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Understanding Leaky Gut Syndrome

Understanding Leaky Gut Syndrome

Our intestinal lining is made up of a layer of cells that helps us absorb nutrients, but it also acting as a barrier to things that have the potential of being harmful to our digestive system – like toxins, pathogens, or other microorganisms. When the gut is exposed to certain environmental triggers, it can lead to a condition known as intestinal permeability or leaky gut syndrome.

This is something I suffered from for many years. I had severe gastrointestinal symptoms from the time I was a child all the way through adulthood. Diarrhea, constipation, stomach aches, constant nausea, gas, bloating, pain, irritable bowel… You name it, and I had it.

I was overweight, underweight, had a gallbladder that was barely functioning, I would go weeks without having a bowel movement and then all the sudden the bottom would fall out. I hope you don’t know what I mean. But if you who do, you know it’s no fun.

I want to give you overview of what leaky gut syndrome looks like, the signs and symptoms, causes and risk factors, associated health conditions, as well as an overview of the four R’s, which is a therapeutic approach to Healing your leaky gut.

What is leaky gut syndrome?

The intestinal barrier is made up of a single layer of epithelial cells which are separated by tight junctions that act as a physical barrier. If the gut is healthy, tight junctions in the intestinal lining are selectively permeable, which means they will do their job to absorb of certain nutrients, water, and electrolytes. But these tight junctions also provide a protective barrier, preventing the absorption of the harmful molecules such as the toxins, pathogens, and other antigens mentioned previously.

How does leaky gut happen?

There is a protein called Zonulin that is secreted by the intestinal tract that is associated with leaky gut syndrome. Environmental factors may stimulate the release of zonulin, which has been shown to down-regulate these tight junctions. When the gut becomes imbalanced in its microbes, this is known as dysbiosis, and it plays a role in the development of leaky gut. This can be reversed by removing environmental triggers and cleaning up the gut.

What are the causes and risk factors?

  • Antibiotic use
  • Environmental toxins
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Infections
  • Poor gut health
  • Gluten consumption
  • Certain medications like NSAIDs, immunosuppressants
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Poor diet
  • Chronic or excessive stress

Related health conditions

The latest research tells us that increased intestinal permeability may be associated with a number of health conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, and chronic inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, and type 1 diabetes.

What can you do about it?

This is where the 4 R’s come in.

  • Remove the pathogens and inflammatory triggers. This can be done with elimination diets, that remove inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, alcohol, peanuts. Food sensitivity tests can also be helpful in determining foods that are causing inflammation in individuals. Stool testing helps determine pathogens present and is another way to look at zonulin markers.
  • Replace essential nutrients that are supportive for healthy microbiome like fiber rich foods, prebiotics, and anti-inflammatory foods.
  • Reinoculate with probiotics and introduce fermented foods when the timing is appropriate.
  • Repair with certain nutrients that promote health of the gut lining, like immunoglobulins, L-glutamine, zinc, and Ganoderma.

There is a systematic approach that promotes healing of the gut when intestinal permeability creeps in. This Protocol can take as little as 60 to 90 days when the appropriate steps are taken to correct it. I encourage you to work with your functional wellness practitioner who can recommend specific testing and provide you with a personalized treatment plan.

In the event that you are looking for a qualified professional to assist you, please take a peak at my services, and I’d love to offer direction.

My mission is to give you the tools you need to get to the root of your nagging symptoms so you can live your best life!

Your Toxic Mind is Making You Sick

Your Toxic Mind is Making You Sick

Did you know your thoughts can impact your physical health?

What you should know about the Mind-Body Connection…

I love to cleanse the body at least a couple times per year to do a little reboot. During this time, I implement different strategies that bring me what I need to clean up debris from old toxic patterns that I’ve allowed to creep in over the previous season.

Today I want to focus on cleansing from a mind-body perspective. I believe the way we get the most bang for our buck (if you will) is to see them as one.

