Leaky gut syndrome is a very common, under diagnosed condition not recognized by most conventional physicians. The theory is that leaky gut syndrome is the result of damage to the intestinal lining making it less able to protect the internal environment. This lining is supposed to keep things in or out, just like a filter keeping good things in and bad things out. This filter can be affected by toxins, drugs, food, viruses and stress. The result is the lining then becomes vulnerable to these insults allowing toxins and waste which typically reside in the gut to be released into the bloodstream. This leakage of waste and toxins are linked to many common chronic conditions.
Chronic conditions linked to hyper permeability of the gut:
- Gastric Ulcers
- Infectious diarrhea
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Stomach gas and bloating
- Seasonal allergies
- Hormone imbalances
- Autoimmune diseases (Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Autoimmune Thyroiditis, Hashimoto’s) and many more
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Food allergies
- Anxiety and depression
Leaky gut affects many of us due to poor diet choices, chronic stress, exposure to toxic substances (such as body lotions, makeup, hair, and nail chemicals), environmental toxins and bacterial imbalances. It is believed that the rate of leaky gut is at an all-time high. To compound this problem, traditional medicine will have you leaving the office with many prescriptions only addressing the symptoms of leaky gut but not treating the root cause of the problem.
Having leaky gut not only affects your ability to absorb vital nutrients, but also allows undigested foods and proteins to pass through the gut barrier causing the immune system to respond abnormally often leading to collateral damage in other bodily systems. This persistent collateral damage could be the trigger to many autoimmune diseases. So, if you fix the cause, the disease will improve or may be cured if permanent damage has not already occurred.
A similar mechanism of action is seen on patients with numerous food sensitivities. Unlike an allergic reaction like anaphylaxis to foods where this is an emergency that typically ends up in hives, swelling and difficulty breathing. A food sensitivity is more subtle and typically develops because of eating the same foods frequently. This reaction may appear to exhibit mild symptoms such as gas, bloating, skin rashes, headaches to name just a few. The problem is what is happening inside the gut. Food sensitivities can inflame the gut as the body produces antibodies at an alarming rate to defend itself from these sensitivities. Again, these toxins that are released affect the gut permeability and could be the mechanism that further worsen or start a chronic condition.
It cannot be stressed enough to find a Functional Medicine Doctor that is experienced in the proper testing and treatment necessary to treat the underlying cause of leaky gut. It is imperative to find the underlying issues as the continued attacks on the inflamed gut by the toxins cause the body to react by producing various antibodies at an alarming rate which can affect and damage more than one organ system.
Inflammatory bowel disease is just what the name signifies. It is inflammation of the gut from toxins and waste being in the wrong region of the body that continues to provide insult after insult. Because of the toxins and waste being in the gut, the gut is unable to do its normal function of optimally absorbing vitamins and nutrients. Essential minerals like Zinc, may be started to assist with the healing process and provide protection to the lining of the gut.
Thyroid problems such as Hashimoto’s or autoimmune thyroiditis is one of the most common autoimmune disorders which can be affected and may be made worse as a result of leaky gut syndrome. This is critical because a healthy thyroid is responsible for many different bodily functions. Some functions that the thyroid is responsible for include: metabolism, fatigue, weight, depression, temperature control, and healthy hair and skin. Part of the functional medicine approach to treatment is to repair the gut so the thyroid works optimally.
Inflammatory skin conditions and its connection to the gut has been described for over 70 years. Sadly, dermatologist still prescribe numerous topical creams, ointments, and pills for these skin conditions that are the result of leaky gut syndrome and as a result see little or no improvement on the patients’ skin condition. As a functional medicine practice, it is common to see patients who come to us after having gone to numerous doctors that were unable to help them. Dr. Nerette focuses on organ systems that typically no other practitioner has addressed. Although it may sound extreme, but if you think about it…. The skin is a presentation of what is going on inside ones’ body hence the condition of the gut.
Mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, and attention deficit disorder have been in medical studies attributable to inflammatory reactions occurring in the gut. These toxins from the gut can pass thru what is known as, “the blood brain barrier” causing various neurocognitive disorders.
In general, there are four major steps in healing and fixing the gut.
- REMOVE the foods and factors that damage the gut
- REPLACE with healing foods and other anti-inflammatories
- REPAIR with specific functional medicines supplements
- REBALANCE with medical grade probiotics
During your evaluation, Dr. Jean-Claude Nerette Jr. who is a Functional Medicine Expert and his team will prescribe a personalized plan for you which may include specialized testing and medical-grade supplementation depending your age, severity of symptoms, chronicity of problem and root cause of illness.