Over the last few years, medical professionals and patients alike have been turning their attention toward “leaky gut syndrome.” Leaky gut has been linked to a variety of health concerns and diseases that at first glance seem to be unrelated.

As more people in the United States are affected by daily stress, poor dietary plans, bacterial imbalance, and toxic overload, leaky gut syndrome has become an epidemic. The medical professional has just formally recognized that this condition exists, even though the formal term “intestinal permeability” has been featured in medical literature for more than a century.

What exactly is leaky gut?

As stated above, leaky gut syndrome is also known as increased intestinal permeability. Essentially, this means that the tight junctions in your gut that control which substances pass through your small intestine lining don’t work correctly. When this happens, unwanted substances could leak into the bloodstream, which affects the body in negative ways.

What are the signs and symptoms of leaky gut?

You’ve been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease – It has been recently uncovered by researchers in Hungary that leaky gut leads to irritable bowel syndrome, which affects your colon. It has also been discovered that most patients that have been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease also have leaky gut. Zinc supplements are often recommended to these folks because zinc can help tighten up the junctions in your intestines.

You have thyroid problems – Leaky gut directly affects many autoimmune diseases, including Hashimoto’s disease. Hashimoto’s disease, also called “chronic thyroiditis,” can lead to hypothyroidism, fatigue, depression, weight gain, and impaired metabolism – all of which are no fun.

You experience nutritional deficiencies – In order to keep your body and digestion system working properly, you need to maintain a balance of certain vitamins. This is nothing new. But, leaky gut has been linked specifically to deficiencies in vitamins B12 and magnesium. For those who have leaky gut, taking a whole foods-based multivitamin and a live probiotic is recommended in order to help the digestion system functioning.

You have inflammatory skin issues – The theory that leaky gut leads to skin issues was originally studied about 70 years ago. It is now recognized as a condition that occurs when the intestinal walls are hyperpermeable, thus leading to various skin conditions. If you’ve tried creams or drugs and nothing has helped your inflamed skin, try healing your gut. You’d be surprised just how much a leaky gut impacts us from the inside out.

You experience mood issues – An article recently published in Neuro Endocrinology Letters has linked leaky gut to multiple neurocognitive disorders. When the lining of the small intestine is hyperpermeable, it triggers the release of proinflammatory cytokines, which are chemicals that induce depression. So perhaps leaky gut is the reason you’ve been feeling super depressed lately.

You have fatigue – It is not recommended that you try healing leaky gut on your own. Be sure to seek help in creating a proper plan by receiving an evaluation from a doctor who works in functional medicine. An experienced functional medicine physician will take down your complete history, order any lab testing if necessary, and make personalized recommendations unique to you. If you are in the Eastern Iowa area, please give Dr. Teggatz a call to set up an appointment if you think you may be suffering from leaky gut.

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