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New Leaky Gut Syndrome Facts

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.

new-leaky-gut-syndrome-facts

Overview

Historically physicians did not have a good understanding of how gastrointestinal diseases work; they thought these ailments originated from imbalances of the stomach. They referred to these problems as hypochondriasis, which is an Ancient Greek term referring to the upper part of the abdomen. The microscope revealed bacteria, parasites and viruses, so knowledge has evolved.

At this time most medical professionals do not recognize leaky gut syndrome (intestinal permeability) as a real condition, yet there is a vast amount of ongoing research. There is scientific evidence that it does exist and that it is associated with multiple health problems. The medical professionals do not know what causes this syndrome.

There are no statistics that I could find as to the number of people suffering from this autoimmune condition.

How The Gut Works

Nutrients from food and water are broken down in the stomach and small intestine into smaller molecules. They are then absorbed into the bloodstream and used for repair, growth and energy. This plays an important role in protecting our bodies from harmful substances, like toxins and bacteria.

The gastrointestinal (GI) tract consists of connected organs that begin at the mouth and continue to the anus. The connected organs include:

  • Esophagus
  • Stomach
  • Small and large intestines

The intestinal walls allow the nutrients and water to pass into the bloodstream, and normally harmful substances are kept inside to pass through our systems. The GI tract has an epithelial lining and factors that are secreted to form a protective environment. The gaps that allow water and nutrients to pass into the bloodstream are very small in a healthy person, but when these gaps enlarge the gut becomes more permeable. This allows the toxins and bacteria to pass into the bloodstream, which is referred to as a “leaky gut.”

This intestinal barrier usually allows protein, digested fat and starch to enter the bloodstream in several different ways. Magnesium, chloride, sodium, potassium and free fatty acids diffuse through the intestinal cells. Fatty acids, amino acids, glucose, minerals and vitamins use a mechanism called active transport to cross through cells.

There are tight junctions, called desmosomes, that are usually sealed. If the intestinal lining becomes irritated these junctions will allow larger molecules to pass through to the bloodstream. The immune system recognizes these larger molecules as foreign, which triggers the antibody reaction that causes cytokines to alert the white blood cells to attack those larger molecules. This causes inflammation and irritation throughout the body.

new-leaky-gut-syndrome-facts

Common Symptoms

There are several possible symptoms of leaky gut syndrome, including:

  • Persistent muscle or joint pain
  • Indigestion
  • Gas and bloating
  • Bad breath
  • Poor concentration, brain fog
  • Sinus congestion
  • Skin rashes
  • Recurrent bladder or yeast infections
  • Constipation
  • Anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Mood swings
  • Exacerbation of another autoimmune disease

Leaky Gut Syndrome Explained

Causes

A genetic predisposition is a factor in this syndrome. Alternative medicine states there are several possible causes, including:

  • Poor diet
  • Chronic stress
  • Small intestine bacterial overgrowth
  • Intestinal infections
  • Excessive alcohol
  • Environmental contaminants
  • NSAIDS and other medications

Conditions Affected by Leaky Gut

In addition, leaky gut syndrome is also associate with several other conditions, which include:

  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn's disease
  • Allergies
  • Environmental illness
  • Hives
  • Acne
  • Inflammatory joint disease/arthritis
  • Intestinal infections
  • Pancreatic insufficiency
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Giardia
  • Eczema
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Psoriasis
  • Food allergies and sensitivities
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
Yes, dogs get leaky gut syndrome

Yes, dogs get leaky gut syndrome

Diagnosis

Leaky gut syndrome has two standard tests using mannitol and lactulose. These are both water soluble molecules that the body cannot use. Lactulose is a larger molecule, which is only slightly absorbed. A patient consumes a solution containing both lactulose and mannitol, and their urine is collected for six hours. The amount collected in the urine reflects the amount absorbed by the body. If high levels of both mannitol and lactulose are found, then it indicates leaky gut syndrome. When low levels of both of these molecules are found it indicates malabsorption of all nutrients.

