The gut is considered to be the “Gateway to Health”. It consists of approximately 80% of the immune system. 95% of “serotonin”, the “feel-good” hormone, is also produced in the Gut. Healing and improving your gut is of the utmost importance to lead a healthy and happy life. Your gut is responsible for stomach conditions, pain and even eagerness. Poor gut health can cause various issues such as a Leaky Gut.
A Leaky Gut is one of the most puzzling illnesses/diseases to be diagnosed and to get treated. It is a very puzzling disease or illness majorly due to the gut having a very extensive and complex structure. “There is still so much science that proceeds with finding newly developed methods, where the gut can have an impact on the health of the heart to brains being young and active,” says Dr. Alessio Fasano, Director of the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
What is Leaky Gut?
The digestive system is where food is broken down and nutrients are absorbed. It also plays a major role in safeguarding your body from detrimental or dangerous substances. The intestinal walls act as a barrier/hurdle to check what is passing into the bloodstream, to be carried to different organs of the body.
Water and nutrients are passed into and out of the small holes (tight junctions) in the walls of the intestine when obstructing the movement of detrimental substances. Intestinal Permeability is defined as an easy passage of the substances through the walls of the intestine. When the small holes (tight junction) of the intestinal wall become loose, the permeability of the gut increases and results in bacteria and toxins passing from the gut into the bloodstream. This event is termed as “Leaky Gut”.
Due to Leaky Gut, toxins and bacteria enter the blood-stream, resulting in inflammation and activating a reaction from the immunity. Proponents declare that it is one of the major causes of several medical conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, migraine, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, food sensitivities, thyroid abnormalities, mood swings, skin conditions, and autism.
Many Health-care professionals say that an increase in the permeability of the intestine occurs in a few chronic diseases. It is a challenge to calculate the strength of an individual’s gut barrier, so it becomes difficult to identify whether a person has a leaky gut and what impact it will have on the body.
Symptoms to Watch Out For
As per Dr. Leo Galland, the director of the Foundation for Integrated Medicine, the symptoms below could indicate a Leaky Gut.
- Digestive issues such as chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas or bloating or IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
- Nutritional Deficiencies such as anemia, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin deficiencies
- Excess weight, obesity, diabetes
- Poor immunity such as frequent cold, flu, and infection. Auto-immune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease or chron’s disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Brain: Headaches, brain fog and memory loss and Depression/Eagerness/ ADHD (Attention Deficient Hyperactive Disorder)
- Excessive tiredness or fatigue
- Rashes on skin such as acne, eczema
- Cravings for refined carbs or sugar
- Bones: Arthritis or Joint Pain and Osteoporosis
- Seasonal Allergies or Asthma
- Imbalance in the hormones such as PMS or PCOD i.e. Pre-menstrual Syndrome and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Diagnosis of candida overgrowth
- Food Allergies, food sensitivities or intolerances.
What Causes a Leaky Gut?
There are several factors that can cause a Leaky Gut. Gluten, food, infection and toxins being a few of them. The following factors can also be considered.
- Food Sensitivities, Candida or yeast over-growth, Parasites, Medications and Drugs
- Excessive sugar intake and other un-healthy food affect the barrier of the wall of the intestine.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s): Excess and too much use of NSAID’s like ibuprofen leads to leaky gut due to an increase in the wall of intestinal permeability
- Excess alcohol intake may also cause intestinal permeability.
- Nutritional Deficiencies: Deficiencies of vitamins such as A, D and Zinc result in increases intestinal permeability.
- Inflammation: Can also result in the leaky gut.
- Stress: Excess Stress also results in gastro-intestinal disorder, leading to leaky gut.
- Poor Gut Condition: There is a mix of good and harmful bacteria which are almost in millions in the gut. If the balance of the good and harmful bacteria is affected, it can affect the intestinal wall.
- Yeast Overgrowth: Natural existence of yeast is there in the gut, but excess growth of yeast can lead to leaky gut.
In my next article, we will talk about how to heal a Leaky Gut! Stay tuned and stay healthy. For more topics on Gut Health, click here. If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, consult a doctor or speak to our experts for lifestyle changes that will help you heal.