What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome All About?

Leaky Gut Syndrome is the term used for a medical condition that appears to be getting more prevalent, yet there seems to be a big mystery surrounding it. Many physicians believe that not enough is known about Leaky Gut Syndrome at the present time to have definite answers about exactly what causes it or exactly what can cure it.  That being said – here is the information I found while researching Leaky Gut Syndrome…

leaky gut syndrome

What exactly is a ‘leaky gut’?

The lining of the intestinal wall forms a tight barrier that is designed to allow certain substances, such as properly digested nutrients, to pass into the bloodstream.  If the lining becomes very porous or ‘hyper-permeable’, large gaps allow the wrong substances to pass into the bloodstream such as toxins, undigested food, yeast, bacteria or waste products.  This situation is generally referred to as ‘leaky gut’.  People with celiac disease and Crohn’s disease are considered to be more at risk of having a leaky gut.

What effect does a leaky gut have on our health?

Since the intestines are a key player in our body’s immune system, having a leaky gut essentially means the immune system is being compromised.  When the wrong substances or foreign invaders (wastes, toxins, bacteria, etc.) are leaking into the bloodstream through the intestinal walls our body mounts an immune response. And many of these toxins end up being absorbed into the tissues causing the tissues to become inflamed, resulting in various health issues.

The body’s all-out immune response starts a series of events that can lead to autoimmune diseases such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), MS (Multiple Sclerosis), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Ulcerative Colitis, and possibly even Asthma.  Some of the foreign invaders can be food molecules that have not been properly digested – from such foods such as wheat, nuts, or dairy products. The body produces antibodies to fight these foreign invaders, which can result in food sensitivities and intolerances to seemingly ordinary foods.

Are there signs and symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Yes, but the signs seem to vary from person to person.  It is important to note that the signs and symptoms for Leaky Gut Syndrome are very similar to the signs and symptoms for other chronic health issues, which makes it very difficult for physicians to get a clear diagnosis of Leaky Gut Syndrome. Here are a few possible signs or symptoms:

  • A large number of food sensitivities could be a signal that your body’s immune system is on high alert and developing antibodies to many of the foods you are eating.
  • Chronic diarrhea and/or constipation can be a signal that the intestinal walls are irritated or inflamed.  This is also one of the symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
  • Digestive issues such as bloating, cramps and flatulence could signal digestive stress.
  • Skin rashes could mean that your body is trying to get rid of toxins through the skin.
  • General signs of inflammation could indicate toxic buildup in the body and inflammation of the tissues.  These signs include achy joints, brain fog, problems with memory, extreme fatigue, and frequent headaches.

Be aware that if your body is not breaking the food down properly, the nutrition from that food may not be absorbed in the intestines, so you could be suffering from nutritional deficiencies, and you could be unaware of these deficiencies.  If you have any of the more obvious symptoms listed above, you should seriously consider high quality nutritional supplements.

What causes a leaky gut?

This is an issue of great debate, since many physicians feel there hasn’t been enough research done yet. Some possible causes which some of the medical community agree on are:

  • Poor quality diet – eating too much sugar and too many refined foods that are toxic and inflammatory.
  • Overgrowth of yeast in the intestines (Candida).
  • Inflammation of the digestive system.
  • Medications that irritate the intestinal lining.
  • Chronic stress, which weakens the immune system.
  • Vitamin deficiency, particularly zinc which strengthens the intestinal lining.

What is the cure for Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Good question!  It is another hotly debated topic!  From a holistic point of view the goal would be to help the body heal inflammation and heal the intestinal lining, and in effect – plug up the holes to stop the toxins from entering the bloodstream.  Here are some steps that could be helpful:

  • Eat a healthy, whole foods diet. Eliminate sugar, refined foods and chemicals from your diet. This could help eliminate an overgrowth of yeast.  Some practitioners recommend an anti-inflammatory or low glycemic diet.
  • Take a high quality Probiotic, which could help by populating the intestinal tract with good bacteria to help the digestive process.
  • Take a Digestive Enzyme, which could help your body with the work of breaking down the food you consume.
  • Take high quality nutritional supplements, which could help heal the intestinal lining, particularly Omega 3 from fish oil, zinc, Vitamin D, glutamine and a multi-vitamin.

It is fairly clear that Leaky Gut Syndrome is a condition that will be the subject of ongoing research over time. Exact details about the causes and cures seem to be somewhat perplexing and also seem to overlap with other chronic disorders.  Current evidence suggests that having a healthy, whole foods diet, free of refined junk foods, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help to either avoid this syndrome, or help to heal it.

Are you interested in learning more about a whole foods dietary lifestyle, free of refined foods and sugar?  If so, contact me – I would be happy to help!


Informational Resources

WebMD – What is Leaky Gut Syndrome 

SCD Lifestyle – Leaky Gut Syndrome 

Dr Oz – Could Leaky Gut Be Troubling You




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