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Leaky Gut and the Ketogenic Diet: What is it Doing to your Body?

What is leaky gut?

Leaky gut is defined by Emeran Mayer MD, a professor of medicine at UCLA and the director of the Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience, as "the microbes that gain access to our immune cells that are located below the intestinal lining".When this happens our body's natural response is to trigger a reaction called metabolic toxemia. Metabolic Toxemia is the low-grade immune response that activates throughout the body as though you have an infection. This activation will not allow the body to satisfy hunger cravings, and will give you many food aversions. This can trigger the brain to grab foods unusually often and without much thought at all. Just as though we are a robot eating unconsciously in routine motion. We know we are NOT supposed to be grabbing that sugar filled candy bar as our body craves it, but auto-reactionary we still do it.

How does leaky gut change the micro-biomes in your GI tract?

What is a micro-biome you ask? Let me give you a visual: Imagine a rock underneath the water of a river or ocean. It's that green growth that covers the rock over time. That is the gut sludge we accumulate inside our intestines where our food moves through. The thicker that sludge, the less vitamins we absorb from the food we eat. Eventually, our food moves through without much absorption, until we are chronically low in vitamins or minerals. This prevents the feed back loop to our brain of many hormones that affect our hunger and satiety. We know from all the talk of sugar addiction that it is bad for us, but any diet high in sugar, fats, and low in fiber changes the dynamic of your gut bacteria and increases the bad micro-biomes (gut sludge). This can affect our entire body and impact our health greatly! It ultimately increases our body weight, creates insulin sensitivity and resistance, and maintains a constant state of low grade inflammation throughout our body because it is full of bacteria, fungi, or even viruses. When we have inflammation, our body refuses to go through a process of release (including waste, toxins, fat, and water content). It is an emergency response our body has under stress in fear of dying. So we stay overweight, and even become more overweight as time goes on.

So, now lets apply this to one of the most popular fad diets right now: the "keto" diet. The ketogenic diet does nothing to counter or correct this negative micro-biome shift. The reason is because it is a high fat, high protein diet that isn't giving us enough fiber. Fiber comes from vegetables and fruits which is not part of the ketogenic diet. The rule of the Keto-Diet is to get 80% of your daily caloric intake of calories from fats and the other 20% from proteins.

FYI: Polyunsaturated fats like oils, seeds, increase the inflammation in our gut leading to an exacerbated gut sludge problem.

This, in addition to processed white sugar leads to more bad gut bugs that resist weight loss and increase the inflammation even more. So, when you stop the fad diet you are on, your weight goes right back to where it began plus 5-10 extra pounds...

What that says for your health and weight loss efforts?

In an journal published in PubMed called Physiology & Behavior, concludes that prior to eating, a hunger hormone signals the brain that we are hungry. Ghrelin is a gastric peptide in the stomach that rises prior to meals and falls when food is consumed. This is our hunger hormone trigger. Ghrelin transports across the blood - brain barrier to the hypothalamus (in our brain) triggering hunger which gives the feeling of satiety. After eating, we have a release of hormones by our enteroendocrine cells. It takes 15 minutes after starting a meal for this hormone to release. Fatty foods will delay this response as compared to carbohydrates. If you have leaky gut, the signal never reaches the brain, and you will continue to eat without any fulfillment....

What does inflammation do to your body?

Inflammation can do many things to the body, such as autoimmune diseases that may lay dormant in your DNA that can shift and awaken causing a new unhealthy chronic problem.

Inflammation can cause:

  • joint pain

  • brain fog

  • depression

  • fatigue

  • cancer

  • make you more susceptible to colds and the flu.

Just to name a few of the well known diseases that are linked to Chronic Inflammation... are Rheumatoid Arthritis, Celiac Disease, Heart Disease, Cancer, and Psoriasis.

What you can do to change this microbiome shift, and lower the inflammation?

Taking additional digestive enzymes, which we have an amazing all natural active enzyme supplement that you consume 30-45 minutes before meals. Add fiber to your daily regimen. Fiber from plants is the most natural and important source for you to consume, but if you find your diet lacking, we have an amazing fiber supplement. Our fiber is colorless, tasteless, and all natural, that you can add to any meal or smoothie. Stay away from sugar, and polyunsaturated fats like the ones used in a keto diet.



Integrative Practitioner Staff, (2016), The Mind-Gut Connection,

Morgan, T. and Dailey, M., Physiol Behav. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2012 Nov 30, retrieved from

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