What is leaky gut? Despite many blogs and websites talking about it, there is little explanation of why it starts, what exactly is causing it and what to do about it to make it not leaky again.
Here are the main symptoms of the leaky gut:
- Chronic fatigue
- Bloating after eating
- Low back pain and unexplained body aches
- Rashes, sometimes couple of different rashes
- Chemical sensitivity
- Multiple allergies, including allergies to metals
- Significant side effects to seemingly benign treatments
- Inability to heal, or very slow healing
- Being sick all the time
- Migraines, chronic headaches
- Anxiety, panic attacks and depression, sometimes all at the same time
- Severe itching and sensation of “crawling” under the skin
These are the main problems associated with the leaky gut, but the list is unlimited. While most of the patients experience at least 6 symptoms at the same time, the appearance of problems can be stretched in time masking other diseases at times. Patients usually accumulate enormous amounts of tests that are inconclusive or normal, they visit multiple specialists and usually acquire many diagnosis of suspicion such as Chronic Lyme Disease, Chemical Sensitivity, Irritable Bowl Syndrome, Gluten Sensitivity and even Multiple Sclerosis. Yet, studies and tests fail to confirm specific cause and patients continue their medical journey.
Why is it so enigmatic and difficult to catch? The answer is hidden within the syndrome itself – while it starts in the gut, it is actually an immune problem. As immune system is pretty much spread all over the body and is involved in each and every organ function, the symptoms can present as various organs dysfunctions. That is why most treatments fail – if that was a problem of the organ itself (lets say genetic migraines), the usual treatment would work perfectly. Meanwhile the malfunctioning of the brain blood vessels is caused by immune cells that create inflammation – traditional treatment fails and causes side effects instead.
This condition is new and is not yet recorded in textbooks, just like many other new conditions caused by abnormal immune responses. The explanation for this fact comes from modern scientific achievements that happened in a very large magnitude within very short period of time. Scientists created huge variety of genetically altered proteins and species, biologically active chemicals and synthetic hormones only within last 15 years. While the advantages of these products can be presented, there is a huge problem that is still on the rise – immune system of the body is very rigid and must react to every single contact of the surrounding world with the body. Immune system is trained to recognize “encounters” by reading the codes of proteins and chemicals, and in order to preserve the body integrity it needs to attack and kill everything that it does not know. It can change responses with adaptation to changes (cultivation of crops or domesticating and breeding of the animals), but it takes generations of humans who can fully digest and accept the change.
The worst it the industry of pesticides, herbicides and biomolecules (such and neonicatinoids that insert themselves in genome of the treated plant). Scientists are smart, and when the goal is set the laboratory will work hard until the desired chemical or biological substance is created. When such goal is to create a substrate that kills, readily attaches to the plant and stays active for a long time…it is silly to think that such chemical is not attaching itself firmly enough not to be present in the food we put in our mouth, and then to our own body tissues. And what exactly does it do than??? Well, here I definitely would feel much better if the results of some multi-center placebo-controlled study would assure me that such food does not carry the poison into my system, and that it’s not accumulating in my tissues causing all sorts of problems. I also would sleep much better if I knew that all those chemicals sprayed of the fields and soaked into the seeds are not accumulating in the soil, year after year increasing in concentration and spreading into the surrounding ground, water, rivers and ocean. Well, I found no such studies, and the contrary… I found enough scientific evidence that indeed, we are just blind and unprotected – a generation of people who is undergoing huge experiment that will determine the survival of the fittest. Not the fittest people who go to the gym, but who genetically have the immune systems capable of adapting to all protein modifications and a sea of chemicals. As for now I believe my goal is to study this novel disease and be able to generate treatments that return my patients their health. I am not alone, there are many functional doctors of Eastern and Western medicine who all see same patterns, similar course of disease and are now capable of treating our patients successfully.
Here is another revelation I recently had – Leaky Gut is a part of the bigger picture (together with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and all autoimmune complications such as Adrenal Fatigue and Hypothyroidism), which I call Hyperactive Immune Syndrome.
Here is how we approach diagnosis:
- Chart and history review
- Special questionnaire that screens for specific symptoms
- Laboratory tests – to make sure nothing else is going on and to see if there are positive chromosomes for Celiac disease. Celiac disease is #1 in mimicking this syndrome.
- Skin test for common food allergens – we do not use it to search for new allergies. Indeed, this is the best test to confirm the syndrome and to assess the severity of the problem. The number and percent of positive reactions predict perfectly what treatment the patient needs and how long it will take to recover.
Our treatment protocols has 3 stages – first month is an intense treatment that calms down immune system and clears autoimmune inflammation – is a mix of detox agents, oils that help regeneration of the gut and unique diet that helps detox and immune recovery. I call it Reboot cycle. Second stage is directed toward stimulation of regeneration, healing and immune activation of the new cells that do not have “jammed” function. Third stage is maintanance – we re-introduce variety of foods and make sure that immune system accepts them as neutral. In this phase we achieve complete (if no other diseases present) recovery with return of normal functioning. That is the time when we see people cry… with tears of happiness and belief that miracles do happen. I can assure you – there is no miracle here – just medicine the way it should be.
Over and over again, I think – how little do we know and how fragile our body is. I hope one day we will eradicate all the genetic modifications of food and make a law prohibiting the use of any molecules that have not been shown in appropriate experiments to be harmless to humans. May be my job will not be needed than, and our children will experience a clean and healthy life. For now, statistics is against these dreams. According to already old data of 2015… National Health Council states: