On my last blog, we talked about acid reflux, which is when your stomach is not producing enough acid to break down your food or kill microorganisms. This can cause your nutrients to not be dissolved enough to be absorbed in your small intestines, microorganisms to leak into your gut, and many other issues.
One of those issues can be Leaky Gut or, DYSBIOSIS. Typically, I treat for Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)/Dysbiosis. This test is best done using a Breath Test.
A common statement I hear when I mention leaky gut to a patient is, “I take a probiotic so I shouldn’t have it.” That is great! I love that you are taking a probiotic, but a probiotic is NOT going be the fix for leaky gut. It is just going to help provide good bacteria in the gut to send proper signals. But leaky gut is when your intestinal lining has been so damaged, it is not doing its job to stop foreign objects from getting into your bloodstream.
Imagine your intestinal cells like beautiful plump plums. Great smooth skin on the outside, and healthy flesh on the inside. That is kind of what the small intestines cells look like. Yet, over time if you have been exposed to certain medications, GMO’s, bacteria, infections, bad foods, bad diets, drugs, alcohol, NSAIDS (advil/aleve), antibiotics, and many other things, those conditions turned this beautiful plum into a raisin. Now visualize a raisin. All wrinkled, tough, no fleshy filling, nobody really likes to look at it. First, this is not what the cell is supposed to look like. Second, this shape is important. Imagine you have 100 plums lined up in a row. They are very tight and not much of a gap between them. That is important. We call this a “tight junction”. These tight junctions in between the cells in the intestines are designed to keep large bad guys out of the bloodstream and only let tiny good guys in like nutrients, vitamins, etc. This is a very important job. We want to keep the bad guys inside the intestines and shove them into the large intestines where they will become waste products. But if our plums shrivel up into raisins, now these tight junctions become large holes and these bad guys can pass through into the bloodstream. Yikes! This is going to be a problem, because our bloodstream does not know what to do with these foreign particles. So, it begins to produce white blood cells and immune cells to attack these foreign objects. This causes high blood pressure in our system as well as systemic inflammation. Systemic inflammation could be allergies to foods, rashes, breakouts, skin irritants, low grade fevers, autoimmune issues, arthritic pain, etc.
Let's say you have a large house. You don’t want to let a group of bad people in your house, so you hire some security guards. Their job is to patrol around, look for these people, capture them, and take them away. In this example, the security guards are your immune system, the bad people are the foreign particles, and the house is your organs and bloodstream. This is normally a very easy job. There are plenty of guards to get a few bad people that get in. In the case of leaky gut, suddenly there are too many people entering the house and not enough police to capture them. This is foreign object infiltration. Chaos occurs! The guards (white blood cells) don’t have anything under control and the bad people (foreign particles) begin to wreak havoc on the house. They don’t want to be captured by the security guards, so they begin to hide in different places and they begin to run wildly wherever they want. Now, when these foreign particles begin to hide and deposit in your organs, this is when inflammation becomes the worst. This is where we get cancers, syndromes, and diseases like alzheimers, dementia, MS, Diabetes, Lupus, Psoriasis, RA, thyroiditis, etc. A lot of these autoimmune disease can be linked back to leaky gut. This is just one part of the leaky gut system. There is another part called the IgA defense, which begins from our mouth and takes us all the way to the small intestines. This is actually our first line of defense before we get to leaky gut. Look out for my blog post on this very soon!
In the meantime, I have started a PODCAST called, "The Common Sense Doctor". Today's episode is on the Digestive System, getting into more detail about acid reflux and leaky gut. Please let us know if you listen to it.