THE PROCESS

It takes preparation when we decide to cleanse or detoxify the body. I’ve found that it’s super important, especially in this day because our environment has become a dumping ground for toxic waste. As a matter of fact, detoxification was a complete game-changer for me during my health journey, to the point that it’s something I use with every one of my clients today. After experiencing health symptoms that I just couldn’t get rid of, like foggy thinking, headaches, gas, bloating, indigestion, joint pain, waking up tired in the mornings, and inability to sleep through the night, I worked to develop a seasonal cleansing protocol based on the knowledge and experience I gained from many of my mentors. In working with others, I also found that sometimes all it takes for them to see a complete turnaround in their health is to give them the same tools to implement these detoxification strategies on a regular basis.

Cleansing has been a part of my life from the beginning, since embarking on my journey to health. Along the way, I learned that cleansing and detoxifying can be quite different. In short, we can cleanse the body by eliminating certain foods and allowing the body to rest or reboot. You’ve probably seen juice cleanses, and heard of people implementing certain types of fasts, and even teas and other potions that are supposed to cleanse the body. There’s nothing wrong with this, but if you are attempting to completely detoxify the body, and clean up the cells, there needs to be certain components in place for that to happen.

I come across many teachings that focus on detoxifying the body but there are 2 things I want to focus on today that I feel are many times missed in these discussions.   

#1 the importance of the liver

#2 the importance of cleansing toxic thoughts

I know… these may seem super random, but I believe we cannot cleanse a toxic body and leave a toxic mind alone. This is what I like to refer to as the mind-body connection for cleansing and detoxification.

If the body goes through this detoxification process, but we are still in a pattern of addiction and self-destruction due to traumatic events that we have not processed, then we never move into a place of freedom.

PHYSICAL DETOX

I mentioned that cleansing and detox are quite different. The process of physical detox actually requires a 3-step process. This is known as the 3 phases of detoxification. For detoxification to take place in the body, there must be certain vitamins, amino acids, and nutrients on board. The body then goes through a systematic process to do the clean-up work.

Our liver is our major detoxification organ – so learn to love your liver.

What happens in the 3 phases?

  • In phase 1, the liver uses enzymes and oxygen to break up the toxins.
  • In phase 2, the toxins are packaged up into a water-soluble package
  • In phase 3, the liver, kidneys, and intestines work to excrete the toxins

There are many things that can get in the way of detoxification taking place in the body, but some of these include things like:

  • Overgrowth of pathogenic microbes (parasites, bacteria, fungus) in the digestive tract
  • Lack of fiber
  • Magnesium deficiencies
  • Food intolerance

Signs that you need to detox are:

  • Belly bloat
  • Abdominal fat – also known as “the spare tire effect”
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Feeling exhausted all the time
  • Acid reflux/heart burn
  • Dark spots on your skin and dark circles under the eyes
  • Excessive sweating or stinky sweat
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Headaches
  • Menstrual Irregularities

MENTAL / EMOTIONAL DETOX

So now that you have a better understanding about what it takes to do a physical detox, let’s talk about the mental/emotional aspect. This is one topic I rarely see approached when there is a discussion around detoxification. I imagine it is one of the most toxic things in our environment though.

Thinking back to my own healing journey, this was one of the most important for me. It’s actually where my journey began.

I remember when I wasn’t the most positive person. Growing up, I wasn’t necessarily negative, but my self-talk wasn’t very good. I imagine it’s something we could all work on. Most of us probably tend to be a little harsh on ourselves compared to how we are with others we love.

We pick this up from those around us many times. And we also have false notions of what’s really important in life because we watch things go on around us and feel like we have to live up to the worlds ideas instead of creating our own.

Conforming to those around us and the things of this world can be very toxic to our mind and emotional state.

In my time of working through my own issues and helping others do the same, I’ve found that our mind has the ability to control us and bring us into negative thought patterns if we allow it.

We are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, on a daily – and even moment-by-moment basis. This means we have a choice in where we end up emotionally. We can either become victim to our emotions, sickness, or other circumstances, or we can go THROUGH them and find strength to endure.

We detox our thoughts and mind by casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. That means casting down negative thought patterns like fear, anxiety, worry, depression, and doubt. We are to process our experiences and go through them. If we don’t bring our thoughts into captivity and choose to process them, then they will hold us captive and we will assume the position of being a victim to our very own thoughts.

