If you’re savvy to current health jargon, you’ve probably heard of leaky gut syndrome, but you might not understand the ins and outs of this particular digestive condition. Hippocrates, Western medicine’s forefather, believed all illness started in the gut. Ayurveda, India’s ancient healing tradition, also agrees. And increasingly, modern medicine recognizes that digestive health is necessary for a healthy body and mind. Which brings us to our topic of interest: leaky gut syndrome.
Leaky gut syndrome isn’t a modern phenomenon. It has another name that has been recorded in medical literature for hundreds of years. It’s called intestinal permeability. Intestinal permeability happens when the lining of your small intestine becomes damaged. In the process, undigested food particles, random bacteria, and other toxins permeate the lining of the small intestine, and then leak into the bloodstream. This process wreaks havoc on other systems and organs throughout the body, causing migraines, hormonal imbalances, weakened immunity, and even malnutrition.
What’s more, leaky gut syndrome can lead to more serious conditions like diabetes and Alzheimer’s — another reason to pay attention to its signs and symptoms.
What causes leaky gut syndrome?
Leaky gut is an autoimmune condition caused by a number of factors. Proper diet is paramount to digestive health. If you’re eating a diet heavy on processed foods, refined sugars, conventional dairy products, and alcohol, you’re at higher risk for leaky gut syndrome because these foods (and drinks) are full of toxins. These toxins lead to chronic gut inflammation, which often triggers leaky gut syndrome. And leaky gut contributes to chronic intestinal inflammation, too. As you can see, it’s a bit of a vicious cycle.
If you have a gluten intolerance, you’ll want to cut gluten from your diet as this can also trigger leaky gut syndrome. If you’ve taken antibiotics and other medications like steroids and even aspirin for years, you’re vulnerable to leaky gut as well. Even chronic stress leads to bacterial imbalance in the tummy, which can then result in more serious conditions like leaky gut syndrome, which can then cause even more serious conditions. It’s a vicious cycle, and one we need to nip in the bud before the digestive train runs off the tracks!
10 signs you might have leaky gut syndrome
1. Deficiencies in certain nutrients
If you suspect you’re experiencing malnutrition, you’ll want to get tested to see if you’re deficient in certain nutrients. This is always a good idea because not only is malnutrition a sign of leaky gut, it’s also a factor in more serious disease processes. Because nutrient absorption takes place primarily in the small intestine, healing any intestinal issues is necessary to prevent further damage and ensure that you’re absorbing important vitamins and minerals from your food.
2. Common digestive problems
Most of us experience gas or bloating from time to time. But, if you’re gassy and bloated all the time, you may have leaky gut syndrome. Chronic constipation and diarrhea point to leaky gut syndrome too, as does IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Symptoms of IBS include changes in bowel movements, stomach cramps, heartburn, gas, bloating, and a decrease in appetite. If you’ve been diagnosed with IBS, there’s a very good chance leaky gut syndrome is part of the problem.
3. Low energy and chronic fatigue
Do you feel tired all the time? If so, you might have leaky gut syndrome. Chronic fatigue is a surefire sign that you’ve got gut issues. If this is the case, it’s worth investigating. Pay attention to how you feel after a good night’s rest. If you’re still feeling fatigued, you may very well be suffering a digestive malady like leaky gut.
4. Mood swings
The gut and brain are intimately linked. This gut-brain connection is telling in that if you suffer from mood swings, depression, and even anxiety, poor digestive health could be the cause. Even ADD and ADHD point to leaky gut syndrome. If you experience any of these conditions, getting a leaky gut test is a very good idea.
5. Food sensitivities and intolerances
Those of us with more food sensitivities and food allergies than the average person might have leaky gut syndrome. If this sounds like you, consider following an elimination diet. Alternatively, you can start by removing common allergens from your diet. These include soy, corn, eggs, gluten, and most dairy products.
6. Hormone imbalances
Hormones are a tricky thing. It’s difficult to know the underlying cause of hormonal imbalances. What’s more, your hormones are constantly in flux. But inflammation that occurs throughout the body as a result of leaky gut syndrome can affect your thyroid function, and throw several important hormones out of balance. In turn, this can further impact your mood, metabolism, and other functions throughout the body.
7. Autoimmune disease
When those pesky toxins and unwanted bacteria permeate the small intestine and leak into the bloodstream, over time, autoimmune diseases can take hold. If you’ve been diagnosed with thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, or multiple sclerosis, leaky gut syndrome could very well be at the root of these problems.
8. Weak immune system
Do you frequently get colds or flu? Maybe viruses and infections tend to bring you down frequently. The immune system and the gut are closely linked, so any digestive issues can make you more susceptible to colds and other illnesses. Plus, malnutrition resulting from leaky gut leads to poor immune function and other more serious diseases.
9. Inflammatory skin conditions
Your body is so intelligent, that if something’s going on in your tummy, you might have a breakout on your skin. This is helpful because we can’t see what’s going on inside, but we can see our skin. In this way, our body educates us as to what’s going on beneath the skin. If you have inflammatory skin disorders like eczema, rosacea, and even acne, leaky gut might be the issue.
10. Weight gain
A poor diet, nutritional deficiencies, and bacterial imbalances are all linked to leaky gut, and are also associated with weight gain. Anything that causes inflammation throughout the body and disrupts proper bodily function will also impair your metabolism and make weight loss difficult, even if you’re very careful about counting your calories. Healing leaky gut and reducing inflammation is often necessary in order to effectively lose weight — and keep it off.
Treating leaky gut syndrome
What can you do about a leaky gut? It’s important to find a doctor who will work with you to heal your digestive issues, as medications that treat the symptoms of leaky gut won’t address the root problem. While there is no standard treatment for leaky gut, approaches that reduce internal inflammation can often help heal a damaged intestinal barrier. These include:
- Removing inflammatory foods and common allergens from the diet
- Eating an anti-inflammatory diet
- Taking a probiotic to help balance intestinal bacteria
If you have any of the above symptoms, along with difficulty losing weight, request a complimentary consultation with Elite Physique Weight Loss Center to learn how we can help. Our custom weight-loss programs are designed to treat the underlying health conditions that make weight loss difficult, including leaky gut, chronic inflammation, and hormonal imbalances. Request your no-cost consultation today!