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8 Signs of Leaky Gut

DID YOU KNOW 'LEAKY GUT' CAN CAUSE DISEASES OUTSIDE THE GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT?

WHAT IS LEAKY GUT SYNDROME, AND WHO MIGHT HAVE IT?

“Leaky Gut syndrome” is a common name for processes in the intestines which cause increased intestinal permeability. Obviously, leaky gut syndrome is easier to say, so let’s stick with that. More importantly, what types of symptoms may you have if you have a leaky gut? Many digestive symptoms are common, including belching, heartburn, reflux, gas, bloating, cramping, frequent diarrhea and/or constipation. However, many people with Leaky Gut may have no intestinal symptoms, but have symptoms in other parts of the body, including headaches, sinus problems, joint pain, fatigue, brain fog, fibromyalgia, chronic infections, and many autoimmune disorders. Leaky Gut may be a component of several diagnoses, including irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, migraines, inflammatory arthritis, and neurologic diseases.

MECHANISMS OF LEAKY GUT

So, what is really going on in Leaky Gut syndrome? In very basic terms, the gut is a sieve. It is designed to allow in specific helpful nutrients, and keep other food components out because even very healthy food choices, such as organic vegetables, have parts of the food that were never intended to get into our systems. That is why we have an “elimination system.” Various things can lead to “enlargement” of these holes, or “leakiness”. This is usually due to inflammation or disruption in the microflora of the gut or both. The most common things that cause these changes are antibiotics (especially if taken frequently), other medications such as steroids (ie. prednisone), food sensitivities, antacid or acid blocking medicines, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, surgery, parasites, overgrowth of yeasts and unfriendly bacteria, lack of digestive factors, certain illnesses, stress, and even just the SAD diet (Standard American Diet). Leaky Gut can then become a vicious circle which causes more ill-health, leading to the use of more medications that reinforce that reinforce their own necessity, poor eating habits, etc.

FOOD “ALLERGIES” VS. FOOD SENSITIVITIES

Many people refer to food “allergies” when foods cause various problems in their bodies.(See our blog post “Should You Get a Food Sensitivity Test?”) From a medical standpoint, an “allergy” is only one of many adverse reactions. This word refers specifically to the typical hives, wheezing, low blood pressure (and anaphylaxis) that is one response of the immune system in certain people. Standard allopathic medical allergy tests, such as pin-prick skin testing and RAST blood testing measure responses to this. Less than 5% of people have these kinds of reactions to foods, and so this kind of testing may show no abnormalities. Or, it identifies true “allergy” susceptibility, but does not give clues to other issues with your immune system or food triggers. Many more people are affected by the bigger picture of food sensitivities. These can include many different symptoms, including swollen joints, fatigue, stomach pains, and diarrhea. Disorders such as celiac disease, migraines, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, arthritis, asthma, skin disorders, recurring infections, diabetes, thyroiditis, skin problems, weight gain, and many other symptoms may be caused or worsened by food sensitivities. Even seasonal “hay fever” may have a food-related component. Because food is made up of very complex molecules, the specific food allergy testing described above often “misses the boat” by testing a part of the food that is not causing the sensitivity reaction. Additional food sensitivities and/or leaky gut problems are among the main reasons people sometimes do not notice improvement with elimination diets, such as gluten-free diets.

The 5 R's

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