MIND-BODY CONNECTION

Toxic thoughts become toxic to us physically. When we believe we are sick, overweight, broke, ugly, then we become those things, because whatever we focus on, we bring about.

I work with people on a daily basis who believe these things. I work with them to shift these thought patterns so they believe what is true, instead of believing a lie. The things we worry about are things that we dream up in our subconscious. They are many times things that don’t even matter. Other times these are thoughts that arise because we’ve been through a traumatic event. But if we fail to process these thoughts, then we will become their slaves.

In the physical body, there’s a shift in our cellular makeup that actually can create physical matter. Dr. Caroline Leaf is one of the greatest researchers in this area. She says that disease is created first as a negative thought.

Whatever you meditate on and think about it in your heart, you will become. This world was created by a thought that was verbalized, when God said, “let there be light.” And there was light. So that thought became a physical reality. That’s exactly how your thoughts and language and body work together.

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

ARE YOU READY TO TAKE ACTION?

As you can see from above, there are things that need to be in place for you to physically clean up your cells appropriately. I encourage you to work with a qualified professional if you are feeling any of the symptoms mentioned. You want to make sure you have the right things in place, including nutrients as well as make sure you are eliminating properly before implementing any detoxification program.

My desire is that you understand this information in a way that allows you to implement it on a regular basis – not only that, but learn the tools you need so you can one day do it on your own.

If you’re ready for a different take on losing weight, getting rid of depression and anxiety, and ridding things like digestive upset, headaches, pain and inflammation, swollen legs and feet… if you want to learn how to live in health in your mind and body so you can live your best life, then join me and the others who have already made the decision to invest in themselves for my seasonal cleanse challenge.

If you missed the window to register, that’s okay! Check out my coaching page and stay tuned for other coaching programs you can access to invest in your health.

Do You Know The Truth About Gluten?

Do You Know The Truth About Gluten?

I receive a lot of questions about foods containing gluten. And that’s why I’ve dedicated my past 2 health articles to the subject. You may say, “you seem a little obsessed with gluten. What’s the truth about this food?” I’ll share a little bit more today, in a different light. Let’s look at one of the questions I get posed often.

“If it was good enough in the biblical days, what’s wrong with it today?”

This is where my interest is piqued because I love the word of God and I love science and nutrition.

In the biblical days, the harvesting of wheat was an annual event. An abundant harvest was a sign of abundant blessing. Wheat and bread were also seen as acceptable sacrifices to God. Jesus even spoke about bread, saying that He was the bread of life. He taught us to pray and thank God for our daily bread. He even performed miracles and multiplied bread to feed thousands.

While all of these things are true, nowhere in the Bible does it tell us that bread was created to be a staple and sustain us and provide us health.

The big problem was discussed by cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, in his book called Wheat Belly. Like many of the foods we know today, the crossbreeding of wheat and non-wheat began many decades ago, in hopes that we would yield a higher crop. It worked!

The problem is, today’s wheat isn’t even wheat after using chemicals, high-dose gamma rays, and x-rays. Over the years, we’ve seen about a 400% increase in things like celiac disease, diabetes, obesity, and other inflammatory diseases. This hybridization decreases the amount of amino acids we receive as well as the nutrient content. He recommends that everyone completely eliminate this food for that very reason.

So, is this gluten free craze really a big deal or is it just another flawed fad?

Here’s where the science comes in.

Gluten has been found to either contribute to or cause over 200 disease states, some of them being heartburn, anemia, thyroid disease, autoimmune disease, depression, migraines, chronic fatigue, gas and bloating, dizziness, skin rashes, gallbladder malfunction, and even infertility.

My personal experience is that I had EVERY symptom above except autoimmunity and infertility- likely all related to gluten exposure and consumption.

Here are a few other pieces of information that come from the research:

Consuming excessive amounts of gluten can cause either excessive weight gain or excessive weight loss.

