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6 Signs You Have Leaky Gut & How to Heal It

leaky gut

Why Should You Care if You Have Leaky Gut?

If you’ve been researching gut issues, chances are you’ve heard of the term “Leaky Gut.”  

As more of us are affected by poor diet choices, chronic stress, toxin exposure, and bacterial imbalances, leaky gut is becoming more and more common.

Why should leaky gut concern you? Research shows that leaky gut can be a trigger for a whole host of chronic diseases. This means that leaky gut can be just one domino in a long line of health issues!

In this article I’ll outline:

What is Leaky Gut?

Your gut is the gateway to your overall health.   

The most common reason people suffer from gut issues has to do with “Leaky Gut Syndrome” (or as it’s addressed in the medical community, “Intestinal Permeability”).  

Leaky Gut happens when the lining of your intestine becomes “permeable” to undigested food particles, toxins, and bacteria that “leak” out from the intestine and flood your bloodstream.   

The barrier of your intestine is maintained by a single layer of epithelial cells (intestinal cells) that are linked together by tight junctions (1).

These tight junctions (or TJs) are the gateway between your intestines and your bloodstream– kind of like your front door keeps out burglars but opens up for the Amazon delivery.  

TJs have a very precise job of maintaining the delicate balance between letting vital nutrients into your bloodstream, while remaining small enough to keep out disease-causing compounds (2).

When TJs become too large, it allows all the bad things to enter your body.  If left untreated, leaky gut can trigger inflammation throughout the body, leading to the development of chronic disease over time. 

Now that we know why leaky gut is such a big deal, let’s talk about common signs that point to issues with leaky gut…

6 Common Signs You Have Leaky Gut

There are a number of signs and symptoms indicating you’re dealing with a leaky gut.  Here I’ll review the top 6 most common signs.

1.) IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

The most common and obvious sign you have leaky gut is if you’ve been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (or “IBS” for short).  IBS encompasses many gut symptoms including constipation, diarrhea, bloating, stomach pain, and more. 

Research shows that a disruption in the protective layer of your gut lining can cause an immune activation leading to IBS– one domino falling and causing the next issue down the line!

Whether IBS is caused by leaky gut or leaky gut causes IBS is still to be determined. Most often IBS is linked with other symptoms like autoimmune issues, skin rashes, depression (and more) when leaky gut is implicated (3).

2.) Food Sensitivities

If you notice you’re sensitive to a number of foods, it could be due to leaky gut.  After eating particular foods you associate symptoms like gut issues, joint aches, migraines, fatigue, etc, then leaky gut could be the cause.

When food particles leak from your intestine into the body they cause your body to create antibodies.  Your immune system sees these food particles as a threat and tries to eliminate them by attacking it with immune cells (4, 5).

The good news is that you don’t have to avoid these foods for forever. Removing your food sensitivities for a period of time will help you heal from leaky gut.  MRT food sensitivity testing is the best way to identify your individualized food triggers.  

What triggers one person will be completely different from the next person.  Even foods deemed as “healthy” could be potential triggers for you.  Examples include turmeric, olive oil, avocado, or even salmon.  Just like a fingerprint, each food sensitivity profile is going to be completely unique to an individual!

It’s important to work with a dietitian who can help you design a healthy diet that eliminates your leaky gut triggers: that’s exactly what I help my clients with and I can help you, too.

3.) Nutritional Deficiencies

Someone who’s struggling with leaky gut is often also struggling to properly absorb many important micronutrients.  

Micronutrient deficiencies can lead to structural and functional issues in your intestine, contributing to a further weakening of your tight junctions and the mucosal barrier in your gut lining (6, 7, 8, 9).

Furthermore, carrier proteins in your gut lining are needed to transport minerals from your intestine into your bloodstream.  When the gut lining is damaged by inflammation, nutrients have a harder time getting to where they need to go.

The best way to identify your deficiencies is to run a micronutrient test.  With these results we can target your individualized deficiencies without having to play guessing games.

As your gut health nutritionist, I can help you design a supplemental protocol that’s tailored to you in specific therapeutic dosages.

