Many health practitioners believe that ‘leaky gut syndrome’ is a possible starting point or connection with many disorders such as asthma, diabetes, autoimmune diseases like lupus, diseases like scleroderma, internal colitis, long term disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, severe illnesses like multiple sclerosis and chronic fatigue syndrome and Crohn’s disease.

Leaky gut is a name used to describe intestinal or bowel hyperpermeability, which simply means that the tight junction between the cells that line the intestine have opened up sufficiently to allow ‘leakage’ resulting in an altered or damaged bowel lining. Some researchers have also found a relationship with acute and chronic diseases such as systemic inflammatory response syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, type 1 diabetes, allergies, asthma, and autism.

Note too that this syndrome is responsible for many other health conditions too, so if yours is not listed above, please read on.

Causes

Leaky gut syndrome, or increased intestinal permeability, is a proposed condition of an altered or damaged bowel lining. It is hypothesized to be caused by increased permeability of the gut wall resulting from:

  • Toxins
  • Poor diet
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Parasites
  • Infection
  • Medications (like too many antibiotics)
  • Chronic stress

The leaky gut then allows substances such as other toxins, microbes, undigested food, waste, or larger than normal macromolecules to leak through an abnormally permeable gut wall. Proponents suggest that these out-of-place substances affect the body directly or initiate an immune reaction.

These relatively larger gaps in the intestinal wall cause incompletely digested particles to be partially absorbed.

These relatively larger gaps in the intestinal wall cause incompletely digested particles to be partially absorbed. These are targeted by antibodies, forming immune complexes which cause a semi-infectious state and can be carried by the bloodstream to distant sites where they may stimulate the release of cytokines (proteins that serve as messengers between cells. Cytokines regulate various inflammatory responses).

It is interesting to note that a trio of factors including:

  • An aberrant intestinal flora
  • A ‘leaky’ intestinal mucosal barrier
  • Altered intestinal immune responsiveness

are all hypothesized to play a role in the failure to form tolerance, resulting in the autoimmunity that underlies type 1 diabetes.

What You Eat and Drink Are Major Factors

Keep in mind that lifestyle factors, especially what you put in your mouth play a great part in the development and treatment of this condition. Many readers of this blog and material on Next Step*New Life already know that I often cite chronic, out of control inflammation as a baseline cause of many of the diseases we suffer from today — the leaky gut can precipitate this kind of dangerous inflammatory response. Projecting this idea further, it logically follows that you need to pay attention to this because if inflammation is perpetuating or causing your health conditions, you won’t heal until this problem has been resolved.

Symptoms

Symptoms vary from feeling lethargic and tired to chronic inflammation that won’t go away. Because the gut is our largest immune system organ, the effects of this condition can be very diverse. However, the following are common symptoms but by no means all inclusive:

  • Abdominal Bloating
  • Excessive gas and stomach cramps
  • Stomach cramps
  • Food sensitivities
  • Generalized aches and pains
  • Joint pain
  • Food sensitivities
  • Skin problems (i.e. rashes)
  • Autoimmunity

Treatment

It is very important to follow an anti-inflammatory diet.

That means no:

  • Processed sugar or white flour products (junk foods)
  • Red meat
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee and Black tea
  • Dairy
  • Tropical fruit

If you are gluten sensitive you have to avoid wheat, rye and products made with them.

So basically you are eating veggies, salads, low to moderate consumption of animal products  (eggs, fish, fowl 3- 4 times per week) and small amounts of non-tropical fruit.

These products have also been shown to help:

  • Fish oils
  • L-glutamine and n-acetyl D glucosamine (click here for a good product on Amazon)
  • Probiotics (click here for a good product on Amazon)
  • Berberine (click here for a good product on Amazon)

This condition may take severval months to heal (or more depending on how severe your ‘leaky gut syndrome’ is).

Stick with your program. As you progress, the side benefits will be more energy, a lessening of symptoms and possibly losing weight.

Any questions or comments? Please post below: