Have Leaky Gut? These 7 Food Additives Might Be To Blame
Our intestines do more work than we give them credit for, with the ability to process the food we eat and utilize the nutrients for the health of our bodies all while we go about our daily lives. Individuals who may indulge in less than healthy diets could be doing damage to their intestines without even knowing it, and their digestive problems might be a result of something called leaky gut.
Termed a medical gray area by physicians across the world, not much is known about this condition except that it can cause symptoms that make life difficult, including gas, bloating, and cramping after eating certain foods. (1) Also called intestinal permeability, it’s thought to be linked to a wide variety of ailments including: (2)
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Type 1 diabetes
- And so many more!
Leaky gut occurs in individuals when their intestinal lining breaks down and allows undigested food particles to enter into the bloodstream. This triggers an inflammatory response that can vary in severity, and until the gut lining is healed, the symptoms they experience will be ongoing. (3) If you’ve ever had a stomach ache after eating a specific food or have a general feeling of unwellness all of the time, leaky gut could be the reason for the way you feel.
Foods That Contribute To Leaky Gut
We’re often told that processed and packaged foods aren’t very good for our health, but it’s usually not discussed why that’s the case. It’s common sense that they may not be the best choice out there when it comes to nutrition, but the additives inside of them have been linked to an increase in autoimmune disease throughout the years. (4)
Although food isn’t the only thing to blame when it might come to digestive issues, it helps to evaluate your entire intestinal tract to learn more about how to become healthier. As a first step, take a minute to complete our digestive type questionnaire to find out how your gut is functioning. Then, give some thought to these 7 food additives that can contribute to leaky gut:
Many packaged foods include high levels of sodium which has been linked to an excess of immune cells. These cells, called Th17, are responsible for contributing to a variety of autoimmune diseases. Try cutting salt from your diet as much as possible to help reduce inflammation. (5)
Used in a variety of foods to extend shelf life and generally make things taste more delicious, emulsifiers have long been linked to negative gut health and problems in the colon. They actually alter the makeup of bacteria in the body, creating inflammation that’s long-lasting. (6)
This one shouldn’t come as a surprise, as health experts have long blamed gluten for a host of autoimmune diseases, including Celiac’s disease and general intestinal permeability. Gluten can be found in a variety of packaged products and even gluten-free foods may not be the best choice. (7)
4. Organic acids
It seems that the role of organic acids in our diet is unclear, as positive results have been seen with the integration of fermented foods into the diet. However, acetaldehyde specifically is of concern when it comes to harming the delicate lining of our gut walls. It’s considered a solvent, which is often thought of as a scary ingredient in something we might eat. (8)
5. Microbial transglutaminase
Often referred to as meat glue, microbial transglutaminase is found in many meat products on the market. Everything from imitation crab to entire cuts of meat might contain this additive, as it’s used to improve texture and shape. Like many of the other additives we’ve explored, meat glue is also a culprit when it comes to breaking down the gut lining and contributing to autoimmune conditions. (9)
From a young age we’re told to limit the amount of sugar we ingest, and for good reason. Glucose in its many forms can play a direct role in the health of our gut, and too much sugar can actually deplete our systems of the positive bacteria we need for intestinal health, causing an overgrowth of candida. Unfortunately, many packaged foods include added sugar, even in savory items, and can create unhealthy levels of addiction. (10)
7. Nanometric particles
Blending technology and food together can bring about unintended health consequences, as is the case with nanometric particles. Essentially, these nanomaterials help to improve many facets of the food we eat and make them more appealing, but could they do more harm than good? This additive hasn’t been around long enough to truly evaluate the consequences, but it’s a concern amongst the health community. (11)
Bolstering Our Gut Health
Even those who are religious when it comes to their diet can end up consuming any of these food additives without meaning to, and those who don’t pay much attention to the ingredient label are no doubt eating many of them daily. If your gut lining has been damaged by these additives, how can you help to repair it?
Along with a healthy diet, there are specific supplements you can take to help your body regain its normal functionality when it comes to your immune system and intestinal health. Remember that before taking any supplementation you should always check with your functional medicine specialist first.
- Bone broth – Considered to be almost a magic elixir, bone broth is filled with vitamins and minerals, along with essential compounds like collagen that help to repair a leaky gut. Some choose to go on a bone broth fast for more intense healing while others simply add it to their daily regimen. (12)
- Curcumin – Found in turmeric, curcumin is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Not only does it help to treat inflammation in the body, but it also prevents the further deterioration of leaky gut caused by stress. Turmeric is an easy ingredient to integrate into your daily meals to increase your overall health. (13)
- Prebiotics and probiotics – Excellent sources of the good bacteria that we want to thrive in our gut, both prebiotics and probiotics can help to balance out the digestive system. Not only do they help to keep our intestines healthy, but they have been proven to help heal leaky gut as well. (14)
- Glutamine – Often used by bodybuilders to promote muscle health and healing, the compound L-glutamine holds a number of benefits when it comes to gut health. It prevents further damage to the delicate lining of our intestines and aids in the healing process. (15)
It can be challenging to make dietary changes on your own without the guidance and support of others who have been on the same journey before. At Burlison Clinic, our team has seen firsthand the benefits that come along with focusing on nutrition and a whole-body approach to health. Our digestive rebuilding program targets your specific symptoms and provides steps for you to start healing your gut.
Whether you’ve already started on the journey to a healthier life or you want to begin but don’t know how, we’re here to help. Call our office today at (847) 680-9500 to schedule an appointment and take the first step toward a healthier you.
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