Empty Cart
0
Leaky Gut
    Bryce Wylde, BSc, DHMHS, Homeopath
  • on Jul 10, 2017 |

Invisible Leaks

Many alternative, integrative and natural health practitioners now believe that “leaky gut syndrome” or more palatably “permeable bowel syndrome” is a condition in which the intestinal walls allow food particles to pass into the bloodstream that should not be able to do so. Our digestive tract—primarily the upper segment of the small intestine—is meant to be permeable but only selectively so. Once selective permeability is compromised so that larger than acceptable food particles get through, the immune system considers them to as foreign invaders and the attack begins.

Our digestive system is a tube about thirty feet long running through our bodies from mouth to anus. But it is much more than that. Consider the atmosphere surrounding the earth and its protective role for our environment. Earth’s atmosphere provides a protective barrier to support and sustain an abundant variety of life, and key to this is the critical balance of the different gases that provide the earth with important filter-like protection, enabling it to support the life of its 30 million different species of inhabitants. The intestine provides a similar protective barrier. The intestinal wall is coated with thousands of different species of microorganisms, both “good” and “bad” (from our perspective) bacteria, numbering in the billions. That bacterial lining is like Earth’s protective atmosphere. Scientists have discovered that more bacteria reside in our gut than there are cells in the body. This rich, protective coating of microorganisms acts in concert with the physical barrier provided by the cells lining the intestinal tract and other factors to provide the body with important filter-like protection. Damaging substances— disease-causing bacteria, toxins, chemicals and wastes—are filtered out and eliminated. Simultaneously, the critical nutrients needed for the myriad of essential reactions that support life — small sugars, fats, proteins and water—are absorbed into circulation and made available to the billions of cells. At the same time, damaging substances from unhealthy bacteria, incompletely digested food, toxins or chemicals are largely prevented from being absorbed and transported throughout the body.

Unfortunately, just as in the case of our planetary atomosphere, humans’ bad habits have promoted imbalance in the intestinal tract. Just as pollutants such as CFCs have punched holes in our ozone shield, dietary behaviours have contributed to an imbalance of intestinal protective factors in an alarming percentage of the population. These bad habits include widespread consumption of a diet high in refined simple sugars and deficient foods, excess alcohol, antacids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers, and excessive antibiotics. This tips the intestinal balance toward the overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria and a proliferation of yeast and fungal organisms, an imbalance of that is also associated with chronic intestinal dysfunction.