Doctors are only recently discovering the causes and effects of leaky gut syndrome.
“Physicians don’t know enough about the gut, which is our biggest immune system organ,” says Donald Kirby, gastroenterologist and director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Human Nutrition.
What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Your small intestine is responsible for screening toxins from your body. It is the largest organ in your body, representing two-thirds of the immune system, and it is the first line of defense in keeping you well.
Think of it as you would a coffee filter. If you pour dirty water through a fresh, undamaged filter, the fine weave would capture most of the tiny particles and all of the larger ones.
If you were to then take an ice pick and poke holes in the filter, then pour that same dirty water through again – the result would be much different. This time, most of the tiny pieces and even a portion of the larger pieces would pass through.
Your small intestine is the “filter” of the body. Inflammation caused by drug interactions, poor diet and chronic stress acts like an ice pick – poking holes in the intestinal lining.
Once these holes exist in your intestine, your gut literally leaks undigested food particles, bacteria, toxins and parasites into your blood, harmful substances that were once captured and flushed out of your body as waste.
Understandably, your body does not respond well to these items floating around in your bloodstream. Your body creates an immune response to attack – which results in more inflammation.
Scientists believe this process causes a chain reaction that leads to many other problems throughout the body. They are often unable to diagnose leaky gut syndrome specifically and are usually forced to work backward to a diagnosis.
Author Leo Galland, M.D. says leaky gut is often undiagnosed but is vitally important to overall health because many – seemingly unrelated – conditions are either caused by or worsened by this mystery illness.
Leaky Gut Syndrome Has Been Linked To:
• Chronic fatigue
• Depression, anxiety or other mental disorders
• Allergies, hives, acne, eczema or psoriasis
• Inflammatory bowel disease
• Irritable bowel syndrome
In his article Leaky Gut Syndrome: Breaking the Vicious Cycle, Dr. Galland outlines several strategies to heal this volatile condition and get back on the path to good health.
Healing Leaky Gut
• Stop all consumption of alcohol
• Avoid using pain relievers such as naproxen, aspirin or ibuprofen
• Talk to your doctor about testing for leaky gut syndrome
• Avoid inflammatory foods that are high in acid, fat or sugar
• Increase your fiber consumption
If you simply don’t feel “right” but your doctor is unable to find the root cause of your discomfort, you may want to talk to him about leaky gut syndrome. Unexplained chronic pain, fatigue, feelings of depression, bowel distress or a skin condition that isn’t responding to treatment could point to this often overlooked condition.