What You Need to Know About Leaky Gut Syndrome

November 12, 2012

What You Need to Know About Leaky Gut Syndrome

The medical community in general does not recognize any condition called leaky gut syndrome or increased intestinal permeability. However, there are some doctors, alternative health care workers and many patients who believe it exists. Leaky gut syndrome is supposedly a problem with the mucus lining of the intestine. This lining acts to filter out toxins or other non-nutrients and keep in nutrients. But if this filtration system does not work, then a person develops various problematic symptoms.

When toxins, bacteria or other microorganisms enter a body’s bloodstream, the body begins to attack these seemingly alien microorganisms. This theoretically causes the body’s immune system to go into wild and makes a person sick. Suspected causes of leaky gut syndrome include abuse of legal and illegal drugs; poor diet, inflammatory bowel disease and extreme food sensitivities.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of leaky gut syndrome include mainly digestive disorders and skin disorders. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Dry, itchy skin

  • Skin rashes or hives

  • Chronic attacks from irritable bowel disease

  • Increased symptoms of known food allergies

  • More food allergies

  • Abdominal cramps

  • Increased flatulence

  • Increased bloating

  • Diarrhea or constipation

  • Muscle cramps

  • Development of eczema or psoriasis

  • Heartburn

  • Chronic bad breath

  • Pain in joints

  • Feeling tired all of the time

  • Liver damage

Other reported symptoms include many other chronic conditions such as migraines, insomnia, colitis, arthritis, chronic sinusitis, asthma, Crohn’s disease and pre-diabetes. Proponents of the Leaky gut syndrome hypothesis believe that leaky gut is responsible for many chronic ailments – including autism. However, no definitive study exists to prove these claims.

Treatment

Treatment for leaky gut syndrome varies wildly from doctor to doctor. There is no conventional agreed-upon treatment. Doctors may try to treat the symptoms, depending on which ones manifest in the individual patient and how severe they are. All doctors would recommend quitting smoking and stopping or reducing the consumption of alcoholic beverages to help the entire body. Doctors may reduce dosage of medications known to sometimes cause stomach and liver damage, such as NSAID painkillers like ibuprofen and naproxen.

Some patients do report feeling much better after taking teas of herbal supplements marketed as for leaky gut syndrome. However, there is no proof that any herb or combination of herbs can help improve any of these symptoms. These patients often combine these herbs with a low-fat, low-sugar or gluten-free diets.

Diet Changes

Many chronic health problems, no matter of their causes are known are unknown, are lessened by changes in a person’s diet. People need low-fat and high-fiber diets, need to eat five servings or fruits or vegetables per day and need to stay away from heavily processed junk foods. Keeping a food journal for a week can help you identify what foods need to be reduced or removed entirely.

Before starting out on any diet, be sure to talk to your doctor to see if you are healthy enough to make sudden changes to your diet. Work out whether you need to change foods or lose weight and if so, how much.

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