What is leaky gut and why should you care?

If you have been googling ways to improve your autoimmune thyroid health, chances are you have heard of leaky gut, also known as intestinal permeability. Leaky gut is what it sounds like — your gut contents leak into the rest of your body through damaged intestinal walls.

Leaky gut happens when contents from the small intestine escape into the bloodstream via a “leaky” gut wall that became damaged due to inflammation. Once in the bloodstream, these partially digested foods, bacteria, yeasts, and other pathogens trigger inflammation throughout the body. Some of these compounds are very toxic (endotoxins) and take up residence throughout the body, triggering inflammation wherever they go.

This sets into motion chronic inflammatory disorders and autoimmune disease.

Leaky gut has been linked to the following: fatigue, depression, brain fog, skin problems, joint pain, chronic pain, autoimmune disease, puffiness, anxiety, poor memory, asthma, food allergies and sensitivities, seasonal allergies, fungal infections, migraines, arthritis, PMS, and many more.

Your symptoms will depend on your genetic predispositions.

While leaky gut allows overly large and pathogenic compounds into the bloodstream, it also prevents very small nutrients and amino acids from getting through. This is due to the intestinal mucous buildup around areas of inflammation. The result is chronic nutritional deficiencies.

Conventional medicine finally acknowledges leaky gut

Conventional medical doctors have long ridiculed patients who inquire about leaky gut, relegating it to quack science and alternative medicine folklore. However, recent research now validates it as a legitimate disorder and physiological mechanism to the point where pharmaceutical companies are developing drugs for it.

Research has demonstrated associations between leaky gut and many health disorders. It will help more people now that this information that has been long known in the functional medicine world is finally being validated. The gut is a large and influential immune organ, affecting the entire body and the brain.

Current research shows links between intestinal permeability and inflammatory bowel disorders, gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes, depression, psoriasis, and other chronic disorders.

It’s vital to include a leaky gut protocol in your overall management of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.

How to repair leaky gut

Sometimes, fixing leaky gut can be as easy as eliminating a few inflammatory foods from your diet. Other times it’s more complicated. The important thing is to know why you have intestinal permeability. Either way, a healthy, non-inflammatory diet is foundational.

In many, if not most cases, people develop leaky gut due to a modern diet of processed foods, junk foods, and excess sugars. Food sensitivities, especially a gluten intolerance, also play a big role and they inflame the gut wall.  A leaky gut diet, also known as an autoimmune diet, has helped many people fix their leaky gut.  

It’s also important to stabilize blood sugar as blood sugar that is always too low or too high promotes leaky gut. This requires eating regularly enough to avoid low blood sugar crashes and avoiding sugars and excess processed carbohydrates. Regular physical activity also helps stabilize blood sugar and heal the gut.

Eating too little fiber leads to leaky gut by creating an unhealthy gut microbiome, or gut bacteria. Our health depends on these beneficial gut bacteria diverse gut microbiome. You need to eat at least 25 grams of fiber a day and a wide variety of plant foods to maintain a healthy gut microbiome.

Other things that lead to leaky gut include antibiotics, NSAIDs , excess alcohol, hypothyroidism, chronic stress, and autoimmunity.

A leaky gut protocol can improve your health, relieve symptoms, increase energy, increase well being, and clear brain fog. Ask my office for advice on improving your health through a leaky gut diet and protocol.