Leaky Gut – Everything You Need To Know About It
It sounds disgusting – we know, but it isn’t as bad as you might think. Rest assured, we are not going to talk about something leaking out of your rear at any point in this article. A leaky gut is a widespread health condition but it usually goes unchecked. It has started getting a lot of attention lately, particularly among natural health enthusiasts.
Most people who have this problem don’t even know something like this exists. Also, a leaky gut can cause a lot of discomfort and inconvenience in your day-to-day life. In this article, we’ll dive deep into what it is, it’s symptoms, effects, and the cure.
What is a Leaky Gut?
Leaky Gut Fix Kit
Intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut) is a digestive condition in which bacteria and toxins can “leak” through the intestinal wall. Although the mainstream medical professionals do not recognize leaky gut as a real condition, there is enough scientific evidence that it does exist and may be associated with multiple health problems.
In the condition, the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged. As a result, it causes undigested food particles, toxic waste products, and bacteria to “leak” through the intestines and flood the bloodstream.
The walls of the small intestines act as barriers. Also, they control what enters the bloodstream to be transported to all your other organs. There are small gaps in the small intestine called tight junctions that allow water and other nutrients to pass through.
The tight junctions also play a vital role in blocking the passage of harmful substances into the bloodstream. Leaky gut (intestinal permeability) refers to how easily substances pass through the intestinal wall.
When toxic material enters the bloodstream, it causes widespread inflammation and triggers a reaction from the immune system.
Signs of a Leaky Gut
- Poor immune system
- Arthritis or joint pain
- Skin rashes and problems such as acne, eczema or rosacea
- Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease or Crohn’s
- Chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas or bloating
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Excessive fatigue
- Headaches, brain fog, and memory loss
- Depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD
- Cravings for sugar or carbs
Causes of a Leaky Guy
There isn’t enough evidence to prove what exactly causes a leaky gut. A protein called zonulin is the only known regulator of intestinal permeability. When it’s present in genetically susceptible people, it can lead to intestinal permeability.
Two factors that can trigger zonulin are bacteria in the intestines and gluten (a protein found in wheat and other grains). Also, if you’re a bread and pasta lover, you don’t have to worry. Some studies have shown that gluten only increases intestinal permeability in people with conditions like celiac disease or irritable bowel syndrome.
When you eat food that causes intestinal permeability, your body produces antibodies and goes to war with the bloodstream intruders. Therefore, this reaction can kick an immune response into action which can cause symptoms like diarrhea, headaches, fatigue, and joint pain.
Factors That Can Lead To a Leaky Gut
Poor gut health: When the balance between the good and bad bacteria of the gut is out of proportion, it can affect the barrier function of the intestinal wall.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): The long-term use of NSAIDs like ibuprofen or over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin and acetaminophen can irritate the intestinal lining. Therefore, it can damage protective mucus layers.
Excessive Alchohol Consumption: Some studies have shown that excessive alcohol can increase intestine permeability.
Stress: Chronic stress/hypertension is a leading cause of multiple gastrointestinal disorders, including leaky gut.
Nutrient deficiencies: It’s no secret that nutrient deficiencies are the cause of many health issues, and a leaky gut is just one of them. Vitamin A, D, and zinc deficiencies are a major cause of intestinal permeability.
Yeast Overgrowth: The yeast bacteria is naturally present in the gut but an overgrowth of it can cause a leaky gut.
High Sugar Intake: A diet with high sugar content, particularly fructose, impairs the barrier function of the intestine wall.
Inflammation: Chronic inflammation throughout the body can contribute to leaky gut syndrome.
Diseases Associated With a Leaky Gut
It’s important to understand that if your gut health is compromised, as a result, all your body functions will start to fall apart. Some studies have shown that increased intestinal permeability plays a role in the development of type-1 diabetes.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease characterized by severe sensitivity to gluten. Many studies have proven that probabilities of a leaky gut are higher in patients with celiac disease.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS is a digestive disorder characterized by both diarrhea and constipation. Research conducted at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester found that people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are likely to have increased intestinal permeability.
Crohn’s is a chronic digestive disorder symbolized by persistent inflammation of the intestinal tract. As a result, a leaky gut plays a major role in Crohn’s disease. Several studies have shown an increase in intestinal permeability in patients with Crohn’s disease.
How To Fix a Leaky Gut
Take Probiotic Supplements: In layman’s terms, probiotics are the good bacteria that can improve your gut health. As a result, probiotic supplements are beneficial for many types of gastrointestinal diseases. The use of L-glutamine (an amino acid) is also beneficial for curing a leaky gut.
Undergo Tests For Food Allergies: Food allergies are a major cause of a leaky gut. Also, a leaky gut may allow food proteins to cross the intestinal barrier, stimulating an immune response. An immune response to a food protein (aka antigen) is the definition of a food allergy.
Based on the tests and the advice of a nutritionist, you might have to eliminate gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. Above all, you’ll win half the battle by eliminating these food items from your diet.
Cut the Refined Carbs: Harmful bacteria thrive on sugar, and excessive sugar intake can harm the gut barrier function.
Eat fermented foods: Fermented foods, such as plain yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and kombucha, contain probiotics that can improve gut health.
Consume High-Fiber Foods: Soluble fiber, which is present in fruits, vegetables, and legumes, feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut. In conclusion, you should stay away from packaged food and make whole foods a part of all your meals.