What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Probiotic supplements might increase good bacteria in the stomach to offset problems such as food allergies.
Probiotic supplements might increase good bacteria in the stomach to offset problems such as food allergies.

Leaky gut syndrome is a diagnosis that appears most typically in alternative medicine; as a general rule, most conventional medical practitioners reject the idea. According to alternative health practitioners, this problem occurs when the lining of the intestines is weakened to the point that their contents can leak out and enter the blood stream, causing a variety of health problems, from allergies to migraines. Other practitioners believe that these health problems are more likely attributable to other conditions.

Migraines are among the health problems said to be tied to leaky gut syndrome.
Migraines are among the health problems said to be tied to leaky gut syndrome.

This condition can allegedly be caused by a variety of things. Chronic food allergies, for example, have been documented to damage the lining of the intestines, and some conditions like Crohn's disease and irritable bowel disease can also cause problems. Alternative health practitioners also believe that the condition can be caused by parasitic or fungal infection, especially when it is prolonged, resulting in irritation and inflammation in the gut and stomach. It may also strike the stomach alone, causing leaky stomach syndrome.

Irritable bowel disease may be the cause of leaky gut syndrome.
Irritable bowel disease may be the cause of leaky gut syndrome.

According to the theory, when materials that belong in the intestines leak out in the bloodstream, they cause health problems. This is certainly true in the case of extreme conditions like peritonitis, which is caused by widespread infection in the body cavity that can be the result of bowel perforations. In the case of leaky gut syndrome, bacteria, fungi, and other invaders can sweep out into the bloodstream, causing an auto-immune reaction as the body attempts to fight these organisms.

Daily ingestion of probiotic supplements may help increase the population of beneficial organisms in the gut.
Daily ingestion of probiotic supplements may help increase the population of beneficial organisms in the gut.

Allergies are often pointed to as a cause for leaky gut syndrome, with some practitioners believing that the condition is a precursor to more chronic stomach conditions. Some also suspect that it can be caused by exposure to toxins, which would in turn cause the toxins to leak into the bloodstream. Bad dietary choices may also be responsible, in the eyes of some practitioners, as the intestinal lining can be irritated by chronic poor nutrition.

Bad dietary choices may contribute to leaky gut syndrome.
Bad dietary choices may contribute to leaky gut syndrome.

Because many conventional practitioners are skeptical about this diagnosis, some alternative practitioners prefer to refer to it as “increased intestinal permeability.” Treatments usually focus on improving the diet, hopefully identifying allergens and sources of toxins in the process, and many practitioners also recommend the use of probiotic supplements to increase the population of beneficial organisms in the gut.

An individual suffering from leaky gut syndrome may experience nausea and vomiting.
An individual suffering from leaky gut syndrome may experience nausea and vomiting.

In some cases, conditions attributed to leaky gut syndrome can benefit from more conventional approaches, especially in the case of systemic infections. These infections can cause serious damage in a very short period of time, so anyone who is seriously ill should seek medical attention promptly.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a InfoBloom researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a InfoBloom researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon312182

This condition, in my opinion and studies, is created by a biochemical change in the body. Something invaded/damaged (changed/altered DNA) caused by a surgery, implant, infection, prescription medication such as ASA, toxin, etc.(something damaging natural function), and it damaged the immune system/gut. About 70-80 percent of our immune system is in the gut. In the holistic community, it is known as Leaky Gut Syndrome and Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome (Clarkson's) in the regular medical profession.

No matter what you call it, it can and does cause a world of damage in the body depending on the severity of damage, affected body system or part and even death. It can cause hypotension, hemoconcentration, compartment syndrome, pleural effusion, severe interstitial (third spacing) edema and pain, just to mention a few. There are no standard tests for it. Sealing the gut is the key.

The patient is leaking everything at a molecular level, not just plasma. Take control of what leaks! The GAPS diet works wonders. Eat fermented foods to aid digestion, raw honey (allergy permitting), natural probiotics, all non-GMO (genetically mutated organisms) foods and organic foods are a great start.

Find a doctor who cares and listens to you and your body. Keep everything as pure as possible that comes in contact with the patient. That includes soaps, shampoos, make up, cleaning supplies, air, water, perfumes (spray only on distant clothes only if you must use). Even toothpaste can have a detrimental effect on the leaking patient due to the chemicals in the toothpaste. A leak phase can last from three to seven days, but I believe the recovery phase is where most damage occurs. Also, IVIG administration has had limited success and should be further explored and discussed with your trusted doctor. Good luck and stay well to all!

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    • Probiotic supplements might increase good bacteria in the stomach to offset problems such as food allergies.
      By: veselabm
      Probiotic supplements might increase good bacteria in the stomach to offset problems such as food allergies.
    • Migraines are among the health problems said to be tied to leaky gut syndrome.
      By: MediablitzImages
      Migraines are among the health problems said to be tied to leaky gut syndrome.
    • Irritable bowel disease may be the cause of leaky gut syndrome.
      By: joshya
      Irritable bowel disease may be the cause of leaky gut syndrome.
    • Daily ingestion of probiotic supplements may help increase the population of beneficial organisms in the gut.
      By: chaoss
      Daily ingestion of probiotic supplements may help increase the population of beneficial organisms in the gut.
    • Bad dietary choices may contribute to leaky gut syndrome.
      By: Creativa
      Bad dietary choices may contribute to leaky gut syndrome.
    • An individual suffering from leaky gut syndrome may experience nausea and vomiting.
      By: Piotr Marcinski
      An individual suffering from leaky gut syndrome may experience nausea and vomiting.
    • There are a variety of causes for leaky gut syndrome that lead to irritation and inflammation in the stomach.
      By: Artem Furman
      There are a variety of causes for leaky gut syndrome that lead to irritation and inflammation in the stomach.