What is Leaky Gut?
For the majority of us, we eat every single day, just expecting our bodies to easily accept what we put into it. We don’t think about how the food travels from our esophagus, to our stomach, then the small and large intestine, and is later excreted. We also don’t think about how our gut controls what nutrients are absorbed, effortlessly deciding what gets passed through to our bloodstream and what does not. And that is where our leaky gut problems may be hiding.
Our intestines have channels known as tight junctions, which control what gets absorbed into our bloodstream. If they aren’t working properly, the wrong things can enter our bloodstream, like food particles, bacteria, toxins, etc (1). This can lead to a number of health issues throughout our body and they might all stem from a ‘leaky gut’ (2). Taking time to learn how to heal leaky is important, but it’s also just as key to be able to identify leaky gut symptoms.
Top 8 Leaky Gut Symptoms
Living with a leaky gut can cause countless health issues and be detrimental down the line. Catching these leaky gut symptoms before they get out of hand is crucial to helping your body restore your gut. Here are the top 8 leaky gut symptoms and, later on, you can read up on some ways to help heal leaky gut too!
With a leaky gut, small particles that shouldn’t go into our bloodstream find their way in (3). When there are toxins or particles that shouldn’t be in our bloodstream, on body’s immune response kicks in. This can lead to many different inflammatory and auto-immune diseases, like celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes (4, 5).
As mentioned before, the gut is connected to all different parts of our body, including our brain (5). Ever felt like it’s hard to focus or you often feel dazed and confused? Studies have shown there are altered brain functions correlating with an under-performing gut system (6, 7).
While this one might be more obvious, a leaky gut can cause havoc to our digestive tract. And just like with our gut, troubles in our digestive system can cause a bad domino effect of other illnesses throughout the rest of our body. It can cause bacterial imbalances, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, bowel diseases (8, 9, 10, 11)… the list can truly go on and on.
Just like with autoimmune diseases, a leaky gut can cause inflammatory problems in other parts of our body (12). An unhealthy gut microbiome, which can lead to a leaky gut, has been found to be linked to osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (13, 14, 15). Who knew fixing a leaky gut could possibly help fix up those terrible joint pains too!
An unhealthy gut microbiome can lead to worsened food tolerances, which means that a leaky gut could lead to new food allergies (16). These food allergies can cause more problems throughout your body, whether it be harmful to your digestive tract or causing hormonal imbalances (17, 18). Over time, healing your leaky gut can cause certain food allergies to heal along with it.
Whether it be a light breakout or horribly itchy eczema, a leaky gut might be the culprit of those skin conditions. Studies have linked increased intestinal permeability to increased acne, eczema formation and even dermatitis herpetiformis (19, 20, 21). While we can try to heal a leaky gut overtime, you can also be more conscious of trying to eat healthier foods to help relieve some of these skin conditions.
As we talked about above, a leaky gut causes increased intestinal permeability, allowing foods and toxins into our bloodstream. These foreign contaminants can cause biochemical imbalances in our bloodstream and throughout our body (23). These biochemical imbalances can lead to estrogen imbalances, depression, mood swings, anxiety, etc (22, 23).
With a leaky gut, the tight junctions in our gastrointestinal tract become loose and allow pathogens to pass through. Studies have linked a leaky gut and poor gut micrbiota health with chronic fatigue (24). Chronic fatigue syndrome is typically a sense of fatigue that lasts for more than 6 months and doesn’t improve with rest. Improving our gut health and healing a leaky gut has shown to also improve the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (25, 26).
Help Your Gut Help You
Our gut is working everyday to keep our body running and functioning properly, taking in whatever foods you put into it. Relieve some of that stress and give your gut a hand in its health. Fill it with healthy foods, whether it be collagen-packed proteins, low-FODMAP foods, or prebiotic-boosting coffee creamers. As we’ve mentioned over and over again… help your gut help you!