Leaky gut is not a condition recognized by traditional practitioners, though scientific research demonstrates that it not only exists but is also quite impactful on the overall health and well-being of an individual.
Leaky gut, also known as ‘intestinal permeability,’ distresses the lining of the intestines. In affected individuals, the intestinal lining loses its ability to protect the gut’s isolated environment. As a result, bacteria, toxins, partially digested fats and proteins and other bodily waste ‘leak’ out of the gut (intestines) and into the blood stream.
This leak can often trigger autoimmune reactions, or cause other adverse conditions that negatively impact quality of life. A leaky gut also compromises immunity as the intestines are the body’s first line of defense.
Humans rely on the gut to absorb, digest or transport nutrients and bacteria, but with a leaky gut, the liver and immune system go into overdrive to account for the toxins, pathogens and undigested molecules in the blood stream. For this reason, leaky gut may worsen existing autoimmune conditions such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease.
The causes of leaky gut are still hotly debated by researchers and functional medical practitioners, yet most everyone agrees that a leaky gut is at least partially related to diets high in processed food, refined sugar, and gluten, chronic stress, pain-relieving medications (NSAIDS), too much yeast, and a lack of the vitamin Zinc.
Treatment for a leaky gut may include diet restrictions that eliminate grains and sugars so that the intestines can rebuild permeability and nutritional supplements that support proper digestion and prevent nutritional deficiencies. Helpful supplements may include a multi-vitamin, probiotics, l-glutamine and zinc, among other. Digestive enzymes are also helpful to effectively and completely break down the foods we eat and prevent the undigested fats and proteins from entering the bloodstream and triggering an adverse reaction.
If you think you have this syndrome, listen to your gut! But fear not! There are interventions that alleviate leaky gut, though guidance from a functional medical practitioner is necessary to ensure a safe, holistic and effective treatment approach.