Leaky Gut Syndrome, what does this mean for you?

leaky gutLeaky Gut Syndrome is an increase in permeability of the intestinal mucosa to antigens and toxins associated with inflammatory degenerative lining.

Many practitioners are quick to jump to the conclusion of 'Leaky Gut' purely because of associated symptoms. Don't be in a rush to believe them and certainly don't panic. Like with any 'Syndrome' it is a convenient way of giving the problem a name when we don't really know what the actual problem is. Same like IBS, CFS & MCS.

When you have LGS what happens is that basically the cells of the small intestine that normally allow the small nutrient molecules of digested food (the amino acids, glucose, and fatty acids) to pass between them and enter the blood stream become damaged. This creates a more permeable or 'leaky' intestinal wall and larger, undigested food molecules, toxins, bacteria and other substances are able to pass through these 'leaks' in the intestinal lining and enter the blood. Because these substances do not belong in the blood, our immune system creates antibodies against them and they are carried to the liver where they are metabolized. If the 'leaks' in the intestinal wall are not healed or become larger, over time the continual barrage of these unwanted substances overworks our immune system, overburdens our liver, and stresses the many and varied systems in our body.

Causes of Leaky Gut Syndrome

It is not completely clear what causes LGS, but there are certain foods that defenitely contribute to it and need to be avoided because they irritate and damage the intestinal lining. When over-consumed this causes the intestinal lining to be hyper-permeable or leaky. Here are some of the foods and beverages that are best avoided (or at least restricted) if you suffer from a leaky gut:

  • All foods that cause inflammation like omega 6’s, all grains and especially wheat of any kind and very limited fructose (fruit or synthetic sources)
  • Foods high in the glycemic index, and most dairy products.
  • Foods high in refined flours, processed foods with low fiber contents
  • Foods high in caffeine that are chronically used.
  • Excessive use of alcohol or long term use or abuse of antibiotics

Other things that can contribute to LGS are:
  • Chronic or severe acute food allergies. Severe food poising can also do this. Food allergy/sensitivity is probably the largest daily cause of leaky gut in America. Most common being all dairy products and wheat products. Poor diet, usually manifested in improper food combining, or eating food that is highly processed or preserved, or high in fat or sugar content.
  • Parasites , especially intestinal parasites. That’s why “parasite programs” should be regularly taken, to rid you of these unwanted guests.
  • Virus, often in the form of intestinal flu. The most common symptom is diarrhea, causing you to assimilate none of your food.
  • Bacteria like salmonella yield much the same result as a virus, making assimilation nearly impossible.
  • Stress causes lack of blood flow into the organs, including the bowel, which can result in leaky gut.
  • Toxic heavy metals—like metallic lead, mercury or cadmium—cause irritation to the intestinal lining.
  • Ethanol, or alcohol, kills tissue and sets off an inflammation reaction, which causes increased intestinal permeability.
  • Antibiotics kill the normal flora of bacterial growth in the bowel, allowing pathogenic bacteria to grow back in a greater proportion. Candida, or yeast, also overgrows the bowel, causing leaky gut. Other drug side effects are corrosion to the gastrointestinal tract, causing inflammation and leaky gut. All aspirin and non-aspirin pain reliever cause intestinal inflammation and leaky gut.
  • Chronic use of drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen, and all proton pump inhibitors (all NSAID’s too). Strong association with mercury laden foods or mercurial environmental toxins.
  • Any disease that causes an altered consciousness (trauma, delirium, dementia, stroke, SAH)
  • Eating or Drinking Food containing Chemicals or Toxins.
    When you eat or drink food containing chemicals or toxins this directly causes intestinal lining irritation and inflammation which leads to a leaky gut. Many people would say that their diet doesn’t contain any of these, but practically all food consumed today is toxic and/or loaded with chemicals. These come from the drugs and chemicals stored in the animal flesh (As you eat up the food chain, animal products are 16X more concentrated than non organic plant products and 100-1000X more concentrated than organ plant products), from the pesticides sprayed on the fruits and vegetables, the preservatives put in food to increase shelf life, the additives like stabilizers, thickeners and other food processing chemicals.

