What is Leaky Gut?

It is becoming increasingly clear that the gut has a lot to do with the overall health of our bodies. Experts continually learn that when we face health challenges originating within our digestive system it can lead to other complications elsewhere in the body. Leaky Gut is a serious problem and can be detrimental to your health if left untreated.

From mouth to colon, the human digestive tract is averages 30 feet long in adults, and the typical digestion period is 6-8 hours. Leaky Gut occurs when there are cracks or holes in the lining of the intestines. When that happens bad bacteria, toxins and food particles leak through.  In essence, the filtering process of the intestines ceases to occur causing unfiltered particles to enter directly into the bloodstream.

What happens next? The immune system boosts into overdrive trying to fight off the foreign substances. First the liver, which filters blood, goes to work screening the toxins the intestines missed. Unfortunately, the liver can only do so much and will mostly likely fail to keep up. The immune system begins to take over sending out antibodies and triggering inflammation.

These are some symptoms that may indicate Leaky Gut:

  • Food Sensitivities  If you feel that certain foods are making you sick, it could mean your intestines are damaged. When the immune system works harder than its meant to it begins to no longer tolerate certain foods. Most common are gluten and dairy.

  • Inflamed Bowel Similar to IBS, those with leaky gut may experience gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and overall discomfort.

  • Vitamin Deficiencies  When good nutrients are not being properly absorbed this will lead to symptoms of malnutrition. How this symptom presents itself depends on the nutrient most lacking. Vitamin B and magnesium tend to be the most common.

  • Skin Conditions It's not uncommon for immune system conditions to physically manifest in the skin. An onset of eczema, psoriasis and acne could mean Leaky Gut.

  • Changes in Mood If you are not getting the nutrients you need your body might react by being fatigued and/or irritable.

  • Arthritis, asthma, headaches and other aches and pains Generally speaking, since Leaky Gut has a direct effect on the immune system, other autoimmune deficiencies may begin to occur.

In all of the cases listed above, consistency is key. These are not symptoms you will experience once in a while, but often. You will also most likely not just experience one, but several. As with many complications, especially when related to gut health, it's helpful to document what you eat, when you eat it and how you feel after.

Fortunately, there are blood tests and stool tests available that will verify Leaky Gut. Testing for vitamin deficiencies and food intolerance tests may also help determine if you have Leaky Gut. At the very least, if you are experiencing one or more of the above symptoms it's possible to rule out Leaky Gut as the culprit turning your attention to other possibilities.