Leaky gut is a condition when instead of aiding retention and absorption of good elements from food, the permeable intestinal wall allows the unwanted elements to reach the bloodstream.

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KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Most of us know digestive illnesses like indigestion, nausea, loose motions, constipation, etc.
  • What is almost never discussed is the possibility that there is leakage from the lining of the gut.
  • Leaky gut syndrome is a digestive condition that affects the lining of the intestines.

We grow up thinking that once we eat food unless there is indigestion or vomitting, the only way it moves out of the intestines is through the rectum and anus. That is what schoolbooks also tell us about complete digestion.

Why just academic notes, even many doctors and healthcare professionals do not speak about leaky gut syndrome (LGS) as a diagnosable condition. However, current scientific evidence suggests leaky gut may contribute to a range of medical conditions such as:

  1. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  2. Crohn’s disease
  3. Celiac disease
  4. Chronic liver disease
  5. Diabetes
  6. Food allergies and sensitivities
  7. Polycystic ovary syndrome

While the (medical) jury (so to say) is still out over whether and how exactly autism the imbalance between gut microbiota. But it is better to consider this as a possible fallout. After all, several studies have been able to find significantly higher amounts of Clostridium perfringens bacteria in samples collected from autistic children with GI symptoms.

Normal and healthy digestive system Vs Leaky Gut:

The digestive process as we know it involves eating food via the mouth, the ground and saliva-mixed food then traveling to the stomach, where they’re partially digested, and move on to the intestines. In the intestines is where the real work of deriving and absorbing the nutrients and energy we need to live and thrive takes place.

That is a classic and normal scenario. But just like in a well-used plumbing system, the intestines develop small but not easily noticeable leaks that develop into a condition called leaky gut.

“Leaky gut is a great visual term for patients, but it isn’t a true medical diagnosis,” Dr John Whyte, a board-certified internist based in the Washington DC area, tells TIME magazine. Rather than being a precise diagnosis, the term “describes the fact that your intestines aren’t working properly.”
Also sometimes referred to as heightened or increased intestinal permeability, leaky gut “is a condition in which the lining of the intestines become inflamed, damaged, or irritated, allowing microbial toxins and undigested food particles to flood into the bloodstream,” Lacey Dunn, a functional medicine dietitian and author of “The Women’s Guide to Hormonal Harmony“tells TIME magazine.

The problem with this phenomenon is that the undigested food particles and the enzymes your body produces to break down and absorb nutrients from food ends up outside the gut. They just do not belong there and the body has no mechanism built inside to eliminate or wash it out. Not at that level.

This leaked matter is a foreigner, a toxin, a poison if it has leaked out of the intestines into the bloodstream. It can start causing inflammation infections and widespreadation, and it may even increase the risk of certain autoimmune disorders.

The problem gets compounded by the fact that not only are you missing out on key vitamins and nutrients, but the unwanted, harmful substances that pass through are disrupting your hormones and immune system due to this increased intestinal permeability.

Symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome:

  1. Bloating
  2. Nausea
  3. Cramping
  4. Headaches
  5. Rashes
  6. Fatigue
  7. Joint pain

Additional symptoms of Leaky Gut:

  1. Mood disorders such as anxiety and depression
  2. Protect fatigue
  3. Brain fog
  4. Arthritis
  5. Allergies

Apparently, some people also develop skin problems or anxiety that can be blamed upon gut infections such as parasites alongside a leaky gut.

How is Leaky Gut diagnosed:

Such broad symptoms can make pinpointing the problem challenging, Dr Anil Singh, a gastroenterologist with Orlando Health in Florida tells TIME magazine. “There’s no one particular symptom” that defines leaky gut: “Some will have diarrhoea or constipation, abdominal bloating, or they could feel tired. Sometimes they have nutritional deficiencies, ”tells TIME magazine.

Who runs the risk of developing a Leaky Gut?

  1. People with the following factors must stay alert that they may be at higher risk of increased intestinal Permeability.
  2. First-degree relatives who have IBD
  3. Gluten sensitivity
  4. Celiac disease
  5. Frequent GI infections
  6. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, or colitis
  7. Autoimmune disorders, arthritis, lupus, and Hashimoto’s disease
  8. Diet is high in saturated fat, sugar, processed foods
  9. Diet low in fiber
  10. Heavy alcohol use, undiagnosed and / or untreated stress, and poor sleep
  11. Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

These (above) factors can be the big driver in our impaired intestinal function and may disrupt the delicate makeup of the gut.

Implications of a Leaky Gut to overall wellbeing:

Having increased intestinal permeability has been linked with an increased risk of developing several other conditions, such as arthritis, lupus, and diabetes, or of developing other conditions related to the overgrowth of pathogens, such as Candida (yeast infections); H pylori (a type of bacteria) tells. “It’s basically lifestyle changes,” such as changing your diet and avoiding stress.

Treatment for Leaky Gut:

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

Dr Dawn Beaulieu, director of the functional medicine IBD clinic at Vanderbilt Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic in Nashville. tells TIME Magazine that a functional medicine practitioner can help you follow a 5R framework for gut restoration which includes five steps:

Remove: Whatever is affecting the GI tract adversely. Off with medications and ultra-processed foods or excess sugar that hurt the guts, as well as foods you’re allergic to, toxins, and stressors.

Replace: With health-promoting higher-quality foods that can promote proper digestion. Include fiber-rich and plant-based, wholegrains diet. This will not only stop irritating the intestinal tract and lining but also provide the necessary nutrients.

Reinoculate the gut: The intestines also play an essential role in protecting the body from harmful bacteria and toxins. Help the beneficial bacteria flora in the intestines flourish. Revise your eating plan to include dahi, buttermilk, greek yoghurt etc – basically foods that are prebiotic, probiotic, and postbiotic foods. Fermented foods can help the gut microbiome thrive and create a happy ecosystem within.

Repair the damaged gut lining: Eat the rainbow of foods, urges Dr Dawn Beaulieu. Ask your doctor about your status on vitamin and mineral supplements and whether you need vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, L-glutamine, and aloe.

Rebalance your overall life: Familiar with the term “butterflies in the stomach”? Or getting the loosies on being in shock due to some grave loss. Stree affects the guts immediately. So do sleep or exercise or rather the lack of these two. “Balancing all of these is crucial for gut health.” While staying physically active is a good idea for overall health, Beaulieu tells TIMES magazine readers that endurance exercise, such as running, biking, or boxing, can increase the risk of leaky gut, because excessive, intense exercise is a “stress-induced state ”That can alter barrier function in the gut. Stay active, but don’t overdo it.

Basically, remember to drink enough water, exercise regularly, get enough sleep every night, reduce stress

avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics, quit smoking, eat less meat, dairy, and eggs; avoid added sugar and artificial sweeteners.

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness program or making any changes to your diet.

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