Digestive Tract and Leaky Gut

Did you know the digestive system is over 27 feet long and the food you eat may spend as long as 4 hours in your small intestine? or that the gut micro-biome in total can weigh up to 2 kg (4.4 lb)?

The Function of our digestive tract is to allow us to absorb what we eat into our internal environment.  It is a long tube that starts in the esophagus and ends in the colon and rectum.  Once food is eaten, the digestive system releases enzymes to break the food down into small particles so they can be absorbed by the intestinal mucosa (lining). These spaces between your gut’s outermost cells are called intestinal tight junctions, and they act as the safeguard between your intestines and your bloodstream. The tight junctions between the intestinal mucosal cells prevent absorption of  molecules and only allow the passage of very tiny particles.

If our digestive system is working properly, we have maximum absorption of nutrients and our body systems are energized improving our quality of life.  Healthy digestive function involves proper actions of the nervous and endocrine systems, as well as proper bowel movements (peristalsis) that do not cause discomfort.  It also plays a role in optimal function of our immune system and mucosal barrier function.

Leaky Gut (intestinal permeability) occurs when the lining of our intestine is damaged and as a result impairs the ability of our lining to protect us from foreign bodies entering our bloodstream as well as affecting our ability to maximize nutrient absorption.  In general if the leakage of food and toxins is small then symptoms are confined to the gastrointestinal tract.  Likewise if the leakage is larger than symptoms can be more systemic and lead to autoimmune dysfunction.


Factors that can affect digestive system function

Poor sleep patterns

Stress elevates cortisol and slows down digestion.

Lack of physical activity

Refined sugar- the average person consumes, a half pound of sugar per day, this is enough to do damage to even the strongest gut.

Fiber content

Nutritional deficiencies

Quality of drinking water

Environmental toxins

Food dye

Artificial Sweeteners

GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) such as corn, soy, and wheat

Pharmaceutical agents such as antibiotics, proton pump inhibitors, tylenol, etc.


Symptoms of Leaky Gut

Localized Symptoms  can include but are not limited to:  gas, abdominal cramping, bloating, constipation and or diarrhea.

Systemic Symptoms  can include but are not limited to:  joint pain, rashes, difficulty sleeping, cognitive dysfunction, fatigue, and asthma.

Diet and lifestyle can be important for optimal gastrointestinal (GI) function.  Exercise, sleep patterns and stress can affect GI motility, while dietary intake can affect intestinal function and the microbial environment.


So What is Next?

Schedule an appointment with one of our practitioner’s who will be able assist you to identify the root cause of your condition and provide the support needed for your body to heal itself.

Thrive for Life provides a holistic approach to the care of our patients.  We offer Chiropractic Care, Functional Medicine/Nutrition, Acupuncture, NeuroKinetic Therapy (NKT) and Massage Therapy. We have the ability to order testing and recommend nutritional and supplemental support for your condition(s).

At Thrive for Life we believe the body has the ability to heal itself and function optimally.  This is only true if there is nothing interfering with that process.  Our focus as specialists is to find the cause of the interference or imbalance and do everything we can to correct it, allowing the body to once again heal itself and Thrive!  We do not claim to treat conditions or cure disease;  we are simply working to support and restore the body’s natural healing abilities.

For more information on how we can help, contact Barbara our Nurse Practice Manager, 314-395-4934 or barbara@tflchiro.com

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

“Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease.”