By: Gleason Center Editors, Dr. Daniel Gleason DC
Leaky Gut has received a lot of attention lately. It seems everyone is finally catching on to the massive role gut health plays in how your body functions overall. In this month's newsletter, Dr. Gleason explains what causes Leaky Gut Syndrome in the first place and how to restore a healthy, happy microbiome.
The term "Leaky Gut Syndrome" conjures up images of faulty plumbing. Your intestinal lining is selective as to what food and digestive products it allows passage into your bloodstream. When this barrier is compromised it allows toxins, bacteria, and allergenic food particles to enter your circulation to be passed along to the liver for detoxification. These “leaks” can be caused by a number of factors including:
Hyper-permeability is a surprisingly common condition that occurs whenever there is inflammation that causes the “pores” or inter-cellular junctions to remain open too long. The toxic products of your digestive system that leak into your bloodstream often aggravate problems elsewhere in the body. This can include issues with your joints, skin, bones, and muscles. It can also affect the nervous system inducing symptoms of brain fog, memory problems, and hyperactivity.
Leaky Gut Syndrome has been linked to:
When large unwanted or undigested particles enter the bloodstream, your immune system mounts an inflammatory response to the perceived threat. Through a process known as “molecular mimicry”, your immune system mistakenly attacks your own tissue resulting in an autoimmune disease. If it attacks your joints it might be Rheumatoid Arthritis, your skin = Psoriasis, your nervous system = MS, your thyroid = Hashimotos, your pancreas = Diabetes, or your immune system = Lupus. Conventional medicine might treat these conditions with immuno-suppressive drugs such as steroids. We encourage you to use an approach that targets the cause; look to the gut and try to stop the “leaks”.
Functional medicine centers like ours start with a carful history including questions regarding diet, sleep, stress and exercise. Then, with significant input from you, the patient, a decision is made as to what testing is indicated. Typically comprehensive stool tests and food allergy/intolerance tests would be among the first. Also comprehensive nutrient testing is often done to determine if the leaky gut is the result of or the cause of nutritional deficiencies.
Comprehensive stool tests utilize DNA probes to determine the presence of disease-causing bacteria, yeast/fungi, protozoa or worms. If “bad bugs” are present medications or botanical supplements can be utilized to eradicate them. DNA testing also evaluates whether there are adequate levels of “good bugs.” If there are insufficient “friendly bugs” fermented foods, pre and probiotics can help restore a normal intestinal ecosystem.
Stool tests also determine if you are producing adequate levels of acid, enzymes and bile to properly break down your food. Stool testing should include markers for inflammation, immune up or down-regulation, bleeding and entero-hepatic recirculation. Supplementation and diet change can address these additional problems once they have been identified.
Food allergy testing should include both IgE (true allergy) and IgG/IgA (intolerance). We tend to recommend the comprehensive stool testing first because if you have “leaky gut syndrome” food testing will indicate what you most frequently eat. If you go after the foods first without repairing the gut you will just develop different food reactions.
Nutrient testing can be equally important, as you can’t heal your gut without all of the nutrients your GI tract requires.
DSL is our go to lab for comprehensive stool tests. We use Genova for our food allergy/intolerance tests and Genova’s ION (Individual Optimal Nutrition) test to determine your individual nutrient needs.
Intestinal hyper-permeability Is the cause of many common health problems. We encourage you to take your gut health seriously, especially if you or a family member is suffering from any of the above-noted conditions.
If you like this post, you might also enjoy our: June Newsletter: Is It An Allergy Or Intolerance?