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Leaky Gut

The body is uniquely designed to react to any danger or challenge. When it detects the need for 'flight-or-fight,’ the adrenal glands produce a cocktail of hormones that cause the muscles to tense and the heart rate to increase while blood is diverted from the digestive and other organs. After the event, the body and mind relax and harmony is restored.

Leaky gut is also known as intestinal hyperpermeability, is the result of a compromised intestinal lining, leaving the lining of the stomach porous.  The intestinal lining is the first line of defense for our immune system and during normal digestion all the molecules are effectively screened and only pass into the bloodstream through the mucosal cells. When the gut becomes permeable, bacteria, toxins, incompletely digested proteins, fats and waste are released into the blood. Once released they flow throughout the body, triggering an autoimmune response that is far reaching, activating chronic health issues.

Symptoms of Leaky Gut can vary depending on the level of damage. Multiple food sensitivities can be a signal that your immune system is releasing antibodies to everything you ingest. Nutritional deficiencies are a sign that there is an improper breakdown of food in the intestines.  Often skin rashes are the body’s attempt to dump the toxins through the skin.  The immune system results from the body waging war on itself while ignoring the virus and bacteria we encounter on a daily basis and illness sets in more frequently. Brain fog, memory loss, deep fatigue and headaches are a result of inflammation and toxic build up. Then yeast overgrowth (Candida) causes cravings, bloating, gas, anxiety and poor sleep. And it all stems from the constant barrage of foreign invaders allowed to enter your bloodstream.

Leaky Gut can cause symptoms including migraines, depression, heartburn, abdominal pain, muscle cramps and pain, poor exercise tolerance, gluten intolerance, arthritis, fatigue, headaches, increase in allergies, asthma, insomnia, weight changes and mood alterations. Often they are vague symptoms that are not clearly pronounced, so ensuring the gut lining is healthy is essential.  Statistics show that an estimated 75-90% of the population have food intolerances and sensitivities with millions of people suffering from Leaky Gut. Many in the medical community do not test for Leaky Gut, leaving this condition to worsen over time.

Some Causes of Leaky Gut

  • Poor Diet – highly processed foods, high in fat or sugar hurt the gut lining.
  • Chronic Stress creates a pathogenic response, causing unhealthy bacteria overgrowth.
  • Toxin Overload – overloads the liver and hinders detoxification.
  • Antibiotics – kills off healthy bacteria and inflame the gut lining.
  • NSAIDs - a major cause of leaky gut due to the severe inflammation of the gut lining.

Testing for Leaky Gut

Intestinal Permeability Assessment is performed through a urine sample and is a noninvasive gastrointestinal test assessment of small intestinal absorption and barrier function in the bowel.

  • Genova Diagnostics offers the test if you do not have access through a medical provider. There may be other labs that also test for Leaky Gut. 
  • Nutritionally Yours offers comprehensive stool testing for Parasites, Yeast, Worms, Intestinal Health Markers, Digestion Markers and Leaky Gut.

If Leaky Gut is a factor, the Following Four Tests should also be Considered:

  • Food Intolerance Test – when the immune system is compromised, the body can produce antibodies to commonly ingested foods, creating an allergy.
  • Parasite Test – When the intestinal system is compromised it allows parasites to breed.
  • Bacterial Dysbiosis Test – A weakened GI system can also cause an imbalance of bacteria. Small unhealthy intestinal bacterial overgrowth can arise, and opportunistic bacteria such as H. pylori and E. coli can proliferate.
  • Lactulose/Mannitol Test – Analyzes the urine for the clearance of two sugars, lactulose and mannitol, the byproducts of leaky gut syndrome.

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