Tag Archives: gluten

Leaky Gut


Leaky gut is as gross as it sounds. Not because what is in your digestive track is leaking out of your body but because it’s leaking INTO your body.

The lining of the GI track, like your skin, is a barrier to the outside world. What’s in your gut IS outside your body until your GI lining lets it through. Luckily this gut lining is extremely good at letting in the good and blocking the bad. It has tight junctions (imagine a net). Things that should get through: fully digested and broken down molecules of protein (amino acids) and carbohydrates (single monosaccharaides), as well as vitamins and minerals. Things that should stay out: bacteria, non-digested food particles, toxins and other things that belong in your poo and then the toilet.

But when the lining is damaged, the tight junctions become loose. And what shouldn’t get through does. This is leaky gut, or increased intestinal permeability.

It is theorized that all autoimmune disease is partially caused by leaky gut. Something big and/or foreign get into your blood and your immune system attack these unwanted things. But over time, you immune system starts getting confused and starts attacking you. If you are genetically predisposed to an autoimmune disease, this can be a trigger. Leaky gut can also cause food allergies and sensitivities. If a protein molecule (that isn’t totally broken down into single amino acids) gets through, that will cause an immune reaction and trigger a food sensitivity or allergy.

Symptoms of a leaky gut:

  • Fatigue
  • Gut symptoms (bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation)
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Food sensitivities
  • Skin problems (rashes, eczema)
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Behavioral problems (ADHD, Autism)
  • Weight problems
  • Adrenal Fatigue

Causes of a leaky gut:

What can help?

  1. You want to remove all your triggers. (stop taking aspirin, start meditating, give up gluten, etc)
  2. Treat the root cause (infection, SIBO)
  3. Heal the lining

What heals?

  • Gelatin. I am not talking about Jello. I am talking about non-flavored unsweetened gelatin. The amino acids heal the tight junctions. Bone Broth, if made properly, is an excellent source. But you can buy gelatin powder too and add it to drinks and food. Check out this smoothie!
  • L-glutamine. An amino acid that heals the lining.
  • Zinc, Vitamin A
  • Probiotics (as long as SIBO, and other infections are treated appropriately)
  • Digestive enzymes
  • Real food

Please leave any questions in the comments and SHARE this article on social media, using those buttons below. There are bound to be numerous people who need this info!

Image courtesy of Ohmega1982 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



All About Gluten

I recently wrote a comprehensive article about gluten for Paleo Demystified’s Blog. I wrote about who should stay away from gluten and why, and how to figure out if you are one of those people. Please read the article!

Also, I posted a gluten related blog a while ago too.

And two more articles: one from Time magazine about the rise in Celiac Disease. And one in the New York Times that is a very comprehensive article about gluten.

Happy reading!

Does gluten sensitivity exist?


Gluten is the protein in wheat, barley and rye. It has received a lot of attention lately, as more and more people are cutting gluten out of their diets.

Celiac disease is an auto-immune disease where a person is allergic to gluten and eating it causes their immune system to attack the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. This causes an array of unpleasant symptoms including pain and diarrhea. It affects 1% of the population.

Gluten sensitivity describes the remaining number of people who can not tolerate gluten (the stats are 6% or a lot more depending on where you look). There is no allergy, no immune response, and no damage to the lining of GI tract but still symptoms. Gluten is hard to digest and can cause diarrhea, cramping, gas, bloating, headaches, brain fog, or skin rashes. Cutting out gluten removes these symptoms.

Another portion of the population is giving up gluten because they are trying to be more healthy (jumping on the dump gluten bandwagon). I think this is fine. Given that gluten is found in wheat and wheat is highly processed and processed foods are at best useless (and at worst, very bad for you. stay tuned for a future post). But some people think this is just a silly fad.

A study came out recently where gluten sensitivity was actually tested. One group was fed gluten, and other groups were not, but all groups were blind to what they were being fed. Thus preventing bias. And the gluten group did NOT have more symptoms than the control groups. Pretty solid evidence against the existence of gluten sensitivity, huh?

No study is definitive and there were still confounding variables (such as FODMAPs) Here is an article that totally refutes the study point by point and brings the possibility of gluten sensitivity back to life. Or perhaps just wheat sensitivity. Since this research study was giving participants isolated gluten, it doesn’t tell us much about the real world (who sits around eating isolated gluten apart from food?). Perhaps it is wheat that gives people those symptoms and not gluten or a combination of all the components in wheat, including gluten. But you know your own body, and if cutting out gluten solves your problems, that’s compelling research for you.