If you’re reading this, it may be because you’ve had some digestive issues that your doctor hasn’t been able to figure out.
Although the name leaky gut syndrome might get you feeling a little queasy, knowing the facts and staying in the loop may help you calm those nerves and better assess what your needs might be.
Keep reading to find out whether or not you’ll want to keep leaky gut syndrome on your radar.
Even if you’re still not sure afterwards, you can always come in for a naturopathic consultation and continue the conversation.
What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Leaky gut syndrome is a more easily understood term for the medical diagnosis of intestinal hyperpermeability.
Now, just from that, we know that it has to do with our intestines.
Hyperpermeability means that the layer of cells in the intestines that are responsible for deciding what is and isn’t allowed to pass into your bloodstream becomes a little less picky than it should be.
This means that certain molecules (ie foods, nutrients, bacteria and toxins) that shouldn’t be getting into your bloodstream start gaining access.
These imbalances of nutrients and sudden entry of toxins can cause a variety of reactions in your intestines and in turn, perpetuate inflammation, and cause improper signaling to the immune system.
Risk Factors For Leaky Gut Syndrome
Leaky gut syndrome, like many other diseases and conditions of the human body, doesn’t have a specific cause.
However, there are some factors that can increase the likelihood of its presence.
For instance, chronic stress or a poor diet can work towards being a trigger for leaky gut syndrome, as they do for most health conditions.
Similarly, you could also have a genetic predisposition; in other words, if your parents have leaky gut syndrome, it’s more likely for you to have leaky gut syndrome.
Other risk factors include a bacterial imbalance in the gut between healthy and harmful flora, and an increased exposure to toxins such as pesticides or high drug and alcohol consumption.
Complications From Leaky Gut Syndrome
Because leaky gut syndrome involves the intestines, many other conditions involving the digestive system can be affected by its presence.
The primary problem with leaky gut syndrome when it comes to complications usually stems from the ability to trigger autoimmune reactions.
This is because the digestive system actually houses a large part of the immune system.
Therefore, when toxins enter the bloodstream through the gut, your immune system fights back a little more than it probably should and as a result, perpetuates chronic inflammation of the intestinal lining.
This inflammation is a common risk factor or symptom for many other digestive disorders.
Symptoms Of Leaky Gut Syndrome
Now that you know more about what leaky gut syndrome is and why it might be of concern to you whether or not you have it, you’re probably wondering how to assess yourself.
Checking for the following symptoms can be one of the first steps in determining whether or not you’re dealing with leaky gut syndrome.
1. The Presence Of Autoimmune Disorders
As mentioned previously, the digestive system is where a large portion of the immune system is housed.
As a result, any increased activity in the digestive system’s immune response can increase your risk for autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, and more.
A 2017 paper by Mu, Kirby, Reilly, and Luo in the journal Frontiers of Immunology outlines the relationship between autoimmune disorders and leaky gut syndrome, and points out the importance of maintaining a healthy gut microbiome in combating this issue.
However, similarly to the causes of leaky gut syndrome, autoimmune disorders are not simply caused by one factor alone, but can be a starting point for finding the root cause.
2. Acne, Psoriasis, Or Other Skin Conditions
Acne and other skin conditions are immune system responses to toxins in the skin.
Therefore, it’s easy to infer that these toxins can be a result of leaky gut, making their way in to the bloodstream from the gut and ending up in the skin.
If you’ve been trying creams and drugs for your skin and the acne hasn’t gone away, it’s possible that its root cause is in your gut.
3. Thyroid Disorders
Although the thyroid itself may not be directly affected by leaky gut syndrome, Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disease, can be a result of leaky gut
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s can include depression, fatigue, and weight gain.
4. Crohn’s, Colitis, Or Other Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
At this point, it probably doesn’t surprise you that leaky gut syndrome can be a factor leading to inflammatory bowel diseases, due to the increased permeability leading to a heightened immune response.
Specifically, research has shown that an increased permeability in the colon can be seen in people who have irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.
5. Food Sensitivities
Unfortunately, when toxins enter the bloodstream at the same time as some food products, the immune system’s overreaction can cause the body to become reactive to those foods.
Dairy and gluten seem to be particularly susceptible to this sensitivity, which may be why many people find some digestive relief in consuming less dairy or gluten.
In fact, food sensitivities may be one of the most common symptoms of leaky gut syndrome.
Contact Annex Naturopathic
As with most health conditions and concerns, the causes and symptoms leaky gut syndrome can’t be summarized in totality due to the complexity of the disease.
Our ultimate goal is to help you feel informed and have a deep understanding of your own health to feel empowered and confident towards improving your health and wellbeing.
If you have reason to believe you may have leaky gut syndrome or simply have concerns in regards to your digestive health, contact Annex Naturopathic to book a consultation.
Yours in Health,
Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND