Can a ‘leaky gut’ be destroying your health?

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male gut issues(NaturalHealth365) Millions of Americans live with chronic diseases, autoimmune conditions or other debilitating health issues that have vague or unknown causes, yet create too much suffering. Despite attempting to manage these conditions with medications, few are able to get to the source of their health problems and eliminate them altogether. Generally speaking, these health problems tend to get worse, over time, while the real reason behind chronic disease is often ignored by most conventionally-trained physicians.

An estimated 50 percent of chronic diseases and inflammatory conditions are actually linked to a single source – ‘leaky gut syndrome’, or LGS. People with LGS have irritated intestinal linings that allow toxins, bacteria and food particles to seep out of the gut and into the bloodstream.

As a result, the body’s major defense mechanisms, including the immune system, liver and lymphatics, become compromised – over time. Gradually, the body begins to turn on itself, attacking its own tissues and ultimately causing the onset or worsening of conditions like fibromyalgia, arthritis, migraines and even asthma.

What are the signs and symptoms of leaky gut?

The symptoms of leaky gut may be difficult for the average person to detect, primarily because they are often shared by so many other health conditions. Often, the conditions are seemingly unconnected to each other, making it harder to diagnose.  Of course, it doesn’t help that many mainstream medical doctors are skeptical of this condition – despite years of research that prove its existence.

Initially, people with leaky gut syndrome may experience chronic fatigue or digestive issues, such as bloating, cramps and constipation. Other symptoms may include mood changes, hormonal imbalances and even heightened PMS symptoms. As the condition progresses, the body may begin presenting with auto-immune responses, such as rashes and food sensitivities.

Eventually, the symptoms may progress to include more serious diseases, such as Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease or psoriasis.

Healing leaky gut by a process of elimination

Anyone experiencing the symptoms of leaky gut should not seek to ‘manage the symptoms’, but rather to treat the cause of the condition. Not only is healing leaky gut possible – it’s absolutely essential to preventing additional health complications in the future.

The first step to healing leaky gut is by recognizing the primary cause of intestinal inflammation. Antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are by far the biggest cause of irritation to the intestinal lining.

However, other external factors may also contribute to the development of leaky gut, including emotional stress, an abnormal balance of gut flora, gluten, and pre-existing food allergies. In some cases, one potential irritant leads to another, such as antibiotics contributing to an imbalance of healthy gut bacteria.

Anyone interested in healing leaky gut must first eliminate substances and medications that cause inflammation, as well as evaluate dietary habits that may be contributing to LGS. This could mean eliminating gluten or other inflammatory foods. Some may also benefit from eating probiotic-rich foods like kefir or raw sauerkraut – which are rich in digestive enzymes and bring healthy balance to the intestinal flora.

The addition of other nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids and L-glutamine, may help reduce existing inflammation, strengthen the intestinal lining, and reverse the effects of leaky gut. Most people who adopt an anti-inflammatory diet will notice results within a few weeks, although an extremely damaged gut may take several months or years to fully recover. Be patient and never give up.

References:
http://www.functionalmedicineuniversity.com/public/Leaky-Gut.cfm
http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2014/03/06/leaky-gut-what-it-is-and-how-to-heal-it
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0106335

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  • Rita Lowenstein

    The real question is how anyone eating the American diet can avoid this condition? I would think most people would eventually find that they have the above mentioned symptoms.

    • Wendy Allen

      Gluten (wheat/barley/rye..oats)…dairy/soy/sugar/GMO (maybe corn/soy/canola oil) may hurt people. Gluten/GMO corn/Lymes./yeast may cause leaky gut and food allergies.

      No gluten/dairy/soy/GMO…..vitamins/good oils, LDN, 2000mg of fish oil, 5000IU of Vit D3, Mg citrate, Vit C,, zinc, HCl and enyzmes with meals, dairy free probiotic when stomach acid is low, Vit B12 methylcoblamin shot/spray/under the tongue kind/cream or kind with intrinsic factor, MTHF and more may help the immune system. LDN helps block hidden gluten. Gluten can be in boxed food and certified gluten free food may have 20 ppm of gluten/restaurants/nuts without shell/meat basting/some spices/lotions etc may have gluten. Sunlight/.exercise/eating organic/cook own food by scratch/detox and more may help.

      • FishLady

        People really need to look into exactly what Canola oil is. It comes for the rapeseed weed which is very toxic to humans and insects will not eat it. My confusion is, how is it possible to take a plant/weed which is toxic to humans and process it to the point where they con consider it “organic??” The only thing I can think of is that it has been genetically modified and then grown by the standards of which organic food is grown. I know there is NOTHING that can convince me that that Canola Oil is healthy. http://www.naturalhealth365. com/?s=canola+oil

  • May Tarkin

    This article says it all, we are missing friendly microbes thanks to the overuse of antibiotics. Leaking gut contributes to many of modern day maladies. These include diabetes, obesity, allergies, and even cancer. Intestinal flora is so important to the immune system.

  • Jason Martini

    Milk can legally have up to 100 micrograms of tetracycline per kilogram. That’s just tetracycline, there is research that shows 30 to 80% of milk samples had detectable antibiotics. In meats and other dairy products samples sometimes exceeded the legal limits.

  • Maxcine R

    Leafy greens and other vegetables will promote the growth of healthy bacteria. Changing your diet helps change the gut flora. What you want is more healthy bacteria to inhibit the growth of the harmful variety.

  • Claudia R

    How do you know if you have a leaky gut, other than being tested? I suspect many people have this condition without being aware of it. The symptoms can be attributed to a number of other health issues.