Updated: Oct 20, 2020
Leaky gut syndrome is a term that has gained publicity over the past decade. I'd like to help answer the question you may be asking yourself, "so what is it, why do I need to know and how can knowledge of it impact me positively?"
Leaky gut syndrome is also known as intestinal permeability. Simply put, this is a condition where the lining of the colon wall is not intact like it should be.
As a result, food and microbial antigens can escape through the wall of the gut and enter into the bloodstream. This is very problematic as these antigens can then inflict diseases and issues systemically as they can travel anywhere in the body.
Common causes of leaky gut syndrome include: inflammatory foods (high sugar, gluten, processed/packaged, conventional dairy, foods with preservatives, foods with hydrogenated oils,) heavy metal toxicities, candidiasis, uncontrolled/unhealthily managed stress, fluoridated and chlorinated drinking water, prolonged courses of antibiotics, etc. This is by no means an exhaustive list of causes but it does scratch the surface as to some of the major players that contribute to leaky gut.
For instance, gluten is a contributor to leaky gut. Gluten is so much more problematic today than it was 50 years ago because of the modern hybridization of wheat. This means one wheat species is conjoined to another wheat species and creates a type of wheat with a genetic composition that is foreign to human digestion. Our bodies cannot metabolize it properly and it creates inflammatory cascades throughout the body.
In the presence of gluten, a protein called zonulin is released. Zonulin opens up the tight-junctions of the colon wall and therefore allows food and microbial antigens to escape into the bloodstream. These antigens can be met my antibodies and create allergic reactions. Other times the antigens can be less problematic and cause things like sensitivities/intolerances.
When it comes to food sensitivities/intolerances, oftentimes there is gut compromise present.
Leaky gut syndrome can be so toxic to the body because it sets the stage for inflammation to manifest. We know today that inflammation is at the root cause of many chronic diseases and autoimmune diseases.
Leaky gut syndrome can cause the following:
dermatological issues (psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis herpetiformis, boils, acne, vitiligo,) hormonal imbalances (fertility issues, heavy flow, prolonged periods,) neurological impairments (dementia,) endocrine disruptions (irritability, moodiness,) arthritis (OA, RA,) digestive issues (SIBO, dysbiosis,) irritable bowel syndrome (constipation, diarrhea,) inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn's, ulcerative colitis,) fibromyalgia, adrenal burnout/chronic fatigue syndrome. Again this is not an exhaustive list but a mention of many of the common issues that crop up from a permeable gut.