05 Jan 201911:24
It’s important to realise that up to 80 percent of the immune system is located within the gut wall, and the immune system’s first and foremost job is to produce inflammation in response to anything foreign that passes through the gut wall (like undigested food particles, toxins, bacteria, etc.). (1)
Eating a gut-healing diet is able to help put multiple autoimmune diseases into remission including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, hypothyroidism, eczema, and alopecia areata.
A leaky gut is basically what it sounds like: your intestines develop tiny holes that allow for stuff which should stay contained in the gut (like food and toxins) to slowly leak through the gut wall and into the body.
It’s easy to understand why a leaky gut contributes to chronic inflammation and disease when you realise that:
- The immune system’s primary job is produce inflammation.
- 80% of the immune system is located within the gut wall.
- A leaky gut allows toxins to continually flood into the body, which triggers the immune system to produce inflammation in response.
- Eventually this inflammation can become chronic (long-term). Chronic inflammation underlies every single “disease of modern society” including obesity, autoimmunity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, anxietyand MANY more diseases and disorders that plague modern humans.
9 Symptoms of Leaky Guy
(i) Digestive Issues
Digestive symptoms of all kinds can be a sign of an underlying leaky gut (although most people with leaky gut experience no specific issues with digestion). Diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, changes in bowel movements, abdominal pain, cramping, bloody stools, smelly stools, inflammatory bowels diseases, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) or another form of dysbiosis, candida overgrowth, gastroparesis or slow GI motility, and virtually any and all digestive symptoms and disorders under the sun can have a leaky gut at their root. (6, 7)
(ii) Autoimmune Diseases
Much research suggests that a leaky gut must be present in order for autoimmune disease to be active. Over 80 different autoimmune diseases have been identified, including Celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, alopecia, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and many more. (8)
(iii) Chronic Diseases and Disorders
Practically any disease or disorder in the body can be related to an underlying leaky gut, including (but not limited to): diabetes (type 1 and 2), cardiovascular diseases, many types of cancer, respiratory disorders (asthma and others), thyroid disorders, hepatitis and other liver conditions, osteoporosis, periodontal diseases, digestive disorders, urinary conditions, reproductive disorders and infertility, and obesity. (9, 10, 11, 12, 13)
(iv) Skin Conditions
If you’re suffering from skin issues, you’re likely also suffering from a leaky gut. The connection between gut health and skin health has been well established and many skin conditions have been connected with leaky gut such as rashes, acne, hives, eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, hair loss, dermatitis, dry skin, and many more. (14, 15, 16)
(v) Food Allergies and Sensitivities
Studies have shown that nearly all people with food allergies, sensitivities and intolerance have some degree of leaky gut syndrome. (17) Once the leaky gut is healed, many people are pleased to discover that their food sensitivities resolve themselves.
(vi) Nutritional Deficiencies
In Functional Medicine, a common indicator of leaky gut syndrome is low trace minerals across the board when tested via blood. (18) Leaky gut is often accompanied by inflammation along the length of the digestive tract, which makes it difficult for vitamins and minerals to be absorbed through the gut wall and into the body.
(vii) Brain and Mood Disorders
Conditions such as brain fog, depression, anxiety, autism, chronic fatigue, headaches, migraines, mood swings, ADD and ADHD, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia and many more brain-related symptoms are thought to have leaky gut at their root. (19, 20, 21)
(viii) Body and Joint Pain
(ix) Sugar Cravings
Sugar cravings can be a symptom of dysbiosis (an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria in the gut) and they often disappear once a person has addressed the health of their gut lining.
A Positive Test for Leaky Gut
Functional Medicine testing now exists that can assess gut health via the breath, blood, stool and urine. Two of the more popular tests for assessing intestinal permeability include the Lactulose/Mannitol urine test and the zonulin test (which can be performed via either a stool or blood test, and which detects a molecule called zonulin responsible for increasing intestinal permeability).
What Causes Leaky Gut?
In particular, the antinutrients found in grains and legumes and foods that one is allergic or sensitive to. (24)
Dysbiosis and Infections
An imbalance in the gut microflora, yeast overgrowth, parasitic or viral infections can also contribute to increased intestinal permeability. (28)
Poor Oral Hygiene
The mouth represents the beginning of the GI tract, and research suggests that dysbiosis in the mouth can contribute to increased intestinal permeability. (31)
Stress in any form (mental or physical) can trigger leaky gut syndrome. (32)
How to Heal a Leaky Gut in 4 Steps
Step 1: Remove irritating foods and other toxins from our diets and lives by taking bone broths and eating vegetables of all colours
Step 2: Replace toxic foods with digestive support and healing foods such as gelatin and collagen
Step 3: Repair the intestines by providing the nutrients needed to heal the gut wall and the underlying immune system, by taking a gelatin and collagen supplement daily.
Step 4: Reinoculate to restore a healthy balance of the gut’s microflora by consuming daily gelatin and collagen supplements