Did you hear about Leaky Gut?
The Leaky gut is the phenomenon in which the walls of the intestine become permeable to such an extent search the bacteria and toxins can we through them. As a matter of fact, it is very dangerous when it is associated with multiple problems.
What is Leaky Gut?
The tight junctions in the intestinal walls help in the passing of water and nutrients. This tight junction a small gaps, generally.
However, when these gaps widen it makes the gut more permeable and causes bacterial toxins to enter the bloodstream. This phenomenon is commonly termed as the Leaky Gut.
Causes of Leaky Gut:
Zonulin is a protein that loosens or opens the tight junctions. As a result, the loosening of the gut increases the permeability of the skin of the gut causing the leaking of bacteria and gut products into the bloodstream hence causing inflammation and pain.
The causes of leaky gut are as follows:
- Poor and unnourished diet: Poor diet can be a huge cause for leaky gut. This includes diet having low fiber content or diets with high-fat content, specifically saturated fat content. Even processed food that contains emulsifiers is the cause of leaky gut.
- Lectins: Lectins are proteins that are useful as it strengthens the immune system. However, when they bind to the surface of the gut, they can disturb the gut barrier. When lectins are the cause of a leaky gut, it causes immense inflammation as it allows toxins and bacteria to enter the bloodstream.
- Injury: Leaky gut can also be caused by injuries. As a matter of fact, the gut permeability increases with the increase in the amount of injury caused. Injuries like burn cause leaky gut.
- Consumption of Alcohol: Regular consumption of alcohol increases gut permeability. In fact, people consuming alcohol have higher alcohol permeability after 4 days of drinking.
5.Stress: It might come out as a surprise, however, stress also stimulates the leaky gut. Chronic stress hormones such as CRH increases intestinal permeability and hence causes inflammation.
The Importance of Gut Bacteria:
Gut bacteria are often referred to as the second brain of your body as it gives you protection and saves you from harm. Gut bacteria are present in the body in the cecum, or in a part of the large intestine. These gut bacteria are crucial for our health. The reasons are listed below
- Digestion of breast milk: During breastfeeding, the gut bacteria present in the gut of a newborn help in the digestion of sugars present in mother’s milk. These bacteria are called ‘Bifidobacteria‘. This helps the baby in the overall growth and strengthening of the immune system from mother’s milk.
- Controlling the Immune System: The gut bacteria controls the immune system to a great extent. It communicates with the immune system, thereby controlling the immune system. Residing in the gastrointestinal tract, the gut bacteria build homeostasis in the immune system.
For example, the Antigen Presenting Cells(APC) present in the intestinal tract, maintains an immune tolerance with the gut bacteria in spite of fighting against all the infections. The gut bacteria also produce macrophages that help to fight infections.
- Helps in Digestion of Fiber: Gut bacteria help in the digestion of fiber, which in turn produces small chain fatty acids. The small chain fatty acids that are produced also help in preventing diabetes, weight gain, reduces the risk of cancer.
- Controls the health of the brain: The gut microbiome controls the brain health by keeping the nervous system in check.
- The gut bacteria also affect gut health and can be a determining factor when it comes to diseases like Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
- The imbalance in the gut microbiome – healthy and unhealthy causes a disease called gut dysbiosis that causes a gain in weight.
- Blood sugar can be controlled by gut bacteria. As a consequence of controlling blood sugar, it can also prevent diabetes. The diversity of gut microbiome decreases after the onset of diabetes 1.
Hence, it is seen that gut bacteria play a very important role in maintaining the overall homeostasis of the body. However, leaky gut is becoming a popular phenomenon that is affecting us widely. To maintain a proper balance and healthy body one must indulge in a proper diet, you can also take advise from an online dietitian, taking probiotic supplements, taking proper antibiotics and having proper intake of polyphenols.