We’ve all heard how good running can be for you. Running helps to lose weight, prevent disease, lower stress, strengthen joints, manage blood pressure… the list goes on and on. But there’s a suprising problem you may be experiencing if you’re a long distance runner. It’s called leaky gut. I know, it sounds gross, but if you’re a runner then it’s something to keep in mind. How do you know if you have a leaky gut? Read on to find out common symptoms and how to treat it.
What is leaky gut, anyway?
Leaky gut, also known as intestinal permeability, is a dysfunction in the lining of our intestine. Our intestinal walls are only one cell layer thick. Their job is to absorb nutrients and prevent bacteria from getting into our bloodstream. When the cells of the gut lining start to separate and let bacteria enter the bloodstream, we get what we call leaky gut. This can lead to all kinds of health issues, including:
- autoimmune disease
- rheumatoid arthritis
- food sensitivities
- irritable bowel syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- ulcerative colitis
- thyroid problems
- nutrient deficiencies
- depression and other mood disorders
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How does running lead to leaky gut?
It’s actually not just running that can lead to leaky gut. Powerlifters and people who do cross-fit are at risk, too. Same goes for anyone who does vigorous strength training or heavy exercise. The gut lining becomes more permeable due to the amount of stress put on your body by these types of activity. High physical stress leads to higher metabolic demands. Endurance sports do appear to have the most profound effect on leaky gut though, which is why you might be more concerned if you’re a marathon runner, cyclist, or triathlete.
When you exercise, plant-derived carbohydrates are digested and fermented by the gut. This can create some harmful byproducts that play a role in creating leaks in your gut. Once you have a leaky gut, toxins are more easily able to cross from your intestines into your bloodstream.
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Endurance exercise can also increase our secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines. This means that more inflammation is happening in the gut, which can throw off the balance of good bacteria versus bad bacteria in the intestines.
If you know me, you know I don’t like talking about health issues without some scientific studies to back up what I’m saying. So let’s take a look at one. Researchers looked at LPS (lipopolysaccharide) levels in athletes. They chose to look at LPS because it is a toxin found in bacteria. They measured LPS from blood samples of 29 athletes before, immediately after, one hour after, two hours after, and 16 hours after a triathlon. What they found was that LPS in the blood increased immediately after the race. But guess what? LPS was even higher than that one hour later. This demonstrated that there was an increase in leaky gut both during and after intense exercise.
I think I might have a leaky gut… now what?
Don’t hang up your running shoes just yet, folks. There might be a solution to those leaks in your gut. Remember how I mentioned that the balance between good and bacteria in the gut can get thrown off? Well, one way to help restore that balance is by taking probiotics. Probiotics are known as the good, healthy bacteria that we want and need in our gut. There are many different strains of probiotics. The two that have been shown to be most helpful with leaky gut is called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. These strains help cells of the intestinal wall to tighten up the gaps between them.
A study demonstrated that probiotic supplements reduced LPS levels in the blood. This led to less leaky gut as well as an increase in the amount of time it took to reach fatigue while exercising in hot temperatures. This means that probiotics could actually help to improve athlete performance, too!
If you are a runner and suspect you may have a leaky gut, don’t wait until deteriorating health issues come along. Act now by calling the clinic to book your appointment with Dr. Corina Kibsey, ND today.
Who doesn’t want to stay flexible, especially as they age? Well, stretching is one very good way to stay flexible! According to the American College of Sports Medicine it’s good to stretch all the major muscle groups at least two times a week.Stretching is an integral part of physiotherapy, and a physiotherapist is the perfect person to guide you how to stretch. Physiotherapists recommend stretching regularly, as it keeps one’s hips and hamstrings flexible later in life, which is very important for easy movement in old age.
Apart from this stretching has many other benefits. Like –
- It increases muscle flexibility
- It improves posture
- It also improves performance in sports & other activities
- It provides relief from stress
- It helps prevent injuries
- It prevents Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS, which is the soreness and pain one suffers a few hours to a few days after hectic exercise.
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The first question that many wonder about ,is what body parts should one stretch?
In physiotherapy, stretching the following body parts is considered essential –
- Upper Back
The next thing to take into consideration, is if there is a right amount of time to stretch?
While there is no particular amount of time that physiotherapists suggest you to stretch, recent studies show that 3 sets of 30 second stretches, 5 days per week for 4 weeks helps to strengthen hamstring muscles greatly.
