Leaky Gut Symptoms And Signs
How do you know if you suffer from leaky gut syndrome? You will likely experience one or more of the signs and symptoms listed below:
1. Digestive Issues: gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome , Inflammatory Bowel Disease .
2. Inflammatory Skin Conditions: acne, psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis.
3. Diagnosis of an Autoimmune Disease: Hashimotos, Rheumatoid arthritis.
4. Food Intolerances: with intestinal hyperpermeability comes over-production of antibodies to antigens in certain foods .
5. Thyroid Problems: hypothyroidism , impaired metabolism, fatigue, weight gain.
6. Excessive Fatigue
7. Headaches, Brain Fog & Memory Loss
8. Nutritional Deficiencies: inability to absorb nutrients from food, as a result of an inflamed intestinal tract. Have a hard time absorbing vitamin B12, magnesium and are lacking digestive enzymes needed to break down and assimilate the nutrients in food.
9. Candida Overgrowth: too much candida in the body comes with symptoms such as skin and nail fungal infections, feeling tired all the time, digestive issues, difficulty concentrating, vaginal infections, and strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings.
10. Hormonal Imbalances: strong PMS symptoms, estrogen dominance, and polycystic ovarian syndrome .
Who Gets A Leaky Gut
We all have some degree of leaky gut, as this barrier is not completely impenetrable . Some of us may have a genetic predisposition and may be more sensitive to changes in the digestive system, but our DNA is not the only one to blame. Modern life may actually be the main driver of gut inflammation. There is emerging evidence that the standard American diet, which is low in fiber and high in sugar and saturated fats, may initiate this process. Heavy alcohol use and stress also seem to disrupt this balance.
We already know that increased intestinal permeability plays a role in certain gastrointestinal conditions such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. The biggest question is whether or not a leaky gut may cause problems elsewhere in the body. Some studies show that leaky gut may be associated with other autoimmune diseases , chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, arthritis, allergies, asthma, acne, obesity, and even mental illness. However, we do not yet have clinical studies in humans showing such a cause and effect.
How I Cook So Simple But Healthy Every Single Day
- Breakfast is usually simply a shake. This is how I start most mornings. Its easy for the digestive system to take, helps the body rapidly absorb much needed nutrition and is so easy to make, which means youll actually do it each day. Plus I always make sure my shakes contain some good fats, eg MCT oil or coconut oil, and protein, eg high quality collagen protein powder, which brings about some remarkable improvements in morning energy .
- Soup and bone broth make up 20-30% of meals. Alternating between these 2 liquid meals throughout the week works a treat. You can batch make and easily freeze both, making them so convenient to take out whenever needed. And if you dont like the taste then just try a scoop of collagen each day.
- Meat/fish + vegetable + vegetable starch . Simple combinations of the 2 paired with some nice flavors especially using herbs is just perfect. These dishes sit so easily in your stomach that they are seriously addictive!
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Signs You May Have A Leaky Gut
The gut issue were going to explore today is often called leaky gut syndrome and its becoming more and more common across the globe as populations the world over begin to adopt a Western diet and lifestyle. While leaky gut syndrome is a fairly modern phrase, it has another name thats been documented for years intestinal permeability.
Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, is famous for having said, all disease begins in the gut. Even ancient Ayurvedic practitioners have long believed gut permeability was at the root cause of all disease processes, and healthy functioning of the gastrointestinal system is paramount to a healthy body and mind.
Test #1 The Lactulose & Mannitol Test For Leaky Gut
The lactulose and mannitol test acts as a very direct test for leaky gut by looking solely at how permeable/leaky the intestinal wall is.
Studies like this one have confirmed its efficacy, as they conclude Evaluation of intestinal permeability in this way provides an objective means of diagnosing food allergy . In other words, this test can act as a diagnostic for leaky gut, which can therefore identify food allergies.
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How To Get Clean Filtered Water
All you need to do is buy a $10 BRITA jug or bottle, which usually comes with 2 cartridges. Then keep an eye out for filter cartridge sales. When they pop up snap up a dozen!
And if you want to up your filtered water game, get something super convenient like the big BRITA water tank this is great because you dont need to refill it multiple times a day and wait for the water to filter.
Bonus benefit is that these filters make water taste so much better and by having a jug constantly next to you it will encourage you to down your 2-3 liter a day target.
Can You Treat Leaky Gut
You can, but the approach is similar to diagnosing a broken car, says Dr. Fasano. “You dont know the exact problem until the mechanic lifts the hood, looks around, and tries different things there is not a simple, direct approach to fixing the problem,” he says. “Its the same with leaky gut. We have to try different strategies to see what helps.”
