If you’ve been on Pinterest or FaceBook recently you no doubt have seen this topic floating around or being talked about. But what does it mean exactly? Inside your intestinal tract is a protective lining with openings that allow nutrients from foods to be passed into the blood stream after being digested properly. This lining works as a barrier to prevent large, undigested particles of food getting into the blood stream causing damage to the body.
What is Leaky Gut?
Leaky gut is when someone has a malfunction in the ability of the tight junctions of the protective lining in the gut to open and close appropriately and thereby allowing large, undigested particles of food to enter the blood stream instead of only the nutrients from the properly digested food. When this happens proteins like gluten, harmful bacteria, toxins, and toxic waste byproducts from bacteria enter the system causing an immune reaction in the body.
Leaky gut can cause food sensitivities, rashes, hives or itching, and eventually lead to autoimmune conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s disease, Hashimotto’s thyroiditis, Lupus, and more. The immune reaction by the body to Leaky gut causes an inflammatory response that can also cause symptoms like bloating, depression and anxiety, irritable bowel, chronic fatigue, joint pain, headaches, weight gain, or skin disorders like psoriasis, acne, rosacea, and eczema. Leaky gut can also cause vitamins like zinc, iron, and vitamin B12 to not be absorbed properly.
Causes of Leaky Gut
The main causes of Leaky Gut include chronic stress, toxin overload, bacterial imbalances, and poor nutrition. Consuming sugar, conventional cow’s milk, gluten, and genetically modified foods cause confusion in the body as it does not recognize these as real foods for human benefit. Once your body has healed from Leaky Gut adding back these foods from time to time may not be harmful or cause problems.
How to Heal from Leaky Gut
To heal from Leaky gut you will need to eliminate damaging foods, replace them with real foods as close to the original state that they come in instead of from a box, packaged, processed, frozen, or canned source. Repair the gut lining with specific supplements known to repair the gut, and repopulate with probiotics to rebalance the ratio of good bacteria to harmful ones.
Important foods to stay away from to heal Leaky Gut: Sugar, grains, GMO foods, hormone laden meats, and conventional dairy products. Also, eliminate tap water, pesticides, over the counter anti-inflammatory medicines like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve, and use antibiotics judiciously.
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Probably the second most common complaint I hear from people dealing with Mold Sickness is Brain Fog. You know the feeling when you are thinking in “Slow Motion.” Like you are trying to walk through mud in your brain and cannot get to where you want to go mentally and get lost in the process. You get distracted easily, jumping from one thought to another because you cannot follow through long enough on one thought to get anything done. That’s Brain Fog and it’s no fun!
Sometimes Brain Fog can be caused by Mold byproducts called mycotoxins. The mycotoxins have been known to cause symptoms like being in a stupor, drunk, or high type feeling. These same symptoms can be caused from alcohol type byproducts of Candida. In Mold Sickness, the body can get run down trying to kill of mycotoxins and diverse types of infections can occur from this run-down state. Candida normally occurs in the gastrointestinal tract but in small amounts manageable by the body. When the gut becomes overgrown with Candida, symptoms like frequent vaginal infections, thick which coating on the tongue, irritability, sugar cravings, or that drunk type feeling associated with brain fog can happen. High sugary diets can worsen Brain Fog by causing an overgrowth of Candida.
High sugary diets aren’t just about eating desserts like most people think. Fruit, vegetables, and dairy are also high in sugar. Yes, fruit, veggies, and yogurt are healthier choices than that cookie or donut but at the end of the day, it’s all about the carbs. We need some carbohydrates in our diet to make the neurotransmitters responsible for feeling good, being calm, being motivated, and the ability to sleep. The better choices in carbs are going to be low glycemic (sugar/carbs) foods like green leafy vegetables and fruits from the berry groups.
An interesting note from the research of Dr. Dale Bredesen from the Buck Institute in California has shown that high sugary diets are one thing contributing to memory decline and Alzheimer Disease. By changing the diets of patients with mild to moderate cognitive decline they have shown significant improvement in their memory. This is a big step in prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease.
This week I will be in California for more training with Dr. Bredesen on how to reverse memory decline. Ridding the body of mycotoxins is another step in the process to having healthier brain function. First step to remember, is being more mindful of those carbohydrate choices. Notice what foods you are eating that have the highest number of carbs and make a goal to reduce carbohydrate intake using a Mediterranean style nutrition plan incorporating some berries, more lean protein, lots of green leafy veggies and veggies that grow above the ground, and the good fats like coconut oil, olive oil, Ghee, and grass fed butter into your daily food choices. And, skip the desserts! Try to make at least one meal a day with these perfect food choices and you’ll be on your way to getting rid of Brain Fog!
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Why do some people get sick when they encounter a moldy environment and others don’t? Some people can walk into a building and “smell” mold growing and start to feel bad where other can’t. The reason is we are all primed genetically to breakdown and detoxify differently. Some people have bodies that are very efficient at detoxifying while others are compromised in this area; partly due to the uniqueness of our genetic makeups. The older we get, the less efficient we are at detoxifying. Remember being 20 and able to party hard several nights in a row? Now, I hear from clients “one glass of wine and it takes me a week to cooperate.”
Twenty-five percent of the population are genetically susceptible to mold toxicity. These are the “canary in the coal mine” folks that are likely to get sick when coming in contact with mold. They are unable to break down the mold byproducts. Compound that with other genetic markers making it harder for them to detoxify, leaky gut, chronic yeast, bacterial or viral infections, and you have a perfect storm for developing mold sickness.
Mold Sickness causes the immune system to malfunction. This causes and array of symptoms ranging from chronic sinus problems, unexplained rashes, hives, watery red eyes, fatigue, trouble sleeping, aches and pains, shortness of breath, newly diagnosed asthma, ice pick headaches, memory problems, word finding trouble, abdominal pain, diarrhea, urinary frequency, night sweats, static shocks, or temperature regulation problems. The key to eliminating these symptoms is to get to the root cause: mold exposure and treat it.
Healing is possible through a step by step process. It does not happen overnight, but it is possible. Symptoms will start to disappear usually within the first month of treatment granted the individual is not constantly being exposed to mold daily. The first step to healing is making sure your environment is safe.