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Is Leaky Gut A Real Condition

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What Are The Causes Of Leaky Gut Syndrome

LEAKY GUT SYNDROME – real, but not legitimate medical condition?

A lot of things can result in a leaky gut. These can include anything from stress and eating too much sugar , to antibiotics and hormone treatments. There are some additional factors that may come into play too, such as consuming too much alcohol or not having a properly balanced diet. All of these things can affect your guts permeability. A healthy diet rich in the proper amount of nutrients can help you avoid this condition in the first place.

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Limit Junk Food And Added Sugars

Foods and beverages high in added sugar should be consumed sparingly.

Not only are they a key driver of obesity and metabolic disease, but they also influence and change the balance of our gut bacteria.

This could also affect intestinal permeability, at least theoretically.

Summary: There is no one specific diet to treat leaky gut. There are some general tips to follow, including removing gluten and eating more vegetables, but overall diet changes should be tailored to the individual and their specific condition.

What Foods Should You Avoid If You Have Leaky Gut Syndrome

If your doctor feels confident that you likely have leaky gut, they may recommend adjusting your diet to remove inflammatory foods that could impact gut flora, such as:

  • Processed foods
  • Foods that may trigger allergies or sensitivities, such as gluten or dairy
  • Alcohol

Additionally, the doctor may also recommend a low FODMAP diet. Usually, this diet is recommended for people with IBS or even celiac disease, but it may help relieve some of the symptoms from leaky gut as well, especially since there is so much symptom overlap.

Creating a diet rich in foods that aid the growth of beneficial gut bacteria is important as well. Some great options are vegetables , roots, fruit, sprouted seeds, fish, cultured dairy products and nuts .


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What Is The Gut

Just so you have a bit of background, lets talk briefly about the gut and what goes on in there.

When we say gut, we generally mean the digestive system.

The cells that line the intestines are called the intestinal epithelium, and they normally form a barrier to prevent unwanted substances from escaping the intestine . The spaces between the cells are called junctions, and these are normally tight against each other.

Zonulin, a protein, controls how tight those cell junctions are. When concentrations of zonulin are high, this is thought to signal an increased gut permeability. Some of the stimuli that trigger zonulin release in the gut are gliadin in celiacs infections autoimmune diseases, and allergies.

Sometimes, the intestines become more permeable, which is what we call increased intestinal permeability, or colloquially, leaky gut. When increased intestinal permeability is present, toxins and antigens from the gut leak out of the intestines, which can cause an immune response by the body. We believe that this immune response may be linked to conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, celiac, and food allergies, among others.

Lets get one thing straight: There arent particles of food floating around in your bloodstream.

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Before the medical community had better understanding of the mechanisms that cause disease, doctors believed certain ailments could originate from imbalances in the stomach. This was called hypochondriasis. This concept was rejected as science evolved and, for example, we could look under a microscope and see bacteria, parasites, and viruses. The meaning of the term changed, and for many years doctors used the word “hypochondriac” to describe a person who has a persistent, often inexplicable fear of having a serious medical illness.

But what if this ancient concept of illnesses originating in the gut actually holds some truth? Could some of the chronic diseases our society faces today actually be associated with a dysfunctional gastrointestinal system?

The expression “leaky gut” is getting a lot of attention in medical blogs and social media lately, but dont be surprised if your doctor does not recognize this term. Leaky gut, also called increased intestinal permeability, is somewhat new and most of the research occurs in basic sciences. However, there is growing interest to develop medications that may be used in patients to combat the effects of this problem.

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And How Can You Know If You Have Leaky Gut Syndrome

Unfortunately, since the symptoms of this syndrome are similar to other health conditions, it can often go undetected by medical professionals. The list includes chronic diarrhoea, constipation and bloating as well as persistent fatigue and headaches along with widespread inflammation. It also pays to bear in mind that certain factors can put you at risk for leaky gut syndrome, including poor levels of nutrition, frequent alcohol consumption, stress and autoimmune disorders, such as lupus.

What We Know For Sure

Leaky gut is a condition in which bacteria and toxins pass through small junctions in the intestinal wall into the bloodstream.

Various medical professionals reject that leaky gut exists, but there is growing evidence to substantiate that increased intestinal permeability is real andpresent in several autoimmune disorders.

However, there isnt enough evidence to conclude that leaky gut syndrome is the underlying cause of the diseases where it is present.

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How Do I Know If I Have Leaky Gut Syndrome

Because Leaky Gut Syndrome isnt officially recognized as a real condition, it can be hard to identify if thats whats bringing you down. Especially considering that Leaky Gut is often associated with and can lead to1,4,5:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus
  • Diabetes

Once these factors give way to a leaky gut, you then become at risk of developing the associated conditions listed above.

