Which came first? The chicken or the egg?
This age-old story is one and the same when it comes to gut permeability and the havoc it can wreak on a person’s body.
Does leaky gut cause discomfort in the GI tract or is discomfort in the GI tract causing the gut to leak?
Let’s take a closer look:
Leaky gut is not an actual diagnosis. It is a term used by doctors to describe the deterioration of the mucosal lining in the small intestine. It’s theoretical at this point even though people are developing tests to learn more about why this deterioration happens.
When the mucosal lining of the small intestine is weakened it is called intestinal permeability or hyper-permeability. It’s normal for nutrients and water to permeate the lining of the intestine – that’s how it’s supposed to work. But when the intestinal lining becomes too permeable larger waste products and toxins leak out causing adverse reactions in the body.
One obvious side effect of leaky gut would be low level food allergies found through a food allergy panel. As allergens leave the gut and enter the blood stream they can cause a response by the immune system. Other more severe indicators of leaky gut could be chronic conditions like:
- Chron’s Disease
- Celiac Disease
- Inflammatory diseases
- Auto-immune diseases
As there are no definitive tests for leaky gut – at this time it is only a theory – we constantly assess the reliability of the intestinal lining rather than running a myriad of tests to inform our treatment plan.
If you are experiencing symptoms of leaky gut, such as:
- abdominal pain
- always hungry
- poor nutrient absorption
- don’t gain weight
- do gain weight
- water weight gain.
It may be time to look at leaky gut from a naturopathic perspective. We can always improve outcomes by treating gut permeability, even if there is no “cure” for the overall syndrome.
Naturopathic medicine is instrumental in treating the underlying causes of illnesses. In the case of leaky gut, we can do that by looking into medications, stress, nutrition, food sensitivities, alcohol, and smoking – things that might cause the mucosal lining to become more permeable. Intervening when leaky gut is suspected can also help us understand if the hyper permeability is causing the symptoms or if the symptoms are causing hyper permeability.
As a naturopathic physician with a specialty in gastroenterology, it is my goal to equip you with information so that you can make the most informed decisions about your health. In fact, at the heart of naturopathic medicine is the philosophy of doctor as teacher. My intention is to empower you to participate in your own healing process.
Please contact Dr. Heather Buckle ND, FABNO if you have questions about integrative solutions for your health care needs. If you live in Washington state and would like to learn more about Dr. Buckle’s naturopathic approach to your wellness, please call (206) 643-2239 or CLICK HERE to schedule a consultation.
“Leaky Gut Syndrome.” Cleveland Clinic, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22724-leaky-gut-syndrome#:~:text=Leaky%20gut%20syndrome%20is%20a%20theory%20that%20intestinal%20permeability%20is,letting%20toxins%20into%20your%20bloodstream.