Some experts from the Meridian Institute advocate that intestinal permeability, or a leaky gut, is one of the possible cause of psoriasis. According to the theory, if you have a leaky gut, some particles of the food you eat will directly enter your bloodstream without being properly broken down, which can compromise the good functioning of your immune system. Because psoriasis is viewed as an autoimmune disorder, eliminating foods that can contribute to a leaky gut and cause inflammation, such as nightshades, could help you alleviate your psoriasis. The Meridian Institute experts recommend a diet that is free of fried foods, refined carbohydrates and nightshades vegetables to manage your psoriasis symptoms.
A healthy gut wall is an effective barrier against unwanted substances. When the wall is compromised, it starts to allow these substances to “leak” into the body. “Leaky gut” syndrome applies to an intestinal wall with increased permeability, allowing some harmful contents (that would normally be excluded) to pass through. Naturally, this can place a greater burden on our body’s detoxification and immune systems.
Certain conditions and substances can injure the intestinal wall or change its environment in a way that allows large molecules to leak through, possibly leading to food sensitivities. These include:
- inflammation (e.g., colitis, Crohn’s disease);
- injury to the intestinal wall from drugs, chemicals or radiation (e.g., chemotherapy, anti-inflammatory medications);
- injury to the friendly bacteria living in the intestine (e.g., by antibiotics; use of colloidal silver; high intakes of sugar and/or alcohol; antacids);
- immaturity of the intestinal lining (in infants and young children).
Antibiotics deserve a special mention in regard to leaky gut. While antibiotics kill off the bacteria causing the infection, they also destroy the beneficial bacteria, setting off a chain reaction that permits more harmful bacteria to enter the gut lining and allow foreign proteins to leak into the bloodstream. Adverse reactions may ensue, such as allergic reactions in the skin. Of course, there are occasions where it may be absolutely necessary to take antibiotics. If you have to take them, take as directed, and take good care of yourself through proper diet and supplements.
Healing the Intestinal Wall
Here is the good news: our intestinal membrane has an immense capacity to regenerate and heal itself. If we wish to restore a “leaky gut” to health, it makes sense to avoid the substances that may destroy beneficial bacteria (listed above), to provide a nutritious diet and to take supplements that promote a healthy balance of bacteria.
Promoting Intestinal Health Via a Healthful Vegan Diet
Complex carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, protein, essential fats and phytochemicals are needed to build, maintain and repair the many cells that line our intestinal wall. A balanced diet of whole plant foods will provide the many nutrients that we require. Of course, when food sensitivities arise, this may seem like an immense challenge because some of the foods that have been part of our diet are now prohibited. However, the range of foods available to us is massive. Additionally, a multivitamin-mineral supplement can help to “top up” your nutrient intake; this can be particularly important when your system has been depleted. As always, vegans need to find a reliable source of vitamin B12.
Vegetables: Fortunately, most vegetables are low on the food sensitivity scale. The most common type of vegetable-related food sensitivity – oral allergy syndrome – occurs most often in people allergic to pollen. If you have a reaction to a vegetable, avoid it, or eat it only in its cooked form, if tolerated. Since there are hundreds of vegetables available, eliminating one or several rarely poses a problem; simply keep up your variety by getting in several different types a day that you can tolerate. Be sure to eat plenty of leafy green vegetables.
Fruits: Like vegetables, raw fruits may cause oral allergy syndrome. If you suffer from this, avoid the offending fruits and focus on the bounty of fruits you can tolerate. Some fruits, like strawberries and citrus fruits, are rather high on the food sensitivity scale. If you are allergic to a fruit, read labels carefully and be aware of possible cross-contamination at restaurants and markets.
Grains: By far the most common offending grain component is gluten, found in wheat, barley and a few other grains. About one person in every 133 is sensitive to gluten. A smaller percentage of people has a true wheat allergy (but can tolerate gluten found in other grains). Either way, the approach is similar: avoid the wheat or gluten and seek healthful, tasty grain substitutes. Fortunately, foods like bread, pasta and baked goods are now available wheat- and gluten-free, and many of them are vegan as well. Recipes for vegan, gluten-free baked goods can be found on the Web and in many books. However, these specialty items should not comprise the bulk of your grain intake. Incorporating more intact whole grains, such as millet, amaranth, and brown rice, is important in any healthful vegan diet. These grains are unrefined and provide vitamins, trace minerals and phytonutrients that are often missing in flour-based pastas and baked goods.