A Leaky Gut Could Be the Culprit of Your Joint Pain

7 minute read

Rheumatoid arthritis is a debilitating disease in which the body attacks itself, specifically the joints. The pain is caused by inflammation of the joints and this inflammatory response is triggered by an unlikely culprit; your gut.

Recent studies have discovered a link between the microbes in your intestine and arthritic inflammation. Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis have been seen in conjunction with lower levels of certain intestinal bacteria.  

Beneficial And Harmful Gut Bacteria

Your gut contains thousands of different bacterial strains and while some can be pathogenic, the majority of them are actually beneficial. While some support our overall health and immunity, other intestinal flora are known to trigger chronic, non-infectious problems.

It makes sense that if these microbes can support our immune system, they can also potentially aggravate it. Given the recent increase in autoimmune diseases, the exploration into how intestinal bacteria and our immunity interact has taken off.  

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Bacterial exposure when we are young has a great deal to do with how our immune system develops. The bacteria we get used to that live within us have found a way to exist under the immune system's radar.

Essentially, they are able to exist without being recognized as foreign and triggering a response. Any imbalance to this delicate system can register a chance with your immune system and cells can begin to attack not only the bacteria, but other cells too.  

Your Gut And Inflammation

Your intestines house over two-thirds of your immune cells, so it would be safe to say that your gut is a major component to your immunity and overall health. Any problems there can cause a wave of problems to spread through the body.

As the main pathway for food, your gut is exposed repeatedly to food-related foreign microbes and has to destroy anything harmful. Your gut is responsible for identifying pathogenic materials and as such, as the ability to trigger a body-wide immune response. The first respondent is usually an inflammatory attack.

Inflammation, the body's response to a foreign agent, is necessary when fighting an infection. Repeated exposure to a toxin or pathogen stimulates the immune response, which causes disruption; the result is chronic inflammation.

What Happens With Chronic Inflammation

Unchecked chronic inflammation is essentially the beginning of a vicious cycle. Your body ends up fighting against you rather than for you and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis are the result.  You could be suffering from chronic inflammation if you have any of the following conditions:

♦ fatigue

♦ depression

♦ achy joints

♦ skin problems

♦ digestive problems

♦ food sensitivities

♦ autoimmune conditions

Stress, Leaky Gut, & Inflammation

Hormones can trigger inflammatory markers, specifically cortisol, which is related to stress and insulin, which is related to carbohydrate intake  Any fluctuation in either of these marks distress and the immune response kicks in.

When your gut is stressed, and overrun with inflammation, holes begin to appear in the lining.  Known as leaky gut syndrome or intestinal impermeability, particles are able to pass through into the bloodstream.

Wherever they end up is not where they should be. Therefore, they are instantly targeted as foreign, along with the cells or tissue nearby. An autoimmune condition develops, more inflammation occurs, and the cycle continues.  

The Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle

Our bodies are very complex and the processes to repair it can be complicated too. To recover from chronic inflammation and arthritic joint pain, the best approach is to switch to an anti-inflammatory lifestyle.This takes time and effort. Results will not appear overnight. You need to change your foods, take care with what goes in, on, and around your body, as well as learn to effectively manage stress.

| Related: Probiotics Give Your Immune System A Big Boost |

A good way to take care of you and fight against inflammation is to address the problem at its source. Take a good look at your gut and determine what you can do to improve the situation.  Consider the food you consume, as well as your probiotic levels.

Any imbalance in the gut that leaves pathogenic bacteria with the advantage is going to trigger immune responses. Once addressed and a healthy balance is restored, the immune system will settle down.

What You Can Do To Balance Your Gut

There are several things you can do to keep your gut healthy and happy. A balanced gut with helpful bacteria will ensure your immune system stays on task and only responds to truly dangerous materials instead of turning on the body itself.

1. Drink filtered water as a way to remove harmful substances from getting into your gut and setting off the inflammation alarm.

2. Use higher quality oils like coconut oil, avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil instead of processed vegetable oils

3. Buy organic non-GMO products.

4. Eat organic, grass-fed or pastured animal protein/meats rather than those that are pumped full of antibiotics.

5. Replace processed gluten-free grains with root vegetables like sweet potatoes

6. Eliminate pasteurized milk and opt for organic or dairy-free nut milk instead.

7. Avoid sugary sodas and artificial sweeteners.

8. Increase your vegetable intake (roast or bake some to add to every meal).

9. Incorporate more prebiotic foods (prebiotics are essential for gut health).  Good suggestions include garlic, dandelion greens and sweet potato.

10. Take a multi-strain probiotic to increase numbers in the gut. The stronger their presence, the easier it is to overcome pathogens without alarming the immune system.

11. Add anti-inflammatory spices to your meals such as turmeric and ginger.

12. Get at least seven hours of sleep each night (eight, if possible).

The Bottom Line

By making some lifestyle changes, you can ensure a healthier gut and keep stress hormones in check. It is the imbalance of bacteria and hormones that triggers inflammatory responses in the body, which can lead to autoimmune conditions when the inflammation is chronic.

When there is no actual threat present, the attack is aimed at the body’s own tissues and cells, which is an underlying cause for autoimmune conditions. Healing or avoiding a leaky gut may help you with the joint pain that comes from inflammation.

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