Leaky gut seems like it may be a buzzword, but it is in fact a condition that is recognized both in Chinese Medicine as well as Western Medicine. This blog post explains that health starts in the gut, and how to heal your gut if you suffer from a health condition.
It sounds like a buzzword, but leaky gut is real. The medical term for it is intestinal hyperpermeability and it is becoming increasingly common today in the United States as we continue to eat processed foods and genetically modified foods more than ever. If you suffer from recurrent sinus infections or “allergies,” unexplained weight gain, mood swings, an autoimmune disease, or imbalanced hormones, the root cause of your symptoms might actually begin with your gut.
The Statistics A recent estimate from the National Institutes of Health is that roughly 25% of us deal with digestive “issues” on a regular basis. Gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, and even frequent nausea are becoming almost a daily occurrence for many individuals. According to one school of thought in Chinese Medicine, the key to good health is maintaining a healthy digestive system. Any disease should first be addressed by treating the gut. Now Western Medicine is beginning to understand that philosophy!
Strong Core = Strong Body When you visit my acupuncture clinic in Del Mar, CA, you will find that I may ask you a lot of questions about your digestive health even if it seems unrelated to your primary symptom, such as hormone imbalance or mood swings. I will ask you about your particular dietary habits as well as your bowel functions. It may seem like this has nothing to do with what you came in for, but in fact your gut health (your “core”) is related to the health of every other system of your body.
Your Gut Brain Your gut is much more than just a tube for your food to pass through. It is actually where 80% of your immune system and 90% of your neurotransmitters are located. That may be surprising, but it’s true that you have a second “brain” in your gut. This is why your emotional state as well as your amount of mental stress can play such a large role in increasing or decreasing your susceptibility to getting sick. In fact we now know that conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis hashimoto’s thyroiditis, chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, and eczema actually begin in the gut.
How To Heal Your Gut In Chinese Medicine, acupuncture needles may be placed on acupoints located on the abdomen. Other points related to the Earth element (the Spleen and Stomach) may also be used. These points are located along the Earth meridians on the legs and feet, as well as the abdomen and head. At my Del Mar clinic, we also use specific herbal formulas from Evergreen Herbs that are meant to build up the health of the digestive system.
It is also important to remove any foods from the diet which may be contributing to inflammation in the gut or damage to the gut lining. Common gut irritants include aspirin, alcohol, coffee, gluten, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, sugar, and any foods you may be allergic to. In place of pro-inflammatory foods, you should be enjoying soups and congees (rice porridge), bone broth, gelatin, slow-cooked meats, and vegetables galore. Probiotics and digestive enzyme supplements are also helpful in addition to Chinese herbs.