As more Americans are affected by poor diet choices, chronic stress, toxic overload and bacterial imbalance it appears that the prevalence of leaky gut has reached epidemic proportions. Unfortunately, many in conventional medicine do not accept the condition. However, it is said to be the linked to serious illnesses such as arthritis, Coeliac disease, Crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowel disease. According to the NHS, it is also suggested to be the cause of long-term conditions including chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple sclerosis.
Leaky gut syndrome describes conditions that are related to increased permeability of the intestines – as in a leaky gut. This occurs when the cells lining the intestines are damaged and separate, creating gaps through which toxic substances can pass, from the intestine into the bloodstream, triggering inflammation. A leaky gut is seen in illnesses such as coeliac disease and Crohn’s disease.
It is thought that leaky gut syndrome is due to undigested food particles, bacterial toxins and germs passing through the “leaky” gut wall and into the bloodstream. This triggers the immune system and causes persistent inflammation throughout the body – this is said to be behind the following five health conditions.
This is where the body’s immune system reacts unusually to specific foods, according to the NHS.
A moderate to severe headache felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head. It can also trigger symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light or sound.
Tiredness and chronic fatigue
Extreme tiredness could be associated with leaky gut syndrome.
The common lung condition causes occasional breathing difficulties.
Eczema and scleroderma – a condition causing hard, thickened areas of skin – could be linked to leaky gut syndrome.
Dietary changes can help your leaky gut. Gluten is a hard-to-digest protein that should be avoided by leaky gut sufferers. It is known to induce the release of a protein called zonulin, which directly contributes to intestinal permeability.
Refined sugar should also be avoided, since it feeds the growth of bad bacteria that prevent healing of the damaged gut.
If you suffer from leaky gut you should consider adding fermented and easily digestible foods to your diet, as well as taking probiotics. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, natural yoghurt and kimchee are rich in beneficial bacteria. These are essential in helping to fix a leaky gut through a variety of means. And help balance the pH of the stomach and intestines, thus limiting growth of bad bacteria.
Other useful foods include easily digestible foods such as non-starchy vegetables, as well as healthy fats like avocados, which help with gut healing.
Probiotic supplementation may also be beneficial. Probiotics prevent bad bacteria from taking hold in the gut, reduce the level of toxins, help break down food and assist with maintaining an intact intestinal barrier.
Because most of the medical community denies its very existence, it’s critical that you understand what leaky gut is and what to look out for in case you or a loved-one is affected by it. This way, even though your doctor may not pick up on the clues, you’ll be armed with the knowledge that you need to make the necessary lifestyle and dietary changes.