Do you have a leaky gut?
The term leaky gut may not conjure up a pleasant image or feeling, and those suffering from from the syndrome often feel poorly as well.
Leaky gut syndrome widens the pores in the intestine and allows undigested food particles, toxins and waste to make their way into the blood stream, causing inflammation and affecting the immune system, medical experts say.
Symptoms include food sensitivity, digestive problems, bloating, fatigue, mood swings, headaches and skin conditions, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The condition resembles several other digestive diseases that also effect the small intestine.
“Leaky gut has been related to disorders including non-celiac gluten sensitivity and Irritable Bowel Syndrome,” says Dr. Constance Pietrzak, gastroenterologist at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago.
The inflammation caused by the syndrome often shows up as one of the following conditions:
- Celiac disease
- Eczema and psoriasis
- Irritable bowel disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS)
- Type 1 diabetes
While there is no definitive cause for leaky gut, many believe stress and gluten can trigger the condition. In addition, medications including antibiotics, steroids or over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin and acetaminophen can damage the intestinal lining.
Physicians recommend treating the condition by staying away from gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol, while adding fish, coconut and avocados to one’s diet. These foods help restore the healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, while amino acids such as L-glutamine rejuvenates the lining of the intestinal wall.
“There is still much more research that needs to be done,” says Dr. Pietrzak.
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