If you’re one of the many people in the world who suffers from digestive issues such as gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea, you’ve likely heard of the phrase “leaky gut.”
You might also experience symptoms such as fatigue, a low functioning immune system (frequent colds and infections), brain fog, headaches, skin rashes, acne, sugar cravings, nutrient deficiencies, mood changes such as depression, anxiety and ADD, and even autoimmune conditions from chronic inflammation such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac and Chron’s.
This is a LONG list and in no way means that you’ll experience all of these symptoms. This also does not mean that if you have similar symptoms to the ones listed that you automatically have leaky gut. However, I will say that if you experience anything from the above list, it’s going to be worth addressing.
Many people will go years experiencing fatigue, digestive problems, joint pain, insomnia, low libido, even mild-grade depression. Lots of times healthcare providers will test these patients for anemic, thyroid disorders, Lyme disease – only for the tests to come back negative.
What many people DON’T know is that the culprit of leaky gut typically stems from food sensitivities or an imbalanced microbiome, but typically it is some combination of the two.
What is leaky gut?
Leaky gut, or “intestinal permeability,” is a condition in which the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged, causing undigested food particles, toxic waste products and bacteria to “leak” through the intestines and flood the blood stream. The foreign substances entering the blood can cause an autoimmune response in the body including inflammatory and allergic reactions such as migraines, irritable bowel, eczema, chronic fatigue, food allergies, rheumatoid arthritis and more.
With leaky gut, damaged cells in your intestines don’t produce the enzymes needed for proper digestion. As a result, your body cannot absorb essential nutrients, which can lead to hormone imbalances and a weakened immune system.
What causes leaky gut?
In many cases, leaky gut is caused by your diet. For most people, certain inflammatory foods such as gluten, soy and dairy, are treated by the body as foreign invaders that have to be fought off. When you eat these foods and have a compromised intestinal wall, immune system, food sensitivites, or a combination of the three, your body goes to war producing antibodies, which triggers an immune response that includes symptoms like diarrhea, headaches, fatigue and joint pain.
Leaky gut can also be caused by medications including antibiotics, steroids or over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin and acetaminophen, which can irritate the intestinal lining and damage protective mucus layers. This irritation can start or continue the inflammation cycle that leads to intestinal permeability.
10 ways to tell if you have a leaky gut:
The following symptoms might be signs of leaky gut:
- Chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas or bloating
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Poor immune system
- Headaches, brain fog, memory loss
- Excessive fatigue
- Skin rashes and problems such as acne, eczema or rosacea
- Cravings for sugar or carbs
- Arthritis or joint pain
- Depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD
- Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease or Crohn’s
Keep an eye out for my next post to learn how you can start healing from leaky gut, or contact me to see how I can help you heal your leaky gut symptoms today!