Leaky gut refers to intestinal permeability and means the lining of the small intestine has become inflamed, damaged, and overly porous. This allows undigested foods, bacteria, molds, and other compounds to enter the bloodstream. Because these compounds don’t belong there, the immune system views them as toxic and attacks them. This causes inflammation, which is at the heart of so many chronic health problems today.
Leaky gut was once maligned by conventional medicine as naturopathic folklore, but researchers have now validated it and linked it with many chronic disorders. It’s fortunate this condition is gaining a foothold because the gut is our largest immune system organ. Studies have now linked it to inflammatory bowel disorders, gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes, depression, psoriasis, and more. Given the influence of gut health on immunity, repairing leaky gut is vital to managing any chronic health disorder.
Symptoms of leaky gut
Leaky gut conjures unpleasant imagery of intestinal contents spilling into the body. Unfortunately, that is pretty much what happens, and the results are a wide array of chronic health issues. When compounds from the intestines pass through a damaged gut wall into the sterile environment of the bloodstream, they can trigger various health conditions:
- Skin problems
- Joint pain
- Chronic pain
- Autoimmune disease
- Brain fog
- Anxiety disorders
- Poor memory
- Food allergies and sensitivities
- Seasonal allergies
- Fungal infections
- PMS, and more
How to repair leaky gut
It’s important to know what contributed to your leaky gut when you work to repair it as this will better your chances of recovery. However, diet is foundational regardless the cause.
This is because the most common cause of leaky gut is a poor diet of processed foods and excess sugars. Food intolerance also plays a major role, especially, gluten intolerance. A leaky gut diet, also known as an autoimmune diet, has a strong track record of helping people repair leaky gut. Keeping blood sugar stable is also important as blood sugar that gets too low or too high contributes to leaky gut. This requires eating regularly enough so you don’t “bonk” and avoiding too many carbohydrates that can send blood sugar soaring and crashing.
Other common causes of leaky gut include antibiotic use, overuse of NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, drinking too much alcohol, an imbalance of gut bacteria, hypothyroidism, and autoimmunity. Many nutrients can help repair a leaky gut, but it’s important to also address what caused it. If you have an autoimmune condition, managing leaky gut can be a lifelong process requiring food restrictions and careful attention to lifestyle to prevent provoking inflammation and flare-ups.
A leaky gut protocol is foundational to improving health. Not only can it relieve symptoms but it can also improve energy, enhance well-being, make you happier, and clear your head.