The Gut starts at the mouth → pharynx → esophagus → stomach → small intestine → large intestine → anus - the whole entire pathway. The intestinal lining makes us or breaks us. The intestinal lining is the inside of our intestines: the borders, the protectors, the keys to our immune system. If we have strong intestinal lining, we are keeping food particles in the intestinal tract which then get absorbed or expelled appropriately. With this we are absorbing proper nutrients, have proper vitamin levels, and lower inflammatory markers. This is a perfect scenario, but this is very rare.
DEEPER DIVE INTO THE GUT
Our intestinal lining covers more than 4,000 square feet of surface area. Let’s look at the details of the gut lining:
The intestinal tract has villi, or fingerlike structures, that aid in absorption of our nutrients. These villi can be damaged which will reduce absorption of nutrients and vitamins leading to vitamin deficiencies and malnourishment. The intestinal lining also has tight junctions which are supposed to STAY tight so particles do not get outside of the intestinal tract and into the tissues underneath it. When the gut is unhealthy, these junctions get holes or cracks in it, which allow bacteria, food particles, and toxins to get through and penetrate these tissues. This is called leaky gut or gut permeability. The penetration of these particles into the tissues and our bloodstream stimulates the immune system to react. The body sees this as a foreign body, thus the immune system gets to work… and then goes on overdrive…
Gut Permeability leads to a slew of problems. First, with the intestinal villi damage, we are not absorbing nutrients properly. Then, with the holes in the tight junctions, the good bacteria leaks out and bad bacteria begins to develop. With this, the gut biome, or the environment of our intestinal tract changes which increases growth of bad bacteria and decreases the amount of GOOD bacteria in our intestinal tract. Furthermore, this bad bacteria starts seeping into our tissues and bloodstream which, again, is not normal for our body and our immune system. We all know that we need good bacteria for gut health and that bad bacteria can lead to infections… T
Think about it, though - if we have less good bacteria and now we have an increased amount of bad bacteria into our tissues and bloodstream, the immune system is constantly fighting. What is this doing to our body?
Yep, uh oh is right.
EFFECTS ON OUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
The immune system is starting to react at a heightened state due to the foreign particles and toxins in our tissues and now in our blood. The immune system starts creating antibodies (inflammatory markers - think about them as little red ants) which then are going around to our entire body. These antibodies attack our organs which lead to autoimmune diseases.
AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES STEM FROM OUR GUT
Autoimmune Disease - this is when the body starts attacking normal cells. The immune system is supposed to attack foreign cells like viruses and bacteria. When the body has a leaky gut, and foreign bodies are entering our tissues and blood stream, the body has more circulating antibodies to fight these off, and those antibodies continue to fight and attack our healthy organs leading to these Autoimmune Diseases. It could be your stomach, your brain, your thyroid, your joints, your skin, your nerves, your muscles. What I am saying is - the inflammatory response is systemic, meaning it can impact the whole entire body. Your reaction to poor gut health is going to be different than your friend, father’s, or sister’s reaction to poor gut health.
There are over 80 known Autoimmune Diseases… EIGHTY!! Autoimmune Disease affects more than 24 million people in the United States alone. There are many blood tests, diagnoses, and treatments for Autoimmune Disease and their Symptoms. But, what isn’t talked about enough – identifying the CAUSE of Autoimmune Disease through your gut health and treating this PROBLEM to reduce the effects, inflammation, symptoms, and progression.
If you are experiencing some of these symptoms you may have abnormal gut health. Gut permeability doesn’t just affect your bowel movements or abdominal symptoms. It doesn’t just affect your joint pain or headaches. It can increase your risk of prediabetes, diabetes, or other metabolic dysfunction in which your body is not able to metabolize food efficiently, affecting the rate of your metabolism, sleep, energy, and brain function. Your gut health is SYSTEMIC.
Treat from the inside-out. Treat the problem.
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