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What is Leaky Gut?

What is Leaky Gut?
What is Leaky Gut?

If you’re dealing with anxiety and/or depression, allergies, body and joint pain, brain fog, chronic headaches and other chronic ailments, the chances of having a leaky gut (LG) are high.

Leaky gut is a disorder of the digestive system where there is a loss of intestinal lining integrity that normally prevents toxins from crossing over into the bloodstream. LG is known as a causative or contributing factor in various health conditions such as chronic fatigue, allergies, arthritis, autoimmune diseases/disorders and other inflammatory diseases (1). LG is also known to contribute to problems seen in autism as digestive system toxins can negatively impact the brain and nervous system.

Intestinal Permeability

The lining of the digestive system is a complex network of cells that are involved in the absorption of nutrients, neutralization of toxins and immune function. This cell network is often referred to as the mucosal barrier. Small structures between cells called ‘tight junctions’ keep the intestinal lining functional and intact. A breakdown of the tight junctions leads to leaky gut. A urine Intestinal Permeability Test helps define the presence of leaky gut.

Some Common Causes of Leaky Gut

Gluten intolerance, including Celiac Disease, is a well-established factor in digestive system dysfunction that can lead to inflammation and damage of the mucosal barrier. Parasitic infections such as Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium parvum are known to damage the digestive system lining. Bacterial infections such as Clostridia Difficile can lead to leaky gut through the production of endotoxins. Invasive candida can produce tentacle structures called hyphae that pierce through the epithelial cell lining in the area of the tight junction. Bowel inflammation can lead to damage of the gut epithelium. Chemical damage from Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) via the production of hydrogen and methane gas. Glyphosate toxicity is a common herbicide and is known to alter the microbiome of the digestive system leading to opportunistic infections such as Salmonella and Clostridia.

Leaky Gut Treatment

The treatment of leaky gut involves determining the various factors that might be causing the problem in the first place. This can involve diagnostic testing and a trial of dietary changes, i.e. gluten avoidance and the use of various supplements known to reduce intestinal pathogens and/or support the health of the intestinal lining.

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