Your gut health is a good indication of your overall health. If you have a digestive or other gut issue, you overall health may be at risk. Factors such as diet, stress, toxic overload, and bacterial imbalance all contribute to leaky gut. Other causes of leaky gut include genetics, poor diet, stress, toxins, and bacterial imbalance. The Standard American diet is a common underlying factor in those who experience leaky gut at some point in their life. Poor gut function and inflammation are common on this diet, but these issues should not be taken lightly.
Leaky gut, also referred to as intestinal hyperpermeability, occurs when the lining of your intestine becomes compromised. The epithelial cells that surround your intestines are held together by proteins that control what is able to pass into your bloodstream from your digestive system. They need to be able to allow nutrients to enter your bloodstream while preventing disease-causing compounds from passing through. When these cells malfunction, health issues, such as leaky gut, may occur. When one has leaky gut, particles that should not be able to pass through the digestive lining become able to pass through.
Diseases associated with leaky gut include:
- Gastric ulcers
- Infectious diarrhea
- Celiac disease
- Esophageal and colorectal cancer
- Respiratory infections
- Acute inflammation conditions (sepsis, SIRS, multiple organ failure)
- Chronic inflammatory conditions (arthritis)
- Thyroid disorders
- Obesity-related metabolic diseases (fatty liver, Type 2 diabetes)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Propensity towards weight gain or obesity
Leaky gut does not necessarily cause any of these conditions. However, it is important to note that leaky gut is associated with a number of other health problems; those with this condition are more likely to be in poor health.
The direct symptoms of leaky gut syndrome include:
1. Food sensitivity
Because so many toxins are entering the bloodstream, the immune system will overreact to various substances, making many people sensitive to foods like gluten and dairy.
2. Seasonal allergies or asthma
Allergies are considered one of the most common leaky gut symptoms. They are the result of the increased toxins that pass into your body.
3. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Elevated gut permeability may be localized in the colon in people with irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.
4. Autoimmune disease
Eating foods such as gluten can affect the immune response and in turn lead the intestinal walls to become much more permeable.
5. Thyroid problems
Hypothyroidism is often accompanied by impaired metabolism, fatigue, depression, weight gain, and many more issues.
6. Nutrient Malabsorption
Deficiencies in vitamin B12, magnesium, and digestive enzymes are common with leaky gut. Many functional medicine practitioners will prescribe whole-food multivitamins along with probiotics for patients with leaky gut.
7. Inflammatory skin conditions
Intestinal hyperpermeability may exacerbate many skin conditions, including acne and psoriasis. These conditions are often due to gut issues, but creams and drugs with many, sometimes dangerous, side effects are prescribed.
8. Mood issues and autism
Leaky gut has been shown to cause various neurocognitive disorders. The chemicals released in the inflammatory response that is associated with leaky gut are thought to induce depression. Additionally, autism has been shown to be the result of problems with the gut microbiome, particularly in the first year of life.
If you have leaky gut, there are ways that you can treat it. You must remove the bad items that are entering your body, such as inflammatory and toxic foods, in order to heal intestinal infections. You must replace these items with healthy ingredients, such as digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid, and bile, in order to regain proper digestion and absorption. Then, focus on restoring healthy bacteria into your body with probiotics. Finally, repair your gut with the use of supplements such as L-glutamine, which rejuvenates the lining of the gut wall.
A comprehensive stool test can help you and your medical practitioner to determine the potential causes and treatments for leaky gut. Leaky gut may directly affect your digestion, but in reality, it can have an effect on the entire body. Dr. Hellmann has numerous upcoming Health Seminars that will help you to learn more about your body and attaining your optimal level of well-being!