Everything You Need to Know About Leaky Gut Syndrome

Everything You Need to Know About Leaky Gut Syndrome

Fridar Gichuki |Apr 7, 2021

Leaky Gut Syndrome Symptoms

Leaky gut syndrome, also known as intestinal permeability, is a condition in which bacteria or toxins leak from the small intestine into the bloodstream. In this article, we are going to take a look at leaky gut syndrome symptoms so you can know if you are at risk.

Microbiota is bacteria found in the intestines that help with digestion, protect the intestinal wall, and contribute to immune function. Research shows that a microbiota imbalance in the intestine may trigger the body’s immune response resulting in gut inflammation and intestinal permeability.

The science behind leaky gut syndrome is still developing. And the infancy of it is the reason for tensions between proponents of natural health who diagnose and treat leaky gut and some mainstream medical practitioners who dismiss it.

Because of this, there are no definitive tests to find out whether an individual has leaky gut syndrome, and many people go their whole lives without a diagnosis and proper treatment. If you suspect you may have any of its symptoms, it is advisable to consult with a doctor who will take your concerns seriously.

However, it is widely accepted that leaky gut is a common syndrome among people with autoimmune diseases, such as celiac and Crohn's disease. Still, the evidence that it is an underlying cause of such conditions is not sufficient.

Causes of Leaky Gut Syndrome

The defined causes of the leaky gut syndrome include:

  • Chronic stress, which weakens your immunity and undermines your ability to fight off bacteria and viruses
  • Preservatives and other chemicals found in foods often causing damage to the intestine's lining, undermining the digestion of gluten
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and aspirin causing damage to the intestine's lining
  • Dysbiosis, the imbalance between the other species in the gut; good and bad bacteria (antibiotics are a leading cause of the imbalance because it kills the good bacteria in the stomach)
  • A poor diet that’s heavy on processed foods leading to an overgrowth of yeasts in the intestine
    People with the following conditions are also likely to experience leaky gut.
  • Acnes
  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Brain fog
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Unexplained rashes
  • Food allergies
  • Giardiasis
  • Hives
  • Intestinal infections
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), including ulcerative colitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Pancreatic insufficiency
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Sinus infections

It is best not to think of the leaky gut as a disease by itself but a means through which toxins invade the body through the gastrointestinal tract and cause other diseases.

Common symptoms of leaky gut syndrome include:

  • Chronic diarrhea, constipation, or bloating
  • Depression, anxiety, or ADHD
  • Fatigue
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Malaise
  • Skin problems including eczema and rashes
  • Inflammation
  • Joint pain

Treatment Options

The most effective treatment for leaky gut syndrome is a diet that supports gut health and eliminates stressors such as:

  • Gluten and wheat-based products
  • Dairy products, including milk and cheese
  • Refined oils including canola, sunflower, safflower, and soybean oil
  • Highly refined foods and snacks such as crackers, potato chips, sugary cereals, among others
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Salad dressings and sauces such as soy, teriyaki, and hoisin sauce
  • Drinks with soy, caffeine, refined sugar, carbonated beverages, and alcohol
    Foods that support gut health include:
  • Greens such as arugula, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, kale, spinach, ginger, mushrooms, and zucchini
  • Fruit fiber from bananas, berries, pineapple, lemon, passion fruit, and papaya
  • Roots and tubers including potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, and yams
  • Nuts and seeds, including almonds, peanuts, nut-based milk, and chia, flax, and sunflower seeds
  • Healthy fats such as omega-3, avocado oil, extra virgin oil, and coconut oil that support brain function
  • Meat and eggs — chicken, turkey, and eggs, fish, lean beef, and lamb
  • Cultured dairy products such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut are known to support brain activity
  • Healthy beverages including bone broth and coconut milk

Lifestyle adjustments that may prove helpful besides a good diet include:

  • Regular exercise
  • Measures that ensure you get enough sleep, such as observing a regular bedtime schedule and avoiding blue light around your bedtime
  • Avoid antibiotics if necessary
  • Quit alcohol and smoking

You could opt to visit a gastroenterologist to help you navigate nutritional choices. Notably, treating Crohn's or celiac disease after a diagnosis will also address leaky gut symptoms. Avoiding stress either by medication or meditation is also effective in addressing intestinal permeability.

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