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Understanding Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky Gut Syndrome affects thousands of Americans who will never have a formal diagnosis. Learn more about this condition and how it can impact your health.
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When you first hear leaky gut syndrome, you may not be instantly convinced this is a medical condition. Leaky gut syndrome is Hyperpermeable Intestines in layman's terms and there has been a push in recent years for greater recognition among physicians of the potential harm of this disease.

What is leaky gut syndrome?
When a patient has leaky gut syndrome, the intestinal lining is being damaged, resulting in holes throughout. This allows the contents of the intestines -- yeasts, toxins and waste -- to start pouring out into the rest of the body, which can lead to several different symptoms.

According to Dr. Leo Galland, director of the Foundation for Integrative Medicine, leaky gut is a pathological condition that is related to several diseases, conditions and syndromes. This explains why it can be difficult to diagnose, or why doctors are perhaps unwilling to consider it as a diagnosis.

On his personal website, Dr. Andrew Weil said, despite the lack of acknowledgement from the medical community, evidence is mounting to show leaky gut 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."

What are the symptoms?
The result of the contents of the intestines entering into your blood stream is the liver is now forced to work overtime in order to keep up. When your liver cannot keep up, your blood stream and so your immune system reacts. While the immune system and liver are busy dealing with the waste, your system becomes inflamed with the everyday processes getting ignored. This results in a litany of problems including:

There is also the possibility leaky gut syndrome may trigger or worsen such disorders as Crohn's disease, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

Why does this occur?
The exact cause for this disorder is unknown, although research continues. At this time, most of the theories revolve around conditions which cause your immune system to be in constant use instead of building itself up. A weakened immune system can be over-run rather quickly. If you're eating a diet high in refined sugars, processed foods, preservatives and refined flours, your body is working to rid itself of the toxins associated.

Chronic stress can also lead to a suppressed immune system. Certain medications can also cause irritation or a breakdown of the intestinal wall. Zinc deficiencies can also lead to weaknesses in the intestinal lining.

What are the recommended treatments?
Treatment beliefs on this condition vary. The more common solutions are to avoid alcohol and foods you have a known allergy to while supplementing your diet with plenty of fiber and zinc to build the lining of your intestinal wall. In order to be fully aware of your condition, consult your doctor and determine the best course of action. Even if they don't recognize leaky gut syndrome, they can give you the best course of action to get control of your symptoms.

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