Children with hyperactivity and learning disabilities who are placed on a gluten-free diet typically respond very well and show improvement in symptoms.

Gluten can be found in cosmetics and body care products and can cause the same problems as if it were consumed through food.

According to gluten expert, and author of No Grain, No Pain, Dr. Peter Osborne, the hallmark symptoms of celiac disease can also be caused by corn, soy, dairy, viral, and parasite infections – which all create intestinal permeability. For more information on that topic, check out my health article on warning signs your body gives you when something isn’t right.

Eating processed foods that are labeled gluten-free is a bad idea. Even truly gluten free processed foods are often cross contaminated about 41% of the time.

About 92% of people who follow a traditional gluten-free diet still have symptoms related to consumption of these processed foods as well as corn, rice, quinoa, and other grains.

Those who have issues with gluten can have issues consuming dairy, since it is a cross-reactive food.

Check out my health article on the mistakes people make when removing inflammatory foods from their diet for additional information.

You may ask if it’s worth giving it a shot, giving up gluten. I know how difficult it can be to remove foods like this from your diet. I know the cravings, the addictions, the comfort, and feeling like you have no idea what to eat when you remove certain foods or food groups from your diet.

I will also tell you 100 times over that I didn’t realize how important my health was until I hit rock bottom and had none left. If you asked me today what I would be willing to experience the healthy life that I have today, my answer would be, ” all I have to give!” There is no food worth losing your health over, and there is no amount of money I would not be willing to spend to be where I am today. To me, food is a tool and money is a tool. You simply can’t put a price on health, no matter what you must give up.

What’s next?

It can take up to 3 years to repair the body and recover from gluten induced disease. Every time you’re exposed, it extends the healing process. The best way to test for gluten sensitivity is through DNA lab testing, or just remove it as Dr. Davis suggests.

My desire is for you to feel better than you ever remember feeling in your life so you can live your best life. You are made to live a life greater than you can probably imagine right now, and truth is, if you don’t feel like it, then you simply won’t do and be all you were created to.

If you are looking to gain access to the tools you need to investigate your health concerns further, I’d love to take the opportunity to get to know you a little better and offer feedback on a Complimentary Discovery Call.

When you’re ready, complete my online form and you’ll receive a link to schedule your call with me. 

Warning Signs From Your Body: How To Know When Something Isn’t Right!

Warning Signs From Your Body: How To Know When Something Isn’t Right!

Is your body giving your warning signs that something isn’t right?

Your body is such an intelligent piece of machinery. What I’ve learned over the years as I’ve worked with my body to heal naturally is this… If your body tells you no, the answer is no.

I know how it is to absolutely LOVE things like sugar, dairy, bread, pastries, and all the other grain-filled goodies. I know what it feels like for those items to make up the bulk of your diet and wander “what in the world am I going to eat if I remove those things?” The reality is, it requires a definite shift in the way we view our plate and our food. I had to relearn that food is fuel.

The mental/emotional attachment to food is real. Those feeling of “comfort” we receive from certain foods is real. AND the addiction is real. We actually receive a physiological response when we consume certain foods. That means they alter the chemicals within our bodies that leads to those feelings of euphoria. But I learned that this food-euphoria can come at a great price.

My advice? Pay attention to your body.

Listen for clues. When you experience symptoms in your body, it’s the intelligence of the human body calling out for change. It’s as if your body is screaming, “WARNING, SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT!” If a food is making you sick every time you consume it, stop consuming it! It doesn’t matter what a doctor or a lab test or even a minister tells you. If you feel bad every time you have a piece of bread, then put the bread down and don’t consume it. Back away slowly… and it’s okay to RUN!

I’ll go back to my initial statement about the body being a very intelligent piece of machinery. The truth is, the body knows when something has entered into its environment that is causing harm. It actually elicits an attack in response to what it perceives as an invader. This causes inflammation in the body, which can cause a range of symptoms, but worse than that, it can cause a range of diseases.

Something that may seem very innocent, like putting bread in your body when your body says, “no” is only adding fuel to the fire. You deal with the consequences of how you may or may not feel afterward, but it’s not as innocent as we’d like to believe. This repeated inflammatory response can actually lead to disease states in the body.

