Leaky Gut/ Food sensitivities

According to the science of functional medicine, it addresses the underlying causes of disease, rather than looking at the isolated symptoms of the patient. Functional medicine professionals look at patients’ history to analyse their food and lifestyle choices and their genetic dispositions. These professionals would then be able to give a sound diagnosis of the cause of the illnesses.
In the East, we have TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) originating from China and Ayurveda medicine from India. In the West, they have Naturopathy and Homeopathy originating from Europe. These alternative treatments are gaining popularity among people as people have lost faith in conventional treatments. Conventional treatments only treat illnesses on a surface level. They do not offer a solution to the root problem and patients would have to return to conventional doctors for these ‘cures’. A good example to compare both classes of treatments is in the area of dermatology. In an alternative treatment such as TCM, a TCM professional would look at one’s persistent eczema flare ups and would determine the patient’s current body constitution such as excess of damp heat (which he or she most likely is experiencing) and make the necessary treatment. On the other hand, a conventional dermatologist would tell the patient that eczema is a chronic condition and it would most likely be incurable; the only way to relieve the symptoms is to prescribe steroid creams. The creams would make the skin irritable and inflamed but the eczema would most likely exacerbate from the long term use of steroid creams. In the perspective of a TCM practitioner, eczema is just a symptom of the underlying problem of the patient. With mindful diet changes and consistent intake of TCM herbs, one can actually recover from a chronic condition such as eczema. On the other hand, a dermatologist takes no notice of dietary changes a patient must include in his lifestyle. They believe diet plays no role in the skin.
As Hippocrates once said ‘Let food be thy medicine.”, most alternative treatments in fact involve diet and nutritional changes to improve one’s health. I am excellent living testimonial. I used to suffer from severe depression and OCD. I would go to the psychiatrists and they would prescribe a handful of SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), what SSRIs would do to your brain is that it causes the chemical, serotonin, which is essential for elevating one’s mood in daily activities to be blocked from reabsorbing into your brain cells. This in turn causes the brain to function in a different way, elevating the mood of the person. I used to rely on these pills heavily for my mood. However, it comes with a twist, the side effects of the pills affected my physiological state. I was spaced out most of the time and i lacked motivation in life. I was not depressed but neither was i motivated about life. One year down the road, I was sick and tired of these medications and i sought after alternative treatments. I went to a naturopath and it was then i realised nutrition and herbs are the most important in healing my body. Back then, I also suffered from dermatitis which aggravated whenever i ate certain foods. The naturopathy then did a food sensitivity test on me and i found out that i was allergic to gluten and dairy. She further deduced the fact i was highly likely to have a leaky gut. WHAT’S A LEAKY GUT? After some explanation and some research of my own, i found out that a leaky gut happens when your gut is more permeable than a normal person and this in turn causes food particles and other toxic invaders to enter the bloodstream causing the body attack these foreign particles; this in turns lead to allergic reactions and in the extended and serious cases, depression and other mental illnesses. The reason for causing such an effect boils down to diet. A diet which heavily relies on processed food and refined sugar could lead to a leaky gut. Everything made sense from there. I loved fast food so much and i grew up eating fast food.
Till this day, i still have leaky gut. It is a long process but i would say i have recovered a lot and my depression and dermatitis no longer plagues me, though time to time i have relapses. If anyone would ask me whats my remedy, i would say stay free from processed food, refined sugars and dairy till my gut heals. And one last thing, your mum was probably right, eat your vegetables!!!
Lou (Tirisula YTT, 200 Hr)

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