It takes guts to leak, here’s what your digestive system wants you to know.

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If you have been following my earlier posts on detoxification you should now know that this is a step-by-step process. It’s not something you want to rush into. It’s a marathon race, not a sprint.

Minerals play an important role in helping your body expel toxins. The lions share of those minerals need to come from nutrient dense food. What we eat will either deplete our body’s mineral supply or it will replenish it. Remember, without minerals, your detox wheels will be spinning but you won’t get very far.

Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin once said, “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.” Today, that statement would be more accurate if it read “Tell me what you absorb and I will tell you what you are.” Here’s the problem.

In your mind’s eye, imagine holding a bicycle inner tube. Next, take a pair of scissors and cut the tube so that it hangs down in a single straight line. Then place the tube on the floor in front of you. What you now have is a design very similar to your digestive system. Both are hollow tubes with an opening at the top (the mouth) and an exit at the bottom (anus).

If we forced food into the top of the inner tube and then squeezed it all the way down, it would eventually come out at the bottom. This would be a pretty good example of how the body expels waste. Now hold that image, got it?

Again take out those imaginary scissors and begin making several microscopic nicks to the inner-tube (anywhere you like). This time, if we were to force food down the tube small particles of food would squeeze through those tiny nicks.

In the body, those tiny particles are finding their way into the bloodstream. That’s not good, right?

Not really. The immune system is smart but it isn’t expecting to see fecal matter (eew gross) or particles of food floating around in the bloodstream. As far as the immune system is concerned, all partially digested bacon sandwiches are safely trapped inside the inner tube (AKA your digestive tract).

So when the immune system spots something it doesn’t recognize, it gets a little freaked out and sends the whole system into red alert. Boomshakalaka, say hello to your new food sensitivities!

But guts aren’t meant to leak so why would they do that?

In certain individuals, proteins found in gluten can be notoriously difficult to break down. Over time, the delicate lining of the gut can become irritated and inflamed. Once the lining becomes permeable food particles to ooze through and enter the bloodstream (as with our inner-tube example). The term for this is often described as leaky gut syndrome. Let’s explore this concept a little.

From the time we swallow it, to the time it leaves the body, food was always meant to stay inside the digestive system. For it to wander into the bloodstream is both unusual and unnatural. Some might say, almost as unnatural as the way we now grow our food.

In recent years, food has recently undergone some pretty radical changes. Much of our food is now sprayed with some heavy-duty pesticides. This has become an everyday farming practice and nobody seems to mind. Yet, many of these pesticides contain EDCs (endocrine disrupting chemicals). They work by disrupting the central nervous systems of bugs. Some of the newer insecticides also work by disrupting the guts of insects. Hmm, I see.

The standard western diet is also heavily reliant on grain, most of which have now been “modified” to increase crop yields. While this may sound good, nobody can say for sure how this will affect the human race long term.

For some of us, the gluten found in wheat, barley, and rye is already causing a wide range of reactions. These reactions can range from a feeling of general fatigue to mental confusion and just about everything in between. Throw into the mix a few thousand food additives and we shouldn’t be all that surprised when people experience digestive issues.

GLUTEN FREE?

Meh, not so fast.

Once grains become a problem, switching to “gluten-free” products are unlikely to solve the problem. Think of a lung cancer patient switching different cigarette brands as a way of limiting symptoms. Once your immune system reacts to gluten, you may need to go grain free or you may find you are simply exchanging one problem for another.

The good news is you can buy certified gluten-free oats, but it pays to be sure of the source. The bad news is some people are still going to react because cross-contamination with gluten is common during processing.

INFLAMMATION

It’s important to note that inflammation plays a pivotal role in ALL illness. When your immune system begins to attack food particles in the bloodstream, systemic inflammation is your reward.

A small amount of localized inflammation can be thought of as a well-guarded campfire with a practical benefit. But, inflammation left to linger can soon become a rampant forest fire. The connection between illness and this type of out of control inflammation is well documented.

It seems that doctors are better equipped to hand out pills than they are dietary advice. But they do agree that gluten has the potential to cause damage to the intestinal lining. When the intestines become inflamed it can be harder for the body to absorb nutrients.

Many of us have been conditioned to think the answer to our health problems lies in swallowing more pills. But trying to medicate our way out of a poor diet is just poor judgment.

Keep in mind that the pharmaceutical industry is like no other. It generates higher profit margins than the oil industry. Big pharma has no interest in your nutritional needs. So the mere mention of a leaky gut in your physician’s office and you can expect an uncomfortably long stare.

If you have been paying close attention you may have noticed that the keyword I keep using to describe these events is “theory.” You might now be asking why this is still a theory? Well, clinical trials cost millions of dollars and this “theory” simply isn’t sexy enough to pay for those clinical trials. Put simply, there’s no money to be made from telling you to change your diet.

With so many diseases currently labeled “unknown,” perhaps the leaky gut theory should be given a little more merit. Or, at the very least, explored to the fullest.

Many of the great medical discoveries were first mocked by the medical establishment. Lest we forget, poor Doctor Ignaz Semmelweis who was admitted to a mental institute for suggesting doctors needed to wash their hands between operations. Today, his theory of germs is still saving lives.

If your goal is to detoxify successfully, the process will be enhanced if you take steps to clean up your diet and address any absorption issues. Until next time, thanks for reading — James.

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