and plant-derived mineral supplements, all of which can contribute to supporting and improving a healthy gut!

If you think you might be struggling with symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome, we want to help!
We use Live Blood Analysis to examine a pin-prick sample of your blood through a special microscope to help identify leaky gut.

Contact us so we can help you identify the underlying causes, and determine your best course to a healthy life!

How many times have you heard your bloodwork looks “fine,” when you feel anything BUT fine? The naturopaths here at HealthSource Integrative Medical Centre are focused on identifying whether someone is functioning at an optimal level, not just an “ok” level. The difference between the two is significant. Time and time again we see patients bring in bloodwork results and we find things in it that other people or doctors have missed. Our findings could be the difference that allows the patient to start feel better. Or we can determine what other tests are needed and appropriate for a patient’s health concerns. Those tests can then lead us to the underlying cause of the health issue if we haven’t identified it already.

The key here is that we need to test, not guess.

Tests can explain what the actual cause is. They can also explain why someone may not be getting better.

The body has many ways of showing us what is wrong.

Let’s take fatigue as an example. Fatigue can point to one of many underlying causes: low iron or B12, thyroid issues, low estrogen/progesterone/testosterone, allergies or sensitivities, sleep issues, adrenal fatigue, and digestive issues.

If someone with eczema is also fatigued, their bloodwork will explain why by showing us nutrient deficiencies. The same could be for someone experiencing symptoms of hypothyroidism–like fatigue–but is not feeling better even when they are on Synthroid (the standard treatment). Their bloodwork would show us the cause as possibly being nutrient deficiencies, which commonly go unnoticed.

A perfect example of how nutrient deficiencies causing fatigue can go unnoticed is the cutoff for a “normal” B12 level. At one lab the cutoff could be greater than 133, at another lab it is greater than 198 and yet at another lab it is greater than 220. So, if the health concern is fatigue, the cause could be a deficiency in B12. But, depending on the lab the person went to a B12 deficiency would go undiagnosed because the levels appears normal when the levels are actually low. In addition, most people need serum levels of B12 to be greater than 400 to feel well (remember at HealthSource we strive for OPTIMAL levels – not just within the normal range). Yet even some people can have normal serum levels but have deficient levels in the neurological tissue, which would indicate the need for B12.

As your naturopathic doctors, we identify this gap between labs cutoff differences and serum levels by looking at what the bloodwork shows and compare it to how you really feel – and we find ways to correct it.

Investigating bloodwork is like having a mechanic look under the hood and run various diagnostics, instead of trying to guess what is wrong based on sounds your car is making. You will have long lasting results when the cause is identified. Our end goal is that you feel better, faster.