That’s because conventional medicine hasn’t really defined it. So doctors don’t know how to diagnose it – let alone treat it. But just because your doctor may not be familiar with leaky gut syndrome doesn’t mean you don’t have it.
Thankfully, many natural and integrative medical practitioners are starting to get a handle on this ailment… and they’ve discovered it often shows up in surprising ways.
According to integrative doctor Leo Galland, “you could have Leaky Gut Syndrome and not even realize it.” In fact, he says it “can show itself in a bewildering array of other conditions.”
As it turns out, symptoms you thought were entirely unrelated to your digestive system – symptoms you’ve just been “dealing with” – might actually be caused by leaky gut. Try matching your symptoms against this list of seven key leaky gut symptoms here… and read on to discover the best ways to treat your condition naturally, gently and without prescription drugs.
What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
“It is a major example of an important medical phenomenon: distress in one organ causes disease in another,” explains Galland. “That is why it is vital to look beyond the symptoms and discover the root of the illness.”
Something, I might add, most conventional doctors are unable (or unwilling) to do.
Leaky gut is typically the result of poor digestion caused by poor diet and a stressful lifestyle.
“As bacteria present in the intestines act upon undigested food particles, toxic chemicals and gases are produced,” explains Brenda Watson, a digestive care expert. “These endotoxins can damage the mucosal lining, resulting in increased intestinal permeability.”
As the lining continues to erode, lesions develop, creating a “hyperpermeable” spot in the intestinal walls. The bacteria, toxins, partially digested food particles, and other wastes are then “leaked” back into the blood stream.
Do you have any of these telltale signs of leaky gut?
The 7 Key Symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome
When microbes leak back into the bloodstream, it causes an autoimmune flare – and most of these seemingly unrelated disorders can be caused or exacerbated by that flare:
1. Gastrointestinal distress and inflammatory disease. Bloating and cramps are the first sign of a leaking gut. Other GI tract disorders – such as ulcerative colitis and other conditions grouped under “irritable bowel syndrome” – could easily be caused by leaky gut.
2. Autoimmune diseases, including most types of arthritis, Crohn’s disease, AIDS and even type 1 diabetes.
3. Chronic skin conditions, such as psoriasis, eczema, acne and hives all point to rampant inflammation and illness.
4. Food sensitivities to lactose, wheat, gluten and other allergies can be caused by enzyme deficiencies, which indicate poor intestinal health. In fact, allergies of any kind could be caused by leaky gut.
5. Heartburn. Despite common belief, heartburn is most often caused by too little stomach acid, not by too much. (True cases of hypochlorhydria – too much stomach acid – are extremely rare, despite what antacid commercials would have you believe.) Too little stomach acid leads to poor digestion and intestinal wall erosion.
6. Depression. Researchers in Belgium discovered inflammation from leaky gut plays a role in major depressive disorder.
7. Chronic fatigue. Poor digestion means your body is not absorbing the nutrients you normally use for energy. Combined with your immune system constantly fighting off the onslaught of bacteria and microbes in your body… it’s no wonder you feel fatigued!
Regular users of anti-inflammatory drugs and heavy drinkers are also at risk for leaky gut.
Top 4 Treatments for Leaky Gut Syndrome
Even though conventional medicine continues to chase its tail around this syndrome, alternative medicine offers several solid treatment options for leaky gut.
1. Follow an anti-inflammatory diet. Eating antioxidant-rich and anti-inflammatory foods will help curb inflammation and promote healing in the gut. This includes…
- Eliminating processed foods, which contain refined flours, sugars and salts.
- Up your omega-3 fatty acid intake from wild-caught fish, grass-fed meats and high quality fish oil supplements.
- Increase your fresh produce intake – but avoid nightshades such as tomatoes, white potatoes and eggplant.
- Going gluten-free can also be incredibly beneficial, leading to a “health miracle” even if you’re only somewhat sensitive to it.
2. Reduce your daily stress, get enough sleep, do gentle exercise and make sure to slow down during mealtime to ensure you chew thoroughly. Consider taking up a meditation or prayer practice… and find time to spend outside and soak up some vitamin D!
3. Consider gut-friendly supplements, such as amino acids n-acetyl-glucosamine and l-glutamine, which the intestines use to regenerate cells. A 2010 study also showed that berberine (Coptidis rhizoma) reduces intestinal inflammation and restores intestinal wall integrity.
4. Consider a gentle, long-term cleanse combined with probiotics.
Even if you’re chronically constipated, using harsh 24-hour or overnight laxatives will only make your condition worse. It may even reverse all the good work you did by changing to an anti-inflammatory diet and will irritate your bowel even further.
The properties of a gentle cleanse include softening stool, reducing inflammation and bad bacteria growth, and digestive improvements to help thoroughly flush your colon over time. This process, when done with the right all-natural supplements, helps a stressed bowel recover and actually heal.
Plus, when performed in conjunction with probiotics – or “good bacteria” – you can soothe GI tract inflammation, absorb nutrients from food better and rebalance your natural intestinal flora.
Natural supplements available to perform this healing include:
- Buckthorn bark
- Psyllium husk
- Milk thistle extract
- Ginger, rhubarb and licorice root
- Clove buds
However, to buy all of these supplements separately – and take them separately – would be expensive. That’s why I recommend the proprietary blend of probiotics and natural, bowel-healing ingredients in Natural Cleanse.
This 30 to 90 day cleansing regimen is practically effortless. Simply take two capsules of Natural Cleanse per day and you’ll soon enjoy relief from a wide variety of symptoms caused by a malfunctioning, possibly leaky gut.
Galland L. Do You Have Leaky Gut Syndrome? HuffPost Healthy Living: The Blog. 2010 Oct. 9.
Watson B. Leaky Gut Syndrome. Brenda Watson: Digestive Conditions.
Maes M. The gut-brain barrier in major depression: intestinal mucosal dysfunction with an increased translocation of LPS from gram negative enterobacteria (leaky gut) plays a role in the inflammatory pathophysiology of depression. Neuro Endocrinology Letter. 2008 Feb;29(1):117-24.
Li N. Berberine attenuates pro-inflammatory cytokine-induced tight junction disruption in an in vitro model of intestinal epithelial cells. European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2010 Apr 16;40(1):1-8.[ois skin="LTBP Newsletter Optin (ZL)"]