Intestinal permeability, also known as 'Leaky Gut' is the where the tight
junctions of the gut become dysfunctional causing substance to leak into the
bloodstream. Causes are usually linked to undigested food due to lack of
digestive enzymes or drugs such as aspirin and NSAID that cause inflammation
within the gut and affect permeability. Chronic stress and diet are also likely
to accelerate leaky gut.
Who does it affect?
Leaky gut can affect anyone, but is often associated with those with coeliac or crohn's disease, Ulcerative colitis, IBS, acne, or eczema. Athletes may also experience intestinal permeability prolonged to high intensity exercise, that puts the body under tremendous stress. Those with predisposition to autoimmunity may find that their immune system overacts to gluten, bacteria and undigested food particles, triggering an inflammation response and leading to leaky gut.
What causes Leaky gut?
- Poor diet
- Sluggish liver
- Food particles
Signs & Symptoms
- Food sensitives
- Joint pain
- Digestive problems
- Weight gain
The role of the Gut
Our intestines provide the ultimate barrier between the outside world and you. The barrier is made up of two parts:
1. The structural wall of the intestines, that acts like a brick wall made up of structures known as tight junctions.
2. A layer of mucus, that acts like wallpaper providing an extra barrier.
The bacteria within our gut help aid in digestion and the absorption of nutrients, aid detoxification by neutralising toxins before they reach the liver, influence the immune system response, and produce and release important enzymes, vitamins and neurotransmitters.
Vaginal vs C-section Birth
Studies show that vaginally born children have much higher levels of Bifidobacteria, a group of beneficial gut bacteria that help to mature the gut lining more quickly. Babies born by C-section lack this type of good bacteria, but the good news is that you can increase the diversity of your microbiome in just 24 hours by changing your diet.
How to prevent Leaky Gut
1. Include probiotic rich foods such as fermented vegetables, live yogurt, pickles, tempeh, kombucha.
2. Include good quality protein sources as this helps to build and repair the intestinal wall.
3. Include quality poly unsaturated foods such as Omega 3 EFA that increase gut diversity and reduces inflammation.
4. Include polyphenol rich foods that are powerful antioxidants found in plants: veggies, dark chocolate, fruit, green tea
5. Include Prebiotic rich foods such as leeks, asparagus, chicory, Jerusalem artichoke, onion, oats
6. Reduce stress levels
7. Avoid high intensity exercise and instead try yoga or walking.
If you suspect that you are suffering from Leaky Gut, then I would advise that you work with a healthcare professional, like myself to address the underlying root cause.