Could a leaky gut be hindering your weight loss?

leaky gut

If you haven’t already heard of the term, ‘leaky gut’, it’s a condition that is getting a lot of attention within conventional and alternative medical professions.  No, it’s not something disgusting that forces you to be in the bathroom for a large portion of the day.  Once you see how many issues leaky gut can cause, however, you would probably prefer the scenario with the frequent visits to the bathroom.Leaky gut is what is known as increased intestinal permeability.  To understand what this is, you have to understand one of the main functions of the intestine.  The intestine is responsible for creating a barrier between bacteria, toxins, and proteins (that can be naturally occurring within the intestine), and the rest of the body.  With poor diet (an increase intake of processed foods), stress, and other factors, the integrity of the intestinal lining is diminished. Why is this so significant?  Research has shown that leaky gut is connected or related to the following issues (1):

  •         Inflammatory and infectious bowel diseases
  •         Chronic Inflammatory Arthritides
  •         Acne, psoriasis
  •         Eczema
  •         IBS
  •         AIDS
  •         Chronic Hepatitis
  •         Chronic Pancreatitis
  •         Cystic Fibrosis
Not to mention all the symptoms associated with leaky gut:
  •         Fatigue
  •         Constipation
  •         Diarrhea
  •         Bloating
  •         Cramping
  •         Gas
  •         Headaches
  •         Weight gain
It’s no wonder that Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said, “all disease begins in the gut”.  There is obviously truth in that sentence.  Unfortunately, no one is immune to a leaky gut given all the triggers that can cause it.  These include:
  •         Antibiotics
  •         Processed foods
  •         Chlorinated drinking or shower water
  •         Contraceptive pills
  •         Stress
If you are trying to lose weight and finding it difficult, a leaky gut could be the culprit.  Instead of focusing on calories, focus on nutrients and supplements that will decrease inflammation and promote healing.  Once your body is back in balance, your cells will be able to metabolize properly and weight loss will be inevitable.If you do have leaky gut, make sure you refer to a properly trained natural physician or functional medicine doctor to tailor your health protocol to your needs.  In the meantime, here are a few tips for healing a leaky gut:
  •         Make bone broths from organic beef or chicken.  You can use broths in soups or drink them on their own.  Bone broths help to heal the gut by increasing gastric secretion, detoxing the liver, and providing highly absorbable minerals like magnesium and calcium.  (2)
  •         Avoid inflammation causing agents. This is different for many, but in general, avoid all grains, conventional dairy, and soy products.  These foods increase inflammation in the gut further exacerbating the problem of intestinal permeability.
  •         Use raw dairy products.  Use dairy from goat’s or sheep’s milk in place of cows milk.  Try foods like raw cheese, kefir, and yogurt.  (Depending on the severity of leaky gut, some may have to avoid dairy all-together).
  •         Use a glutamine supplement.  Glutamine is an amino acid that improves gut structure and function. (3)
  •         Use a probiotic – Probiotics will replenish your gut with ‘good’ bacteria that help fight disease.  Consult with a functional medical practitioner in order to find the right dosage and strain for you.
Unfortunately, given the complexities of how the human metabolism works, weight loss is not as simple as calories in versus calories out.  The good news is, however, If a leaky gut is the underlying cause of your inability to lose weight, correcting this imbalance would definitely set you on the road to success.

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