Day 3: Leaky Gut

According to Harvard Medical School, “We already know that increased intestinal permeability plays a role in certain gastrointestinal conditions such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. The biggest question is whether or not a leaky gut may cause problems elsewhere in the body. Some studies show that leaky gut may be associated with other autoimmune diseases (lupus, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis), chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, arthritis, allergies, asthma, acne, obesity, and even mental illness.” However, more research must be done in this field to determine a cause and effect relationship in humans.

Factors that are believed to play a role in leaky gut syndrome include:

  • Excessive sugar intake
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Inflammation
  • Chronic stress
  • Yeast overgrowth
  • An imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the gut
  • Nutrient deficiencies (particularly Vitamin A, vitamin D, and zinc)
  • Long-term use of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), like ibuprofen

So if I suspect I have leaky gut, what can I do to get my gut back on track?!

Diet likely plays a big role in having a leaky gut, so if you have symptoms of leaky gut, you would likely benefit from seeing a gastroenterologist who is also trained in nutrition. (If you aren’t taking a probiotic yet, you’ll want to be doing that, too!)

There are many diseases for which leaky gut can be a symptom (including celiac disease, IBS, multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis), so it’s worth visiting a healthcare provider to make sure you don’t have any of these issues as well.

Chronic stress may also be a factor in leaky gut, so trying to intentionally minimize stress can improve the condition as well.

Okay, I definitely do NOT want to develop leaky gut. How can I help to prevent it?

Healthline has the following to share:

Taking self-care steps that promote overall digestive health may be the best way to protect yourself from leaky gut.

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