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What Causes Leaky Gut Syndrome?

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We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health.  We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice.  We, personally, have found that a whole food vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found.   Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body.  If you have a health problem, see your own physician.


What Causes Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Keith Nemec, M.D.

What causes leaky gut? At least seventeen things.

1) Food allergy/sensitivity is probably the largest daily cause of leaky gut in America. Most common being all dairy products and wheat products.

2) Parasites can be found everyone, especially intestinal parasites. They come mainly from beef, chicken, fish, and pork, but they are everywhere. Parasites feed off of you and excrete their toxic waste inside you. That’s why “parasite programs” should be regularly taken, to rid you of these unwanted guests.

3) Virus, often in the form of intestinal flu. The most common symptom is diarrhea, causing you to assimilate none of your food.

4) Bacteria like salmonella yield much the same result as a virus, making assimilation nearly impossible.

5) Poor diet, usually manifested in improper food combining, or eating food that is highly processed or preserved, or high in fat or sugar content.

6) Stress causes lack of blood flow into the organs, including the bowel, which can result in leaky gut.

7) Toxic heavy metals—like metallic lead, mercury or cadmium—cause irritation to the intestinal lining.

8) Ethanol, or alcohol, kills tissue and sets off an inflammation reaction, which causes increased intestinal permeability.

9) Drugs have many side effects that can result in poor assimilation. Drugs kill the normal flora of bacterial growth in the bowel, allowing pathogenic bacteria to grow back in a greater proportion. Candida, or yeast, also overgrows the bowel, causing leaky gut. Other drug side effects are corrosion to the gastrointestinal tract, causing inflammation and leaky gut. All aspirin and non-aspirin pain reliever cause intestinal inflammation and leaky gut.

10) Candida is a normal pathogen present in the intestinal tract. But when the beneficial or good bacteria in your intestinal tract is killed off because of antibiotic use, the candida overgrow and cause a wide variety of symptoms leading to poor health.

11) Eating or Drinking Toxic Food containing Chemicals and/or Toxins.

When you eat or drink food containing chemicals or toxins this directly causes intestinal lining irritation and inflammation which leads to a leaky gut. Many people would say that their diet doesn’t contain any of these, but in truth, practically all food consumed today by Americans is toxic and/or loaded with chemicals. These come from the drugs and chemicals stored in the animal flesh (As you eat up the food chain, animal products are 16X more concentrated than non organic plant products and 100-1000X more concentrated than organ plant products), from the pesticides sprayed on the fruits and vegetables, the preservatives put in food to increase shelf life, the additives like stabilizers, thickeners and other food processing chemicals. The only people who don’t eat toxic/chemical laden food are those who eat only organic food and make all their own meals from scratch.

12) Improper food combining causes intestinal irritation and inflammation, protein combines with vegetables, starches combine with vegetables, proteins and starches do not combine.

13) Eating acid pH forming food causes stress on the digestive tract and on your total health. Cooked animal products and refined starches and sugars are the most acidic foods to the body.

14) Not chewing your food enough will also cause a leaky gut. Each bite needs to be chewed a minimum of 25 times.

15) Eating too much at one time is a tremendous drain on your digestive ability and if the food is not completely digested (which it cannot be when you over eat) it causes intestinal irritation and inflammation. Remember leaky gut and the causing of intestinal irritation and inflammation, usually it is asymptomatic (causes no symptoms) in 2⁄3 of the American population. This is why 95% of Americans have a leaky gut and only about 30% perceive that they have any digestive problems.

16) Drinking with meals causes a dilution of your digestive enzymes, which causes maldigestion and leaky gut. This is why only water should be consumed with meals and only enough to keep your mouth moist (no more than 4-6 ounces). Water should be consumed a half-hour prior to, or one and a half-hour after meals.

17) Eating dead or deficient food causes very poor digestion because once you cook the food, the enzyme content of the food is destroyed (unless you add supplemental vegetable based digestive enzymes). This not only causes leaky gut but also greatly reduces ones total health because of the significant enzyme withdrawal (your enzymes are used instead of the natural occurring enzymes in the raw food to digest the food) instead of deposit to your enzyme health bank account.

The terms “leaky gut” and “toxic buildup” are hardly new. In 1910, Elie Metchnikoff, director of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, wrote a book called The Prolongation of Life.

He states, “The natural death of human beings cannot be regarded as due to exhaustion from reproduction. It is more likely due to an autointoxication of the organism.” Metchnikoff also said the inherited “structure of the human large intestine and the customary diet of civilized man is especially favorable to the multiplication of toxic microbes that cause intoxication.” Very prophetic words from the man who discovered the phagocyte, a type of WBC that eats bacteria, virus, molds and cancer.

Metchnikoff also wrote, “If it be true that precocious old age is due to poisoning of the tissues, it is clear that agents which arrest intestinal putrefaction must at the same time postpone and ameliorate the conditions of old age.”

So, the concepts of bowel health and toxicity have been around for centuries; we only seem to have forgotten them in the last 50 years or so.

Leaky gut is probably one of the greatest cause of sickness and disease because it is one of the greatest causes of inflammation in the body and inflammation is the root of all disease.

It is amazing to see that even in young, healthy children, the first system to show negative physiological changes is the digestive system. The pattern begins: As a person ages, problems gradually spread from the digestive tract to other elimination organs (liver and kidneys), then systematically throughout the body. This causes physiological changes in other organs and systems. The immune system weakens. Toxins deposit in the neuromusculoskeletal system, causing pain and arthritis. Deposits in the neurological system cause brain fog, memory loss, and possibly neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease. Toxic buildup eventually affects every organ, gland, tissue and cell.

So, how important is a healthy digestive tract? It is the mirror of your total physical health. People with regular constipation, loose bowels or other bowel complaints will likely have significant health problems in the future.


Excerpt taken from the book Total Health = Wholeness: A Body, Mind and Spirit Manual by Dr. Keith and Laurie Nemec. For more information go to Total Health Institute http://www.totalhealthinstitute.com.

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