When we listen to and respond to our body and give it what it needs, we can enter into a state of thriving – where we can flourish, prosper, blossom, and succeed. On the other hand, when we continually put things in the body that cause inflammation and illicit a response that puts our cells into attack mode, it creates stress on the body. If this stressor is in the form of food, like some of the toxic foods mentioned previously, it can begin to compromise the lining of the gut.

In a healthy body, the gut is lined with tight junctions, allowing only things like nutrients in the form of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals to pass through and be absorbed into the system to bring us into a state of health. The gut lining can become compromised because of stress, pathogens, or from continuous stressors/toxins from our environment that are eliciting a stress response or an attack on the body.

What does this mean?

It means that these tight junctions, that prevent larger particles in the gut from spilling into the body, actually lose their strength to hold those food particles in. This is known as leaky gut – or intestinal permeability – where the contents of the gut are literally spilled into circulation, where they don’t belong. This is a process that happens over time because of some of the stressors mentioned previously – food being only one of them. When these tight junctions become loose, and larger particles begin to spill into the body, they are seen as foreign invaders, and the intelligent piece of machinery that we are walking around in begins to elicit an attack on these particles that do not belong in the bloodstream.

This creates food sensitivities or intolerances, and in some cases disease processes and can even lead to things like autoimmunity. Autoimmune patients have one thing in common for sure, and that is a leaky gut. Many times one autoimmune condition can lead to another. Your body doesn’t hate itself. But it’s attacking what appears to be a foreign invader.

Food is only a small piece of the puzzle. But many times it’s one of the easiest to resolve. Not emotionally, because people are truly attached to their foods, but many times these attachments are not our fault. Food companies create foods that lead to addiction. If you’ve read my book Healed His Way, I talk about the reasons food, and in particular dairy is so addictive, and that’s because it works on the same receptors in the body as morphine. So you literally have a morphine-like response in the body when you consume dairy, which can cause it to be one of the most difficult foods for people to eliminate.

Does this mean you can never eat dairy or grains again? Well in some cases, maybe! For some, gluten just doesn’t work. I recommend that you test in your own body if you want to know what works best for you. The body doesn’t lie.

I choose to do my best to keep certain foods out of my diet after running several food sensitivity panels. I’ve also found a common denominator in many of the foods that cause problems for most people. So even without testing, I typically recommend removing grains, dairy, sugar, artificial sweeteners, soy, and alcohol for a period of about time and if you decide to reintroduce, then pay close attention to how your body reacts. After my last food sensitivity panel, I noticed that there were certain food groups that consistently showed up for me. When I decided to take that a little more seriously, it changed my life.

In my case, I’ve dealt with hypothyroidism for many years, and according to symptoms, for much of my life. But I’m learning now that it’s possibly related to the fact that I never really healed my gut completely because I compromised in certain areas a little more than I probably should have. My gut is my week area and I have to constantly work on that. But if I put inflammatory foods in all the time, then I know my gut will never truly heal.

I do take support for my gut on a regular basis as well as thyroid support in the form of herbs and natural supplements that give the body what it actually needs to heal and repair. Will I ever be 100% without the help of supplemental support? I’m not sure. But what I do know is that it is a journey. And I’m working every single day to eliminate what’s causing me harm and including what is bringing me health. And as long as I do what I know I should, I live symptom-free. And you can too.

I encourage you to begin to examine some of the things in your life that are causing you stress. That can be emotions, food, chronic illness, relationships, too little or even too much exercise, and more!

The secret to my success in almost every area of my life can be accredited to hiring and partnering with mentors and coaches who push me to become my best self. Those are many times people who want to see me accomplish my goals as bad as I want to accomplish them.

If that resonates with you, I’d love to chat with you and possibly help to you dig a little bit deeper into finding out what could be the cause of some of your symptoms. Or find someone else in the field of functional health who will form a partnership with you, so you can become your best self.

Complete my form to schedule a Complimentary Session with me so that you can discover Optimal Health and Wellness in your own life.

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