"Leaky gut syndrome" isn't a diagnosis taught in medical school. Instead, "leaky gut really means you’ve got a diagnosis that still needs to be made,” Kirby says. “You hope that your doctor is a good-enough Sherlock Holmes, but sometimes it is very hard to make a diagnosis.”
“From an MD’s standpoint, it’s a very gray area,” says gastroenterologist Donald Kirby, MD, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the Cleveland Clinic. “Physicians don’t know enough about the gut, which is our biggest immune system organ.”
“We don’t know a lot but we know that it exists,” says Linda A. Lee, MD, a gastroenterologist and director of the Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicineand Digestive Center. “In the absence of evidence, we don’t know what it means or what therapies can directly address it.”
1. Food Sensitivities – Because of the onslaught of toxins that enter the bloodstream, the immune systems of people with intestinal hyperpermeability are on overdrive mass-producing various antibodies, which may make their bodies more susceptible to antigens in certain foods (especially gluten and dairy). In studies involving rats and human children, leaky gut and food allergies have been linked. This is one of the most common leaky gut symptoms.
2. Inflammatory Bowel Disease – Researchers from Hungary uncovered in 2012 that elevated gut permeability is oftentimes localized to the colon in people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis. As far back as 1988, scientists suggested that Crohn’s disease may be more of a risk for people with leaky gut. A small study (observing 12 patients) discovered that zinc supplementation may help resolve the tight junction dysfunction in these cases, although more research is required on a larger scale to confirm these results.
3. Autoimmune Disease – The key to understanding how leaky gut can cause an autoimmune disease is through the research done on a protein known as “zonulin.” According to a 2011 article published in the journalPhysiologic, eating gluten may trigger this dangerous cascade. University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers have uncovered that gluten “activates zonulin signaling irrespective of the genetic expression of autoimmunity, leading to increased intestinal permeability to macromolecules.”
The good news is that, at least as far as leaky gut plays a role in autoimmune conditions, it is reversible and could potentially alleviate some of these problematic immune responses.
4. Thyroid Problems – One of the autoimmune diseases that leaky gut syndrome may directly affect is Hashimoto’s disease. Also known as “chronic thyroiditis,” this disorder is displayed with hypothyroidism (low thyroid function), impaired metabolism, fatigue, depression, weight gain and a host of other concerns.
5. Nutrient Malabsorption – In my own patients, I’ve observed various nutritional deficiencies resulting from leaky gut, including vitamin B12, magnesium and digestive enzymes. Those common nutrient deficiencies are one reason why many functional medicine practitioners prescribe a whole-food multivitamin in addition to probiotics for people suffering leaky gut problems.
6. Inflammatory Skin Conditions – First described over 70 years ago, the gut-skin connection theory has described how intestinal hyperpermeability can cause a slew of skin conditions, particularly acne and psoriasis. (17) Creams and drugs with endless lists of (sometimes dangerous) side effects are often prescribed for these skin disorders, yet there has been evidence for several decades that part of the root cause might exist in the gut.
7. Mood Issues and Autism – According to a study published in the journal Neuroendocrinology Letters, leaky gut has been shown to cause various neurocognitive disorders. For example, the inflammatory response characteristic of intestinal hyperpermeability triggers the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and other chemicals that are thought to induce depression.
A study was just published this past January in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience describing the “vicious circle between immune system impairment and increasing dysbiosis that leads to leaky gut and neurochemical compounds and/or neurotoxic xenobiotics production and absorption.” The authors go on to describe findings from a number of studies that point to their theory that autism may be connected to problems in the gut microbiome, particularly within the first year of life. It is actually a common hypothesis in modern science that leaky gut is strongly related to autism.
Actions to take?
First get tested and get a comprehensive understanding and use natural supplements to relieve your condition.
Dr. Pamela Nathan Recommends:
1. Intestinal Permeability Assessment Leaky Gut Test - powerful and noninvasive assessment of small intestinal absorption and barrier function in the bowel. The small intestine uniquely functions as a digestive/absorptive organ for nutrients, as well as a powerful immune and mechanical barrier against excessive absorption of bacteria, food antigens, and other macromolecules. Both malabsorption and increased intestinal permeability(i.e.leaky gut) are associated with chronic gastrointestinal imbalances, as well as many systemic disorders
2. Doctors Data Comprehensive Stool Analysis Test - an invaluable non-invasive diagnostic assessment that objectively evaluates the status of beneficial and imbalanced commensal bacteria, pathogenic bacteria, and yeast/fungus. Precise identification of pathogenic species and susceptibility testing greatly facilitates selection of the most appropriate pharmaceutical or natural treatment agent(s)
3. Perfect Pass ProBiotic and PreBiotic - Prebiotics & Probiotics together and improve the diversity of your good bacteria daily
4. Leaky Gut - supports the repair of the gastrointestinal tract, cools inflamed tissue, and promotes tissue repair
5. Vegie Zymes - proprietary complex that supports the body’s ability to maintain healthy digestion and metabolic activity. The enzymes in this product are 100 percent vegetable source, and have an effective pH range of 2.4 - 9.8.
6. Glutagenics - Powerful Gastrointestinal Lining Support - A concentrated extract of DGL to support gastrointestinal health and a premium powder of decolorized inner leaf aloe to support a healthy intestinal lining
7. Spectrazyme Metagest HCL (hydrochloric acid) - benefit from 90mg of pepsin and 1,300mg of betaine hydrochloride that support your body's natural production of digestive enzymes and helps you maintain healthy, regular digestive processes, and enhances your overall digestive health
8. Primal Defense Ultra - supports normal intestinal comfort and function‚ and promotes healthy intestinal elimination regularity and consistency. Contains Bacillus subtilis to support healthy lactic acid bacteria (Bifidobacterium and/or Lactobacillus) count and healthy pH levels in the gu.