If you have digestive issues, an autoimmune disease, or food allergies, you might have leaky gut syndrome. But what is leaky gut syndrome, and how do you deal with it?
In this post, we’ll discuss what it is, signs and symptoms, what causes it, and how to start healing it.
What is leaky gut syndrome?
Leaky gut syndrome is a condition that often goes undiagnosed in conventional medicine. It describes an increased intestinal permeability a person experiences when the tight junctions of the digestive tract get damaged. The tight junctions connect the cells of the gut wall in the way mortar seals the spaces between bricks in a wall. Tight junctions only allow nutrients that are well digested to pass through the gut wall to reach your blood stream. As a result of leaky gut, proteins, like gluten and pathogens including bacteria and yeast can enter the blood stream. Your immune system reacts to these larger molecules and you end up with gastrointestinal inflammation that compromises your body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients properly.
Leaky gut syndrome has been linked to a number of health conditions including bowel pain, autoimmune diseases, body wide inflammation, and even possibly bipolar disease and autism.
5 Signs of leaky gut syndrome
Common signs and symptoms and leaky gut syndrome can include:
1. Food sensitivities or allergies
Permeability of the gut can allow larger proteins to slip through the barrier creating an immune reaction to something you weren’t previously allergic too. The longer you suffer from leaky gut, the list of foods that cause discomfort and sensitivity will likely increase. If you seem to be allergic to everything, chances are that you have leaky gut.
On the other hand, eating foods that you’re allergic to can also contribute to leaky gut syndrome from gastrointestinal inflammation damaging the intestinal lining.
2. Skin conditions (like acne or psoriasis)
Leaky gut syndrome goes hand in hand with inflammation that can cause numerous types of skin rashes. doctors often label eczema and say there is no known cause, but it is usually associated with the the gut. Acne and psoriasis have been linked to intestinal permeability, reaffirming that healthy skin comes from the inside out.
Studies have shown that psoriasis is the result of hyper-activity of the immune system1, as found in other autoimmune diseases.
3. Autoimmune diseases
An autoimmune disease describes when the immune system develops anti-bodies that attack your body’s own tissues. In almost every instance, leaky gut syndrome is involved. With proteins and molecules passing through the permeable lining of the gut, your immune system is kicked into overdrive. Antibodies to some of the invaders through the leaky gut wall cross react with and start damaging your body’s own tissues. Healing the intestinal lining should always be a key part of the treatment plan for any autoimmune disease.
With the gastrointestinal inflammation created with leaky gut syndrome, digestion and absorption can become compromised. Nutrient deficiencies, commonly B12, zinc and iron, are seen in people intestinal permeability, which can worsen the patient’s overall health if the root causes is left untreated.
5. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Inflammation or ulceration of the intestinal tract as seen in Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis can increase gut permeability making it even more difficult to absorb the nutrients your body needs to heal. Addressing leaky gut syndrome is essential to help your body reach the point of natural remission.
Causes of leaky gut syndrome
- Toxic exposure
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Candida overgrowth
- Autoimmune diseases
How to heal leaky gut syndrome
The foundation to healing leaky gut syndrome starts with your diet. You need to remove common allergens including gluten, dairy, soy, corn and peanuts and ditch processed foods and sugar. Eating for gut health means centering your diet around whole anti-inflammatory foods including leafy greens and vegetables, fiber-rich beans and legumes, and healthy omega-3 fats from fish, flaxseeds and chia.
You’ll want to make healthy lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, reducing your stress, and getting enough sleep each night. Nutritional deficiencies should be addressed with supplementation or with the help of your healthcare practitioner.
Any underlying causes like candida overgrowth, or autoimmune disease will require stricter and lengthier protocols to reach a state of healing. Working with a integrative healthcare practitioner is a great way to reach a personalized treatment plan for long-term results.
Chew on this
Our bodies want to heal and our job is to support that natural process. Nourishing your body whether it’s through food, mindfulness or exercise is important for your overall state of well-being. Be patient with your body and your health. It often takes us more time to heal than it does for us to get sick.
How do you keep your gut healthy? Tell us in the comments below.