Do you have IBS like symptoms, always tired, get headaches, moods swings and other unexplained symptoms? Do everyday tasks and activities you once enjoyed seem like chores where you struggle to find the energy to get by? Chances are your body is run down and it has opened a window for your immune system to shut down and take on more than your body can handle. You may have adrenal fatigue and a common GI condition called leaky Gut Syndrome.
“Not many people will know they even have this!”
In this blog I am going to explain what it is, what you may be experiencing in the way of symptoms and at the same time give you some insight as to causes and how you can start to recover.
Leaky Gut Syndrome is a condition relating to the digestive system. Its correct terminology is “Gastrointestinal Hyper Permeability” where inflammation occurs in the small intestine and decreases the ability of the intestinal wall to absorb nutrients.
Leaky Gut Syndrome occurs when the intestinal lining (the mucosal lining) is damaged and large food molecules, bacteria, and micro-organisms pass across the intestinal wall and circulate through the body. As a result, the immune system kicks in and in response, produces antibodies that protect the body against these molecules. As a result of this, the body produces an allergic defence mechanism.
For a long time, it was only really acknowledged by alternative health practitioners however, there are many papers on “Pubmed” and the NHS that give credit to this condition.
When the body is unhealthy, the immune system is low and one has low vitality. The body can get infected by fungus, parasites and lead to an overgrowth of bad bacteria.
Parasites are mother natures garbage collectors and as far as nature is concerned, they are there for a reason and do a good job of breaking down the weak or dead and break them down into reusable molecules of the soil.
Bacteria and Fungus on the other hand release “mycotoxins” that also shut down the immune system and circulate in the bloodstream causing further havoc and inflammation.
Common Causes of a Leaky Gut are:
- Gluten Based Foods
- Dairy Products
- Soy based foods
- Fungus and Parasite Infections
- Medical Drugs
- Dysbiosis (more bad bacteria than good)
- And more
A growing body of research has linked leaky gut to a number of “seemingly unrelated” health concerns and chronic diseases. The NHS claim that these conditions include:
- food allergies
- tiredness and chronic fatigue syndrome
- lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis (MS)
- skin conditions such as scleroderma and eczema
As more and more people are making poor dietary choices, have chronic stress, toxic overload/exposure and gut bacterial imbalance it appears that the prevalence of leaky gut is quite high.
Essentially, leaky gut syndrome happens as a consequence of intestinal tight junction malfunction.
These “tight junctions” are like the shags on a carpet, they are the gateway between your intestines and what is allowed to pass into the blood stream. Your tight junctions keep things out like toxins, microbes and undigested food particles.
Although having leaky gut syndrome is where these gates have widened further apart from normal which allow many of these particles to get through. When this happens it causes inflammation throughout your body leading to a variety of diseases.
The 7 Signs You Have Leaky Gut
- Food Sensitivities – You may not have had food sensitivities before, you could handle wheat, dairy, corn etc but now because the nutrient receptors on your microvilli have got smaller, it is difficult to tell which is the offending source. I have found the best way to know is to do a food rotation diet and re-introduce specific foods at different times.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) – IBD is more of a serious condition to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). IBD consists of Ulcerative Colitis and Crohns Disease which are more end stage disease processes that are treatable by medical intervention. Having Leaky gut could be a predisposing factor in one developing IBD whereas IBS in an umbrella term for a collection of GI related symptoms.
- Autoimmune Disease – This was touched upon by Tom O’Brian once on a podcast I listened to once. He mentioned that conditions like Alopecia are T-Cell mediated autoimmune reactions that can be triggered by things like celiac disease/gluten sensitivity.
- Thyroid Problems – One of the autoimmune diseases that leaky gut syndrome may directly affect is Hashimoto’s disease. Hashimoto’s is suggested to be a chronic thyroid disorder and a medical term for inflammation (swelling) of the thyroid gland. This can either cause abnormally high or low levels of thyroid hormones in the blood.
- Malabsorption – Vitamin B12, magnesium and key enzymes that help digest food can be deficient in the body as a result of leaky gut. It is recommended that people with leaky gut supplement multi-vitamins, digestive enzymes and probiotics to take the burden off the immune system. You can not recover however without a good diet and there are certain things you should do first before supplementing.
- Inflammatory Skin Conditions – Skin conditions such as eczema and Psoriasis may develop on the skin. The skin is the largest organ of detoxification and it is one of the first things you will see as a reflection of the health of your gut.
- Mood Issues