According to the researchers, the leaky gut syndrome has been becoming increasingly popular due to the tremendous rise in patients and its effects on other parts of the body. Most of the people assume that because of the infamous disease’s name, it is only supposed to be linked to the digestive tract but in reality, it can affect you in a variety of ways.
In fact, in most of the diagnosed leaky syndrome cases, many of the patients’ health complications such as food allergies, disturbed sleep patterns, overactive or underactive hormone glands, for example, thyroid problems, autoimmune disease and metabolic issues are directly tied to the syndrome.
Another reason why the syndrome is being talked about is it is related to some of the most unpredictable and in some cases, serious health complications, such as most autoimmune diseases have been proved to be linked to leaky gut complication.
Previously, the condition was not even believed to exist as conclusions from researchers often contrasted and did not agree despite the fact that intestinal permeability has been recognized since decades in the history of medical research.
Most people are usually shocked to find that their health concerns are because of having leaky gut syndrome. Hippocrates, the father of medicine once said ‘All diseases begin in the gut’
The modern day research has proven the thoughts of Hippocrates as now there has been an agreement in researchers and rising number of patients.
What happens in Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Leaky gut syndrome or what is mostly known as intestinal hyperpermeability is caused by damages in the intestinal lining. There are several structures called ‘tight junctions’ on your intestine that allow different substances such as proteins and other nutrients to pass through into the blood.
Through these junctions, useful substances are absorbed in effectively while harmful toxins, undigested or unnecessary food, and foreign microbes are kept away. The progression of intestinal tight junction malfunction is what leads to a ‘leaky gut’
Damage in the junctions allows substances that are normally prevented from entering the blood stream to pass through easily. This causes different reactions in the body depending on the person. The person suffering is most likely to have a number of diseases and inflammation throughout the body.
In accordance with studies, the chances of having this condition reduce or increase essentially during infancy along with other severe or chronic diseases. It has been linked to the following conditions:
- Autoimmune disease
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Inflammatory Bowel disease
- SIRS (systematic inflammatory response syndrome)
What are the symptoms of Intestinal hyper permeability?
The signs of the leaky gut syndrome can be hard to identify since they are usually taken lightly and linked to other forms of diseases as well. Secondly, there the syndrome and its dangers still require a lot of awareness.
Following are a number of reasons that have been identified to be common in all leaky gut syndrome patients:
In today’s time, several types of food allergies have emerged and are on the rise. Change in lifestyles, environmental factors and lack of time for a healthy diet have added significantly to the issue of prevalence of allergies, however, the leaky gut syndrome has been seen to be an equal contributor.
In many of the cases, the syndrome is not recognized especially in case of patients with other health conditions in which the particular issue gets all the blame.
Food allergies are more likely to occur in case of intestinal hyperpermeability because of the rise in toxins in the blood stream which triggers the body into producing multiple antibodies. This makes the body sensitive to different antigens and nutrients in the food. Hence the person gets an allergic reaction.
This happens especially with gluten and dairy products. The increase in a number of gluten intolerant people and Celiac disease is an evidence of the prevalence of leaky gut syndrome.
As mentioned before, the leaky gut syndrome damages the junctions whose main function is to control the nutrient absorption into the blood. As a consequence, not only do harmful substances enter the stream but the beneficial nutrients may not be absorbed either.
Magnesium, B complex vitamins and other nutrients are likely to be deficient in a person suffering from the leaky gut syndrome. In addition, the patient can have a deficiency of digestive enzymes that make it hard to break down and absorb any substances that the body requires.
This is why people with leaky gut syndrome are advised to take multi vitamins, maintain a healthy diet and avoid food require the deficient digestive enzyme to break down. It will help them in ensuring smooth digestion and sufficient intake of essential nutrients.
The connection between leaky gut syndrome and autoimmune disease was found after a study on a protein called ‘zonulin’ was conducted and published in Physiologic Reviews. According to this study, the protein is the sole modulator of junctions and maintains immune response balance.
The deregulation of zonulin can lead to an imbalance in the immune response. People with a family history or genetic mutations have a higher chance of having a disrupted immune response leading to autoimmune diseases.
One of the prime examples of an imbalanced immune response is a popular immune disease called Hashimoto’s disease or what is commonly known as chronic thyroiditis. In this disease, the person suffers from hypothyroidism, rapid weight gain, mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, and metabolic problems.
It is a common saying that skin is an indicator of digestion and gut health. This statement has proven to be right in light of the recent developments in medicines and healthcare that have shown that people who suffer from continuous skin issues might as well be having issues in the digestive tract.
People with leaky gut syndrome have been seen to suffer from severe acne and psoriasis. Over the counter creams and medications are given to people suffering from such skin problems. In some cases they work, in others, they do not.
Perpetual skin problems which are sometimes treated by topical creams are a big sign of deteriorating health of the gut.
One of the main inflammatory responses of the leaky gut syndrome is the release of cytokines and similar chemicals that can cause mental health issues and mood changes. A study in Neuro Endocrinology Letters showed that intestinal permeability in linked to various neurocognitive disorders.
Are there any possible treatments?
There has yet been no treatment developed that can gradually heal the damaged junctions in the gut forever. In addition, there are no standard diagnostic tests which can be recommended to test whether the person is suffering from the leaky gut syndrome.
Most of the doctors and MDs opt to give safer drugs that can help with the condition if taken on a daily basis and prevent any further damage. However, most of the medication has to be taken on time and only comes with temporary effects. Missing one dose can cause several issues.
Furthermore, the prescribed medications will not work unless the suggested changes in diet and lifestyle are made. Make sure to keep an eye on other health complications that might develop with the leaky gut syndrome as they are treatable.
Staying vigilant and following doctor’s advice can minimize the harmful effects of leaky gut syndrome until developments in medical science find a permanent treatment to it.