Bloating, gas, cramps, food sensitivities, and unexplained aches and pains can be disruptive to your daily life, and they're also telltale gut inflammation symptoms to watch out for. On its blog, Harvard Health noted that links between gut health and overall health have been explored since ancient Greece. But as modern medicine evolved, gut health was reportedly discounted by doctors, and patients who complained of gut-inflammation symptoms were often dismissed as being hypochondriacs. However, in recent years, doctors have begun reexamining gut inflammation and its link to overall health and wellbeing.
"Inside our bellies, we have an extensive intestinal lining covering more than 4,000 square feet of surface area. When working properly, it forms a tight barrier that controls what gets absorbed into the bloodstream," Dr. Marcelo Campos wrote for Harvard Health. "An unhealthy gut lining may have large cracks or holes, allowing partially digested food, toxins, and bugs to penetrate the tissues beneath it. This may trigger inflammation and changes in the gut flora (normal bacteria) that could lead to problems within the digestive tract and beyond."
A 2017 study published in the journal Microbiome noted that gut inflammation may in fact be related to myriad chronic diseases, especially as you get older. You may have heard a parent or grandparent say "I can't eat the way I used to," and it turns out this might be due to gut inflammation. "Significant evidence implicates chronic, low-grade inflammation as one of the most consistent biologic features of both chronological aging and various age-related diseases/disorders," the study revealed. Other studies have linked gut inflammation to certain autoimmune diseases. If you've been feeling unwell, and your doctor can't determine a cause, having these symptoms might mean it's time to trust your gut — literally.
Brain Fog & Migraines
Walking around feeling dazed and confused no matter how much sleep you get? Getting more migraines or headaches than is normal for you? You might have an inflamed gut. Researchers are exploring the link between gut and brain health, and on her website Dr. Amy Myers noted that headaches, inability to concentrate, ADD, and ADHD might actually be linked to what's going on in your gut.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Or Fibromyalgia
Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are two conditions that doctors still don't know a lot about and they tend to be diagnosed after a process of elimination. "There’s no test or scan that can diagnose fibromyalgia, so it can be hard for your doctor to nail down what’s causing your aches and pains," WebMD reported.
Dr. Myers cited gluten intolerance as a contributing factor to this chronic pain condition. "Gluten has been liked to more than 55 diseases and is often called the ‘big masquerader’. The reason for this is that the majority symptoms of gluten intolerance are not digestive in nature but rather neurological such as pain, cognitive impairment, sleep disturbances, behavioral issues, fatigue, and depression."
According to the John Hopkins Medicine blog, autoimmune diseases happen when your body's "natural defense system can’t tell the difference between your own cells and foreign cells, causing the body to mistakenly attack normal cells. There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases that affect a wide range of body parts." And, symptoms of autoimmune diseases often include gastrointestinal issues related to gut inflammation.
A study published in the journal Physiologic Reviews explored a link between leaky gut and its relation to autoimmune diseases finding that a protein called zonulin plays a role in gut health. "When the finely tuned zonulin pathway is deregulated in genetically susceptible individuals, both intestinal and extraintestinal autoimmune, inflammatory, and neoplastic disorders can occur."
Persistent Skin Problems
If you've seen the dermatologist and follow a recommended skin routine but you still suffer from acne, rosacea, or eczema, it might be a sign of gut inflammation, Dr. Meyers noted. "A disruption in your gut bacteria can also allow yeast, commonly called Candida, to thrive. Candida colonizes your gut, causing it to become leaky, which in turn allows the yeast to escape via your bloodstream," she explained. "Once escaped, this yeast can affect your mood, hair, nails, and you guessed it, skin."
Anxiety & Depression
While there are thought to a number of causes for anxiety and depression, researchers are exploring links between gut and brain health, and how inflammation in your gut can negatively effect your mood. "Researchers identify brain inflammation by quantifying levels of inflammatory proteins, such as C-reactive protein," Dr. Kelly Brogan explained on her website. "New research is showing that markers of inflammation are elevated in depressed patients." If you've tried traditional treatments for anxiety and depression, and your symptoms persist, it might be time to consider treating your gut instead of your brain.
If you have gastrointestinal issues like gas, bloating, diarrhea, or irritable bowel syndrome that significantly impair your ability to live your life, it's likely that your gut is inflamed due to stress, food intolerances, infection, or environmental toxins, Dr. Myers noted.
So You Have A Leaky Gut, Now What?
If your sick and tired of being sick and tired from your gut inflammation, you don't have to go on all-broccoli diet to feel better. Dr. Meyers recommends an approach to healing gut inflammation that's fairly easy to follow. "Remove all inflammatory foods that can damage your gut such as gluten, dairy, corn, soy, and eggs, as well as toxic foods, including sugar, caffeine, and alcohol," she wrote.
OK, it's no secret that eliminating everything you love at once is a recipe for failure. I'm never giving up coffee. Do what feels manageable to you, and try removing a few things at a time to see if you feel better. "Adding digestive enzymes to your regimen will help support optimal digestion and nutrient absorption, as well as assist your body’s intestinal repair and inflammation responses," she noted.
"Restore the beneficial bacteria in your gut with high-quality, high-potency probiotics to reestablish a healthy microbiome." If this all sounds so overwhelming that you want to rip open a pack of gummy bears right freakin' now, it's important to remember that healing your gut is a process, and your symptoms won't disappear overnight. You can also work with your doctor or a nutritionist to develop a plan that's best for you so you can get your gut working for you instead of against you. #TheMoreYouKnow