Leaky Gut | Symptoms, Cause & Solution

~Written by our friend and partner, FunctionalMomma

Leaky gut is the term used for hyperpermeability of the intestinal wall. In this post, we will talk about symptoms, causes, and solutions to fix your leaky gut so that you can start feeling better and living with a better quality of life.

If you have leaky gut your intestines have become more porous, allowing large undigested food particles, toxins, and waste to seep through into your bloodstream causing a slew of health issues.

Gut health has a huge impact on overall health because the brain and the gastrointestinal system are intimately connected. Stomach or intestinal distress can be the product or the cause of anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, and brain fog.

Serious health conditions such as auto-immune diseases, autism, and Alzheimers are also being linked back to the gut microbiome as well.

Symptoms Of Leaky Gut

The gastrointestinal tract is made up of 100’s of trillions of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses, archaea) and is in charge of important functions such as digestion, immunological processes (immune system) and metabolism.

We have more microbial cells in our gut than we do human cells in our entire body.

Since we live in an anti-microbial (sterile) world, our good bacteria is being overrun by our bad bacteria, causing an unbalance and leading to severe and uncomfortable health issues.

If you have a leaky gut here are some of the symptoms you could be facing:

  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • cancer
  • cardiovascular and nervous system disorders
  • skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and rashes
  • memory impairment & brain fog
  • fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • bloating/gas
  • mood/behavioral disorders
  • infertility issues including polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • allergies
  • asthma

80% of the adult population has leaky gut and doesn’t even know it, so even if you’re not showing symptoms (yet) doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from making changes to a healthier lifestyle.

Living In An Anti-Microbial World – The Cause

This was an Ah-Ha moment for me, and I’m not sure why it took me so long to connect the dots, but knowing that we are more bacterial aka microbial, and everything we are surrounded by is anti-microbial, it only makes sense that we are seeing the rise of so many diseases and disorders.

In truth, everything we are surrounded by, put into our bodies, and on our bodies, are made with preservatives, pesticides, and antibiotics, which are designed to kill microbes–when we are microbial!

It’s not that we are able to spot and diagnose better than we were able to 20 years ago, it’s that our diet and environment are severely affecting our health.

It’s becoming more and more clear that Western society is quickly becoming more sick with chronic disease with the use and overuse of antimicrobials:

  • antibiotics – humans & food industry
  • our meat, plant agriculture (fruits & vegetables) & industrial applications (industrial paints, oil pipelines)
  • chlorinated water
  • personal care products (full of antimicrobials that have not been tested on humans)
  • glyphosate aka roundup (so pervasive it is found in the cord blood of newborns)

The Solution To Leaky Gut – Diet & Environment

In order to regain balance in our gut we need to maintain diversity in our diets. Our ancestors ate 600 variations of food annually and today the average person probably eats a very limited diet comprised of 20 different foods.

Not only is it important to choose organic foods wherever your budget allows (start with the meats) but it’s also important to switch up which types of produce you’re eating as well. This could mean something as simple as going to an ethnic grocery store for cabbage instead of buying it at your normal grocery stop.

A very important factor in cleaning up your environment is slowly switching out your personal care products, cleaning products, tossing anything with the word “fragrance” or “natural flavor” and buying certified organic & Non-GMO whenever possible. You can read more about making the switch to a less toxic environment in another blog post, here.

Regaining Balance With Probiotics

This is one I get super excited about and constantly doing research on. Another ah-ha moment I had was while listening to one of my favorite podcasts, The Lifestylist, and hearing Tina Anderson, founder of Just Thrive Probiotics, talk about the need for probiotic refrigeration. You can listen to the episode here.

How did I let something so commonsensical slip by? If a probiotic needs to be refrigerated, how the heck does it survive internal body temperature, let alone the gastric system?

I’ve always known that for optimal gut health you should consume more yogurt, fermented foods, keifer, and probiotics, but what I didn’t know was that most probiotics die before they ever make it to your intestines.

Just Thrive Probiotics

I’ve mentioned Just Thrive Probiotics before in this post about Gut Health & Pregnancy but I didn’t delve into what truly makes them so special, so here you go, I did the nerding out for you.

What makes Just Thrive different than other probiotics that you’ve seen on the shelves is that they’re sporebased which naturally survive the gastric system because they’re protected by an endospore shell, allowing them to get to the intestine 100% alive.

What’s interesting to me is that they’re not alive in their capsule but once they reach the intestines they recognize they’re “home” and come out of their dormant state to start “reading” the microbial environment and start competitively shifting the balance of the good and bad bacteria.

So the next time you’re standing in the aisle of the health food store reading labels (guilty!) about CFU’s and whatever billions of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium it’s telling you it has, you can rest assured that none of it matters if they’re not arriving alive in your gut.

What’s also fantastic about this probiotic is that it is completely safe for pregnant and nursing women, as well as infants, and toddlers! My whole family uses the same bottle.

The Problem With Other Probiotics

Majority of probiotics on the market are made with lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium which are anaerobic organisms (do not require oxygen for growth) but they’re made in a lab with oxygen (aerobic) so when they try to live in the gut, the environment is too unstable for them and they die, if they even make it there alive to begin with.

Lactobacillus is also not found in the environment except through vaginal birth and breastfeeding, but bacillus strains found in Just Thrive probiotics, are. Bacillus spores can be found in vegetation, rivers, streams, dust, and dirt, and are by far the most resilient to harsh conditions.

Bacillus strains are unique in that they live in the outside world and also colonize in the gut. That’s equivalent to a human who can live on land and also 5,000 feet below sea level. Mind blowing

The Gut Effects The Brain & The Brain Effects The Gut

The best thing you can do to help your brain and your gut communicate effectively is to:

  • maintain microbiome diversity
  • clean up your environment and diet
  • avoid antibiotics
  • choose organic food to avoid glyphosate,
  • filter your drinking water
  • switch to non-toxic personal care products