Leaky gut syndrome: The name makes many people cringe when they hear it. It just sounds wrong, doesn’t it? Hippocrates was onto something when he told us that ‘all disease begins in the gut.’
Indeed it does, and there are many things that could go wrong there when we are not armed with knowledge and dietary discipline. Leaky gut happens because we are not aware of what is going on with our bodies, and the effects of our modern diet on our health.
The truth is that leaky gut is dangerous; it leads to a whole host of other ailments for your body to contend with, and as it’s pretty tough to undo, the wisest move would be to nip it in the bud before it starts happening.
Fortunately, knowledge of leaky gut (as the cause of many symptoms of ill health) is becoming more widespread. Even the medical profession is having a hard time pretending it isn’t real, and has been more openly accepting of it as a condition in recent times – despite the fact that medical literature contains (and has for a century or more) details of a condition they term ‘intestinal permeability’.
How does leaky gut come about?
It comes about in the same way than many other conditions do: we make bad dietary choices, we get stressed out and we are not aware of the massive amount of chemicals infiltrating our systems due to our environment and our product choices.
This permeability of the gut happens when what is known as the ‘tight junctions’ of the cells stop working. A tight junction is sometimes called an ‘occluding junction’ and is termed as follows (Wikipedia): ‘the closely associated areas of two cells whose membranes join together forming a virtually impermeable barrier to fluid’.
Essentially, these junctions sit between the intestines and the bloodstream, and are responsible for stopping particles from escaping into the bloodstream from the intestines. When these malfunction, undigested food, microbes and toxins can find their way out of the gut and into the bloodstream.
Obviously this is not supposed to happen; it goes against the design of the body due to the damage caused by our bad habits, and the result is inflammation in different areas of the body. If the condition is allowed to progress, chronic disease can manifest.
Candida overgrowth (candidiasis) is one of the most common causes of leaky gut syndrome. You can read all about candida on the pH health website; we have a whole section on candida, what causes it, how to test for it and how to combat it. It is well worth considering whether candida is the cause of your leaky gut symptoms, because it is possible to treat candida overgrowth more quickly and effectively than ever. Ideally this will happen before leaky guy syndrome progresses to a stage where chronic disease can manifest.
How do you know if you have leaky gut?
There are various tests available that check for leaky gut. A candida test is can also be indicative. Many symptoms are caused by leaky gut and some of them are ambiguous; it’s hard to know what it causing them. Some of the most common ones are as follows:
There are some fairly obvious signs that you have leaky gut. Food sensitivity is one. The reason for this is that the microbes and food particles escaping into the blood stream are causing the production of antibodies. This means that when you eat antigens (a toxin or other foreign that causes an immune response in the body) such as dairy or gluten, you are more likely to notice signs of discomfort as your body tries to remove them. Poor absorption of nutrients can occur with leaky gut syndrome too.
IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) is the name given (by the medical industry) to irregular and inconsistent bowel movements and discomfort suffered by many people on a Western diet. It is amazing that the cause is not attributed to diet, when those who follow a healthier diet plan and cut out the irritants often see a marked improvement. Gut permeability has been linked to irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
This is also a known symptom of leaky gut. Acne, eczema and psoriasis are some of the most common conditions.
Chronic thyroiditis can occur as a result of untreated leaky gut syndrome. This in itself is a major challenge for many people and can lead to other issues like metabolic disorders, lethargy, depression, weight loss or gain, and hypothyroidism.
Sadly, this list is not exhaustive and there are many other conditions and troublesome symptoms that can be caused by leaky gut. Research has shown that allergies, asthma, Rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, autoimmune disease and even autism have been attributed to leaky gut syndrome.
How can a leaky gut be healed?
The important thing is knowing how to treat it. Trying to treat the symptoms with drugs is only delaying the inevitable. It will not tackle the cause of the problem, so it cannot heal your gut. Dietary choices and supplements will be the key factor in healing your body.
If you find that you have leaky gut syndrome and/or a candida problem, there will be many dietary alterations required, which can seem daunting at first. The plus side of this, however, is newfound energy, vitality and the emotional security associated with good health.
There are also many health products available that will assist in your gut healing process, such as powerful probiotics, superfoods and natural multivitamins. Candida products can make great headway with this condition, especially when combined with a healthy, alkaline diet. Bone broth and raw cultured dairy (including yoghurt and milk kefir) are helpful in the healing of leaky gut. Fermented vegetables like kimchi and sauerkraut, and coconut products like coconut water kefir and coconut oil are great for those who don’t want to use animal products. Sprouted seeds and lentils can be another highly nutritious food source that support the immune system.
pH health understand how emotionally challenging it can be to deal with such an unpredictable condition; we are here to help, so take a look around our site to see what you can learn about how to cultivate great health. We’re always on the end of the phone or email if you have any concerns or questions. Good luck!