Leaky gut syndrome (technically known as intestinal hyperpermeability) is a surprisingly common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is poorly recognised and continues to be a controversial topic in mainstream medicine despite the fact that there are numerous studies showing that the condition does exist and can lead to a whole range of symptoms.
If you are suffering from some of the symptoms below then it is possible that you have a leaky gut:
In the intestinal tract, villi and microvilli serve as an absorption point for nutrients such as glucose, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Leaky gut syndrome results in the lining of the intestines becoming inflamed. This also results in damage to the villi and microvilli. The damaged microvilli are then unable to secrete the enzymes and digestive materials that are required for nutrient absorption and healthy digestion.
Leaky gut is basically a condition that occurs when inflammation in the gut leads to ‘pores’ lining the digestive tract to remain open for too long. The cells along our digestive tract also serve to form a protective, strong and sturdy structure, which prevent large molecules from passing through. However, when the gut becomes inflamed this lining becomes ‘leaky’ allowing larger molecules to seep into the bloodstream which are then transported to the liver. Because these molecules are considered ‘foreign’ to our body it provokes the immune system to produce antibodies to attack them. The liver also becomes overwhelmed because of the increased workload required to detoxify the body from these foreign objects. This is where the large array of symptoms of leaky gut results from.
Leaky gut syndrome has also been associated with a number of conditions including:
How Leaky Gut Occurs
Leaky gut syndrome can be caused by a large number of factors and that it why it is so common. Given our changing lifestyle and dietary habits, it unfortunately seems that the problem will only get worse. Our diet is extremely important as anything that we consume on a regular basis that can inflame out gut can lead to a leaky gut. Digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, coeliac disease, food allergies, gut infections and dysbiosis (imbalanced in digestive flora/bacteria) are also common causes. Certain drugs and medications (especially non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and antibiotics), excess alcohol consumption, high stress and even aging can also cause our gut to become leaky.
How to Heal a Leaky Gut
The key to healing a leaky gut is to improve your diet. Avoid foods that you are allergic or intolerant to (common foods include wheat, gluten, eggs, dairy products, soy and nuts). Consume more fruits, vegetables and herbs and make sure you thoroughly chew your food. It is also important that you ensure that your gut has good balance of healthy bacteria, so taking a high-quality probiotic can be really helpful. There are also a number of herbs and other nutrients that can soothe and heal a leaky gut like turmeric, glutamine, aloe vera, peppermint, glucosamine HCL, slippery elm, and quercetin.
So, if you are suffering from many symptoms of a leaky gut be sure to take proactive steps to improve and restore your gut health. Our gut is crucially important for our overall well-being so don’t neglect it.