An acronym for ‘intestinal permeability,’ leaky gut syndrome essentially refers to a condition wherein the lining of your intestines loses some of its integrity. In an ideal situation, you have tight junctions on the surface of your intestinal lining. These junctions prevent large particles and undigested food from leaking into the bloodstream. That’s how it should work all the time. But in cases of leaky gut, these tight junctions aren’t as tightly shut off and they let through a lot more than what should be allowed in.
What is a leaky gut syndrome?
For people who don’t know this already, your intestines are lined with what is called villi – finger-like structures that line your digestive tract. These support its inner surface. And just like any other membrane, the one that lines your intestines helps keep what is inside from breaking out.
Leaky gut syndrome increases the amount of proteins and other substances entering the bloodstream. Something that shouldn’t happen according to how things are supposed to work. And this can lead to all sorts of issues such as autoimmunity, inflammation, food allergies, or even chronic fatigue symptoms.
Leaky Gut: Myth or Reality
It’s important to note though that while there’s plenty of discussion going on about leaky gut syndrome lately, it isn’t really an accepted medical condition yet – at least not by all the necessary groups. For example, there isn’t really a universally agreed-upon definition of what it is and how it occurs. But that doesn’t mean that there’s no such thing as leaky gut syndrome – there are plenty of clinical studies out there on its effects.
And while evidence for leaky gut syndrome may be limited right now emerging research shows that other conditions like irritable bowel disease, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel diseases, and even ulcerative colitis have one thing in common. They’re all related to increased intestinal permeability and could benefit from treatment aimed at restoring tight junctions between cells lining the walls of your intestines.
So if you think you’ve got leaky gut syndrome or any other gastrointestinal disorder, you should talk to your doctor about it.
What does happen with Leaky Gut Syndrome?
It’s important to understand that a leaky gut is a condition wherein the tight junctions within the walls of your intestines break down and allows things like undigested food proteins and other objects into your bloodstream. This results in inflammation throughout your body, including brain cells. These toxins affect communication lines of the nervous system leading to mood swings, sleep disorders, anxiety attacks, and depression. These effects commonly appear in people who drink alcohol excessively or eat foods that contain gluten (wheat).
The bottom line? The leaky gut syndrome can lead to a number of complications if left untreated such as digestive disorders, autoimmune diseases, and even more serious health problems such as cancer. So make sure you take the necessary steps to restore the integrity of your intestinal lining.
You’re here because you know that gut health is essential for overall health and well-being – and because you realize that foods like gluten trigger symptoms in people with a sensitive digestive system. We hear from many patients who are looking for help with their leaky gut, so we’ve put together our top tips for healing a leaky gut. While this is not meant to replace professional medical advice. It just might be the jumpstart you need to start feeling better!
What are the symptoms of a leaky gut?
The most common symptoms of leaky gut syndrome or “leaky gut” include:
- Digestive issues (gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation)
- Immune system disorders
- Food allergies and sensitivities
- Digestive pain (such as abdominal cramps or flatulence)
- Skin problems
- Mood swings
- Sleep disturbances
- Chronic fatigue
How do you know if you have a leaky gut?
Dr. Alessio Fasano, an expert in the field of intestinal permeability describes Leaky Gut Syndrome as having three steps:
1. The body’s normal barriers break down – these are the components that line the intestinal wall and keep toxins from moving into your bloodstream;
2. Toxins move across the intestine leaving residues behind;
3. Your immune system reacts to the toxins you’ve exposed earlier. This leads to reactions like inflammation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The medical community refers to this as “intestinal permeability” or “increased intestinal permeability.” In other words, when there are holes in your gut tight junctions, it allows substances that shouldn’t be there – endotoxins from gluten, for example – into your bloodstream. So if you have increased intestinal permeability, it’s likely that you’ll have sensitivities to a variety of foods – not only gluten.
What does Ayurveda say about Leaky Gut?
Ayurveda considers leaky gut an indication of poor Agni , your digestive fire. When the fire is low, digestion and elimination are sluggish, creating a breeding ground for a host of health issues from Candida to allergies and everything in between.
When you want to understand the leaky gut from ayurvedic perspective, you need to consider the following:
1. Life is a constant movement – we are not supposed to be still or stationary. We move and change every second of the day, even if it is just breathing. Also, our mind-body-spirit are always in motion – think about your thoughts! They are moving from one thing to another, one thought to another. Our emotions are always changing as well. And so on…
2. There must be a balance between all three doshas for us to maintain health (this means that one dosha alone cannot create health or disease). When there is an imbalance among these forces within, health problems arise;
3. Health begins with Agni. Agni does two things: digesting food into nutrients and eliminating wastes through the colon. For everything we eat, we must eliminate – but not all foods are equal in this regard; some require more Agni for digestion than others. So the wrong foods will throw off your Agni and cause digestive malfunctions that can lead to leaky gut syndrome;
4. Allergies are an indication of excess Vata dosha, which accumulates when your tridosha loses its balance.