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Watch this entertaining and educational 5 minute video about gut microbes from NPR by Rob Stein! This is a critical concept in moving toward optimal health. As a Functional Medicine practitioner, I need to find out what is happening in YOUR gut in order to help you reclaim your health through dietary changes, specific nutritional supplements and other solutions.

After watching this video, Click Here to read Dr. Beck’s article about Autoimmune Disease and Leaky Gut.

Could Leaky Gut Be What’s Troubling You?

How Leaky Gut Affects You

Our digestive lining serves an important barrier function. It’s like a net with very small holes that allows only certain substances that are small enough to go through, while keeping out larger undesirable particles. With leaky gut, also known as increased intestinal permeability, the net becomes damaged, resulting in bigger holes that allow more things to pass through that ordinarily could not.

The barrier function becomes compromised so that bacteria, viruses, undigested food particles and toxic waste products can leak from the inside of your intestines through the damaged digestive lining into your bloodstream, where they do not belong. They are then transported throughout your body and can trigger your immune system to react. The end result is inflammation in various organs and tissues of your body leading to a wide variety of symptoms like bloating, cramps, fatigue, food sensitivities, achy joints, headache and rashes.

With leaky gut, not only is the digestive lining more porous and less selective about what can get in, but normal absorption can be affected. Nutritional deficiencies may develop as a result of damage to the intestinal villi—the finger-like projections in the small intestine that are responsible for absorbing nutrients.

Multiple food sensitivities are another hallmark of leaky gut, because partially digested particles of protein may leak through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream and cause an allergic response. Increased intestinal permeability may potentially cause or worsen a number of other conditions, including Celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), arthritis, psoriasis, eczema and asthma etc.

What Causes Leaky Gut?

There is still much to be learned, but eating a diet high in refined sugar can lead to overgrowth of yeast species, which has been associated with leaky gut. Preservatives, chemicals and colorings in processed foods can damage the intestinal lining. Consumption of inflammatory foods such as wheat, rye, barley, dairy and soy can also inflame and damage the intestinal lining. Excessive alcohol consumption also contributes to leaky gut.

Chronic stress can lead to a weakened immune system, affecting your ability to fight off invading bacteria, viruses, parasites and yeasts which cause inflammation of the intestinal lining causing and worsening leaky gut.

Medications, both prescription and over the counter, damage and inflame the intestinal lining, worsening leaky gut.

Antibiotics kill off your essential beneficial gut bacteria and are associated with increased intestinal permeability. In fact, an imbalance between beneficial and harmful species in your gut, known as dysbiosis, may be what causes leaky gut in the first place!

How Do I Know If I Have Leaky Gut Syndrome? The symptoms of leaky gut vary from person to person depending upon the level of damage, a persons’ genetic susceptibility to any certain disease, and tissues being affected. However, if you have multiple food sensitivities, nutritional deficiencies, chronic gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, gas and bloating, skin rashes, headaches, brain fog, memory loss cravings for sugar and carbohydrates or excessive fatigue, you most likely have increased intestinal permeability. Also if you suffer from any autoimmune condition such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Colitis, Crohn’s disease, IBD/IBS, Hashimoto’s Thyroid, Graves disease, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Psoriasis, etc, you have a leaky gut!

(This information is from the article by the same title by Robynne K. Chutkan, M.D.,FASGE, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Georgetown University Hospital. Founder and Medical Director, Digestive Center for Women)

If you are finally tired of being "sick and tired", contact Dr. Marianne Beck at Women's BestHealth today. Call 954-782-4855 to to set up an appointment.

Serving: South Florida (South Fl), Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Sunrise, Oakland park, Pompano Beach, Deerfield, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Miramar, Coral Springs, Cooper City, Pembroke Pines, Tamarac, Coconut Creek, Weston, Hollywood, Plantation, Wellington, Palm Beach Gardens. Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties.

Marianne Beck, D.C., Functional Medicine Practitioner and Director, Women's BestHealth