What is leaky gut? How do you know if you have it?
The correct term is Intestinal Hyper-permeability, but we can just stick to “leaky gut” for now as this is probably a term you have heard of but is still largely misunderstood
Our gut is lined with trillions of cells that are closely linked together by “tight-junctions”; think of a row of bricks creating a wall and the mortar holding the bricks together are these tight junctions. Leaky gut occurs when there is a loss of gut barrier function and the tight junctions between gut cells lose their integrity and come apart. This creates little gaps that food proteins, toxins and even bacteria inside our intestine can “leak” through and initiate inflammatory and immune responses. This is how auto-immunity can occur as the immune system responds to the presence of ‘proteins’ that have leaked through into the blood stream that shouldn’t be there. The food contents of our intestines is broken down, absorbed through the cells and taken to the liver for further processing and utilised to create things our body needs such as hormones, neurotransmitters, red blood cells etc.
The “godfather” of Leaky gut and non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, expert Dr Alessio Fasano is the head of research at the University of Harvard Celiac Research Centre, and is responsible for discovering the gluten/leaky gut connection. He explains in his recent articles that leaky gut occurs alongside two other factors; a change in bacteria diversity in the mucosal layers of the gut and the presence of low grade inflammation from the innate immune system initiated by the presence of certain proteins.
Some of the symptoms of leaky gut can be wide-reaching from brain fog, gut pain, allergies, eczema, headaches, fatigue, loose bowels, IBS, low mood and autoimmune conditions. This is how I believe my own autoimmune disease; Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis was triggered and you can read my story here and find out how I reduced my autoimmune markers through dietary modification alone (no medication!) *
Food is powerful!
Food is powerful, through dietary changes we can restore gut lining integrity and the ecology of the bacteria that help to modulate and maintain the integrity of our gut and immune system so that you can get back to having better skin, mood, energy and prevent immune reactions that can drive systemic inflammation. For example, we now know some food proteins can be a trigger for leaky gut in some people, for others it is the presence of particular strains of bacteria triggering the immune system to react.
There are some functional tests available that I will sometimes use alongside dietary modification when helping my clients find the root cause of their leaky gut, but I often find that by looking at diet first and foremost can have the biggest impact!
Gut health video
If you are interested in learning more about this topic and wish to find out how to optimise your gut health, you can also purchase the video recording of my recent Gut Health workshop by request recording: Contact me
If you would like to talk to me in private about your symptoms and find out more about functional tests and how I can help you please get in touch: Contact me