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What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

If you are in Tampa and suspect you may be experiencing symptoms related to leaky gut syndrome or increased intestinal permeability, seeking guidance from experienced nutritionists in Tampa could be beneficial. While this diagnosis is more commonly associated with alternative medicine, nutritionists in Tampa can provide personalized advice and support in addressing dietary factors that might contribute to gut health.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

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

Discussion Comments

By anon312182 — On Jan 06, 2013

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!

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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