Leaky gut is commonly mentioned today in articles and blogs. You have probably wondered — can 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.
What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Leaky gut, otherwise referred to as intestinal permeability, is a common cause of many health issues today. IBS, headaches, allergies, autoimmunity, thyroid disorders, anxiety and depression are some examples. Leaky gut occurs 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 a 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.
What are the Symptoms of a Leaky Gut?
Here are some of the more common symptoms present in people suffering from a leaky gut:
- Digestive disturbances
- PMS/Menstrual pains
- Achy joints
- Frequent allergies
- Skin diseases
- Autism spectrum/ADHD
- Food sensitivities
- Chronic diseases
- Autoimmune disease – Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, Hashimotos thyroiditis
It is truly astounding how many symptoms are influenced by something as simple as a leaky gut. If you would like to pursue testing or a consultation to see if you can fix your leaky gut, call your naturopathic gastrointestinal doctor in Singapore as soon as possible.
How To Test For Leaky Gut Syndrome
Although there are hundreds of pages of research on leaky gut, it is not well recognized by conventional 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 medicine tests, which are relatively new and are being developed as we speak. Here are some exaples of these tests:
Breath Tests For Leaky Gut
This measures the fermentation of undigested sugars in the intestines. When the intestinal cells are damaged and not digesting sugars well, those sugars may be fermented by bacteria and product gases that can be measured in your breath.
Urine Test (Lactulose – Mannitol) For Leaky Gut
This is a specific test for leaky gut which tests for 2 sugars, Mannitol and lactulose. Lactulose is not permeable through the lining and a presence of it in the urine, suggests leaky gut. Likewise, Mannitol is a nutrient that passes through the lining into blood. The absence of mannitol suggests there is damage to the lining causing nutrient deficiency.
Blood Tests (Cyrex Tests)
Certain proteins called actomyosin and zonulin that are released from a damaged gut lining can be measured in blood through specific labs.
Your naturopathic doctor in Singapore will review lab results, find imbalances, diagnose issues and prescribe treatment plans to heal the leaky gut. These tests can be costly and time-consuming. Considering all that and as an alternative, I find there is one simple test that both provides information about leaky gut and helps us figure out how to address it. That is- IgG and IgA food sensitivity test. That’s because when the body is producing antibodies to food, we know the intestinal lining must be leaky. I also find that the number and type of reactive foods can help us identify the presence and severity of the leakiness.
How Do You Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Leaky gut can definitely heal, and hat’s the good news for many people! If you feel you have not completely recovered from an illness after a period of time, or if you feel that your symptoms are worsening, you should look into your gut health.
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 continue with the poor habits (or normal food and lifestyle issues that are causing inflammation, unbeknownst to you).
Working With an Expert Like Dr. Kamat To Fix Leaky Gut Syndrome
What should you expect during an appointment with an expert like Dr. Kamat?
Firstly, we’ll determine whether your symptoms have their origins in the gut through carefully selected tests. Next, I will design a natural remedy plan that will reverse your symptoms and restore your quality of life.
Your doctor will also provide you with the tools you need to implement your plan easy, and you will also learn about how to design a long term lifestyle and dietary regime that will stop your symptoms from returning.
Dr. Kamat’s Unique Approach To Leaky Gut
Although no one protocol fits everyone, Here’s a general plan that I start.The first step is to remove offending cause that damaged the lining in the first place through proper testing.These offending factors can be certain foods, environmental or psychological stress, bacteria, parasites, candida etc. Additional tests like thyroid, autoimmune tests, stool analysis etc may be required based on the condition to catch an overall picture.
The next step would aim at healing the intestinal lining and allowing the repair processes to begin. This is through carefully selected nutrients, herbs along with a proper diet and making specific changes to daily lifestyle patterns.
Supplements and Nutrients that I use include:
1. A non-allergenic protein shake that has nutrients and herbs that is shown to decrease inflammation, support metabolism and heal the digestive tract.
2.An enhanced intestinal support formula that is researched to support the intestinal repair and healing. Some of the herbs and nutrients that help are licorice, slippery elm, etc .
3.Multi strain probiotics
How Long Does It Take For Leaky Gut To Heal?
Leaky gut can take anywhere from a few months to years to fully heal, and it requires diligence and consistency. Leaky guts definitely heal – I have seen patients in my practice report gradual decrease in symptoms and overall improved health. Bear in mind that addressing your leaky gut holistically improves your overall health.