Do you experience digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome? Do you suffer from seasonal allergies or asthma? Do you have a diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia? Do you have food allergies or intolerances?
If so, it’s possible that you may be suffering from a condition called leaky gut.
Leaky gut sounds like an unusual diagnosis, but it is more of a term used to describe what may be happening in many individuals experiencing the above listed conditions. Leaky gut is not the ONLY cause of these conditions, so please check with your physician for an accurate diagnosis.
The gut is usually another term used to describe the intestines. Naturally, the gut is permeable to tiny molecules. This permeability allows our body to absorb vital nutrients that we need to operate from day to day. The regulation of intestinal permeability to these vital nutrients is a natural function of the cells that line the intestinal wall. Although this seems like an easy process for cells to accomplish, there are often barriers that can stop the cells from doing their jobs.
Individuals with gluten sensitivity, often have gut cells that will begin to release zonulin, a protein that can break apart tight junctions in the intestinal lining. Gluten sensitivity is not the only culprit. Infections, toxins, stress and age can also cause tight junctions to break apart. Regardless of the reason, once the tight junctions are broken, leaky gut can occur.
The tight junctions are broken. What happens next and how does this affect us?
Leaky guy allows toxins, microbes, and undigested food particles to escape through the broken junctions which in turn, permit these substances to travel through the bloodstream to the rest of your body. This usually wouldn’t be an issue, except that each body is equipped with an immune system to protect us from foreign particles in the body. The escaped particles are marked as “foreign” by the immune system. Now the immune system will attack these substances in an attempt to protect us. This immune response can present in the ways listed at the beginning of this post.
Gluten is the main cause of leaky gut. There are other foods such as dairy, sugar, and excessive alcohol, which can contribute to leaky gut as well. Non-food related infections can also cause leaky gut, these include: candida overgrowth, intestinal parasites, and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
Can a leaky gut be fixed?
First, you need to remove the substances that are causing the leaky gut. Next, you will need to introduce substance/food to help your body heal. It is best to see a nutritionist or your physician to figure out the substances that are affecting you.