Do you have a leaky gut?

14 June 2016  |  Editor

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About Leaky Gut

What is a leaky gut?

Leaky gut syndrome' is not a recognised medical diagnosis. Nevertheless, It has been said that Leaky Gut Syndrome affects millions of people worldwide. Leaky Gut Syndrome is a chronic debilitating condition that often goes undiagnosed by the mainstream medical profession, as many doctors do not provide testing for leaky gut (increased intestinal permeability) or acknowledge that the condition exists. Many people are not even aware that they are suffering form a "leaky gut”.

The gut is naturally permeable to very small molecules in order to absorb these vital nutrients. In fact, regulating intestinal permeability is one of the basic functions of the cells that line the intestinal wall. In sensitive people, gluten can cause the gut cells to release zonulin, a protein that can break apart tight junctions in the intestinal lining. Other factors — such as infections, toxins, stress and age — can also cause these tight junctions to break apart.

Once these tight junctions get broken apart, you have a leaky gut. When your gut is leaky, things like toxins, microbes, undigested food particles, and more can escape from your intestines and travel throughout your body via your bloodstream. Your immune system marks these "foreign invaders" as pathogens and attacks them. The immune response to these invaders can appear in the form of any of the nine signs you have a leaky gut, which are listed below.

9 Signs You Have a Leaky Gut

  1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  2. Seasonal allergies or asthma.
  3. Hormonal imbalances such as PMS or PCOS.
  4. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, psoriasis, or celiac disease.
  5. Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia.
  6. Mood and mind issues such as depression, anxiety, ADD or ADHD.
  7. Skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or eczema.
  8. Diagnosis of candida overgrowth.
  9. Food allergies or food intolerances.

Symptoms of leaky Gut

The symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome are many and varied and include: abdominal pain, heartburn, insomnia, bloating, anxiety, gluten intolerance, malnutrition, muscle cramps and pains, poor exercise tolerance, food allergies.

Leaky Gut Syndrome has also been linked with many conditions, such as: Celiac Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, Autism, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Eczema, Dermatitis, Ulcerative Colitis.

When there aren't enough nutrients available for all the functions of the body, some areas will suffer. 

One scenario might be (and often is) that a lack of vitamin B6 and zinc will not enable the body to make enough stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) which, in conjunction with a digestive enzyme, is needed to break down protein.

Consequently, protein is not digested sufficiently and enters the blood stream too early, often through a gut that is irritated and 'leaky', and causes bloating and all sorts of other symptoms.

Antibiotics, steroid hormones (e.g. the contraceptive pill), sugar and allergens such as wheat, causes the gut lining to become inflamed and 'leaky', or too permeable, and food and chemical portions enter inappropriately.

This may lead to food intolerance and allergy.

Meanwhile, and again largely due to antibiotic use and excessive sugar in the diet, pathogenic (disease causing) bacteria are allowed to grow to unacceptable levels. This is called 'dysbiosis', and the most obvious symptoms include bloating of the abdomen, excessive 'wind' and sometimes pain or discomfort.

The cells of the gut lining are replaced every couple of days, so you can imagine the high levels of nutrients required to sustain this constant renewal.