Digestive Health


Naturopath Vancouver and Digestive Health: The lining of your gut is directly related to the health of your whole body.

Your digestive health impacts how well this lining forms a crucial barrier between you and the outside world. As a Naturopath, I utilize research-supported treatments to treat gut inflammation in my Vancouver practice.

In a sense, everything inside your gut is outside of you. Only a few very specific substances are normally allowed through, and the lining of your gut is what controls what gets through and what doesn’t. New research is showing that if the wrong things get through, you can wind up feeling tired all the time, experiencing depression symptoms, irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies, and more.

The gut lining is not a passive barrier. It actively senses what’s going on inside your gut, responds to what it senses, and even secretes various compounds that go on to control other bodily functions. As a Naturopath, I explain to my Vancouver patients that the primary purpose of your gut lining, with all of its sensing, responding, and secreting, is to determine what nutrients get absorbed and what toxins, allergens, and microbes are kept out. Even though this lining is only one cell-layer thick, it protects your immune system and your entire body from the toxic environment in your gut by filtering out the good molecules from the bad molecules. A Naturopath understands this and excels at supporting and healing the gut lining.

Do You Have Leaky Gut Syndrome? What is Dysbiosis, aka Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Dysbiosis is the medical term used to describe leaky gut syndrome and refers to an abnormal increase in the permeability of the small intestine. Increased intestinal permeability, or leaky gut syndrome, is a pathological condition that occurs as part of many different diseases and syndromes, such as irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, and autoimmune diseases. If the lining of the small intestine is damaged, foreign compounds can escape from inside the small intestine into your bloodstream, making your immune system hyper-sensitive and even triggering auto-immune reactions.

What causes leaky gut syndrome?

 Any irritation to the gut lining can contribute to increased permeability and leaky gut, examples would include:

  • inflammation
  • imbalances of intestinal organisms (poor quality gut bugs)
  • food allergies
  • maldigestion
  • exposure to non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs)
  • alcohol

Top Reasons You Might Have Leaky Gut Syndrome:

  1. You have irritable-bowel symptoms or SIBO. Gut permeability is frequently increased in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), especially if they suffer from diarrhea-predominant IBS. People with IBS who also have allergy symptoms like eczema, asthma, or hay fever have also been found to have leaky gut syndrome. The current working hypothesis is that the balance between “good” and “bad” gut bacteria gets disrupted, which activates the immune system and increases gut permeability.
  1. You are tired all the time. Certain inflammatory compounds, called cytokines, are increased by leaky gut syndrome and are directly associated with fatigue.

The more your unhealthy gut bacteria permeates through your leaky gut, the greater will be your feelings of extreme tiredness and chronic fatigue.

  1. You have food allergies or intolerances. The link between food allergies and leaky gut syndrome is a vicious, two-way street. Increased passage of undigested food particles through the leaky gut leads to the development of food allergies. Conversely, allergic reactions to foods cause a transient increase in intestinal permeability.
  1. You have depression symptoms. The gut is our 2nd brain. A significant amount of neurotransmitters, especially serotonin is produced there. Leaky gut also activates the intestinal immune system to produce chemicals called cytokines that spread inflammation through your body. Inflammation is an important trigger for depression symptoms as well as other maladies such as fatigue, malaise, and pain.
  1. You have an autoimmune disease. The passage of certain antigens through the leaky gut barrier has been associated with autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing  spondylitis, thyroid disease, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s), and celiac disease.

Now, more than ever, there is research available confirming the effectiveness of a number of natural therapies for leaky gut syndrome including IBS and SIBO. As a Vancouver Naturopath, I have used a very successful evidence-based protocol in my Vancouver clinic called the 4Rs in Functional Medicine which stands for Remove, Replace, Reinoculate, and Repair to help my patients improve their gut bacteria composition and gut function.

If you suffer from stomach or bowel problems such as indigestion symptoms, acid reflux, gastritis or stomach ulcer symptoms…if you don’t address your gut problems, no amount of vitamins, minerals or health foods will make you well. If you’re not seeing a Naturopathic Physician, you should, and if you’re in Vancouver B.C., let’s take the first step to a truly fulfilling life and not put off until tomorrow what we can do today! I’m here to help.