Leaky gut syndrome is a chronic condition that often goes undiagnosed by mainstream medical professionals. Even though it affects millions of people, only limited research has been conducted and most people turn to alternative medicine for treatment.
Also known as intestinal permeability, leaky gut syndrome is a disorder in which the intestinal lining of the digestive tract becomes inflamed and irritated. Over time, the intestinal walls become compromised resulting in tiny “leaks” that allow toxins, undigested food, and bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Eventually the liver becomes overwhelmed by toxins. The body responds by trying to fight off the foreign “invaders” which often results in an overactive immune response that leads to illness and inflammatory diseases. Symptoms include abdominal pain, flatulence, diarrhea, chronic fatigue, muscle aches, and food allergies.
Leaky Gut Syndrome has been linked to a long list of ailments including:
- Celiac Disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Joint Pain
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Chronic Sinusitis
A diagnosis of leaky gut syndrome is determined by several tests including a lactulose/mannitol test, stool samples, and skin allergy testing. Getting an accurate diagnosis can be frustrating since many mainstream medical professionals are still reluctant to acknowledge leaky gut as a “bonafide” physical malady.
Allergies, stress, alcohol, poor dietary habits, and infections can trigger or exacerbate the problem. Anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprophen cause irritation of the gut lining and repeated use can harm the lining of the intestines.
Nutrition is a key component in the treatment of leaky gut syndrome. It is important to consume a high fiber diet that includes plenty of vegetables, grains, nuts, and legumes. Because the intestines are in a compromised state, there may initially be problems digesting raw vegetables, so start off with cooked foods that are easier for the body to break down. Steer clear of processed and packaged foods that may contain additives that trigger symptoms.
Nutritional supplements may also be helpful. Probiotics, which build “good bacteria” in the gut, are available in pill, powder, or liquid form. Studies show that probiotics can help achieve and maintain good digestive health. Since 70% of the immune system is in the gut, probiotics also boost immunity.
Stress management is another key factor in treating the syndrome. Exercise, meditation, journaling, or counseling may be recommended. Mindfulness meditation can be very helpful to people with chronic stress. Meditation boosts the body’s DHEA, a neurotransmitter that helps alleviate depression and promotes a sense of wellbeing. It also increases levels of GABA, which helps stabilize mood.
Leaky gut syndrome is a condition that can be managed with a few lifestyle changes. Take charge of your digestive health so you can get back on the road to a vibrant life.