“What if this ancient concept of illness originating in the gut actually holds some truth? Could some of the chronic diseases our society faces today actually be associated with a dysfunctional gastrointestinal system?” – Harvard Health blog
Our stomach lining covers more than 4,000 square feet of surface area (or the size of two tennis courts). When it works properly, it forms a tight barrier controlling what the blood stream absorbs. Though it is not supposed to be impenetrable, the level of inflammation and increased permeability is what determines leaky gut. Genetic mutations can also lead to leaky gut syndrome. If a gut lining is unhealthy, it could have large cracks or holes that allow partially digested food, toxins and bugs to penetrate the tissues beneath it. This might trigger inflammation in the normal bacteria of the gut. This inflammation could lead to digestive tract issues, common chronic conditions, and more.
Additionally, with leaky gut syndrome, the damaged cells inside of your intestines do not produce the needed enzymes to allow for proper digestion of food. This means your body can’t absorb essential nutrients which can lead to nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, a weak immune system, and more.
What causes this lapse in our gut lining? Stress, alcohol, gluten, certain medications, genetic mutations, and diets low in fiber are just a few of the issues that lead to leaky gut syndrome. What are the symptoms? Signs and symptoms of leaky gut include: autoimmune diseases, fatigue, anxiety, depression, headaches, memory loss, feeling “foggy,” chronic diarrhea, gas, constipation, alternating diarrhea/constipation (similar to IBS), a spastic colon, bloating, weakened immune system, nutritional deficiencies, skin rashes and problems like eczema, joint pain, arthritis, cravings for sugar and carbs, and more.
How do you know if you have leaky gut? If you think you might have leaky gut syndrome, visit a holistic practitioner to start the appropriate testing. We use a combination of analyzing a patient's history, functional blood chemistry panels, and gastro intestinal DNA stool analysis. This will show us not only how the gut is functioning, but also will demonstrate biomarkers of increased permeability as well as genetic mutations that might be contributing to the malfunctioning microbiome of the gut. We’d love to help support you and your gut on its path to healing.