What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

cup of white powder

Leaky gut syndrome is a poorly understood gastrointestinal concern largely unknown by health professionals as well as sufferers who are often unaware of this condition. Leaky gut syndrome is an intestinal problem in which the lining of the gut becomes permeable resulting in numerous problems.

What happens in leaky gut syndrome?

The lining of the gut is one cell thick and this lining performs the important task of absorbing nutrients from the food you eat. This lining also plays an important role of preventing toxins, bacteria, digested food and other foreign bodies from entering the bloodstream. The gut lining basically acts as a front line of defence to protect the body. In leaky gut syndrome, this barrier is breached leading to bacteria and toxins being able to enter the bloodstream causing a host of problems.

The intestinal lining is constantly exposed to enzymes, toxins, bacteria and other irritants including chemicals from the foods we eat. The intestine becomes permeable with time due to the irritation and inflammation until eventually gaps appear in the intestinal wall. This results in chemicals, poisons, undigested food particles and other irritants to enter the bloodstream causing a host of problems. The chemicals, toxins and poisons entering the bloodstream results in the liver having to work harder to neutralise and remove them from the body. And it is not just the liver that is overworked; your body’s defence mechanisms are also overworked and become weak as does the hormonal system.

Common symptoms of leaky gut disorder

When partially digested food, bacteria, chemicals and irritants enter the bloodstream, the first thing that occurs is that the immune system starts to kick in resulting in a host of auto-immune concerns where the body is attacking its own tissues. Common concerns associated with a leaky gut include:

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Joint pain
  • Tiredness
  • Skin rashes
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Food sensitivities

The symptoms of leaky gut could be mistaken for many other gastrointestinal concerns. Many concerns that seem to be completely unrelated may actually have an association with leaky gut syndrome and these may include joint pains, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and even depression.

What causes leaky gut syndrome?

There are many suggestions as to the causes of developing a leaky gut. Intestinal infections are thought to be a leading cause as are environmental pollutants and toxins which damage the intestinal lining. Some causal factors of leaky gut syndrome may include:

  • Overuse of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs often used to alleviate pain.
  • Stress, especially chronic stress, may be responsible for the over-production of damaging stomach acid.
  • Overuse of antibiotics may destroy the beneficial bacteria that protect the gut cells lining the gut wall.
  • Lectins found in grains, gluten, dairy and processed food may damage the gut wall.
  • Leaky gut is linked to autoimmune diseases and likewise many autoimmune diseases may cause a leaky gut.

A supplement may help to heal a leaky gut

Many people with a leaky gut may be tempted to go and buy a handful of supplements to quickly try and tackle this concern however this may not be a good idea. When introducing a new supplement, it is important to pay attention to your body’s response especially when you have a leaky gut. This will help you to find out if a supplement is causing a negative reaction or sensitivity.

A gentle supplement which I particularly recommend for leaky gut syndrome is Biocare’s GI Complex.  GI Complex is a powder containing some of the most effective natural remedies all combined into one supplement to tackle a leaky gut. GI Complex contains:

  • Whey protein – whey is a form of protein derived from dairy and contains all the essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are not produced by the body and must be obtained from the diet. Although dairy contains lectins and should ideally be avoided, Biocare’s GI Complex powder only contains traces of lactose and casein which most people should be able to tolerate. Whey protein contains the amino acid l-glutamine known for its gut healing properties.
  • L-Glutamine – this is an amino acid which fuels the cells lining the intestines which keeps them healthy. Glutamine has been shown to help those with leaky gut and is an amino acid which is depleted at times of prolonged stress.
  • Probiotics – these bacteria help repopulate the gut with helpful bacteria and prevent the abnormal growth of parasites, yeasts and pathogens.
  • N-Acetyl Glucosamine – N-Acetyl Glucosamine (NAG) is thought to help heal the tight spaces between the intestinal cells.  Inflammation causes the tight spaces to open up allowing food particles to pass through the intestinal lining into the bloodstream causing a myriad of responses. NAG is derived from shellfish so anyone intolerant to shellfish should avoid taking GI Complex powder.
  • Zinc – zinc is known for its ability to calm and heal inflamed tissues within the body and this may equally apply to the intestines.
  • Vitamin A – the lining of the intestine in its healthy state is composed of tightly packed cells. Vitamin A is required to maintain healthy linings in the whole body including those in the intestines.

It is inconceivable that most of us do not have some form of damage to our intestinal lining. After all, this lining is constantly under threat from excess stomach acid, our diet of grains and stress all of which are contributory factors. So whilst we may not experience full blown leaky gut syndrome, the underlying threat remains which is why it is may be a good idea to heal the gut using a supplement such as GI Complex.

This content is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. Any suggestions made and all herbs listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Personal directions and use should be provided by a clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioner.

Shabir Daya | , , , , , , , , , , , ,
  • Jaclyn

    Thanks Shabir. Can you recommend a supplement for leaky gut syndrome which is vegan (i.e. dairy free)? Thank you

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Jaclyn, I would recommend just using L-Glutamine powder or capsule forms. The GI tract is the greatest user of glutamine as the cells use this for energy. Glutamine is therefore required to promote cell regeneration and repair in the gut. Shabir

  • Jaclyn

    Thank you!