So Increased Intestinal Permeability Does Exist

Is Leaky Gut Syndrome a Real Thing?

But so do people who hijack and exploit the term for their own gain.

Unfortunately, restoring the intestinal barrier doesnt cure diseases like autism and diabetes, so dont believe anyone who tries to sell you on that idea. Most diseases are far more complex than a simple increase in intestinal permeability.

Random supplements and cures, scare tactics and diets, are not going to heal your impaired intestinal permeability or your chronic conditions. Dont buy in to any of that. You dont need to spend $14 on a cup of bone broth to heal your leaky junctions.

It appears as though increased intestinal permeability may be due to different causes, some of which may be fixed with alterations to diet and lifestyle.

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The Dangers Of Alternative Treatments For Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky gut syndrome is generally touted by alternative health and medical sites with equally alternative solutions ranging from fad diets to costly supplements that have not been adequately researched.

The Canadian Society of Intestinal Research warns that products that claim to help alleviate leaky gut are not medically verified and may actually be dangerous. Further, dietary advice given by unqualified institutions or personalities may lead to malnutrition or a poorer diet overall.

Is Leaky Gut A Cause Or Symptom Of Disease

There is still a lot that science and doctors need to learn and understand about leaky gut. This includes whether leaky gut is the cause or symptom of certain diseases. While there is still much research to be done, there is some evidence that leaky gut is at least a precursor, if not a cause, to certain diseases like inflammatory bowel disease and type 1 diabetes.

There is also evidence of the importance of gut health for maintaining health in other areas of the body besides the digestive tract. When the balance of bacteria in the gut is disrupted, it can lead to increased intestinal permeability which can release substances into the bloodstream which travel throughout the body. Again, the specific cause is not known, but some risk factors like autoimmune disorders, stress, poor nutrition, and excess consumption of alcohol have been identified.

Another fascinating area of research is the connection between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain. This is called the gut-brain axis. While much more research still needs to take place, some research indicates that leaky gut may contribute to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. This has the potential to create a new understanding of mental health issues, and revolutionary approaches to treatment.

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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.

What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome And Is It Even Real A Sales

Is Leaky Gut Real? The Facts &  Science Behind Leaky Gut ...

Home » Digestive Disorders » What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome and Is It Even Real? A Sales-Free Look

Autoimmune diseases and digestive issues are more common than ever before.

There are several theories why, but a condition called Leaky Gut Syndrome is the most popular.

Its emergence has created a huge market for new supplements and associated products. But just how big of a problem is it?

This article is a sales-free look at what we currently understand about leaky gut syndrome.


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What Are The Signs Of Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky gut is the spillage of toxins into the blood. This spillage can comes from candida overgrowth in the body. So, the symptoms of leaky gut syndrome can be associated as the symptoms of yeast overgrowth. These include skin infections, digestive issues like bloating, chronic fatigue, headaches, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and hormonal imbalances. Other symptoms may include thyroid conditions, joint pain and arthritis, and ADD or ADHD. If youre experiencing any combination of these, it may be time to look into your leaky gut diet.

Avoid Inflammatory And Toxic Foods


Because gluten is linked to the release of zonulin, it tops most doctors lists of leaky-gut-causing foods. Common sources of gluten include pastas, noodles, breads, pastries, cereal and beer.


Research shows sugar feeds bad gut bacteria. Avoid refined sugars like high-fructose corn syrup, as well as healthy sweeteners like maple syrup and coconut sugar. Alcoholic beverages also break down as sugars so best to avoid them.

Dairy products

There are two proteins in dairy that many people struggle to digest casein and whey. Many people dont have enough lactase to properly break down the lactose in milk. This causes gastrointestinal distress and potential gut damage.

Soy products

Soy and its derivatives can trigger gut flora imbalances. Many experts recommend avoiding all generically-modified foods if you have a leaky gut.


The effects of corn sensitivity are similar to those of gluten sensitivity. Like gluten and soy, corn is present in many packaged foods, so its important to read labels carefully.

Lectins and phytates

These compounds are found in all gluten-containing grains, beans, corn, and nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and potatoes. Lectins bind to the cells lining your intestines, disrupting the tight junctions between the intestinal cells. This contributes to leaky gut, while phytates interfere with the absorption of important minerals.

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What Causes Increased Intestinal Permeability

A compromised intestinal barrier can be caused by high stress levels, NSAIDs, alcohol consumption, radiation and chemotherapy, trauma, and infection.

We also know that harmful gut bacteria can chew through the mucus layer that lies on top of the gut lumen , exposing the cells and impairing gut barrier function.

