I beg your pardon, my WHAT is leaking?? No, this is not what it sounds like. In fact you can leave the adult diapers at home, you will be OK.
Rather, Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS) is a more subtle, yet ever increasing issue that is being linked to more and more chronic health conditions, many of which are even life threatening. LGS is not generally recognized by conventional physicians, but evidence is accumulating that it is a real condition that affects the lining of the intestines. The theory is that leaky gut syndrome (also called increased intestinal permeability), is the result of damage to the intestinal lining, making it less able to protect the internal environment as well as to filter needed nutrients and other biological substances.
As a consequence some bacteria and their toxins, incompletely digested proteins and fats, and waste not normally absorbed may “leak” out of the intestines into the blood stream (see diagram above). Another way of visualizing this is to imagine the brick wall of your house with a sporadic number of bricks removed. How effective would this wall be during a rainstorm or a blizzard? Clearly not a desirable situation!
What you may not know, is that your gut is the window to your immune system. Keeping your gut healthy is imperative to maintain and recover optimal health. Many illnesses ranging from digestive, skin, emotional, and joint pain concerns are now being linked to LGS due to an autoimmune inflammatory response. As you, my avid newsletter follower, have learned form my previous posts CHRONIC INFLAMMATION = CHRONIC ILLNESS.
Leading edge Doctors and scientists are now linking LGS to serious illness such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, crohn’s/colitis, and even cancer. Do whatever it takes to get inflammation under control. Common triggers are the following:
- Food sensitivities
- Antibiotic use
- NSAID (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) use
- Yeast and bacteria overgrowth
- Excessive alcohol
- Birth control pills
- Chronic stress
Is it possible to get tested for Leaky Gut Syndrome? Absolutely. While LGS is a syndrome (a collection of symptoms) and not a true ‘disease’, it can be tested for to help identify the proper course of treatment. The best way to understand if there is intestinal permeability is to work with a functional medicine doctor who can run a Lactulose/Mannitol challenge. This will identify if larger molecules (lactulose) are ‘leaking’ out of the intestine more frequently than its smaller counterpart, mannitol.
Fixing LGS is done systematically. Once the triggers are identified and removed, repairing the damaged intestinal cells is essential. As one of my favorite professors used to say; “Life and death begin in the intestine.” Using nutritional supplements as L-glutamine, probiotics, high quality Omega 3’s, tumeric and quercitin are a great place to start. As always, it is best to identify and correct your individual deficiencies to heal ANY health issue you are facing, including a Leaky Gut.
Yours in health,
Dr. John Dempster, ND, FAAFM, ABAAHP