June 7, 2022

Fixing Leaky Gut & Your Immune System

by Andrea Richardson

Our gut lining allows important nutrients into the body and at the same time it keeps out harmful particles. But when the gut is damaged, it can't select what should enter the body. This is what is referred to as Leaky gut or intestinal permeability.

What happens when we have leaky gut?

The inside of the small intestine is covered with billions of tiny fingers called villi. They secrete mucous, enzymes and hormones and all have a specific effect and purpose on the body.  Below is an image of healthy vs unhealthy villi. 

Leaky gut
  • The mucous acts as a protective barrier and assists with digestion.
  • Digestive enzymes break down particles into smaller molecules. The pancreas produces most of these, but the gut lining does also.
  • The hormones are the chemical messengers that regulate digestion and other functions in the body.
  • The villi have tight junctions or doorways, that selectively allow nutrients into the body.

When the villi are damaged, they can't make sufficient enzymes, mucous, hormones. Also, the tight junctions open up and large undigested food particles, bacteria and toxins can enter the blood stream. This causes system wide inflammation and chaos and the immune system is compromised. 

Having leaky gut is like leaving the front door open in your home, anyone and anything can enter. 

Symptoms of leaky gut

When unwanted particles (pathogens) leak into the body, the immune system kicks in and creates antibodies to remove them.  Unfortunately, the immune system can mistake healthy tissue as a pathogen, because of something called molecular mimicry.

In this way autoimmunity and systemic inflammation starts. 

Symptoms and conditions linked to leaky gut are numerous, including:

What damages the gut?

There are many things that can damage our gut, including:

  • Chronic stress
  • Diet
  • Toxins, drugs and medications
  • Pathogens like bacteria, yeasts and parasites

The protein (gluten) in wheat can make leaky gut worse.  Gluten stimulates the tight junctions in the gut to open.  So, people on a healing program should avoid gluten grains like wheat, barley and rye for a period of time while the gut heals.

Certain medications like NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) also damage the gut lining making healing virtually impossible. Alternative medications should be used during healing. 

How to heal leaky gut?

Healing leaky gut and the immune system, needs a multifaceted approach.

It involves addressing the root cause, whilst adopting an anti-inflammatory, low allergen diet during healing. Specific foods, herbs and lifestyle factors can be used to help relieve Inflammatory symptoms.  This is covered in my anti-inflammatory program.

There is a big difference between a good diet and a healing diet. To learn more about how to eat a healing diet, click here.

Don't know where to start?

Grab Your Free Copy Of The First Chapter of My Program, Healing Naturally

About the author

I was diagnosed with a painful auto-immune disease when I was 35 years old and I found a way to reverse the disease and become drug free. Now I teach others how to do the same.  When I don't have my head buried in a text book I enjoy, camping, spending time with family.

Andrea Richardson


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