Health Uncategorized

Leaky Gut and Anemia

Hey, guess what? I’m leaking.

Literally.

Leaky Gut Syndrome Kate the (Almost) Great

Let me back up a bit. As you probably know if you’ve been following me on this blog or on social media, you know that I have rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia and I’ve been in pain since 2001. Well, one component of my health that has been generally unaddressed is that I’m anemic and have been for a very long time. We first found out my junior year of high school (8 years ago), and since then I have tried everything possible to fix it.

But nothing worked and I remained stably anemic since then. With my more serious health concerns and frequent ER trips for pain, it was pretty much ignored. No one was really concerned except for my mother. Would we have been concerned if I hadn’t been dealing with other issues? Absolutely. But that wasn’t the case, and I just didn’t have room in my brain to think about something that had become just a part of my normal life.

Over the past year or two, my mother started talking about the anemia more and more. While I completely understood, I felt that I should focus on other aspects of my health. Then I started seeing a chiropractor. His goal is to help me with my fibromyalgia pain and my joints that tend to float out of their designated spot in my body. So when we first met, we talked about my fibromyalgia treatment.

He suggested that I see a naturopath who he knew. Since the whole point of me not working now is to get my health in order, I was on board.

Leaky Gut Syndrome Kate the (Almost) Great

The appointment was incredible. We talked about my medical history, looked at my blood under a microscope, and just generally had a whole bunch of medical revelations.

1. My body is constant in flight-or-flight mode.

2. I definitely 100% have RA (shocking, I know)

3. I most likely also have leaky gut syndrome

Fight or Flight – What Happens To Me

Essentially, my body is just constantly on edge. I’m always moving at least a little bit. My eyes don’t dilate properly. This may have to do with my anxiety or may be due to some medications that I’m on.

What I Need To Do

I get to wear sunglasses even if it’s mildly bright so that I don’t “damage my eyes” or some nonsense. (Note: actually not nonsense.)

Rheumatoid Arthritis – What Happens To Me

Like I said, we looked at my blood under a microscope when it was fresh and when it was dried. Also, as soon as he pricked my finger it started bleeding significantly. As in he asked if I was on blood thinners. So that’s great.

The red blood cells were stuck together, which is not supposed to happen. That doesn’t allow nutrients to be absorbed. There were brown spots in the dried blood, which means yeast. And there was a white cloud, which means inflammation.

What I Need To Do

Continue with my RA treatment, but I’m also trying to be better and eat an anti-inflammatory diet, which I’ll talk more about later.

Leaky Gut Syndrome Kate the (Almost) Great
Leaky Gut – What Happens To Me

Leaky gut syndrome is also known as increased intestinal permeability. It is something that doctors are recognizing more now, but still don’t know a whole lot about it. The problem is that the gut is the biggest immune system organ (how weird is that?), but it isn’t completely understood. It has been mentioned a couple of times to me over the past few years, but never seriously addressed or considered.

What happens is that the lining of the small intestine doesn’t work properly and it can let substances into the blood stream, hence the name “leaky gut.” So it’s a cycle: there’s intestinal inflammation of the gut lining, which leads to nutrient malabsorption, leading to an immune response. So the immune system responds, causing GI issues and food intolerance, which leads to autoimmune disease, which starts the cycle all over again by causing intestinal inflammation of gut lining.

This means that I could have been dealing with this for a very long time and it could have caused the arthritis. That just blows my mind.

What I Need To Do

Treatment for leaky gut involves cutting more foods out. Like I said earlier, I need to really stick to an anti-inflammatory diet. So some of the foods I’ll cut out will be only gone for a few months while the gut heals and some of them will be gone for good. My naturopath will be giving me a full list of what I should and shouldn’t eat when we get some more tests back from the lab.
The steps are that 1) I’ll remove food and factors that damage the gut, 2) replace them with healing foods, 3) repair with supplements, and 4) rebalance with probiotics. I already don’t eat gluten and dairy, but I’ve now cut out corn and soy. Soon, I’ll cut more out, maybe including sugar and grains.
Leaky Gut Syndrome Kate the (Almost) Great
As a whole, I’m excited. I’m excited to feel better and to give my body a fresh start. I’ve felt for a while that I’m right on the edge of feeling a lot better, but my current treatments weren’t doing enough. This will hopefully settle things and make life a whole lot better. Ideally, it will also help me get off of some of the 23 pills a day I take. It’s definitely not going to be easy, but I know it will be worth it. 

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  • Hi Kate! So sorry you've been dealing with all that! You might want to check out the FODMAP diet (Kate Scarlata's blog has a lot of info) – that along with cutting out gluten really helped me with my health issues!

  • I'm glad that you've possibly found the source of all your pain! I hope you start to feel better soon.

  • I'm impressed with your dedication toward getting well. I too suffer with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and anemia. It's not easy. Several years ago I learned that I am always in fight or flight too. My anxiety comes out by always moving my fingers. lol What really helped with my anxiety was CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). I, literally, reprogrammed my brain into thinking differently. Weird huh? I sincerely hope you're on the way to improved health. 🙂

  • I'm so happy you've made such a big health revelation! I hope 2015 sees you heal :]