You have probably heard the term leaky gut syndrome. It is a condition I come across every week in my Naturopathic Clinic and there was a lot of interest in my Gut Health webinar last week about it. Here is a rundown about leaky gut syndrome for you………
What is Leaky gut syndrome?
Our gut is like a tube, where food passes through and breaks down to smaller and smaller pieces. It is designed to be somewhat permeable and to allow the nutrients from our food to move across the gut wall and into our bloodstream. Leaky gut syndrome occurs when the gut wall has been damaged and allows particles of food that haven’t been fully digested across into our bloodstream. These particles are seen as invaders by our immune system, leading to inflammation. The diagram below show what effect that can have on your liver and immune system as well as how it increases the toxic load of your system.
What causes leaky gut syndrome?
Leaky gut syndrome is very common but often goes undiagnosed as it is not recognised by western medical practitioners. There are many substances in our diet and environment that damage our gut, the main culprits are
- Gluten – Gluten is abrasive to our gut and one of the leading contributors of leaky gut syndrome.
- Sugar – kills off the good bacteria in our gut causing dysbiosis (an overgrowth of bad bugs in our gut) which leads to leaky gut syndrome.
- Processed foods – Many of us underestimate how much Processed foods we eat which are often full of white flour, sugar, additives, artificial colours and sweeteners. All of which can upset our gut health.
- Medications – Antibiotics and the oral contraceptive pill as well as many other medications lead to an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in our digestive system which leads to leaky gut syndrome.
How do you know if you have leaky gut syndrome?
There are MANY signs and symptoms of leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome can be a contribing factor in many health conditions and diseases, here are a few signs, symptoms and disease states that can imply leaky gut syndrome is at play.
- Digestive Symptoms such as bloating, irregular bowel movements, I.B.S, wind and abdominal pain
- Fatigue and general tiredness
- Food allergies and intolerances
- Autoimmune conditions such as crohns, hashimotos, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis
- Skin conditions such as eczema, acne and psoriasis
- Hormonal imbalances such as P.M.S, P.C.O.S., endometriosis, fertility issues
- Mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety
How can you heal leaky gut syndrome?
- Reduce or eliminate the common culprits of leaky gut syndrome including gluten, sugar, processed foods and any unnecessary medications.
- Include a variety of fresh vegetables and salads in your diet, particularly root vegetables for their insolubale fibre content.
- Add gut healing foods into your diet such as bone broth, fermented vegetables and other fermented foods such as kefir, kombucha, miso and yoghurt.
- Restore your friendly bacteria by taking a good quality supplement.
- Repair the lining of your gut by taking a supplement containing L-glutamine, Vitamin A, Vitamin D and zinc.
I highly recommend you seek professional help from a qualified naturopath or similar if you suspect you have leaky gut syndrome as there are multiple factors that need to be considered.
Hit me with your leaky gut syndrome questions in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them.