What is Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS)?
It has been said that Leaky Gut Syndrome affects millions of people worldwide. LGS is a chronic debilitating condition that often goes undiagnosed by the mainstream medical profession, as many doctors do not provide testing for leaky gut (increased intestinal permeability) or acknowledge that the condition exists. Many people are not even aware that they are suffering from a ‘leaky gut’.
The official definition of Leaky Gut Syndrome is an increase in permeability of the intestinal mucosa to luminal macromolecules, antigens, and toxins associated with inflammatory degenerative and/ or atrophic mucosa or lining.
Put more simply, large spaces develop between the cells of the gut wall allowing bacteria, toxins and food to leak into the bloodstream.
70% of our immune system is located around the digestive system. In a normal healthy person the small intestine behaves like a selective sieve allowing only the breakdown products of digestion into the bloodstream. Nutrients and well digested fats, proteins and starches are readily able to enter into the bloodstream whilst large molecules, microbes and toxins are kept out.
Leaky Gut Syndrome causes the intestinal lining to become inflamed, it then cannot produce the necessary enzymes and secretions that are essential for a healthy digestion and the absorption of nutrients.
When an area becomes inflamed this weakens the structure and the larger molecules can escape through. This provokes the immune system to produce antibodies (a protein utilized by the immune system to locate and attack foreign objects) to fight off the molecules, as they are perceived as antigens (substances capable of triggering the production of antibodies).
A healthy individual would have a strong enough immune system to control the leakage of toxic substances but as it becomes over loaded the toxins leak into the liver resulting in an overworked overburdened liver.
Leaky Gut completely overworks the liver because it floods it with additional toxins diminishing the liver’s ability to neutralise chemical substances. When it cannot cope with the level of toxins the liver expels them back into the bloodstream. The circulatory system then pushes the toxins into the connective tissues and muscles where the body stores them to prevent major organ damage. The liver doesn’t get the time to go back and rid the body of the toxins.
So put very simply, your intestine develops leakages allowing substances that would normally be digested to enter the bloodstream. These toxins are passed onto the liver to deal with but it cannot cope with the overwhelming toxins and stores them in the body tissues to come back to later on. The liver is too overworked to go back to the toxins and as the intestinal lining gets consistently weaker more and more toxins and undigested food enter into the bloodstream. The immune system sends out antibodies to fight these foreign substances and in doing that toxic oxidants are produced which attack the body tissues causing allergic reactions and pain and inflammation throughout the body.
Symptoms Of Leaky Gut Syndrome:
|Abdominal pain (chronic)
Shortness of breath
Fevers of unknown origin
Gluten intolerance (celiac disease)
Multiple chemical sensitivities
Poor exercise tolerance
| Poor memory
Recurrent bladder infections
Recurrent vaginal infections
Recurrent skin rashes
Swollen lympth glands
Constant hunger pains
|Conditions linked with Leaky Gut Syndrome|
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Multiple Chemical Sensitivities
Inflammatory bowel disease
Causes of Leaky Gut Syndrome
Hypochlorhydria – A defiency in hydrochloric acid produced by the stomach, which can result in the body inadequately being able to assimilate foods and can lead to malnutrition.
Symptoms of hypochlorhydria include: bloating, acne, parasites, iron deficiency, belching, indigestion, diarrhea, multiple food allergies.
Some medications such as antacids and anti ulcer medications are said to lead to hypochlorhydria as is a poor diet rich in processed, packaged, high sugar foods.
Candidiasis - A fungal infection produced by a species of Candida Fungi, particularly Candida Albicans. Candida fungi normally reside harmlessly in various parts of the body.
If the healthy bacteria in the digestive tract becomes seriously depleted the candida proliferate and can produce root like structures which damage the villi along the intestinal tract leading to a ‘leaky gut’.
There are many causes of candidiasis cited, such as: repeated antibiotic use, poor diet, steroid medications, birth control pills, malnutrition, cytotoxic drugs.
Symptoms of candidiasis include: chronic fatigue, depression, yeast infections, bloating, joint or muscle pain, genital itching, hyperactivity, athletes foot, hair loss.
Dysbiosis – A bacterial imbalance in the gut, which can compromise the immune system.
It has been said that dysbiosis plays a part in many conditions such as: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Ankylosing Spondylitus, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Fatigue.
The main causes of Dysbiosis are believed to be antibiotics and pesticides along with other environmental and dietary factors.
Alcohol – In excess alcohol is said to affect almost every organ system in the body.
Alcohol increases stomach acid, contributes to hypochlorhydria and can contribute to a leaky gut.
Alcohol can also cause malnutrition.
Stress & Celiac Disease - Chronic stress can cause an inflammatory response within the body and weaken the immune system.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder caused by consuming gluten and related proteins. Celiac disease causes an immune reaction that damages the villi in the intestine resulting in increased intestinal permeability.
Allergies - An allergy denotes an abnormal reaction by our immune system to bodily contact with foreign substances that would normally be harmless.
There are said to be four types of allergic response. Type I, which causes immediate reactions such as restrictted breathing, asthma, anaphylactic shock is the most well known, but effects a minority of the population.
Leaky gut and food allergies often co-exist, food allergies or hypersensitivities can increase intestinal permeability, causing an immune response and provoking further inflammatory reactions throughout the body.
Poor Diet – Processed, packaged and convenience foods are low in nutrients and fiber and often have high levels of additives, preservatives, dyes, sugar, trans fatty acids, artificial sweeteners and other ingredients, which are considered to be harmful and have been linked with various symptoms and conditions, including Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Parasites – Organisms that grow, feed and take shelter upon another organism whilst contributing nothing to the survival of the host.
When they inhabit the gastro intestinal tract they produce toxins and siphon off nutrients from the body.
Parasites have been connected with: AIDS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Cancer, Candida.
Causes include: foreign travel, water, kissing pets, eating unwashed fruit or vegetables.
Symptoms include: constipation, diarrhea, chronic fatigue, flatulence, bloating.
Pharmaceutical Drugs - NSAIDS (Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs) are pain relief medications that are said to increase intestinal permeability by damaging the villi in the intestine and blocking prostaglandins that stimulate tissue repair.
Steroids are said to supress the immune system, kill ‘friendly’ bacteria, cause the proliferation of fungal infections in the gut, all of which contribute to the development of a leaky gut.
Cytotoxic drugs kill bad cells as well as good cells. It is said that one of their main properties is to link with normal components of all cells and to destroy them.
Treatments For Leaky Gut:
The main way to deal with Leaky Gut Syndrome is through nutrition. It is important to get the body back to optimum health and avoid the foods or toxins that are causing allergic reactions, so that the damaged intestinal lining has a chance to heal and so that your liver has the time and energy to detoxify your body. There is no wonder drug to cure a leaky gut. Dealing with Leaky Gut Syndrome is about dealing with the causes of the condition as opposed to symptom care.
Information compiled from http://www.leakygut.co.uk
Photo from fourhourfit.com