Leaky gut is commonly mentioned today in articles and blogs. You probably have wondered if you really have leaks or holes in your gut! Yes. This can happen. Let’s get into the depth of it and see what the heck really leaky gut is.
It is otherwise called intestinal permeability which is one of the major causes of many health issues of today. IBS, headaches, allergies, autoimmunity, thyroid disorders, anxiety and depression are some examples.
This happens in your small intestine- part of the digestive tract between stomach and the large intestine (the last leg of the digestion)
For instance, when you eat your burger, it is broken down into nutrients which are then absorbed from the lining of the Small intestine into the blood to be carried to the rest of the body.
The intestinal lining is made in a manner that it can only allow the nutrients to make its way out into the blood stream. This intestinal lining is extremely vulnerable to stressors like antibiotic use, psychological stress, pesticides, gluten, imbalanced bacterial flora, alcohol and caffeine. Due to this vulnerability, the lining is replaced every 72 hrs with new cells.
Underneath the intestinal lining, lies the immune system that is always on guard protecting and destroying stuff that should not be there- including viruses and bacteria . When there is an exposure to certain stressors as mentioned above, the lining gets damaged and allows undigested food particles other than nutrients to move out into the space. This activates the security guard- the Immune system to mount an attack response. As the immune begins a war trying to get rid of the unwanted matter, inflammation begins. As this process continues, the leakier the lining gets creating a vicious cycle.
How do you know if you have a leaky gut? Some of the common symptoms are,
-Autoimmunity- Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, Hashimotos thyroiditis
What tests are available to diagnose Leaky gut?
Although there are hundreds of researches on leaky gut, it is not well recognized by the traditional doctors or gastroenterologists. An endoscopy or colonoscopy would not be helpful as this occurs at a microscopic level and would not be visible.
The tests I use to diagnose a leaky gut are functional tests which are relatively new and are being developed as we speak
-Urine test.(lactulose- Mannitol)
-Blood tests (cyrex labs)
Is leaky gut Treatable?
Leaky gut can definitely heal- that’s the good news!. If you feel you have not completely recovered from your illness or feeling worse, This could be an area to look into further with a different approach that could be beneficial.
The idea is to identify and remove the offending cause that damaged the intestinal lining in the first place and then through additional herbs and supplements allow the healing process to begin.
Do not delay! Leaky gut can go away and you can feel much better- but not if you ignore.
I will be discussing more on the tests and my treatments in the next upcoming blog!.
Have a question or experience? Leave your comments in the section below.