Symptoms and Conditions associated with Leaky Gut Syndrome

Conditions that have been linked with Leaky Gut Syndrome:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Autism
  • Aggression
  • Allergies
  • Alopecia
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
  • Accelerated Aging
  • Acne
  • Alcoholism
  • Anyklosing spondylitis
  • Bladder infections
  • Bloating
  • Brain fog
  • Bed-wetting
  • Carbohydrate intolerance
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Chronic pain (abdominal, joint, muscle)
  • Colitis
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Cramps
  • Crohns
  • Celiac disease
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Candidiasis
  • Chronic hepatitis
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Colon cancer
  • Ciabetes
  • Ciarrhea
  • Eczema
  • Endotoxemia
  • Dermatitis
  • Fevers
  • Food sensitivities & Food allergies
  • Fuzzy thinking
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gas
  • Giardia
  • Headaches
  • Hives
  • Indigestion
  • Inflammation
  • Irritability
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Lupus
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Memory problems
  • Migraines
  • Mood swings
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivities
  • Malnutrition
  • Nervousness
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Psoriasis
  • Poor immunity
  • Pancreatic dysfunction
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Scleroderma
  • Skin rashes
  • Systemic inflammatory response syndrome(SIRS)
  • Schizophrenia

Diagnosis of Leaky Gut Syndrome

Make sure you do at least a test that is indicative of the increased pore size in your small intestine to be sure that this is what is causing your problems.

Leaky gut is tested for via a urine test in which a person swallows two sugars called lactulose and mannitol. Increased recovery of these sugars in the urine indicates increased intestinal permeability.

Treatment of Leaky Gut Syndrome

Nutrients that may be especially helpful include:

  • L-Glutamine is found in abundance in the intestinal tract and promotes intestinal healing. L-Glutamine can also be helpful in reducing carbohydrate cravings (e.g., to sugar and alcohol).
  • High quality Omega 3 Essential fatty acids such as those found in cold water fish (e.g., mackerel, sardines, wild salmon, cod liver oil). These help to promote intestinal healing, support the immune system, and also help to reduce inflammation
  • A multi-vitamin-mineral formula can help restore nutrient balance and provide the vitamins and minerals the body needs to build healthy mucosal linings and gastric juices. A liquid formula is better absorbed than a tablet formula.
  • Digestive Enzymes help break down food into their smallest molecules so that they will not create an immune response when they enter the bloodstream However, avoid digestive enzymes that contain proteases if you suffer from a pancreatic disorder and avoid enzyme formulas that contain HCI or hydrochloric acid if you suffer from ulcers.
  • Soluble and insoluble Fibre ensures that bulk is formed in the colon and toxic wastes are absorbed and gently eliminated
  • Whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Probiotics. Many people with leaky gut syndrome have a bacterial imbalance-- they have too much of the ‘unfriendly' bacteria (e.g., candida) and not enough of the ‘friendly' bacteria (the intestinal flora)
  • Fermented carbohydrates in natural foods like sauerkraut, pickles, Kimchi, kombucha, yogurt, kefir, artichoke and horseradish.
  • Coconut oil as the main fat in the diet until the syndrome is reversed.
  • Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) powders and supplements. The FOS helps feed the probiotic bacteria and allows them to flourish in our gut flora and replace the species of bacteria that foster inflammation at the brush border.
  • Fresh Aloe Vera: cut and peel one leaf, wash it and put in 500ml of pure water, lets sit for 24 hrs in the fridge, drink 50ml three times a day fill it up again for next day. You can repeat the process with the same leaf up to 12 days when kept in the fridge. The liquid should be thicker than water and clear. You might need to leafes.
  • Slippery Elm helps heal the intestinal lining and reduce inflammation.
  • Marshmallow Root helps heal the intestinal lining and reduce inflammation.
  • Citrus Bioflavonoids help heal the intestinal lining and reduce inflammation.
  • N-acetyl-cysteine in combo with vitamin C. Use 600 mgs of NAC twice a day with 1000 mgs of vitamin C.
  • Magnesium 400-1200 mgs at night,
  • Zinc 25-75 mgs a day and
  • Coenzyme Q10 400-1200 mgs a day (depending upon severity of the disease)
  • Licorice root called deglycyrrhizinated licorice root (DGL). 500mgs of a 10:1 extract three times a day.

Other things you can do:

  • Start taking smaller bitesand chew your food well. This stimulates the production of your own digestive enzymes and gastric juices and will ensure that food is broken down adequately. Each bite needs to be chewed a minimum of 25 times.
  • Proper food combining. Protein combines with vegetables, starches combine with vegetables, proteins and starches do not combine.
  • Eating alkaline pH forming foods like vegetables. Cooked animal products and refined starches and sugars are the most acidic foods to the body.
  • Eat small portions. Eating too much at one time is a tremendous drain on your digestive ability and if the food is not completely digested (which it cannot be when you over eat) it causes intestinal irritation and inflammation.
  • Stop eating while you are stressed
  • Only consume water with meals and only enough to keep your mouth moist. Water should be consumed a half-hour prior to, or one and a half-hour after meals. Drinking with meals causes a dilution of your digestive enzymes, which causes maldigestion and leaky gut. Small amounts (125ml) of water with fresh-squeezed lemon juice could enhance digestion, especially for people who produce too little stomach acid, or who are eating a high-protein meal