Dianne Rishikof has spent years helping hundreds of clients as a functional nutritionist and gut health expert. Many of her patients come to her after having digestive symptoms of pain, discomfort, bloating and worse that have been repeatedly dismissed by other doctors. Using an integrative and functional medicine approach, Dianne has helped her patients get to the underlying cause of their symptoms, helping them heal from the inside out. Now, she has compiled her successful treatment methods into an e-book Health Takes Guts: Your Comprehensive Guide to Eliminating Digestive Issues, Anxiety and Fatigue, in which she offers the keys to feeling better by fixing the problem at its root. In this excerpt, she identifies leaky gut as the cause of many digestive issues, as well as explains the differences between food allergies and sensitivities.
Leaky Gut Could Be the Cause of Your Digestive Problems
The lining of your intestinal walls is one cell thick. This thin wall is the gateway that determines which materials from your gut are allowed into your body (via your blood). This lining has a critically important job: to let the appropriate things through and keep the harmful things out. Intestinal permeability is the term for this ability. When your intestinal permeability is functioning well, vitamins and fully digested proteins are allowed to pass through the tight junctions in the wall.
When your intestinal permeability is increased, the junctions are loosened, and the wrong things leak through. Substances that should stay in your gut (such as bacteria and undigested food), or substances that should be eliminated (such as toxins and waste), leak into your bloodstream. This is why we call increased intestinal permeability “leaky gut.”
Some people may dismiss the term leaky gut as a myth or a buzzword, but there are more than 13,000 published research articles on increased intestinal permeability…..Leaky gut is not a fad or pseudoscience. It is real.
What is the difference between food allergies, food sensitivities, and food intolerances?
Most people have heard of (or believe they suffer from) “food allergies.” However, sometimes what patients think of as an allergy is not actually a true allergy. In fact, what they may not realize is that they may have a food sensitivity or a food intolerance. These distinctions are possibly insignificant in casual conversations with a friend. However, in terms of what is really going on and how to treat it, the differences are quite significant.
Food allergies are an immune response by the body that occurs immediately after any amount of a certain food is ingested. These can be serious and potentially life threatening. The key here is that it is ANY AMOUNT (in some cases, peanut breath from one person is enough to cause a reaction in an allergic person sitting in the same airplane). An allergic response might be itching, hives, stomach cramps, diarrhea, swelling, anaphylaxis, and even death.
Food intolerance is when digestive symptoms occur after a certain food is eaten and the response time can vary. The amount of food ingested can have an effect on the severity of symptoms. There is a threshold: a person can tolerate a small amount of that food, but not a large amount. For example, some people with lactose intolerance are able to consume a small amount of dairy without having a problem, but if they eat a larger serving, they may experience symptoms. Yogurt and hard cheese are easier to digest because they contain low amounts of lactose. The key distinction here is that this is entirely a DIGESTIVE issue. There is no immune response going on. There are no symptoms outside the digestive tract. Food intolerance may result in nausea, stomach pains, bloating, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Food sensitivities are a different type of immune reaction. They can originate from the systemic immune system or the digestive immune system, and the response can be delayed (up to three days!) or can even be undetectable. The amount of food that causes a response varies (again, there is a threshold) and symptoms include nausea, stomach pains, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, headache, irritability, joint pain, eczema, lack of energy, and more.
Finding Your Food Sensitivities is Key to Healing Leaky Gut
In terms of increased intestinal permeability (aka: leaky gut), food sensitivities are the focus. If a certain food triggers an inflammatory response by your immune system, then that inflammation can cause damage to the lining of the intestine, leading to leaky gut. On the other hand, if you already have leaky gut for some other reason, you are more likely to develop food sensitivities, because food molecules are leaking through your intestinal wall and causing an immune reaction. So, food sensitivities can be both the cause or the result of leaky gut!
Excerpted with permission from ebook: Health Takes Guts®: Your Comprehensive Guide to Eliminating Digestive Issues, Anxiety, and Fatigue.
Learn more about how to heal leaky gut book in the ebook Health Takes Guts: Your Comprehensive Guide To Eliminating Digestive Issues, Anxiety and Fatigue
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