Leaky Gut Syndrome is a very common health disorder where the intestinal lining becomes more permeable/ porous than normal. The epithelium on the villi of the small intestine becomes irritated and inflamed, this allows toxic material into the bloodstream, that would in healthier circumstances, be repelled and eliminated. Therefore the gut becomes “leaky” in the sense that bacteria, fungi, parasites along with their toxins as well as un-digested proteins, fats & waste pass into the bloodstream. Once the process of leaky gut occurs, the body perceives these large molecules as foreign invaders and attacks them with an antigen-antibody response. This contributes to poor digestion, mal-absorption, food allergies, inflammation, and compromised liver, lymphatic, and endocrine function.
According to Dr. Ronald Grisanti “Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS) is a major cause of disease and dysfunction in modern society and accounts for at least 50% of chronic complaints, as confirmed by laboratory tests” Furthermore, Dr D. Weber states “Leaky gut syndrome is almost always associated with autoimmune disease & reversing autoimmune disease depends on healing the lining of the GI tract. Any other treatment is just symptom suppression”
There are many different causes of Leaky Gut Syndrome, however the most prevalent cause I see in clinic is gastrointestinal dysbiosis. Dysbiosis refers to bacterial imbalance between the good and the bad bacteria that reside in our gut with more unfriendly bacteria than the friendly species. When the normal balance of these microbes is disturbed, intestinal inflammation increases. A sure way to eliminate these good bacteria is frequent antibiotic use. A diet high in sugar, refined and processed foods also contributes to the pendulum swing of good to bad.
Leaky Gut, dysbiosis and food intolerances all go hand in hand and create a vicious cycle that leads to increased gut permeability and intestinal atrophy. When the gut is inflamed the damaged microvilli cannot produce the necessary enzymes and secretions that are essential for a healthy digestion and the absorption of nutrients. Because of malabsorption nutrient deficiencies often occur, these nutrient deficiencies slow down the ability of the gut to heal and can cause any number of other symptoms. Hence the cyclic nature of this condition as depicted in my diagram.
Leaky Gut completely overworks the liver because it floods it with additional toxins diminishing the liver’s ability to neutralise chemical substances. When it cannot cope with the level of toxins the liver expels them back into the bloodstream. The circulatory system then pushes the toxins into the connective tissues and muscles where the body stores them to prevent major organ damage. As the intestinal lining gets weaker and weaker more toxins and undigested food enter into the bloodstream. The immune system reacts to this by producing antibodies causing allergic reactions and pain and inflammation throughout the body.
Some tell-tale signs you may have Leaky Gut
• Digestive issues such as heartburn, gas, bloating, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
• Seasonal allergies
• Hormonal imbalances such as PMS or PCOS
• Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, psoriasis, or celiac disease
• Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
• Mood and mind issues such as depression, anxiety, ADD or ADHD
• Skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or eczema.
• Candida overgrowth
• Food allergies or food intolerances
• Chronic joint and muscle pain
The main way to deal with Leaky Gut Syndrome is through nutrition. It is important to get the body back to optimum health and AVOID the foods or toxins that are causing an allergic reactions. This allows the damaged villi in the intestine a chance to heal and ensures your liver has the time and energy to detoxify your body. There is nothing fancy required for the restoration and healing of the gut mucosa and fortunately our gut lining is one of the fastest growing tissues in the body
hence its ability to heal quite quickly – that is if you avoid the harmful stimulants and put in the right nutrients needed for nutritional balancing. I can’t recall how many cases of Leaky Gut I have seen in clinic with varying different methods and nutrients required to restore function.
I, myself have recently suffered from Leaky Gut. During my pregnancy my surging hormones changed many things including my gut microbiota. I could not take my daily probiotics as they wreaked havoc with my digestive system and hormones. . This change supported the growth of my beautiful baby daughter but caused me to crave carbohydrates and chocolate cake – my glucose tolerance was impaired and I craved fruit like frugivore! All of these changes, including my pregnancy hormones (which are well known to support yeast growth) led me to suffer abnormal levels of candida, gut dysbiosis and finally Leaky Gut. All of my symptomology were gastrointestinal related, however this can vary from individual to individual. I knew the signs straight away and took action immediately. For me the most integral part of my healing was to avoid the numerous foods that had seeped into my blood circulation in which my body had misidentified as foreign bodies and created an antigen response to. Had I not done this my body would have kept on becoming inflamed and igniting the stress response. The other part for me was introducing probiotics to swing the pendulum back in favour of the good bacteria and keep the bad bacteria at bay. In today’s modern society it is easy to fall prey to various health conditions. The challenge is to identify them and get on top if it before it becomes much more serious and entrenched throughout your system.
If you have some of the aforementioned symptoms or have an unexplained medical condition, then Leaky Gut may just be the cause.
Copyright © Kristy Allan Kinesiology 2012