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What are Leaky Gut symptoms and is there a reliable Leaky Gut test? Why is leaky gut so important?
Leaky Gut Syndrome may be the cause of most chronic health problems in the body and brain. Intestinal Permeability is linked to the extreme rise of autoimmune, inflammatory and intestinal disorders in the last 40 years. Heal the gut and help your immune system, digestion, hormones and neurotransmitters.
If you want to hear my Primal Diet – Modern Health podcast on Leaky Gut, please go here.
What is a Leaky Gut?
The small intestine digests and absorbs nutrients, makes much of our immune system and provides a barrier between our insides (the gut) and our outsides (blood, organs, muscles). A healthy gut wall keeps undigested food, fecal matter and toxins IN the gut (to be digested or eliminated) and only allows digested foods and nutrients to pass through into the bloodstream. If the gut wall is damaged, large or toxic particles can pass through the “leaky” wall, causing systemic allergen and immune activity and inflammation.
Even worse are inflammatory cytokines released by the damaged gut, causing inflammation of the brain, joints, heart, skin, blood vessels and more.
Bottom Line: If you’re talking inflammation, you’re talking Leaky Gut.
What are the Leaky Gut Symptoms?
Inflammatory antibodies and cytokines cause fatigue, fibromyalgia, body pains, bloating and brain fog. A leaky gut itself does not “hurt” as the mucosal lining of the gut has no nerve fibers. But a bloated belly, diarrhea and irritated bowel caused by Leaky Gut can be painful.
Systemic inflammation such as elevated C-Reactive Protein and autoimmune disorders should tell you that leaky gut is at play. Food intolerances, fatigue, joint pain and poor muscle recovery are linked to these foreign substances in the blood.
Anxiety and depression (by way of inflammation of nervous system and the reduced output of healthy neurotransmitters) can be leaky gut symptoms.
The liver tries to dismantle and detoxify these large food fragments. This toxic load may cause headaches and difficultly handling environmental toxins such as perfumes and chemicals. Basically, almost any chronic symptom may be related to leaky gut. There is no definite list!
One surprise: if you eat an anti-inflammatory diet and avoid foods which cause bloating or loose stool, you may have no GUT symptoms of Leaky Gut at all.
What causes Leaky Gut Syndrome?
1). Lectins in certain foods damage the gut wall, especially grains, gluten, dairy and processed foods. Eating anything you are intolerant to causes more inflammation and more intolerances….
2). Gut infections break down the mucosal wall. Antibiotics destroy the good bacteria that help protect the wall. NSAID’s and acid blockers damage the gut barrier.
3). Leaky Gut causes autoimmune disorders but autoimmune disorders can themselves cause Leaky Gut.
4). Disrupted gut flora from many causes including GMO foods, hybridized foods, pesticides, antibiotics, sugar and Candida. Two herbal products in my online store are very helpful for treating Candida: Morinda Supreme and #4 FungDX.
5). Stress. Chronic life stress from deadlines, traffic, money and loneliness releases damaging stress hormones (such as cortisol) and stomach acids too. These suppress the immune system and inhibit blood flow to the organs and gut, making it harder to heal or oxygenate. Read some of my articles on sleep or anxiety for help with sleep and several helpful herbs in my online store, including my favorite Passion Flower.
6). I can’t say it too often: eating gluten and dairy (except ghee) can be the main reason for Leaky Gut symptoms, along with high sugar and starch diets causing dysbiosis. I ask clients to stop eating all grains, and all dairy except ghee. Here’s my DVD/Video on “The Diet For Human Beings” which explains what to eat and why.
Is there a Leaky Gut test?
Yes! No! Maybe??
There are multiple breath, blood, stool and urine tests which may indicate a permeable gut. They all have merits but also drawbacks. In my clinical experience, I have found that anyone with chronic health issues HAS A LEAKY GUT. If money is an issues, I may prefer to spend client’s money on better food, supplements and full body health care.
An advantage of testing is that some people need to see the printed results of a failed medical test to be motivated to make changes. Other clients get their feedback from feeling better and know that healing the gut is a long-term job. Reducing inflammation can occur faster than healing of tissues, so feeling better does NOT mean the gut is healed yet.
It can be helpful to know how severe your Leaky Gut is, and then if enough work has been done to consider it “cured”.
Here’s the Test and Consult I offer to evaluate your gut
The only leaky gut test I recommend is by Cyrex Labs. I offer this test and make suggestions for healing the gut to established clients working with me in perosn or by phone.
The Cyrex Labs Array 2 tests antibodies to Zonulin, Occludin and Actomyosin, and three antibodies to Lipopolysaccharides. Here’s an interesting video on testing Leaky Gut from Cyrex Labs.
These exotic substances all indicate a breach in the gut wall better than the better known Lactulose-Mannitol breath or urine test. Here’s an excellent video from Cyrex Labs explaining this test for Leaky Gut.
Can an Allergy Test indicate Leaky Gut?
I’ve had many clients alarmed at allergy tests showing common foods such as broccoli, squash, coffee, lamb, etc. they eat every week. “How can I be allergic to these? I don’t break out in rashes or hives”. The tests may show antibodies to foods that you’re not actually allergic to – it’s just the trail of evidence that your immune system has attacked large undigested food particles passing through the gut wall. I’ve seen “allergy tests” improve dramatically after healing the gut mucosal wall. (See my next article on Healing Leaky Gut for more).
Can I eat FODMAP foods and grains if I heal Leaky Gut?
Nope…. No guarantee on that. Some people may be able to add limited amounts of starch, but others may not. You will however have better immune function and reduced risk of autoimmune disorders.
Can you see Leaky Gut in a colonoscopy or endoscopy?
No, this damage to the gut wall is not visible except by extreme microscopy. Your doctor may have never heard of this condition, although there are a variety of tests that could indicate it.
Damage to the intestinal villi can be seen during a colonoscopy, but not damage to the mucosal surface unless it’s an active lesion of some type.
What foods and supplements will help heal leaky gut?
There’s a lot involved in repairing any part of your body. Sometimes it’s what you stop doing rather than something you add. There’s more info on how to fix leaky gut in my article titled “5 Steps I Took to Heal Leaky Gut”.
For starters, I do recommend Systemic Formula’s LGUT, as well as Glutamine (on an empty stomach). Bone broth or Collagen Peptides (Gelatin) may be helpful. This Passion Flower to help calm stress hormones. Good probiotics are essential (like this one) as well as properly fermented foods like the kraut from this company which I can find at Whole Foods. Let me know if you wish to test your gut and talk with me about some ideas for repair. We can work by phone and I can send you a test kit for the Cyrex Labs Leaky Gut test Array#2 you can draw blood for locally.