Your first step is to share your symptoms with your doctor. If leaky gut is a possibility, he or she can try several strategies to help relieve symptoms and reduce inflammation. The most common is to review your diet and eliminate known dietary causes of inflammation, such as excessive consumption of alcohol and processed foods, and to explore whether you have any food sensitivities for instance, to gluten or dairy. “In theory, reducing inflammation from your diet like this also may rebuild the gut lining and stop further leakage,” says Dr. Fasano.
The best way to protect yourself from leaky gut is to invest more in your overall digestive health, he adds. This means being more attentive about following a gut-healthy diet that limits processed foods and high-fat and high-sugar foods, and includes enough fiber. Sticking to a regular exercise program also can strengthen your digestive system. For example, studies have suggested that taking a 15-to 20-minute walk after a meal can aid in digestion. “Your gastrointestinal system is complex, but caring for it doesnt have to be,” says Dr. Fasano.
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Using The Wrong Diagnostic Tests
There is a test available that shows whether an individual has intestinal permeability. It works by measuring levels of two indigestible sugars, mannitol and lactulose, in the urine. Most physicians do not use this test and research shows that it is not very reliable. As we mentioned earlier, there is no evidence that intestinal permeability causes any disease be wary of anyone who claims that it does. Some unscrupulous individuals are even selling these tests to consumers online. Using this test to diagnose leaky gut syndrome would be like ordering a test to look for blood in the stool of someone with IBD and using a positive test result to prove that the bloody stools caused some other mysterious disease that in turn caused the IBD. We already know that bloody stools are a symptom of Crohns disease or ulcerative colitis, just as we know that intestinal permeability is a symptom of some diseases such as Crohns disease and celiac disease.
Proponents of leaky gut syndrome might also misuse tests that look for bacterial, fungal, or viral infections, or tests that measure immune function, to diagnose the disorder, when there is no evidence that the results are in any way related to this baseless syndrome.
Is There A Test For Leaky Gut
While diagnosis is incredibly difficult as mentioned, there is one specific test that some physicians will use in order to test intestinal permeability. The test is called the mannitol and lactulose test. Both of these are water-soluble molecules that the body cannot use. Mannitol is easily absorbed by people with healthy intestinal linings, whereas lactulose is a larger molecule, and thus is only slightly absorbed. A person is instructed to drink a solution containing both of these molecules, and then their urine is collected for six hours. The amount present in the urine reflects how much was absorbed by the body a healthy test will display high levels of mannitol, and low levels of lactulose. If high levels of both are found, it indicates increased intestinal permeability. If low levels of both are found, it indicates general poor absorption of all nutrients .
It is important to note that this test is an indicator of small intestine permeability, and cannot definitively diagnose leaky gut with full certainty. Most physicians steer clear of this test, as they do not believe it is very reliable. Additionally, since increased intestinal permeability is a symptom of many other diseases, it should not be used to necessarily diagnose leaky gut syndrome, as this could prevent a patient from receiving treatment for a more serious condition they may have. Seeking the advice of a gastroenterologist is recommended, as they specialize in digestive health and the GI tract.
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Symptoms & Signs Of Leaky Gut Plus The Tests You Can Take To Prove Them
If you have leaky gut there is also a good chance youll be experiencing several of these symptoms.
e.g. at my worst I was enjoying food intolerances, SIBO, all the digestive problems below , several of the skin related issues, brain fog and nutrient deficiencies.
So dont get overwhelmed or feel worried, if you find yourself nodding to several of the symptoms/signs below.
S To Heal Your Leaky Gut
As I discussed earlier, if you leave your leaky gut untreated it leads to autoimmunity, or puts you further along the autoimmune spectrum. As a functional medicine physician, I recommend taking the 4R approach to heal your gut. I successfully used this approach with thousands of patients in my many years of practice.
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Testing For Leaky Gut
If you want to heal your leaky gut, you first have to know if you have one. Symptoms are often attributed to other conditions. The good news is that there are tests that can determine if you have a leaky gut.
One of the more accurate tests is the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test . This tests the levels of zonulin in your blood, which gives a biomarker of how much intestinal permeability there is. Dr. Alessio Fasanos research showed that gluten triggers the release of zonulin. Zonulin is a chemical that signals the tight junctions of your intestinal wall to open up, creating intestinal permeability, or a leaky gut. Higher than normal levels of zonulin is an indicator of a leaky gut. Optimal levels of zonulin are 22.3 to 161.1 ng/mL.
Another way to test for leaky gut is to find out if you have a food sensitivity. The best way to discover your food sensitivities is to complete an elimination diet. An elimination diet is a short-term eating plan with the goal of pinpointing exactly which foods are causing the uncomfortable, painful, or mysterious symptoms you are experiencing.
What Is A Leaky Gut
Leaky gut syndrome is a condition in which the lining of the small intestine is damaged, allowing harmful particles such as microbes, bacteria, undigested food, and toxins to leak through the intestine and enter the bloodstream.
