Updated: Aug 28, 2019
The term “leaky gut”, also known as increased intestinal permeability, has gained a lot of attention in recent years. This is a condition in which gaps in your intestinal walls start to loosen. Consequently, larger substances such as bacteria, toxins and undigested food particles are allowed pass across the intestinal walls into your bloodstream.
Studies have shown that a leaky gut may be connected to several chronic and autoimmune diseases like celiac disease and type 1 diabetes.
In this article, we break down everything you need to know about leaky gut syndrome
What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Leaky gut syndrome is a condition that affects your digestive system. The digestive system consists of many organs that break down food and remove waste products. It also acts as a barrier between your gut and bloodstream to prevent harmful substances from entering your body.
With leaky gut syndrome, these tight junctions loosen, and potentially allow harmful substances like bacteria, toxins and undigested food particles to enter your bloodstream.
This has been known to trigger widespread inflammation and stimulate an immune reaction. However, there is little evidence so far that proves leaky gut syndrome to be a serious problem. It's also not recognized as a medical diagnosis by mainstream physicians.
What Causes Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Here's a video that explains this process
The exact cause of leaky gut syndrome has not yet been discovered. However, leaky gut is known to often occur alongside several chronic diseases, including celiac disease and type 1 diabetes. Gluten has been found to increase intestinal permeability and hence cause leaky gut syndrome in people with celiac disease.
Zonulin, a protein that regulates tight junctions, has also been found to loosen tight junctions and cause leaky gut syndrome if found in excessive amounts in the body.
How Does It Tie In With Skin Conditions And Allergies?
The connection between the gut and brain, commonly referred to as the “gut-brain axis,” has been heavily researched and documented. This connection has been further linked skin inflammation.
The link between the gut and skin isn’t entirely new. It is already known that food allergies can cause hives and skin rashes. And eating foods such as processed carbs, dairy and sugar have also been linked to acne.
What does this all mean? It means that healing your gut as well as nourishing and protecting your inner ecosystem are integral to a healthier skin.
Foods to Eat
Leaky gut syndrome isn’t an official medical diagnosis, and has no such 'recommended treatment' so far. However, you can do plenty of things to improve your digestive health and prevent leaky gut.
The following foods are great options for improving your digestive health:
Vegetables: Zucchini, cabbage, mushrooms, ginger, spinach, chard, eggplant, carrots.
Fruits: Papaya, limes, lemon, mandarin, kiwi, pineapple, oranges, strawberries, raspberries, bananas.
Fermented vegetables: Miso, kimchi, tempeh and sauerkraut.
Roots and tubers: Turnips, yams, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes
Foods to Avoid
Avoiding certain foods is equally important for improving your gut health:
Junk food: Fast foods, potato chips, sugary cereals, candy bars, etc.
Gluten-containing grains: Barley, rye, bulgur, seitan, triticale and oats.
Dairy products: Milk, cheeses and ice cream
Baked goods: Cakes, muffins, cookies, pies, pastries and pizza.