health

Gut feeling

I’m not too sure how I let it get this bad. I knew I was feeling tired and had some trouble concentrating but I just put that down to being run-down, working 50 hour weeks for 3 consecutive years and looking after a new puppy that doesn’t know what 8 hours of consecutive sleep is (mumlife).

But it had surpassed that. I took a few weeks off work before starting a new role and allowed my body to relax without any pressure or trying to push it and everything caught up with me. I was even MORE tired, had MORE brain fog and harder time concentrating. I was off work for two weeks and had so many plans of writing, reading, doing yoga and exercising, but all I managed to do was chill the f*ck out, sleep and train as normal. I stared at a blank screen on my laptop most days and have read the first page of the same book about 20 times. And if I’m honest, still don’t even remember it.

This wasn’t me. I was making silly mistakes, like parking my car in a truck zone, $100 fine, parking my car in a clearway outside my house, $330 to get car back, putting food in the fridge instead of the microwave. I don’t feel like my usual self and I don’t mean to sound cliché but, I am so sick and tired of being tired! I know my iron has been low for months now and I have been taking iron supplements but I feel only marginally better off now than I did back then. I wanted to find out the reason for my iron being so low because I don’t have any of the usual precedents for this, I eat meat, my periods aren’t unusually heavy, and I have a well-balanced, whole-food diet. For someone who works REALLY hard to make sure I’m healthy and does all of the ‘right’ things, my body certainly didn’t feel like it and I wanted to know why.

So I went and got a blood analysis and the Medical Scientist doing this essentially told me what I was feeling, without me having to say anything. Tired, brain fog, thirsty even though I’m drinking enough water, stomach problems, changes in stool, dry skin, low mood. The list went on.

When I was 15 a naturopath told me that I had gluten intolerance and my body was trying to expel this through excess sweat. I went off gluten for about five years and the sweating problem went away however, after 5 years and a bit of education around food in olerances and the psychological components of these, I went back onto gluten and haven’t come off it since. That was six years ago.

Two members of my family have celiac disease and I know that I have the gene that has not yet been triggered so I have a heightened predisposition to this disease. I also have a gluten sensitivity that has been slowly eating away at my gut wall, meaning I am unable to absorb essential nutrients and minerals (like iron), as well as water and other micronutrients from my food.

As you know, I’m passionate about eating well to feel well and know the imperative, multidimensional pathway between the gut and brain (and therefore, the rest of the body) so to learn that my own gut is a fundamental cause of my low moods and fatigue, was a little bit of a slap in the face. I had an inkling this was the problem but wasn’t sure and I guess I was looking for other answers.

My body isn’t absorbing it’s nutrients properly, which now, really explains WHY I have been experiencing the symptoms that I have. My skin issues have stemmed from dehydration, caused by my body’s inability to absorb the minerals it needs from the water I drink. Which also explains why I always feel thirsty although I drink 3 – 6 litres of water on any given day.

Leaky gut is a term that is gaining an increased interest and I’m not too sure it’s necessarily recognized in the medical world yet. In short, your gut has a wall of cells that act as a barrier so your food doesn’t enter your blood stream. It stops particles and bacteria from crossing the barrier but certain factors can break down this wall and create little holes that enable unprocessed food and bacteria to get passed. Your gut wall becomes permeable, and the nutrients that are supposed to stay within those walls, leaks, meaning they aren’t absorbed properly. The main component that creates this permeable gut, in everyone, is gluten. And even more so in individual’s who have gluten sensitivity.

Now I know what is causing the unwanted symptoms I can start on a gut-healing plan to restore to health and start my journey to feeling my energetic self again, which I will share with you all here.

Although not the best diagnosis, it’s an easy fix and something that I can work with. My first step is an iron infusion to boost the levels of this B vitamin in my body without having to wait until my gut is completely fixed. I am optimistically hopeful that this will have a significant effect on my energy levels and brain fog even prior to my gut-healing process.

I’m so motivated to get my gut back.

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