What Is Leaky Gut?

Leaky Gut Syndrome

Your gut health is 100% dependent on the health of the trillions of microscopic bacteria (making up the human microbiome) that live in almost every corner of your body, inside and out – especially the ones that populate your entire digestive system.

What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Our digestive system, by design, must be permeable.  However, when intestinal permeability becomes increased inappropriately, allowing unwanted particles to pass through it into our bloodstream, we refer to it a Leaky Gut Syndrome. This is very serious and can cause widespread damage. Searching for the underlying cause of a health condition can be challenging. It is especially challenging when Leaky Gut Syndrome is present, because contrary to popular belief, many individuals with this condition and its unfortunate sequelae, have no GI symptoms at all. Most often, some environmental trigger, or combination of triggers over time, lead to damage of the intestinal barrier, causing increased permeability.

This permeability allows bacteria and other antigens direct access to our bloodstream.  One specific example is how a leaky gut allows for the translocation of lipopolysaccharides (LPS), molecules found on the outer membrane of certain bacteria, from the gut into the circulation. LPS is so dangerous and damaging to our health, scientists have given it another, more descriptive name: Endotoxin. 

Four main causes of Leaky Gut:

  1. Poor diet
  2. Chronic stress
  3. Toxin overload
  4. Bacterial imbalance

The most common components of food that can damage your intestinal lining are the proteins found in un-sprouted grains, GMOs and conventional dairy. The problem with un-sprouted grains is that they contain large amounts of anti-nutrients or nutrient blockers called phytates and lectins.

Lectins are sugar-binding proteins that act as a natural defense system for plants that protect them from outside invaders like mold and parasites. This is good news for plants but bad news for your body.

Your digestive lining is covered with sugar-containing cells that help break down your food. Lectins gravitate toward this area and when they attach to your digestive lining, they damage your gut and cause inflammation.

Leaky Gut Affects Everything

If you are suffering from any of the following symptoms chronically, it’s time to take a closer look at your gut health:

  • Digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating
  • Weight gain or stubborn weight
  • Food sensitivities or allergies (may be undiagnosed)
  • Skin issue, such as eczema, rosacea or adult acne
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Mood swings, depression or anxiety
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Trouble concentrating, brain fog
  • Joint pain or lower back pain
  • Migraine Headaches

Not having good gut health has far reaching consequences because it can mean that you are not correctly absorbing vital nutrients from your food, you’re immune system is impaired (remember 70% of your immune system resides in your gut), and you’re experiencing systemic inflammation, that impacts every aspect of your health, and drives chronic disease. For a closer look at gut health, see our article entitled, The Gut Brain Connection.

If you have been experiencing symptoms relating to leaky gut and are looking for answers, schedule an appointment with Carolina Center for Functional Medicine today!

Take The First Step Today On Your

Perhaps you have questions you’d like to ask before you make a decision to become a patient. We are happy to answer any questions you have to determine if Carolina Center for Functional Medicine is right for you.

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