Leaky gut syndrome is not an official diagnosis, and there’s some debate in the traditional medical community about whether it’s a real condition.
But experts in alternative medicine world say leaky gut plagues many people who suffer from gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, constipation and diarrhea.
"Some patients go down all paths for typical mainstream diagnoses — they've had an endoscopy, colonoscopy, ultrasound, blood work, tests for bacterial overgrowth, seen allergists for food sensitivities — and none of these things help," Felice Schnoll-Sussman, M.D., told SELF magazine in 2016. "These people may wind up getting diagnosed with leaky gut when they end up in the hands of an alternative medicine practitioner."
Leaky gut syndrome is a condition that results from malfunctions in the junctions between your intestines. These junctions are designed to prevent toxins from entering your blood stream.
When you have leaky gut, materials that should have otherwise been kept out of your blood stream can pass through. There is also evidence that leaky gut is caused by poor diet and chronic stress.
Signs of Leaky Gut Syndrome
How do you know you have leaky gut? Here are a few signs:
1. Food Sensitivities
When leaky gut allows toxins to enter the bloodstream, your body’s immune system starts to fight back, making you more sensitive to antigens in things like gluten and dairy.
2. Bowel Trouble
Research has shown that leaky gut syndrome is often localized to the colons of people with ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. Other studies have found that leaky gut is found in majority of patients with Crohn’s disease.
This condition can lead to a few different nutritional deficiencies, meaning that they don’t absorb certain key vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12 and magnesium. People with leaky gut should consider taking whole-foods based vitamins and live probiotics to help digest their food and make sure they’re getting the nutrition they need.
4. Chronic Thyroiditis
Having leaky gut can impact people with chronic thyroiditis, a condition that can lead to impaired metabolism, hypothyroidism, depression, fatigue and weight gain.
5. Skin Conditions
They call it the “gut-skin connection.” It’s the idea that problems with our digestive system can lead to problems with our skin such as acne. Instead of slapping on skin care cream, you may be able to fix your skin issues by healing your gut.
With that in mind, how do people deal with leaky gut syndrome?
It may just be a matter of what you eat, or don’t eat – such as avoiding sugar and processed foods, and consuming things with omega-3 fat, such as grass-fed lamb or beef, and wild-caught fish.
Living With the Symptoms
Other ways to deal with leaky gut include:
Getting tested for food allergies.
Practice deep breathing exercises before you eat. This can activate the hormones that help digestion, while also reducing stress.
Get some exercise. Walking a few miles a day helps the nerves that maintain gut motility (the ability to move food through the digestive tract).
Try foods that are good for your gut. Flax, hemp and chia seeds are all good sources of fiber that support the growth of helpful bacteria. If your leaky gut syndrome is severe, you should look to get fiber from fruit and steamed vegetables.
If you’re dealing with leaky gut or other digestive troubles, Proper Nutrition can help.
Our dietary supplements such as Seacure® and SeaVive®, made from protein-rich white fish, contain bioactive peptides that can combat the effects of IBS and other gut-related problems.
Visit our website to learn more about our supplements, and subscribe to our blog to get more tips for better digestive health.