The presence of these substances in the blood can trigger an inflammatory reaction and lead to a number of health problems that range from migraines to irritable bowel syndrome. A person who suffers from leaky gut syndrome is often at high risk for malnutrition, weakened immunity, hormone imbalances, and other serious health conditions.
How Do You Diagnose Leaky Gut
The only way to be certain you have leaky gut is to test itand the simplest, most convenient way to do this is through performing a urine test at home.
For this test, you drink a solution called PEG 400. This solution doesnt interfere with your bodys chemistry and it isnt harmful. It contains substances with 11 different molecular weights.
You collect all your urine for six hours after drinking the solution, and then send it off to the lab to be analysed. By calculating how much of each substance ends up in your urine, we can work out to what degree your gut is leaky. The larger the molecular weights that get through, the leakier the gut.30
This is presented as a graph, so you can tell at a glance if your gut is more permeable than the normal range for any given molecular weight.
Heres How I Quit Coffee For My Leaky Gut & What I Drink Now
- Week 1 substituted my morning coffee with decaf coffee and my lunchtime coffee with Yerba mate81 . The decaf was simply to wean me off the taste and the Yerba mate off the caffeine. Plus I drank my morning shake/juice , which gives a huge amount of natural energy. Alternatively, you could stop it all, and just wean off using caffeine tablets.
- Week 2 herbal teas only, but if you really need it, Yerba mate can be thrown into the mix.
- Week 3 onwards only herbal tea.
- Once healed / long term then just continue on with the week 2 protocol, but occasionally you can try and have coffee and see how you feel. For example, about once or twice a month I will have a Bulletproof style coffee , because my gut can handle it now and wow, does this blow my mind in the taste department. A real treat! Just make sure to avoid coffees with cows based milk you can substitute in almond milk, macadamia milk etc.
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Heres How I Recommend You Do The Breathing Exercises
- Download the The Breathing App app and do it before and just after each meal. Although it is somewhat annoying to remember or take the time out to do this, all you need to do is try it out for the next 30 days.
- If you really struggle to do it, then at least try to nail it once a day with your biggest meal.
- As insurance, make sure you take a digestive enzyme or two just before each meal.
Reduce Your Stress To Decrease Inflammation
Have you experienced a variety of symptoms while youre in a stressful situation? Perhaps you have a stomachache, bloating, or diarrhea.
Stress can cause all sorts of changes in the way the body behaves, and the gut is not an exemption. It affects not only the gut secretions but also the permeability of the walls.
People who are chronically stressed may not have the ideal healthy lifestyle as well. They may lack sleep or may not eat the right types of food, which increases the risk of having a leaky gut.
When youre in this situation for so long, it may be challenging to reset. You can try supplements to help improve your sleep.
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Debunking The Myth Of Leaky Gut Syndrome
A proposed gastrointestinal disorder dubbed leaky gut syndrome is currently the topic of numerous debates throughout the medical and natural health communities. Some alternative medicine practitioners claim that leaky gut syndrome is a prevalent problem responsible for ill health in many people. However, most physicians maintain that there is not enough research to prove that it is a legitimate issue. In this article, we will answer some questions you may have about leaky gut syndrome and reveal some of the dangers of diagnosing and treating a condition for which there is no medical evidence.
What Does It Mean If Youre Fatigued Or Feeling Low
Constantly feeling fatigued can be another signal that youre experiencing leaky gut syndrome. Thats because harmful bacteria in your gut let off toxins that cause swelling in your body. So, when your immune system releases fighter cells to take down these substances, it can get really tiring.
Fighting off bad bacteria is no easy task. And the more toxic bacteria and particles that enter your bloodstream, the more your immune cells get ready for battle and the more tired you can become.8,9
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Leaky Gut Syndrome: 7 Signs You May Have It
May 8, 2018
If youve been around the natural health world very long, youve probably heard of a condition known as leaky gut syndrome. It sounds pretty gross, but its an important enough problem to consider. There are several leaky gut symptoms to be aware of, which is particularly important since leaky gut is associated with dozens of related conditions and diseases.
As more Americans are affected by poor diet choices, chronic stress, toxic overload and bacterial imbalance, it appears that the prevalence of leaky gut has reached epidemic proportions. The medical profession is just now agreeing this condition may even exist, which is especially shocking to me because intestinal permeability has been discussed in the medical literature for over 100 years!
Why should leaky gut syndrome concern you? Recently leaky gut has been called a danger signal for autoimmune disease. If youre wondering if you may be experiencing leaky gut, the first thing to do is access your symptoms. Keep in mind that its very common for people on a Standard American Diet to struggle with poor gut function and high levels of inflammation but just because digestive issues and autoimmune conditions are common doesnt make them normal!