| LINDSEY WILSON
You’ve probably heard about Leaky Gut Syndrome multiple times, either in health magazines or maybe online medical journals. But you might be unsure of what it actually is.
What are the warning signs? How does it happen? Do I have to avoid gluten? Will it make me sick?
Leaky Gut is also commonly referred to as increased intestinal permeability meaning, harmful substances can sneak their way out of your stomach. No, it doesn't mean that there’s a hole in your stomach, rather that the barrier between your stomach and the rest of your body is somewhat slackened.
Although mainstream medicine doesn’t recognize Leaky Gut Syndrome as an actual diagnosis, many support the claim that a leaky gut can be the underlying cause of many health issues such as migraines, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, thyroid issues, skin conditions, and food sensitivities.
Unfortunately, because it’s not a recognized diagnosis there is very little in the way of scientific studies regarding Leaky Gut Syndrome. However, medical professionals agree that it exists alongside certain chronic diseases, backed by plenty of scientific evidence1.
What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
One of the most important bodily functions needed for a thriving existence happens in your digestive tract. This is where your body breaks down all the food you eat so that it can absorb the nutrients that make you feel your best. From your digestive tract, these nutrients are then transported to different organs, tissues, and systems so they can do their job and keep you healthy.
But the digestive system deals with more than food. It’s also a line of defense against substances that can do your body harm. Your intestinal walls are actually in charge of controlling what enters your bloodstream to get carried to your organs. This happens through the function of what are known as tight junctions in the walls of your intestines. These tiny holes allow water and nutrients from food to pass by, but they block anything that might harm your body.
If your tight junctions become loose enough to allow bacteria to pass into your bloodstream, also known as increased intestinal permeability, you could develop what we know to be Leaky Gut Syndrome. The presence of toxins in your bloodstream can lead to inflammation all over your body, which in turn can lead to many health issues.
How do I know if I have Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Because Leaky Gut Syndrome isn’t officially recognized as a real condition, it can be hard to identify if that’s what’s bringing you down. Especially considering that Leaky Gut is often associated with and can lead to1,4,5:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Crohn's Disease
- Celiac Disease
- Food sensitivities
- Food allergies
- & Chronic Liver Disease
Someone who is suspected of having Leaky Gut Syndrome can experience a number of symptoms that coincide with other health conditions like headaches, brain fog, and bloating. This is why it can be difficult for your doctor to identify if you have this condition, or if it’s something else.
Aside from bloating and food sensitivities, you should also be on the lookout for accompanying symptoms like chronic fatigue, digestive issues, and skin problems1.
Other symptoms that Leaky Gut Syndrome can contribute to or cause are:
- Joint pain
- Widespread inflammation
- Chronic diarrhea or constipation
- Chronic bloating
- Confusion/Brain fog
What Causes Leaky Gut Syndrome
Even though it can be hard to tell if your symptoms are because of Leaky Gut or if they’re signs of something else, there are specific risk factors that can contribute to the permeability of your gut due to a disruption in your gut’s microbiome.
The following are certain conditions and lifestyle factors2,3 that increase your risk for developing Leaky Gut Syndrome.
- Poor nutrition choices
- Alcohol consumption
- Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus
Once these factors give way to a leaky gut, you then become at risk of developing the associated conditions listed above.
The Solution For Repairing Your Gut
There is a bright side, however. The symptoms of a leaky gut are manageable when you implement a few lifestyle changes to bring balance to your microbiome and improve your gut health. The below-listed tips should help improve your symptoms and lower your risk of developing other health problems.
Changes in your diet9 are the first line of action when it comes to repairing and healing your gut.
- Avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners6
- Reduce meat and dairy consumption
- Increase prebiotic foods rich in fiber6 like vegetables and whole grains
- Add probiotics to help feed good gut bacteria7
- Drink OWL Broth Elixirs, infused with healing herbs and nourishing veggies
You might even consider a full gut Reset to give the lining of your stomach a break so it can recover from the heavy lifting it does on a regular basis. The OWL Reset Cleanse is designed to heal your gut while nourishing your body so that you can get back to feeling your best self without feeling hungry or deprived of food.
More options to consider, along with diet changes, are certain lifestyle changes9 that support gut health.
- Regular exercise
- Restorative sleep
- Reducing stress2
- Avoiding antibiotics if possible
- Cutting back on alcohol8
- Quitting smoking
These practices either promote the growth of good gut bacteria or help reduce inflammation throughout your body. Both of these factors are essential to good gut health and, consequently, great overall health.
Take the First Step Toward Healing
If you think there’s something off about the way your body is operating, it may be time for you to listen to what it’s saying. Take action by treating your gut to some rest and relaxation so that it can continue to feed and nourish your body in the best way possible.
- Alterations in intestinal permeability (nih.gov)
- Stress and the gut: pathophysiology, clinical consequences, diagnostic approach and treatment options - PubMed (nih.gov)
- Leaky Gut As a Danger Signal for Autoimmune Diseases (nih.gov)
- Intestinal permeability and irritable bowel syndrome - PubMed (nih.gov)
- Intestinal permeability in patients with adverse reactions to food - PubMed (nih.gov)
- Intestinal permeability – a new target for disease prevention and therapy (nih.gov)
- Systematic review: probiotics in the management of lower gastrointestinal symptoms in clinical practice -- an evidence-based international guide - PubMed (nih.gov)
- Intestinal Barrier Function: Molecular Regulation and Disease Pathogenesis (nih.gov)
- Leaky gut syndrome: What it is, symptoms, and treatments (medicalnewstoday.com)
Julie is a self-made writer on a forever journey of fitness and health. As a high school music teacher, she has seen and experienced the challenges of maintaining good health while simultaneously balancing a career and healthy relationships.
Julie has always lived a healthy and active lifestyle. She loves the outdoors, hiking, and camping. Over the years she has continued to learn smarter and better ways to take care of her body while continuing to do the things that make her smile. Naturally, all of her teacher friends wanted to know how she did it - what was her secret?
Julie found herself explaining over and over everything she'd learned in her research, and sharing her experiences through trial and error. Her friends would take her advice, try some new things, and then come back to ask how to take it to the next level.
"You should charge for this kind of information!" Became a constant phrase, and so began her career of writing to share her knowledge with the world through health and wellness companies looking to spread healing and healthy habits within their communities. Now Julie gets to combine two of the things she enjoys most - writing and wellness - and use them to affect change in a real way.
When not making music with her kiddos, or writing wellness tips for a higher quality of life, you can find her reading, hiking, drumming, and fitnessing