Treatment

While there are not a great number of studies for leaky gut syndrome, there are some recent studies that show probiotics can reverse this syndrome as they enhance the production of tight junction proteins. We still need much more research. There is only one natural protein (zonulin) that is a regulator of intestinal permeability.

new-leaky-gut-syndrome-facts

Gluten

Most people do not need to avoid gluten. Gluten is the name of a protein group found in grains, like rye, barley and wheat. It adds elasticity and chewiness to breads and baked goods. There is no proof in the theories that state gluten promotes weight gain, diabetes or thyroid dysfunction. There are some health conditions that require limiting gluten intake, such as: celiac disease, wheat allergies and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Leaky Gut Contributes to Other Health Conditions

It is believed that leaky gut syndrome contributes to some other health problems, and they include:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) causes abdominal pain, severe diarrhea and weight loss
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Celiac disease can cause abdominal pain, fatigue, diarrhea or constipation and vomiting
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Food allergies and sensitivities
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome

There are several factors that are thought to play a role in these diseases. Some of those factors include:

  • Excessive sugar intake
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Nutrient deficiencies, such as vitamin A, D or zinc
  • Inflammation
  • Poor gut health
  • Yeast overgrowth

Leaky Gut Symptoms

Final Thoughts

This is a poorly researched syndrome. There are numerous symptoms and very few treatments. At this time probiotics are the only suggested treatment, however, a prescription like omeprazole may also be helpful as it does treat acid reflux. Dietary restrictions may also be helpful.

While I have never been officially diagnosed, I had many of these symptoms, perhaps due to systemic lupus. Since I was prescribed omeprazole and I started taking a quality probiotic the symptoms have subsided. This treatment worked for me, but I would still recommend talking to your physician.

Limiting alcohol, processed food, some medications and foods that cause an allergic reaction is one of the best ways to treat leaky gut syndrome.

References

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2021 Pamela Oglesby

Comments

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 02, 2021:

Hi Linda,

I have found using probiotics and watching my diet closely to be very helpful. I would sure like to see more research.

I appreciate your very nice comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 02, 2021:

Hi MG,

That is so true. Unfortunately, aging brings about more diseases. I am glad you found this article to be new information. Thank you for your comments.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on March 01, 2021:

Thank you for sharing this interesting and very informative article, Pamela. I’m glad that your symptoms have subsided. I hope a lot more research related to the condition occurs.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on March 01, 2021:

This was an educative article and brings out your profound knowledge. We are all aging and we need to be informed about these syndromes.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 01, 2021:

Hi Flourish,

Yes, as they would order any test in the GI system. I was concerned when I was doing the research that so many doctors don't think this disease exists. I hope research continues at a better rate.

Thank you for your comments. Have a great week!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 01, 2021:

Hi Linda,

I think the severity of this disease varies between individuals, but it does need more research.

I appreciate you nice remarks, my friend. I hope you have a very good week with a touch of spring.

FlourishAnyway from USA on February 28, 2021:

Excellent article. Are gastroenterologists usually the ones who would order that test?

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on February 28, 2021:

Pamela, thank you for taking up this topic for my friend. I had no idea it was such a difficult, hard-to-diagnose problem. I hope the research continues; it sounds absolutely dreadful.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 28, 2021:

Hi E Randall,

One of my goals is to raise awareness. We never know what the future holds, so I think it is good to know as much as possible about your body and how it works (or doesn't). I am glad this is new information for you.

I appreciate your comments. Have a great week!

E Randall from United States on February 28, 2021:

Thank you for this information, I have never heard of intestinal permeability before. Thank you for this well written article and raising awareness of this disease.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 28, 2021:

Hi Manatita,

While I know there is research happening, I feel like there has not been enough. I did write this article at your request. :)

I hope Restore works for you. I would love to know how it works once you have taken it for a little while.

I hope this article has given you a couple of other suggestions, but I imagine you already use probiotics. You probably eat yogurt as well, although I did not fine that recommended. I do think yogurt is very healthy.

I pray your gut health improves. I appreciate your comments and support. God bless you!

manatita44 from london on February 28, 2021:

Excellent Pamela. Well done and thank you. Lots of American doctors are looking at this with research. It includes Dr Grundy, Dr Zach, Medical Medium and a few more. I have ordered Restore from Finchley Clinic and Dr Grundy also makes a Total Restore, which should help. Awaiting my delivery. Thanks again

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 28, 2021:

Hi Mel,

I had that same thought due to the vast number of symptoms. I am not sure how an air mattress would tie in, but anything is possible. This syndrome had too much information! LOL

I appreciate your comments. Have a great week!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 28, 2021:

Hi Peggy,

While there is a test I doubt that it is utilized very often. There is a huge number of possible symptoms, which makes diagnosing and treating this disease difficult. I search for some statistics, but I couldn't find any. I think this syndrome needs more research for sure.

I am glad you found the article informative. I appreciate Have a great week, Peggy!

