Leaky gut is a digestive condition in which bacteria and toxins are able to "leak" through the intestinal wall. It occurs when the tight junctions of the intestinal wall, which act as barriers, become loose, allowing harmful substances to enter the bloodstream. These tight junctions should generally only allow water and nutrients to pass through, while blocking the passage of harmful substances.
Mainstream medical professionals do not recognize leaky gut as a real condition. However, there is quite a bit of scientific evidence that leaky gut does exist and may be associated with multiple health problems such as celiac disease, diabetes, Chron's disease, irritable bowel disease and food allergies.
It is still unclear whether to classify leaky gut as a cause or a symptom of a disease. Plenty of studies have shown that leaky gut is present in several chronic diseases, specifically autoimmune disorders. However, it is difficult to prove that leaky gut is the cause of disease.
7 Leaky Gut Symptoms and Signs are the following:
- Food sensitivities
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Autoimmune disease
- Tyhriod problems
- Nutrient malabsorption
- Inflammatory skin conditions
- Mood issues and Autism
Another area that is still a bit in the grey regarding leaky gut, is the cause of its development.
It is stated that a protein called zonulin is the only known regulator of intestinal permeability. When it's activated in genetically susceptible people, it can lead to leaky gut. Two factors that trigger the release of zonulin are bacteria in the intestines and gluten, which is a protein found in wheat and other grains.
Other likely factors contributing to leaky gut syndrome are excessive sugar intake, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Excessive alcohol intake, Nutrient deficiencies, Chronic inflammation, stress, yeast overgrowth and poor gut health.
Leaky gut syndrome is not an official medical diagnosis and there is not a recommended course of treatment. Despite this, there are still many steps that can be taken to improve gut health and reduce symptoms:
- Take a probiotic supplement: Probiotics are beneficial bacteria the may improve gut health.
- Eat fermented foods such as plain yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha.
- Limit the use of NSAIDs
- Limit carb intake- Harmful bacteria live off of sugar, therefore execissive sugar intake can lead to deteriorated gut health.
- Eat high-fiber foods; think fruits, vegetables and legumes.
- Eat Sprouted seeds (like chia seeds, flaxseeds and hemp seeds)
- Eat Foods with omega-3 fatty acids, especially wild-caught fish.
- Eat nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods like grass-fed beef, lamb, other fresh veggies and most fruits, apple cider vinegar, sea veggies, and other superfoods
- Remove processed foods— including un-sprouted grains, added sugar, GMO’s, refined oils, synthetic additives and conventional dairy products.