You must have come across the term ‘Leaky Gut’ frequently. This condition is associated with gut health.
Our digestive system plays a major role in the breakdown of foods and absorption of nutrients. Intestinal health is important because it is the place where nutrients are absorbed and therefore, protected by a lining which acts as a barrier between the intestine and outer blood area. This barrier permits the entry of only water and other nutrients required by our body. But if this barrier gets damaged that results in the development of gaps, then the gut becomes permeable. It gives access to harmful bacterias and toxins to the intestine, which might damage the intestines, causing inflammation and other indigestion issues. This condition is referred to as ‘leaky gut’.
Some of the common symptoms of a leaky gut syndrome are bloating, nausea, acidity, digestion issues, skin issues and food sensitivities.
Therefore, it is important to keep a check on the foods we eat and consume a healthy well-balanced diet.
Major causes of developing leaky gut syndrome are :
- Diets rich in simple sugar, especially fructose can cause inflammation and damage the intestinal permeable membrane.
- It has been observed that the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for longer duration can also cause leaky gut.
- Excess consumption of alcohol tends to damage our intestinal walls.
- Micronutrient deficiencies are another major causative factor of leaky gut. Vitamins and minerals like A, D, E and zinc are crucial for our gut health.
- Stress leads to increased levels of cortisol in the body which can affect nutrient absorption and gut health.
- Inflammation in the body due to any reason has the potential to damage the protective barrier lining and cause leaky gut.
- Imbalance in the gut microbiota can cause leaky gut, as bad and harmful organisms exceed the number of good microbes or probiotics.
In case of any symptom of leaky gut, it is essential to consult a medical expert to prevent it from getting worse. Often people tend to overlook this condition which eventually might become a root cause of major diseases like celiac disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, diabetes and major food allergies.
A study published in Frontiers in Immunology Journal in 2017 stated that conditions like leaky gut and intestinal barrier dysfunction, if present for a prolonged duration, tend to alter the genetic predisposition. It can increase the likelihood of developing autoimmune disorders like type 1 diabetes and systemic lupus erythematosus or lupus in the upcoming generations.
Hence, it is very essential to maintain a healthy gut and microbial balance. Studies say that diets rich in pre and probiotics are key to prevent conditions like leaky gut and IBS. Diet should be rich in complex carbohydrates instead of opting for refined carbs and simple sugars. A regular sleep and exercise pattern, avoiding tobacco, unnecessary intake of antibiotics and combating stress are simple golden rules to stay healthy and disease-free.
- Obrenovich M. (2018). Leaky Gut, Leaky Brain?. Microorganisms, 6(4), 107. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms6040107
- Mu, Q., Kirby, J., Reilly, C. M., & Luo, X. M. (2017). Leaky Gut As a Danger Signal for Autoimmune Diseases. Frontiers in immunology, 8, 598. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2017.00598
- Prebiotics and Diet to Reduce "Leaky" Gut in First Degree Relatives of Crohn's Disease Patients.(2020).https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03950336
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