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3min read

Everything You Need To Know About Leaky Gut Syndrome

by Toni Olukiran

3min read

Wondering what the deal is with leaky gut syndrome? Find all your questions answered here, including what it is and which food can help to heal your gut. 

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Leaky gut syndrome is a condition where the lining of the small intestine becomes more porous than normal, allowing undigested food particles, toxins, and bacteria to leak through into the bloodstream. This leakage can trigger an immune response, leading to inflammation and a variety of health problems. It is also known as intestinal permeability.

The lining of the small intestine has a critical role in nutrient absorption and is made up of tight junctions between cells that prevent harmful substances from entering the bloodstream. However, certain factors can compromise the integrity of the gut lining and cause these tight junctions to become more permeable. Some of the factors that can contribute to leaky gut syndrome include:

  1. Diet: A diet low in a range of fruit and vegetables and high in processed foods can cause inflammation in the gut and damage the lining of the intestine.
  2. Stress: Prolonged stress can weaken the immune system and impair the digestive system, leading to increased permeability of the gut lining.
  3. Infections: Gut infections, such as candida overgrowth, parasites, and bacterial overgrowth, can cause inflammation and damage to the gut lining.
  4. Environmental toxins: Exposure to toxins, such as pesticides, heavy metals, and pollutants, can damage the gut lining and increase its permeability.

Symptoms of a leaky gut 

Gut health is an important part of your overall health, as many experts such as Dr Tim Spektor and Dr Megan Rossi emphasise and research continues to support. Therefore, the symptoms of a leaky gut can range from maybe the more obvious to the more obscure. Some of the more obvious include:

  • Digestive problems: Bloating, constipation and gastrointestinal issues are commonly found symptoms in those who have a leaky gut.
  • Food intolerance: When undigested food particles leak through the gut lining, the immune system can develop an intolerance to certain foods, leading to food sensitivities like gluten intolerance

Some of the more unexpected symptoms can include:

  • Skin problems: leaky gut can result in skin inflammation and autoimmune conditions such as eczema and psoriasis
  • Arthritis: Other autoimmune responses caused by leaky gut syndrome can include arthritis, lupus, and Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
  • Mental health issues: Leaky gut syndrome can also contribute to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and brain fog.

This occurs when the bacteria and food particles leak from the gut which causes the immune system to attack them, detecting them as a foreign invader and therefore dangerous to be in the bloodstream. This disturbs the balance of bacteria in the system and can result in inflammation and autoimmune diseases.

Is leaky gut syndrome a recognised condition?

Leaky gut syndrome is not actually formally recognised as a medical condition by the NHS, as it is considered as more of a symptom for other health problems rather than a condition itself. However, many people have found that by focusing on healing their guts, they have also found they’ve been helping to alleviate other health problems in the process. 

Can a change in diet help with a leaky gut?

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Yes, it absolutely can. As a diet high in processed foods and fats and sugar are more likely to cause a spike in inflammation, eating with your gut in mind can make a big difference. Eating a varied amount of plants is a great place to start: eating fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and spices have been shown to help heal your gut and promote good bacteria in the biome. Eating more prebiotic and probiotic foods will also help heal a leaky gut, so incorporating fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and yogurts as well as nuts and seeds like cashews will help to promote a healthy gut.

As always, please consult your GP with any problems and concerns you may have over your gut, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


By Toni Olukiran
Toni Olukiran

Toni is one of our lovely Content Marketing Assistants, and when she’s not writing posts about everything from Jamaican cooking to vegan champagne, she’s making a Spotify playlist (she was at 200, at her last count) or playing tennis in the park.

Read more from Toni

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