article by Dr. Alison Danby, ND

In the recent times, many people have been diagnosed with a leaky gut syndrome, which is also known as intestinal permeability. The alarming situation is that most people who are suffering from it might not be aware of it. It is now stated that over 65% of the youth population in North America and over 95% of people diagnosed with Autoimmune have this condition. In this article, we will guide you about what exactly is a leaky gut, what causes it and how can you can treat this condition.

What is a Leaky Gut?

In this condition, a lining of the small intestine is damaged. This damage causes big holes from the cells pulling apart, which provides a way for all the undigested food particles to slip from the intestines right into the bloodstream.

  • Main Undigested Food Particles
  • Protein
  • Gluten
  • Bad Bacteria
  • Toxic Waste

Should you be Concerned?

There is absolutely no reason to be scared because a leaky gut can be treated. In majority of the cases, it totally vanishes if treatment goes on at different intervals.

Causes of a Leaky Gut

A leaky gut has been linked to some various health issues as well as chronic diseases. With the passage of time, more and more people are being affected by this disease. A lot of reasons contribute to this, like chronic stress as well as an overload of toxic substances.

What Else?

  • Bacterial Imbalance
  • Yeast Imbalance
  • Poor Choice of Diet (sugar and bad fats)
  • Food Sensitivities (healthy foods that your body doesn’t like)

Main Causes to Look For

Thyroid Problems

Hashimoto disease is another autoimmune disease, which may be affected by a leaky gut. This disorder can further lead to fatigue, weight gain, and depression.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The permeability of an elevated gut is often delimited to the colon of people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome.

Autoimmune Disease

The habit of eating gluten can lead to a leaky gut. The main reason is that it helps in the activation of zonulin signaling. This activation slows down a natural fighter in our system, which leads to an enhanced intestinal permeability.

Skin Conditions

As mentioned before, the intestinal permeability can lead to a few skin conditions such as psoriasis and acne.  

Malabsorption

There are various nutritional deficiencies that are caused due to a leaky gut. Some of these include magnesium, vitamin B12, and other enzymes that assist in food digestion.

Food Sensitivities

Even the healthiest foods can be a problem for you, when these foods are not broken properly they stress the gut lining causing the cells to pull apart allowing the large food molecules to pass through into the blood triggering an immune and inflammatory response. This is often the leading cause of a leaky gut syndrome. When the food molecules enter the bloodstream, the immune system of the affected person produces a number of antibodies. This process turns their bodies more sensitive/susceptible to antigens in case of certain foods. Unfortunately, once in this state of leaky gut, the foods we love and eat often have a higher affinity to become a sensitivity.

Symptoms

There are many health conditions that are formed as a result of a leaky gut. The leaky gut syndrome mainly happens as a result of a incresed stress on the digestive cells causing the intestinal tight junction to pull apart.

Other Clinical Symptoms Include:

  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches
  • Bloating
  • Brain fog
  • Memory Loss
  • Skin Rashes
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • ADHD
  • Arthritis

 

Note: Research has proven that joint pain, autoimmune conditions, and low energy symptoms show that a leaky gut is spreading at a fast rate.

What are Tight Junctions?

These are the gateways between our intestines and everything that passes from this section into the bloodstream. The function of a tight junction is to keep out microbes and toxins as well as undigested food particles.

The occurrence of a Leaky Gut

In case these gates are broken form the intestines (into your bloodstream), these particles are able to come inside. This causes inflammation in our whole body which results in a number of diseases.

Common Test for a Leaky Gut

There are several functional tests available for determining leaky gut. The Indican test is one that we do in the clinic, that will tell us if your gut is leaky and its very cost effective.

However, when looking at lab other functional tests our main goal is to determine why is it leaky? Is it pathogens such as bacterial, yeast or is it food related?

Treatment Options

Change your Dietary Habits

First and foremost, you need to look at your dietary habits. Most importantly, you should add healthy foods and eliminate the ones that are known to be bad.

Limiting the intake of dairy, soy, gluten and refined sugar is a great place to start.  

Some Food Suggestions

Mentioned below are some of the foods that will escalate your healing process in addition to repairing the lining of your intestines.

Steamed Vegetables

Is your diet high in vegetable? Steamed vegetables specifically are the easiest to digest and provide maximum nutrients.

Healthy Fats

Another effective way would be to consume calculated amounts of avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, and salmon.

Bone Broth

This food supplies appropriate amount of minerals and amino acids. The main ones included are glycine, proline, and potassium. They regulate mineral deficiencies and in this way gradually heal the leaky gut.

Other Options

Fruit

It is recommended to take at 2-3 pieces of fruit. Dark berries are considered as the best options.

Probiotics

This supplement assists in replenishing good bacteria by removing all the bad bacteria. However, there are a few things you need to consider when picking a probiotic (is it grown on a dairy culture, what is the prebiotic and is it feeding your bad bacteria also?). Stay tuned I will be doing a video on how to pick the right probiotic for you.

What about Digestive Enzymes?

Digestive enzymes maybe help you break down the food molecules and aid in digestion taking some of the stress off your digestive tract. There are some digestive enzymes that are available in the market in the form of capsules.

What About some Mental Disorders

Research has shown us that leaky gut syndrome has also been linked to some serious ailments like depression and anxiety. However, the good news is that if you can heal the gut, you can also heal the brain for the most part.

To Sum it up

It is good to have sound knowledge of what exactly causes a leaky gut. The bottom line is that you can heal yourself through a simple process. However, if the disease worsens, you may consult a Dr. Danby, to ask for further recommendations and a customized plan to optimize your health.