“Leaky gut syndrome” seems to be the newest buzzword, and to be honest, it’s almost worthy of being laughed at when you first hear about it!
Because this “leaky gut” thing is so misunderstood, I want to do my best to make some sense of it…
What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
“Leaky gut syndrome” does in fact have a fancy medical name: increased intestinal permeability. Leaky gut syndrome, or increased intestinal permeability, is a condition characterized by microscopic holes in a person’s digestive tract.
Our digestive tract, or digestive system, is actually considered an “external” system. It is a 25 to 35-foot hose that runs from mouth to anus, with one primary function: to turn the foods we consume into microscopic particles which are absorbed into the body and used by our cells for energy (and to rid itself of the remaining waste).
Because the digestive system is an external system, it acts as a barrier between the outside world and what is actually being absorbed into our bodies. Because of its critical role as a barrier, the digestive tract plays an important role in immune function.
As I previously mentioned, when a person suffers from leaky gut syndrome, they have microscopic holes in their digestive tract. Their digestive tract is no longer able to act as a barrier between the outside world and the rest of their body, and unwanted bacteria, protein, food particles and other waste particles are allowed into the body.
3 Reasons Why Leaky Gut Is So Harmful to a Person’s Health:
1. Holes in the digestive tract allow undigested food particles, bacteria, and yeast to leak out into the bloodstream.
The digestive tract is naturally “permeable,” meaning it naturally allows liquids, nutrients and small particles to pass through it. This is how the nutrition in our food makes its way from our digestive tract into our blood stream, then ultimately to our cells for nourishment.
The problem results in there being unwanted waste seeping out into the blood stream. This is associated with many unwanted health conditions, such as arthritis and inflammatory joint disease; skin problems, such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis; food allergies and sensitivities; asthma; autism; Crohn’s disease; chronic fatigue syndrome and celiac disease.
2. Holes in the digestive tract allow good bacteria to escape from the gut and allow bad bacteria into the gut.
One of the roles of the digestive tract is to keep an optimal balance between good bacteria (gut flora) and bad bacteria. A leaky gut allows too much bad bacteria into the gut and too much of the good bacteria out.
This is harmful to a person’s health for two reasons:
1. Without a proper amount of beneficial bacteria, known as flora, a person cannot have proper digestion of food and elimination of waste through the stool.
2. Unwanted bacteria in the gut often form chemicals that are harmful to the surrounding cells. Unwanted bacteria produce many different chemicals, including amines, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide. In addition to producing chemicals, the “bad” bacteria within the gut also become a hindrance to good digestion and the healthy elimination of waste.
3. Leaky gut can lead to a compromised immune system.
70% of our immune system is found in the gut-associated lymphatic tissues (GALT), which is located in the lining of the digestive tract and in the intestinal mucus. Leaky gut syndrome is a disruption of our digestive tract lining and the associated mucus, disrupting our immune system as well.
Primary Causes of Leaky Gut Syndrome:
There are many different causes of microscopic holes in a person’s digestive tract, known as leaky gut syndrome, including genetically modified foods (contain GMO’s), poor diet (particularly too many sugars and simple carbohydrates), antibiotics, prolonged use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s), chronic stress, too many toxic substances and environmental contaminants, as well as a bacterial imbalance in the gut.
What to Do to Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome:
There are a number of steps that can be taken to begin to heal the lining of the digestive tract.
1. Remove GMO’s and other gut-damaging foods from your diet, such as refined sugar, grains, conventional meat and dairy (they contain antibiotics given to animals) and gluten.
2. Replace with gut-healing foods. These foods include (but not limited to):
* All “cultured” or “fermented” foods are great for overall gut health! Put as many in your diet as you possibly can.
3. Use supplements to continue to heal the gut lining and fight dysbiosis (the imbalance between beneficial and harmful bacteria). These supplements include (but not limited to):
During a live blood cell screening, there are several cell forms that reveal digestive issues and there are two in particular that point specifically to leaky gut syndrome. These cell forms are referred to as symplasts and protoplasts and are visible particles of undigested food that are floating around in the blood.
Having a live blood cell screening is one way to gather information about the condition of your digestive tract and about your overall health in general. Schedule your live blood cell screening today if you’re ready to take this next step toward a healthier gut, better digestion and improved health in general!
Related blog posts:
If You've Ever Taken An Antibiotic, You'll Want to Read This!
3 Reasons Why Good Digestion Is SO Important for Optimal Health
Are You Experiencing Symptoms of Gut Dysbiosis?
Elizabeth Shepard, BS
to access my