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For over three decades, study after study has been published (several thousand articles exist to date) discussing our growing understanding of immunity, gut function and how modern diets and lifestyles negatively contribute to overall health through our digestive system.
Medical researchers refer to this phenomenon as “Leaky Gut Syndrome.” (also known as “intestinal hyperpermeability”)
So let’s take a look at…
Is leaky gut real? What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Having leaky gut is kind of like having the gates broken from your intestines to your bloodstream.
Leaky gut symptoms are a consequence of intestinal tight junction malfunction. These tight junctions (TJ’s) are the gateway between your intestines and what is allowed to pass into the bloodstream.
Tight junctions have a very precise job – they have to maintain the delicate balance between allowing vital nutrients to enter your bloodstream, while remaining small enough to prevent xenobiotics (disease-causing compounds from your diet or lifestyle) from passing out of your digestive system into the rest of your body. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/141/5/769.full
Leaky gut presents a major problem, as the vast majority of your immune system is found in the gut. The result? A disruption of acute inflammation, a normal part of the immune response that serves to fight infection and disease, turns into chronic inflammation, which is at the root of most diseases.
How serious is this? Well, according to a 2014 review of the facts and research about intestinal permeability (among other sources), the chronic condition of hyperpermeability is linked to: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4253991/table/Tab6/
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis)
Esophageal and colorectal cancer
Acute inflammation conditions (sepsis, SIRS, multiple organ failure)
Chronic inflammatory conditions (such as arthritis)
Obesity-related metabolic diseases (fatty liver, Type II diabetes, heart disease)
Autoimmune disease (lupus, multiple sclerosis, Type I diabetes and more) https://www.nature.com/articles/ncpgasthep0259 Parkinson’s disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24898698
Chronic fatigue syndrome
So with all this being said, how do you know whether or not you’re currently dealing with leaky gut?
Here are the top 3 major signs and symptoms of leaky gut syndrome in men and women:
Food sensitivities: Because of the onslaught of toxins that enter the bloodstream, the immune systems of people with intestinal hyperpermeability are on overdrive mass-producing various antibodies, which may make their bodies more susceptible to antigens in certain foods (especially gluten and dairy). In studies involving rats and human children, leaky gut and food allergies have been linked. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25543046 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23909601 This is one of the most common leaky gut symptoms.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease – Researchers from Hungary uncovered in 2012 that elevated gut permeability is oftentimes localized to the colon in people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis. https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/333083 As far back as 1988, scientists suggested that Crohn’s disease may be more of a risk for people with leaky gut. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1434087/ A small study (observing 12 patients) discovered that zinc supplementation may help resolve the tight junction dysfunction in these cases, although more research is required on a larger scale to confirm these results. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11383597
Thyroid problems – One of the autoimmune diseases that leaky gut syndrome may directly affect is Hashimoto’s disease. http://www.discoverymedicine.com/Kouki-Mori/2012/11/27/does-the-gut-microbiota-trigger-hashimotos-thyroiditis/ Also known as “chronic thyroiditis,” this disorder is displayed with hypothyroidism (low thyroid function), impaired metabolism, fatigue, depression, weight gain and a host of other concerns.
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