December 1, 2023

What are some Signs I may have “Leaky Gut?”

Leaky gut syndrome is characterized by increased permeability of the intestinal lining, which can potentially allow undigested food particles and toxins from bacteria, fungus and parasites to leak into the bloodstream.  

Why is this bad?

My motto as a functional provider is: GOOD FENCES MAKE GOOD NEIGHBORS.  

We love our bugs!  We need to live in harmony with the bacteria in our bodies because these bugs provide essential functions for human survival.  We just need to keep our bugs contained …

“The human body contains trillions of microorganisms — outnumbering human cells by 10 to 1. Because of their small size, however, microorganisms make up only about 1 to 3 percent of the body’s mass (in a 200-pound adult, that’s 2 to 6 pounds of bacteria), but play a vital role in human health.”2

As a functional practitioner, I believe the gut is central to all health and disruptions in the gut lining, bacterial balance and alterations in a person’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients lead to the development of chronic disease and symptoms.  

Let’s dive in!

What are some common signs and symptoms that have been associated with leaky gut:

  1. Gastrointestinal Issues:
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Food intolerance
  • Gastric reflux
  1. Food Sensitivities:
  • Developing sensitivities or allergies to certain foods which can vary from person to person
  1. Autoimmune Conditions:
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Lupus
  • Sjogrens
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  1. Chronic infections:
  • Strep pharyngitis
  • Epstein Barr Virus
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Herpes
  1. Skin Problems:
  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Hives, rashes
  1. Fatigue:
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Low energy levels
  1. Mood and Mental Health Issues:   
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Brain fog
  • Poor concentration
  • Insomnia
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Bipolar disorder
  1. Joint Pain and Inflammation:
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Autoimmune joint destruction – rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis
  1. Allergies:
  • Increased histamine production

How is a leaky gut contributing to all of these symptoms? 

2/3rds of our immune system sits inside our GI tract and is modulated by our bacterial make up.  Yep, you read that right.  The bacteria in our GI tract controls our immune responses.  Immune dysfunction,  that is always accompanied by inflammation, can effect every body organ system and is the cornerstone of disease progression and occurrence.

A leaky gut allows bacteria and the toxins they produce to enter our bloodstream, make immune complexes on our organs, and perform molecular mimickry activating our immune system to attack like in the case of nephritis, atherosclerosis, neurocognitive decline, skin rash and inflammation, food intolerance and joint pain.  As our immune system becomes distracted by our own bacteria not being kept where they belong, I.e. leaky gut, other pathogens and toxins are allowed to take up residence and further contribute to our “toxic cup” leading to more symptoms.  

How is leaky gut linked to brain health? 

Read above but also our gut makes and stores about 90 percent of our neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, and melatonin etc) through production of neurotransmitter precursors, catalyzing the synthesis of neurotransmitters through dietary metabolism, or a combination of the two. Neurotransmitters synthesized by bacteria and enteroendocrine cells can enter the blood circulation and be transported to other parts of the body, which is a good thing.  Some neurotransmitter precursors can cross the blood–brain barrier and participate in the synthesis cycle of neurotransmitters in the brain I.e the GUT-BRAIN axis.1 

However, the imbalance of bacteria in our guts leads to a decrease in and altered neurotransmitter production and well as decreased vitamin, mineral production and absorption leading to further cellular dysfunction and symptoms like insomnia, brain fog, anxiety, depression, mental illness, hormonal imbalance and immune dysfunction.

How do I fix my leaky gut?

The foods we eat, our stress levels, our movement (exercise), and sleep are linked to the types of bacteria present in our guts.  So, addressing the symptoms of leaky gut involves lifestyle changes to improve your diet, decrease stress, incorporate appropriate movement and improve sleep. 

Treatment also involves finding and treating any pathogens present in the gut – fungus, bacteria, parasites – as well as replacing good bacteria and repairing the intestinal lining. 

Keep in mind, after years of poor diet, increased stress, lack of sleep and lack of movement toxins are also a player that should be considered as a contributor to your symptoms.  Poor gut function = impaired detoxification.

If you struggle with symptoms of leaky gut schedule a FREE consult today to see how we can help! 

Wave on Wave Health & Leaky Gut

If you’re in need of Leaky Gu or have any inquiries related to gut health issues, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Wave on Wave Health in Melbourne Beach, Florida at 815-701-6507. We are dedicated to helping you address your Gut Health concerns.

If you think gut health issues are playing a part in your current health and are looking to improve your health for the long term schedule a FREE consult here to discuss how we can help!   

References:

  1. Chen Y, Xu J, Chen Y. Regulation of Neurotransmitters by the Gut Microbiota and Effects on Cognition in Neurological Disorders. Nutrients. 2021 Jun 19;13(6):2099. doi: 10.3390/nu13062099. PMID: 34205336; PMCID: PMC8234057.
  2. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-human-microbiome-project-defines-normal-bacterial-makeup-body
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