Is ‘Leaky Gut’ a real phenomenon?
Leaky gut is a modern health phenomenon that is currently in the spotlight. Gut issues are on the rise and the link between inflammatory diseases are showing strong links to leaky gut. Research is pointing toward the gut as our ‘second brain’, thus questioning current methods of treatment. One study found that 70% of our immune system is in the digestive system (Mellowship, 2006*). Therefore, if your gut permeability is compromised, the tight junctions of the lining will allow toxins to pass through to the blood stream, resulting in inflammation of the body. Symptoms of leaky gut are:
- nutritional deficiencies
- sore joints
- skin disorders
- ulcerative colitis
- autoimmne disorders
- mental health issues
- poor concentration
Other symptoms are highlighted in Kajander et al., 2005**. As the western world continues to engage in food production revolving around refined processed foods we will continue to see the rate of leaky gut and inflammatory disease rise (Mellowship, 2006*). It has been found that gluten, dairy, soy, and chemicals added to our food supply erode the gut lining. Kajander et al.** stated that leaky gut syndrome is caused by a substance or combination of substances, such as allergens or toxins, that initiate inflammation in the digestive tract. This inflammation allows for large molecules to pass across the intestinal barrier including molecules from proteins, fats, parasites, bacteria, and fungi (Kajander et al., 2005**). Because human tissues have protein antigens similar in structure to these other proteins, the scene is set for autoimmune disease development (Kajander et al., 2005**). Mellowship (2006)* added that there are varied causes of leaky gut and these can range from coeliac disease, candida, poor diet, stress, alcohol, dysbiosis and many more. Healing from leaky gut can take up to two years depending on the severity of damage the gut has endured (Kajander et al., 2005**). Mellowship (2006)* states that healing requires eliminating toxins in the individuals environment and food intake, in addition incorporate foods that heal the gut.
**Kajander, Kaiander, Hatakka, Poussa, Farkkila, and Korpela., (2005). A probiotic mixture alleviates symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome patients: a controlled 6-month intervention. Ai- iment Pharmacoi Ther. September 1, 2005; 22(5):387-39’l
*Mellowship, D. (2007). Leaky gut syndrome – a modern digestive disorder. Positive Health, pg 30-32, April 2006.