These days, we know that a healthy gut is super important for staying healthy and can affect everything from immunity to brain health. And if there are problems in the gut, it can have some surprising effects on the rest of the body.
One of the gut conditions that has been gaining a heap of attention in recent years is “leaky gut syndrome”. Having this condition can trigger a whole heap of symptoms, many of which are chronic and debilitating.
So, how can you spot the signs that you might have a leaky gut? Let’s talk about some of the health problems that can stem from a leaky gut.
Getting gas, bloating, diarrhea and IBS type symptoms on a regular basis can be signs that your gut isn’t as healthy as it could be but they can sometimes signal a leaky gut too.
Because a leaky gut allows toxins, bacteria and undigested food to get into the bloodstream, it can lead to inflammation throughout the body. And this can have a knock on effect on hormone balance. The end result? Things like adult acne, mood swings and weight gain all become a whole heap more likely. You might not think of your gut as being a driving force in hormone balance but keeping it healthy can be super important for healthy hormones.
With chronic fatigue syndrome, a leaky gut can be a big factor in why symptoms develop – especially the relentless fatigue and brain fog elements. In one small research study, most of the patients noticed an improvement in their chronic fatigue symptoms after taking supplements designed to support a healthy gut barrier.
Mood changes and brain fog
We’ve known for years that a huge amount of serotonin is actually produced in the gut, rather than the brain – as much as 80%! This is why a healthy gut is super important for brain health.
For some people, a leaky gut can be a big factor in changes to mood and other aspects of mental wellbeing. This is partly because a leaky gut encourages the release of pro inflammatory cytokines that can lead to low mood and fatigue. In the longer term, experts think that it may pave the way for depression. In one study of people with depression, there was evidence of increased gut permeability.
It’s not just depression either; brain fog can also be linked to a leaky gut. Inflammation is a super common culprit for this and can contribute to a condition known as “leaky brain syndrome”.
Inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis and rosacea can be linked to gut health and many people with a leaky gut find themselves struggling with skin problems – sometimes for the very first time. Some studies have shown that people with acne, psoriasis and eczema have an above average degree of gut permeability. Skin problems can be a big sign that something isn’t quite right in your gut and this can sometimes extend to a leaky gut.
Food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities
Diet is a super common trigger for leaky gut. Gluten and dairy are just two of the culprits that can pave the way for leaky gut in people who are sensitive to them. With the immune system in overdrive and attacking foreign “threats” (such as undigested food that has passed through the intestine walls), the body can become overly sensitive to the antigens in some foods, particularly gluten. Research from Holland has shown that a leaky gut and celiac disease can be linked.
According to studies, allergies and a leaky gut can go hand in hand. Research published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology highlighted a link between intestinal permeability and allergies. A small research study of people with food sensitivities and food allergies showed a link to leaky gut. The greater the degree of gut permeability, the more likely symptoms were to be severe.
If you get every illness going even though you appear to be pretty healthy, a leaky gut can sometimes be a culprit. It’s linked to the immune system attacking foreign “threats” that have passed through the intestine walls into the bloodstream.
There can also be changes to the brain-gut signals that normally work to produce more immune cells when you’re fighting illness and to keep inflammation to a minimum when you’re not sick. A leaky gut can also create problems for absorbing nutrients from your food properly and this can also have an effect on immunity.
There’s a strong connection between a leaky gut and autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Multiple Sclerosis and Hashimoto’s Disease. For people who are genetically predisposed to developing autoimmune disease, a leaky gut can act as an environmental trigger that allows it to take hold.