Achieve a healthy gut and start feeling better!
Join Functional Medicine-Certified Practitioner, Dr. Vincent Pedre, as he breaks down the science behind common gut ailments and the ways in which they impact overall health. Dr. Pedre explains how celiac and gluten can contribute to leaky gut, and offers actionable steps you can take to heal.
Listen now and start taking care of your gut today!
Having a healthy gut includes producing all the right amounts of enzymes and hydrochloric acid. However, there may be a few reasons why many people have low stomach acid, which can cause leaky gut and other complications.
One reason is stress. When you’re highly stressed and your vagus nerve is shut off, your body is not getting the signals to turn on acid production. In addition, the second most prescribed medication worldwide is proton pump inhibitors. These raise your stomach pH to 4 or 5 (making it less acidic), which is not the best pH to digest and break down foods. All of this can contribute to a leaky gut.
About 40% of the population has one or both of the genes that can cause celiac (DQ 2 or DQ 8), and the presence of these genes results in higher levels of CXCR3 receptors. Gluten then binds to these receptors, which causes you to up-regulate zonulin production. Zonulin was the first discovered substance that causes tight junctions to open, which can cause leaky gut and other diseases, as Alessio Fasano explained in his two other episodes of the Five Journeys Podcast.
Anyone who has these genes and eats gluten causes those tight junctions to open for up to four hours at a time, so what you create is a scenario where you have a leaky gut the whole day caused by the food you’re eating. If you don’t have the genes, you open your tight junctions for about 15 minutes. Even though that’s better than four hours, it’s important to remember your tight junctions are still opening, allowing bad bacteria, toxins, food particles, and everything else from the outside world through.
A study looked at the effect of gluten on gut permeability for three different groups of people: people with celiac disease, people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and everyone else considered “normal.” They found that when exposed to gluten, those with celiac had the highest increase, and the gluten-sensitive had the second highest, but there was still a mild increase in many of those who were normal when exposed to gluten.
Besides gluten, there are numerous other factors contributing to leaky gut, including alcohol, antibiotics, PPIs, NSAIDs, painkillers, and stress. We use alcohol to disinfect the skin before drawing blood, so drinking alcohol is going to affect your gut microbiome. That’s going to lead to an increase in gut permeability, inflammation, the secretion of interleukins, and all sorts of inflammatory cytokines.
There was a study that showed even acetaminophen causes changes in the gut microbiome that can lead to an increase in intestinal permeability. Many people know to avoid too much ibuprofen because it can infect your stomach, can cause ulcers, and increase gut permeability, so they’ve turned to acetaminophen as a safer alternative. However, it’s been shown to cause liver damage and depletes the glutathione stores, which leads to impaired detox.
There are gut-centric symptoms and gut-related symptoms that come from leaky gut. Stomach ache, bloating, constipation, and gas are all symptoms that happen inside your gut. Outside your gut, some symptoms include eczema, psoriasis, hives, fatigued, achy joints, brain fog, migraines, and recurrent sinus infections. All these can be signs that you have an unhealthy gut.
When doctors prescribe medication to treat illness, they’re often providing symptom relief, a top-down approach. The bottom-up approach looks at the root cause and deals with treating the disease from the inside. For his book, the Gut Smart Protocol, Dr. Pedre created a quiz to help people figure out if their issues are caused by leaky gut. It divides people into mild, moderate, or severe.
Dr. Pedre used to teach for the Institute for Functional Medicine, where he focused on running tests. However, there’s no perfect test for intestinal permeability, which is why he prefers to focus on patient history because the tests often just confirm what the history is telling.
In terms of treatment, it doesn’t matter how good your diet is or if you’re taking the perfect supplements, if you’re still living a very stressful lifestyle you’re not going to start feeling better. Meditation, breathwork, and mindfulness are key pieces of the puzzle. You need to regain balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems for your body to heal itself.
Listen now and learn what steps you can take to combat leaky gut and start feeling better today!
Dr. Vincent Pedre is the Medical Director of Pedre Integrative Health and Founder of Dr. Pedre Wellness, CEO/Founder of Happy Gut Life LLC, has worked as a nutraceutical consultant and spokesperson for NatureMD, and is a Functional Medicine-Certified Practitioner with a concierge practice in New York City since 2004. He believes the gut is the gateway to excellent wellness. His newest book, The GutSMART Protocol — featuring a 14-day personalized gut-healing plan based on the GutSMART Quiz — is the culmination of years of research and clinical experience as a functional gut health expert.
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