The gut is the part of the body and is responsible for food digestion. Our gut is lined with a semi-permeable wall that allows certain substances to be absorbed into the body while filtering out significant and harmful substances. Typically, a healthy gut is a sign of good health.
However, the gut can develop some health problems that won’t only disrupt your gut health but also act as an entry point for other illnesses in the body. One of the leading health concerns affecting the gut is a leaky gut syndrome. This condition increases the gut’s permeability. This means that harmful substances such as gluten, bad bacteria, and undigested food can easily enter your system. As a result, health concerns associated with this ‘leak’ could develop.
The concept of leaky gut has become commonplace today as more medical blogs try to explain the concept of illnesses originating from the gut. Even though leaky gut isn’t an official medical condition, several resources explain what it is. Moreover, there are more and more leaky gut supplements that may help reduce the effects of the condition.
So, if you suspect that you may have a leaky gut syndrome, this article will discuss it more and what it means for you.
Causes of leaky gut
Several reasons can cause a leaky gut. First, it may be due to genetic predisposition that may cause sensitivity to changes in the digestive system. Secondly, lifestyle can also contribute to gut inflammation, which increases gut permeability and can lead to a leaky gut. Such a lifestyle could include your diet. For example, evidence indicates that a high sugar and low fiber diet could initiate a leaky gut. Also, intake of alcohol and high-stress levels can lead to a leaky gut. (1)
Taking antibiotics and over-the-counter pain killers can irritate the gut lining and damage the mucus layer that protects the gut. Such irritations could initiate an inflammation or worsen a pre-existing inflammation, which leads to gut permeability. Also, bacteria imbalance in the gastrointestinal areas can cause a leaky duct. (2)
Signs of a leaky gut
The research on the leaky gut isn’t conclusive and, therefore, has no established symptoms. This can make the syndrome difficult to diagnose and treat. Also, some of the symptoms associated with leaky guts can also be associated with other medical conditions. Thus, someone with these symptoms may or may not have a leaky gut.
However, you can watch out for the following symptoms, especially those related to your gastrointestinal tracts:
- Changes in your digestive system may lead to chronic diarrhea, constipation, or bloating.
- Excessive fatigue even after doing light tasks.
- Allergies such as asthma attacks, food allergies, and intolerance.
- A weak immune system may lead to other medical conditions, such as rheumatoid diseases and Crohn’s.
- Depression and anxiety symptoms.
- Skin rashes, acne, and eczema.
However, since these symptoms aren’t conclusive, there’s no clear concept of whether a leaky gut causes these symptoms. There’s still the possibility that it may be a symptom of other conditions. Also, exercises may cause a leaky gut, which may be confusing as exercises may also be beneficial to the body. Therefore, more research on the symptoms of a leaky gut needs to be done. (4)
How to treat leaky gut
As mentioned, leaky gut hasn’t been defined as an official medical condition yet, which means that there’s no standard treatment. Also, not all doctors can work to get to the root of the problem, pushing many patients to look for alternative medicine. The treatment methods being used or recommended to strengthen the lining of the gut walls can be theoretically possible. However, no research backs up such treatment methods. (5)
Also, another recommended way to help reduce the effect of leaky gut syndrome is by observing a proper diet. If you get such signs, you can get trained in nutrition to help you plan a diet that won’t cause an adverse reaction to your digestive system. Here’s a list of some diet changes that may help your gut health.
- Avoid all foods with gluten, especially if you have celiac disease, to help heal your gut lining and improve the symptoms.
- Avoid too much dairy products, such as milk and cheese, which can lead to the growth of unhealthy bacteria in your gut.
- Take a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fiber, and healthy fat, as this may help restore the gut lining.
- Avoid alcohol, carbonated drinks, artificial sweeteners, and too much sugar as they can weaken the gut lining, increasing permeability.
- Raw nuts like peanuts and almonds.
Also, there are some crucial changes that you can incorporate into your lifestyle to help improve the symptoms of leaky gut.
Here’s what you can do:
- Avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics or over-the-counter pain relievers as they can cause inflammation on the gut lining.
- Get enough sleep.
- Quit smoking and taking too much alcohol.
- Reduce your stress levels by avoiding situations that may cause stress.
However, you should be aware of supplements and extreme elimination diets that claim to cure a leaky gut. This is because the supplements may also pose another health risk to your body and trigger another health condition. Also, elimination diets can lead to nutritional deficiencies. (4)
Also read: HOW DOES THE LEMONADE DIET WORK
A leaky gut can be linked with many health challenges. This means you can’t take it lightly, even if there’s no conclusive study supporting that claim. Medical conditions such as allergies and autoimmune conditions may arise from a leaky gut, so proper measures should be taken to control it. As they say, prevention is always better than cure.
While there could be controversies and uncertainties about the leaky gut syndrome, it can be more common than expected. With no clear and unique symptoms indicating a leaky gut, you should treat any associated symptom more seriously to avoid the onset of other medical conditions. Also, you should learn to live a healthy lifestyle, such as proper dieting, to help maintain good gut health.
Read next: 8 HEALTHY SNACKS FOR A HAPPIER DIET
- “Leaky gut: What is it, and what does it mean for you?”, Source: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/leaky-gut-what-is-it-and-what-does-it-mean-for-you-2017092212451
- “10 Signs You Have a Leaky Gut—and How to Heal It”, Source: https://www.healthywomen.org/content/blog-entry/10-signs-you-have-leaky-gut%E2%80%94and-how-heal-it
- “Endocrinology: 11 Signs of Leaky Gut Syndrome”, Source: https://www.medanta.org/patient-education-blog/11-signs-you-have-the-leaky-gut-and-how-to-heal-it/
- “What Is Leaky Gut, and How Do You Treat It?”, Source: https://www.goodrx.com/well-being/gut-health/leaky-gut-syndrome
- “Leaky Gut Syndrome: What Is It?”, Source: https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/leaky-gut-syndrome
- “What to know about leaky gut syndrome”, Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326117