Understanding Leaky Gut Syndrome
You’d figure that in this day and age, some marketing firm would have come up with a better name for a digestive condition than “leaky gut syndrome.” The fact that the ailment is also known as “increased intestinal permeability,” doesn’t make it any more palatable.
Neither term is attractive, but neither is the condition, which is brought on when toxic food particulate, chemicals in the environment and bacterial waste begin leaking through your digestive tract and enter the body. That creates all kinds of physical upheaval — primarily in the form of autoimmune responses that lead to dangerous health conditions.
Adding to the sufferer’s woes is the fact that this condition is difficult to accurately diagnose and even more difficult to treat. Symptoms can include tiredness and depression, a general sense of always being uncomfortable, anxiety and issues with weight. These symptoms can point to a number of erroneous ailments, including irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, kidney problems, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome and even heart issues.
And it’s no wonder sufferers complains of being tired and weak. All of that foreign gunk permeating the insides prompts the body’s immune system to suit up for battle in its attempt to ward off infection, inflammation and disease.
Dr. Alessio Fasano, the director of the Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, cites increased intestinal permeability as the genesis of dozens of diseases. However, even this esteemed physician admits the difficulty in obtaining an accurate diagnosis. In fact, in many cases, the disease doesn’t even present as an issue involving digestion.
What Fasano believes is that the stomach lining isn’t as tightly stitched as expected and that larger organisms and particles of food can squeeze through fissures in the lining and enter the bloodstream. And earlier this year, he told Time magazine that researchers couldn’t explain how larger molecules got from the stomach lining into the body. He said that gaps may sometime appear between cells that allow those foreign objects to slip through.
Even more alarming is the apparent link between the health of your gut and your risk of having Alzheimer’s disease. In a study published in the July 2009 issue of the journal Cell Host & Microbe, a team of researchers, including Andreas Bäumler — a professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology and Vice Chair of Research at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine — reported that both amyloid plaque (a sticky buildup which accumulates inside neurons) found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, and structures made by some gut bacteria, are likely to produce the same response by human immune cells.
In plan spoken English: Alzheimer’s disease might occur as a result from an infection in your gut, with an overgrowth of Candida Albicans (a naturally occurring fungus found in the gut) being one of the primary culprits.
See where this is going? If you have Increased Intestinal Permeability (aka Leaky Gut Syndrome), and the Candida in your gut is running amok and left unchecked, you may unintentionally be increasing your chances of amyloid plaque building up in your brain.
Regardless of the Alzheimer’s disease connection, doctors — including those here at Restoration Healthcare — do agree on what they suspect are the major culprits that bring on Leaky Gut. These include the consumption of gluten, ingesting anti-inflammatory pills such as Motrin and Advil, infections and a stressful lifestyle.
In the case of glutens, the solution is straightforward and nonintrusive. Simply quit eating those hard-to-digest foods that sparks inflammation in the first place. Same goes for a prescription or over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. More difficult is alleviating the stress that might be prompting leaky gut.
Treating stress entails performing a balancing act of disrupting your lifestyle in order to reduce stress, all the while maintaining the job or relationship that sparked the stress in the first place.
Bottom line… If you suspect you may be suffering from Leaky Gut Syndrome, talk to us right away. Here at Restoration Healthcare, our doctors are experts at discovering internal ailments that require treatment. Bacteria and parasites can be found with simple tests, and we always customize treatment plans that correspond with the findings of those tests. What you don’t want to do is delay an end to your suffering!