If you’ve done research into the root causes of psoriasis, then one phrase which I’m sure you will find keeps coming up is Leaky Gut or, to give it it’s scientific name, intestinal permeability.
So what exactly is leaky gut and why is it a problem?
The GI tract, when working correctly, is a closed system. It is the tube from mouth to anus where food is processed and passes through the body. The job of the intestinal lining is to separate the GI tract from the blood circulatory system. This lining is only one layer of cells thick to allow the beneficial nutrients from foods to pass into the body enabling us to reap the benefits. However, being so thin means that it is very delicate and therefore susceptible to damage.
Leaky gut happens when gaps develop in the junctions of the components which make up this single layer. This means that particles which should be kept on the GI tract side, now transfer over and can find themselves in the circulatory system.
Credit: Dr Axe
The body doesn’t recognise these foreign invaders as they should normally always be kept in the GI tract. An immune attack is launched and the body goes into overdrive, otherwise known as an autoimmune reaction. In the case of psoriasis, an immune cascade is launched which subsequently is reflected in the skin. Some people would say the body is “attacking itself” but I don’t like this phrase, the body is simply doing its job – sensing an unknown presence and doing all it can to get rid of it.
Why does a gut become leaky?
There can be many reasons why the junctions in the cell wall become too big and leaky, these include:
- Gluten (more on this next week)
- Prescription medications
- Dysbiosis (an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast)
- Nutritional Deficiencies
- High alcohol consumption
- High intake of refined sugar
How do we heal a leaky gut?
The ultimate question! This is where working with a qualified Nutritional Therapist is Gold! Every person is individual and has had their own unique journey bringing them to their current situation. A Nutritional Therapy Consultation will track this journey and look for the root causes of the leaky gut and other imbalances in the body. Healing the gut is about finding the triggers, removing them and giving the body time and space to heal itself. I always compare a leaky gut to a scab on your skin, if you keep prodding it, it will never heal. There are also ways to help the body to repair including adding in nourishing foods and supplements to encourage the gut to heal faster. Lifestyle changes are also important such as getting enough sleep and controlling stress levels. It is also important to make sure the body is getting all of the correct nutrients it needs to enable this process.
As well as supporting the gut to heal itself, it is also important to look after the liver which will be under pressure dealing with the foreign substances in the blood stream. But that is a blog for another time…