Leaky Gut Syndrome and GI Health
How Our Digestive System Can Become Compromised
Our digestive system can become compromised in many ways. The main way our digestive system becomes stressed or unbalanced is with a term called Leaky Gut Syndrome or also sometimes called Hyperpermeability. The term Hyperpermeability is used to describe leaky gut because the gut walls become hyperpermeable. The definition of hyperpermeable is: higher than normal permeability of the gut or blood vessel.
The gut lining or digestive tract has tiny permeable openings between the cells (called Tight Junctions). These small permeable openings allow the nutrients from our food to be properly absorbed. If these tiny permeable structures open too wide (because of too much stress and inflammatory processes), the tiny openings become larger and open too wide. This allows the toxins from our digestive system to spill over into our bloodstream. This is why the term hyperpermeability is used interchangeably with leaky gut syndrome. The gut lining has become too permeable or porous.
Many health concerns can stress the delicate lining of our intestinal mucosal barrier, causing it to become weakened and prone to microbial imbalance and a compromised immune system.
Our GI tract can become irritated by any substance (healthy or not) that is constantly introduced into the body time and time again. The lining of the GI tract can get irritated and become inflamed, which can lead to leaky gut syndrome. The leakiness of the GI wall leaks the food material or substance out into the bloodstream.
Think of a hose that has holes in it and water spurting out of the openings. This is a great analogy of what happens within your GI tract when it is leaking. It should be a healthy mucosal lined tube that is free from porous (large) openings. When the gut keeps getting irritated and becomes inflamed, little microscopic holes or cuts appear in the lining. This is how food material and toxins leak out into the bloodstream.
Since our GI tract is not meant to leak out its contents, the body thinks the leaking material is an antibody, which the body recognizes as alien material. The body seeks to destroy these antibodies, thinking it is foreign and unrecognizable and that is how a food sensitivity is formed. This is a very simplified explanation but one that most of us can understand.
One way to start the healing process of leaky gut is to stay away from an offending food (like gluten or dairy), stressor (physical and emotional) and/or potential toxins that the body is fighting against. Eliminating these offenders can give the GI tract a time to heal and repair the damaged mucosal tissue.
Leaky gut syndrome is usually a root to many disease processes within the body, especially autoimmune conditions. When leaky gut is present, our immune system becomes very compromised because it can lead to poor digestion and absorption of important nutrients, making us nutritionally deficient. Most of our immune system gets its strength and resides within our digestive system (up 80%). Therefore, it is of vital importance to maintain a healthy GI system.
The 2 main causes of any disease process are nutritional deficiency and toxicity.
Leaky gut also causes toxicity because of poor digestion and assimilation, causing our liver and digestive system to become overburdened. These overburdened detoxification organs then become overloaded with toxic material and stagnant waste that is not moving properly through for efficient elimination. When this occurs, the toxins are not being properly excreted and can recirculate in our bloodstream causing a process called autotoxemia (a form of poisoning caused by substances within the body as a result of the pathological alteration of the person’s own tissues).
Leaky Gut Syndrome/HyperpermeabilitySymptoms -can be a wide range such as;
fatigue * fevers of unknown origin * abdominal pain* bloating* gas * constipation * diarrhea * feelings of toxicity * memory issues * brain fog * difficulty concentrating * poor tolerance of exercise * skin disorders * migraines/headaches * joint pain/stiffness * food sensitivities/allergies, etc….
Our digestive system and digestive lining have 2 very important functions. These 2 functions are also quite opposite:
1.) The absorption of nutrients, such as minerals, vitamins, and essential fatty acids from the food and nutritional support we take in on a daily basis
2.) Our digestive system is built with a strong barrier function, which is there to control microbes/ pathogenic (harmful) bacterial/fungal/viral invaders and large food particles (potential allergens and inflammatory agents) from going beyond the gut wall or environment and getting into our bloodstream
Leaky Gut Syndrome can be caused by the following and be an underlying factor in many health conditions, such as;
attention deficit disorder * autism (or symptoms resembling autism) * arthritis (of any origin) * chronic fatigue syndrome * eczema * compromised liver function * food allergies/intolerances * inflammatory bowel disease * autoimmune diseases * cancer * irritable bowel syndrome * Helicobacter Pylori infection * chronic viruses (Epstein Barre, Herpes, CMV) * parasitic infections * joint/collagen issues * malnutrition * multiple chemical sensitivities * SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) * chronic yeast/fungal overgrowth * psoriasis * urticaria (skin itching) * acne * dermatitis * dysbiosis (imbalanced flora in GI tract) * behavioral health disorders (schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, bi-polar) * hormonal imbalances * allergies * food sensitivities * parasites * pathogenic bacteria * viruses * food poisoning * poor digestion and poor elimination * fungal and yeast infections * chronic stress (emotional, physical, and spiritual * HIV/AIDS * celiac disease * Lyme disease and coinfections of Lyme *
Leaky Gut Syndrome can also occur as a result of pesticide/chemical exposure and toxicity (ex. glyphosate), radiation/chemotherapy treatments, heavy metal toxicity, chemical/ environmental toxicity, overuse of antibiotics, steroids, and hormone replacement (especially the birth control pill), and other medications, such as NSAIDS and proton pump inhibitors.
Any substance or condition that can cause inflammation to occur can cause this syndrome.
How do you know if you are suffering with Leaky Gut Syndrome/ Hyperpermeability and possible harmful GI pathogens, parasites, and yeast/fungal overgrowth?
If you are dealing with any of the symptoms and/or health conditions listed above, then a GI Stool Test Analysis/GI-Map is highly recommended. This is a very important test that can detect whether leaky gut syndrome is present, as well as any pathogenic (harmful) bacteria, viruses, parasites, and yeast/fungal overgrowth.
This GI panel is a comprehensive collection of the following markers: beneficial, commensal, and dysbiotic microbial targets, immune and digestive markers, parasitic, bacterial, and viral pathogens, yeast/fungal overgrowth, and specific markers for GI inflammation.
I recommend the GI-Map test for my clients that are dealing with any health concerns that are listed above, especially autoimmune and chronic diseases, as well as those who desire to get to the root of their health issues.
This test is taken from one stool sample in one day and sent to a laboratory. Results are usually ready within a week to 10 days.
Please read more about the test below and view a sample report to see if this test is something that might answer specific questions regarding your current health situation:
Please call me at 717-341-3916 if you are interested in GI health and healing, as well as doing this GI test.
What happens after the test results are back?
After I receive your GI Map test results, a GI healing protocol will be developed for you based on your specific results.
This protocol could include specific dietary changes, nutritional supplementation, stress management techniques, GI healing and restorative nutritives, probiotic support, herbal antimicrobials to target pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and yeast, eliminative organ drainage detoxification, and detoxification management.
There are 3 phases that I do with each client case depending on specific results. Each phase usually takes approximately 1 month, but may be more if pathogenic count is significant.
The phases are as follows:
Phase 1- is about removing and reducing irritants (inflammatory foods, pathogenic bacteria and parasites, yeast/fungus)
Phase 2- is about restoring and replacing with anti-inflammatory foods, herbal preparation, anti-microbials, and specific target probiotics (especially if Secretory IgA is low)
*Secretory IgA is a marker on the GI Map test that shows how your immune system is functioning based on what’s going on in your GI tract.
Phase 3- is about reinoculation of healthy bacteria and specific probiotics and repairing of the intestinal mucosal integrity with nourishing and healing herbs and other healing substances
Please feel free to call 717-341-3916 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or concerns about your GI health and if you have questions regarding the GI Map test.
Blessings to you!