After my tests came back declaring that just about every food that I had ever even thought about eating made my blood sad, it didn’t take any further testing for my Naturopath to announce that I have Leaky Gut. It’s proper name is Permeable Gut, but that sounds so scientific and, well, dull. If I am going to have something gnarly, at least let’s call it by a fun name.
I should have known I had Leaky Gut. I’ve had it before. Maybe I’ve always had it, but over time it can get to the point where your symptoms become normal – just a part of life – and you don’t even really heed them anymore, let alone sit and think about what might be causing them. Life gets so busy that we don’t notice or question when symptoms ebb and flow, and the enormous number of different foods and chemicals we eat and breathe on a daily basis make it almost impossible to determine cause and effect. One day we might wake up and notice that our joints are stiffer than normal, but to try and figure out what in the chaos of the previous few days may have caused that takes way more work and brain power than any of us have time for. Added to that we have the media, the government, our friends, and family telling us that we should expect joint pain – we are, after all, getting older and these things just happen, you know. I remember going to my soon-to-be-ex Doctor, 8 or so months back when I first started to feel blah. After telling me that there was nothing wrong with me and upping my Bipolar meds because he didn’t know what else to do and of course when you have any kind of brain dysfunction any symptoms are really just made up because you’re crazy, I mentioned about the worsening pain in my thumb joints. They were just painful all the time. He looked at them and said, “Yeah, that’s what happens to joints when you get older. I can give you some painkillers if they are bothering you too much”. Funny then, that at another 8 months older I now have ABSOLUTELY NO JOINT PAIN WHATSOEVER. ANYWHERE. The pain magically vanished after I had been on my ND’s treatment plan for 4 weeks. I wonder to what my now-ex Doctor would attribute the cure of my ‘age-related’ symptom to? It sure wasn’t because I became younger. But we’ll never know – I fired his a**.
Anyway, I digress. Back to the Leaky Gut. My point was that we can walk around with stuff and ignore it because it crept up so slowly, or we’re told those symptoms are just a normal part of life or aging or whatever, or the symptoms don’t manifest in a way that we can see or feel (initially), or we put it down to stress, or some other thing. I didn’t notice all the reactions to my food and chemical sensitivities because I had had the symptoms for so long that I couldn’t see any correlation between what I ate and what my body was telling me. I’ve had migraines since I was 16. I’ve had psoriasis since I was 11. I’ve had IBS on and off since I was in my early 20’s. I’ve had bouts of depression my whole life. And on and on. Traditional medicine has offered me nothing except “I-don’t-knows”, painkillers, antidepressants, sleep-aids, anti-nausea meds, antipsychotics, and steroids. NONE OF WHICH WORKED, by the way. So, I just got used to them being there. Back in January when everything started to get worse – headaches every. single. day., migraines so bad I needed to go to the ER, psoriasis appearing in new places or becoming raw in the places where it already was, increasing pain in my joints, getting more exhausted by the day, I didn’t pay any attention until July when things got so bad I could barely get out of bed. Now I know better: these things are not normal, at all.
While this post is not a post on Leaky Gut but just to say that I have Leaky Gut, it will likely help if I give you the in-a-nutshell version of why knowing this is so important in unraveling the puzzle and making sense of all my symptoms. I will be writing a huge post on Leaky Gut, but for now here is the gist.
Leaky Gut is when something damages the lining of the gut making little holes so that large particles of food can pass through it’s walls undigested. Since they are all undigested the body does not recognize them and so concerned cells start calling 911 and the police department race all over with their sirens blaring, the fire department turn up with fire hoses blasting, and medical response units roar in – all generally trying to get rid of the threatening offenders – and this chaos produces a whole bunch of symptoms. The symptoms are the cells way of saying, “DUDE. YOU’RE POISONING ME! Stop it! Stop it right now!”
This is probably a good place to point out that when you have Leaky Gut the cells do not stop to ask, “Is it SANE?”. Most everything looks like a poison (because it’s undigested) and so even the best and brightest of foods find themselves in the firing line of the emergency response team in your body. I can only imagine the extra havoc and damage that would have ensued had I NOT been eating a fantastically nutritious diet. The extra load of sugar, starches, and other toxic crap would have made my position even worse. If you are even for one pecosecond entertaining the thought of saying, “See!! SANE doesn’t work! SANE is dangerous! SANE makes people sick!” or “You should stop telling people about SANE. You’re bringing SANE a bad name. People are going to look at you and say you eat SANE and you’ve got all this stuff wrong with you. You aren’t the poster child for SANE after all. You’re not perfectly healthy so you make SANE look like a scam”, you need to READ THIS. Oh and then stop being an idiot. None of what is wrong with me is anything to do with SANE. None of it.
I have become increasingly sensitive to more and more foods as my liver has become more and more exhausted trying to deal with all this stuff that it now considers poison. Once my liver got exhausted it stopped being able to process other stuff as effectively, so chemicals were not detoxified properly and I have become acutely sensitive to smells such as perfumes and gasoline and paint. Walking down the detergent aisle in the grocery store literally makes me vomit now. The other day I walked into a colleague’s office and after about 20 seconds said, “I am really sorry but I can’t stay in here anymore”. (She had fresh flowers on her desk). Then I went to the bathroom and threw up, and had a headache the rest of the day. Life sucks when your liver is exhausted.
We now know what is causing some of the deficiencies and toxicities, the food sensitivities, adrenal fatigue, and exhausted liver, but how did my gut get leaky?