What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
The lining of the small intestine is very important to good health. It provides a barrier between the bloodstream and the contents of the intestine. Not everything that enters or lives in the intestine should enter the bloodstream. It is up to the cells of the intestinal lining to make this important decision. In a healthy gut, nothing is able to enter the bloodstream without the blessing of the intestinal lining.
In leaky gut syndrome, the intestinal lining isn’t 100% intact and undesirable substances can enter the blood through the intestine. These substances can wreak havoc in the body in several ways, such as:
- The liver is overburdened. When toxic substances enter the body, the liver is tasked with eliminating those substances. You can’t live without your liver, so reducing its workload as much as possible is a good idea.
- The immune system is activated. A foreign substance in the body can stimulate an immune response. Unnecessary immune activity can be damaging to the human body.
- Inflammation occurs. Immune system activity can trigger inflammation. Inflammation is believed to be the cause of many serious diseases.
- Increased likelihood of food allergies and sensitivities. Leaky gut syndrome is one pathway that can create food allergies and sensitivities.
Symptoms of a Leaky Gut
There are a wide variety of symptoms, which can make it challenging to identify leaky gut with a high degree of certainty.
These symptoms include:
An Essential Guide to Gut Health • 24● Regular bouts of bloating, diarrhea, gas, constipation, or digestive-related pain
● Seasonal allergies
● Rashes or other skin-related issues
● Multiple food sensitivities
● Auto-immune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
● Brain fog
● Poor memory
● Anxiety, depression
● Difficulty concentrating
This is a pretty wide-ranging list of symptoms! If you have one or more of these symptoms, do you have leaky gut syndrome?
Let’s consider what contributes to leaky gut syndrome.
Causes of Leaky Gut
Most experts are in agreement that leaky gut can have several contributing causes.
● Toxins and infections
● Food selection
What these factors have in common in that they create inflammation which many consider to be the primary cause of leaky gut. The primary strategy for combating leaky gut is to remove the sources of inflammation.
Chronic stress is a significant contributor to leaky gut syndrome. Stress leads to inflammation. Stress can also inhibit the immune response which permits various sources of inflammation to go unchecked. The best ways to eliminate this contributing factor are to learn and practice relaxation techniques and to minimize the amount of stress in your life.
Toxins and Infections
The bacteria that normally occur in the gut can grow excessively under the right conditions and cause damage to the intestinal lining. Parasites are another type of infection that can damage the intestine. These bacteria can create a variety of toxins and enzymes that corrupt the lining of the intestine and interfere with normal digestion.
Diet is considered to play the largest role in causing leaky gut. There are several foods that are commonly considered to be problematic:
● Refined grains
● Refined sugars
● Artificial colorings
● Artificial flavorings
● Processed foods
● Foods that result in sensitivities or stimulate the immune system.
These foods vary from person to person. The human body in general, and the immune system specifically, don’t reliably recognize these substances as foods. These substances can lead to immune system activity, burden the liver, and lead to inflammation. Some people are very sensitive to certain foods. One simple way to identify these foods is to do an elimination diet or food sensitivity test.
If you notice symptoms that interfere with your daily life, CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment or call Tracey Mixon at 512-643-3631 to arrange to have your hormones and nutrition evaluated.