1.What is leaky gut?
Our gut is protected by a lining composed of a single layer of specialized cells held together by tight junctions, which prevent pathogens & larger molecules from entering the bloodstream.
Tiny gaps in the junctions allow water and nutrients to pass into the bloodstream while keeping bigger molecules out.
These junctions are supposed to remain tight. But what would happen if there were to become loose?
2. Leaky gut AKA gut permeability
When the junctions of our gut become loose, we talk about "leaky gut", a condition supported by more and more research but not yet fully recognized by the medical community.
When the junctions of the gut become loose, the wall becomes permeable allowing larger molecules such as toxins, undigested food particles and/ or microbes to pass into the bloodstream.
Once in the bloodstream, these molecules can trigger the immune system, leading to inflammation responses in the body & potentially opening the way to autoimmune disorders. Moreover, damaged to the gut may impair our capacity to properly absorb nutrients.
See example here with a health gut lining on the left vs. a leaky gut on the right:
3. Symptoms of leaky gut
Because leaky gut can cause a chain of inflammation throughout the body, the symptoms can be numerous and systemic, and may include the following:
And many more
4. What are some causes of leaky gut?
Unfortunately, many things can cause the gut to become leaky overtime.
Some common examples are: a poor diet, certain medications, stress, environmental toxins, nutritional deficiencies, and dysbiosis/ inflammation in the gut.
A note on gluten: gluten has been shown in studies to trigger the release of zonulin, which might lead to increased gut permeability in certain individuals.
However, I do believe that in non- sensitive and non- celiac people, gluten can have its place in moderation. That being said, it is important to pay attention to your reactions as symptoms can be delayed.
5. So wha to do to prevent leaky gut and/ or promote gut lining healing?
Thankfully some solutions are available to promote a healthy gut lining.
That being said, it is important to remember that none of these solutions are viable if the cause of the leaky gut is not removed.
Here are a few examples of things that can help:
Nutrients such as L- glutamine, collagen, vitamin A, glycine, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin D and omega 3
Stress management & mindful eating
Personalized supplements such as L- glutamine, zinc or collagen. ( some are more recommended than others depending on the case) - always double check with your practitioner and doc before supplementing.
If you would like more informations, and individualized recommendations on how to navigate your gut health 1:1 bookings are available here