Leaky Gut Syndrome May Underlie Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Sometimes, a chronic condition may be a symptom of an underlying disorder that goes completely unrecognized. For those who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, it is possible that Leaky Gut Syndrome is actually creating an irritable bowel.
Leaky Gut Syndrome is characterized by inflammation of the intestinal lining. When the intestinal lining is inflamed, it becomes more permeable and “leaky,” allowing unwanted substances to enter the bloodstream. These unwanted substances, such as small protein molecules, bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other toxins, make their way into the bloodstream prematurely and they trigger an immune reaction. Because of the active immune response, the gastrointestinal tract becomes inflamed, sometimes causing the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Furthermore, when the immune system is chronically triggered to fight repeated invaders, it eventually wears out and malfunctions. Instead of attacking foreign agents, it starts attacking vital human structures, such as the nervous system, joints, and vital organs. That’s why autoimmune disorders such as Arthritis and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) are commonly associated with Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Additionally, a leaky gut may trigger malabsorption and malnutrition. Severe nutrient deficiencies caused by a leaky gut can aggravate existing chronic conditions.
By healing a leaky gut, the digestive ailments that are taking a toll on your life may begin to improve—in some cases, quite dramatically.
The only way to effectively resolve Leaky Gut Syndrome is to restore a healthy balance of intestinal flora. Currently, the standard processed American diet doesn’t have enough good bacteria for healthy digestion. Modern food processing essentially wipes out many microorganisms that we actually need to consume for good health. The truth is some bugs are very good for us. Since it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find and eat pure, unprocessed foods that contain ample doses of good bacteria, a probiotic supplement is sometimes the only means by which we can increase the numbers of good bugs in our digestive tract.
In order to heal the gut, it’s essential to follow a daily regimen that increases good bugs, decreases bad bugs, and aids in effective waste elimination. Here are some effective ways you can create digestive balance:
- Take a probiotic supplement in order to increase good bacteria. Probiotics are essential for decreasing gut permeability.
- Add foods and supplements to your diet that have antimicrobial properties such as garlic, cloves, grapefruit seed, and black walnut. These will help balance the bad bugs.
- Take digestive enzymes with each meal. Digestive enzymes help break down food in the gut and aid in digestion, especially for those who have undigested particles in their stool.
- Make sure that you have a proper concentration of hydrochloric acid. Stomach acid imbalance can contribute to an overgrowth of bad bacteria and fungi, especially if you have low stomach acid.
- Follow a hypoallergenic diet until your gut has completely healed. You may need to avoid foods that cause you trouble, such as milk and dairy products, wheat, barley, rye, eggs, and other foods. As your gut heals, you can slowly reintroduce these foods into your diet. For some people, avoiding problem foods altogether may be essential.
- Avoid sugar. Sugar is the main food source for Candida. Sugar should be eliminated from the diet in order to restore a healthy balance of intestinal flora.
- Increase your fiber intake with healthy fiber sources such as ground flax seed. Low fiber intake, as found in the American processed diet, actually increases gut permeability.
- Increase your omega-3 essential fatty acid (EFA) intake. Concentrated forms of EFAs found in fish oil have been shown to decrease gut permeability.
A leaky gut may take several months to heal, so be patient and perseverant. Many people see vast improvements in their digestive health once they resolve their leaky gut.
“Altered Immunity and Leaky Gut Syndrome”
Accessed March 2006
“How to Restore Digestive Health,” Weston A. Price
Accessed March 2006
Galland, Leo, M.D., “Leaky Gut Syndrome: Breaking the Vicious Cycle”
Accessed March 2006