Welcome to my blog!

This blog is a journal of our struggles with food allergies and eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases (EGIDs). ("DD" stands for "dear daughter", so whenever you see it in the blog it is referring to my daughter and our personal experience.) My hope is for this blog to be a source of information and support to others who might be trying to investigate, diagnose, treat, or live with, food allergies and EGIDs. Feel free to leave comments with suggestions or requests of what you would like to see on this blog. This is a work in progress. :)

Leaky gut & how to heal it

There is a really good description of leaky gut in Digestive Wellness (see Books link). Leaky gut can also cause all sorts of health problems, from IBS to Crohn's disease, but I will try to give the basics of leaky gut in relation to food allergies. This is specifically in relation to delayed-reaction allergies (intolerances).

Basically, when you have poor gut health (caused by an imbalance of bad/good bacteria), it can cause damage to the mucus lining of your digestive track. The lining is kind of like a strainer, only letting through certain things into the bloodstream. When the lining is damaged, the holes in the strainer open up a little bigger than they should. This lets larger food proteins into the bloodstream. Your body sees these large proteins as foreign invaders, and immediately starts making antibodies to fight them off. So the first time you eat a food, you won't notice a reaction, because thats just when your body is making antibodies. The 2nd time you eat the food, your body has the antibodies ready, so when the large proteins go into your bloodstream the antibodies fight back- hence, an allergic reaction. This reaction can manifest in many ways, but overall it's an inflammatory response, somewhere in your body.

In addition to avoiding the foods that you're allergic to, you need to work on healing the gut. If you don't, you might become sensitive to more and more foods over time. There are a lot of suggestions out there for gut healing, including in Digestive Wellness. Here are some that I have read or heard about. Always do your own research before starting any supplements, as again- I am not a medical professional. These are simply tips that I have learned, that may or may not help your particular situation.
  • Bone broth - This is just broth/stock made from animal bones (we use chicken). It is full of nutrients, and since it's made from bones it has glutamine- which helps to rebuild the mucus lining in the gut.
  • Probiotics - A must have for gut healing. Probiotics are good bacteria, which your body needs for good gut/immune health. They are found in many cultured dairy products (although many store-bought products have been pasteurized, so the cultures are dead and useless.) They are also sold in capsule form at most health food stores. Be sure to find one that is NOT dairy-derived if you are allergic to dairy. Most are made from dairy, so be sure to read labels carefully. If you can have dairy, consider fresh or homemade yogurt or kefir. Also, fermented foods (homemade) are a natural source of probiotics, as is kombucha.
  • Digestive enzymes - These can be found in capsule form, or in fresh, local produce. Enzymes help your body break down food. Your body naturally has enzymes, but sometimes they are overworked and can't get all the food broken down. The only other source of enzymes are in fresh, local produce. Most food sold in grocery stores has very little enzymes left, as they start to break down as soon as the food is picked. Processing and pasteurizing will kill any enzymes that are left, so your body has to make up for this lack of enzymes by breaking down everything itself. It's a lot more work on your body. See the Links section for more info.
  • Quercetin - Acts as an anti-inflammatory.
  • Vitamin C - Helps clear the body of toxins, and rebuild damaged cells. **Beware: most store-bought Vitamin C is made from corn. If you are allergic to corn, you will have to find a quality supplement in a health food store or online that is made specifically for people sensitive to corn.
  • Cod Liver Oil (CLO) - Contains essential fatty acids (EFA's) that are vital for optimum health; reduces inflammation.
    • Other sources of important EFA's: flax, evening primrose oil
  • Cut the sugar out of your diet - sugar can feed yeast/Candida - a harmful bacteria that can cause all sorts of health problems and exacerbate leaky gut.
  • Chew your food thoroughly - The more broken down the food is before it reaches your gut, the less chance of it causing a reaction. Your saliva has lots of enzymes that start breaking down your food before it even reaches your stomach. Let them do their job and give your stomach a break!


Mary said...

Thanks so much for your post on leaky gut. I have a 3 month old boy who is very healthy, but has had mucousy and sometimes bloody stools since he was about a month old. We've been told it's soy and milk protein intolerance, and I've been avoiding those foods, but it wasn't really helping. Since then I've started taking Lactobacillus for myself and putting a little Udo's Infant probiotics on my nipple before nursing. I immediately saw one positive change, which is that his BMs are not foul smelling anymore. Now they smell a bit like the probiotics. All this is to say, I am using your information to help my little one, and I'm wondering how quickly your steps helped you with your baby.

Jessica said...

Mary- I'm so glad you're seeing improvements!! Be aware though that Udo's is a dairy-based probiotic (last time I checked) so it might not be the best choice for a baby with dairy issues. Kirkman Labs makes an infant strain that is dairy free.

I wish I could say that my efforts have healed my daughter completely... but we're still struggling. We are miles ahead of where we were a year ago though, so we're getting there... just really slowly. :)