The increased intestinal permeability, which is commonly known as a leaky gut, is a condition where the bacteria, as well as the toxins, end up “leaking” out of the intestinal walls. This is quite a topic for discussions among health enthusiasts.
Although, the mainstream doctors do not recognize it as an actual condition yet. There is some scientific evidence, which points towards the existence of this condition and associates it with additional problems.
What exactly is leaky gut? The human digestive system plays an important role in breaking down the food and helping in the absorption of the nutrients. This is a well-known fact. Apart from this, the system also prevents any harmful substance from entering our bloodstream.
There are walls in the intestine, the tight junctions that let the water and the nutrients through but block the toxins. Intestinal Permeability is the ease with which a substance could get through the intestinal walls. In case, the tight junctions become loose, the permeability increases and harmful bacteria and toxin are able to enter the bloodstream. This condition is termed as “Leaky Gut”.
When the harmful substances enter the bloodstream, the immune system tries to protect the body and this might cause inflammation.
Dr. Leo Galland, director of the Foundation for Integrated Medicine, associated these symptoms with the “Leaky Gut”.
- Chronic Diarrhea, constipation, and gas.
- Headaches and memory loss.
- Poor Immune system and nutritional deficiency
- Arthritis and joint pains due to the reaction of the immune system.
- Depression and anxiety.
- Skin Rashes
- The desire to eat more sugar and carbohydrates
What are the diseases associated with Leaky Gut?
There is an argument about whether leaky gut is a condition or a symptom. This is because most of the time, increased intestinal permeability also causes problems such as Celiac Disease (an auto-immune disorder which causes extreme sensitivity to Gluten), Diabetes (it is believed that increased intestinal permeability leads to Type-1 Diabetes, caused by autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing Beta-cells in the pancreas), Crohn’s disease (It is a chronic condition which causes persistent inflammation of the intestinal tract), and even food allergies.
How to heal a leaky gut?
Now, you have understood what Leaky Gut is and what its symptoms are. However, the important question is how to deal with it?
As the condition is not an official one, yet, there are no proper medical diagnosis or a recommended treatment. However, there are the dieticians & nutritionist who have suggested some methods to deal with the condition by the diet.
The aim of the diet is to eliminate the food, which the body might consider as toxins. These include soy, refined sugar, caffeine, and alcohols.
Here are some of the things that one can do to improve their condition
Reduce the intake of refined carbohydrates
The bacteria need sugar to grow. The excessive intake of sugar will lead to an increase in the population of these bacteria and might impair the functioning of the tight junctions.
Take Probiotic supplements
Probiotics are the name given to the group of bacteria, which are beneficial for our health and improve the functioning of the gut. These are found to be useful when dealing with gastrointestinal problems.
Fermented Food should be consumed
As mentioned above, probiotics are helpful in solving the Leaky Gut and fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, kefir, etc. are excellent natural sources of these bacteria.
Increase the consumption of fibrous food:
The fibers found in fruits, vegetable and legumes are extremely healthy for your gut and feed the helpful bacteria.
Eat food with L-glutamine:
L-glutamine is an amino acid, which helps in repairing the lining of the intestinal walls and thus cure the condition.
Reduce the intake of NSAIDs
NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory) drug such as Ibuprofen is known to cause leaky gut if taken in excess amount. It is therefore suggested to consume them in small quantity only.
As already, mentioned, Leaky Gut is not considered as a condition yet. This means most of the solutions provided above have not been verified through a clinical trial. Therefore, they might work in some cases and might turn out to be useless in others. However, these are just some dietary changes, which will not hurt you if you try them.