by Dr. Will Cole
Remember the days when mainstream medicine considered leaky gut syndrome a fake diagnosis proffered by alternative quakes? I do! Thankfully today, research is confirming that a leaky gut, aka increased gut permeability, is indeed all too real, and a major factor in chronic health issues such as autoimmune diseases. But knowing a leaky gut is real and knowing what to do about it are two different things. Let’s look beyond symptoms and seek out the cause of this debilitating problem.
The definition of a leaky gut
As its unfortunate name suggests, a “leaky gut” is a condition in which your gastrointestinal tract actually leaks, due to chronic inflammation and damage. This allows undigested food proteins and bacteria to pass into the blood stream where they are not meant to be, causing an immune response and inflammation throughout the body as your system reacts to these “foreign” substances. The following conditions have all been linked to increased gut lining permeability:
- autoimmune diseases
- an inflamed brain
- heart disease
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- type I and type II diabetes
- skin disorders
- thyroid disorders
- weight loss resistance
As you can see, a leaky gut may be contributing to almost every common health issue. Why is this happening?
Common causes for leaky gut
In just the last few decades, our world has become far more toxic than it has every been before. From toxins in our environment to our hybridized, modified, and sterilized food supply, we’ve left behind a simpler world in which our grandparents grew up. These radical environmental and food supply changes are affecting human health in ways we are only beginning to understand.
For ages, our genes have evolved and adapted to our environment, but this relatively sudden shift has created a mismatch between our surroundings and our genetics. From pesticides and pollution to medications such as NSAIDs and chronic stress, it’s a wonder everyone’s gut isn’t leaking!
Why hasn’t my doctor told me about this?
Mainstream medicine trains doctors to diagnose a disease and match it with a corresponding drug. When there is a drug on the market for leaky gut, then you can bet everyone will be tested for a leaky gut and sent home with a prescription. Today, with industry funding outpacing what the government spends by billions of dollars, it’s no surprise that a pharmaceutical drug for celiac disease is in the works, called Larazotide. Something tells me the term “leaky gut” will be making its way into your doctor’s office in the near future. Wait and see.
Do I have a leaky gut?
The test I run most often on patients whom I suspect are suffering from intestinal permeability is a simple blood test to look for an elevation of two things:
- Zonulin: Zonulin is a protein the body makes that loosens the tight junctions of your intestinal lining, or your gut’s “gatekeepers,” allowing easier access to the blood stream. If there is an elevation of zonulin, you are at risk for a leaky gut.
- Lipopolysaccharides (LPS): These are toxins excreted by some of your gut bacteria. If they’re found in the bloodstream, we know there’s been a breach of your protective gut lining.
How do I fix my gut?
Why wait for the next “wonder drug” to come on the market when you can start healing your gut today for free? Check out my list of things to avoid to allow your gut to start healing, and also check the piece I wrote about my favorite natural gut-healing tips.
If you want to learn more about your own health case please check out our free health evaluation. We offer in person as well as phone and webcam consultations for people across the country and around the world.
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.
Our articles may include products that have been independently chosen and recommended by Dr. Will Cole and our editors. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.