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Gut Inflammation: Causes & Support Strategies|
by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center
Your gut health affects your entire body. It affects your immune, brain, mental, and skin health. Gut inflammation also affects your energy levels and overall wellness. If you have gut inflammation and your gut health is compromised, you may start experiencing both gut health and non-gut health symptoms and health issues.
With natural support strategies, you can reduce gut inflammation and related symptoms.
What Is Gut Inflammation?
There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic inflammation. Acute inflammation (a sudden onset) is a healthy and normal response from your body to any injury, allergen, infection, or illness. If you fall off your bike and scrape your knee, your body will start to generate inflammation. You will notice some redness, swelling, bruising, or pain. If you catch a respiratory infection or have seasonal allergies, your body will try to fight it with acute inflammation. You may experience some congestion, a sore throat, sneezing, irritation, red eyes, or watery eyes.
An acute response will subside and disappear as you recover. Acute inflammation will only last a day, a few days, or a few weeks, depending on the cause and severity. It will not result in ongoing, long-term problems. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is long-term, low-grade inflammation without a single specific triggering event or clear cause. Poor dietary and lifestyle choices, environmental factors, chronic stress, poor sleep, and other factors can result in chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation means that your body is experiencing triggers all the time and reacting with inflammation on a constant basis. Chronic inflammation can lead to chronic symptoms and chronic health issues. In fact, chronic inflammation is one of the root causes of most major chronic diseases.
In this article, we will be talking about chronic inflammation affecting your gut. It means that your intestines become inflamed and are chronically inflamed. Chronic gut inflammation is also characterized by gut microbiome imbalance and an array of chronic gut health symptoms. Since your gut is connected to your entire body, chronic gut inflammation also increases the risk of chronic symptoms and health issues in other parts of your body.
Gut Inflammation Symptoms
Symptoms of gut inflammation may include, but is not limited to, abdominal pain or cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, mucus in stool, unusual stool (unusual color, texture, or smell), mixed bowel habits, feeling of incomplete bowel movements, blood in stool, loss of appetite, unintentional weight loss, weight gain, sugar cravings, low energy, and fatigue.
Gut inflammation may also result in non-gut-related symptoms, including, but not limited to, brain fog, headaches or migraines, skin issues, mouth sores, painful joints, allergies, redness or pain in the eyes, mental health issues, night sweats, menstrual changes, kidney stones, and fever.
Gut Inflammation & Leaky Gut Syndrome
Your gut is critical for the breakdown, digestion, and absorption of nutrients from your food for repair, growth, energy, health, and well-being. It is also important for protecting you from pathogens, like bad bacteria, fungi, parasites, and toxins in your gut. If you have leaky gut syndrome, your gut health is compromised and cannot do its job.
Leaky gut syndrome develops when your intestinal barrier becomes leaky. Under normal circumstances, your intestinal barrier has tiny holes in it. They are large enough to allow water and nutrients to pass through, but they are too small for invaders to enter your bloodstream. However, when due to chronic inflammation, a poor diet, poor lifestyle choices, toxin exposure, or chronic stress, these openings can become larger.
When these holes in your intestinal wall become too big, you develop leaky gut. This means that microbes, undigested food particles, and toxins can now escape into your bloodstream. While chronic inflammation is one of the underlying causes and triggers of leaky gut syndrome, leaky gut syndrome also feeds chronic inflammation, creating a vicious cycle.
Leaky gut syndrome can trigger chronic inflammation and an autoimmune reaction. It can result in digestive troubles, fatigue, brain fog, digestive troubles, skin problems, histamine intolerance, and autoimmunity. According to a 2019 study published in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), leaky gut syndrome may cause autoimmune disease, such as autoimmune diabetes mellitus.
Natural Support Strategies for Inflammation
Some support strategies include avoiding long-term use and overuse of certain medications, especially antibiotics, PPIs, NSAIDs, and SSRIs, if possible. Work with a practitioner to reduce the risk of gut inflammation and related symptoms.
A 2021 study published in BMJ found that eating a diet high in processed foods, processed sugar, alcohol, and processed animal foods were associated with increased intestinal inflammatory markers, gut inflammation, and gut microbiome imbalance
One of the best ways to support your gut health and reduce gut inflammation is following gut-friendly nutrition strategies. You can try an elimination diet.
Going on an elimination diet is the best strategy to find out what food sensitivities you may have. To start, take out the following food groups from your diet for two weeks: gluten, dairy, refined sugar, corn, soy, eggs, all grains, vegetable oils, shellfish, tree nuts, legumes, and nightshade vegetables. Make sure that you remove these foods completely. Eating just a bit of these triggering foods can cause symptoms and compromise your efforts.
After a two-week elimination period, introduce foods to your diet one by one. Eat new food for two to three days. Notice your symptoms. If you have symptoms, remove them. Add a new food, note your symptoms, and continue.
Reducing stress and optimizing your sleep can be very helpful. Taking a few deep breaths can reduce your stress levels immediately.
Practicing meditation, gratitude, and mindfulness can help you to learn how to respond to stress better and lower your stress levels. Time spent exercising is also a great way to calm your mind and reduce stress.
You can also use ginger because it improves your digestive juices.
Adding probiotic-rich foods in your diet, including sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented vegetables, coconut kefir, pickles, and kombucha is helpful.
Remember, gut inflammation can compromise your entire health. It can affect your immune, brain, mental, and skin health, energy levels, and overall wellness. It can lead to an array of health issues.
If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107 in Frederick. Check out the website at www.doctorlo.com.