Genetics also play a role: some people are at greater risk of reactivity to gluten, for example, and some are born with a trait that makes them more susceptible to increased gut permeability.

Diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, toxins in food , celiac, and irritable bowel can also affect the permeability of our gut.

Who Gets Leaky Gut

What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome? Is Leaky Gut Real?

All these contributing factors effectively amount to the modern lifestyle. So everyone is at risk.

We all have some degree of leaky gut, as this barrier is not entirely impenetrable. It shouldnt be we need it for our survival.

But, hyperpermeability does not automatically equal disease. The liver and kidneys are also protective mechanisms that defend us against harmful toxins. If these two organs are in perfect working condition, the leaky gut symptoms wont be present. Genes also play a role. But there is a lot more to understand.

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Gut Microbiota And Autism

2016 review , autistic children often develop significant digestive problems, such as constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting.

In a small 2017 study, researchers compared stool samples from two groups of children autistic children with GI symptoms, and those without autism or GI symptoms. The researchers identified significantly higher amounts of Clostridium perfringens bacteria in samples collected from autistic children with GI symptoms.

What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome

The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, said, All disease begins in the gut. More than two millennia after his death, scientific research has now proven he was onto something all those years ago. For over three decades, study after study has been published discussing our growing understanding of immunity, gut function and how modern diets and lifestyles negatively contribute to overall health by damaging our digestive system.

I refer to this particular phenomenon as leaky gut syndrome. In the medical literature, leaky gut is also referred to as intestinal hyperpermeability.

What Causes Leaky Gut?

The intestines are protected by a single layer of specialized epithelial cells that are linked together by tight junction proteins. Leaky gut symptoms are a consequence of intestinal tight-junction malfunction.

These tight junctions are the gateway between your intestines and your bloodstream. They control what is allowed to pass into the bloodstream from your digestive system. More than 40 different TJ proteins have now been recognized to play a role in gut health. Tight junctions have a very precise job they have to maintain the delicate balance between allowing vital nutrients to enter your bloodstream, while remaining small enough to prevent xenobiotics from passing out of your digestive system into the rest of your body.

Heres how a report published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology describes the pathology of leaky gut:

How Serious Is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

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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.

Understanding Leaky Gut: Separating Myths From Facts

Is Leaky Gut Syndrome a Real Condition? How Common Is It?

The mention of leaky gut seems to evoke mixed feelings in the health and wellness community. Some people think its a sham while others swear by it. Well, the truth is, leaky gut is a phenomenon and like all other phenomena, it is still an ongoing study. One thing for sure, though, is that it touches upon a core subject of wellness gut health. So, lets separate the wheat from the chaff.

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Nutrition And Gut Health

Dr. Melillos upcoming book on diet and nutrition is intended to help kids and families with special needs to better understand how diet can influence brain health and the importance of clean eating for children who exhibit symptoms of a neurobehavioral disorder.

This book will feature other authors, such as Grammy Award winner Zac Brown as well as other well-known chefs and authors, who will provide unique insight and recipes. A highly recommended read for all families, The Disconnected Kids Nutrition Plan is on schedule to be released in April 2016!

Intestinal Permeability And Autism

, researchers confirmed an association between gut microbiota imbalances and autism.

A 2010 study observed increased IP in autistic people and their first-degree relatives. However, reported no significant differences in the IP of autistic children.

Scientists must carry out more research to establish whether IP plays a role in autism.

Since many doctors do not consider leaky gut to be a legitimate medical condition, there is no standard treatment.

However, certain dietary and lifestyle changes may help people to improve their gut health. This, in turn, may alleviate leaky gut symptoms.

The following dietary tips may help to improve gut health:

  • eating more probiotics to boost beneficial gut bacteria
  • eating foods rich in prebiotic fiber, such as vegetables and whole grains
  • eating less meat, dairy, and eggs
  • avoiding added sugar and artificial sweeteners

The following lifestyle changes can improve digestion and support a healthy gut:

  • exercising regularly

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How Do You Treat Leaky Gut

Remember, leaky gut is not an official medical condition. It is a process that causes the gut lining to be damaged from something else. There arent any accurate or approved tests to diagnose leaky gut. There also are no FDA-approved treatments currently available specifically for leaky gut. Researchers are still trying to figure out what causes leaky gut and how it may affect the body.

If leaky gut is associated with a medical condition, you need to treat the underlying condition. Sometimes these treatments can help restore the gut lining, but its not known why this happens. Its possible that improving leaky gut can improve a disease, but much more research needs to be done to prove this. Also, diseases associated with leaky gut do not always automatically improve when the gut lining is healed.

Since microbiome changes are associated with leaky gut and different diseases, researchers are also looking into how changing the microbiome with medicationsmay reverse diseases.

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