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on February 28, 2021:

Ew, I just had breakfast. Sounds like a leaky gut is responsible for every condition under the sun. I have a few of these symptoms, especially irritability and brain fog, but that could just be from sleeping on an air mattress while I'm waiting for them to build my house here in Colorado. Anyhow, interesting revelations here nonetheless. I always learn something.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 28, 2021:

It is good that there is a way to test people if they suffer from a leaky gut. I wonder how many doctors are prescribing that test? Judging from the wide variety of symptoms, it might pay to do more testing. Thanks for writing this informative article.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 28, 2021:

Hi Devika,

This problem is somewhat common, so I think it is good that you have heard of it now.

I am glad you found it interesting. I appreciate your comments, and I am glad you know about this syndrome now.

Have a great week, Devika!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 28, 2021:

Hi Pamela99 I have not heard of this type of syndrome. Interesting, and explained in detail. We just have to know the facts to be aware of it. You shared important information and for one to understand everything about this syndrome.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 28, 2021:

Hi Cheryl,

I am glad you liked this article, and I think it is important also as so many people suffer. I appreciate your comments.

Have a good week, Cheryl!

Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on February 28, 2021:

Thank you for this information it is very helpful and much needed.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 28, 2021:

Hi Fran,

I absolutely agree with your comments. Diet and exercise are very important, but sometimes other disease can cause the leaky gut syndrome. I am glad you found the article informative.

Thank you so much for your comments. Have a great week!

fran rooks from Toledo, Ohio on February 28, 2021:

Pamela, thank you for such an informative article. I am a firm believer in a proper diet and exercise. It's kind of scary everything that goes on within our bodies. Probably best to always discuss any problems with your doctor. Thanks for your article.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 28, 2021:

Hi Bill,

At this time it doesn't even seem like they have a good way to diagnose or treat this condition. At least there is some research. Probiotics and a heathly diet can do some healing, but the cause may be another disease or even too many strong medicines can cause this problem.

Thank you for your thoughtful comments, as usual. Have a geat week, Bill!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 28, 2021:

Well that just doesn't sound like any fun whatsoever. Hopefully the research on this syndrome will increase soon and they can find a way to control it/cure it/provide some much-needed relief. Wonderful information as always, my friend.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 28, 2021:

Hi Linda,

I'm glad you don't have the symptoms. I'm glad you liked the article.

I appreciate your comments. Have a great week!

Linda Chechar from Arizona on February 28, 2021:

Those comments are the leaky guts. The good things that I don't have the syndromes. The article is great. Thanks Pamela!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 28, 2021:

Hi Ravi,

This problem does need to be addressed and diet is very important. Eating yogurt might help the healing, and probiotics are really the only treatment they have shown to help the gut heal.

Thank you so much for your comments, Ravi.

Ravi Rajan from Mumbai on February 28, 2021:

Yes, this can turn out to be critical if not addressed in time. And what I can gather here, most of the problems can be addressed by maintaining a healthy lifestyle of diet and exercise. Thanks for sharing this useful information Pamela.

Ann Carr from SW England on February 28, 2021:

Thanks, Pamela, you too.

Ann

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 28, 2021:

Hi Ann,

My brother has Crohn's disease also. I am sorry to hear your granddaughter has it because it is another tough disease.

Some of the symptoms do overlap, which makes a diagnosis difficult. More research is needed.

I appreciate your kind comments, as always. I hope you have a very good week.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 28, 2021:

Hi Rosina,

I agree that being informed is important but I am glad you do not have the symptoms. I am also glad that your found the article to be informative and easy-to-understand.

Thanks you so much for your comments. Have a great week!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 28, 2021:

Hi Misbah,

Yogurt if very healthy for your gut. I have taken omeprazole for several years. I think the cidine probably helps any discomfort in your mothers stomach. I am glad she is being treated.

I am glad you found this article interesting. I appreciate your comments. Have a great week!

Ann Carr from SW England on February 28, 2021:

From what I can gather, these sorts of syndromes can overlap, or at least are difficult to diagnose as one thing rather than another. My granddaughter had various diagnoses before they decided she had Crohn's. As research progresses, I suppose we will know more about this area of problems. I hope it comes sooner rather than later!

Well done on your clarity and presentation, as always, Pamela!

Ann

Rosina S Khan on February 28, 2021:

I don't think I have the leaky gut syndrome as I don't have majority of the symptoms and conditions leading to it. But it was an interesting and educative read as we are all aging and we need to be informed about these syndromes. Thank you, Pamela, for the wonderful and easy-to -understand article.

Misbah from The Planet Earth on February 28, 2021:

Very informative and interesting article, Pamela

My mum also face such problems and the doctor prescribed her omeprazole and cidine

She used to take control of her diet and take yogurt more often

She feels relax when she eats mint or take ENO in such situation

Thanks for sharing

Blessings

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