Poor gut health is often linked to leaky gut or “intestinal permeability”. Leaky gut is when the intestinal walls are damaged - Picture them like tight mesh walls and when they’re damaged the holes in the mesh get bigger allowing undigested food, toxins and bacteria to ‘leak’ out into the body and bloodstream. It’s actually pretty common in western cultures due to our diets and daily habits. You can find out if you may be suffering from leaky gut by taking this short gut health quiz [HERE].
I bring up leaky gut because it often explains a lot of hidden issues people are suffering from and doctors have a difficult time diagnosing. Leaky gut can be what’s causing many symptoms you’re experiencing such as; fatigue, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, skin issues, diarrhea, constipation, bloating AND the one symptom that convinced me I had it was... random joint pain / arthritis-like pain. I personally experienced this at 23, I had intense knee and finger pain and could not figure out for the life of me what it was and go figure once I started focusing on improving my gut health, it vanished.
You might be wondering how the heck these things are even linked, fair enough, it seems like a stretch - but it’s actually closely linked.
Joint pain is typically due to inflammation. Inflammation in your body is increased when you are struggling with a leaky gut because when the bacteria and toxins start leaking into your bloodstream that triggers an immune system response (to fight off these unknown threats). When your immune system is triggered like that, your tissues become ‘injured’ by the bacteria and toxins and therefore these damaged cells release histamine and other chemicals that leak fluid into the tissues which causes swelling i.e. inflammation. When this goes on for a long period of time you start having some serious issues. [Source: Medlineplus.gov]
When this goes on for an extended period of time it turns into chronic inflammation which eventually starts damaging healthy tissue and is linked to many diseases such as; heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. [Source: health.harvard.edu]
The good news is inflammation can be easily managed through a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a healthy gut. There is a long list of anti-inflammatory foods mainly consisting of fruits and vegetables (go figure)! However, there are some seriously powerful ones that aren’t typically a part of daily diets such as; ginger, curcumin, turmeric and omega-3 fatty acids. These can be especially helpful in naturally reducing inflammation in the body. It’s important you figure out the source of your inflammation before treating the symptoms, you never want to rely on medication or a supplement to help you get through a day! Finding the source will help you to actually get rid of the issue so you can easily live pain free.
If you’re struggling with joint pain and you don’t know where it’s coming from take this quiz to see if you have other symptoms you might be unaware of that are linked to leaky gut! You’ll find out your likelihood of having a leaky gut and what to do about it! Check it out here.
Want to learn more about gut health and how it directly affects your mental health! Read this blog post.
Hey! My names Ashleen.