4.) Skin Issues

Did you know your skin is a barometer to your gut health?  If there’s an overgrowth of unhealthy microbes that escape through your leaky gut, you’ll probably see skin issues (10).

How exactly is leaky gut implicated with skin issues? 

Often skin issues manifest due to an overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria.  These bacteria can sometimes secrete harmful chemicals called endotoxins (or lipopolysaccharides, often referred to as “LPS”) (11).

When these harmful chemicals escape through your leaky gut, the following skin issues can manifest: 

When you get a detailed look at what’s causing your leaky gut, whether that’s from a food sensitivity, gut pathogen, or micronutrient deficiency (or a combination), we can get clear about what protocol is best to put your skin issues at bay.

5.) Depression

The blues got you down?  Leaky gut could be contributing to your depression.

The link between depression and leaky gut is associated with an unhealthy balance of gut microbes which release endotoxins, as described above.  

When these endotoxins get released into the body via leaky gut, it leads to brain inflammation and an alteration of your neurotransmitter function (14, 15).

A healthy gut is essential for a healthy mood!

The best way to know if you have an imbalance in your microbiome that could be contributing to your mood issues is to get a DNA Stool Test.  

DNA stool testing is a much more comprehensive stool test than what’s offered at your doctor’s office.  With these results, we can see exactly which pathogens might be contributing to leaky gut and therefore mood issues.

6.) Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases are diseases of the immune system. The immune system goes haywire and starts attacking its own organs like the intestine, thyroid, pancreas, joints, etc.

Autoimmune diseases include:

Leaky gut is implicated in autoimmune diseases because tight junctions within the intestine are allowing large particles (including undigested food particles and bacterial endotoxins), into the bloodstream that wouldn’t normally be there if you’d had a healthy gut lining.  

These large particles that pass through the intestinal lining stimulate an immune response and subsequent attack on your very own organ tissues leading to an autoimmune disease (16, 17)

How to Heal Leaky Gut

Fortunately there are a number of ways to heal your leaky gut.  By overcoming leaky gut, you’ll reverse symptoms, reduce your risk for chronic illness, and start living your best life!

Start with Food Sensitivity Testing

As discussed earlier, certain foods can stimulate an immune reaction and subsequent inflammatory response that damages the gut lining.

Reducing the inflammatory load from foods and chemicals you’re inadvertently eating gives your gut lining a chance to heal.

Food sensitivities are often dose dependent and onset of symptoms can be delayed up to 3 days after eating the offending food.  

Instead of shooting in the dark and guessing, MRT food sensitivity testing tells us exactly which foods are causing issues and sends us on the quickest path to healing leaky gut.

Food sensitivity testing is foundational for my clients struggling with gut issues.

Address Gut Imbalances

As we discussed earlier, microbial imbalances in the gut can further contribute to chronic issues associated with leaky gut.

The presence of pathogens in your gut like parasites, opportunistic bacteria, yeasts, and viruses all contribute to a weakened gut lining by inducing an inflammatory process.

The most comprehensive stool test on the market is DNA Stool Testing.  DNA stool testing measures the very DNA of the pathogens present in your gut, this leads to more accurate diagnoses that are often missed with stool testing offered by your doctor. 

With DNA stool testing, we can rebalance your gut with a targeted approach!

Correct Micronutrient Deficiencies

As we discussed earlier, nutrient deficiencies can contribute to worsening of leaky gut; and leaky gut can also contribute to nutrient deficiencies.  It’s a two way street.

Additionally, correcting your anti-oxidant status by addressing nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin A, Vitamin E, Selenium, etc, can boost the health of your intestine at the cellular level.

Getting a micronutrient test can tell you exactly what nutrients you need to address at what dose to best support the healing of your gut lining.

Moving Forward if You Think You Have Leaky Gut

Leaky gut is a common underlying issue for those struggling with IBS, autoimmune issues, depression, skin issues, food sensitivities, and nutrient deficiencies.

Addressing these imbalances with a targeted approach can send you on the fastest path to healing.

If you’re ready to banish your leaky gut and digestive issues for good, then book your free call with me today. 

As your gut health nutritionist, I can help you reset your gut so you can reset your life!