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What is a Leaky Gut?

A leaky gut refers to increased intestinal permeability, or the movement of toxins, microbes, and undigested food particles through the intestinal lining and throughout the bloodstream. Unfortunately, you can’t call a plumber to fix a leaky gut; nor is this kind of leak as obvious as a flooded basement.


Understanding and treating leaky gut—and knowing how to minimize the various triggers associated with a leaky gut—is the first step toward preventing this inconvenient intestinal problem.

The gastrointestinal system is naturally permeable in order to allow nutrients to be absorbed into the body. However, when the small intestine has been compromised, a protein called zonulin is released. This substance weakens the cell structures of the intestinal lining, which then allows potentially harmful elements into the bloodstream. A myriad of symptoms can result.

Below are some of the most common leaky gut symptoms you may encounter:

  • Chronic skin conditions including acne, rosacea, or eczema
  • Food allergies
  • Mental health issues including depression, anxiety, ADD, or ADHD
  • Autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or celiac disease
  • Inflammatory joint disease

These are just a few of the likely symptoms you may experience if you have a leaky gut. However, it’s important to note that none of these symptoms may occur despite intestinal trouble. If you think you may have this condition, it’s best to see a doctor for diagnosis.

How Do You Get a Leaky Gut?

There are several factors that may contribute to the production of zonulin and the condition of leaky gut. Intestinal infections, toxins, age, and even stress can greatly affect a body’s ability to maintain the proper balance of intestinal permeability.

There are also dietary triggers that may contribute to a leaky gut. Gluten is a common culprit of leaky gut as well as excessive alcohol, sugar, and inflammatory foods like dairy. Additional causes of leaky gut may include the overuse of medications like Motrin, Advil, steroids, and antibiotics, as well as environmental hazards like pesticides, mercury, and chemicals from plastic like Bisphenol A (BPA).

If you think you’re experiencing leaky gut it would be best to avoid as many of these triggers as possible until you consult a doctor or take a home test to determine if the problem is occurring in the small intestine.

Don’t Wait to Find Out

There are home tests available for people who suspect they may have lost intestinal permeability and are experiencing malabsorption, gastrointestinal balances, or leaky gut. Genova Lab Intestinal Permeability Assessment, for example, is a simple urine test that directly measures the ability of two non-metabolized sugar molecules through the intestinal mucosa.

This test can provide the awareness you need to help fix a leaky gut from the privacy of your own home. You can’t call a plumber, but you can order a home test online just as easily. You wouldn’t wait for your basement to well up with water, so don’t wait on your health.

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