Recent research has confirmed leaky gut is a real condition.
Millions of people suffer from leaky gut syndrome. When you have leaky gut, your intestinal wall is more permeable than normal, which means more toxins could leak through.
People with Crohn’s disease tend to have higher intestinal permeability, as do people with diabetes and autoimmune disorders.
However, leaky gut can affect anyone.
Today, we’re highlighting some of the most common sypmtoms of leaky gut – and things you can do to help support your gut.
What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Leaky gut syndrome is a gastrointestinal order affecting the permeability of your intestinal lining.
In a healthy gut, your intestinal lining is strong. It keeps foreign invaders out of your body, pushing them out of your body as waste.
If you have leaky gut, your intestinal wall isn’t as strong. It’s more permeable, which means more toxins could pass your intestinal barrier and enter your body.
Studies show people with leaky gut have tiny gaps that allow bacteria and other toxins to pass into the bloodstream. These tiny gaps are formed by tight junctions in the intestinal walls. The more tight junctions you have, the more permeable your gut may be.
Top 5 Most Common Symptoms of Leaky Gut
Common symptoms of leaky gut syndrome include:
- Digestive Issues (Chronic Diarrhea or Constipation): People with leaky gut syndrome often have issues making normal bowel movements. They might have chronic diarrhea or constipation, for example.
- Bloating or Gastrointestinal Discomfort: If you regularly feel bloated or have other gastrointestinal discomfort after eating a normal meal, then it may be a sign of leaky gut.
- Fatigue: Some people with physical fatigue have leaky gut. If you frequently feel like you have low energy, then it could be a sign of leaky gut.
- Mental Fog, Concentration Issues, or General Cognitive Concerns: If you have persistent mental fog, or if you’re struggling to concentrate, then it could be linked to leaky gut.
- Nutritional Deficiencies: Do you feel like you eat right – yet struggle with nutritional deficiencies? If a recent blood test has indicated multiple nutritional deficiencies, then it could be a sign of leaky gut.
Other Symptoms of Leaky Gut
Other, less common symptoms of leaky gut include:
- Skin problems, including acne, rashes, or eczema
- Joint pain
- Inflammation throughout the body
- Depression and anxiety
- Cravings for sugary or carb-heavy foods
The Problem with Diagnosing Leaky Gut Syndrome
Recent studies have proven leaky gut is a real thing. However, it’s difficult to diagnose the disease with 100% accuracy.
- Many of the leaky gut syndrome symptoms above are shared with other conditions. You could have leaky gut – or you could have Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or other gastrointestinal diseases.
- Complicating matters further is that certain members of the medical community do not recognize leaky gut syndrome as a real condition.
- Some believe leaky gut syndrome is a cause or symptom of other diseases, like inflammatory bowel disease. It may not be its own syndrome, and it could simply be a cause or symptom of related diseases.
Despite these problems, millions of people have leaky gut and manage the condition daily. Effective management of leaky gut can support intestinal permeability, helping to restore your gut’s normal function.
Risk Factors for Leaky Gut Syndrome
Certain people have a higher risk of developing leaky gut.
People who consume higher-than-average amounts of alcohol, for example, have a higher risk of developing leaky gut, as do people with poor nutrition or autoimmune disorders.
Some of the risk factors for leaky gut syndrome, according to the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation, including:
- Alcohol consumption
- Poor nutrition
- Autoimmune disorders
Yes, There’s a Test for Leaky Gut Syndrome
Research shows one test could identify leaky gut syndrome. Here’s how it works:
- A doctor tells you to take a liquid solution with mannitol and lactulose.
- Mannitol and lactulose are two water-soluble molecules your body cannot use.
- If you have a healthy intestinal lining, then your body will easily absorb mannitol. Mannitol is small enough to pass through your intestinal lining safely and be absorbed into the body.
- Your body absorbs less lactulose because it’s a larger molecule. A normal gut will only absorb some lactulose.
- Doctors check the absorption of mannitol and lactulose via a urine test. Doctors collect your urine for six hours after the test. They measure the amount of mannitol and lactulose excreted via urine.
- If you have a healthy gut, the test shows high levels of mannitol and low levels of lactulose.
- If you have a leaky gut, the test shows high levels of both mannitol and lactulose.
- If you have poor absorption of nutrients for other reasons, then the test may indicate low levels of both mannitol and lactulose.
How to Support a Leaky Gut
There’s still plenty to learn about leaky gut syndrome. However, studies suggest there are ways to support a leaky gut, support intestinal permeability, and support your body’s natural detoxification processes, including:
Avoid Processed Foods: Foods with high levels of sugar, refined oils, heavy processing, or high fat content are all bad for leaky gut and overall health. Studies appear to show a connection between processed foods and leaky gut, so it’s best to avoid these foods entirely.
Avoid Gluten: Some people have greater symptoms of leaky gut after eating foods with gluten. Try cutting gluten from your diet to see if you notice fewer symptoms of leaky gut.
Avoid Dairy: Dairy products could also increase symptoms of leaky gut syndrome. Try cutting dairy from your diet to see if you improve symptoms of leaky gut.
Avoid Alcohol: Alcohol increases intestinal inflammation, which is bad for leaky gut. Consider reducing or eliminating your alcohol intake to see if it helps your leaky gut.
Take a Probiotic Supplement: Probiotic supplements support colonies of gut bacteria in your intestines, and these colonies play a crucial role in gut health and breaking down the foods you eat. Consider taking a probiotic supplement to see if it helps your leaky gut. Or, eat fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, and kimchi to support gut bacteria.
Final Word: Take a Blood Test to Check Nutritional Deficiencies
Leaky gut affects millions of people worldwide – and many of these people are unaware they have leaky gut syndrome.
Nutritional deficiencies are some of the first signs of leaky gut syndrome, and a single, painless blood test can easily spot deficiencies.
Consider taking a Science Nutrition Lab blood test today to check symptoms of leaky gut.