What is a leaky gut?

By Kate Hassett

What is a leaky gut?
New research reveals there is such a thing as leaky gut. What does it mean for our health?

If the gut is the gateway to your overall health then maintaining it should be of the highest priority. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, illness can take hold and can seem difficult to comprehend, let alone treat. A leaky gut is one of these ailments and can be the root cause of a host of health problems.

What is a leaky gut?

Latest studies have revealed that the lining of our gut is a dynamic structure: one that could be porous enough to grant microorganisms or food particles access to the bloodstream.

“We now believe that under certain circumstances, fissures open up in the intestinal barrier that may allow things to get through,” says Dr. Alessio Fasano, director of the Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

In the stomachs of people with a gluten sensitivity, gut cells can react by releasing zonulin, a protein that has the ability to break apart tight junctions in the intestinal lining. The gut wall can also be permeated by stress, infections, toxins and inflammation, causing junctions to be susceptible to breakage.

This causes what we know as leaky gut. Once the leak begins, nasties like toxins, microbes and undigested food particles can escape their ‘holding cell’ and travel through the bloodstream to other locations in the body.

Once your body identifies these foreign objects they begin their defensive response.

Leaky gut symptoms

The effects of leaky gut can manifest themselves in any of the following ways.

1. Digestive issues – bloating, excess gas and diarrhoea.

2. Allergies such as hayfever or other seasonal reactions

3. Leaky gut has been linked to various mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

4. Skin issues such as rosacea or eczema.

5. Food allergies or intolerances.

6. Hormonal imbalances.

For the most part repairing a leaky gut can set you on a path to better health in the long run. Removing inflammatory foods is the first thing doctors usually suggest when treating a leaky gut. This treatment is usually followed by introducing beneficial bacteria and essential ingredients for proper digestion and absorption.

If you suspect this condition could be affecting you, reach out to your local medical practitioner for assistance.

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The good news is we can heal our gut – and our health issues – by feeding ourselves the right stuff.

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