What Can Be Done For “Leaky Gut”?

Have you ever heard of Leaky Gut Syndrome? Do you know what it is and how it affects your digestive system? What causes Leaky Gut? These are very good questions about a complex topic. Let’s learn a little about the digestive system.

First let’s take a look at how the human body works in a typical, healthy adult. They eat food by chewing and swallowing. Food passes from the mouth, through the esophagus, and into the stomach where digestive juices begin to break it down further. The food then passes into the intestines (or gut) where digestion continues. In the gut, the nutrients, vitamins and minerals are taken from the food that is eaten and absorbed by the body so that the body can use those substances for optimal health and wellness. So what happens in the case of Leaky Gut? What goes wrong?

The gut is still a bit of a mystery to healthcare professionals. They do know about digestion and absorption, among other things. But it can be puzzling to consider than one person with a typical gut can eat bread and bread products, which contain gluten, and have no problems, while persons who have been diagnosed with Celiac disease have a gut, which cannot process gluten. Indeed, they have a very painful allergic reaction to it, and so must avoid foods, which contain gluten at all costs. 

 It is a mystery why the gut of a typical healthy adult can process spicy food or even fatty, fried foods on occasion and suffer no distress, while others who have a digestive disorder such as IBS might have to avoid eating spicy or fried foods as much as possible, or else they will suffer from abdominal pain, cramps, embarrassing gas, and diarrhea which makes it impossible to leave the house for days until the flare passes. 

As stated above, the gut still has areas of mystery, which the medical field is still researching and learning about. One of these areas is leaky gut. For some people, the intestinal walls appear to be more permeable than they should be, and this causes illness when substances which should remain inside the gut and pass out of the body instead travel through those permeable (or leaky) intestinal walls.

There isn’t any one cause to blame it on for everyone. There are numerous potential causes. What’s more (and what is frustrating for people and their healthcare professionals alike) is that the physical symptoms of leaky gut are identical or similar to other digestive disorders. People with leaky gut may experience cramps, bloating, gas or abdominal pain. When your symptoms aren’t explained by one digestive disorder, or if you have more symptoms than that disorder has, then you must speak up to your healthcare professional so they can work with you to determine what your precise condition is. It can be frustrating to not have immediate answers, so you must be patient. Remember that there are advances in medicine every day and answers may be coming soon. Until they do, you have to work with your provider as a team.  

If you want to learn more about your digestive system and leaky gut, call and make an appointment with a naturopathic doctor today.