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There are many kinds of Stretching that physiotherapists recommend.
Stretching a muscle to its full extent and holding it for 15 to 30 is known as the Static Stretch. You can exceed this time frame a bit, but don’t stretch until it hurts, as you can end up doing more damage to your muscles than good by over stretching. However, don’t do Static Stretches before a run or sprint, as this can slow down your speed by tiring out the muscles.
Before warming up for a run or other sports, doing Dynamic Stretches is more suitable. Dynamic Stretches are stretches that you do, as you are moving, and hence are called dynamic.
Another effective way of stretching, often used in physiotherapy, is Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) Stretching.
PNF stretching is an advanced type of stretching wherein the targeted muscle or muscle group, is stretched, contracted and finally relaxed. This process is repeated at least 2 to 4 times before moving on to the next muscle group. PNF stretching helps to elongate one’s muscles and was first developed as a muscle therapy by athletes, but is now often used in physiotherapy as a means of increasing flexibility.
Stretching can be used as a preventative precaution, but also to help correct and recover from more serious issues. A physiotherapist can guide you more regarding the stretching exercises that will be best suited to your needs. So visit any of our locations in Etobicoke, Oakville, North York, Mississauga & Toronto, and find out how you can get the most out of stretching!
What exactly is shin splints? Are they treatable? Shin splints is a condition characterized by damage and inflammation of the connective tissue joining muscles to the inner shin bone (tibia). Shin splints are known by many different names such as: Medial Tibial Tenoperiostitus, MTSS, Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, Tenoperiostitus of the Shin, Inflammatory Shin Pain, Traction Periostitis, and Posterior Shin Splint Syndrome.
Several muscles lie at the back of the lower leg, and are collectively known as the calf muscles. The tibialis posteriror, flexor digitorum longus, flexor hallicus and soleus are muscles which lie deep within the calf and attach to the inner border of the tibia. Connective tissues are responsible for attaching these muscles to the tibia known as the tenoperiosteum. Every time the calf contracts, it pulls on the tenoperiosteum. When the tension becomes forced too much or is repeated frequently, damage is caused to the tenoperiosteum. The results are inflammation and pain. Shin splints can also occur in combination with other pathologies that cause shin pain such as compartment syndrome and tibial stress fractures.
Patients who suffer from shin splints experience a pain along the inner border of the shin. In other cases, the patient may experience an ache or stiffness along the inner aspect of the shin that increases with rest (typically and night or first thing in the morning). Areas of muscle tightness, thickening or lumps may also be felt in the same area of pain. There are several factors that predispose patitents to shin splints:
• Excessive training or exercise
• Poor foot posture (especially in patients with flat feet)
• Inappropriate footwear
• Inadequate warm up
• Training on hard or inappropriate surfaces
• Muscle weakness (especially in calve muscles)
• Tightness in specific joints (such as ankle)
• Tightness in specific muscles (calves especially)
• Poor lower limb biomechanics
• Poor training techniques or methods
• Leg length differences
• Poor balance
• Being overweight
• Poor core stability
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Physiotherapy treatment for patitents with shin splints is vital to speed up the healing process. Physiotherapy will ensure the most optimal outcome and reduce the likelihood of recurrence. Treatment may comprise of the following:
• Deep tissue massage
• Joint mobilization
• Dry needling
• PNF stretches
• Arch support taping
• The use of orthotics or shock absorbing insoles
• Biomechanical correction
• Ice or heat treatment
• Exercises to improve flexibility, balance, strength, and core stablility
• Activity modification advice
• Anti-inflammatory advice
• Footwear advice
• Weight loss advice where appropriate
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If you happen to suffer from shin splints and you are looking for a way to relieve pain, stress, and improve over-all health, try adding physical therapy to a routine wellness plan. Our physiotherapists at Triangle Physiotherapy can be a powerful ally when combating daily stress, muscle pain, and general health issues when it comes to shin splints. Not only does physical therapy relieve pain, increase energy levels, and improve overall physical and mental performance, it prevents further injuries. Our experienced, professional physical therapists at Triangle Physiotherapy are available at five convienient locations: Etobicoke, Oakville, Mississauga, Toronto, and Kings West. At Triangle we customize every physical therapy session to address your individual needs.