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This article is about an extremely common, yet fairly unknown disorder. We will give you seven signs of leaky gut syndrome (LGS) as well as causes, prevalence and some ways to treat it. First, let's summarize what LGS is before going into the signs and symptoms of the disorder.
LGS is caused when undigested food particles that are normally stopped by areas in the Gi Tract known as 'tight junctions' are allowed to get through. Essentially these junctions normally work as protective walls or barriers preventing unwanted, harmful materials from entering the blood stream.
Those who have LGS essentially have ineffective filtering as a result of these junctions breaking down and allowing into the blood stream things that properly functioning junctions would not. Unfortunately, LGS is often a precursor to many other debilitating ailments like arthritis, diabetes and even autism among others.
Sometimes those who are sensitive to certain foods are actually experiencing LGS. Because the body has to create a defensive protein known as antibodies when we ingest food that is high in substances toxic to the body, those who regularly eat things that are unhealthy run a higher risk of contracting LGS.
Recent research has shown a specific protein called Zonulin plays a critical role in facilitating intracellular traffic of molecules through the previously mentioned tight junctions. Like many other processes in the body, the pathway on which this multi-cell transportation system runs is extremely precise. When it is disrupted by gluten or some other culprit it can lead to the junctions malfunctioning, aka LGS.
If you have bowel problems, being tested for LGS may be a smart decision. Research has shown that often times there is cause and effect between LGS and bowel problems.
If you experience overactive thyroid or several other problems with this gland, it's possible the cause, or at least a contributing cause, may be LGS.
Common everyday skin conditions like psoriasis and acne can be at least partially the fault of LGS. In fact, the connection between the skin and the gut has been a theory within the scientific community for over 70 years.
One of the most telltale signs of LGS is malabsorption. This essentially means the body is not fully taking in everything you're consuming. An easy example would be to imagine a sponge that's oversaturated. While it may absorb some water, if it's already full much of it will not be absorbed. This is what happens in people's bodies who have LGS. Because of LGS and other factors people are often not able to pick up everything that the body takes in leading to malnourishment and other problems.
Mood Issues and Autism
As mentioned earlier, disorders as serious as autism can be at least partially to blame on LGS. Essentially what causes the various delays experienced in those with autism is a malfunction of something within the normal metabolic processes. Because LGS impacts the ability of the body to filter certain toxins and other substances that don't belong in the blood stream, this, by definition, classifies as a metabolic malfunction.
As far as treatment, eating healthy and avoiding foods that contain certain substances like gluten are the most common courses of action. Yet there is significant debate within the medical community as to whether or not any of this helps. Regardless, eating healthy is undoubtedly a good idea either way!
Treatment Options for LGS
Like many other disorders, syndromes and ailments diet modification is the best-known treatment for LGS. One of the foremost experts on LGS, Dr. Josh Axe, has laid out a 4 step program that helps those afflicted with LGS put their bodies in a position to start healing itself. For the sake of this article, I’ll provide a summary of the 4 step program which is described in more detail by Dr. Axe in the link above. The 4-steps as outlined by Dr. Axe are as follows:
1. Remove food and other factors that damage the gut.
2. Replace those foods with healing foods.
3. Repair with specific supplements.
4. Rebalance your system with probiotics.
As for the four ‘Rs’ of healing LGS it’s important to know that they are not a cure-all, but rather a best practice. Certainly if your LGS has progressed to the point that you’ve acquired other ailments such as the ones listed earlier in the article, further medical intervention may be required. As with anything related to personal health it’s best to consult your physician.