Leaky Gut & Eczema
Tackling a Leaky Gut With These Simple Steps
Our gut, slang for our gastrointestinal system, is one of the most essential systems in our body, responsible for breaking down and absorbing nutrients from the food we eat. You may have already heard about the importance of having a balanced gut microbiome. Today, we're going to deepen your knowledge with a conversation about a condition known as "leaky gut."
What is a Leaky Gut?
A leaky gut is a condition in which the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged and more permeable, allowing harmful substances such as bacteria, toxins, and undigested food particles to leak into the bloodstream. This can trigger an immune response and lead to inflammation. Other potential health problems include digestive issues, autoimmune disorders, and at times, mental health issues.
When toxins and undigested food particles leak into the bloodstream, they activate an immune response that leads to the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. These cytokines can travel to the skin and promote inflammation, which can manifest as redness, swelling, and other symptoms.
One way to understand the effects of cytokines on the skin is to imagine a group of firefighters responding to a fire. When the body senses that there is damage or a threat in the gut, cytokines are released to help "put out the fire" and protect the body. However, when there is chronic inflammation due to a leaky gut, these cytokines can become overactive, leading to excessive inflammation in the skin, which can manifest as redness, swelling, and other symptoms associated with eczema, acne, and rosacea.
By addressing the root cause of inflammation in the gut, we can help reduce the number of cytokines released and avoid the overactive response that worsens existing skin concerns.
Do I have a Leaky Gut?
Several symptoms can indicate you may have a leaky gut. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Digestive issues. Bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea.
- Skin issues. Acne, eczema, rosacea, and other skin issues can be a sign of a leaky gut.
- Food sensitivities. If you're experiencing unexplained food sensitivities or allergies, it may be due to a leaky gut.
- Fatigue. Chronic fatigue can be a sign of a leaky gut.
- Joint Pain: Inflammation caused by a leaky gut can also lead to joint pain and stiffness.
If you suspect that you have a leaky gut, visit a doctor focused on gastrointestinal health to get an assessment of your digestive health.
Generally, poor diet and chronic stress can contribute to a leaky gut condition. Furthermore, overuse of antibiotics, which disrupts your gut bacteria levels, can result in inflammation and increased gut lining permeability.
Improve Your Gut Health
Eliminate trigger foods. Too much sugar, too much salt and eating many processed foods will hurt your body. Focus on nutrient-dense foods, home-cooked meals, and enjoy plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats.
Manage stress. Take steps to manage your stress. Perhaps you have heard many of the usual suggestions like exercise, deep breathing and yoga. Other ways include creative expression, engaging in challenging hobbies, gardening, reading physical books, and getting at least an hour of sunshine each day.
Add probiotics to your diet. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help restore the balance of gut bacteria, reduce inflammation, and improve gut health. It's easy to take a probiotic supplement, or you can add fermented foods to your regular consumption, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir.
Try drinking bone broth. Unfortunately, this solution is not vegan but has been reported to have benefits for many. Bone broth is made by simmering bones (usually chicken or beef) in water for an extended period, typically 24-48 hours. Bones contain collagen, a protein that provides structure and support to the body. When simmered in water, collagen breaks down into gelatin, which gives the bone broth its thick, jelly-like texture. Consuming collagen may benefit skin health, joint health, and gut health. The broths are also rich in amino acids, minerals, glucosamine and hyaluronic acid, which together support body health and immune function.