WHAT IS LEAKY GUT?
80% of our immune system is in our gut, it is very important to have a healthy gut. So what is Leaky gut syndrome? How do I know if I have it? Some people may present with symptoms including bloating, gas, cramps, food sensitivities, and aches and pains. Sometimes it can be completely silent.
“From an MD’s standpoint, it’s a very gray area,” says gastroenterologist Donald Kirby, MD, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the Cleveland Clinic. “Physicians don’t know enough about the gut, which is our biggest immune system organ.”
“Leaky Gut Syndrome” has been gaining a lot of attention and is the new buzz word in alternative medicine WHY? Here are a few reasons:
- Increasing amount of research has linked leaky gut to many health concerns and chronic diseases.
- Our environment is changing and more people are affected by poor diet choices, chronic stress, toxic overload and bacterial imbalance
- The medical profession is just now agreeing this condition even exists!
This last point is especially shocking because “intestinal permeability” has been discussed in the medical literature for over 100 years! Even as an RN this was part of our education.
Leaky Gut description and symptoms:
Whether you have, fibromyalgia, eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, Reynaud’s, asthma, and allergies it all starts in the gut! The father of modern medicine Hippocrates said “All disease begins in the Gut” and research is now proven he was absolutely right.
Essentially, leaky gut syndrome (“intestinal hyper permeability”), is a condition that happens as a consequence of intestinal tight junction malfunction.
These “tight junctions” are the gateway between your intestines and what is allowed to pass into the blood stream. Your tight junctions keep things out like toxins, microbes and undigested food particles.
If you have leaky gut it is essentially like having the gates broken from your intestines to your blood stream. So many of these particles that should never have been able to enter, have now gotten through. When this happens it causes inflammation throughout your body leading to a variety of diseases.
According to a study published in a Norwegian medical journal this process “is implicated in the onset of disease, including several acute and chronic pediatric conditions that are likely to have their origin during infancy” and has been linked to:
- Autoimmune disease
- Eczema and psoriasis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS)
- Type 1 diabetes
7 Symptoms of Leaky Gut
- Food Sensitivities – People affected by food sensitivities usually find that leaky gut is the underlying issue. Because of the onslaught of toxins that enter the bloodstream, the immune systems of people with intestinal hyper permeability are on overdrive, mass-producing various antibodies, which then makes their bodies more susceptible to antigens in certain foods (especially gluten and dairy).
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease – Researchers from Hungary have recently uncovered that elevated gut permeability is oftentimes localized to the colon in people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis.
- Autoimmune Disease – The key to understanding how leaky gut can cause an autoimmune disease is through the research done on a protein known as “Zonulin.” According to a 2011 article published in the journal Physiologic Reviews:
- “Zonulin is the only physiological modulator of intercellular tight junctions described so far that is involved in trafficking of macromolecules and, therefore, in tolerance/immune response balance. When the finely tuned zonulin pathway is deregulated in genetically susceptible individuals, both intestinal and extra-intestinal autoimmune, inflammatory, and neoplastic disorders can occur.”
- Eating gluten can oftentimes trigger this dangerous cascade. University of Maryland, School of Medicine researchers have uncovered that gluten “activates zonulin signaling irrespective of the genetic expression of autoimmunity, leading to increased intestinal permeability to macromolecules.”
- Thyroid Problems – One of the autoimmune diseases that leaky gut syndrome may directly affect is Hashimoto’s disease. Also known as “chronic thyroiditis,” this disorder can lead to hypothyroidism, impaired metabolism, fatigue, depression, weight gain, and a host of other concerns.
- Malabsorption – Various nutritional deficiencies result from leaky gut include vitamin B12, magnesium and key enzymes that help digest food. It is recommended that people with leaky gut supplement with a whole food based multi-vitamin, live probiotics and sometimes enzymes to not only help digest the food that they eat, but to make sure that they get the vital nutrition that they need. As always you need to make sure that you are getting high quality supplements from your practitioner.
- Inflammatory Skin Conditions – First described over 70 years ago, the gut-skin connection theory has described how intestinal hyper permeability can cause a slew of skin conditions; particularly acne and psoriasis. Generally, dangerous creams and drugs are prescribed for these skin disorders, yet they can oftentimes be fixed by healing the gut!
- Mood Issues and Autism – According to a study published in the journal Neuro Endocrinology Letters, leaky gut has been shown to cause various neurocognitive disorders. For example, the inflammatory response characteristic of intestinal hyper permeability triggers the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and other chemicals that induce depression.Regarding autism, a study was just published this past January in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience describing the “vicious circle between immune system impairment and increasing dysbiosis that leads to leaky gut and neurochemical compounds and/or neurotoxic xenobiotics production and absorption.” The idea is that the “metabolic pathways impaired in autistic children can be affected by genetic alterations or by environment-xenobiotics interference.”
Bottom line is that Leaky Gut can be the underlying issue to so many chronic issues and it can be healed using nutrition and a 4 step program to heal and seal the gut. When you give the body the proper environment it can heal itself!
If you suspect you have symptoms caused from Leaky Gut give Forum Health Clarkstona call we can help you heal!! (248) 625-5143
Sources & References:
- Web-MD leaky gut
- Dr Josh Axe symptoms of leaky gut
- Fasano A. Zonulin and its regulation of intestinal barrier function: the biological door to inflammation, autoimmunity, and cancer. Physiol Rev. 2011 Jan;91(1):151-75.
- Drago S, et al. Gliadin, zonulin and gut permeability: Effects on celiac and non-celiac intestinal mucosa and intestinal cell lines. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2006 Apr;41(4):408-19.
Cindy Crandell, R.N., C.N. Functional Medicine Nutritionist
Forum Health Clarkston