Why Talk about Gut Health

I am writing about this topic because for many, talking about bowel problems is a taboo subject. Most feel uncomfortable broaching this topic while millions of people suffer from chronic bowel irregularity. I, like many, have gone to doctors for years, including specialists, just to be told they could find “nothing wrong”, but a healthy digestive system and intestinal tract is essential for overall health. So, I took on the challenge to find the answer to a very long-standing problem; and in doing so, I have been conducting evidenced-based research on this topic and have made great headway on balancing my own digestive system, and therefore, felt compelled to share. I hope the information below helps others who suffer from this condition to understand what may be ailing them and learn about ways that can start the healing process.  This article is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat the digestive system so please consult your physician for medical advice concerning your condition.

The Gut

The lining of the gastrointestinal tract (“gut”) is directly related to the health of the entire body and creates a critical barrier between all the toxic elements in the gut and the rest of the body.

There are a few substances that need to penetrate this barrier and the gut lining controls what gets through and what does not (Khalsa, 2010; Smith, 2019). 

When the lining is damaged, the absorbency of the gut lining increases allowing undigested food, waste, toxins, and microbes to enter the bloodstream causing an imbalance of what goes and what stays in the gut. This condition is also known as leaky gut.  Leaky gut will result in a person experiencing the following symptoms (Khalsa, 2010; Smith, 2019):

Symptoms of Leaky Gut

  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Brain fog resulting in difficulty concentrating
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C and IBS-D)
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Food allergies
  • Skin allergies such as eczema
  • Autoimmune diagnoses such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, celiac disease, lupus and psoriasis 
  • Autism (due to environmental factors or an inherited intestinal condition)

Causes of Leaky Gut

  • Prolonged stress
  • Antibiotics
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Fatty diet
  • Excessive consumption of sugar
  • Food allergies
  • Sepsis
  • Diabetes
  • Autoimmune conditions

How to Repair Your Leaky Gut

  • Eliminate all inflammatory foods such as excessive sugar, alcohol, gluten, and dairy.
  • Adding a digestive enzyme will replace the bad bacteria with good bacteria.
  • Digestive enzymes help with repairing the intestinal (gut) lining, decreasing inflammation and supports ideal digestion and nutrition absorption.
  • Restore and repair the good bacteria in your gut with high-quality, high-potency prebiotics and probiotics to re-establish a healthy digestive environment. Include collagen peptides to help seal the gut lining.
  • Drink 8-10 glasses daily to help flush your system.

Your gut is an important part of keeping the body running healthy and strong. The best advocate for your health is you. Ask questions and find professionals that will find holistic answers to help you regulate your system. 

How Occupational Therapy Can Help

Occupational therapy can help people to self-manage and prevent chronic conditions by educating and training on healthy habits, routines, behaviors, coping strategies to reduce stress and lifestyle modifications. As occupational therapy empowers people to take charge of their own health and wellness, physical, mental and emotional health and reducing health care costs. Implementing these strategies will promote a better quality of life (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2015).



American Occupational Therapy Association. (2015). The Role of Occupational Therapy in Chronic Disease Management. AOTA.

Gut feelings; autism. (2018). The Economist, 429(9121), 77.

Gut health and stress. (2020, January 19). Times of India, p. NA. Retrieved from  https:// link.gale.com/apps/doc/A611677871/GIC? u=mlin_w_baypath&sid=GIC&xid=28d74ee7

Khalsa, K. (2010). Heal a leaky gut. Learn why intestinal health is vital for staving off everyday ailments and chronic diseases such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Better Nutrition.

Li, Q., Han, Y., Angel Belle C. Dy, & Hagerman, R. J. (2017). The gut microbiota and autism spectrum disorders. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience.

National Health Systems. (2020). Leaky gut syndrome. NHS. Retrieved from https:// www.nhs.uk/conditions/leaky-gut-syndrome/

Pearlman, M., Obert, J., & Casey, L. (2017). The association between artificial sweeteners and obesity. Current Gastroenterology Reports, 19(12), 1-8. doi:10.1007/s11894-017-0602-9

Saccharin solution?; artificial sweeteners. (2014, Sep 20). The Economist, 412, 74-75.  Retrieved from https://baypath.idm. oclc.org/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.baypath.idm.oclc.org/ docview/1564164356?accountid=6226

Suez, J., Korem, T., Zilberman-Schapira, G., Segal, E., & Elinav, E. (2015). Non-caloric artificial sweeteners and the microbiome: Findings and challenges. Gut Microbes, 6(2), 149-55. doi:10.1080/19490976.2015. 1017700 doi:http://dx.doi.org. baypath.idm.oclc.org/ 10.3389/fncel. 2017.00120

Smith, K. (2019). What is leaky gut syndrome? “Gut health” is playing an increasingly important role in the overall health of the body. Environmental Nutrition. Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.baypath.idm.oclc.org/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=1&sid=98ec3b40-681f-46d5-a93f-04a7de41007d%40 sdc-v-sessmgr0

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