Leaky gut, which some refer to as increased intestinal permeability, is a medical condition where toxins, metabolic breakdown products, and bacteria “leak” through your intestinal wall and make their way into your bloodstream. The substances that enter your circulation may then cause an immune response.
The symptoms you may experience with leaky gut include abdominal pain, skin rashes, headaches, joint pain, chronic fatigue, cramps, gas, and bloating.
If you are concerned you may have leaky gut, or just want to learn more about it, you can read Leaky Gut – Everything You Need to Know. You can also learn more about this condition here.
The Intestines Role in Leaky Gut
Your intestinal lining is the first line of defense for your immune system. If you have a leaky gut, the cells that line your intestines are unable to maintain the tight barrier required to ensure that your body only absorbs the nutrients that have been properly digested. This results in unprocessed molecules entering your bloodstream.
When these foreign bodies enter into the bloodstream, your immune system is going to jump into action and increase the inflammation around your gut’s wall, where the “problem” is actually located. This can result in issues in your entire body.
How Food Sensitivities Play a Role in Leaky Gut
As time passes, food particles, called antigens, keep passing through the now permeable intestinal wall. They begin to build up in your bloodstream and your immune system responds by starting to create IgG antibodies, which may form complexes with the antigens.
The IgG-antigen complexes are typically cleared by the macrophages, but when excess antigens are present, the macrophage’s capacity to properly remove the formed immune complexes is exceeded. This can cause the deposition of excess complexes in the tissues. When IgG-Ag complexes are deposited, they can make tissue damage and inflammation worse. This, in turn, creates a cycle that may result in on-going health issues.
The Possible Causes of Intestinal Permeability
There are several diet and lifestyle factors that may contribute to leaky gut, too. Some of the things that may cause or worsen this condition include:
- The long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (i.e. ibuprofen)
- Lectin high diet
- Excessive sugar or alcohol intake
- Nutrient deficiencies in zinc, vitamin D, and vitamin A
- Yeast overgrowth and dysbiosis
- Chronic stress
Tips for Healing Your Leaky Gut Condition
The best way to help reduce symptoms associated with leaky gut is to remove the inflammation triggers. This includes things like reducing the amount of sugar and alcohol you consume and identifying your food sensitivities.
You also need to begin rebuilding a healthy gut. You can speak with your doctor or another healthcare provider to find out what the best steps are for you to begin to rebuild your body’s digestive health. They may recommend a diet free of sugars and low in carbs. If this is the recommendation, then using the South Beach diet is a good option.
Finding the Root Cause of the Problem
Make sure you talk to your doctor about the testing and treatment options that are available to you. For example, with a food sensitivity test, you can easily learn the foods that may have begun to trigger the creation of the immune complexes mentioned above. It’s also a good idea to consider a stool analysis to find out other areas you can focus on to improve your overall gut health.
Restoring Good Digestive Health
Restoring your digestive health is similar to losing weight. It isn’t something you can do overnight. However, if you are persistent and you follow the advice of your doctor, you may see that your symptoms begin to dissipate and that you are successfully restoring your intestines so they can do their job properly.